Driver reaction - Monaco Practice
The men in the cockpit have their say after Thursday practice
By William Esler. Last Updated: 24/05/12 5:51pm
The drivers have their say after mixed weather conditions during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.
Sebastian Vettel: "We didn't learn too much from today due to the conditions. It wasn't ideal as this morning we had a red flag and then it rained this afternoon; as a result it's hard to say where we are. We didn't have a lot of grip due to the rain, it was very slippery on track and there were a lot of cars out at the same time - but it was the same for everyone. The weather can change quickly here and now you see there is sunshine again already."
Mark Webber: "It was not easy for us, as for all the teams today, and we've got some work to do in the next 24 hours. There are clearly some very quick cars and we need to see where we can improve. Obviously it was limited running for everyone, so we didn't do as much as we would have liked; but that's how it went today and Monaco's like that - it throws up some challenges. The track's quite inconsistent in terms of grip - but we did learn some things today."
Jenson Button: "The most important job today was to try and get a decent high-fuel long-run on the Supersoft tyre - which I don't think anyone managed. We've got to see how the tyre works because its performance will play a considerable role in the race.
"Still, it was nice to briefly stick that tyre on and see how much grip it has - that gives you a bit of information to look over before Saturday, even though we'll still get to run that compound again before qualifying.
"I definitely feel like the car improved from P1 to P2. We tried something different for this afternoon's session and I was happier with how the car felt. There's still room for improvement, but we know what direction we want to take."
Lewis Hamilton: "We didn't get to learn quite as much as we'd perhaps wanted to today. The weather was clear in the morning, but was quite difficult to dial-in the car because of the changing weather conditions we got this afternoon, compounded by the traffic as usual here. It's an incredibly tough circuit, very technical, so every little scrap of information helps you understand where to go with the set-up.
"The less running you get, the tougher it becomes to understand the behaviour of the tyres. Today, neither of us got to do a long-run, so we'll be going into the race slightly unsure about how the tyres will behave. But everyone is in the same boat so I guess it'll be a bit of a surprise for all the teams.
"Nonetheless, it's still mega-fun out there; it feels incredible driving this track."
Fernando Alonso: "For we drivers, Thursday in Monaco provides the best opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with a very unique track. The more you go round, the more you gain confidence and the harder you can push to bring the lap time down. This morning, we were able to get through our planned programme without any trouble, but in the afternoon, the rain came to spoil our plans and those of the others too.
"We weren't able to even fit the Supersoft and only Button was able to find the right window to make the most of the Option, which is how he set the fastest time. Now, we must see what the weather will be like on Saturday morning: if it turns out to be dry then maybe we will do more laps than usual, but even if it rains we will have to do work aimed at the race. In fact, it's not as though we understood much more when on the Intermediates, given that the track was only damp in places and so it wasn't very representative.
"We can't control the weather, we can only adapt to it as it changes. As for the car, I would say the first impressions are quite positive: everything seems to respond as we would expect. We only made a few small modifications to the set-up, trying to improve it, but it's obviously too early to draw any conclusions. Let's say the weekend has got off on the right foot for us: now we must try and keep going down this path."
Felipe Massa: "We weren't able to do as much running as we would have liked because of the light rain that fell this afternoon, but all the same, I am happy with the way things went on this Monaco Thursday. The car seemed to me to be okay right from the start of the first session, with a good balance in all conditions and with slightly better traction than we had expected. Even when we ran the Intermediates in the final part of the second session, the feeling was still positive.
"As for the tyres, we didn't even fit the Supersoft, therefore we can't say anything about their behaviour, while the Softs worked well, also in terms of their degradation. Sure, there is still plenty of work to do to fine tune all the set-up details, but we have an extra day to think about what to do to improve in this area. It's hard to make predictions about qualifying and, even more so for the race, but definitely we can say the first day of free practice can be considered a positive one."
Nico Rosberg: "It was great to be back again and to race through the city. I'm pleased with today's practice sessions. We have the feeling that we are going in the right direction with our set-up work for this demanding track. It took a bit of a time to find the right rhythm for the circuit but it worked out well, even though we did not run very much in the afternoon because of the bad weather. I'm now really looking forward to Saturday and Sunday."
Michael Schumacher: "It's always great to get out on the track for the first laps in Monaco and get back into the rhythm of this special place. Already, during practice this morning I could see the areas where the safety has been improved further since last year, and it's great that the organisers always push to make things even better every year. The weather was mixed today, which made it hard to make any firm conclusions, but basically my feeling with the car on this circuit was positive."
Kimi Raikkonen: "It's good to be back in Monaco even if we missed some running today. The steering wasn't to my liking so the team changed it for me. It's something you change for Monaco and there's no way of knowing what it will be like beforehand. The car felt good in the second session, though it was obviously pretty slippery when the track was wet. I would have liked to have had more time in the car, but Monaco's a track I know pretty well and it hasn't changed much over the years. Let's see what happens tomorrow."
Romain Grosjean: "I think the car is suiting the track pretty well and I love Monaco, it's good to be here and it's nice to see so many fans. The car was looking good this morning and this afternoon - we are working in a good direction. Unfortunately it was a bit wet this afternoon and we couldn't do all the programme we wanted to achieve but as we have a good baseline it shouldn't be such a big deal. Let's see what the weather will be like tomorrow and what we can achieve. I think that we are looking good in both conditions."
Paul di Resta: "The morning session was quite straightforward and the baseline set-up was not too far away. The track was quite green to begin with, but it was starting to rubber in nicely during the final half hour. We worked a bit on the set-up, changing the aero balance and collected the data we needed on the soft tyres. The rain arrived quite early in the afternoon and, although we got out on the supersoft tyres, I didn't get a completely dry run on them. It's good to have done some miles on the intermediate tyres because, as we saw today, it's quite hard to predict what the weather will do on Saturday and Sunday."
