The Friday in F1 Monaco GP saw some hectic moments with few crashes and a mix of teams eyeing grid spots at the front.

Considering how much qualifying is important on a circuit like Monte Carlo, the Friday in F1 Monaco GP was spent in getting the one lap pace sorted for an all-important qualifying on Saturday. Both Red Bull and Ferrari looked to be in a good space for it.

While Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took the top spot in FP1, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen found pace in FP2. The Spaniard had a crash to end the second session but still is confident along with teammate Charles Leclerc to do well and challenge their F1 rivals.

The Dutchman did not have a sound FP1 but recovered well in FP2 as his teammate Sergio Perez struggled a bit in both the sessions. His lack was utilised by Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso who is feeling confident as well about his chances in F1 qualifying.

His teammate Lance Stroll didn’t look as good but rued traffic. Mercedes, on the other hand, had much at hand with their updates. Lewis Hamilton felt a bit better in the sessions, but George Russell felt a bit off and it showed in his FP2 time.

Verstappen: “I think FP1 was quite tricky, I was not really happy with the ride of the car on the kerbs and the bumps. I think FP2 was already a lot better, the car was a lot more competitive. But compared to Ferrari especially, I think we’re still a bit lacking on the general ride of the car, how it handles the kerbs, the bumps, the drops in camber, so that’s still something we need to work on for tomorrow. You can see they are very, very close, and knowing that once we go all to the limit in qualifying, we need a bit more [performance] to stay ahead of them. I think there’s still a bit of scope to go in the same direction even more and hopefully that will be even better for tomorrow. They’re close as well. We definitely need to build a little bit more of a buffer if we want to be ahead of them tomorrow.”

Leclerc: “Yes, we are, we are okay, but Aston Martin and Red Bull seem to be very quick as well, so we still need to do a step forward. The feeling in the car wasn’t too bad in FP1, a bit difficult… In FP2 a little bit better, but there were some things that were a little bit unexpected on my car, so we’ll work during the night to have the car exactly as I want tomorrow. I’ll give it [my] all, qualifying is everything here. There’s lots of talks about my last race but qualifying has always been one of my strengths so I’m not worried, I’ll go for it and let’s see what happens. I mean, I don’t think we have the best car. Again, Red Bull is faster, Aston Martin is [there or] thereabouts, but if we do a great job and I put everything [together] in my lap, then everything is possible.”

Sainz: “It was a very small crash, to be honest. I just clipped the wall on the inside of Turn 16, a typical Monaco miscalculation. It’s a shame because I gave the mechanics some extra time [repairing the car] today, but in terms of confidence and in terms of lap time, I’ve been on it the whole day – a small miscalculation in one corner is not going to affect it. I think we’re on the right track to at least challenge for it. I think the Red Bull is still quick, they’re still leading after today. We’ve been closer than any other weekend and we hope that we can at least give them a run for their money, but I think it’s still going to be tricky.”

Hamilton: “I’ve generally had an amazing day. I’ve really enjoyed driving today. I want to say a big, big thank you to everyone back at the factory. To build, and design and develop a car is not an easy thing. Everyone has put so much time in, so many hours of hard work, to have us here today. I’m glad we were able to keep it on track for them and I think we got a lot of data. It’s not the place to ultimately test an upgrade, but the car was generally feeling good. It’s a shame we weren’t as close as I’d hoped at the end of the session. But I definitely felt the improvements and I’m grateful for them. I’ve just got to keep chipping away and see if we can squeeze any more juice out the car.

“There is performance lack still, [but] I’m not going to say where it is. But there is, and it is very clear where there is a lack of performance for me. We will talk about that in the debrief. We will put our heads together and try and figure out how we can do that within what we have. But, hopefully, this gives us a platform moving forward. In FP1 I thought maybe we are looking good, but we are always looking pretty good in FP1 for some reason. In [FP2] we were close to half-a-second off, maybe that could have three-tenths maybe, but I don’t think we have half a second in the bag, so we will see. We will work on it and see if we can squeeze some more out tonight.”

