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In quotes - Sunday in Monte Carlo

24 May 2015

You should never take anything for granted in Monaco and Sunday's race in the Principality proved just that. The men involved report back on a dramatic afternoon on the streets...

Williams

Valtteri Bottas, 14th

“This has been a tough weekend that ended in an even tougher race. We tried everything to try and get some points but with the pace we had it wasn’t possible today. We tried the two-stop strategy which never really came to us, with the safety car coming at just the wrong time. There are not too many positives from the weekend but plenty we can learn from as to why we struggled. We know we still have a good car and go to races in the next few weeks where we should be able to demonstrate our true performance.”

Felipe Massa, 15th

“Today was a very frustrating day and a race to forget for us. My race was effectively over in Turn 1, with another car pushing me over and I was left with a lot of damage to my tyre and front wing. The pit stop I had to make on Lap 1 put me right at the back of the pack and I spent the rest of the race looking out for blue flags. The car has not had its usual performance all weekend but we know that we are heading to tracks in Canada and Austria that suit our car and we should be back fighting towards the front.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering

“It was quite a difficult weekend and we were nowhere near where we should be. At Monaco, if qualifying doesn’t go well you have partly made your bed so we knew getting points was going to be tough. It wasn’t a great race for us but we can’t dwell too much as we are out of position. We have to look at all areas to see what went wrong here with the inherent car performance and set-up. We cannot return here in 2016 and repeat this performance. We now have to focus firmly on the next three races. We have a really good package and some healthy upgrades coming soon so we look forward to coming back stronger in Canada.”

Marussia

Roberto Merhi, 16th

“I’m really happy with my result today. The pace was good and it was a great feeling to be racing in my first Monaco Grand Prix. I’m pleased for the team to get another two-car finish and we have plenty of data again to understand how we can keep improving the car for the next few races. The past few races have been tough but it feels like everything is coming together now. Canada will be a new and different experience again but it feels like we are making good progress now.”

Will Stevens, 17th

“It’s nice to take the chequered flag at my first Monaco Grand Prix and it’s another good result for the team, getting both cars to the finish once again. It wasn’t a straightforward race though; quite tough in fact. I picked up some front wing damage on my first lap and the combination of struggling for downforce whilst being on the prime tyre really hurt our race, and of course put me behind Roberto. So quite a bit of frustration along the way but we continue to be encouraged by our reliability and some improvement in pace here this weekend.”

John Booth, Team Principal

“Roberto drove a strong race today and was clearly relishing his debut at this historic circuit. He had good pace and has started to find a better groove after struggling rather more at the last race in Spain. For Will things were a little more frustrating as it seems that damage to his front wing was more severe than was apparent, so it was a long race for him. Nonetheless, we are pleased to get both cars home for the fourth race in succession and to see we have improved the car a little here versus the teams directly ahead. It hasn’t been an easy week for the team as this event carries so much significance for us, but we have achieved our target of a strong race and a two-car finish. Although it is a very different result to the one we left Monaco with 12 months ago, in the context of this year it is a good performance.”

Force India

Sergio Perez, 7th

“I’m very happy right now. As a team we’ve done a fantastic job all weekend and seventh place is the result of all this hard work. For me it was a normal race - very straightforward and quiet, which is strange for Monaco. I was racing on my own for most of the race because the cars ahead were able to pull a gap on me and I had space to the cars behind. It was difficult to keep concentration for 78 laps, but after the safety car I was on fresh supersoft tyres and it was really good fun. I was able to attack Kimi [Raikkonen], but there wasn’t an opportunity to get the position. It’s a very important result for the whole team and gives us six points for the championship. It means I’ve scored points in half the races this season, which shows we’ve done a good job of maximising our opportunities.”

