Selected team and driver quotes for Thursday in Monaco

Lewis Hamilton, P1 – 1:18.271, 1st; P2 – 1:18.901, 2nd

“The car is still a work in progress but it felt really good out there today. I had a good first session and was then really pleased to get those last few laps in the dry this afternoon which was a big plus. I’m feeling pretty set for Saturday, there is still some work to do but we have tomorrow to look into that and finish all our preparations for the weekend. I just love racing here; this track is one of the coolest ever, and it was great to see all of the fans here already enjoying themselves. It’s such a classic race, and I’ve been trying to win here again since 2008, so I’m hoping this is the year as we have such a great car.”

Nico Rosberg, P1 1:18.303, 2nd; P2 – 1:22.862, 20th
“That was a very good day. It seems that we are looking very quick here again, although our main competitors seems to be a little closer to us than in Barcelona. I still need to find my perfect set-up so there is still some work for us to do tomorrow to get ready for the weekend. The conditions weren’t great this afternoon so I didn’t take any risks as there was nothing to learn on the wet parts of the track. Now I’m looking forward to Saturday, but first to our team barbeque tonight!”

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
“We had a pretty normal first session before the wet weather and greasy track conditions limited our mileage this afternoon. Thursday in Monaco is all about staying out of the barriers and letting the drivers dial themselves into the circuit, so they can get comfortable with the car. We have two Monaco specialists with Nico and Lewis, so we know that if we do our job as a team, they will deliver out on track. I am sure that we will have a very tough challenge from our rivals this weekend and, like always in Monte-Carlo, there will be no margin for error in any area.”

Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)
“It was a good first day for us in Monaco. We had a straightforward first practice session when we chose to run an offset schedule to take ourselves out of the dominant traffic. That worked well as we got good clear runs on both sets of tyres, working on the set-up and dialling the car into the track. P2 was obviously wet and only dried up enough to do some useful running in the final half hour. This meant we weren’t able to do all our homework on tyre wear and long-run performance but we were at least able to do a run on the option tyre, to give the drivers a feel for the car in what will be the tyre of choice in qualifying. Overall, the car was working well today and the drivers’ feedback was positive, but there is still more work needed to best prepare for qualifying on Saturday.”

Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 – 1:18.506, 3rd; P2 – 1:19.779, 9th

“It was a shame we didn’t run so much this afternoon due to the conditions, but if it rains over the weekend then we’ll want to use the tyres, so there was a bit of waiting around, At the end the track still had a few damp patches, so we didn’t really learn that much this afternoon but I think the morning went well, so we’ve just got to try and get the set-up from that. The few laps I did this afternoon felt similar to the morning in terms of car balance and the things we need to work on, so I think the direction we’ve got to go is pretty clear. If we’re going to challenge the Mercs then I think this is the place for it, they don’t seem to have one sector at the moment which is blowing everyone away, but obviously it’s still early days.”

Sebastian Vettel, P1 – 1:19.043, 5th; P2 – 1:19.017, 3rd
“Obviously we’d love to run in the dry the whole time here, but of course if it’s wet it’s the same for everyone. Mercedes were very quick this morning and we see that usually, come Saturday, they are able to pick up their pace, so we’ll try to do the same. We potentially are a little bit closer here, but you know at the moment it’s all guessing. I think the big advantage on this track would be that there’s not that many straights, but we have to wait and see. We were obviously limited today on what we could learn in terms of pace and range, we know that it’s quite important to qualify in the front here so if there is a chance then we have to use it.”

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, P1 – 1:20.260, 15th; P2 – 1:19.351, 4th

“It was a satisfying Friday and I have a good feeling with the car. I like this track and even if I don’t think I’ll be P4 in qualifying, I’m still happy with what we achieved today. This has been a proper way to build up confidence and it gives us an additional boost to fight for Q3 and points. We’ll keep on working hard to get ready for the rest of the weekend. This is a track where the driver can make the difference so I’m determined to remain always 100 per cent concentrated and give it my best.”

