Monaco GP: Qualifying Recap

Taking an emphatic pole for the Monaco Grand Prix was Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. His fast lap of 1:10.810 set a new track qualifying record at Monaco and was .229 of a second better than runner-up Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari. It was Ricciardo’s second career Formula One pole, and it came two years after he scored his first Formula One pole in the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix.

After setting the pace in FP1 and FP2 on Thursday, the Red Bull duo of Ricciardo and Max Verstappen maintained their 1-2 position at the top of the speed chart in FP3. Ricciardo just barely outran his teammate, as his quick lap of 1:11.786 bested Verstappen by a scant .001 of a second. Despite having the second-quickest lap, Verstappen crashed later in practice, damaging his car enough to where he could not participate in qualifying. He will start last in the Monaco Grand Prix.

We catch up with our 3 Italian backed teams…

Alfa Romeo SauberF1:

It was a positive qualifying outcome for the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team with a strong performance from both of the team’s drivers. The Monegasque rookie Charles Leclerc delivered an excellent result, finishing in Q2 for the third time in a row, and securing P14 on the starting grid of his home track, the Circuit de Monaco. Marcus Ericsson also put in a solid performance, and finished in P17 after aborting his final fast lap of Q1 due to a yellow flag. He will be starting from P16 in tomorrow’s race due to a penalty given to another driver (Romain Grosjean). The Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team drivers look forward to the Monaco Grand Prix, a very iconic appointment on every season’s calendar.

Marcus Ericsson: “It was a tight qualifying as we would expect in Monaco. We knew Q2 was possible if we put everything together. Unfortunately for me, towards the end of Q1 there was a yellow flag when the tyres were at their best, so that is frustrating. It feels there is potential in the car and I felt good driving. With that said, it is positive that we are in the midfield again and in the fight. We have to focus on tomorrow now, because here in Monaco, anything can happen. If we have a good strategy and trouble-free race, we can have good results. I look forward to getting a new chance tomorrow to fight back.”

Charles Leclerc: “I am really happy about today’s qualifying. Finishing in Q2 for the third time in a row feels amazing, and achieving this in my home town makes it even more special. It was a good day overall, and everything seemed to come together well. We are at a challenging circuit, and the whole team did a really good job in extracting the maximum from the car. I am looking forward to tomorrow, when I will be part of the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time ever in Formula 1. A big dream is coming true, and I can’t wait for it to start.”

Scuderia Ferrari:

Scuderia Ferrari qualified in second and fourth places this afternoon on the streets of the Principality. Sebastian Vettel was best placed of the two, with a lap in 1’11”039, while Kimi Raikkonen stopped the clocks in 1’11”266. Both drivers used Hypersoft tyres throughout the session.

There is at least one thing that will never be missing from Monaco qualifying, and that’s action. The session went down to the wire and in the end, Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel came away with second place, while his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen narrowly missed third place by a mere three hundredths of a second.

“I’ve been quite happy today”, was Seb’s comment, “even if you always have the feeling you could do much more. However, we tried to get everything out of our car and we got a good position. Red Bull has been strong since Thursday, but we got as close as we could. The main thing for us is that our car has potential. In the first corner I just couldn’t drive the way I wanted but for the rest it was ok. It was a tricky session also in terms of getting the tires together. Now we’ll focus on the start tomorrow, but it will be a long race. It will be a different game to play tomorrow, compared to today. On Sunday, it could be more tactical, and we need to consider that a short period of the race could decide the result of the race itself. Also, we need a bit of luck, but the most important thing is to be ready to react.  We know what we have to do, so we’ll see how the race turns out”.

“Today we struggled a bit to make the tires work straightaway in the first two corners, get them into the correct temperature window and get the car  to turn where we wanted. During the lap they seemed to improve, but here at Monaco, if you are not 100 per cent sure of how it’s going to be in Turn 1, then you lack a bit of confidence. Obviously, we cannot be totally happy with this result,  we wanted to be higher up the time sheet, but this what we have got today.  The race is a different story. Usually it’s very tricky to overtake here, but in the past a lot of things happened.  We’ll try to stay out of any trouble, make the right decisions and do the right things at the right moment”.

Haas F1 Team:

Haas F1 Team drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen qualified 15th and 19th, respectively, for the Monaco Grand Prix Sunday at Circuit de Monaco. Grosjean, however, will start 18th as he must serve a three-place grid penalty stemming from the preceding Spanish Grand Prix.

Grosjean set the 11th-fastest time in Q1 with a lap of 1:12.930 around the 3.337-kilometer (2.074-mile), 19-turn track to comfortably make the top-15 cutoff and advance to Q2. Magnussen was 19th quickest with a lap of 1:13.393. A local yellow flag in the final minutes of Q1 for Charles Leclerc’s Sauber going deep at Sainte Devote (turn one) compromised Magnussen’s last attempt at a quick lap.

In Q2, Grosjean earned the 15th fastest time with a lap of 1:12.728. Only the top-10 drivers from Q2 move on to Q3.

Both Grosjean and Magnussen ran exclusively on the Pirelli P Zero Pink hypersoft tire throughout qualifying.

Before Grosjean, Magnussen and the rest of their Formula One counterparts participated in knockout qualifying, they had one final practice (FP3) to dial in their racecars for a quick lap around the track. The Haas F1 Team drivers ran a solitary installation lap on the Red supersoft tire before switching to the Pink hypersoft compound for timed laps.

Grosjean ran 21 laps and set the 18th fastest time with a 1:13.881 on his 14th tour. Magnussen tallied 20 laps and earned his best time on his 12th lap – a 1:14.192 that put him directly behind his teammate in 19th. Lack of grip was the theme echoed by both drivers throughout the 60-minute session.

Romain Grosjean: “Unfortunately, between FP2 and FP3, we didn’t manage to get much more performance in the car. We knew qualifying was going to be difficult. I was pretty pleased to go into Q2 because that wasn’t even in the planning, initially. I gave it all in Q1, and I knew I wouldn’t have much more in Q2. I did improve my lap time, which is great, but everyone made a bigger step. It’s been a difficult weekend. I think we can learn a lot from it. We just can’t get any grip, but the balance of the car itself is pretty alright. Obviously it’s Monaco, so nothing is finished until the checkered flag is down, thought it’s not ideal for us to be starting 18th and 19th on the grid.”

Kevin Magnussen: “It’s been a bit of a shock this weekend, especially coming from last weekend being so good, so competitive, to being this uncompetitive, and really struggling for so many different reasons. It’s not just tires not working or balance issues, it’s just lacking pace this weekend. We can’t seem to find it in any way. In a short space of time, we’ve tried a hell of a lot of things. It’s not been easy.”




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