Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global
Formula 1 Monaco GP

What the GPS data reveals about how Alonso lost Monaco F1 pole

Red Bull has excelled in the early part of Formula 1 2023 in no small part thanks to the aerodynamic efficiency and straight-line prowess of its RB19.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Aston Martin has shone with the ability of Fernando Alonso to out-brake rivals into corners and then jump back on the power early.

With those contrasting traits, the tight Monaco lap was thought to be the green team’s best chance of topping the leaderboard.

How the Q3 thriller unfolded

After qualifying in the principality, Aston hasn’t done that. But the battle came down to the wire. For the climax of Q3, Charles Leclerc completed his flying lap in 1m11.471s to provisionally snatch a third home pole position in a row.

Then Alonso, who had gone fastest of anyone through the first two sectors, posted a personal best run through the final part of the lap to lower the benchmark by 0.022s.

With Verstappen then slower in S1 and S2, he had a 0.204s deficit to make up through the final seven corners.

Despite the potency of the Red Bull at every turn so far this season, it looked like a tall order for the defending two-time world champion to prevent Alonso from snaring his first pole since the 2012 German Grand Prix.

But Verstappen was super aggressive, skimming the inside barrier through the Swimming Pool complex and ditto for the exit wall.

Seeking to minimise the distance his car would have to travel to the line, he hugged the inside out of the final corner to make more meaningful contact with the pit wall. Nevertheless, he delivered a 1m11.365s effort to pip Alonso by 0.084s.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Where Alonso missed out on pole

The Verstappen fightback was left even later than the TV graphics intimated. Rather than him reeling Alonso in from the moment he started the final sector, it was the Aston Martin who started the beginning of the end in finer form.

GPS data from the AMR23 and RB19 places Alonso ahead from the exit of Tabac through to midway through the Swimming Pool left-right-right-left.

According to the telemetry, the Aston enjoys the superior acceleration curve out of Tabac. It starts with a 2.5mph advantage and preserves a lead through the first change of direction.

It is Leclerc who then pops his head into the battle and effectively passes the 41-year-old virtually in line with the diving board by carrying more speed. But the Monegasque pays for his pace on exit to drop back behind the Spaniard, who is then fastest of all.

In fact, Verstappen doesn’t set the pace until the entry into Rascasse. It is here, for the first time in the final sector, that Alonso falls behind the Red Bull. He will not repass in this comparison.

In contrast to much of the season, Verstappen is the later on the brakes of the two to dive ahead. He is also off the anchors sooner to carry more speed. Almost ironically, Alonso then slips as far as 0.24s behind by braking later than his rival into Antony Noghes.

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, speaks with Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, in Parc Ferme

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, speaks with Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team, in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

Rather than matching Verstappen's efforts of only a few metres ago, Alonso actually suffers from his commitment into the corner. By having the car turned sooner, Verstappen is the one who is able to jump on the throttle sooner to accelerate to the line.

The Aston is able to mount something of a fightback at around 113mph. The data points to Verstappen shifting later to suggest longer gear ratios and a marginally slower rate of acceleration on the Red Bull.

But the reality is much simpler. Verstappen is busy tapping the concrete on the run to the flag to momentarily dent his progress. This helps Alonso to bring the final margin back under a tenth. But it’s not enough. Across the timing line, Verstappen nears 172mph to Alonso’s 169mph and the Red Bull takes the bragging rights.

Read Also:

Be part of Motorsport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article 2023 F1 Monaco Grand Prix – How to watch, start time & more
Next article The Monaco crane lifts that show how Red Bull and Mercedes's F1 floors compare

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Motorsport prime

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Edition

Global