Driver Reaction - Monaco Qualy
The drivers have their say after an action packed qualifying session on the streets of Monte Carlo.
By William Esler
Last Updated: 26/05/12 4:48pm
The drivers have their say after an action packed qualifying session on the streets of Monte Carlo.
Mark Webber: "It was a strong day, particularly this afternoon. It's normal around here that the momentum has got to build before qualifying and then you have to start putting it all together and the guys did a really good job on the car. I felt comfortable, which is important, you need to go to the absolute limit everywhere to get the maximum out of the car and squeeze everything you can. It's a great effort from the whole team; we had a lot to do on Thursday night, but the team reacted really well. It's Michael's day and he did a great lap, but we are right there and will have a good race tomorrow. It's been a happy hunting ground for me in the past - Monaco is a very special, unique challenge for the drivers."
Sebastian Vettel: "It was a bit mixed up for me. It was looking very good this morning, but then I think we took a step in the wrong direction and ended up with a difficult car for qualifying. It's a bit of a disappointment, as Mark showed what the car can do around here, so we'll see what we can do tomorrow. It's Monaco and everything is possible here. We could be on a different strategy tomorrow as we're able to start the race on hard tyres, slightly different to the cars ahead, so we'll see how the first stint goes and go from there. It's hard to predict, as it's a long race."
Lewis Hamilton: "I've had a good feeling all weekend, but his afternoon was massively tough: one of my toughest qualifying sessions for some time, in fact. And there are two great drivers ahead of me who'll make it even tougher for me tomorrow.
"I'm fortunate to be one place higher owing to Michael's [Schumacher] penalty, but we struggled a little today, particularly with the very low-speed stuff. It was difficult to get the tyres to 'switch on' and give us the grip we needed.
"Still, qualifying was so much fun - I really enjoyed it - and the tyres and strategy can play a big part around here. If I get a good start, we'll suddenly be in fighting position for the win. Anything can happen at Monaco and I'll give everything tomorrow."
Jenson Button: "Monaco is all about qualifying - that's just the way it is - but I didn't quite have the pace this afternoon. The car felt good this morning and we looked strong, but then we couldn't translate that performance when it mattered. It's strange, because it's there at certain points of the weekend - even this morning, in P3, the car felt good and I was pretty happy.
"I'm hoping that our pace will be better in the race - but it's very tricky to overtake here. The drivers around me are going to be on the same strategy, so it's going to be tough, but as always we'll do our best.
"I've only finished in the points at Monaco three times before -in first, second and third positions. I hope I get another one of those tomorrow!"
Fernando Alonso: "In Italy there's a saying, "he who goes slowly, goes well and goes far," right? Well, that's what we are doing: step by step we are getting closer. I am happy with this qualifying, the best as a team that we have seen this season. I have had a good feeling all weekend long. Maybe in Q3, we could have shaved a few hundredths off here and there, but I don't think I'd have moved up any places, given that the driver in front of me is three tenths away.
"Usually here it falls to the top three on the grid to fight for the win, so I think that our realistic goal is a place on the podium, but we also know that surprises are the order of the day. We saw that again today, with Michael on pole: I was very pleased for him, even though he won't be able to make the most of it because of the penalty. This afternoon and tomorrow morning I will have to work along with the team to decide on the best strategy.
"The softs behave well, but we will start on the supersofts, therefore we go into it a bit blind in terms of how long they will last: we will find out in the race how they perform. In terms of the championship, it's a good grid, given that of the immediate rivals, only Hamilton starts ahead of us and Vettel is actually ninth. Michael alongside me on the grid? It's been a while, so it will be nice to have him close by, but I'll be concentrating on passing the four in front rather than thinking about the sixth placed man."
Felipe Massa: "It was a good qualifying and I could definitely have done even better than this seventh place: fifth was within my reach, given what we saw in Q1 and Q2. Unfortunately, in Q3 I did not manage to get a perfectly clean lap because of traffic, but that's an easy thing to find here.
"Having said that, I am very happy with how things have gone in this Grand Prix so far. Finally, I am having fun at the wheel of the F2012: clearly the set-up we have chosen here makes it much easier to make the most of its potential. It's a point to keep in mind for the rest of the championship too. We still struggle a bit in the places where traction is crucial, which can easily be seen by comparing our car, corner by corner with the best ones, however in this area too we have made progress.
"Michael did a great lap and I congratulate him: a shame that he will then find himself very close to me on the grid tomorrow afternoon. Let's hope we have a good race tomorrow and that a new championship can really get underway for me!"
