Thursday driver quotes from Monaco

No practice and qualifying today in Monaco as the racing stops to allow everyone to get into the small principality. The action picks up tomorrow. Here are the driver quotes from Thursday's practice sessions.
Nico Rosberg, P1 – 1:16.195, 1st; P2 – 1:14.759, 1st
“A very productive day for us. We completed a lot of laps and I feel comfortable in the car. It seems that we are quick again on one lap but we have been working hard again to make improvements to our race pace. It will be interesting to see where we are compared to the others over the weekend as it's not really representative today. It feels great to be back here driving around the streets of my home city here again and I'm very much looking forward to the weekend."

Lewis Hamilton, P1 – 1:16.469, 5th; P2 – 1:15.077, 2nd
“It's been a positive start for us today and I'm pleased with what we have achieved here in Monaco. We did some good long run work this afternoon and the supersoft tires seem to be performing well. I need to improve my one lap pace however, partly with the balance of the car and partly from me. The car is almost there and the pace looks good so we'll look at the data tonight and work on those areas which can still be improved before the weekend."

Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
“Today was a pretty good day for us and it's always nice to come through the first day of the Monaco weekend cleanly. The true test will come on Sunday but I'm pleased with the technical work that we covered in the two practice sessions today. Both Nico and Lewis, along with our engineers, did a very good job working together through the program. A pleasing start to the weekend and now we have to make the right decisions for Saturday and Sunday."

Toto Wolff, Mercedes team executive director
“It was a good solid first day for us: lots of laps, no incidents and good lap times. Nico and Lewis both looked quick and comfortable and we seemed able to keep the tires in good condition on our long runs this afternoon. Our rivals will be very strong on both Saturday and Sunday, so we will get our heads down and keep working to build on this good start."

Fernando Alonso, P1 – 1:16.282, 2nd; P2 – 1:15.196, 3rd

“It’s always nice driving at Monaco, even if it’s very demanding, because here more than anywhere, you need to do a lot of running to adapt to the track and, in more general terms, get used to a very special race. I am pleased that we managed to get through all our planned program today, which can’t always be taken for granted here as anything can happen! Even if the feelings are positive and we got through the day without any problems whatsoever, we still don’t have a clear idea of the pecking order in the field. We will have to wait a bit to see where all our rivals really are, because here too, until Saturday, no one pushes a hundred percent: the barriers constitute too high a threat to take risks in the first free practice sessions. There’s not much time to do a tire comparison here, we did only one and the results didn’t throw up any surprises: the Super Softs are a bit quicker and degrade more. All that remains now is to spend all the available time analyzing the data we have gathered to try and find the best strategy for qualifying and the race".

Felipe Massa, P1 – 1:16.394, 4th; P2 – 1:15.278, 4th
“The weekend has got off on the right foot, the car behaved well and I managed to find a good pace. I finished in the top five in both sessions, which is important in such an unpredictable event as the Monaco Grand Prix. However, we are aware that we still have much work to do. Now we will analyze all the data available to try and find the right direction to go in, because here it’s vital to have a car that is both competitive in qualifying and performs consistently in the race. Mercedes has shown that it is quicker and it will not be easy to get ahead of them in qualifying, but I am sure we have what’s needed to take the fight to them".

Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari team principal
“ In free practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, the priority is always to make the most of the time available to run on track: today we exploited all 180 minutes available and both Fernando and Felipe managed to complete a high number of laps, so as to gain confidence in this very unique track. In the morning, we concentrated on car set-up, adapting it to the slow and twisty corners that characterize the layout of this track. Here, one of the key factors is dealing with the traffic and that’s important right from Thursday. In the afternoon session, we worked on a comparison between the two compounds, gathering useful data which we will analyze tonight and tomorrow".

Red Bull
Mark Webber, P1 – 1:17.020, 7th; P2 – 1:15.404, 5th

“I think traditionally we’re never too electric here on Thursday’s, so today was actually one of the better ones we’ve had in the last few years. You’ve got to be very, very focused here; concentration is very, very high. It’s a challenging venue to pull everything together; we want to obviously get short run performance as well as gaining short and long run data, which I think we’ve got. There are some quick cars out there; we’ve seen that on Saturday at the last few GPs. All in all, a reasonably smooth day for us, we’ve got plenty to go through now."

Sebastian Vettel, P1 – 1:17.380, 10th; P2 – 1:16.014, 9th
“I think generally it was okay. Unfortunately we lost quite a lot of time in the afternoon while we were making some changes, but that can happen on Friday, or in this case Thursday. We’d like to be a little bit more competitive, so we need to try and find some more lap time. We had a KERS issue this afternoon, so I didn’t use the system during P2. The guys know what the problem was with that."

