The drivers plus senior paddock personnel offer their feedback on an engrossing, highly-charged Monaco qualifying session...
Kevin Magnussen (8th, Q3 - 1:17.555)
"I'm not completely happy to be starting eighth, but we pretty much got the best out of what we had; maybe seventh would have been possible - at a push. It's always a challenge to hook up the perfect lap around here - and it never really feel like you succeed. This is a street circuit, and it's bumpy, with barriers and walls right at the apex, so you make little mistakes and corrections, and always feel like you could have got a little closer to the barriers.
"Nonetheless, the car felt really good, it's just frustrating when you see the lap times, because it feels like we should be higher up. We can be reasonably happy with today. Tomorrow, we need a good launch, a good first lap, and to stay out of trouble - then maybe we can score some solid points."
Jenson Button (12th, Q2 - 1:17.988)
"On the first lap of my final run in Q2, I came across one of the Toro Rossos at the Swimming Pool. I don't think he initially saw me, then he tried to back out of the corner, but there wasn't enough room for two cars into the second part of that particular part of the circuit. It's a pity; the pace was there in Q1, but I didn't get a lap together in Q2. No excuses.
"The race will be tough starting from 12th position - the tyres last so long around here, so it could end up being quite processional. Maybe somebody will be brave and try some moves and make the race a bit of fun. Let's see if that upsets the order. I'm not hoping for rain on Sunday; no driver likes the wet around here, especially with these tyres - you can't get enough temperature into them. For everybody's sake, I think it'll be better if it's dry tomorrow. It's going to be a tough race for me, but I'll see what I can do."
Eric Boullier, McLaren racing director
"Getting one car into the top eight was what we were realistically expecting today - and Kevin did a great job to do just that. He's driven with great assurance all weekend, made no mistakes, and pulled it all together when it mattered. Jenson was unfortunate in Q2 - he'd been working on some balance issues all weekend, and couldn't quite get rid of them. He was unlucky on his final run - he didn't get a lap in when the tyres were at their best, and he just missed the cut.
"Our focus now turns to tomorrow, and maximising our chances of scoring points with both cars. A circuit like this can always throw up surprises, so we'll be aiming to have clean races with both drivers, establishing Kevin in the top 10, and helping Jenson move into the points. Both drivers have shown great consistency and pace all weekend, and they're both capable of mopping up places tomorrow. It'll be a long and eventful race."
Adrian Sutil (18th, Q1 - 1:18.745)
"It was a disappointing qualifying. The first run was quite good. We just had bad luck with the two yellow flags at the end of the first qualifying session. It is a shame, but that can happen in Monaco. We were not able to show what could have been possible. We now have to look forward. The race is long and everything can happen. I am looking forward and I hope to get the most out of the car."
Esteban Gutierrez (17th, Q1 - 1:18.741)
"It was not a positive qualifying for the team, so we cannot be happy with today's outcome. We are on the edge of getting into Q2, so every minor incident on track is affecting us massively. Today it was a big challenge to find a clean lap. Bringing the tyres up to temperature took a few laps, which was not ideal either. We need to analyse the data and see what exactly happened. Regarding the race, we all know that it is hard to overtake in Monaco. However, a good start can bring us closer to the front. During the race we have to take any chances that we get."
Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal
"That was a disappointing qualifying for us. Neither driver was really satisfied with the set-up of the car. If other circumstances present themselves, such as the yellow flags at the end of the session, this is the outcome. There is no doubt that this will be a difficult race for us. We need to focus on our work and have to make the best out of this situation."
Giampaolo Dall’Ara , Sauber head of track engineering
"Both our drivers are within just a few milliseconds, which indicates that the result reflects where we are today on this track. We have to accept that at the moment this is our performance, and we have to keep pushing to improve. As for the race, a lot is still possible, as we have seen many times in the past, so we will keep our motivation."
