Last weekend, the Formula One World Championship arrived at the iconic Circuit de Monaco for the 70th Monaco Grand Prix, where Alex Albon would finally get points on the board for Williams after a tough start to the season. Asian Motorsport reviews all the action on the streets of the Principality.

By Seb Tirado

Free Practice

In the final 20 minutes of FP1, Zhou Guanyu would hit the wall exiting Sainte-Dévote and leave debris on the circuit, necessitating a quick red flag. The Chinese driver would ultimately finish down in 19th with a 1:14.570. Albon would finish in 15th with a 1:13.425 with Yuki Tsunoda finishing up in 8th with a 1:12.875.

Albon would improve his standing on the timing sheets in FP2 by finishing 9th with a 1:12.257 whilst Tsunoda and Zhou would fall down the standings albeit with improved times, finishing in 11th and 20th respectively with a 1:12.349 and a 1:13.773.

Zhou Guanyu on track during FP3 | Credit: Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

FP3 would see a continuation of the struggling performances from Zhou as he finished down in 19th with a slower 1:13.830. Elsewhere, Albon and Tsunoda would put in their fastest times of the weekend so far with a 1:12.180 and a 1:11.991 and classify in 12th and 9th

Qualifying

Albon would go an impressive 5th in Q1 with a 1:11.623 and progress through to the next stage of qualifying, with Tsunoda also progressing through in 13th with a 1:11.852. Zhou would finish the session in 20th with a 1:13.028, over half a second behind his teammate Valtteri Bottas to make it a Kick Sauber final row on the grid.

Yuki Tsunoda on track during qualifying | Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Tsunoda and Albon would progress through from Q2 in 9th and 10th with a 1:11.106 and a 1:11.216 respectively, with Albon reaching Q3 for the first time this season.

In the end, the pair would improve one better in Q3, with Tsunoda in 8th with a 1:10.858 and Albon in 9th with a 1:10.948.

Monaco Grand Prix

The race would properly get underway 45 minutes later than scheduled after the major incident between Sergio Pérez and the Haas drivers that caused a lengthy red flag. After both having chosen to start the race on sets of new mediums, Tsunoda and Albon changed tyres during the red flag, going onto sets of scrubbed and new hards respectively for the rest of the race. Zhou, who was almost caught up in the Lap 1 incident, also originally elected to start on new mediums and changed to a set of new hards to run until the end. He would also start in 16th after Esteban Ocon was unable to restart the race.

Throughout the entire race, Tsunoda and Albon would maintain their initial starting positions, with the Thai driver looking at times to possibly make an overtake. Zhou on the other hand would move up and down the grid during the race. He would move up to 15th as teammate Bottas came in to pit on Lap 15 and then to 14th in Lap 48 as Lance Stroll came in with a puncture. Zhou would soon after re-overtaken by Bottas on Lap 51 and by Stroll on Lap 56 to fall back to 16th but would quickly make his way back up to 15th when Logan Sargeant came in to pit on Lap 57. Zhou would again fall back to his final finishing position of 16th as he came in on Lap 70 for new softs.

Alex Albon on track during the Grand Prix | Credit: Williams Racing

Finally achieving Williams’ first points of 2024, Albon was glad about his result. “Whilst you’d rather have a slightly more exciting race to win points at, I’m still happy,” he said. “P9 for the team and our first points of the season which means a lot to us. You never want to be pointless, especially for the team’s morality, so hopefully this will be a nice kickstart to the season. We’ve added small amounts of performance to the car so it’s good to see these upgrades working and that we’re able to stay around a similar pace to our direct competitors.”

At the bottom end of the classification, Zhou felt differently about his result. “It’s been a really tame and uneventful afternoon for me,” he said. “After the restart, everyone got all the way to the end and we were all in the same boat, so there was nothing we could do. Fernando was holding up the whole pack to create a gap for his teammate, which meant we were all in a train with no potential to overtake. Perhaps the race would have been a bit more interesting without the red flag, with different strategies, but it wasn’t the case. Monaco has always been a bit tricky for us, we need to understand why we suffer on layouts like these.”

Yuki Tsunoda celebrates with his team in the pit lane after the Grand Prix | Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

After another points-finish this year for RB, Tsunoda was happy with his Sunday. “It was a very long race, but I had to respect the strategy that we had planned, he said “I was a little frustrated, but I kept my cool and managed the pace. I think we maximised it; we were managing tyres and pace well, making sure that we were prepared for any situation. I really enjoyed the last few laps because I got told I could push flat out while making sure I wasn’t too greedy and brought the car home. The important thing is that we keep scoring points. As a team, we had a strong race week so it’s very positive. Well done to the team, very well deserved.”

Formula One Drivers’ Championship Top 10

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 169
  2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 138
  3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 113
  4. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 108
  5. Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) – 107
  6. Oscar Piastri (McLaren) – 71
  7. George Russell (Mercedes) – 54
  8. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 42
  9. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) – 33
  10. Yuki Tsunoda (RB) – 19

Formula One Constructors’ Championship Top 5

  1. Red Bull Racing – 276
  2. Scuderia Ferrari – 252
  3. McLaren – 184
  4. Mercedes-AMG – 96
  5. Aston Martin – 44

Round 9 of the 2024 season will see Formula One return to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Header image credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

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