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Thursday practice - selected driver quotes 19 May 2005

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 18 May 2005 Christian Klien (AUT) Red Bull Racing Third Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 19 May 2005 Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 19 May 2005 Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 19 May 2005

An exciting first day - and a fairly drama-free one, by Monaco standards. Felipe Massa, Christijan Albers and Christian Klien explain their brushes with the barriers, plus the rest of the drivers on their Thursday progress…

Fernando Alonso, Renault (1st, 1m 15.835s):
“For the drivers, the first day in Monaco means a little more than usual - we need to do a lot of laps in order to get a good feeling with the circuit, and we did that today without any problems, which is a nice start for the race. The set-up felt comfortable from the beginning, so there is not too much more to do but in any case, the track conditions are changing all the time on the first day, which means we look at the details of the set-up on Saturday. The car feels consistent on the longer runs, so things are going perfectly at the moment.”

Alexander Wurz, third driver, McLaren (2nd, +0.077s):
"I'm very happy with the outcome of today's programme. The continuously changing track conditions during the weekend will not make it easy to work out the right set-up. However I think our race package is good, and we should be able to attack on this difficult circuit and I expect a thrilling race."

David Coulthard, Red Bull (3rd, +0.349s):
“We’ve been working through everything today, evaluating where we are with the tyres and set-up. Obviously, today’s practise is the first stage of a long weekend, but things feel good. It’s difficult to predict where we will qualify, as it’s hard to know what the other teams are doing with their fuel strategy. However, Monaco is one of those events that can throw up a slightly unusual result. Maybe it’s possible to move slightly further up the field, we’ll just have to wait and see.“

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (4th, +0.684s):
“I have been struggling with the car a bit under braking today, and we still have to find some answers with the set-up so that I can feel completely comfortable around this circuit. The car felt fast on the long runs, so if I can find the extra bit of confidence I need, then we can be very quick. The R25 is competitive here, and I believe we will be in a strong situation on Saturday.”

Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (5th, +0.699s):
"A positive start to the weekend. The car felt pretty good straight away and we just kept working on the set-up, so I'm pretty happy. The key to doing well here in Monaco is finding a strong set-up, and we are definitely going in the right direction. It will be a tough and interesting race, and I think we are in with a good chance."

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (6th, +0.723s):
"The first session today was a little difficult as I got stuck in traffic several times and could not do a real good lap. However during the second practice session we completed some longer runs and collected a lot of data concerning set-up and tyre choice which should help us to be competitive. It is always fun to drive on this challenging circuit, so I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend."

Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (7th, +0.805s):
“I think my times were quite good for the first day and we seem to be in good shape. We’ve been working hard on the car to get it ready for qualifying, as it’s so important here in Monaco. On this circuit you can’t really pass so much. I felt more comfortable during the second session and was happy with my lap times. We tried a few different set-ups and worked a little on the rear of the car, but the most important thing was to adjust to the changing levels of grip. As the session went on, there was more rubber on the track and the road surface changed with every lap. You have to be pretty careful here, even more so than normal.”

Felipe Massa, Sauber (8th, +1.079s):
"The car was getting better and better with every run, but on the last the rear end felt a bit soft and the right front tyre was quite lightly loaded. I know I didn't make a mistake at Ste Devote, but when I braked hard there the right front wheel locked, the car went sideways, and then I crashed into the tyre wall. I'm fine, but I'm not sure what happened. On the positive side, I'm feeling very confident for the rest of the weekend after the way the car went this afternoon."

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (9th, +1.082s):
"We had a pretty good day and we completed a lot of laps, getting through all our work without any problems. We still obviously have work to do on set-up but that's always the case in Monaco. We'll also have to have a good look at the data to make our final tyre choice. Still, I'm still relatively optimistic for the rest of the weekend. We will be hoping for another strong points finish and doing everything to see if we can make the podium."

Ricardo Zonta, third driver, Toyota (10th, +1.211s):
"Everything went wrong for me today. The first day at Monaco is always difficult because it is dirty but we started with the wrong set-up and we completely lost the first session because of that. We spent the second session doing long runs to evaluate the consistency of the tyres but I still didn't have a good balance. Then when I went onto new tyres at the end of the session there were yellow flags and too much traffic. Still, there is more performance to come from the car."