Kamui Kobayashi (21st, Q1 - 1:20.133)
"As we'd had so few laps in FP2 we went straight out in FP3 and started with a six lap run on the soft tyres. The car was understeering a bit more than yesterday and we still had an issue with tyre temperatures, but less than in FP1. For runs two and three we went onto the supersofts, running a different program to our normal FP3 which we had to do because of the lack of FP2 laps on Thursday.
"In Q1 we did two runs on supersofts. The first run was ok but I wanted a bit more front wing for the second run and went back out but we just didn't have the pace to improve today and finished 21st. It's fair to say it's been a pretty tough weekend so far but tomorrow's what really counts and if the weather forecasts are right and there might be rain, anything could happen. I'm just focused on doing the best job I can and even though it's difficult for us right now, everyone's still working as hard as ever - hopefully we'll get some reward in the race."
Marcus Ericsson (22nd, Q1 - 1:21.732)
"For most of FP3 I was struggling with traction and pretty low grip on both tyre compounds. We did three runs, one on the softs and then two on the supersofts with different fuel loads so we could look at how they'd perform in both quali and the race.
"I had the same traction problem in Q1, even though the track temps had gone up from FP3 - I didn't have enough grip to really push and with quite a few cars slowing down in the last sector I just couldn't put together a clean lap. On my final push lap I was behind Massa going into turn five and he moved offline a bit which meant I had to change my braking point. I locked up and went into the barrier with him which was my mistake. It's unfortunate it took him out too but it looks like the car is ok so now I want to put today behind me and concentrate on the race."
Cedrik Staudohar, Renault Sport F1 track support leader
Yet again we pushed the limits of the PU to extract the maximum performance from the ICE and the MGU-K and ran without any issues. We are ready to fight tomorrow, with different options of energy management to take advantage of any opportunity that comes our way."
Romain Grosjean (14th, Q2 - 1:18.196)
"Unfortunately we were not fast enough. We were hoping that the warmer conditions might help a little bit today but it wasn't to be. It was a difficult qualifying session despite the car balance being okay but I think that the car is struggling a bit in slow corners, which is something that we were concerned might be the case. We will have to work on this to make it better as the E22's much better in the high speed areas. It is very difficult to predict what will happen in races here, but we will always fight to the end."
Pastor Maldonado (15th, Q2 - 1:18.356)
"After the positive test we had in Barcelona we were hoping for a better result today. However this track hasn't suited us so far this weekend. We struggled to get sufficient temperature in the tyres which seem to be a very hard compound for Monaco. I also suffered a lot from the traffic which didn't help with tyre temperature or getting a fast lap. It's a long race tomorrow so we'll try to be clean in the first couple of laps, try to have a good strategy and we will see what we can do and deliver as best we can."
Alan Permane, Lotus trackside operations director
"Disappointing, we simply didn't have the pace through the slow speed corners here. Unfortunately, there are rather a lot of low speed corners here which means we've struggled relative to our rivals and fourteen and fifteen on the grid is the result. Sunday will be a long race and we will take any opportunity to make up places and finish the race in the best position possible. We face a tough task. Monaco is the most difficult circuit of the season to overtake on and the tyre allocation here is particularly durable so trying something creative with strategy won't be an option unless a safety car plays into our hands. We'll be looking at all the permutations overnight to maximise every opportunity there is."
Daniel Ricciardo (3rd, Q3 - 1:16.384)
"I think I could have been closer to the front today and I don't like it when that's the case. I made a mistake in the last run in Q3; we were up and I thought it was going well, but then I made a mistake and lost the time I had made. Anyways, there's no room for excuses here so I'll just have to learn for next time. I would be disappointed not to finish on the podium tomorrow. I think we have the pace to hang with Mercedes, so hopefully we can at least get one of them off the line and maybe do something with strategy and give ourselves a real chance of taking a win."