Nico Hulkenberg, 11th

“My race was obviously very difficult right from the start: Fernando [Alonso] more or less pushed me into the wall on the first lap and from that moment I basically had to play catch up. I knew he was there so I left him a bit more space and turned in later, but he must have locked up as he crashed into me and sent me straight into the wall. The only damage was to the front wing, but getting back to the pits and changing the wing cost me a lot of time. My race was already compromised then - it is not easy to race from so far back because you have to let the leaders through and you're on the back foot the whole time. In terms of pace I was doing quite well, especially when in clean air, but obviously getting lapped costs you a lot of time. It is a shame as I feel that without the incident I would have been well into the points today. I still take encouragement from our pace and hopefully we can maximise the next weekend in Canada and get some more points.”

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal & Managing Director

“Monaco always gives us an opportunity to shine and seventh place for Sergio is a fantastic result for the team. We did most of the hard work yesterday in qualifying and Sergio delivered a faultless performance this afternoon. He should be very proud of scoring his first points in Monaco. I feel very disappointed for Nico who was unlucky to be hit by Fernando. He had similar pace to Sergio and would surely have scored good points as well. With six points we have moved up to sixth in the championship. The team is doing a tremendous job and the result today helps keep the pressure on the teams around us.”

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson, 13th

“Finishing 13th is disappointing, but starting from 17th we knew that it was going to be a difficult race. We need to analyse the data to get a better understanding. Then we can learn from it and do better next time. In general the balance of the car felt good, and I think at some points during the race the pace was quite strong.”

Felipe Nasr, 9th

“It was a great race, and I am happy to have scored points again. It is an amazing feeling being rewarded after such a difficult weekend. It was an exhausting race, as I did my best to extract the most out of the car. The team did a very good job by choosing the correct strategy and calling me in for the pit stops at the right times. The points are for everyone in the team.”

Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal

“An encouraging result, especially when you take into account how the weekend had gone up to the race. Felipe drove a good race. In Monaco you need to drive intelligently and be patient while waiting for chances. This is what he has done. Marcus did the same, unfortunately was not rewarded with points, but he also put in a solid performance. The whole team did a very good job – here at the track and also at the factory in Hinwil.”

Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering

“Earning two points here in Monaco is undoubtedly a good achievement, especially when considering our practice results. Felipe achieved the best out of his 14th starting position, which was also thanks to a few retirements. He was able to keep up well from the start on, so we adapted our strategy to our direct competitors. During the safety car period we called him in for his second pit stop, because we expected not to lose a position. Marcus was stuck in traffic more, so we went for a different strategy with his first pit stop planned early in the race. Felipe and Marcus both did a good job. Driving a trouble-free race on this street circuit over 78 laps is not at all easy.”

Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat, 4th

“I am happy with today’s race, it was my best finish in Formula One and it was a great result for the team to finish fourth and fifth. I had a good start and was able to control my race from then on. We took a gamble with strategy allowing Daniel past after the last safety car to try and fight for a podium position, as he was on the faster supersoft tyres. But as he was unable to pass anyone, as agreed, he gave the place back on the last lap. We hope we can carry this momentum onto the next races.”

Daniel Ricciardo, 5th

“It was a good race today and a good result for the team. I had some fun in the last few laps trying to get close to Hamilton and Vettel to fight for a podium position. I knew we were in a position to attack in the end which made it exciting I think. The team worked well, Dany let me past to have a crack at the podium and I gave back the place on the last lap when I couldn’t get past Hamilton. I had a little incident with Kimi and it’s hard to get a clean move without a little contact in Monaco, I appreciate the stewards not taking any further action and I think the crowd and the fans enjoyed it. We’ll try and keep up the pace in the next few races to hopefully stay in the top five.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal

“It was a great result for the team today and we maximised every opportunity that came our way in the race. It was all fairly static until the last safety car, which gave us the opportunity to have a free stop with Daniel and put a set of supersofts on the car. He was able to get past Kimi on what was a great move to grab fifth. As Daniel was on the faster tyre, we switched the cars to see if he could have a go at the two guys fighting ahead, on the understanding that if he didn’t make the place he would give it back to Dany on the last lap. Dany drove a very strong race, his best race so far this season and best ever result in F1. It was a great team performance and I think that was the best result we could have hoped for today.”

