Qualy quotes: Force India, McLaren, Renault, Toro Rosso

Date published: May 26 2018

Esteban Ocon qualified best of the rest, Spaniards Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso were also in the top 10, as was Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.

Force India

Esteban Ocon: 
“I’m feeling very happy. Today we showed our strength as a team and we are sixth on the grid in Monaco. It’s the most important qualifying session of the year and we have a great opportunity to score good points tomorrow. The team has done so much work to improve the car by bringing updates to each race and it’s really paying off. My lap in Q3 didn’t feel like my best of the weekend, but the car was working well and the lap time was there. I’m not getting carried away because there is a long way to go tomorrow. We still need to do a good job in the race, stay out of trouble and bring the car home.”

Sergio Perez: “It was a very intense qualifying session and a good result for the team as a whole. I am really pleased with my job in Q1 and Q2: my laps there were perfect, possibly my best of the weekend. In Q3, I lost a bit the feeling with the car, but even then I was less than a tenth away from being sixth. It was such a small margin but it will make a big difference on the grid tomorrow. I’m still happy with how much we improved the car after free practice. Esteban did a fantastic job to qualify where he did and our pace gives me confidence for tomorrow. The race is going to be long and a lot can happen. We have to see how the hypersoft tyres perform in the race, especially if the weather is hot. The most important this is to keep our race clean and see where we end up.”

McLaren

Fernando Alonso: “We were a little bit worried after finishing FP3 in 15th position – we lacked some pace and the balance was not ideal. But the team did a great job ahead of qualifying: we changed the car completely, a bit like throwing a coin in the air and having everything work out fine. This afternoon’s session was a little bit stressful – there was a lot of traffic, and you really needed to deliver a lap when your tyres are at their newest, and then wait and see if your time is good enough. That’s quite tense, but at the same time it’s very challenging. Tomorrow is going to be a long race. We just need to stay away from the walls and bring the car home with the best possible result. That’s going to mean securing your starting position on the first lap and then playing with the strategy. Key to this race will be the tyres – the Hypersoft has very high degradation, so we’ll need to manage that.”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “We had a competitive car in FP3, but then discovered a small problem before qualifying. There was no time to fix it, so we had to go into this afternoon’s session without the right settings. Immediately, it felt a bit different; not as good as FP3, and a little bit unbalanced. That wasn’t ideal for qualifying, but won’t be a worry for tomorrow as it can be fixed. We were still very competitive considering what happened; we had good pace in Q1 and Q2, and were a bit closer up the field. A bit of traffic on my out-laps and not-the-most perfect lap meant I finished 12th. We were two tenths up on the delta, so I think it would’ve been easy to get into Q3. I’m obviously disappointed, but there’s definitely the potential for points tomorrow. We can decide on our starting tyre: the Hypersoft doesn’t look to be the best race tyre, so starting on a different compound could hopefully open some doors for us. We’ll just need a bit of luck on our side tomorrow.”

Renault

Carlos Sainz: “It was a very tight one today. After Q1 we had to react and we changed a few things on the car to try and get closer to the 1:12 mark. We got closer still in the second session and then in Q3 we did a good job, taking eighth, even though the out lap in run two was not the best. Tomorrow will be a tough race: a one-stop strategy on the Hypersoft won’t be easy with tyre degradation, so it might be one of the hardest Monaco races in recent seasons. The undercuts and overcuts will play a big part and so will traffic. We have some things to think about overnight but I feel very positive.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “So that was not exactly the cleanest Quali, but we all feel we can have a good day tomorrow. I locked up a little coming into Turn 10 out of the tunnel and lost the time that would have got me through. But at least we have some flexibility with the strategy for tomorrow’s race that can come into play.”

Toro Rosso

Pierre Gasly: “I must say I felt good with the car today! I think we made a good step compared to Thursday and to the last few races. We were only a tenth from P6 – which is great and not great – because of course it’s frustrating as you think you could have always found that extra tenth. I’m super happy to get to Q3 and it’s a good starting position, especially on this track. As we’ve seen in the past anything can happen around here! I think it will be super important to get a good start. I’m feeling more and more comfortable in the car, so I need to keep taking that experience and keep improving, Monaco is really particular and we had to setup the car in a different way – I think it was very positive. Every weekend we’re learning more and definitely this weekend it looks like everything is working quite well. We caught back up to the midfield and hopefully we can have a great race tomorrow and score some good points.”

Brendon Hartley: “I’m really disappointed getting knocked out in Q1, especially after ending practice this morning in P7 and I was really happy with the car. We’ve been looking strong all weekend, but when it came to qualifying I wasn’t as happy with the car in terms of balance, so there’s a bit to be looked at there. It’s always a tough one around here, it can be a lottery with traffic and yellow flags, and in the last two attempts I had in Qualifying there was a lot of both, so it really wasn’t ideal – especially since it’s very difficult to pass around here. It will be tough tomorrow, but our car looks good so we’ll see what we can do!”