FP1 & FP2 - Monaco GP 2021 - Team quotes

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By Olivier Ferret

20 May 2021 - 18:00
FP1 & FP2 - Monaco GP 2021 - (...)

Red Bull

MAX VERSTAPPEN

"It of course feels good to be back out on track in Monaco and although we did quite well in FP1, this afternoon’s session was tricky and I would have hoped that we could have been faster. We were too slow in FP2 and we really need to find some pace because everyone has traffic, you have to look to optimum lap times and optimum sectors and we were quite off. I usually feel quite comfortable in the car but that has not come yet this weekend. Luckily, we have a free day tomorrow to look at a few things to improve to make sure qualifying goes well on Saturday."

SERGIO PEREZ

“It’s great to drive in Monaco again after not racing here last year. I’m enjoying it a lot as it’s such a fantastic track. We had a very good FP1 and the car was feeling strong, we made a few changes between sessions and I think maybe we took a step backwards but it’s hard to really know as I had traffic on my soft tyre run. I think we probably have work to do on our short runs but we have lots of information to look at now ahead of qualifying on Saturday when hopefully we can be in the mix. Even though he missed most of FP1, Charles still managed to end the session fastest so the Ferraris are looking strong but let’s see who sits where on Saturday when it counts.”

Alpine F1

Alpine F1 Team ran a smooth Thursday practice programme today as Formula 1 returned to the streets of Monaco for the first time in two years.

For Esteban and Fernando, though, it’s been three years away from the Principality as they hit the 3.337km course for the first time since 2018.

Their programme today consisted of getting back up to speed and used to the demands of the tricky and twisty, armco-lined circuit.

Both drivers began Free Practice 1 on Hard (C3) tyres. Fernando clipped the wall at the Turn 17/18 complex midway through the session, which caused some damage to the front wing. After nursing his car back to the pit lane no further damage was discovered to the front left suspension on his A521, and he resumed his day on Mediums (C4).

In Free Practice 2 both drivers completed initial laps on Mediums before switching focus to Softs (C5) for the first time of the day. To finish Thursday practice, both cars sampled the car on high fuel, Esteban on Softs, with Fernando on Mediums.

Esteban Ocon

“Practice day went quite smoothly in terms of doing what we needed to do, which was understanding the car, finding a rhythm and identifying any issues. We didn’t figure out everything, but we’ll go through and analyse that tonight and also tomorrow on the free day. We’ll be working hard to find those tenths we’re missing at the moment. There’s also a little bit more to come from me in terms of pushing the car to the limit. It was nice to see fans around the circuit today and having their support again. It’s definitely feeling like the normality of before, which is good and motivating when we’re in the car.”

Fernando Alonso

“It was an intense day as it always is on Thursday in Monaco. I think we did a good job with 64 laps in total, building some confidence in the car, which is very useful, so I’m happy with that. There are a lot of things to analyse as we tried some new updates, but we’ll look over it tonight and tomorrow and aim to be strong for qualifying. Traffic management will be difficult, and we saw a snapshot of how tough it is to have a clean lap here in both the morning and afternoon sessions. Managing this well could be key to a good qualifying position on Saturday.”

Davide Brivio, Racing Director

“We completed a lot of laps today and can take a good amount of data from both sessions. We tried some minor updates this morning and adjusted things for FP2 where we saw some small improvements. We need to look through all of our data tonight and tomorrow, to see what we can further improve and do it better ahead of qualifying, which we all know is key around Monaco. It will be even more challenging on Saturday, but it’s the same for everyone, so we’ll focus on putting the cars and drivers in the best shape possible.”

Aston Martin F1

Sebastian Vettel
“I think everybody is happy to be back here at this special track and it is great to see fans in the grandstands, even though the numbers are still limited. The morning session went well, and I got into a rhythm quickly, but the afternoon was more complicated because I got something in my eye, which was quite uncomfortable and caused my eye to tear up. As usual, it is very close in the midfield, which means getting everything perfect on Saturday afternoon, and being lucky with the traffic, is what matters. I feel happy with the work we did today and if we can get everything together over the weekend, we can hopefully be near the front of the midfield group.”

Lance Stroll
“It is great to be back here in Monaco, especially after the race did not take place last year. I had a lot of fun out there today – building up speed and getting close to the walls. It was very busy on track, with a lot of traffic, and not easy to find free air, which is always a major factor on Saturday and Sunday, too. The sessions went smoothly, giving us lots of information and things to improve before final practice. There is a chance to catch our breath tomorrow with a quiet day, but we still have some engineering meetings to see what ideas we can come up with ahead of qualifying.”

