Fernando Alonso set the pace in Thursday's practice for the Monaco Grand Prix, taking the P1 slot ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel...
Fernando Alonso: "Here in Monaco, the most important thing in practice is to do as many laps as possible, because it is a very special track and you need to have a good feeling from the car. Despite the rain reducing the amount of track time in the second session, we more or less managed to complete all our programme and, with or without a turbo, the complexity of this track remains the same, so doing well in qualifying will be crucial. The increase in grip we found over the few laps we did with the Supersoft tyres leaves us in no doubt that this will be the tyre to use on Saturday afternoon, while for the race there is still a lot to learn as no one has done a long run. So we might have to improvise when it comes to strategy."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Unfortunately, the bad weather affected this first day of practice and halved the possibility to complete the work we had planned. In the morning, on the dry track, we tried various set-up options, without encountering any particular problems, apart from a lack of grip at the front under braking. In the afternoon, we made a few changes to improve the balance of the car, but having waited almost an hour before being able to go out on track, a problem with the gearbox prevented me from completing the session. On Saturday we will try and make the most of the third free practice session to complete our programme for qualifying, which we know is the key factor here."
Lewis Hamilton: "The car is still a work in progress but it felt really good out there today. I had a good first session and was then really pleased to get those last few laps in the dry this afternoon which was a big plus. I'm feeling pretty set for Saturday, there is still some work to do but we have tomorrow to look into that and finish all our preparations for the weekend. I just love racing here; this track is one of the coolest ever, and it was great to see all of the fans here already enjoying themselves. It's such a classic race, and I've been trying to win here again since 2008, so I'm hoping this is the year as we have such a great car."
Nico Rosberg: "That was a very good day. It seems that we are looking very quick here again, although our main competitors seems to be a little closer to us than in Barcelona. I still need to find my perfect set-up so there is still some work for us to do tomorrow to get ready for the weekend. The conditions weren't great this afternoon so I didn't take any risks as there was nothing to learn on the wet parts of the track. Now I'm looking forward to Saturday, but first to our team barbeque tonight!"
Sebastian Vettel: "Obviously we'd love to run in the dry the whole time here, but of course if it's wet it's the same for everyone. Mercedes were very quick this morning and we see that usually, come Saturday, they are able to pick up their pace, so we'll try to do the same. We potentially are a little bit closer here, but you know at the moment it's all guessing. I think the big advantage on this track would be that there's not that many straights, but we have to wait and see. We were obviously limited today on what we could learn in terms of pace and range, we know that it's quite important to qualify in the front here so if there is a chance then we have to use it."
Daniel Ricciardo: "It was a shame we didn't run so much this afternoon due to the conditions, but if it rains over the weekend then we'll want to use the tyres, so there was a bit of waiting around, At the end the track still had a few damp patches, so we didn't really learn that much this afternoon but I think the morning went well, so we've just got to try and get the set-up from that. The few laps I did this afternoon felt similar to the morning in terms of car balance and the things we need to work on, so I think the direction we've got to go is pretty clear. If we're going to challenge the Mercs then I think this is the place for it, they don't seem to have one sector at the moment which is blowing everyone away, but obviously it's still early days."
Jean-Eric Vergne: "It was a satisfying Friday and I have a good feeling with the car. I like this track and even if I don't think I'll be P4 in Qualifying, I'm still happy with what we achieved today. This has been a proper way to build up confidence and it gives us an additional boost to fight for Q3 and points. We'll keep on working hard to get ready for the rest of the weekend. This is a track where the driver can make the difference so I'm determined to remain always 100% concentrated and give it my best."
Daniil Kvyat: "I enjoyed driving here in Monaco finally and it was a good day overall, in which I was able to learn the track quite well. Those were my instructions from the team, who told me to go out and do as many laps as possible. Of course, the rain that made the track wet for some of FP2 did not help so much, but at least I have tried the circuit in both dry and wet now. The results are obviously not very representative because of the tricky conditions this afternoon. We will now look at all the data between tonight and tomorrow to get the best out for Saturday's Qualifying and Sunday's race."
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