Fernando Alonso has revealed his confusion over the decision to switch to intermediate tyres during the Monaco Grand Prix. While initially content with the use of slicks, worsening weather conditions led to many drivers moving onto intermediates. While Alonso changed to slicks at the end of lap 54, he was forced to switch back to intermediates after just one lap due to heavy rain. This added stop put him over 20 seconds behind the eventual winner, Max Verstappen, costing him a chance of breaking Red Bull‘s grip on the 2023 season.
Alonso commended his team for their strategy, remarking that his starting position on hards relative to Verstappen‘s mediums necessitated a more aggressive approach. While the team had anticipated that the medium tyres would deteriorate more quickly than the hards, Alonso was surprised by their durability. Despite this, however, he believed that the strategy was still effective, though admitted that Verstappen was simply the faster driver.
Speaking about his stop for slicks, Alonso revealed that he was surprised when questioned about it. He had believed that the track was dry, apart from turn 7 and 8, and had anticipated only a small shower at the time. He had therefore opted for slicks, believing that the team had a significant margin to switch to intermediates if necessary. However, the weather had changed in the two minutes it took for Alonso to pass through turns 5 to 8. Upon his return to those corners, the track was very wet and the use of slicks was no longer viable.
Despite his disappointment, Alonso was proud of his team for their aggressive strategy. Although he believed that they had little chance of beating Verstappen, he felt that their strategy demonstrated the team’s commitment to win. While the low degradation of the medium tyres was unexpected, Alonso did not believe that it was the key reason for Verstappen‘s victory. Rather, he acknowledged that the Dutch driver was simply faster.