Michael Schumacher: "It is simply a wonderful feeling to set pole after such a long time, and particularly here in Monaco. Okay, it has taken a little bit longer than I might have wanted in the second chapter of my career, but that makes it even sweeter. It's just beautiful.
"We already thought that this circuit should suit us, and it's the perfect confirmation of all the work from every team member in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart - a big thank you to every one of them, because this is a team result. Of course, it's unfortunate that I won't start from the very front but that's how it is. I will do as well as I can. We know that overtaking is tough but with DRS and KERS, you might as well try it - and you can be sure I will."
Nico Rosberg: "I am pleased with the result today and especially for what we have shown as a team in the past few weeks. We have had a couple of difficult races since the win in China but there has been a lot of hard work to turn it round, and today we were on top as a team which is great to see. Thank you to everybody back at base who has brought us back to the front again.
"I had a pretty smooth qualifying session, and managed to save two sets of new super soft tyres for the race, but it was just so close out there this afternoon, it's incredible and fantastic for Formula One. Congratulations to Michael, he did a fantastic job. Of course, I am sorry for him that he must take the penalty, but that means I will be on the front row in Monaco. And at a race where overtaking can be so difficult, that's a great place to start."
Kimi Raikkonen: "For sure we're not very happy after that session. Since the first practice we've been a little bit behind where we should have been and we've been trying to catch-up. The car is fine, the biggest problem today was trying to get the tyres working as it seemed to be a bit tricky to get them up to temperature. I could have been a bit faster on my best lap, but I went a little bit too deep in the swimming pool section. It's a bit disappointing but you can't get it right every time. At a normal race track you would be able to gain positions through overtaking, but in Monaco this is difficult. That said, anything can happen here so hopefully we can achieve something good tomorrow."
Romain Grosjean: "We are not as high on the grid as we wanted to be, but things were very tight today. I did a very good lap in the first part of Q3 but then I couldn't improve on my second set of tyres. This was a shame because our strategy was perfect for the last part of qualifying. The traffic wasn't too bad but I missed out in sector two. I think pole position was within reach. P4 is not exactly where we wanted to be but the race will be long. It's Monaco, it will be difficult; nonetheless we know that the car is quite good on high fuel and with the tyres, so let's see what we can do and put the best strategy into place."
Nico Hulkenberg: "I had a pretty good run in both Q1 and Q2 - managing to avoid the traffic and my quick lap in Q2 was pretty neat so I don't think I could have found more time. In fact, I almost set identical laptimes in Q1 and Q2. So I'm pretty happy with where I'm starting and hopefully we can come away with some points tomorrow. It's always a fun race, a special place to be and we will be pushing hard to maximise the strategy and get a strong result."
Paul di Resta: "I felt pretty happy with the balance of the car during FP2 on Thursday, but unfortunately it didn't carry over for qualifying. We haven't changed much on the car, but I was struggling with the rear and with traction. So I'm not as far up the grid as I would like to be and it leaves us with a hard task tomorrow, especially because it's so difficult to overtake here. But we also know that Monaco can be an unpredictable race and I hope the strategy can help us fight back tomorrow."
Kamui Kobayashi: "Of course I had hoped for a better result today. With the super soft tyre compound you only have one lap to set a good time. I managed to improve in Q2, but unfortunately not enough to be able to start in Q3. Nevertheless, the car was good and it will be good in the race, so I think we can improve tomorrow. A lot will also depend on our race strategy and some luck in terms of safety car periods, which can always happen here. I'm positive we can score good points tomorrow."
Sergio Pérez: "I am disappointed as I felt we could fight for a very good grid position here. We are still analysing everything to see if there was something wrong with the car. I was on my first lap, so was not pushing a lot. I went into the tunnel and had a lot of understeer and then I went into turns 13 and 14. Thirteen was quite fine but in 14 I just went straight and didn't get the car to turn."
Daniel Ricciardo: "I enjoy this track a lot so I am disappointed with my qualifying position, because I thought I might have had a chance to do a bit better: top ten would have been optimistic but I had thought maybe twelfth was in reach. However, we didn't make that happen. I was relatively happy with the way I drove, but I did not manage to put all my best sector times together on one lap.
"I think I was overdriving at times and making a few mistakes. If I had managed the perfect lap, maybe that would have brought me a couple more tenths, but I was not good enough to go much further up the grid. It's tough to pass here, but we'll try our best for tomorrow. The opening lap will be a fine balance between keeping the car between the barriers and trying to make up some places. Who knows, maybe there will be some rain to help us out."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "I was expecting to do better, because my lap in Q1 was far from perfect and I thought I could put it all together for Q2 when we would have two runs, but my first one ended in the wall. I think I braked a bit on the bump at the exit to the tunnel and hit the outside wall, damaging the nose and also the right rear suspension, which is why I could not continue, even though I managed to drive slowly round to the pits.