Kimi Raikkonen, P1 – 1:17.509, 11th; P2 – 1:15.511, 6th

“I was much happier at the end of today than this morning. We spent the first session getting the steering right as it wasn’t great at the beginning, then we changed a few things on the car and it felt far better. We’ve still got a few other areas to improve, but it was getting stronger with every run today. To get pole we have to make the car a bit faster overall and I have to drive a bit better, then we’ll have to see what happens."

Romain Grosjean, P1 – 1:16.380, 3rd; P2 – 1:15.718, 7th
“After a great start to the day it was a real shame to end things early. I didn’t have the grip I expected going into the corner, but there was nothing wrong with the car; my braking and entry speed were all wrong and I ended up hitting the barrier. There was no chance to let off and go straight on into the runoff area; I was committed to the corner so that was it. We have a very good car here and it gives you the confidence to push, but unfortunately I pushed a bit too hard. I’m sorry for the team and I definitely owe them all a drink for all the work that’s needed before Saturday. The grid looks very close, but we seem in good shape and I’m eager to get back out on track and fight for the top positions."

Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
“We’re pretty happy about today. We had a little blip with Romain going into the wall and stopping him doing any long run evaluations in the afternoon, but Kimi completed plenty of laps so we have ample amounts of data to evaluate. Our pace looks good, both drivers are pretty happy with their cars and we’ve still got some improvements to make on both front end grip and single lap pace. There’s not too much damage to Romain’s car and we have plenty of spares so we’re not concerned on that front. That Romain’s fastest lap today was on the soft tire illustrates his strong pace here, as there’s a second or even more to come from the super soft. Kimi’s a little further off getting the perfect set-up, but we know where the improvements should come from."

Jenson Button, P1 – 1:17.129, 8th; P2 – 1:15.959, 8th

“We struggled in the morning when the circuit was still fairly ‘green’ – we couldn’t get any temperatures into the tires, but I think that affected everybody, not just us. Our pace on a long run looks surprisingly good, although we’re not quite there with our qualifying pace yet. Still, I feel happier with the car here than I have the past few weekends. There are some areas in which we’ve struggled before that now seem a little bit better, and that’s obviously positive. We may not be setting amazing times out there, but I’m happy that we’re heading in the right direction. And hopefully we can improve on Saturday from where we are today."

Sergio Perez, P1 – 1:17.378, 9th; P2 – 1:16.434, 12th
“We tried a lot of things during today’s practice sessions. Not everything worked; some of the things we tried made it difficult for me to feel confident with the car, especially through the faster corners. So we’ll come back on those changes before Saturday’s practice. Still, we had no nasty surprises either, which was positive. I’m hopeful we can make it into Q3. I actually think Saturday will be the most important day of the weekend – everyone will be trying to save tires so as to have as few stops as possible in the race. It’s likely to be a slow race with low degradation, so we need to give it our all on Saturday."

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“I always view getting two cars home unscathed after a day’s running around the tortuous streets of Monaco as a positive. It’s a circuit that takes no prisoners; where a moment’s late-braking, or an over-enthusiastic squeeze of the throttle, can easily wipe a corner from the car. Happily, both Jenson and Checo immediately found their groove so that we were able to conduct positive evaluative work during this morning’s session. The car is responding positively to set-up changes and we’re making progress. More encouraging still was our long-run pace in the afternoon session. However, of course, it’s clear that our toughest challenge of the weekend will come during qualifying, wherein our car’s pace is still too far from that of the pace-setters. Nonetheless, in Jenson and Checo, we not only have two excellent race drivers, but two men who know how to get the best from their cars when the stakes are high. They’ll go into qualifying with the utmost focus and determination to do their best for the team."

Force India
Paul di Resta, P1 – 1:17.548, 12th; P2 – 1:16.046, 10th

“A good day’s work, although there’s always lots to talk about after two sessions around Monaco. There are some improvements we can make to improve the balance, especially with the race in mind, and that’s something we will work on tonight and tomorrow. The tire program went well and we got as much data as we could, which is always the main focus for a Friday so I think we’re in good shape. My general feeling with the car is good and the work we’ve done today has taken us in the right direction."

Adrian Sutil, P1 – 1:17.625, 13th; P2 – 1:16.349, 11th
“It’s always a pleasure to come back to Monaco and drive a Formula One car at the limit – and for me it is two years since I last drove here. It did not take me long to find my rhythm again and things went pretty well. We made some progress between the two sessions and I’m feeling comfortable with the car. We know what the plan is for tomorrow and where we can improve to be ready for Saturday."

