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Saturday in Monte Carlo - team by team

28 May 2016

A round-up of the action from qualifying at the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco 2016 in Monte Carlo...

McLaren

Alonso had a frantic end to Q1 after his first flying lap was ruined by Verstappen's crash. Under pressure, he put a lap together when it mattered and made it all the way to Q3 for the second race in a row. Button struggled in Q2 with the set up of his car and finished 13th.

Fernando Alonso, 10th, 1:15.363

“We had a little bit of stress with the red-flag stoppage in Q1: we only had six minutes left and I hadn’t set a time. Our main goal today was to get into Q3, but I still don’t really feel confident with the car – I didn’t have a perfect feeling with it, and I wasn’t therefore confident enough to really attack the corners.

“Our predictions ahead of this weekend were maybe a little over-optimistic, but let’s see what happens tomorrow. We’ll need some rain, snow or whatever to give the race a little bit of action – the start will dictate the complexion of the race, but hopefully the weather will make the show more exciting.

“It would be great to come out of the weekend with some decent points.”

Jenson Button, 13th, 1:15.352

“My lap in Q1 felt okay, then the balance went away from me as the circuit gripped up. On my final run in Q2 I had front-locking into Turn Three, locked the front-left and overheated the tyre, which meant I lost front-end grip after that.

“Still, this is Monaco, and anything can happen. The first corner is usually eventful; then, after that, it’s about sitting behind the guy in front. You can try and dive down the inside of another car into Turn 10 [the Harbour Chicane], but that’s a no-go for us because we’re too far back by the time we get to that part of the track.

“So, as I say, I’ll be hoping for rain tomorrow.”

Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda Racing Director

“Clearly, we’re disappointed with our overall qualifying performance here at Monaco, since on such a tortuous circuit we’d expected our car to perform a bit better relative to some of our rivals’.

“Even so, despite the fact that neither of our drivers has ever felt truly happy with the balance of our car here, they both tried as hard as ever, carving neat, solid laps in so doing.

“It was a pity that we managed to get only one car into Q3, but that wasn’t for lack of trying.

“Tomorrow, wet weather is forecast, and the combination of rain and Monaco is a notoriously unpredictable one; so anything could happen.

“Points for both our drivers will be our target.”

Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda R&D Co Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer

“We are encouraged by Fernando’s Q3 performance today, as we all know that Monaco is a notoriously difficult track at which to overtake, and starting grid position is very important here.

"Throughout the weekend, both cars had difficulties to bring out the maximum potential of the Ultrasofts, but the drivers were able to bring out the best of them during the qualifying sessions today.

"From the power unit perspective, we have been hard at work setting and fine-tuning the Monaco track-specific data that we tested in Barcelona, and the driveability looks to be good. As for tomorrow’s race, everything is unexpected here, including the weather and any incidents on track, so we are looking to our two experienced drivers to manage the race well and hopefully bring home some points for the team.”

Williams

Williams never looked to have the speed to compete and both drivers disappointingly exited in Q2. Bottas will benefit from Raikkonen's penalty to start 10th, whilst Massa will have his work cut out to score points from 14th on the grid.

Valtteri Bottas, 11th, 1:15.273

"Obviously we’re not happy to be out of Q3, but we’ve made progress, which is good. We just need to try to make more – and there’s a good chance to get my first points here. This is one of the busiest race in terms of what happens on track with safety cars, so we need to take that opportunity to get some good points."

Felipe Massa, 14th, 1:15.385

"It wasn’t an easy qualifying for us. We were fighting for one tenth the whole time. Unfortunately, without that one tenth we are down a few positions. It’s really a shame because it’s just so close. It wasn’t our day for getting the most out of the car with what happened with the red flags, however the car is behaving well. It won’t be easy to get points but we’ll try the best we can."