Thierry Salvi, Renault

“This weekend has been extremely busy as we knew we could make a difference on this city track. We did the maximum we could at Viry over the last weeks to ensure reliability, but we also worked on the driveability, knowing that it is a key factor here. I think we’re back in the right direction and got the first good result of the year. Both drivers had a very exciting race and were able to challenge the frontrunners right until the end. It’s a strong result for the team and for Renault and we all deserved these precious points.”

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, motorsport director

“I was as surprised as everyone else to see the final pit stop that decided the outcome of the race. But that shouldn’t take anything away from the great job that Lewis Hamilton did throughout the entire weekend. It just goes to show that it’s never over until the chequered flag falls in Formula One: a fact that Nico Rosberg clearly appreciated today! The long safety car period at the end of the race obviously made maintaining tyre temperatures important at the re-start. In the end, we saw a spectacular finish, with the one-stop strategy that we predicted for the race used by the vast majority of competitors.”

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, 12th

“I didn’t see much of the accident with Verstappen, just his car flying past me in the air! Overtaking in Monaco is difficult and I think he gained that bit of experience today. It’s good to know he’s okay, as it was a bit dangerous for both of us, and it cost us what would have been a hard-earned point. Until then my race had been going pretty well when you consider where we started. The car felt good and the strategy was working well. After the accident, I turned around which established all four wheels were there, then looked in the mirrors to see if the rear wing was still there too, then got on with my race.”

Pastor Maldonado, DNF

“I had a problem with the brakes and I could feel the pedal pressure wasn’t right from very early on and that compromised our race from the off. It got worse and worse so we had to retire the car. It’s a shame for the team, we had a good car here, very good pace for the race and I think a strong strategy. There’s potential in the car, we just need to carry on, work hard, and look forward in the championship."

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal

"What a frustrating day for both our drivers. Pastor was in a great position to score well but a technical issue meant he had to retire. Romain was also looking like getting a point after his penalty-place start but was robbed of that by an incident. The positives are that both drivers remain optimistic and full of praise for the car. Monaco is always a unique event and for us we started something special with our new relationship with Pharrell Williams. We’re looking forward to Canada for many reasons.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director

"With Romain we did all we could with strategy to assist him to move up the order, and he was in tenth position after starting fifteenth, but he was taken off by Max Verstappen. For Pastor it was a real shame as he was in a strong position with a quick car with seventh position looking like a strong probability. Unfortunately he suffered from what looks like was a hydraulic leak which meant we had to retire him. Despite less than positive results here, we could see good pace from the E23, meaning we’re quietly confident heading to the next races."

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz, 10th

"What an amazing race, I’m very happy with the result! To start from the pit lane in Monaco, on my debut, and to cross the line in P10 feels like a victory! It was a very good race from the team in terms of strategy and tyre management. We worked for it very hard and completed a super long stint on the Soft tyre. This finally paid off and we managed to score a point. I was really enjoying it out there, I was quick and enjoying this unique track, I didn’t want the race to end!"

Max Verstappen, DNF

"I got off to a good start and even though I was blocked between Perez and Maldonado, in general I was happy with how the car performed straight away. I took it easy during the first laps and stayed out of trouble. After that we had great pace, I managed to pass Maldonado early on in the race and we then closed the gap to Perez. I was feeling very good in the car! Unfortunately, we had a slow first pit-stop, so we lost some positions and had to fight my way forward. I pitted again when I got stuck behind Bottas and on the Super Soft tyres we had great pace again. I was really happy with the car in the race. I was even catching up with Vettel and Rosberg, even though I decided to stay behind because it made it easier to get past other people. Then I got very close to Grosjean while fighting for the final points position and I ended up in the barriers. It was quite a big crash, but I’m feeling fine."

