Monaco GP: Thursday Quotes
Kimi Raikkonen (3rd, 1:15.572): "I would say this was a normal day of free practice. We went quite well, especially on used tires in the morning. But we struggled a bit to do a time on new tires in the second session and now we have to look at the data carefully to understand how to improve. There is plenty of time to do that and so I am not particularly worried, at least at the moment. A wet race? It would make matters complicated but it would be the same for everyone."
Felipe Massa (4th, 1:15.869): "Our rivals are very strong here, even allowing for the unknown factor of fuel loads. I wasn't able to do a good lap on the soft tires, but things went well on the hard ones: we have to study the situation calmly and try to get all the details right. If we compare today with the same time last year, I think we have made a step forward. We have changed the settings on the car compared to the past and now we hope we will see the benefits of this choice."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "A busy day of free practice on the streets of the Monaco Principality: in the hands of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, the F2008 racked up over four hundred kilometers, with no technical problems arising on either car. These three hours on track can be described as pretty useful. We gathered a lot of data which we now have to analyze to try and be as well prepared as possible for qualifying and Sunday's race. In particular, we have to try and improve our performance on the first lap, especially with the softer tire, an aspect with which we struggled a bit today, compared to our main rivals. It will be a very tough weekend, which is in fact just what we had expected. There are so many variables to take into account: apart from the usual ones there will be the weather to consider, as the forecast is for it to worsen over the weekend, with a strong chance of rain. There is much work to do in the coming hours."
Luca Baldisserri, Head of Trackside Operations: "We were expecting a particularly difficult weekend and these three hours of free practice have not give us any reason to change our minds. While it is true that our preparations for this race have produced some results, it is equally true that our main rivals have not been twiddling their thumbs either and therefore have turned up here in very competitive shape. Our weak point today was mainly to do with performance on new tires, especially on the softer tire. We must carefully study the day and try and make the necessary changes so as to be competitive at the highest level. On top of that, we must also keep a careful eye on the weather, which could be the decisive factor for Saturday's qualifying and especially in Sunday's race."
Robert Kubica (6th, 1:16.296): "The two practice sessions were quite ok today. It was a very busy Thursday and we covered a lot of laps. We now have to see how we can improve the car for Saturday."
Nick Heidfeld (11th, 1:16.426): "In the first session I realized the engine was losing power, so then looked to find a good spot to stop. Of course the failure cost us running time and data, but we still managed to make several changes to the car for the second session. It was a general improvement. Taking into account it is Monaco, I would say my car is very drivable."
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: "We were not able to complete our normal program. This was because there were some interruptions during the sessions. Beside that we had to change the engine on Nick's car after the first session. We repeated some of the things we did at our latest test in Paul Ricard, because the track characteristics here in Monaco are very special. Because of this we used the wheel covers at the front. Now we have more than a day to evaluate the data, before we concentrate on the qualifying set-up for Saturday."
Fernando Alonso (7th, 1:16.310): "Overall the two sessions have gone well for us. The track was very dirty this morning, but we made good progress with our program and the car reacted well to the changes we made. We seem to be on the pace in the long runs, but we must now improve our performance over a single lap because qualifying here is vital. That is where we will put our efforts."
Nelson Piquet (15th, 1:17.246): "Monaco is a difficult circuit and so I spent the day learning and familiarizing myself with the track. We were able to evaluate some different set-ups, but I am still missing a bit of speed and I did not feel totally comfortable in the car. I hope that by Saturday I can make some progress with my engineers, so that I can make the most of the final free practice session. Then I need to approach qualifying calmly, especially as it' s more important here than anywhere else."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "A normal first day of practice in Monaco. Nelson covered a lot of laps to try and get comfortable with the circuit, although his run on soft tires was interrupted when he hit the wall. With Fernando we were able to work on set-up as much as you can in Monaco, as it is always quite difficult to understand the car here. His progress looks good and apart from some slight damage we have had a successful day."
Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "Today we saw that finding the limits is not easy and you can quickly find yourself in the barriers. That was the case for our two drivers, which cost us a bit of track time. So we have not been able to completely finish our preparation, but the data we have gathered should be sufficient and we will add to that on Saturday morning before qualifying. As far as the engine is concerned, Monaco is a circuit that we know well and so we haven't had any big surprises."