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

"This isn’t where we want to be, but it’s a step better than where we were last year. We managed to get the most out of the car. If we put our top sectors together, we’d be in the back end of the top 10. If you look at our times against the top cars, we can see that we have made progress and it’s now clear where we need to develop the car if we want to go faster in Monaco. We have worked very hard to get the set-up better around here and now this is a car that could have scraped into the top 10. We can have a reasonable race tomorrow. Valtteri will start from a point-scoring position in 10th with a free choice of tyres, and Felipe 14th. With the attrition we usually see and with a decent tyre strategy, we can definitely get both cars into the points and that is our aim."

Sauber

Nasr's qualifying was over immediately when his engine let go as he came through the tunnel on his out lap, causing a red flag. Ericsson fared better, out qualifying both Manors and Palmer's Renault but missing the cut for Q2 again.

Marcus Ericsson, 17th, 1:16.299

“It was a decent qualifying. On one hand I was very close to Q2, but on the other it is certainly frustrating to not get into Q2 when the gap is that tight. I am satisfied with my driving and it felt like a good lap that was close to the edge. In terms of the balance of the car, we made some adjustments from FP3 to qualifying, which felt good. For tomorrow, anything can happen here in Monaco during the race, so we need to take any chances we are offered.”

Felipe Nasr, 22nd, DNS

“It is a shame qualifying ended that early for me. When I left the pit lane for my out lap, I felt vibrations on the car. Then I lost power completely when I went on full throttle in the tunnel. I had a good feeling before going into qualifying, as we made the right changes on the car side. Now we need to focus on tomorrow. Thinking about the race, I am still positive as a lot can happen.”

Haas

Grosjean had an eventful FP3, locking up repeatedly, whilst Gutierrez had to make full use of the escape road at Ste Devote. But qualifying ran much more smoothly - both drivers made Q2 comfortably, and will be targeting points on Sunday.

Romain Grosjean, 15th, 1:15.571

“We had the speed to go into Q3. We showed that in Q1. Just two times there was traffic on my out laps in Q2. We went out behind the Mercedes and they were going slow and that’s what got me. If the tires had been ready for the first timed lap, everything would have been fine, but they’re really had to warm up. Everyone’s doing different things, of course. Mercedes has more downforce than others, so they were going slower when I needed faster out laps. It was tricky. Traffic is part of the game, but twice we went in exactly the same group of cars, and that didn’t help us. I think we could have made it to Q3 and that would have been a great achievement. The positives are that the car feels better, but the negative is that we are P15.”

Esteban Gutierrez, 12th, 1:15.293

“I’m very happy with today. It’s been a positive day. At the start it was difficult to get the tires right, and run by run I was trying to modify and adapt to the circumstances. Finally, we got everything together. With a 12th position start in Monte Carlo, a lot can happen in the front. I’m very proud of the team and the work we’ve been doing. Communication has been improving. We’ve been understanding the car step by step, and this will give us a lot of confidence going forward. Overall, it’s been a very good day for us.”

Guenther Steiner, Team Principal

“I’m pretty happy with qualifying. Both drivers did a good job. For Esteban to start 12th in Monte Carlo is great. The whole team reacted to the situations that came up in qualifying very well. Romain was on a fast lap when he lost time in the middle sector, so we still need to investigate what happened there, but overall we’re happy to start where we’re placed. If you line up between 10th and 16th, anything can happen, and providing we don’t get involved in any incidents, anything is possible.”

Manor

Haryanto made up for Thursday's crash by out-qualifying his highly-rated team mate by over one tenth of a second. Werhlein was disappointed but still confessed to be enjoying his first race weekend in Monte Carlo.

Rio Haryanto, 19th, 1:17.295

“I’m pretty happy with my first Monaco Grand Prix qualifying session. I got a good lap, which was pretty on the edge and exciting to be honest. It wasn’t easy because the tyre temperatures were dropping all the time. Obviously, every position counts here, so although I’ll be starting near the back, it’s one place closer when situations arise out on track. And there’ve been plenty of those, as we saw with two red flags in the Q1 session alone. So into tonight we’ll be taking a look at what strategy can help us to take advantage of those opportunities in the race tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it. As we know, at Monaco anything can happen so I’m approaching the race ready to take advantage of every place that may be up for grabs.”

