Explained: Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez qualifying disasters revealed in Monaco data

Pablo Hidalgo

Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

The two biggest disappointments in Monaco qualifying were undoubtedly Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez. The Aston Martin driver and the Red Bull driver were knocked out in Q1 with two cars clearly contenders for Q3.

Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez were the big losers in Monaco qualifying. The Spanish driver and the Mexican driver failed to make it out of Q1 in Monte Carlo. Alonso was P16 while Perez was P18. But how can we explain this surprise shock?

Fernando Alonso triple threat triggers shock Monaco Q1 exit

Let’s start with Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard was one of the big positive surprises of the weekend, even with options to be in the fight for the top 8. However, everything has changed in the blink of an eye. There are three main protagonists in the Spaniard’s elimination: traffic, track evolution… and himself.

The Aston Martin driver was able to do two correct laps with a first set of new soft tyres. But the track evolution made lap times drop with drivers like Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hülkenberg only behind Charles Leclerc. This forced all the drivers to go back out to improve their times.

For this second run, Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso came out of the pits almost at the same time with approximately 6 minutes to go in Q1.

In fact, the first attempt with the second set of new soft tyres put Stroll third at +0.236s off George Russell who was leading the session until that moment while Alonso could only be tenth at +0.527s off the Mercedes driver.

As we can see, Lance Stroll had less problems than Fernando Alonso in this first attempt of Q1. The Spaniard’s first sector was really bad and that has condemned him. The Canadian was +0.291s better than the Spaniard and that helped him to place a 4-4 in the head-to-head between them in qualifying.

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This lap was Alonso’s best in Q1 which left him in a vulnerable P13. He was unable to improve in the second flying lap – despite cutting two tenths of a second in Sector 1 – due to the traffic he encountered on track. Curiously enough, he was hampered by the drivers who seconds later would send him to the elimination zone: Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and Pierre Gasly.

“I lost three tenths in Turn 11 behind Gasly. I lost two tenths on the final corner, because there were three parked cars preparing their flying lap. If I had finished that final lap, I would have been P1 in Q1,” he told DAZN F1.

Looking at the telemetry, what Alonso says is true. If he hadn’t had traffic he would most likely have made the cut for Q2. But even with this, the first sector of this lap with traffic wasn’t brilliant: he was +0.141s off the pace still compared to Stroll’s best Sector 1.

But the main key was the first attempt, with which he should have passed comfortably, just like his teammate.

It’s difficult to rely on a single good lap in Monaco, especially in Q1 where there are 19 cars on track on a very tricky circuit like the streets of Monte Carlo. The car didn’t help though, being slower than Aston Martin’s 2023 challenger which managed a P2 finish in Monaco’s qualifying last year just 84 thousands of a second to Verstappen’s pole.

Sergio Perez was only able to stay ahead of the Kick Sauber. The Mexican has not been at all comfortable with the RB20 during the weekend and today he found himself in the worst scenario. His best Q1 lap was smashed by Max Verstappen at +0.349s difference.

Perez had several clean attempts with no traffic. His last attempt looked promising to get out of the knockout zone, but he failed to improve in the final sector after losing traction in the final corner and finished behind Fernando Alonso and Logan Sargeant.

A disappointing weekend so far for the Red Bull driver. Since the renewal rumours surfaced, his performance has clearly deteriorated and this season, the Milton Keynes-based team cannot give away points if they want to fight for the Constructors’ Championship.

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