Reaction round-up: Monaco Grand Prix qualifying
Nico Rosberg secured a controversial pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix after setting the fastest time in the top 10 shoot-out.
The German driver made a mistake at Mirabeau on his final lap, bringing out the yellow flags and costing his team-mate a chance of taking the top spot. Here is a round-up of the driver’s reactions following qualifying at the Circuit de Monaco:
“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.”
“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.”
“‘Ive 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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 laptimes, 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic
Jack Leslie is a freelance motorsport journalist. He has been part of the Richland F1 team since the very start and made his debut in the F1 paddock for the website at the 2014 Austrian Grand Prix. Jack also writes for Car Throttle and RumbleStripNews, as well as running a popular blog.