AlphaTauri

Pierre Gasly

“It’s been a very good day for us. In terms of pace it was great and this morning was a strong way to start here in Monaco – I felt confident in the car and could push hard. This afternoon we finished within the top ten, so we’re still pretty pleased with that, but it was a lot harder in the car. Hopefully I can work with the guys over the next day to improve in the areas where we are struggling but generally, we are quite happy with it. Monaco is so unique – in terms of grip and it’s also very bumpy – so we need to find out what works best with our package to make it work well around here. We have a good baseline but hopefully we can continue to improve ahead of Qualifying, as we know how crucial it is to Qualify well around these streets.”

Yuki Tsunoda

“Sadly, my second session ended early today – I wasn’t pushing too hard into the corner, but I lost grip at the end of the turn and unfortunately tapped the wall. I’m not sure how much this will affect my preparation for the race, obviously a loss of running isn’t ideal, but I’ve got two sets of Softs for Saturday now so it’s not the worst case. I just need to prepare more for Saturday and put it altogether when it counts.”

Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer)

“The track started very green for free practice one, which meant there was very low grip. With the compound allocation this weekend we had a hard tyre to essentially use up for our first stint, which allowed us to get a feeling for the track. We then moved to the Softs for more of a performance run, which focussed on giving the drivers as many laps as possible. FP1 went very well, with both drivers building up their confidence lap by lap and putting in a good performance, whilst helping us understand the set-up of the car, which is very difficult here in Monaco. We tried to carry this momentum into FP2 and on Pierre’s side he performed well and the pace looked good. Unfortunately, Yuki just clipped the rear in the last sector and this sadly damaged the suspension. Due to the time it takes to fix this part of the car, that was the end of the day for him. It puts him a bit on the back foot ahead of Qualifying, but he’s still got another session to go on Saturday morning, so we’ll give him the best possible preparation ahead of Qualifying.”

Alfa Romeo

The sun shining above, the waters of the Mediterranean glistening in the harbour, the noise of the engines breaking through the city: the first day of action in the first Monaco Grand Prix weekend in two years didn’t disappoint, with all the hallmark features of one of the world’s most famous motorsport events.

The thrill and jeopardy of Monaco was present too: cars glanced the barriers, sometimes a caress, sometimes a bit more of a slap; drivers built up their confidence in the tiny confines of the narrow track; and fans – yes, fans – enjoyed the spectacle of 20 cars being driven in anger around the streets of the Principality.

For the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team, it was a positive first day of action: no major issues to hamper the day’s running, plenty of data to analyse and some comforting first responses from the stopwatch.

Tomorrow, as traditional in Monaco, the cars will remain in the garage: the quest for performance will be a bit less rushed, but just as thorough as usual. Qualifying is crucial around here: it’s one of those clichés that are well-steeped in reality, and this year it will be no different.

Cars tearing up the roads of Monte-Carlo. How we missed that.

Kimi Räikkönen

“Today was ok, a straightforward day without big issues. So far, so good, but Saturday is where it matters. We can definitely still improve but so can the others, so we will need to extract all we can for the car and see where that puts us on Saturday. Conditions today were good, but we can’t be drawn into making comparisons with other weekends: this track is so unique. It doesn’t matter anyways, so long as we’re competitive!”

Antonio Giovinazzi

“It has been a positive start to our weekend and I am very happy with the work we did today. FP1 was ok and already in FP2 I felt the balance of the car had improved. I am happy with P9 at the end of the day, but it’s qualifying when it really matters: we have to keep being on the pace. I think Monaco is such a unique track, hard to compare with anything else, and I think it really suits us: if we can improve a little more ahead of Saturday, we can be confident.”

Haas F1

The fifth round of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship began with practice on Thursday at Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo as teams prepared for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Thursday’s track running consisted of two 60-minute sessions – FP1 and FP2 – on the 3.337-kilometer (2.074-mile), 19-turn circuit.

FP1 saw both VF-21’s take to the streets of Monte Carlo running the Pirelli P Zero Red soft rubber exclusively in the session. Their early wake-up runs netted Schumacher a fastest lap of 1:16.668 with Mazepin logging a 1:16.393. A return to the garage for a second set of brand-new softs was followed by additional baseline running – mileage in Monaco crucial to get both rookies up to speed. As grip continued to improve Mazepin subsequently set his best lap with a 1:14.616 – good for 17th overall, while a 1:14.801 from Schumacher placed the German 18th on the timesheet. A short final stint on high-fuel took both cars to the checkered flag.

