He was 18th in FP1 on Thursday, behind his team-mate but ahead of George Russell (and Leclerc who didn’t set a representative time), and then in the afternoon he was 19th, four-tenths clear of Mazepin.
After absorbing what he’d learned he shifted up a gear in FP3 on Saturday and banged in some good times. Then in the closing minutes of the session his car snapped sideways at Casino Square and slammed hard into the barrier in one of the biggest F1 shunts that famous corner has seen in many years. Mick slid to a halt further down the hill in the middle of the track with most of the left-hand side of the car wiped off.
A Monaco crash is almost a rite of passage for any rookie, so he could be forgiven for the error. But what caught the eye was how fast he was going. At the time the red flag stopped the clock he was in 14th, ahead of Alonso, Mazepin, Russell, Latifi (who had crashed earlier), Tsunoda and Ocon.
Of course not everyone was on the same run plan and some drivers didn’t get to log their definitive quick laps, but that position was nevertheless impressive – and he was less than two-tenths off Ricciardo’s McLaren.
The car was never going to be repaired in time for qualifying, and a fresh gearbox would mean a five-place penalty anyway, so Mick was resigned to starting 20th.
Eyeing the final times at the end of the session he was certain that he could have beaten a few people.
“Yeah, it’s obviously unfortunate,” he told Motor Sport. “Because I think we had the pace to be amongst the guys right in front, like Alonso, Latifi, maybe even Tsunoda. Knowing where our car stands and being able to fight with these guys would have been great. But therefore, we’ll just have to do more tomorrow.