Sebastian Vettel (4th, Q3 - 1:16.547)
"I had some problems in qualifying today. Somewhere in Q1 we lost ERS, so basically the electric power to discharge the car and we didn't get it back. In the end we ran a different mode which was fine, but surely not as good as it should be. It was the first time it had failed this weekend, but these things happen. We tried lots of different modes, but at some point you have to just get your head down and get on with it. My time was okay but then we weren't able to improve on the second flying lap in Q3 as there was a yellow flag. I thought we would give Mercedes a hard time today, but we struggled with some things and the gap was too big - it's still good to be on the second row for tomorrow."
Christian Horner, Red Bull team principal
"Locking out the second row of the grid is a very positive result. Unfortunately we had an issue with Sebastian's ERS today, which wasn't functioning properly, so we had to run in a slightly down-graded mode for qualifying and that, combined with the yellow flags, meant he didn't have a chance to improve on his second run. Daniel, who has been on it all weekend, did another super job to line up third on the grid and with both Red Bull cars on the second row, we have a good chance to make a race of it with Mercedes tomorrow."
Jules Bianchi (19th, Q1 - 1:19.332)
"It would have been tight to make it to Q2, but I think it was a possibility. My first run was okay but the second one was compromised by the yellow flags and traffic and I lost around 0.5s, with no chance of improving. Looking at the positives though, we were 0.6s off the Saubers, so taking into account the lost time I am encouraged by our pace to them. We have been pretty close all weekend, so now we have to make it work in the race. I think we can have a good fight tomorrow and give a nice reward for the Team."
Max Chilton (20th, Q1 - 1:19.928)
"Compared to this morning's FP3 session the car was a big improvement. I'm pretty pleased with how things went in qualifying to be honest. If we take all the intervening factors into consideration, I think we have a good car for tomorrow and we can be quite optimistic for the race. We've seen a few incidents today that are a reminder of how tricky this circuit can be, and with the potential for safety cars as well, there is every chance of an opportunity arising for us, so it's important that we are ready to take advantage."
John Booth, Marussia team principal
"We chose to run FP3 a little differently due to the loss of running on Thursday with the weather. Initially, we completed a long run with both cars, which allowed the drivers time to settle back into the circuit. Jules was happy with the car and it seemed that he was pretty much picking up from where he left off at the end of FP2. Max was not so happy and the car was not behaving as he was used to. At the end of FP3 we felt quite happy with our pace and the gap to the front of the midfield group was very tight. Into qualifying we revised Max's set-up and it significantly improved the car for him. With Jules, unfortunately his second run was not productive due to the yellow flags and traffic, but this is Monaco! Overall, it is very disappointing that we didn't get the chance to show our true potential in what is always the most important qualifying session of the year. Tomorrow will be a long and tough race for the Team and the drivers, however we will, as always, look to take any opportunities and hopefully have some fun racing with the guys in front."
Jean-Eric Vergne (7th, Q3 - 1:17.540)
"I'm very happy with today's qualifying, certainly for myself but also for the guys, who have deserved some good results for all their hard work. To have both cars in the top ten is a great achievement for everybody. My last lap on the supersofts was affected by the yellow flags but the first one was enough to secure P7, which is quite a good position to start the race tomorrow. If we can put everything together, I'm confident we can finish in the points with both cars. I will definitely push to at least maintain my seventh position until the chequered flag."
Daniil Kvyat (9th, Q2 - 1:18.090)
"This was definitely the messiest Qualifying session of my career. In Q1 I lost the rear all of a sudden and touched the wall, so I had to come back to the pits for a nose change. I regained confidence straight away though and managed to do two good laps in Q2, which I'm very happy about. Unfortunately Q3 was a bit unlucky, because I was not able to go for a proper lap then, having started off on used options. When I went out for the final run on new options, I had to back off because of the yellow flag. Obviously this is frustrating because it is a track where you cannot overtake easily, but this is the way it is. We will now focus on preparing for tomorrow's race, where we aim to finish in the points."