"Let's see what we can do in the race, because anything can happen. Up until this afternoon's incident I felt quite good round here so I am still hopeful of having a good race tomorrow, maybe with a bit of rain to create some interesting situations."
Pastor Maldonado: "Everything was quite tight today. We were on the pace and looking good for a top five position but I came across traffic on what would have been my best lap. My second Q3 lap was a bit slower as we lost a bit of grip from the car and tyres. It's going to be difficult tomorrow with the penalties, but I will do my best and we'll see."
Bruno Senna: "I am disappointed with qualifying. The car definitely had a good lap in it but unfortunately I just pushed too hard and the laptime didn't come to me. I'm frustrated with myself but we know we have a strong car so now we just have to see what we can do tomorrow. You never know what can happen in Monaco but it's always easier if you can start further up the grid."
Heikki Kovalainen: "That was a good session for me. I've had a good balance all weekend and I went into this session knowing I could push. I'd said to my engineer before quali that I thought we could get into Q2 and we were very close - if it hadn't been for one of the Marussia cars slowing me up in the final sector we'd have been there, but it's not a huge issue, that's what happens in Monaco.
"Around here I think tomorrow we have the car to be able to fight the cars ahead throughout the race. So far this season we've been able to stay with them for pretty much most of the first two stints, but because it's a shorter lap here we'd like to be able to fight for the whole race. Whether it's dry, wet or in between, it doesn't really matter to me - whatever happens I'm looking forward to it."
Vitaly Petrov: "That was pretty good - the car's felt good every time we've been out and I think we probably got as much as we could out of it today. We had an issue with KERS this morning so we had to shut that off for quali, so that obviously cost me some time, but we worked around that and pushed as hard as we could in Q1 so it worked out as well as we could have hoped.
"The red flag obviously disrupted everybody and even though I'd got a lap in before the session started it wasn't a quick one. When I went out again the second set of tyres didn't feel quite as good, but all in all it's been a positive weekend so far. Tomorrow will be exciting and I'm looking forward to it. We've already seen that people can make mistakes here so we want to make sure we're there to take advantage of whatever happens on track and fight to the flag."
Pedro de la Rosa: "It was the best qualifying session of the year and, without a doubt, the best lap I've ever done in Monaco. The car went well and we decided to do three runs with three new sets of super-softs because we already know that in Monaco the most important thing is to do one good lap. And that's just what happened and I'm delighted about it because getting into the 18.0's here is very good.
"I'm very satisfied because we got our timing right, the team knew when was the right moment to come out in order to avoid traffic and I accomplished my job, which was to do the best lap possible. I must admit I took some risks, on some laps in the last sector I even almost closed my eyes, but I had to attack and did just that. With one more tenth we would have also overtaken Glock but the truth is that we're very happy with how the day went."
Narain Karthikeyan: "We carried out a different strategy to Pedro, and went for two runs when maybe three would have been better. The positive note is that we have one more set of new option tyres for tomorrow's race and we have to get the best out of them. Pedro and I have been quite closely matched all weekend and I'm sure we'll have a good pace tomorrow. Although, if it rains it will be a bit of a lottery. Whatever happens, we have to be ready to make the most of any opportunity that may arise."
Timo Glock: "I think another good day for me. FP3 this morning was quite a solid session and we worked our way through the programme. As a crew we've worked well together all weekend - my engineers, mechanics and myself - and together we got the car in good shape for qualifying. We made some slight adjustments between the two sessions and I felt happy with the car. After Perez's incident and the red flag, the job was harder as we could only have one shot on the Super Soft tyres and with all the traffic.
"So I'm quite happy with my lap and thanks to my engineers for putting me in the best possible spot for my quick lap. Now I look forward to tomorrow and what I'm sure will be an exciting race. It was nice of DTM's Mike Rockenfeller to pop by before qualifying for a surprise visit. Very good to see him."
Charles Pic: "Overall it was not a great qualifying for me. I think our pace here in Monaco is less strong than it was in Barcelona. I also had some traffic in my fast lap, so not a good day. Now we have to focus all we can on tomorrow and what we can do to improve. We know that sometimes in Monaco there are opportunities, so we will have to put ourselves in the best position to be able to take advantage of them."