McLaren

Jenson Button, 8th

"It’s been a positive day for us. We were hoping to score a point today, and we scored four. I certainly didn’t expect to finish eighth. At the start I lost a position to Nico [Hulkenberg], but got it back by going around the outside of him at Turn Three on the first lap, which was good fun. Once I got past Pastor [Maldonado], my race was basically about turning quali lap after quali lap: it was flat-out.

"That was tough - in fact it was pretty physical out there - but I really enjoyed it. I’m really happy for the team - we’ve worked hard to get into this position, and they deserve this. We have work to do, but this is a hugely positive step for us."

Fernando Alonso, DNF

"At the start, I don't think I deserved the penalty [for the incident with Hulkenberg]. At that particular moment, I don't know what else I could have done. Most significantly, it's a pity we couldn't finish the race today. The car started to upshift in a really strange way on the lap before I stopped; then, on the first corner, I had no braking. The car stayed in neutral and I couldn't put it in gear.

"That's frustrating because we could have had both cars in the point for the first time this season. We need to keep improving the car to ensure these sorts of things don't happen again. Still, having these problems this year is good, because it means we won't repeat them next year."

Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda racing director

"Since the beginning of the season we've been consistent in our messaging: we're all working extremely hard, and the result of that arduous toil is steady improvement. Today, thanks to Jenson's eighth place, our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership was rewarded with its first world championship points - a result that underlines that steady improvement.

"Okay, we've now squirrelled away four world championship points, but, although Jenson drove very well, we won't waste time celebrating that milestone. Yes, it's encouraging, but our ambitions run to far greater heights than eighth places. And we'll achieve them, believe me.

"For Fernando, finally, this afternoon was another frustrating one, and we're still investigating the cause of his retirement. He, too, drove very well, and, had his car proved reliable, would also have scored world championship points."

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer - chief officer of motorsport

"Thanks to Jenson's steady run, and the team's effort to improve the power unit's driveability for Monaco, we earned our first points of the season today. It feels like we've now finally arrived at the start-line of the race calendar. As for Fernando, he left the garage feeling confident that he could finish in the points. He was running well in the race – and I also felt confident that we could see both cars in the top 10 for the first time this season - but, unfortunately, a drive-fail warning popped up and ended his race prematurely. As always, McLaren-Honda will keep pushing as a team and work towards better results at the next race."

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg, 1st

"That was my luckiest experience in racing so far. What a crazy race. I was surprised when I saw no one else behind the safety car than me. I didnt know what was happening in that moment. But I concentrated on getting temperature into the tyres as they felt like ice. Until the safety car Lewis has done a perfect job, he was better than me over the weekend, so he definitely deserved the win. I know how horrible he must feel now. This weekend was a warning for me that I have to work even harder for the next race in Montreal. For sure I also feel happy to win again here in Monaco. It's always so special, and one part of me will celebrate that victory today. A win is a win."

Lewis Hamilton, 3rd

"I can't express the way I feel at the moment. I saw the team out in the pit-lane on one of the screens and thought Nico was pitting. I came in with full confidence that the others had done the same. This is a race that's been close to my heart for years and it's special to me, so I really wanted to win. The team have been brilliant all year, so I don't blame them. We'll analyse and work out what went wrong, but we'll do that collectively and try to improve for the future. I always say to my team and my fans, we win and we lose together. You live to fight another day."

Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport 

"What a crazy day. I don't think there has ever been a more bittersweet feeling than this one. We have won the Monaco Grand Prix and we have lost the Monaco Grand Prix all at the same time. First of all, we must apologise to Lewis. We win and we lose together and what I am proud of in this team is that we take collective responsibility. But this is a day when we simply have to say sorry to our driver, because our mistake cost him the victory here. What happened? In simple terms, we got our numbers wrong. We thought we had the gap for Lewis to take fresh tyres and come back out in the lead behind the Safety Car, ahead of Nico and covering off any risk of another competitor taking fresh tyres. But the calculation was incorrect and he came out in third place. It was our decision to call him in and our mistake, pure and simple; in these situations, a driver trusts his team. Lewis had driven flawlessly until then and really delivered a perfect weekend, with a stunning pole lap and a masterful race. There's nothing more to say other than to highlight the grace with which he handled the situation; he was a leader and a true sportsman this afternoon. As for Nico, he didn't put a foot wrong all day, and it would be wrong if we didn't take the time to recognise his achievement: a third consecutive win in Monaco is something only three other drivers in history have achieved before. It is a very special moment indeed and one for him to savour. He didn't have the pace of Lewis today but, in this sport, you take the victories any way they come. This, too, is motor racing. We now need to stay calm and analyse how we made the mistake this afternoon. We will be harshly self-critical behind closed doors and this experience will make us a better and a stronger team in the races ahead. There is still a very long way to go in this championship and today showed that we have the performance in our car to do the job this year."

Ferrari

Sebastian Vettel, 2nd

"Today we took everything we could and it is nice to end up in second place. I tried to be agressive on the start, but I couldn’t get the second position straight away. We had a good pace and we put the Mercedes under pressure, closing the gap on the pit stop and not letting them get away at any point, but obviously it was not enough. We tried the undercut but they replied a lap after and unfortunately they came out in front. In the last laps Lewis with the supersoft tyres behind me was putting a lot of pressure, it was really difficult because for some laps my tyres were really cold and I was struggling to make sure I stay on track, I was focused on having good exits. There is still something we need to understand and to learn, if it’s colder in qualifying on one lap it is difficult to get the tyres work; this is something we need to improve. I want to thank the guys in Maranello, the engine was fine and very good on the straights so that we were safe staying in front. In all areas there’s a lot of work going on because we want more, we keep our feet on the ground knowing where we want to go and were we want to be. I’m very happy, it was a great race and the team gave 100 percent. In Canada the track layout is totally different, but we will try to be competitive there as well."

Kimi Raikkonen, 6th

"We knew that after starting from sixth position it would have been a difficult race. I was all the time behind slower cars and there was no way to overtake them even if I had a much better pace. At the the pit stop we managed to pass one Red Bull, we gained one place but we lost it for a stupid reason. I was following my normal line when Ricciardo hit my rear tyre and pushed me wide, regaining the position. It’s not very clear what you are allowed to do, it’s really odd but there’s nothing we can do. For the next races we have to make a better job overall to make sure we get tyres working and things sorted out without mistakes on Saturday in qualifying. This will make our life a lot easier on Sunday. Now we go to Canada a bit happier overall but it’s too early to make predictions, we have similar tyres but the layout of the track is completely different, so let’s wait and see."

Maurizio Arrivabene, Team Principal

"Congratulations to Seb for holding Hamilton back in the final laps of the race. It was no easy job because Lewis had supersoft tyres, while Seb’s Primes were low on pressure because of the laps he had done behind a very slow safety car. In the key moment of the race Inaki Rueda, our race strategist, told everybody to keep calm and stay out on track, while the Mercedes came in for fresh tyres. I am aware of the fact that we were lucky, our competitors are intelligent and very strong, but we outsmarted them this time. As for Kimi, he has a problem with qualifying, because he’s always strong on race pace. When Ricciardo got past him, I was determined to have a hard look at the rules, but then I was told that now the move is allowed when the driver in front opens up the line and the one behind manages to put at least on wheel inside. So we respect the stewards’ decision. In the next races we’ll not be standing still, we have some developments in the pipeline, but if luck comes again, we are prepared to take advantage. Anyway, so far we’ve always been on the podium this year, and the gap is not massive. Maybe on some tracks we will experience the same issues that we had in Barcelona, but on other circuits we can be stronger."