Daniil Kvyat, P1 – 1:20.914, 18th; P2 – 1:20.622, 12th
“I enjoyed driving here in Monaco finally and it was a good day overall, in which I was able to learn the track quite well. Those were my instructions from the team, who told me to go out and do as many laps as possible. Of course, the rain that made the track wet for some of FP2 did not help so much, but at least I have tried the circuit in both dry and wet now. The results are obviously not very representative because of the tricky conditions this afternoon. We will now look at all the data between tonight and tomorrow to get the best out for Saturday’s Qualifying and Sunday’s race.”

Phil Charles, Toro Rosso chief race engineer
“Today went well and we were able to work through our programme on both cars, even though we had to deal with some tricky conditions in the wet in FP2. In fact, even in FP1 there was not much grip because of the cool temperatures and the fact that part of the track has been resurfaced. Both drivers did a run on the Inters, before waiting for the track to dry, when JEV did a lap on the Prime tyre to check out the conditions. With Daniil we followed a slightly different programme, waiting to use the Option tyre, which was probably the right decision with him to give him a feel for the car on the softer tyre. In fact, his whole programme today was aimed at giving him as many laps as possible on his first visit here. Overall, we are quite happy with how the day went.”

Jules Bianchi, P1 – 1:21.310, 19th; P2 – 1:21.937, 18th

“It was very pleasing to find the car performing well here after a good test in Barcelona last week. We do not have all the data we were hoping for at this stage of the weekend, but I think the baseline is strong. Clearly the weather has been a factor for everyone today but there is still room for improvement for us and I am confident that we can make some more progress on Saturday.”

Max Chilton, P1 – 1:25.817, 22nd; P2 – 1:22.683, 19th
“It’s been a tough start to my Monaco weekend, particularly the loss of track time in FP1 this morning. We were hoping to make up for lost time this afternoon, but the weather intervened and when we were able to get into the dry programme, of course everyone was taking advantage of the same improving conditions, so traffic was a factor. On a positive note, we seem to have carried through the good work from the test in Barcelona and the car seems to be performing well, so in many ways my weekend will start in FP3 on Saturday morning.”

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“Overall, a rather frustrating day. The morning started well for Jules, with the car behaving as it had been at the Barcelona Test. This represented a positive translation of our set-up development work to suit the specific nature of the Monaco circuit. Max got caught out early on in the session and unfortunately at this track this means you end up losing the whole session. We were also running some upgraded parts on Max’s car and therefore the combination of the lost track time this morning and the wet conditions in FP2, with only a very short period on the supersoft at the end of the afternoon, has left us a little short on data. When we were able to push on the drying track at the end of FP2, both drivers experienced traffic. The ‘day off’ here on Friday usually allows for extra time to examine all the data we collect on a Thursday so, all in all, it’s fair to say we are not quite where we want to be. Having said that, things can turn around dramatically at this track, so we will do everything possible to make up for lost time in FP3 on Saturday.”

Kamui Kobayashi, P1 – 1:22.492, 21st; P2 – 1:21.924, 17th

“38 laps in FP1 meant we were able to complete a good programme and made some decent progress throughout the session. We started with a similar grip issue to what we saw in Spain, but we made a few mechanical changes and it definitely improved, particularly in the high speed sections. That also helped take out some of the understeer I had in the first couple of runs but we still needed to work on traction and managing tyre temps so we had another look at that in FP2 and also took a step forward with both of those in the second session.

“Like a few of the other teams we waited to start our FP2 runplan until there was a clear dry line which meant we had to shorten the programme a lot, but it was safer to do that than go out on inters and risk damaging the car. That’s not ideal, obviously, but with about five minutes left of the session we went out on a set of supersofts and had enough time for a couple of timed laps which gives us some data on that compound that will be useful for Saturday and Sunday.

“Even with FP2 compromised like that it’s still been quite a positive day. We’ve brought a lot of what we learnt at the test in Spain here and I’m sure that we’ll be able to put that into action on Saturday.”