Pascal Wehrlein, 20th, 1:17.452

“Qualifying was just a mess with all the red flags. Twice I went out on new tyres and each time the session was stopped, so I’m very disappointed. But still I’m excited for the race. It’s my first Monaco Grand Prix and I’m enjoying the challenge of getting to grips with this incredible circuit. As we saw, a lot can happen here, so although incidents hampered my progress today, tomorrow they could present us with some opportunities. I’ll be giving it my best shot and we’ll see what happens.”

Dave Ryan, Racing Director

“Q1 was a rather hectic affair, with not just one but two red flags hampering everyone’s progress. While Rio had a reasonably good run and was pleased with his efforts, Pascal was less so due to red flag interruptions and usual Monaco traffic issues. Tomorrow’s another day and we’ll see what happens. We’ve seen further evidence today of just how tricky this track can be and the possibilities those situations can create will be motivating both our drivers. We’ll find the best strategy to help them this evening and we’re looking forward to what is always a spectacular event.”

Ferrari

Vettel topped the timesheets in the final practice for the third time this season, but neither Ferrari driver was able to get the best out of the car in qualifying. Raikkonen -already facing a five-place grid drop for a gearbox change - always looked off the pace and struggled with traffic, whilst a disappointed Vettel had to contend with a lack of grip.

Kimi Raikkonen, 6th, 1:14.732

"The whole weekend has been quite tricky, but this morning the car felt a bit better and for qualifying we improved even more. For sure we did the right things, but we struggled to make the tyres work as we wanted; they were too much on the edge of the grip, the rear was slipping or the front was sliding and in a track like this when you don't have a consistent good grip you lose a lot of time because of that. Obviously we are not happy of where we end up and the penalty due to the gearbox change for sure doesn't help, but we'll try to make the best out of it. We cannot predict what will happen tomorrow, for sure the race it's not going to be easy, but usually many things happen here, we'll try to get the most, to do the right calls in case of Safety Car and to take the right decisions."

Sebastian Vettel, 4th, 1:14.552

"Of course I'm really disappointed, because what we did on the car from Thursday to today was really good and we had improved it a lot. This morning we had a very good start, I knew that there will be a lot more to come and I wasn't worried at all, but as the qualifying progressed it was just getting more difficult for us to extract the grip. When you don't have the grip here it's more penalizing than on another track, the car was starting to slide a lot and at this stage we don't understand why. While all the grid was going faster and faster, in the end we did the same fast laps we did at the beginning. I did what I could, but I was not as comfortable as I was in the morning. It's disappointing because I missed a good opportunity to start the race potentially from the front tomorrow. I was expecting more because the car gave me all reason to expect more but in a couple of hours we'll start to look forward, the race is tomorrow, we have a great car and a great pace."

Red Bull

Similar to the race in Spain, it was a day of contrasts in the Red Bull garage - but this time Ricciardo was the one left smiling. Verstappen had a brush with the barriers in FP3, before crashing heavily in Q1, causing considerable damage to his car and confining him to a back-row start. Ricicardo on the other hand proved that Thursday's pace was genuine - he put in a stormer of a lap when it mattered to grab his first pole ahead of the Mercedes duo.

Daniel Ricciardo, 1st, 1:13.622

“I’m happy! I put it together when I needed to. Qualifying just built up and built up and I found the rhythm, and then that first run in Q3 was the one I needed to do. I feel I’ve been qualifying very well all year, and it’s cool to get my first pole in Formula One, this place more than any is a great place to get it at. Hopefully tomorrow we can convert it to the win, that’s the plan. It’s the first pole for the team in a while too, it’s a very good feeling. Coming into the weekend I believed I could be here today and it’s nice to match that belief. The lap felt good. I knew once I’d done it, it would be hard to beat because we were competitive with Mercedes and I hadn’t yet put together the best lap.

"It was a pretty good lap on the supersofts in Q2 so we start on those tomorrow, it should give us a bit more option in the race when to pit. It seemed like a bit of a freebie for us if we could do it and make it work, so why not. Sitting here now it looks good, we’ll see tomorrow what happens but I think it should hopefully give us a bit more flexibility. Today the job was pole, I’ve done that so let’s see what happens tomorrow, I’ve done what I can so far.”