Alonso: “It was good. It was a good day for us, I think. We completed the run programme. A couple of red flags that were the same for everybody, but we did enough laps to get confidence with the car, which is very important here – getting into the rhythm of the weekend. The car felt good, easy to drive, which is what you would expect in this kind of circuit, so I’m happy. I came with a lot of confidence already because this car gave me positive things all throughout the year, so it didn’t disappoint today; it was enjoyable to drive, I had fun and I’m ready for tomorrow. I think they were always there. In race three, Australia, they were outstanding. They finished P2, so I think it’s going to be all through the season up and downs for everybody. We just have to be consistent, try to deliver every weekend, maximising the points available knowing and accepting that sometimes we will be quicker than them, sometimes slower, and we still need to make points. Let’s see. I think tomorrow, everything is to play [for] but we should be one of the candidates, yes.”

The mid-pack saw McLaren’s Lando Norris up in the top half in FP2 despite joining the session late due to work on the front end of his car. He has done well in Monaco in contrast to his teammate Oscar Piastri who found himself in the lower half of the grid.

They will have competition from the Alpine pair who were decently in the Top 10 with their own updates which went smoothly much like Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas. The Finn felt pretty solid with his car, as did his teammate Zhou Guanyu.

AlphaTauri too had updates on their F1 car, but the aero limitation didn’t help them as their session included a clip for Yuki Tsunoda in FP2 in the same spot where Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg touched the barrier in FP1 – both escaping larger damage.

The one who didn’t was Williams’ Alexander Albon at Turn 1 which forced the F1 mechanics to work long during lunch and into the FP2 session. The Thai did manage some track time by the end of it to pip teammate Logan Sargeant.

Norris: “A reasonable day – it’s just lovely to be back. Awesome to be back in the car here in Monaco. Feels insane, as always. Good fun out there and got comfortable very quickly, which is always important here. We made a few changes from FP1 to FP2, which were in the right direction, and we definitely got a bit more out of the car, so we’ll continue to try to explore that direction, see if we can improve a little bit more into tomorrow. A decent Friday, and I’m probably feeling a little bit more comfortable than I have been the last few weeks.”

Ocon: “Driving here in Monaco is a very special experience; there’s really no place like it. On our side, I think it’s been a smooth day, where we’ve run through our programme, tried a few different things and, importantly, did not take any unnecessary risks. I think we have a few more things to go through and test to be really up to speed and ready for qualifying tomorrow, so I’m sure Free Practice 3, for everybody, will be important. The car feels good, and we’re in a strong place looking ahead to the rest of the weekend.”

Bottas: “It was a good, productive day and it was what we needed to finally test our new upgrades. I could feel a difference already, a positive one, even though we will have to do some work to refine the package and extract the most from it. It’s a promising sign, though, especially since the field is so tight and a small improvement can make a big difference. Overall, it was an interesting day: the track kept improving with every lap and, as always in Monaco, so did my confidence. Traffic is always an issue here but today we were able to navigate through it well. Now we need to focus on qualifying: the feeling is positive, if we can improve a little bit more overnight, we can be there or thereabout.”

Hulkenberg: “It was good fun but challenging at the same time. It’s mega fast around here now and it’s the first time I drive this new generation of car around Monaco, and I have to say it’s probably the fastest thing I’ve driven around here and it’s only Friday, so there’s more to come. In terms of running, it wasn’t ideal in FP1 with the little kiss coming out of the tunnel. FP2 was okay, we collected a lot of data, and we have some new parts on the car that we need to analyse and see what else we can find.”

Albon: “It was a great job from the team to get the car ready for FP2, despite being a bit compromised in that session. We need to take a look tonight to see if we can improve the car, however it is tricky out there, but I think it’s tricky for everyone. It feels like it always does around Monaco, like you’re on a knife edge but that’s because you’re always on the limit. Ultimately, I think we need to find a few more tenths to fight for Q2 but we’ll try do that.”

Tsunoda: “I enjoyed driving around Monaco, but there is still some pace to be found for qualifying, and we have to focus on this as it’s going to be really important. We have quite a few big upgrades on the car this weekend, but it’s hard to say how well they work because Monaco isn’t an aero-efficient track. As usual, we will put it together tonight so we can make it through to Q2 tomorrow, as Q3 seems a bit difficult, but let’s see.”

Here’s how FP1 of F1 Monaco GP panned out

Here’s how FP2 of F1 Monaco GP panned out