James Key, Toro Rosso technical director
"I think we can be pleased to get both cars into Q3 and that was our hope from some encouraging running on Thursday. We have got a lot of new things on the car under the bodywork this weekend, some mechanical changes which all seem to be working in the right direction and this is just the first positive step of our development plan for the next events. Today the temperatures were different compared to the other sessions so it was difficult to know how the car would behave but the team and the drivers did a good job. Both put in fantastic laps and I would like to congratulate them, particularly Daniil for being his first Monaco ever. Obviously it is tomorrow that counts but a good qualifying session is really important here on this track."
Felipe Massa (16th, Q2 - no time)
"I did everything I could in the first session but at the end Ericsson hit me and that ruined my qualifying. I was hopeful for a good position today as the car actually felt ok; it would have been a fight to get into the top ten, not easy, but possible. I am disappointed and tomorrow is going to be a challenge but with this car points are still possible."
Valtteri Bottas (13th, Q3 - 1:18.082)
"As a team this wasn't the optimum result. The issue we had was the getting heat into the front tyres. The car felt ok, but I didn't have the grip that I wanted. We have some work to do to try and get this sorted for tomorrow. I am still optimistic of some points though as they are only a few places away and anything can happen in Monaco."
Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance
"Today hasn't been the easiest of days as is clear from our qualifying positions. Qualifying is important here however there are 78 laps tomorrow meaning we still have time to recuperate and score some points. The midfield was very tight and sadly due to the nature of the circuit we were towards the back of it rather than in our usual position at the front of it. There were just a few tenths in it from where we should be so we need to analyse everything to ensure we understand it more for tomorrow. Felipe had an unlucky session with the incident with Ericsson which is unfortunate as he was looking good up to that point and we didn't quite have the pace in Valtteri's car. There is a little bit of work to do to get into the points tomorrow but it is ultimately still very possible."
Fernando Alonso (5th, Q3 - 1:16.686)
"Today's result encapsulates the state of play this weekend and it's more or less what we expected, but I don't think it went badly, because we managed to stay ahead of rivals who have been front runners so far, such as Williams and Force India and, most importantly, we are closer to the Red Bulls. We have made more changes than usual here, because we were suffering with understeer and we had some problems under braking and the car has improved a lot. Compared to what we expected, the tyres seem too hard and we are struggling a lot to get them up to temperature. If the race is run in the dry tomorrow, then it will be an endurance race to see who can stay out on track the longest. However, if it was to rain, as has been suggested, then just getting to the finish will already be a good result, because as we saw on Thursday from the few laps we did, it's really on the limit, like sliding around on ice."
Kimi Raikkonen (6th, Q3 - 1:17.389)
"I'm not happy with this qualifying, because even though we worked hard on the set-up, making several changes, my feeling with the car didn't improve much. Right from Thursday I had to fight to find the best solution and the time lost during the second free practice session certainly didn't help. On top of that, we are not able to make the tyres work well here and in that situation, it's not easy to put together a good lap, especially on a track where you don't get a second chance. Sixth place is not ideal, but neither is it a disaster and tomorrow we will do our best to get the most out of it all."
Pat Fry, Ferrari chassis director
"Finding the right window to put in the quick laps and avoid traffic is always a crucial aspect of qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, especially in Q1 and Q2. Here, the tyres are taking a few more laps to be at their best and this slightly complicated the process, but luckily we didn't have any major problems with either car. The gap has come down to the Red Bulls and also to Mercedes, but the result hasn't changed since the previous races. In any case, both Fernando and Kimi got the most out of the F14 T, which continues to improve step by step. It will be a long and demanding race tomorrow for the whole team, with the thousands of variables this Grand Prix can throw up. The chance of rain is only slight, but nevertheless we want to be prepared to tackle both scenarios to give our drivers the best chance of bringing home as many points as possible."
Sergio Perez (10th, Q3 - 1:18.327)
"Although it's good to be in the top ten, I'm feeling a bit disappointed not to be higher up the grid. My hot lap in Q3 was quite difficult and I had a lock-up going into the Nouvelle Chicane - so there was definitely more speed in the car. One of the main challenges was getting the tyres in the perfect working condition and I don't think we maximised that today. We need to look at ways to make up positions tomorrow and we should be aggressive with our strategy because I don't think there will be too many overtaking opportunities. Hopefully it will be an interesting race."