Marcus Ericsson, P1 – 1:22.063, 20th; P2 – 1:23.164, 21st
“Even though I’ve raced in Monaco quite a bit before this is obviously my first time in an F1 car and I have to say I really enjoyed both sessions today. I have a very special crash helmet for Monaco to pay tribute to Ronnie Peterson who won here 40 years ago, and I have his actual helmet bag from then for this weekend – having both of those in the garage with me today was a proud moment for me in my first F1 weekend here, especially as we’re from the same town in Sweden.

“On track FP1 went well. I managed to do 40 laps in the session which meant we got through everything we’d planned and definitely improved the whole car balance from how we’d started. Like Kamui I had very low grip on the first run and poor traction so we changed the ride height and front wing angles and made a good step forwards – I still had a bit of understeer but the overall balance had improved and it was a good start to the race weekend.

“It rained heavily over lunch and when FP2 started we waited for the track to dry before heading out. As the forecasts say it’s going to be dry on Saturday and Sunday we wouldn’t have learnt much from going out on inters and didn’t want to risk anything by running on a damp track so we had to wait until almost the end of the session and then did a couple of laps on supersofts so we could start having a look at how they performed here.”

Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader
“We tried different energy management scenarios for both qualifying and the race today. In FP1 we shared the tests between the cars and then adjusted the calibrations for FP2, but unfortunately didn’t really get the opportunity to evaluate in the afternoon. Despite the lack of running we are confident we have a good compromise between quali and the race, which should allow us to run the PU to the optimum performance. All in all not such a bad session.”

Esteban Gutierrez, P1 – 1:20.118, 12th; P2 – 1:21.467, 15th

“Overall it was a good day. We lost valuable time in FP2 due to the weather conditions. During the session in the morning we made some changes to the car and it was getting better. We were able to improve lap by lap. I think we worked in the right direction. In FP2 I could only run for a few laps, so it is not representative due to the conditions and the traffic on track. We will analyse what we were able to gather during FP1 and FP2 and put everything together for tomorrow.”

Adrian Sutil, P1 – 1:20.736, 17th; P2 – 1:20.811, 13th
“At the end of FP2, we were able to run a few laps on supersoft tyres, which worked out well. The car’s balance is decent. In general, we still have issues which we need to solve. The driveability needs to be improved. During acceleration and braking it is still difficult to keep the car under control. In FP1 I had a snap oversteer in turn 5, so I touched the barrier. The tyres were not up to temperature and it was difficult to keep the car under control. However, it was my mistake.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara , Sauber head of track engineering
“Overall, the morning session was quite positive. We were able to work through our planned programme and to make a little progress. Adrian made a contact with the wall, but fortunately there was not much damage. The second session was heavily influenced by the weather. Adrian just made a run on intermediate tyres to check everything and make sure the car was fine. And then, towards the end, we at least got a taste of the supersoft tyres.”

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, P1 – 1:19.856, 10th; P2 – 1:19.712, 7th

“The wet weather did not give us an opportunity to run much this afternoon, but I feel we have made the most of the time available this morning. In terms of performance the car is feeling okay and we just need to make some set-up tweaks and work on the balance before Saturday. The focus has to be on qualifying here because it’s even more important than at any other track. So we just need to optimise the car to be ready for Saturday.”

Sergio Perez, P1 – 1:19.666, 8th; P2 – 1:19.668, 6th
“The day was disturbed by the weather so the work we have done is quite limited. I feel quite happy with the car and we ran in the top eight all day so it’s been positive. That’s where we need to be aiming for Saturday because qualifying well here is so important. There are still quite a few unknowns because I did not manage to do any long runs or race preparation, but it’s the same for everyone.”

Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
“We knew there was rain on the way so we tried to maximise the dry track time this morning. We made use of the extra set of tyres in the opening 30 minutes and completed the usual set-up tests to gather some data. In the afternoon it was simply a case of waiting for the track to dry because the forecast suggests the weekend will be dry and there was little value in running on a wet track. When the track had dried out we sent both cars out for the final ten minutes on the supersoft tyres, but with an evolving track it was hard to make any comparisons with this morning. The wet weather meant we missed out on the usual high fuel running this afternoon, but Nico did one long run this morning to give us some data, which will be useful for our race preparation.”