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (11th, +1.335s):
“This morning, we were very competitive and looked in pretty good shape and I was happy with the car. Unfortunately, the car did not run well this afternoon, as I picked up a vibration that got worse as the session went on, so we felt it was best to stop so that we could analyse what was going on. That’s the way it is at this circuit, in that if you have a small problem you lose a lot of track time and because of that it is hard for me to predict what will be the situation in qualifying on Saturday.”

Mark Webber, Williams (12th, +1.587s):
“It was a pretty good day of running for us and we got through everything we had planned. We managed to do quite a lot of laps with both cars which is good. We are having a day off tomorrow so we’ll have more time to look at the data and take the right decision, especially with regards to our tyre choice together with our partners Michelin. In general we are doing ok, we just need to find a bit more pace.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota (13th, +1.652s):
"Today was a very difficult day for me. Monaco is one of my favourite circuits but I've been really struggling for grip all day, even as the track improved. I really haven't managed to find a set-up I like on the car yet. Whatever changes I make, they do not seem to have a positive reaction. So all I can say is that it's been a difficult day. Still, anything can happen in F1 – especially here – so we'll give everything to turn our situation around for the weekend."

Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (14th, +1.671s):
"A lot depends here on when you put the new tyres on the car. The track is always dirty at the beginning of a session and the first and last laps you do can vary by as much as four seconds. I was quite happy with the car today. We are in much better shape than we were in Barcelona. I tried to keep my set-up consistent and let the track improve, and I'm okay with what we did this afternoon. Our long run was acceptable. Now we just have to make sure that we make the right tyre choice for Saturday."

Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (15th, +1.828s):
“I was not very happy with the car today. In the morning, I was unhappy with the set-up on my brakes and this afternoon, it was a more general difficulty with the set-up and other elements of the package The car was actually better this afternoon in some respects, but the handling was difficult. But, I have every faith in the team and I am sure we can improve the situation. At this track, the driver can make a difference, which is a positive factor, as is the fact we have an extra day now to think about what to do. Qualifying will definitely be tough.”

Nick Heidfeld, Williams (16th, +1.832s):
“It was a good Thursday here, and we had no technical problems. It was good fun running on this outstanding circuit. Unfortunately, in the second session I didn’t get in a clean lap in the end, due to many yellow flags. More importantly, we got all of our work done and we managed to do a lot of laps, which will help in our tyre decision, to be taken before Saturday.”

Christian Klien, third driver, Red Bull (17th, +2.980s):
“Everything went well during the first session. However, during the second one I had a problem with the traction control. I noticed it from the second lap onwards and, as a result, had a spin in Turn four, crashed into the barrier and damaged the nose. We tried to fix the problem with the traction control and went back out, but still it didn’t work so well. Despite the problem, we were quite quick with the lap times. It’s a drivers’ circuit here.”

Robert Doornbos, third driver, Jordan (18th, +3.691s):
“It was a great day driving between the barriers in Monaco. The track was quite dirty this morning so we made sure we did not push too much in order not to make any mistake. I have been the fastest today so I am quite pleased with my job. We have also done a lot of work with Bridgestone so now I can supply them with my data.”

Patrick Friesacher, Minardi ( 19th, +3.752s):
"For me, it has been a good day. We had two solid sessions, worked on different set-ups, and improved the car. It is also good that we are ahead of two Jordans, and I want to thank all the guys for their hard work, which has helped us to get to this point. If everything goes well on Saturday, I think we can be even quicker."

Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (20th, +4.449s):
“First day in Monaco can always be a surprise. It was much different from the last time I was here. In the Free Practice session, you have to take it easy, step by step and try not to make any mistake. You have to find exactly where to brake as otherwise you can lose a lot of time. It is also important to gain confidence on this track, as it can be tricky. Qualifying on Saturday and Sunday will be crucial because it is very difficult to overtake here, therefore I will take some risks.”

Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (21st, +6.044s):
“As a result from a small contact with the barrier this morning, my running time was a bit restricted this afternoon, however I have still managed to complete 12 laps. Today was my first time on the Monaco circuit so I have spent most of the allocated time familiarising myself with the layout. It is quite a difficult track to learn, so I will need more laps on Saturday and do some catch-up.”

Christijan Albers, Minardi (22nd, +6.327s):
"We had a few problems today, and therefore didn't have the best of starts to the Monaco Grand Prix weekend. I just couldn't seem to get the car balanced the way I would like to get the most of the available performance. As a result, I'm not so happy at the moment, but we'll see how it goes on Saturday, when I hope to make a significant improvement."