Max Verstappen, 21st, 1:22.467

"It’s of course not the way you want to start for tomorrow, I turned in a bit too early, clipped the inside wall, broke the inside suspension and then couldn’t turn anymore. I felt quite good, in my first push lap I felt more confident than all the other laps and also in terms of car balance it was better, because my second sector was nearly two to three tenths faster than I ever did. It was all coming together but then into the chicane, maybe I underestimated the grip I had and turned in a bit too early. Hopefully the weather will help a bit tomorrow but if you start 21st it will be very difficult. These things unfortunately happen and you have to learn from it and continue.

"Hopefully there will be a lot of action tomorrow, not only from me but from others. It will be very tough but I won’t give up. The car is great, we just have to find a way to get past the people in front. It will depend a lot on the strategy, what other people do of course and the weather, so hopefully we have some luck tomorrow. Congratulations to Daniel on a great lap and his first pole, it’s great for the team.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“Fantastic and thrilling to secure our first pole position since 2013, and especially delighted for Daniel in claiming his maiden pole today. Daniel drove a sensational lap and the team perfectly executed the strategy we set in briefing this morning. It sets us up nicely for the Grand Prix tomorrow and we hope we can capitilise on this sterling performance in qualifying. Max has had a tough day. He just clipped the barrier on entry into the chicane and it ended the session for him. It’s unfortunate for us but just demonstrates the margins on the tight streets of Monte Carlo. He’s naturally disappointed but he’s a level-headed guy and he will bounce back and be focused on getting the best out of tomorrow’s race.”

Force India

Perez had to make a dive down the escape road in FP3, but other than that Force India had a good day at the office. Hulkenberg put a great lap together to qualify fifth and will be looking for his first finish since China. Perez on the other hand was just behind in eighth meaning a double points finish could be on the cards.

Nico Hülkenberg, 5th, 1:14.726

“I’m very happy. We knew we had the speed to be inside the top ten today, but to qualify fifth is better than I expected. I’ve had good vibes since the start of the weekend and I’ve felt comfortable and confident since the start of practice on Thursday. We made a big step forward in Barcelona and today’s result shows that the car is working well, especially through the low-speed corners. My laps were clean and tidy in Q1 and Q2, and then in Q3 I was on the money and hit the sweet spot with my final lap. Of course, qualifying is only half the job and there is still a long race ahead of us with so many factors that can come into play tomorrow. In Monaco, nothing comes easy; you always have to work hard to earn your result, but I’ve put myself in a good position to come away with some important points.”

Sergio Perez, 8th, 1:14.902

“We had very good pace today and we made some steps forward compared to Thursday, but I struggled to get heat into the tyres and that’s why I feel a better position was possible. In any case, seventh is a good place to start so we are targeting a strong result. Monaco is probably the most important qualifying session of the year so it’s good to be starting well inside the top ten, but at the same time we know how unpredictable this race can be. Anything can happen, such as a safety car or rain, and you need to react quickly and make the right calls. You also need a bit of luck. It will be crucial to start well, as we know that what really matters in Monaco is track position. Tomorrow is going to be a whole different story and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal

“The qualifying session in Monaco can make or break your weekend and so today’s results are extremely satisfying. It’s the first time we’ve had two cars qualify inside the top ten in Monaco and Nico’s fifth place is our highest starting position here, and also our best starting position of the year. We’ve looked competitive all the way through practice and Nico and Sergio have steadily built up their speed with each session. They kept their noses clean today, coped with the traffic, and delivered some fantastic laps when it mattered. To be lining up fifth and seventh means we are well placed for a good result tomorrow. Anything can happen in Monaco but I am confident we will be ready to make the most of any opportunity.”

Renault

Another disappointing day. Magnussen scraped into Q2, but was under investigation for running a red light at the end of the pit lane - he subsequently escaped without punishment. Palmer also had an eventful day, spinning into the barriers and sitting out of most of FP3. He qualified 18th, which is not bad considering his lack of running across the weekend - and the fact that unlike his team mate he's not using an upgraded engine.