Fernando Alonso, P1 – 1:18.930, 4th; P2 – 1:18.482, 1st

“Here in Monaco, the most important thing in practice is to do as many laps as possible, because it is a very special track and you need to have a good feeling from the car. Despite the rain reducing the amount of track time in the second session, we more or less managed to complete all of our programme and, with or without a turbo, the complexity of this track remains the same, so doing well in qualifying will be crucial. The increase in grip we found over the few laps we did with the supersoft tyres leaves us in no doubt that this will be the tyre to use on Saturday afternoon, while for the race there is still a lot to learn as no one has done a long run. So we might have to improvise when it comes to strategy.”

Kimi Raikkonen, P1 – 1:19.467, 6th; P2 – 1:45.509, 22nd
“Unfortunately, the bad weather affected this first day of practice and halved the possibility to complete the work we had planned. In the morning, on the dry track, we tried various set-up options, without encountering any particular problems, apart from a lack of grip at the front under braking. In the afternoon, we made a few changes to improve the balance of the car, but having waited almost an hour before being able to go out on track, a problem with the gearbox prevented me from completing the session. On Saturday we will try and make the most of the third free practice session to complete our programme for qualifying, which we know is the key factor here.”

Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
“It’s a shame we didn’t get the most out of today. Usually, you do a lot of laps in Monaco as it’s the only way to gain confidence on this very unusual track and that is even more the case this year, to learn how to manage the power delivery as well as possible with these new engines, keeping the torque under control, while trying to find the limit on a track that doesn’t allow for any mistakes. On top of that, for us engineers it is vital to understand where we can improve in terms of driveability and car stability, because with the walls this close, the drivers have to feel completely comfortable. With Fernando, because of the rain that fell in the lunch break, the afternoon session was reduced to around an hour, with just one run on supersoft tyres, after a run on Intermediates. The softest compound in the range is harder than last year and took a few more laps to get up to temperature, so it was very important to try it with a view to qualifying. Unfortunately Kimi’s second session ended after four laps because of a problem with the gearbox on his F14 T, but we hope that, with an extra day’s work available this weekend, we will have the time to adjust the set-up of the car properly to suit the characteristics of this track.”

Romain Grosjean, P1 – 1:20.207, 13th; P2 – 1:21.700, 16th

“This morning was a learning experience as the tyres are pretty hard here so it’s difficult to find enough grip. This made things a little tricky today as there’s no space for mistakes here. Certainly the car is working well and we could run through a decent programme today, even with missing a lot of the afternoon session because of the wet track. We hope the weather will be better on Saturday and we will have found a better balance with the car too.”

Pastor Maldonado, P1 – 1:20.241, 14th; P2 – 1:20.977, 14th
“It was disappointing in the afternoon as we planned to run more and test more parts of the car but we wouldn’t have learnt what we wanted to learn with a wet track. We did at least get some laps at the end of the session with the super soft tyre which means we do have a comparison between the two compounds. The morning went well, even if the track’s not yet 100%. We have a good amount of data so we can prepare for Saturday and qualifying which is so important here.”

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
“It was a steady day for us. Our priority was to learn about the E22 and tyres at this very particular track which we were able to do in the morning. We sat out much of the afternoon session due to the wet track, only running at the end where neither driver managed to get a lap clear of traffic. We have a lot of data to work on and I’m sure we will look a lot more competitive come Saturday.”

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“As usual the track was extremely ‘green’ and slippery, with the rubber laid down in FP1 washed away by intense rain before FP2, making the tricky conditions even more complex. As a result, there has been little running on the supersoft tyre, which is what we would expect drivers to use in qualifying: one of the most important parts of the whole Monaco weekend. It also means there is a lot of work for FP3 on Saturday morning, when the teams collect data for both different compounds on varying fuel loads to calculate their race strategies. However, tyre wear and degradation is less of a factor in Monaco than it is in other places, especially this year with all our compounds being slightly harder than last season. We’ve seen the versatility of the intermediate tyres once again, delivering solid lap times even when the surface was reasonably dry. Compared to all the other races, the teams have an extra day to look at the data, so there is plenty of opportunity to think about potential strategies.”