Just four days after Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, Formula One cars took to the streets of Monte Carlo today for the first two practice sessions ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix.
The MERCEDES GP PETRONAS pair of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher spent the morning tuning the set-up of their MGP W01 cars to the unique demands of the low-speed and high-downforce circuit. Michael completed 21 laps and finished the session in sixth place however a lengthy change required on Nico’s car cost him some track time and he completed 15 laps and ended the morning in 11th position. The skies darkened with light rain towards the end of the afternoon session but not enough to require a change from slick tyres. Nico and Michael completed a busy programme with the two Bridgestone tyre compounds for the weekend. Their quickest laps, set whilst the track was completely dry, put Nico in second place and Michael in fifth position.
“Monaco is a very special and challenging circuit and we had a positive start to our weekend here today. We made good progress this afternoon after losing some time in the morning with a pushrod problem that we had to fix. The lap times looked quite promising in the second session and I felt very comfortable in the car. We were able to improve the set-up continuously and get the tyres working better as the session went on. So everything looks promising after the first day and I’m looking forward to getting on with qualifying on Saturday.”
“Today’s practice was a lot of fun. You clearly have to say that Monaco is a very special place to drive and I really enjoyed it. I got back into the rhythm of the track, especially on the long runs, and I think we can be quite confident for tomorrow as the car is definitely quite reasonable to handle. The other teams who have a certain top speed advantage on other tracks at the moment do not have this advantage here, so the whole field comes a bit closer together which will make it a very interesting qualifying in my view. I am looking forward to it.”
“As always at Monaco, the track conditions evolved rapidly today and it was important to make full use of the available practice time. We lost some running with Nico this morning but he did well to come back and find reasonable solutions for the set-up. We followed our usual practice programme of set-up, fuel load and tyre comparisons today. Our low fuel pace seems reasonable but we have more work to do on high fuel before Sunday. Overall a reasonable start to the weekend and we are enjoying the unique challenge and working environment that Monaco provides.”
“Quite a promising start to the weekend for us today and certainly a different picture from what we saw last Sunday in Barcelona. Nico and Michael’s lap times on both types of tyres with lesser fuel as well as during race simulation runs looked not bad at all. There is definitely more work to do before Saturday but so far so good.”