Thur: Force India, McLaren, Haas, Williams


There were top ten times in Thursday’s Monaco practice for Sergio Perez and Jenson Button while Nico Hulkenberg missed out in 11th place…

Force India:
Sergio Perez:
“Driving in Monaco is always a big challenge, even during the practice sessions, because you have to find your rhythm quickly and build up speed with each lap. It has been a good day with no issues and we’ve collected the information we need on all three tyre compounds. I’m not completely happy with the car yet so I think there’s more to come. That’s what we need to look at tonight and tomorrow to make sure I feel totally confident with the car, which is especially important here.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a very promising start to our weekend, on a day in which our priority was to get in all of our planned running. Driving around this track is always a lot of fun as it’s a circuit that tests you to the limit. Even the newly-resurfaced areas have pretty good grip, so it gives you confidence as you drive. We ticked all the boxes in our plan and we were able to run on Ultra Soft tyres in the afternoon to learn about them. The feeling I got from the car is positive: there are a few tweaks we can make to get a bit more grip here and there, but the potential for a good weekend is there. It’s up to us to work well now and turn this promising start into a good result.”

Jenson Button:
“The morning session was tough – we really struggled for grip – but started getting there in the afternoon. The day was made tougher for my side of garage by the drain cover, which came loose and broke through my front wing, front suspension, brake duct and floor. The mechanics did a great job to get the car ready for FP2, but we’ve still got a long way to go until we’re happy with our competitiveness.

“A racetrack is a controlled environment, and we take enough risks as racing drivers. Normally, the safety standards here are very good, but that incident is something we don’t want to see again., It was lucky that the drain cover stayed quite low on the ground. There’s still a big gap to the cars at the front, but we’ll do our best in qualifying and I hope we’ll be more competitive.”

Fernando Alonso: “We know this is a good opportunity for us in terms of circuit layout, so we perhaps expected to be a little more competitive in today’s sessions. On the other hand, we need to stay calm – it’s still only Thursday and there’s a lot of potential in the car to be found by Saturday. The balance was not right today: I had quite a bit of understeer so there’s definitely more lap-time to come from us. We’ll see the truth on Saturday, and I’m sure we’ll deliver when it matters.”

Esteban Gutierrez:
“It was a very productive day, and fantastic to be back in Monaco as it’s a track I really enjoy. I think it was important for me at the start to get my confidence from the first session. I didn’t race last year, so it was great to try and get in as many laps as possible. The team did a great job to recover this morning from a small issue we had in FP1, so it was pretty good we managed to get out in FP2. Overall, I think we’ll be working on fine tuning a few details and then we’ll be ready for qualifying.”

Romain Grosjean: “It was Monaco. It was tricky. This morning went quite smoothly. We made some setup changes for the afternoon, but I think we’ve got room for some big improvements. The first run this afternoon, I lost the car under braking into the chicane. The guys did an amazing job to put the car back together. We were lucky that there wasn’t too much damage. Eventually, we did manage to finish most of our program, which is good. We now have a full day tomorrow to work on the data. It’s always tricky to come to Monaco for the first time as a team, but I’m sure we can find some more performance.”

Valtteri Bottas:
“We did a lot of laps today. The car set-up felt better than what we have tried here before. At the same time, it was more difficult to drive, with quite a bit of oversteer, so I was a little nervous. I had a bit of a moment in FP1, but that’s part of it. It’s a tough track. The times are looking very close, so any gain we can make before qualifying will be very useful.”

Felipe Massa: “It was a difficult morning, losing so much time in the session when I could have been driving. I missed a lot of laps, and we know in Monaco it is important to be on the track all the time you can. It was not a very good afternoon for us. We struggled to get good lap times . We’re missing grip and traction, so we need to work on the car to try to improve and make it more competitive for this track, especially for the race. It is a very special weekend where I always enjoy driving, seeing the fans and how special this race is for them – so I hope we can do well for them.”