Traditionally there is an engine silence on Friday in the Principality of Monaco and thus the McLaren Mercedes Team came in action today during the first two practice sessions. Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton can look back on a satisfying day and can start to dream of stepping on the highest scaffold on Sunday.
P1 programme 23 laps 1m17.350s (+0.731s) 5th
P2 programme 33 laps 1m15.228s (+0.093s) 2nd
“It’s fantastic out there: I love the track, I love the weather. It’s a beautiful place to be. I’m enjoying every lap I drive – and I’ve got the best view of the whole of Monaco when I’m in the car!
“I’m very happy to be here – I’m really pleased with the balance of the car and I kept out of trouble, but it’s going to be close here.
“You quickly get used to DRS and KERS Hybrid, but you’re only really on it for the pit straight and up the hill; you tend not to use it through the slower sections. Maybe I’ll find a few more places to use it for qualifying – but I’ll keep that in my pocket!
“I just love driving the car here – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done! It’s so exciting – you can’t afford to make mistakes, the car feels amazing when you’re jumping from kerb to kerb, and there’s no room for error.
“I want to win this grand prix!”
P1 programme 24 laps 1m17.534s (+0.915s) 5th
P2 programme 38 laps 1m15.448s (+0.325s) 4th
“First lap out is always a shock because it’s so slippery. But once the grip goes down, the car works well and it’s really fun to be out there.
“DRS and KERS Hybrid both work around here – I have no issues about deploying DRS, but I’m happy we can’t use it in the tunnel; the FIA definitely made the right decision there. I think we’ve also worked out where to best use KERS Hybrid.
“I feel more comfortable with the car than I did last year, but there are still a few areas that need tweaking. Our car feels reasonably quick, but there’s an awful lot of competition out there.
“There’s a lot less degradation than I think we all expected. I did a long-run on the Super-Soft, and while there’s some degradation, it’s reasonably good. The same is true of the harder tyre. But it’s still not easy to decide what strategy will work best around here on Sunday afternoon.
Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: “It always feels pleasant to be on the Côte d’Azur on a sunny day – and it feels even better when you’ve got two cars looking consistently competitive after the first day of practice at Monte-Carlo.
“I think the whole team did an extremely solid job today: both Lewis and Jenson drove very well, kept out of trouble and were able to refine their cars throughout both sessions. The engineers and the mechanics also worked faultlessly together at what is without doubt the most difficult of challenges from an engineering and logistical point of view.
“While it’s encouraging to see both cars towards the top of the time-sheets, we’re under no illusions that this will be anything other than an extremely closely fought weekend: it’s clear that Red Bull Racing, Ferrari and Mercedes GP all look very strong – and that bodes well for a very tight battle for qualifying and an extremely entertaining race on Sunday.”