QUALIFYING REPORT – 2018 Monaco Grand Prix


QUALIFYING REPORT – 2018 Monaco Grand Prix

Location: Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Circuit: Circuit de Monaco

Session: Qualifying

Today was quite an eventful day in Monaco and as we all know – the track is unpredictable. One of the favourites for the weekend, Max Verstappen hit the wall in FP3 and until last minute, things looked promising for him to join Qualifying however the Red Bull Racing team spotted an issue meaning he had to go through a gearbox change resulting in him starting the race tomorrow at the back of the grid.

Daniel Ricardo has looked extremely strong all weekend and today was no exception – the Red Bull Racing driver topped the timesheets effortlessly and will be starting the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix on pole position.

Sebastian Vettel claimed P2 for tomorrow and his main rival, Lewis Hamilton will start the race from P3.

As we all know, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most unpredictable tracks – one tiny mistake and it could be race over. Drivers need to be aware and alert round the Circuit de Monaco.

Here’s what teams and drivers had to say following the Qualifying session earlier today.

Red Bull Racing – QUALIFYING REPORT – 2018 Monaco Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo – 1st


Daniel Ricciardo: “I’m pretty delighted, but I will be even more delighted if I’m on the top step tomorrow. I’m trying to keep things pretty chilled now but I’ve done everything I need to do up until this point, so I’m pleased with that and everything the team have done.”

“At the moment I feel like I have done half the job I came here to do, so we will try and finish it tomorrow and I’ve made life easier by putting myself on pole. I just kept building up and putting the laps together and then in Q3 it was very important to maximise everything at the right time and I was able to do that. I had confidence in the car which started on Thursday and then it was about finding the rhythm, which is very important around here.”

“I knew the car would be strong and it’s great to get the best out of it. Everyone came into the weekend saying that we were favourites and I thought they were trying to take some pressure off themselves but I thought, let’s prove them right! It’s one extreme to the other for the team today, with Max not making the session, but that’s Monaco and it pushes you.”

“Finding the balance even with a good car, still isn’t easy. I think if we are smart and do the race we know we can do tomorrow, then we are in with a good chance for the win.”

Max Verstappen – No time set


Max Verstappen: “I got a little bit caught off guard passing the slow car, which isn’t an excuse, and clipped the inside barrier before hitting the wall. It happened so quick after getting a bit distracted and perhaps I turned in a bit too early. Like in China, this was my mistake.”

“It is of course not what you like but unfortunately sometimes it happens. Before Qualifying I was ready to get in the car but it turned into a bit of a rollercoaster.”

“They fired up the engine and only then could we see the leak, at this stage it is too late to make it out. It makes it a bit more painful knowing this is a track that we genuinely had a shot at pole and the win. It was a small mistake that resulted in us paying a big price. That is usually the way in Monaco.”

“I saw Daniel back on the Energy Station after quali and congratulated him on a great performance. We know we have pace here but it is so hard to pass and when you get held up there is little you can do.”

Christian Horner – Team Principal

“A fantastic performance by Daniel today. He’s been quickest in every session so far this weekend, including the three segments of Qualifying to achieve his second pole position at our 250th grand prix.”

“Unfortunately Max found the unforgiving nature of this circuit in P3 hitting the barrier in Turn 15 resulting in significant damage.”

“The mechanics did an unbelievable job getting the car turned around only to then discover a gearbox leak which necessitated a change and in the time available it just wasn’t possible to get him out on track for Qualifying.”

“So, it is bittersweet in some respects but today belonged to Daniel.”

Mercedes – QUALIFYING REPORT – 2018 Monaco Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton – 3rd


Lewis Hamilton: “It was a really good session, I gave it everything that I could. But even with a perfect lap we couldn’t catch Daniel today; Red Bull just had a little bit more performance, particularly in the last sector.”

“I was up in the first sector, but I just couldn’t hold onto it. I’m glad that we’re up there, I won my first Grand Prix here from third but obviously that was in unique circumstances.”

“The team did a fantastic job getting the car to where it is. It will be interesting to see how the different tyre choices work for each of us tomorrow and there’s going to be lots going on throughout the race.”

“I really can’t tell you what Monaco is going to bring tomorrow, but I’m going to give it everything and just keep my head down. My goal is to switch places with Daniel, so that’s what I’m going to go for.”

Valtteri Bottas – 5th


Valtteri Bottas: “Today was tricky. We expected the Red Bull to be very fast around here and we also knew that it was going to be one of the most difficult tracks for our car.”

“We improved the set-up from Thursday and the car felt much better to drive. The main limitation was overall grip rather than balance, I was sliding around quite a bit. I don’t think I could have gone any quicker as I feel like I would have ended up in the wall.”

“We tried to get through Q2 with the ultrasoft, but we realised we didn’t have enough pace for that. So we will start the race on the hypersoft tomorrow which will be interesting.”

“P5 is not ideal as it’s easier to start from the front row in Monaco, but we know anything can happen here.”

Toto Wolff – Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

“In Formula One, you can’t make a car that is the class of the field at every circuit – and we saw that again today. We came to Monaco expecting this to be one of our weakest tracks, aiming to limit our losses in terms of points, and this is a decent starting point towards that objective.”

“We start P3 and P5, helped a little by circumstances, and also two strong laps from Lewis and Valtteri. So we can’t be satisfied, but nonetheless I’m reasonably pleased.”

“In Q2, we tried something different with the ultrasoft, but the grip just wasn’t there on the harder compound and we were some way off setting a competitive time.”

“It was a bit optimistic in hindsight but we at least tried something different, even if it didn’t work out. Looking to tomorrow, everybody knows this is a long race and a tough one, with very few opportunities to make up positions.”

“They will be managing the pace at the front, so we will try to make good starts and then see what progress can be made. It will be a day for damage limitation – and seizing any opportunity that comes our way.”

Andrew Shovlin – Trackside Engineering Director

“You never go into Monaco qualifying expecting a straight forward session and this was no exception. We struggled to find clear track in the early stages so it took us a few laps to get a decent time on the board, making things a little more exciting than they needed to be.”

“Going into Q2, we knew that we did not have the fastest car so decided to have a go at getting through on the ultrasoft, thinking that the alternative strategy might play into our hands tomorrow.”

“Ultimately, we didn’t quite have the pace to make this work and came in for hypersofts. By Q3, the reduced number of cars on track makes life a bit easier and both drivers had clear laps and were quite happy with the balance of the car.”

“On a perfect day, Lewis might have made it to the front row but he was having to push right to the limit to get the time and the rears just started to give up in the final sector.”

“While we clearly have work to do to improve our performance on a very slow track like this, we’re happy that we got the set-up right and we’re happy that the team worked well in the most difficult qualifying session of the year.”

“The race is always exciting and always unpredictable and the hypersoft is likely to add to that drama. We’re close enough to the front to be in the fight and we’ll be ready to take advantage of any opportunity – perhaps not being on the front row helps in this regard as they will be covering each other and it may allow us to do something a little different.”

Ferrari – QUALIFYING REPORT – 2018 Monaco Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel – 2nd


Sebastian Vettel: “I’ve been quite happy today even if you always have the feeling you could do much more. However, we tried to get everything out of our car and we got a good position.”

“Red Bull has been strong since Thursday, but we got as close as we could. The main thing for us is that our car has potential. In the first corner I just couldn’t drive the way I wanted but for the rest it was ok.”

“It was a tricky session also in terms of getting the tyres together. Now we’ll focus on the start tomorrow, but it will be a long race. It will be a different game to play tomorrow, compared to today. On Sunday, it could be more tactical, and we need to consider that a short period of the race could decide the result of the race itself.”

“Also, we need a bit of luck, but the most important thing is to be ready to react. We know what we have to do, so we’ll see how the race turns out.”

Kimi Raikkonen – 4th


Kimi Raikkonen: “Today we struggled a bit to make the tyres work straightaway in the first two corners, get them into the correct temperature window and get the car to turn where we wanted.”

“During the lap they seemed to improve, but here at Monaco, if you are not 100 per cent sure of how it’s going to be in Turn 1, then you lack a bit of confidence.”

“Obviously, we cannot be totally happy with this result, we wanted to be higher up the time sheet, but this what we have got today.”

“The race is a different story. Usually it’s very tricky to overtake here, but in the past a lot of things happened. We’ll try to stay out of any trouble, make the right decisions and do the right things at the right moment.”

McLaren – QUALIFYING REPORT – 2018 Monaco Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso – 7th


Fernando Alonso: “We were a little bit worried after finishing FP3 in 15th position – we lacked some pace and the balance was not ideal. But the team did a great job ahead of qualifying: we changed the car completely, a bit like throwing a coin in the air and having everything work out fine.”

“This afternoon’s session was a little bit stressful – there was a lot of traffic, and you really needed to deliver a lap when your tyres are at their newest, and then wait and see if your time is good enough.”

“That’s quite tense, but at the same time it’s very challenging.”

“Tomorrow is going to be a long race. We just need to stay away from the walls and bring the car home with the best possible result. That’s going to mean securing your starting position on the first lap and then playing with the strategy.”

“Key to this race will be the tyres – the Hypersoft has very high degradation, so we’ll need to manage that.”

Stoffel Vandoorne – 12th


Stoffel Vandoorne: “We had a competitive car in FP3, but then discovered a small problem before qualifying. There was no time to fix it, so we had to go into this afternoon’s session without the right settings. Immediately, it felt a bit different; not as good as FP3, and a little bit unbalanced.”

“That wasn’t ideal for qualifying, but won’t be a worry for tomorrow as it can be fixed. We were still very competitive considering what happened; we had good pace in Q1 and Q2, and were a bit closer up the field.”

“A bit of traffic on my out-laps and not-the-most perfect lap meant I finished 12th. We were two tenths up on the delta, so I think it would’ve been easy to get into Q3.”

“I’m obviously disappointed, but there’s definitely the potential for points tomorrow. We can decide on our starting tyre: the Hypersoft doesn’t look to be the best race tyre, so starting on a different compound could hopefully open some doors for us – we’ll just need a bit of luck on our side tomorrow.”

Eric Boullier – Racing Director

“Starting the Monaco Grand Prix from seventh and 12th positions gives us a extremely good opportunity to score points tomorrow.”

“This is our best collective qualifying performance of the season so far, and is a real testament to the effort of the whole team, who have worked incredibly hard to bring new components to the track, evaluate them and ensure they perform smoothly.”

“Coupled to that, both Fernando and Stoffel have driven with commitment and precision all weekend – and, but for a small problem with Stoffel’s car, I think we could have started both drivers inside the top 10.”

“Seeing this sort of validation is hugely encouraging for the whole team. Let’s hope we can bring the weekend to a conclusion with a strong performance in the race – I strongly believe we can.”

Renault – QUALIFYING REPORT – 2018 Monaco Grand Prix

Nico Hulkenberg – 11th


Nico Hulkenberg: “So that was not exactly not the cleanest quali, but we all feel we can have a good day tomorrow. I locked up a little coming into Turn 10 out of the tunnel and lost the time that would have got me through.”

“At least we have some flexibility with the strategy for tomorrow’s race that can come into play.”

Carlos Sainz – 8th


Carlos Sainz: “It was a very tight one today. After Q1 we had to react and we changed a few things on the car to try and get closer to the 1:12 mark.”

“We got closer still in the second session and then in Q3 we did a good job, taking eighth, even though the out lap in run two was not the best.”

“Tomorrow will be a tough race: a one-stop strategy on the hypersoft won’t be easy with tyre degradation, so it might be one of the hardest Monaco races in recent seasons.”

“The undercuts and overcuts will play a big part and so will traffic. We have some things to think about overnight but I feel very positive.”

It should be a great race tomorrow – there will be LIVE race updates on here so make sure you check back tomorrow for all the latest.

The Formula 1 Girl – Formula 1 Blog 🙂

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