Nico Rosberg (2nd, 1:15.533): "First of all, it's really nice to be driving here again because it's just a really fun track. I was looking forward to this weekend because I thought we were going to have a good car here and it now looks like we've arrived with a good set-up. I was going well all day and felt comfortable in the car. I am also able to push quite hard so I'm hoping that I can keep it up do a good job in qualifying and then have a good race. We worked on a few set-up variants today. We didn't finish the session using our optimum set-up, but we know where we need to go and we still have some reserves up our sleeves, so I am pretty happy with how things are looking."
Kazuki Nakajima (9th, 1:16.372): "It wasn't an easy day for me, but I think we've made some improvements when it comes to understanding the car and I'm getting used to the track as well. Because of the free day tomorrow, we have lots of time to go through today's data which will help us prepare for qualifying."
Sam Michael, Technical Director: "It was a reasonably productive day for the team. Both drivers completed their set programs, and it was good to get through both sessions without any incidents. The weekend is still young so the drivers need to keep their concentration up round this track. In terms of tire choice, it's pretty clear which one is faster. In Monaco, we have an extra day in comparison to the normal schedule because there's no running on Friday, so we have plenty of time to prepare the cars for qualifying and the race."
Mark Webber (13th, 1:17.094): "We got through all our program, but there is still some work to do, assuming we are looking at a dry qualifying and a dry race. At the moment the car is not suiting the track that well, but we know what we need to do to sort it out."
David Coulthard (14th, 1:17.131): "I lost some track time this morning with a throttle actuator problem and it's never good to miss out on any track time, especially here in Monaco. It meant we had to adjust our program for this afternoon, to make sure I got more laps in and got myself back up to speed. I think I've recovered reasonably well, but in Monaco, the time you have the most knowledge of the track is on the last of the 78 laps on Sunday afternoon. So, not the best of starts, but I think we are now in good shape for the rest of the weekend."
Timo Glock (12th, 1:16.688): "It was an interesting experience to drive around Monaco in a Formula 1 car. This is a special event as there is no other track like it and the circuit is fun to drive. You are quite busy out there and you have lots to do. So far I am happy with the car but we still need to improve a few things to make it a bit quicker. I still need a bit more experience to get the most out of the car but it was a good start. Overall it was a good free practice - no damage and we made it through the whole program. Now I hope to push hard for a better result at the weekend."
Jarno Trulli (17th, 1:17.379): "That was a difficult day for me. This morning I made a mistake and touched the wall on the way into the tunnel. That broke my rear suspension so I missed some running. Then in the afternoon we had a problem with the floor that made me lose a lot more track time so it is hard to draw too many conclusions so far. It's difficult to make predictions here because anything can happen. We are expecting to see a wet track during the weekend which will make things especially tough. So there are a lot of variables that make this a unique place to race but the atmosphere is always special."
Dieter Gass, Chief Race Engineer: "As usual in Monaco that was not an easy day. Jarno's first session was cut short because he made contact with the wall late on. Then in the afternoon we had a problem with the floor that we had to fix so his running time was further disrupted. Timo had a trouble-free day and he was able to run smoothly through his program. The problem here is that with the circuit evolving so much, you have to take a step back and analyze the data. Now we have plenty of time tomorrow to come up with the best set-up for Saturday. With rain forecast for later in the weekend, the weather could still play a major part in proceedings."
Sebastien Bourdais (18th, 1:17.581): "This morning when I woke up, I thought, 'this is it, I'm finally going to drive Monaco in an F1 car!' It was a case of finding out about the new car which was always going to be difficult on this demanding track. We always ran with a heavy fuel load so we should not read anything into the lap times. We are not where we want to be but I don't think we are as far behind as it might look. However, I was expecting us to be in slightly better shape than this, which means Saturday and Sunday are going to be interesting. We are lacking a bit of grip, maybe because we lack a little downforce in this maximum downforce set-up, which our top speeds would also suggest. At least my past experience here has been a help and this morning I got into a rhythm quite quickly."
Sebastian Vettel (20th, 1:18.225): "Certainly not the best first two sessions of a race weekend. It is the first time we have had the new car at a race, so it was always going to be difficult to know what to expect and I seemed to struggle a lot. I was fighting with the car on a circuit that I have always liked in the past. I have nothing against street circuits; quite the opposite in fact. We were struggling to find the right direction to go in, but by the end of the second session we made a step forward but it is not yet enough."