Nico Hulkenberg (11th, Q2 - 1:17.846)
"A place in Q3 was very close today - less than a tenth away - but I'm not feeling too disappointed because I was pretty happy with my lap in Q2. There was just a tiny bit missing because it's very hard to get a perfect lap in Monaco. The traffic management by the team was good and although I had some traffic in both Q1 and Q2, it was not at the crucial moments. Starting from P11 with an extra set of fresh tyres gives us a good chance of scoring points tomorrow. It's a long race and we have to be ready to react quickly with the strategy to try and gain some positions. We also expect more cloud cover tomorrow and there is even a chance of rain."
Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal and managing director
"Qualifying in Monaco is crucial and starting the race in P10 and P11 is not a bad result, all things considered. Sergio produced a good effort to make it into Q3, but it was a pity Nico missed out, although he will at least have an extra set of new tyres for tomorrow. Our starting positions mean both drivers have a very good opportunity to race for points. In all the sessions so far we have seen the cars around us having a similar pace to ours, which means making the right strategic calls will be the key to gaining positions tomorrow."
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
"We're seeing a difference of about a second between the supersoft and soft compounds here, both of which are slightly harder than the equivalent tyres last year: even on the supersoft, the best times tended to come on the second flying lap. It's clear that the drivers at the front are very closely matched on the supersoft in particular, so race strategy, and especially the timing of the pit stops, could make an important difference to the outcome of the grand prix. As expected we saw a high degree of track evolution, with the fastest times coming right at the end of each session. We'd expect that pattern to continue for the rest of the weekend, with good weather forecast for tomorrow."
Nico Rosberg (1st, Q3 - 1:15.989)
"I've felt really good in the car for the whole weekend and to get pole again here in Monaco is fantastic. The team has done a great job again this weekend because our performance is so strong even on this unique circuit - which shows that we have developed a really strong chassis and engine package for this season. I did a really great banker lap at the beginning in Q3 but Lewis was very close, so I gave it another try and pushed a bit more, unfortunately just a bit too much over the limit. I locked up the rears and then the fronts offline at the bumpy downhill part of the track before turn five but I just managed to get down the escape road. I have apologised to Lewis for having hindered the opportunity for him to improve his lap time. Now I will look ahead and forward to the race. I need to have a good start and I hope for a strong race with a good strategy."
Lewis Hamilton (2nd, Q3 - 1:16.048)
"I'd had a good weekend so far and I've just been concentrating on my own performance and working on the pace one step at a time. Qualifying was going well today but in hindsight, I should have nailed my best lap before the end of Q3. This is Monaco and there is always the risk of yellow flags here. Of course, I'm extremely disappointed that I didn't get to finish my lap as I was a couple of tenths up. That's motorsport. I have to get the best possible start and then see what we can do from there."
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"That was a thrilling qualifying session. We had two drivers fighting right on the edge for every thousandth of a second and that's when mistakes happen, as they did today for Nico. It was an incredible fight between Nico and Lewis and, from the team's perspective, it's fantastic to have locked out the front row at the track where qualifying matters most. But we have a hard race ahead of us tomorrow and it's one of the most demanding on the calendar. There is still a long way to go."
Paddy Lowe, Mercedes team executive director (technical)
"It was a very close qualifying session and, as usual, the problem around Monaco is getting clean laps with the tyres in the right condition, and without causing obstructions to other cars. That makes it the most intense qualifying session of the year. The team did a fantastic job this afternoon, managing a faultless set of laps with both cars and progressing comfortably through each stage of qualifying, while an extremely close battle was unfolding between Lewis and Nico, as we saw. Unfortunately, this ended with Nico going along at Mirabeau. From a team perspective, it's a great result to get both cars on the front row at Monaco, and a real encouragement to see that the W05 Hybrid is also strong at this circuit, which presents completely different challenges to any other."