The six drivers – including two rookies – who aced tricky Monaco strategy call

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

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In the aftermath of the Monaco Grand Prix many questioned whether Aston Martin had missed an opportunity to win with Fernando Alonso’s strategy.

Alonso had started the race on the hard tyre compound and resisted the temptation to pit until rain started to fall around 50 laps into the race. But when he came in, Aston Martin fitted another set of slick tyres to his car.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said after the race Alonso could have won if Aston Martin had given him intermediate tyres instead. But which drivers did make the brave decision to eke their tyres out well past half distance and make it to the end of the race with a single stop?

Just four of them. First among those was race winner Max Verstappen, who started the race on the medium tyre compound. He came in for intermediates on lap 55, having hit the barriers at Portier on his slick tyres but surviving to make it back to the pits. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said afterwards they should have brought him in a lap earlier – i.e., when Alonso came in and received his slicks.

Both drivers at Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri made the same strategy work. Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries both hung onto their medium tyres until they were able to switch to intermediates. For Tsunoda, that should have guaranteed a points finish, but he suffered glazed brakes and slipped back.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Monaco, 2023
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Other drivers who started near the back also gambled on running long in the hope rain would materialise. It paid off for McLaren’s rookie driver Oscar Piastri, who scored a point after taking the strategy his team mate wished he’d used.

Like Piastri, Valtteri Bottas also started on hard tyres and switched to intermediates. He was the first driver to make the gamble, and though the track wasn’t quite ready for them at that point, it ensured he finished four places higher than he started.

George Russell could have gained most of all from getting the strategy right. He’d started a below-par eighth, and pitted on the same lap Alonso took slick tyres. But while Alonso successfully navigated Mirabeau on his slicks, Russell skidded off on his intermediates, losing a shot at a podium as he did.

Finally, spare a thought for Kevin Magnussen, another driver who made it to the rain on his original set of slick tyres. Having risked that much, Haas gambled too far, leaving him out far too long and eventually switching to the full wet weather tyres.

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2023 Monaco Grand Prix lap chart

The positions of each driver on every lap. Click name to highlight, right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:

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2023 Monaco Grand Prix race chart

The gaps between each driver on every lap compared to the leader’s average lap time. Very large gaps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:

2023 Monaco Grand Prix lap times

All the lap times by the drivers (in seconds, very slow laps excluded). Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and toggle drivers using the control below:

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2023 Monaco Grand Prix fastest laps

Each driver’s fastest lap:

RankNo.DriverCarLap timeGapAverage speed (kph)Lap no.
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’15.650158.833
216Charles LeclercFerrari1’15.7730.123158.5446
310Pierre GaslyAlpine-Renault1’15.8310.181158.4249
411Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’16.2690.619157.515
555Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’16.4490.799157.1443
631Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’16.5280.878156.9841
71Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda RBPT1’16.6040.954156.8223
823Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’16.6721.022156.6824
914Fernando AlonsoAston Martin-Mercedes1’16.6741.024156.6843
1063George RussellMercedes1’16.7981.148156.4348
1124Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’16.9261.276156.175
1227Nico HulkenbergHaas-Ferrari1’16.9911.341156.036
132Logan SargeantWilliams-Mercedes1’17.3021.652155.4132
1481Oscar PiastriMcLaren-Mercedes1’17.5131.863154.9847
1521Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’17.5611.911154.8943
1622Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda RBPT1’17.6802.030154.6536
1718Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’17.7692.119154.4718
1877Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’17.8242.174154.3619
194Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’17.8442.194154.3246
2020Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’18.3512.701153.3341

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2023 Monaco Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

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2023 Monaco Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

RankNo.DriverTeamComplete stop time (s)Gap to best (s)Stop no.Lap no.
110Pierre GaslyAlpine23.902147
216Charles LeclercFerrari24.1920.29144
311Sergio PerezRed Bull24.2170.315353
455Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari24.2520.35133
523Alexander AlbonWilliams24.290.388118
62Logan SargeantWilliams24.3760.474120
714Fernando AlonsoAston Martin24.4140.512154
821Nyck de VriesAlphaTauri24.5390.637153
944Lewis HamiltonMercedes24.5940.692131
1018Lance StrollAston Martin24.6560.754151
114Lando NorrisMcLaren24.6630.761150
1231Esteban OconAlpine24.7070.805254
131Max VerstappenRed Bull24.7980.896155
1411Sergio PerezRed Bull24.8870.98511
1524Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo25.261.358252
1611Sergio PerezRed Bull25.4661.564570
1727Nico HulkenbergHaas25.6721.77359
1816Charles LeclercFerrari25.7131.811255
1931Esteban OconAlpine25.8331.931132
2081Oscar PiastriMcLaren25.8511.949154
2114Fernando AlonsoAston Martin25.9162.014255
222Logan SargeantWilliams25.9462.044352
2324Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo26.1412.23911
2444Lewis HamiltonMercedes26.6852.783254
2523Alexander AlbonWilliams26.993.088252
262Logan SargeantWilliams27.7743.872223
2755Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari29.35.398255
2811Sergio PerezRed Bull29.3375.435457
2910Pierre GaslyAlpine29.9496.047254
3077Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo30.3956.493151
3163George RussellMercedes30.987.078154
3227Nico HulkenbergHaas32.4948.59211
3311Sergio PerezRed Bull32.7498.847234
344Lando NorrisMcLaren33.4289.526254
3522Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri33.7069.804153
3627Nico HulkenbergHaas34.72510.823254
3720Kevin MagnussenHaas51.05227.15156

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    5 comments on “The six drivers – including two rookies – who aced tricky Monaco strategy call”

    1. Did Perez changed tires 5 times?

      1. No wonder they get fastest out stops with all that practice.!

    2. Since when have drivers been responsible for strategy?

      That’s a team call, as far as I am aware

      1. @the-edge in conditions like these, the team give all the info they can, but will take input from the driver as he is the one feeling the actual grip and conditions.
        This past weekend, Red Bull basically provided info about where it was raining but asked Max to “indicate when he needed to box to stay on the track”.
        Max first told to get intermediates ready, then told them he was pitting. Nobody but him called for this strategy – tyres and timing.

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