A baseline outing on the Yellow medium tires started the FP2 run plan on both sides of the garage before Mazepin and Schumacher switched to the soft rubber for qualifying sims. A 1:14.407 effort from Mazepin netted 18th while Schumacher was one spot back in 19th with a fastest lap of 1:14.416. High-fuel runs were to follow but the session was ultimately red flagged in the final minutes after Schumacher contacted the barrier at Massenet on the run to Casino Square. With suspension damage and a right rear puncture, Schumacher was forced to park his VF-21 bringing Thursday’s activities to an early close.

Uralkali Haas F1 Team ran a total of 119 laps on Friday across FP1 and FP2 – 59 by Mazepin and 60 by Schumacher.

Nikita Mazepin

“Monaco is just unbelievable to be at, regardless if you’re driving or not – it’s just something else. It was a very good day today for us. The team has done a fantastic job to come away from a difficult weekend in Barcelona. I had the necessary confidence in the car today that I needed. Surprising to say given the season so-far, but I had so much fun in the car, it actually felt like it was a day off – it was just cool to drive. Looking ahead, there’s much less room to let cars by here, and we’re under no illusion about being lapped at this race with our current pace. But for today, all was good.”

Mick Schumacher

“I think in general the day went very well – I felt I got comfortable in the car. Obviously, we know what we have to improve, those areas where we know we lost a bit of time. One of the big things here in Monaco is how much traffic you’ll encounter on a lap. Unfortunately, we got some on our laps today, but I think in general it’s the same for everyone else. On our last run in FP2 we had a small issue but even that I think is just part of the deal in Monaco. There’s no room for mistakes, I made a small mistake, and that’s what happened. Now I know the limit and how far I can go. I do feel we’re making progress as a team. Here in Monaco we’ll just keep doing our jobs, go through our routines, and keep on working to be as prepared as we can for qualifying.”

Günther Steiner

“Not a bad day, actually, quite a good day for us. If you look at the times, it doesn’t look like it, but we got a lot of running in and the plan worked – with the exception of the little mishap for Mick (Schumacher) at the end of FP2. The guys just worked hard and improved lap by lap. That’s what we asked them to do and I think both guys did a good job. Nikita (Mazepin) was happy with his day, it’s built up his confidence a little bit. With Mick, it just seemed like he got a bit close to Checo (Perez) and lost a little bit of downforce and just had a quick oversteer which he couldn’t recover from. The car is not too badly damaged. We will be ready for Saturday.”

Williams

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

We’ve had a useful and productive day here in Monaco. The circuit has proved challenging, but the car and the drivers have risen to that challenge well. We completed a lot of laps on all three of the Pirelli compounds and suffered no damage or issue. We have a day to go through the data before we return to the track on Saturday for the final free practice session. It has been a solid start to the event and are now in a good position to continue to push the car harder as we progress through the weekend.

George Russell

Firstly, it is amazing to be back on the track in Monaco. It is so thrilling pushing the car to the limit. It is obviously really difficult having 20 cars on the track in the space of an hour for everybody to get clear laps. I think we had a productive day; the car is roughly where we expected it to be. The Alfa Romeo’s look really fast, which is something that we did expect on this kind of circuit. We have a long day tomorrow to analyse everything and I am confident we can make some gains for Saturday.

Nicholas Latifi

Above all else I really enjoyed today. It is my first time here in a Formula One car as well as my first time driving a street track in these cars. It is a lot faster than I remembered in Formula 2 and you really notice the extra width these cars have. It was a lot of fun; we have some things to work on tonight to improve the balance ahead of Saturday. We had a pretty clean day and got confidence lap by lap, so I am happy with where we are.

McLaren

Lando Norris

“A decent day, I’m happy. I think we made some good progress between the sessions. It’s very tight, as expected, especially to the guys behind, but we also look not far off the guys ahead. We have a chance to capitalise on mistakes that they might make. I feel comfortable in the car but there’s definitely some more to unlock going into Saturday, and into qualifying. So, tomorrow we can spend the day looking over the data to see what improvements we can make for the rest of the weekend.”

Daniel Ricciardo

“Back on the streets! It’s nice to be back here for sure, it’s a good track and I love it. Despite that, today wasn’t a great day, we’ve got some work to do. We’ve got the evening and all day tomorrow to work it out, but this is why I love Monaco, you get a day off to really get into it, reset, and have a look at where we’re missing out.

“I think by Saturday I’ll be all good and we’ll figure it out, but today it just felt like a little bit of a stalemate at times. We’ve got some work to do, but the sun is shining, and we’ll get back out there on Saturday and have some fun.”

Andrea Stella - Executive Director, Racing

“It is a great feeling to be back in Monaco, it’s full of history – but it’s also a very challenging place to run Formula 1 cars! With these shortened FP1 and FP2 sessions you always feel that you’re fighting the clock for the time to test things – and here there’s quite a lot to test in terms of set-up and understanding the tyres.