Jakob Andreasen, Force India chief engineer
“A fairly typical day of Monaco practice as we focused on getting a good feel for the softest tires in Pirelli’s range and letting the drivers build up their speed. In terms of tires we feel comfortable with the amount of data we have on both compounds and it’s now a case of optimizing the car for the weekend. It’s a rare luxury to have an extra day to analyze the data and we will make the most of the opportunity. Performance-wise, I would say we are in our usual position and the target for Saturday is to see both cars inside the top ten."

Nico Hulkenberg, P1 – 1:18.193, 14th; P2 – 1:16.823, 13th

“It was a good day, and we were able to work through the program without any issues. The balance of the car improved during FP2, and we know the track will improve and get faster throughout the weekend. We collected a lot of data, and there is still room for improvement."

Esteban Gutierrez, P1 – 1:18.754, 16th; P2 – 1:16.935, 15th
“It was a positive day in many aspects. In the first practice session, I focused on finding confidence in the car. It was quite tricky, because it’s a very narrow and bumpy track, and in the beginning, it’s very difficult to read the car. But this is something we were able to improve in the second session. It was important to have the reference between the two cars. It’s evident the gap to the front is quite big, and we need to find more speed in qualifying. Nevertheless I definitely enjoyed today, and we will keep pushing for the limit."

Tom McCullough, Sauber head of track engineering
“It was a trouble-free day, and we were maximizing track time. For Esteban it was the first day in a Formula One car on this track, and he got up to speed pretty quickly. The updated parts are working as intended, which is positive. It’s clear traffic management is going to be key in Monaco, as usual. We were able to improve the car between FP1 and FP2, but there is still some more to find."

Pastor Maldonado, P1 – 1:16.993, 6th; P2 – 1:16.857, 14th

“This is one of my favorite circuits on the Formula One calendar. It’s always great to drive here. The practice session today was productive and we feel we have made some progress. The set-up in the two sessions was slightly different and it felt like things were slightly better in FP1. We will analyze everything tonight and tomorrow and choose the best configuration for the weekend ahead."

Valtteri Bottas, P1 – 1:18.830, 17th; P2 – 1:17.264, 18th
“The track here in Monaco is very challenging, but brilliant to drive. I was learning more and more with every lap and I feel like I’m really getting up to speed in my first time driving here. We have a lot of data from today that we will look at in order to find the correct balance for the car; hopefully we can look at everything and make a step forward for Saturday’s qualifying session."

Mike Coughlan, Williams technical director
“We were running different parts across the two cars this morning to try to improve our overall performance. We were happy with what we saw with Pastor’s car, but we made some changes this afternoon which didn’t work as we wanted, so we will be comparing the data from this morning to bring back the performance. Valtteri completed his planned program today. He was learning the track at the start of FP1, but the tires were degrading quickly so he wasn’t able to improve towards the end of the session. We need to improve our tire management over the long runs for better consistency in the race, but we have lots of data to analyze over tonight and tomorrow."

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, P1 – 1:19.067, 18th; P2 – 1:17.145, 16th

“I really enjoy street circuits and this one in particular, however, this morning we were slower than we had hoped and expected to be. I’m sure if we find some more speed for Saturday then it will be even more enjoyable. Jev and I weren’t running the same settings and there is still a bit to come from myself as well, because you can always find a bit more performance from the driver on a street circuit. We now have one more day than usual to analyze everything and we also have some modifications we can make for Saturday. I am confident we can improve and I am still looking at getting into the top ten, but we have a bit of work to do to achieve that. As for the tires, it’s the usual story that the supersoft is quicker and the Soft is more consistent, but I do think that running Sunday’s race on a one stop strategy could prove more difficult than last year."

Jean-Eric Vergne, P1 – 1:18.454, 15th; P2 – 1:17.184, 17th
“It was a good day with a lot of laps completed. At this circuit, driver confidence is an important factor and you gain in confidence with every lap you do, feeling you can push harder every time. My last long run looked pretty good at the end of the afternoon session. Now we need to put all the best elements together so that we can improve our overall performance and I believe we can do well on Saturday, much better than the story told in today’s timesheet."

Laurent Mekies, Toro Rosso head of vehicle performance
“Every year, the first time the cars go out on this unique circuit is something special. We ran different set-up philosophies across our two cars and in both cases we wanted to get in as many laps as possible. This had two purposes, firstly to get as much information to help in our understanding of what should be the best set-up on the cars, while also giving the drivers as much track time as possible, which is always an important factor here. We did this with a mix of short and long runs, all of them trouble free, so we got all the data we need to make the best choices for Saturday. It seems that we were a bit more competitive on the long runs than the short ones and, because here in Monaco, qualifying is so important, we will have to work tonight and tomorrow in shifting our performance towards the shorter run. The main positive element from today is that we ran reliably and therefore completed all our program and have plenty of data to look at."

