Sebastian Vettel set the pace in Monaco ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and the very impressive Toro Rossos.
Sebastian Vettel: “I was pretty happy with the afternoon session. We had a small issue at the start of the session which needed some extra time to be looked at, but then we were on our way. It’s fun to drive these cars around Monaco because they’re faster than in the past. They’re also wider, and I kissed the barrier a couple of times this morning, but I could carry on with no damage. Overall it has been a good day. It’s only Thursday, so we have to wait for Saturday to get a clear picture, but it is nice to have a good feeling with the car already. I was very happy with the first run in the morning and since then we didn’t have to change too much, but we improved the car in the afternoon. It feels good on a quick lap, the long runs are a bit harder to judge because of traffic. Now it’s about fine-tuning and we have time for that. Yet, we still have to do something more on the car to be more competitive. Meanwhile, we’ll have some commitments at the track tomorrow; it is more relaxed than usual because we have more time, but we are definitely not on holiday!”
Kimi Raikkonen: “Today it was getting better and better and that’s the main thing. We made smooth progress; In the long runs the feeling with the car was good, while on the shorter ones we still have to improve a little bit. We made some changes and it got better all the times. We only need to work on small things to get a nicer feeling all the time and see once we push where we end up on Saturday. For sure it will be close between quite a few cars and so we obviously we need to do a good job.”
Daniel Ricciardo: “Regardless of how the car feels it is always so much fun to drive this track. We are looking pretty good at the moment. We put some good laps together and know where we need to improve so I’m very happy with our position after the first day. We have good downforce here, the rear of the car feels like it is working the best it has so far this year. If we can get the tires warmed up I think we can be pretty close on Saturday. I’m pleased with the cars rhythm and set-up which gives me confidence and makes me feel we are back in that groove after the first couple of practice sessions. I don’t think we need to do too much to the car set-up wise at the moment, just a couple of small tweaks overnight perhaps. Being the first time round here with the new cars it definitely felt a little bit tighter so that needs to be considered when pushing on quick laps, but as I said, so much fun as always.”
Max Verstappen: “It felt quite straightforward today, the balance of the car felt ok and we didn’t do too many big changes so we are pleased with our performance. We still need some small improvements which we will hopefully find overnight and be up there at the front tomorrow. The red flag in the second practice messed up my run a bit so I didn’t get a good chance on the new tyres and to show a true fast lap potential. I have learnt from the last few years you do not need to be the quickest on Thursday, it takes a lot of concentration here as one small mistake means you are in the wall and the session is over. Qualifying is very important in Monaco as once you get in traffic during a race it is so hard to overtake and progress, it’s also very risky trying it. If you can get the tyres in the right window it helps massively, today we didn’t quite manage to get there so we will work on that tomorrow and be ready for Qualifying.”
Daniil Kvyat: “A productive Friday. We did many laps today and they were all of good quality. We now have a lot of useful data to analyse before Saturday. The good news is that I’m happy with the balance of the car and we already look quite competitive. We now need to maintain this and get the car ready for qualifying and the race.”
Carlos Sainz Jr: “I think that we did what we needed to do on a Thursday in Monaco, building the speed up little by little and trying different configurations to give myself confidence with the car. After today’s two practice sessions it’s safe to say that we’re quite happy with everything. Obviously, from Thursday to Saturday a lot of things could change so we can’t let ourselves get carried away with today’s result, but it’s definitely a good starting point! I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend!”