A tense qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix saw George take P6 and Lewis P8, after a red flag brought the session to an early end – and cost some drivers their final timed laps.
- George secured P6 on the starting grid after setting his time prior to the session-ending red flag.
- Lewis aborted his first lap and was unable to complete his final lap, meaning his qualifying time was set on used tyres in run one.
- Forecasts of rain are strengthening for Sunday, raising the prospect of challenging mixed conditions in tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
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The ride of the car has been our biggest limitation all weekend and while P6 is not a result to be celebrating, I think we pretty much maximised it out there with the package we have. The team has worked incredibly hard to give us the most compliant set-up possible, but we saw in Barcelona that our strengths were speed on the straights and the high-speed corners – and there’s none of either in Monaco! So looking at it objectively, there’s no reason we should be any higher up today. From my point of view, looking to tomorrow I’m thinking: bring on the rain! Nobody knows how the tyres will be in the wet, so we need to keep it out of the wall, be there at the end and roll the dice on strategy if we can.
The red flags cost me my final lap, but I don’t think it was going to be much different to how it turned out anyway. In hindsight, I needed to get lap one on the tyres and I didn’t, after starting the lap in the wrong engine mode. But Monaco is just like that, and it was an unfortunate session. The car feels pretty bad out there and we’re having to take some big risks to get anywhere near the times of the cars in front. We improved the car from yesterday and got a little bit closer, but even with a perfect lap I think we’d still be six tenths off, which is a decent chunk. Now we need to see what the weather does tomorrow and try to make some progress up the field.
That was a typically chaotic Monaco qualifying session, and at the end George got his lap done and Lewis missed out because of the red flags, which maybe cost him a position on the grid tomorrow. But I think George’s result shows where the pace of the car is this weekend – Monaco has never been the easiest place for us, and that’s been true again this year. The race pace looked stronger than the single lap in practice, but it’s hard to make it count here, as we know. But it looks like the weather will mix things up for tomorrow, so let’s see how it turns out and whether we can make the most of the opportunities that might come our way.
A difficult day for the team and drivers; the car hasn’t been easy to work with here and the ride issues that we have suffered from have made it difficult for George and Lewis to have confidence in the car. We tried most things on the tyres and in the end, we were able to switch them on okay with sector one being our best sector. By the middle of the lap though we’d drop off the pace a bit through a mixture of some overheating and the fact that the ride issues cost more in the final two sectors. 6th and 8th are not great places to be from starting tomorrow and while our race pace seemed good on Friday, it’s difficult to make use of it if you are in traffic. It’s rarely a straightforward race here so there may be some opportunities that come our way with the strategy and the weather forecast looks like it may bring a bit of rain which, with our grid positions, we’d be quite happy for.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team