Lotus joined Marussia and Caterham at the bottom of the timesheets in Thursday's practice for the Monaco Grand Prix...
Pastor Maldonado: "It was disappointing in the afternoon as we planned to run more and test more parts of the car but we wouldn't have learnt what we wanted to learn with a wet track. We did at least get some laps at the end of the session with the super soft tyre which means we do have a comparison between the two compounds. The morning went well, even if the track's not yet 100%. We have a good amount of data so we can prepare for Saturday and qualifying which is so important here."
Romain Grosjean: "This morning was a learning experience as the tyres are pretty hard here so it's difficult to find enough grip. This made things a little tricky today as there's no space for mistakes here. Certainly the car is working well and we could run through a decent programme today, even with missing a lot of the afternoon session because of the wet track. We hope the weather will be better on Saturday and we will have found a better balance with the car too."
Kamui Kobayashi: "38 laps in FP1 meant we were able to complete a good programme and made some decent progress throughout the session. We started with a similar grip issue to what we saw in Spain, but we made a few mechanical changes and it definitely improved, particularly in the high speed sections. That also helped take out some of the understeer I had in the first couple of runs but we still needed to work on traction and managing tyre temps so we had another look at that in FP2 and also took a step forward with both of those in the second session. Like a few of the other teams we waited to start our FP2 runplan until there was a clear dry line which meant we had to shorten the programme a lot, but it was safer to do that than go out on inters and risk damaging the car. That's not ideal, obviously, but with about five minutes left of the session we went out on a set of supersofts and had enough time for a couple of timed laps which gives us some data on that compound that will be useful for Saturday and Sunday. Even with FP2 compromised like that it's still been quite a positive day. We've brought a lot of what we learnt at the test in Spain here and I'm sure that we'll be able to put that into action on Saturday."
Marcus Ericsson: " "Even though I've raced in Monaco quite a bit before this is obviously my first time in an F1 car and I have to say I really enjoyed both sessions today. I have a very special crash helmet for Monaco to pay tribute to Ronnie Peterson who won here 40 years ago, and I have his actual helmet bag from then for this weekend - having both of those in the garage with me today was a proud moment for me in my first F1 weekend here, especially as we're from the same town in Sweden. On track FP1 went well. I managed to do 40 laps in the session which meant we got through everything we'd planned and definitely improved the whole car balance from how we'd started. Like Kamui I had very low grip on the first run and poor traction so we changed the ride height and front wing angles and made a good step forwards - I still had a bit of understeer but the overall balance had improved and it was a good start to the race weekend. It rained heavily over lunch and when FP2 started we waited for the track to dry before heading out. As the forecasts say it's going to be dry on Saturday and Sunday we wouldn't have learnt much from going out on inters and didn't want to risk anything by running on a damp track so we had to wait until almost the end of the session and then did a couple of laps on supersofts so we could start having a look at how they performed here."
Jules Bianchi: "It was very pleasing to find the car performing well here after a good test in Barcelona last week. We do not have all the data we were hoping for at this stage of the weekend, but I think the baseline is strong. Clearly the weather has been a factor for everyone today but there is still room for improvement for us and I am confident that we can make some more progress on Saturday."
Max Chilton: "It's been a tough start to my Monaco weekend, particularly the loss of track time in FP1 this morning. We were hoping to make up for lost time this afternoon, but the weather intervened and when we were able to get into the dry programme, of course everyone was taking advantage of the same improving conditions, so traffic was a factor. On a positive note, we seem to have carried through the good work from the test in Barcelona and the car seems to be performing well, so in many ways my weekend will start in FP3 on Saturday morning."
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