Thur: Red Bull, Merc, Toro Rosso, Ferrari

Date published: May 26 2016

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen challenged the Mercedes drivers for top spot in Thursday’s Monaco practice with Ricciardo quickest of all by 0.6s…

Red Bull:
Daniel Ricciardo:
“The engine has helped a little bit but obviously we have a good car around here as well, I think it’s down to a little bit of both. Let’s see how we go in qualifying on Saturday. We are in a good position, depending on what the track is going to do on Sunday. I have good confidence with the car which is very important around here. I have always loved the third sector, I’m usually pretty quick in that sector. I am a bit disappointed the second apex by the swimming pool has been opened up, it’s less challenging. We have a bit more downforce than other cars so that keeps us a bit steadier. If you’re going to pick the races on the calendar to win then Monaco is up there, it’s so prestigious, and you can really show personality around this track. Come qualifying and race day Mercedes will turn it up but hopefully I can stay in front. I’ll be surprised if we can keep the gap we have today in qualifying but we will see how we go. If the weather stays the same for the race and qualifying we won’t change too many things. The goal here is pole and win.”

Max Verstappen: “It looks like we are not too bad, so I think it’s a good start to the weekend. There’s always a lot of work to do but I think it’s a good start. It’s good to get back in the car and this track is very challenging so that’s always nice to do. On my short runs I had a bit of traffic and also when Sebastian spun I was behind him, but these things happen in practice and of course it was a great lap time by Daniel. We are almost there, tonight I will look into the data a bit more to improve my car but the most important thing is to stay out of the walls and get confident. You have to build up over the weekend so that’s what we did today and we’ll try to improve everything for Saturday. I think the feeling was there, we just built it up lap by lap and we didn’t have a crash so that’s the most important thing. The conditions were OK, we just need to work on the car balance and getting a bit more confidence in the car and from there on we’ll see what happens. We are not too far off, we’ll try to improve our car but I’m sure others will do that as well so we’ll see.”

Mercedes:
Lewis Hamilton
: “It’s been a relatively good day. No real surprises – except that the track has changed slightly at Turn 15, which has made it a bit quicker through there. Although the new tyres are definitely softer than the other compounds, they still feel pretty hard around here. It’s not as easy to get them in the window as we would hope. But generally it’s been a really positive start. We’ve got everything we needed done in both sessions and our pace looks good, so hopefully that continues through the rest of the weekend.”

Nico Rosberg: “It’s great to be back on the streets of my home town here in Monaco – and also to see all the fans so close to us as we’re on track. It was a tricky start in to the weekend for us, though. The sessions were a bit messy, with quite a few Virtual Safety Car periods – but I was able to learn a lot on the longer runs we managed to do which was a positive. A big applause for all of the circuit marshals, who did a great job as always to clear the cars quickly. As expected, Red Bull look very strong here. We have some more homework to do during tonight and tomorrow to find some time – but I can’t wait for Saturday and the qualifying battle. It should be very close and very exciting, which is great for the sport.”

Toro Rosso:
Daniil Kvyat:
“I think it was a decent day for us in the office today. We completed many useful laps and we had a very consistent day here in Monaco. We now have plenty of things to look at tonight and tomorrow, as well as analysing everything before qualifying and the race. I think that overall we are looking quite good, there is good potential for us, and I’d say that if we do our homework well we can have a strong weekend. It was the first time that we used the Ultrasoft tyres today and they felt okay; we just need to look into the data from the practice session in order to understand this compound well and extract the most out of it.”

Carlos Sainz Jr: “I enjoyed it a lot out there today! To have a smooth Thursday in Monaco is always important in order to build-up your confidence for the rest of the weekend. The track is really fast compared to last year and the lap times are coming down nicely… It feels like we’re pushing the Formula 1 cars back to really challenging times! I was a bit surprised with the amount of degradation on the Ultrasofts, which won’t be easy to handle, but it will be the same for everyone and we will see what we can do in the race. We were able to complete our programme and had no issues throughout the day, so we can be pretty happy with our start to the Monaco Grand Prix.”

Ferrari:
Kimi Raikkonen:
“It was not an ideal day, but it is still the first day of practice. In the morning I was not very happy with the car but in the afternoon we were able to improve the behaviour. There’s a lot of work to do but of course this is not the easiest place when things are not running exactly as you want. It’s the first time we use the Ultrasoft compound in the race weekend, the feeling is that it’s the best fitting tyre of all of those we have here, but we still need to find a way to make them work slightly better.”

Sebastian Vettel: “It was not a “clean” day in the office today. Our session was a bit scrappy: I touched the wall, damaged the rear wing, but luckily we were able to fix it and carry on. I just didn’t get everything out of the car, couldn’t find the rhythm and didn’t do good laps on the Ultrasoft tyres. If you look at the standings, we don’t belong where we scored today. But overall the car is good and has the pace. So I am not worried for Saturday. Today our focus was not towards ranking high up, we tried a couple of things and it is fair to say that some of them didn’t work. Being the first practice day, it is also difficult to see what other people did.”