Nico Rosberg managed to set the fastest time in both first and second practice ahead of Sunday’s 78-lap race, showing strong pace in both one lap and race runs.
Speaking in a team statement after completing second practice, Rosberg reflected on a positive day. “A very productive day for us. We completed a lot of laps and I feel comfortable in the car,” he said. “It seems that we are quick again on one lap but we have been working hard again to make improvements to our race pace.”
The German is intrigued to see where the Mercedes W04 will sit in the pecking order, adding “It will be interesting to see where we are compared to the others over the weekend as it’s not really representative today.”
Hamilton and Rosberg both know Monaco well and Rosberg is happy to return to the principality. “It feels great to be back here driving around the streets of my home city here again and I’m very much looking forward to the weekend.”
His team-mate Lewis Hamilton was similarly upbeat, admitting “It’s been a positive start for us today and I’m pleased with what we have achieved here in Monaco. We did some good long run work this afternoon and the supersoft tyres seem to be performing well.”
Whilst he is feeling good about the W04′s race pace, he feels that his qualifying performance and set-up needs to be improved. “I need to improve my one lap pace however, partly with the balance of the car and partly from me. The car is almost there and the pace looks good so we’ll look at the data tonight and work on those areas which can still be improved before the weekend.”
Team Principal Ross Brawn was relieved to see a clean Thursday practice day for his two drivers, but knows that the real test is on Sunday. “Today was a pretty good day for us and it’s always nice to come through the first day of the Monaco weekend cleanly. The true test will come on Sunday but I’m pleased with the technical work that we covered in the two practice sessions today.”
Nico Rosberg finished second last year around the twisty streets and Mercedes typically go well at the circuit, however it is always close in Monaco due to the short lap length and high downforce characteristics.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic