2011 Monaco GP, practice: Driver quotes 

Written by David on May 26th, 2011 at 6:13 pmLast Update: May 26th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Sergio Perez: “It was a good day for me. We had a huge programme and have done a lot of work. In the morning session it was a bit difficult with the tyres, because we went out early and then their performance dropped off. In the afternoon I tried the super soft tyres for the first time, and also did a long run on them. I really hope we will be able to do a good qualifying. With the Formula 1 car it is obviously even more difficult to overtake here in Monaco than it was with a GP2 car.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “For me it was a little bit tricky today. My car was bouncing too much, therefore the balance wasn’t right either and I didn’t have enough grip. We have to find something to get rid of the bouncing. It was so bad that I feel I cannot really make a judgement on the tyre comparison. Regarding the rear wing, I would say it doesn’t make much difference in Monaco whether you have DRS or not, except it keeps you busy. Either way overtaking is extremely difficult here.”

Rubens Barrichello: “We were running different aero parts across our two cars today which means we now have a lot of information and another full day tomorrow to go through all the data we collected. We also tested Pirelli’s Super Soft tyres and I think everybody will be saying positive things about them. We should put in a strong performance in qualifying but we want the same for the race and to score points. Getting a good race set-up was the main objective of today’s practice.”

Pastor Maldonado: “We did a lot of laps today, especially in the afternoon, and the car seems consistent. Rubens and I split the new parts in P2 in order to compare them under similar conditions. I had the new floor and standard rear wing, Rubens had the standard floor with the new rear wing. At the moment, the new floor on my car is working well, but we need to look at the data from Rubens’ car so we make the right decision for qualifying and the race.”

Sebastien Buemi: “This is a great circuit with a fantastic atmosphere so I always love driving here, even though it is very demanding. This year, they have resurfaced most of the track and it’s nearly not a street circuit anymore, with a really good asphalt. Technically, this has been a positive first day and we have an extra day to analyse all the data, which will be very useful. We got a good picture of tyre behaviour, with the Super Soft appearing to be much quicker, which will be useful in qualifying, but also in the race, because the high level of degradation we had expected to see with this tyre did not actually happen today. Right at the end of the second session, I clipped the barrier at Tabac with the rear of the car, doing some damage to the rear suspension and therefore I had to pit.”

Jaime Alguersuari: “I enjoy the challenge of this street circuit. It was a useful afternoon’s testing for me that highlighted many things we need to look at in detail now. I am not so sure about the situation regarding tyre degradation: my initial reaction is that the long runs looked reasonable. At the moment, the main thing I need is to get a bit more confidence in the car. Since Spain, I have not had a good feeling from the brakes and I am losing the rear end of the car a lot, so we need to work on that aspect. I am sure we can sort it out, because we know what we need to do and how to do it.”

Daniel Ricciardo: “I went through the basics this morning, looking at things like ride height and aero level on the car, gathering data to help the team. We had a detailed look at the KERS, working out the best way to use it at this track. Before driving the F1 car, I had a practice session for the World Series. That was a good experience, because not many drivers get to drive two sessions in a morning, in beautiful race cars in Monaco! Your first time driving Monaco in a Formula 1 car is always going to be difficult so it was good to go out in the other car and see the track again for the first time since last year. Driving a Formula 1 car round here is really crazy and a lot of fun.”

Nico Rosberg: “It’s great to be on the track again here in Monaco. I felt very comfortable from the beginning and we did quite a good job on the set-up. It can be difficult here to find the right settings as you have to put a lot of things together such as brake balance and tyre degradation, but we had a decent day and I’m happy with our start into the weekend. The tyres are not as bad as we expected and the degradation will be quite low, so pole position will be a bit more important than I expected before today.”

Michael Schumacher: “Our gap to the front seems to be less here than in Barcelona. With my crash this morning, we had made a set-up change for the run and I locked up braking for turn one. After that, my decision to go down the escape road was too late, which is why I hit the barrier. The mechanics did a super job and the car this afternoon was just as quick as this morning. What Nico showed in terms of one-lap pace looks good, and our long runs were also quite reasonable.

Nick Heidfeld: “First and foremost, it’s a lot of fun driving here in Monaco. Of course, as drivers we all have to deal with the traffic – 24 cars on such a tight circuit makes it a challenge for all of us – and we saw that when I ran on the super soft as I didn’t get a clean lap. It’s been interesting to be on different tyres – the softs and the supersofts. So, we will definitely be able to learn some things about our performance using those and that’s what today is all about. On the supersoft tyres, the balance was not as good as I would have hoped but we will look into all aspects of both today’s sessions and push on come Saturday”

Vitaly Petrov: “We got pretty much all we wanted to get from our programme today. As we all know, this circuit is a different one and unique for us to drive on so it has been particularly useful to try things out. I managed to get practice on both the soft tyres and the supersoft, so we will be able to look at the data and see what how these tyres are performing on the track. I had an incident at the end of second session, which involved a little bit of oversteer followed by some understeer and I lost control. Generally, I think we are quite pleased with what we took out of today and we are looking forward to the weekend.”

Lewis Hamilton: “It’s fantastic out there: I love the track, I love the weather. It’s a beautiful place to be. I’m enjoying every lap I drive – and I’ve got the best view of the whole of Monaco when I’m in the car! I’m very happy to be here – I’m really pleased with the balance of the car and I kept out of trouble, but it’s going to be close here. You quickly get used to DRS and KERS Hybrid, but you’re only really on it for the pit straight and up the hill; you tend not to use it through the slower sections. Maybe I’ll find a few more places to use it for qualifying – but I’ll keep that in my pocket! I just love driving the car here – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done! It’s so exciting – you can’t afford to make mistakes, the car feels amazing when you’re jumping from kerb to kerb, and there’s no room for error. I want to win this grand prix!”

Jenson Button: “First lap out is always a shock because it’s so slippery. But once the grip goes down, the car works well and it’s really fun to be out there. DRS and KERS Hybrid both work around here – I have no issues about deploying DRS, but I’m happy we can’t use it in the tunnel; the FIA definitely made the right decision there. I think we’ve also worked out where to best use KERS Hybrid. I feel more comfortable with the car than I did last year, but there are still a few areas that need tweaking. Our car feels reasonably quick, but there’s an awful lot of competition out there. There’s a lot less degradation than I think we all expected. I did a long-run on the Super-Soft, and while there’s some degradation, it’s reasonably good. The same is true of the harder tyre. But it’s still not easy to decide what strategy will work best around here on Sunday afternoon.”

Jarno Trulli: “That was good. We’ve got a good deal of data from both sessions and we can use that to put us in a better position tomorrow. I had a few issues with traffic during the performance run which means there is definitely more pace to come tomorrow so all in all this was a good day. We’ve also run reliably in both sessions and that’s what we need to give us the best chance of fighting in quali so I think it’ll be a very interesting Saturday afternoon.”

Heikki Kovalainen: “Not too bad at all. We completed the whole programme, worked a bit on fine tuning the balance and I think with some more work tonight there’s a bit more to come. The degradation levels on both tyres was better than many people were expecting and I think both the primes and the options will give us some interesting strategy options to play with.”

Fernando Alonso: “In Monaco it’s mainly a question of having a good feel for the car: the more the driver has, the harder he can push, lap after lap. It seems we are a bit more competitive than elsewhere, although one has to adopt the usual caution linked to the unknown factor of how much fuel the others were running. However, the reason is very simple in that here, the aerodynamics count for less and so we are suffering less. On a track with the lowest average speed, some weaknesses are hidden by other factors, such as the mechanical side and the engine. I immediately felt comfortable here, right from the morning, so I was able to push harder and harder, because the car was reacting well and I had confidence in it. I am pleased, but we know this is just the first day and that the Red Bulls could be hiding a bit, before coming out for Saturday’s qualifying. Saturday will be a much more stressful day because here, the slightest error carries a heavy penalty. We must try to take some risks, because we need to close the gap to the best. As for the tyres, I think that their performance is reasonably similar to what we saw in winter testing, even though temperatures are now much higher: compared to the other races, there is not such a big difference between the prime and the options, or at least that’s the initial impression.”

Felipe Massa: “I am reasonably happy with the car, even if there is still some oversteer, especially with the Supersoft. Compared to Barcelona, I reckon we will be better equipped to fight: it’s not like on other occasions when it was clear we could not get the tyres to work. There were moments when I was a bit on the limit, so that I even found myself brushing the barriers at least three times. I did a long run on the option to try and find its limit in terms of wear. Overtaking will be difficult, as usual at this circuit: but maybe thanks to the KERS it will be possible to overtake a car that is struggling with its tyres, although it will never be easy. Traffic? Here it’s impossible to avoid it: today I found myself in a position where I was holding up Fernando, but I had a McLaren ahead of me, which in turn had slowed me down.”

Sebastian Vettel: “It’s been positive so far. Both tyres are working well and seem to be lasting, which is important. We will see how the conditions are on Sunday, but the super soft tyre seems to be the preferred one for qualifying. It seems to be quicker and you can extract more lap time out of it. I had a good feeling straight away in the car; it’s fun driving around here; it’s a different track and it’s quite bumpy and rough. I brushed the wall after three laps, so hopefully that’s that done for the weekend! The car looks competitive, but everyone is very close to each other, so it looks tight.”

Mark Webber: “I had a gear selection issue this morning, which meant I lost some lap time, otherwise wasn’t too bad. This afternoon was always going to be the case where you’re going out little bit behind, but we still got a lot of good information. It’s easy to get out there and try and get to where you should be and make mistakes, but we got the information and have lot to go through. We should be alright by Saturday. We will get back into the groove Saturday and recover the weekend.”

Jerome D’Ambrosio: “I think it was a fairly good day. It was my first time round Monaco in a Formula One car and it went pretty well. We got some good data from the long runs but it will be a bit strange not getting in the car tomorrow and instead have to wait until Saturday morning. Of course we still have to go through the data and work out where we can pick up some time, but for a first day, I’m quite happy.”

Timo Glock: “Generally it’s been a good day. We didn’t have any problems on the car in either the first or the second practice session. We were running at a similar pace to the guys at the top when we were on soft tyres, so in general I think it all went well. It was a good Thursday.”

Adrian Sutil: “A fairly normal day of Thursday practice in Monaco. We continued running elements of the 2011 aero package we tried in Barcelona last week and it was quite positive so we will stick with this for the rest of the weekend. We did all the usual set-up work and found quite a nice balance by the end of the day. We ran with the super-soft (option tyre) in the afternoon, which we have used before in winter testing, but this was the first time we’ve used it at a race and in such warm temperatures. The grip is great to begin with but the degradation rate is quite high.”

Paul di Resta: “It was my first taste of Monaco in a Formula One car and I was pretty happy with how things went this morning. The balance was quite good straight away, especially in the higher speed parts of the lap. Like any street circuit it’s very bumpy here and we worked on making the car ride the bumps better as well as improving the aero balance. In the afternoon there was an issue with the car, which meant I lost drive and had to park up. So I lost an hour of running and didn’t get to run the super-soft tyre.”

Narain Karthikeyan: “The afternoon session was a bit difficult, I think the car balance was better in the morning or maybe we just had a good run. I had some problems with my seat so we will have to sort out this issue. It took me a while to get used to the circuit so it wasn’t the best day overall. We will see how tomorrow goes.”

Tonio Liuzzi: “It has been a difficult day because I had an accident this morning and couldn’t run in the second practice session. I don’t have much to say, just that the car had a problem with the rear end over the bumps and on one of the laps the rear was completely lost coming out of the tunnel and we lost the car. We weren’t able to repair it for FP2 so now we have to look forward to Saturday and hope to have a better day.”

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