The week-long threat of rainfall for the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix came true in the race’s latter stages as Alex Albon fought to a P14 finish and Logan Sargeant to P18 on the wet track.
With passing at a premium, as it always is, in Monte Carlo, a mixture of strategies made the difference for Sunday’s race, especially as the dark clouds passed overhead.
Faster-than-expected degradation on the medium compound had both FW45s on the back foot in the opening laps before a puncture effectively ended any hopes of on-track recovery for Logan.
When the rain eventually reached the circuit after drifting across from the Italian Riviera, our Williams Racing duo did well to avoid any race-ending moments in the challenging conditions to bring both cars home.
However, with crashes and retirements from others not leading to any safety cars or red flags, there were few opportunities to take advantage of the soaking street circuit to score points this time.
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“It was a boring but tough race,” according to Alex after the chequered flag. “The rain was fun and created something, but it didn’t really change our result or shake things up as much as I thought it would.
“A lot of drivers started on the Hard tyres, which created a bit of a train, but the Hard tyre was so much better than the Medium tyre.
“It was basically a race you wanted to be on the Hard tyres as soon as possible. We tried to hold onto it a little bit and grained massively on the Mediums.”
Our Thai racer summarised his 2023 Monaco race by saying: “The pace was good for a short time but once the tyres overheated, it was difficult to do anything more.”
Hear from Williams Racing Team Principal James Vowles after the rain fell late on in the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix.
Between the tyre graining and wet weather, it wasn’t a simple first Monaco GP for Logan, nor the easiest track for his first racing laps in the rain.
“Definitely a tough one. It started okay with the first ten laps or so, then I had a lot of degradation on the Medium tyre.
“Once we did get on the Hard, we had a puncture within a couple of laps and so had to box for the Quali tyre and take that long, so that was far from ideal.
“Once the rain came, it was about learning about the Inter tyre. I had a couple of small lock-ups in the wet, which I need to clean up so, all in all, not a great day, but we’ll take what we can from it and move on.”
However, Sarge could still see the bright side after a long afternoon lapping F1’s tightest track.
“There are positives; I’ve driven the car in the wet now, so I know what it’s like, and I don’t think it was too bad at times, just suffered with a lot of deg.
“It would have been interesting to see how that Hard stint went, so it was unfortunate to pick that puncture up.
“I’m on the sim Tuesday, so we’ll reset and go to Barcelona. I’m good around there, I love it, it’s a track I know well, and we’ll aim to get things going in a better direction.”
Williams Racing’s Head of Vehicle Performance, Dave Robson, explains that the tyre degradation that caused trouble in the early laps wasn’t anticipated.
“A tricky race with some graining on the slicks early in the race for both cars. This was worse than we expected, and so we need to understand why that was.
“Logan suffered a puncture shortly after fitting his only set of Hard tyres, and so it became a difficult day for him, but he got some very valuable experience, especially of driving in the wet in Monaco.
“Once the rain started, it was difficult to generate temperature in the tyres and brakes, but once we were able to push a bit harder, the grip improved quite quickly.”
Like Logan, Dave found positives to take away from the principality for the future, saying, “Our pace wasn’t too bad, but with overtaking difficult, we weren’t able to make any more positions.
“Attention now turns to Barcelona and the revised track layout.”
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