Kevin Magnussen, 16th, 1:16.058

“It’s not great to be sixteenth ; it’s about where we’ve been for most of the year whereas we were hoping for something better here. In Monaco there is a high probability of crashes and maybe it’s going to rain too, so you never know what could happen tomorrow."

Jolyon Palmer, 18th, 1:16.586

“It was a tough session but ultimately the position is around where we’re accustomed being. It’s great to drive here and I was really hoping to get through to Q2 but we just didn’t have the pace. It’s a long race so I’m hoping for some big storms to help mix the field up a bit so we can drive through and get some points. Monaco is certainly difficult to overtake in a straight-forward race.

Alan Permane, Trackside Operations Director

"Kevin got into Q2 which is obviously one positive and Jolyon gave a good performance for his first Monaco qualifying. We know that Monaco can be notoriously difficult to master but equally it’s true we would like to be further up the grid. If it’s a dry race without incidents then moving through the field can be very difficult. There’s low tyre degradation here which means you can be more flexible with when to change tyres. Wet weather or incidents on track could throw some added variables but whatever happens we’ll be pushing as hard as possible."

Toro Rosso

The STR11 has looked genuinely quick all weekend around the street circuit - and both Sainz and Kvyat made it comfortably through to Q3. In the end it was Sainz - a shade slower in Q2 - who put together a good lap when it mattered to qualify seventh, two places ahead of his team mate. 

Carlos Sainz, 7th, 1:14.749

“I’m very happy with my qualifying and very optimistic for the race tomorrow! To qualify in P7 and then gain an extra position because of Kimi’s penalty – which means we start P6 – is a great position for a track like Monaco. I’m very pleased because to complete a good qualifying lap around Monaco means that you have a lot of confidence in the car and that you are pushing the limits… I’m definitely feeling very comfortable with the car and in the team and performances like this one confirm it. We’ve been quick all weekend and we have a very good car, so we can look forward to a very promising race tomorrow.”

Danill Kvyat, 9th, 1:15.273

“I’m not happy with my qualifying today. I think I hit a curb hard in the third sector during my last run and I don’t know if this is maybe the reason why we lost a bit of time in Q3. The car certainly behaved differently compared to Q2, so we now have to analyse this, because we could’ve finished in a higher position than P9. It’s quite disappointing as we know we have a strong car with huge potential. Having said this, I’m confident for tomorrow, we have a good chance of scoring points and we will fight hard for them.”

James Key, Technical Director

“This is more a chassis track than a straight-line speed one, so we were hoping that it would suit our car and this has proved to be the case. We’ve been inside the top ten consistently this weekend so far, normally within the P5 to P7 region, so we felt that we had a high chance of getting into Q3 without too much trouble and qualifying well, which is critical here in Monaco. We got through Q1 on one set of tyres and both drivers did well in Q2 to get us into the top ten. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the best out of Q3, our last laps were a little compromised and we ended up P7 and P9. We were hoping to get at least one car on the third row of the grid but didn’t make it this time. We seem to have lost a lot of lap time in the last sector with Daniil and we need to understand why – the data analysis is going on now for this – up until then his lap was very competitive. Regarding Carlos, his lap was good and he lost just a little bit of time in the first sector compared to his best, which we need to understand at this stage, but the qualifying times were so tight that we missed P5 by just a couple of hundredths of a second. However, no amount of analysis will change our starting positions! So we look to make the most from where we are tomorrow and hope to progress in the race. I’d also like to congratulate Daniel Ricciardo for his first pole position today!”

Mercedes

Both Hamilton and Rosberg looked extremely fast around the Monaco circuit on Saturday but neither had an answer for Ricciardo in qualifying. Hamilton suffered yet more reliability drama and was only able to salvage one run after complaining of a loss of power in Q3 after a fuel pressue issue. Rosberg meanwhile admitted he just didn't have enough to beat the flying Red Bull.

