Thur: McLaren, Williams, Renault, Sauber

Date published: May 25 2017

Jenson Button returned to Formula 1 in Monaco, P12 in Thursday’s practices while it was a trying day for Renault.

McLaren:
Stoffel Vandoorne:
“It’s been a reasonably good day’s running. If you look at today’s lap-times, you can see how extremely tight it is in the midfield – and that’s exactly where we are. That means we really need to maximise every single opportunity that comes our way this weekend so we can eke out every last bit of performance from the car. An extra tenth or two could make a huge difference in Saturday’s qualifying. I’m feeling pretty comfortable in the car. I think we’ll make some small adjustments ahead of FP3, and those should hopefully help us take another slight step forward. The most important thing around here is to build up throughout the weekend, and to be fully prepared for qualifying. I think we can be in good shape for that. There’s still more to come from us this weekend.”

Jenson Button: “It was funny when I did the install lap this morning, I had a little giggle to myself. Have I missed it? No, but when you jump in the car, you definitely enjoy the moments that you have. I’ve really enjoyed practice, both the long and short runs. FP2 was a bit of a struggle to really find my feet with the car. I’m braking so much later than what I’m used to here and carrying so much speed into the corners. Adjusting to that takes time, so with another day with the engineers and a look through the data, I’m confident that I can improve for Saturday. As soon as I exited the pits, everything felt very natural. The weirdest thing is when you’re behind a car or when you let a car past, because you look at it and it’s gigantic. Then you feel really uncomfortable because you think, maybe I am too close to the barriers. But the car fits well; it fits like a glove. I haven’t really thought about where I hope to finish. It’s a very mixed-up grid at the moment which I’m sure will all change again on Saturday. I don’t expect to be one tenth off the Mercedes cars in qualifying, but the guys understand where I’m coming from. They know what they need to do to improve the car to suit me a little bit more and to give me a little bit more confidence. Hopefully we’ll see a step in performance on Saturday.”

Williams:
Felipe Massa:
“Today was a typical first day in Monaco, really. We had to try and understand everything: the tyres, the balance, and try to get used to the track with the new car and new rules. But today was always going to be a learning day. Happy may not be the right word to describe today because we’re not in a great position, but we are a little better than we have been at this track in previous years. It’s definitely going to be a big fight with so many teams around us. But we’ll do everything we can and I hope we’ll be able to understand everything to improve so that we can be ready for qualifying on Saturday.”

Lance Stroll: “The track is great and I was really happy with the car, but then there was the crash at the end. I just basically centred in looking for the limit, got onto the dirt a little bit and lost the rear. It was a typical street circuit mistake. I got into learning the circuit pretty quickly and I was happy with the day until then. What is good here is the tyre seems to be hanging on quite a bit, so we are able to do multiple push laps.  In FP3 I am just going to build up my rhythm in that area, but I think I know pretty clearly in my head what I did wrong. I am going to look at the little areas I can improve on for Saturday, as I know we can do that and have a good day.  I think corner eight and the last corner are the two places I need to improve on, but it really annoys me because every time I play the Playstation game it has always been those two corners that I couldn’t get right, and in reality it is still those two corners!”

Renault:
Nico Hulkenberg:
“We made progress in the afternoon after a morning where I wasn’t put through my paces but my team mechanics had all the work to do. There were no issues for me in the afternoon however we were a bit behind where we should have been by missing the earlier track time. I focussed on assessing parts and set-up more than going all out for the fastest time possible, so there’s more in the bag for Saturday.”

Jolyon Palmer: “Monaco’s all about building momentum and getting the laps in, so in that regard it was a positive morning but a less positive afternoon. There’s certainly more pace to come from me and the car so I’m very eager to get back out on track, although we have to wait a day longer for FP3 and qualifying here. Obviously the afternoon was unfortunate but there’s still a lot of potential for the weekend ahead.”

Sauber:
Marcus Ericsson:
“It was obviously not an ideal day. I have lost lots of track time in FP1 because of the gear box issue. That really hurts, especially on a track like Monaco, where you need to find a good rhythm every lap. The guys worked really hard to get the car ready again for FP2. The afternoon session was good in terms of running, but our pace is not satisfying at the moment. We made some proress in Barcelona, but here we struggle with the overall grip.”

Pascal Wehrlein: “Overall it was a difficult practice day for us. We definitely expected more here in Monaco compared to where we are. Therefore, I am not satisfied with today’s performance. We need to understand the reasons for that, so that we can improve for Saturday and Sunday.”