Nico Hulkenberg: "The first session in Monaco is always a time to acclimatise and get used to the circuit again, especially because I didn't race here last year. The morning session was busy on track, but we got through our programme and I did several runs on the soft tyres. The afternoon was affected by the weather and that made it difficult to get in the rhythm or complete our tyre programme. We didn't think it would rain today, but the conditions can change so quickly here and we need to be ready for that over the weekend."
Sergio Pérez: "The conditions were not ideal to do the work but we are looking good in the wet, so this is positive. In the dry there is some work to do, which we didn't manage in the morning. However, I am confident as this morning we were very quick, the car is performing well and I think we can be competitive in qualifying on Saturday."
Kamui Kobayashi: "Everything went smoothly today. The car has definitely improved in the slow corners compared to last year, and this is obviously crucial in Monaco. The balance of the car feels good and I'm pretty confident for the weekend. I just can't predict how the two tyre compounds will develop in the race because the weather prevented us from doing proper long runs."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "This was my first time here in a Formula 1 car and I really enjoyed myself. Because I did not go particularly well round Monaco in the World Series last year, I was a bit apprehensive about today, although still looking forward to a new experience and not knowing what to expect. I think my performance today compared quite well to my team-mate, as Daniel won the last two World Series races he drove at this circuit and he had also had some practice time in the F1 car last year.
"From that perspective, I am quite happy and I feel the lap time was not important, especially as I had a bit of traffic and I finished my fastest lap in the pit lane. I am relatively pleased with the balance of the car which we can fine tune a bit further, but I still need a bit more time to adapt myself to this circuit, even if I liked driving it when it was wet. I feel prepared for whatever weather conditions we might encounter for the rest of the weekend."
Daniel Ricciardo: "Because of the weather in the afternoon, things did not go quite as smoothly as planned and we weren't able to try everything we had hoped to. So a bit frustrating, especially as we have a day off tomorrow: I'd prefer to be driving, but it's probably a good thing as we can really think about what we need to do to move forward. There are some areas where we need to improve and I'm sure that if we sort that, our performance will change completely and hopefully we will have a good qualifying on Saturday."
Pastor Maldonado: "The car is feeling really good this year and looks competitive in the running we have done today, so we're happy with that. It's a shame we didn't get to run as much during the afternoon, as we would have liked to have gathered a bit more data on the tyres but we still have P3 on Saturday. I love this circuit and think it's going to be a competitive Grand Prix."
Bruno Senna: "It was great to be able to do both sessions today as it meant that we could learn bit by bit. It's been quite a few years since I drove something competitive here so it was good to have extra time to remember the track. We're chipping away and the afternoon session was hampered by the rain, but every little helps."
Heikki Kovalainen: "This morning's session went pretty well. We tried a new suspension part early on that felt pretty good, and then we ran through a normal FP1 session on the primes until the engine let go as I was entering the tunnel towards the end of the session. As soon as I engaged neutral the rear axle locked up and that brought FP1 to a slightly early end.
"In FP2 everyone had the same issues with the rain and even though we got a couple of laps done on the supersofts I didn't have a chance to put in a flying lap on those so we'll have to look at that again on Saturday. We made the final run on the inters and coming into turn five the car went straight on - it was very greasy out there but there was no damage so I parked it and that was that."
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Vitaly Petrov: "Both sessions were good for me today. Even though we'd obviously liked to have had more time on the options this afternoon the rain interrupted the run we tried on the super softs, but that was the same for pretty much everyone so we're all in the same position.
"In FP2 the car felt pretty good and even though the track was very slippery when we went out on the inters I still felt like we have a decent balance to work from . This is one of the races where we need to make sure we're there at the chequered flag and not make any mistakes, so having had a few laps in what will probably be the trickiest conditions all weekend I'm feeling good about the sessions ahead, and the race on Sunday."
Pedro de la Rosa: "Today has been a really strange day because, out of the three hours which we normally have, I only completed two stints. I wasn't able to make the most out of the other two. In the morning I encountered a cloud of smoke in the tunnel and a red flag, and in the afternoon it started to rain. So it was a productive day taking into account the little track time we had, and all the changes we incorporated in the afternoon supposed an important improvement. The truth is I would have liked to have done more laps, more than anything because at this circuit the more laps you do, the better. Looking to Saturday, our aim is to continue improving the car and try to qualify a little bit further ahead. It's a difficult task here but not an impossible one."
Narain Karthikeyan: "We did a lot of laps in the morning and were able to try various different things on the car. We had a pretty decent balance and wanted to go one step further in the afternoon but conditions weren't great and you couldn't drive to the limit. Unfortunately we were unable to make the most of our track time as we would have liked but we didn't want to risk going out in the rain and opted to stay in the garage. Things are looking promising for Saturday where we hope to encounter dry conditions to help us achieve a good result."
Timo Glock: "In general, the mixed conditions today made it very difficult to work on the car in the way we had planned. We got a good start to the day this morning, but later in FP1 I had a problem with the front end and then a red flag cut short the session. In FP2 it was important to go out early and get a good run, but then it started raining. As it looks like this will not be the only time this weekend, we made use of the track time and switched to the Inters, but the track was very slippery - particularly the white lines - so, to be honest, the main focus was keeping the car on the track!"
Charles Pic: "I have enjoyed my first day of driving in Monaco and now have some good experience in both the wet and the dry. Generally a good start to my programme with no real issues to speak about, just a straightforward day - apart from the weather - and getting up to speed. Tomorrow is a non-running day for us but it will provide a further opportunity to work with my engineers, see where I need to improve and come back to the track even stronger on Saturday."