Jenson Button (8th, 1:16.351): "It's always very exciting to be back in Monaco and out on track for the first day of running. We had two good opening sessions and I had a reasonable balance right from the start, particularly on the harder tire. This afternoon has really been about getting the long runs in, getting used to the balance and making some improvements. We have a lot of useful information from the two sessions today, however as always there is still work to do. We are not quite where we would like to be yet, and as qualifying does not take place until Saturday, I have plenty of time to work with the engineers. I'm confident that we will be in a good position for qualifying and also well prepared for any changes in the weather conditions."
Rubens Barrichello (10th, 1:16.418): "Our program today was focused on the set-up of the car as the track improves a great deal here over the sessions. We completed a good part of our work as the car feels competitive this afternoon, so I am happy with what we achieved. As always, we don't really know where we stand in terms of the competition yet as everyone will have been running different set-up and fuel programs. Monaco is always a very open race where it is important to have a good qualifying session. Based on our work today, I believe we can have a good weekend; so let's hope that this is the case. The weather will no doubt play a part on Saturday and Sunday as it looks like we will have some rain."
Steve Clark, Head of Race & Test Engineering: "This morning was spent conducting race preparation work, whilst the second session was dedicated to set-up work and evaluating the tires for qualifying. Neither driver had a particularly good run on the option tire, which is brand new for this race. This is not surprising for a Thursday here as the track grip will continue to improve considerably, so we still expect the option to be a good tire for qualifying and the race. We had a good test at Paul Ricard last week and it appears that our relative performance is back to where we were at Barcelona. It is never wise to be over confident at Monaco as there are so many variables affecting the race outcome. From a performance point of view we are hopeful of getting into the points on merit. There is a chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday which at this track amounts to a big roll of the dice. We will be looking to take advantage of any opportunity to move further up the field."
Giancarlo Fisichella (16th, 1:17.251): "I was quite happy with today and am looking forward to qualifying on Saturday. Apart from a small problem in the last session that stopped me from doing my new tire run, I was quite happy with the set up and the balance. We're working well around the track but we will have to see what happens over the weekend as the weather could change and the track conditions too."
Adrian Sutil (19th, 1:18.176): "It was interesting free practice. Obviously the track is a street circuit so you take some time to get used to it and also for the track to get some rubber back on it. In general it was OK, but we have a few problems with the understeer on the car again and the same procedure with the tires as in all the previous events - it is very difficult to get the tires to work well. The long runs are quite quick and I am quite happy about it but over the shorter runs we have to work with the tires a bit more. I think though with a bit of work we can be quite competitive over the weekend."
Mike Gascoyne, Chief Technical Officer: "A reasonably good day, although both drivers had problems on their last runs on new tires in the last session this afternoon. Giancarlo had a hydraulic problem that meant he couldn't run at the end and Adrian was on a much quicker lap but unfortunately just clipped the barrier at the last corner. These things can happen though, especially in Monaco. We did however get through a large amount of running and worked through the tire program. Overall the cars look quite competitive here so I am sure there is more to come over the weekend."
Lewis Hamilton (1st, 1:15.140): "I simply love Monaco and enjoy every single moment I get to spend on the track. The car felt great almost immediately and I was able to show a good pace from the very beginning. As the circuit evolved throughout both practice sessions we made some good progress with both the set-up and tire evaluation. I spent the first session on the same set of tires. There is a long way to go, but I enjoy this so much and we will work hard to continue making progress."
Heikki Kovalainen (5th, 1:15.881): "A positive start to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, and I am confident there is still more to come. Towards the end of the second session when I put on a new set of tires we had made some set-up changes which were not as positive as we thought they would be. In addition I wasn't pleased with my lap, so I am confident that we will continue to improve in Saturday's practice session. It's always great to drive around this track, and it's almost impossible to describe what it feels like. I can't wait for the rest of the Monaco Grand Prix."
Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "Two uneventful practice sessions which is always the best start to a Monaco Grand Prix weekend. We made good progress with both cars and evaluated the tire options. There is still some work to do but we are looking forward to the weekend and will continue to work hard to add another victory to our 14 Monaco race wins. However it's not going to be easy as our competition is strong, and the weather might make things more unpredictable."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A very good first practice day for us and a good job from all our team members. Lewis obviously feels at home in-between the guardrails; he was fast and didn't put a foot wrong today. Heikki's lap times looked good and consistent, too. In Saturday's qualifying we now want to build on the basis we achieved today. The weather forecast predicts rain for the race on Sunday, but on Saturday there is a chance for a dry qualifying."
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