Jules Bianchi, P1 – 1:19.773, 21st; P2 – 1:17.892, 19th

“It has been a good day for us and I have really enjoyed my first experience of Monaco in a Formula 1 car. It was everything I imagined it to be and I am pleased that we have established a good baseline that we can build on during the rest of the weekend. The fact that we have no running tomorrow means that we have more time than usual to focus on the data we have gathered today, so we should be able to draw some good conclusions that will help us to prepare for Saturday and the race."

Max Chilton, P1 – 1:20.225, 22nd; P2 – 1:18.784, 21st
“This track is amazing in a Formula One car and just as exhilarating as I thought it would be. It has been a busy day but we were able to complete the full program we had planned and I think we are reasonably confident based on what we have seen so far. Once again the big challenge will be managing the tires through the race but the work we have done today means we have plenty of information to help us make good choices for the race."

John Booth, Marussia team principal
“Both drivers have had a clean start to their Monaco debut in an F1 car. The program we set out was based around giving them plenty of laps for circuit familiarization, along with some more detailed tire evaluations in FP2. We’re reasonably happy with the performance and pace of the car but there is definitely work to do to improve their race pace on the tires. Fortunately we have the added advantage of an extra day to go through the information we have gathered today and at least we can be happy with the initial pace of the car."

Charles Pic, P1 – 1:19.438, 20th; P2 – 1:18.212, 20th

“FP1 for me was ok. The steering felt a little light on the installation lap so we adjusted that, and then worked on dialing out the understeer I had on the first full run, and by run three we’d found a pretty good balance. That continued into the afternoon session and I’m pretty happy with how it ended. I didn’t get a clean run on the supersofts but on the long run we did on the options we found that we had quite good deg, good enough to give us some options for Sunday and the car felt good throughout the whole run. We ran an aero test last week, to help sort out a couple of the issues we found with the new package in Spain and in FP1 we ran further aero evaluation on what we learned at the straight-line test. The initial results are good and that will give us even more to work on tonight, and give us more potential performance to extract tomorrow and on Sunday. Another really good thing today was that we found a balance that worked on both compounds quickly, so we were able to get everything we could out of both sessions. We didn’t have any issues that held us up, especially compared to the number of small problems we had in FP1 and FP2 in Spain, so that’s put us in a better position for Saturday and Sunday than we’ve been in all season."

Giedo van der Garde, P1 – 1:19.203, 19th; P2 – 1:19.031, 22nd
“I definitely enjoyed my first day in an F1 car in Monaco and I think we’ve made some good progress today. In FP1 the grip levels on track were as low as you’d expect, but it came in pretty well and by the end of the session it was possible to push round the whole lap. We had some issues with front locking and unfortunately I damaged a front wing on my third run, but other than that it was fine. We improved the traction throughout the session and started to dial out the oversteer I had on the first couple of runs. In FP2 the car immediately felt better after we’d made a couple of setup and parts changes, and the hotter track conditions helped the tires come in more quickly so my first run was good. We went onto the supersofts and waited for a gap in the traffic but then on my quick lap the red flags came out when Romain’s accident damaged the barriers. That was bad timing as I was definitely on my fastest lap of the day and I think we’d have been looking at a time around the mid-1.17s, more representative of our real pace today. But, FP1 and FP2 aren’t about the quickest laps. They’re about what we did today which was work through the program, start to understand how to manage the tires and generate as much data as we can for the guys to work on at the track and back at the factory. I’m sure Saturday we’ll show what we can do around here and I think the tire strategies are going to make it very interesting!"

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“With Monaco always being one of the circuits that has the most noticeable degree of track evolution during the weekend throughout the year, it’s hard to draw many firm conclusions from the first two free practice sessions, although there is already some idea of the pecking order. So far we’re seeing a difference of up to a second per lap between the two compounds, which is in line with our expectations at this point, but we would expect that gap to come down as the weekend goes on. More rubber going onto the track over the weekend also means that the cars will slide less: that in turn slows down the rate of wear and degradation even more – which is never especially high at Monaco anyway. So far, we’d say that the teams are on course to make two stops during the race – one seems very possible too – but we’ll have a much better picture after qualifying on Saturday, which is when we can make a more accurate forecast in representative track conditions. We saw today that as usual, traffic will play a key role in setting a quick time at Monaco, but the rapid warm-up time of the supersoft compound allows the cars to get up to speed very quickly and maximize their one-lap pace."

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