Nico Rosberg, 2nd, 1:13.791

"I was really surprised when Daniel set his first quick lap in Q3. I thought "damn, that was really quick!" I tried my best to top that and was able to come a bit closer - but unfortunately it wasn't enough for pole. Red Bull and especially Daniel did a great job here today. Congrats to him on his first pole position - I'm sure it will feel special for him to have got it here in Monaco. But tomorrow there are still a few opportunities for us to win this race. At the start, Daniel is on the harder tyre with a lower grip level, so I hope to maybe gain something there. When I was on the harder compound in China, he caught me at the start - so I hope it's payback time tomorrow and I can overtake him. I've been practising starts a lot over the weekend, so it could be exciting. I can't wait to race again on this amazing track. "

Lewis Hamilton, 3rd, 1:13.942

"It's hard to find the words right now. I was the quickest out there today - but unfortunately the problem at the start of Q3 meant I couldn't use that pace. I did my best with the lap that I had and I'm really pleased with that. My final attempt was what should have been my banker lap, so at least I'm starting third when it could have been tenth. For tomorrow, Red Bull have done something different by putting Daniel on the SuperSoft. I'm not sure how that will play out - but the compounds are pretty similar so I don't think being on the UltraSoft will give us an edge at the start. If Daniel can get into Turn One ahead he just has to sit there, make his car as wide as possible and make those tyres last while we're all battling away scrubbing our tyres behind him, as it's almost impossible to overtake here. Even the softest tyres are pretty hard, so it should be an easy one stop strategy if it stays dry, which makes it tougher. Hopefully we'll have some rain to mix things up a bit. The last time I started third here was in 2008 and I won that race. Starting from there I thought my chance was gone before I'd begun - but in the end it was a great race, so let's see. Anything can happen. "

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport 

"That was a messy session for us and we certainly didn't get everything out of it that we could have done. But that doesn't take anything away from Daniel's performance. He was blindingly fast on Thursday and again today - well done to him on his first pole. We had a smooth session until Q3 when both cars suffered a fuel pressure problem just before their first runs. With Nico, we held him in the garage and this delayed him getting out on track, putting him out of sync with other cars. For Lewis, it happened in the pit lane, so we told him to stop, recovered the car and had to adapt our programme. That meant Lewis only had time to make one run in Q3 - so he didn't have a banker lap time in place and we extended the final run so he could do two flying laps. All of those were compromises on his ultimate performance, so P3 was a great piece of damage limitation in the end. Nico did a great job to take P2 and made a good step between his two runs - but ultimately it wasn't enough for pole. Now we need to look ahead to the race. If it stays dry and Ricciardo gets off the line well, then he will be very hard to beat because track position is everything here. But if it rains, as the forecast suggests it might, then we could be in for a very eventful afternoon - and there will be opportunities for us to take advantage of.

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical) 

"A very tense qualifying session. We could see from FP3 that it was going to be close between ourselves, Red Bull and Ferrari. As it transpired, the balance swung between the three teams - with Sebastian quickest in Q1, Nico and Lewis in Q2 and Daniel ultimately taking pole in Q3. Our programme ran well until the beginning of Q3, when we experienced a fuel pressure problem on both cars - delaying Nico's first run and unfortunately costing Lewis one of his two planned runs entirely. We eventually sent Lewis out with enough fuel to attempt two timed laps and he did a great job to recover third position with what became a single timed lap. Both drivers performed well throughout and we've been left wondering whether pole was a possibility with a smoother session. But our attention now turns to tomorrow's race. It won't be straightforward - but there are still possibilities to get the win and we'll be working hard overnight to see where we can make the difference."

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director

“Monaco provided the usual exciting qualifying session, enhanced by the fact that everyone knows just how important it is, given the difficulty of overtaking. Monaco has traditionally been a one-stop race. However, theoretically a two-stop strategy is faster now that we have introduced the ultrasoft. Theory and practice are often quite different though, so it’s going to be very interesting to see the strategic choices made tomorrow. Wear and degradation was low during Thursday, even on the ultrasoft, but with more running on this compound today the teams have learned ways to reduce it still further.”