“Overall, we were able to get through our plan and we’re happy with the data we’ve acquired. There’s work to be done tonight and tomorrow to improve the car to make sure we’re ready for qualifying which is, of course, always important here.”

Mercedes F1

Plenty to work on for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team on day one in Monaco

 Lewis and Valtteri managed P5 and P6 respectively in a solid, if not spectacular, morning practice session.
 Lewis managed P3 in the afternoon session on the Soft tyres, with Valtteri P5 on the same compound.
 Both drivers completed some balance work on a range of short and long runs.

Lewis Hamilton

Everyone loves to drive here - the weather has been great and this track is rapid, absolutely mesmerising, so I’ve enjoyed today. The Ferraris look really strong, which is great, it means more competition.

For me personally, this is a track where you need to walk before you can run but you’ve got to do that quickly, obviously. The grip on this track is really high this year, they’ve redone the surface so there’s a lot of grip.

Whichever track you go to, the car never gives you everything you want immediately, you need to acclimatise. From a driver’s point of view, you’re experimenting - you’ve got to dial-in your driving style, figure out where you can and can’t push, where you’ve got to give up some time to get some, and you’ve got to really work with the car.

The car is good, we’ve made some decent steps with the balance so generally I’m very happy. I’ve got some changes I’ll make this evening as we analyse today and it’s going to be close tomorrow, which is exciting.

Valtteri Bottas

It’s nice to be back on this track after a two-year gap, it’s still so tight around here with very little space. It’s very demanding and I feel like we still have work to do with the cars - from my side, I’m lacking some front end on this circuit. We’ve had similar issues at other tracks, mainly in mid-corner but here, it’s all slow-speed corners and if you don’t have a good feeling at the front, you can lose time easily. Our car also feels quite stiff on the bumps and cambers in the corners which we’ll look into.

It will be important to turn the tyres on quickly and get them working. Today for the first lap, I couldn’t get them to work immediately so we need to work hard on that for tomorrow. Ferrari look quick, as do Red Bull, so it’s not only about two teams which will be a lot of fun.

Andrew Shovlin

For a Monaco Thursday this one has been relatively straightforward. Traffic is always a feature and as expected, the shorter sessions make it hard to do much by way of long runs. That said, we’ve covered the majority of what we set out to and we have a decent understanding of our limitations and the areas that we need to improve. This season we’ve learnt to expect Max’s company in the battle at the front but it was a surprise to us to see both Ferraris looking so strong; you don’t need to scrutinise the timesheets for long to see that their pace is genuine - they could be real contenders for the win.

We’ve got an extra day to work on things tomorrow which is handy as it feels like we need to improve both our single lap and long run performance, but Monaco is all about putting together the entire weekend and today was a pretty decent start.

Ferrari

The Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow drivers, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, topped the time sheet at the end of the second free practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix. A good sign for the rest of the weekend, although it must be judged with the usual caution, especially as the two teams at the top of the championship standings did not show their full potential today.

FP1. The first session definitely did not get off to the best of starts for Charles, who after just four laps had to pit with a gearbox problem. However, Carlos got through his planned programme, completing 32 laps, all of them on the Pirelli Medium tyres. His best time of 1’12”606 was good enough for second place on the time sheet.

FP2. In the afternoon, the team ran different programmes with each driver. On his first run, Sainz used the Hard tyres, while Leclerc, back on track having had his gearbox changed, used the set of Mediums he had been unable to try in the morning. Both men then switched to the Softs for the qualifying simulation, setting their best times: 1’11”684 for Charles (30 laps); 1’11”796 for Carlos (32 laps).

Day off. As usual, at this race, the Formula 1 cars have a day off tomorrow. The action resumes on Saturday at 12 with the final hour of free practice before qualifying at 15.00. The 78th Monaco Grand Prix gets underway on Sunday at 15.00.

Charles Leclerc

It was quite a surprise to have the day end so well, after we had a difficult start this morning. It’s important to do as many laps as possible, especially here in Monaco, and with the issue we had in FP1 I only completed 4 laps.

In FP2, I felt at ease with the car and we may even have a bit of margin there to improve. But we shouldn’t get too carried away, because I am convinced that our competitors have more in hand. We have a day of work ahead of us tomorrow, and we will only know where we really stand on Saturday.

Carlos Sainz

It has been a very positive first day for the team here in Monaco, but we know it is only practice. Things can change a lot from Thursday to Saturday at this track, so we will stay focused. Despite being quite happy with the car, we’ll keep working hard over the next two days to understand where we can improve. I really missed driving around these streets. I enjoyed myself in both sessions, pushing the car little by little to try to find the limit. Lets’ fine-tune everything to put together a strong Saturday!

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