Teams' reactions after Monaco qualifying thriller

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Monaco, Monte Carlo Circuitmc

The qualifying session for the 67th Monaco Grand Prix did not fail to impress by delivering a nail-biting, eye-catching and absolutely thrilling afternoon's session which saw Ferrari's Charles Leclerc come out on top, securing his eighth career pole position.


Charles Leclerc, 1st, 1:10.346

„Mixed feelings today. On the one hand, being on pole here is amazing. I was quite happy with my fastest lap in Q3. The first sector wasn’t ideal, but in the second and third, I put it together. I knew I could do better but I pushed too hard on my final lap trying to improve. Unfortunately, I hit the wall and now all we can do is keep our fingers crossed and hope that the damage won’t result in a penalty.

„Of course, it is encouraging to see our performance, but I believe that it’s a bit of a one-off as the track suits the characteristics of our SF21 really well. That’s why we were so competitive today. We have to keep in mind that we are still not at the level of the two teams leading the championship, but for now, it does feel great to have extracted the maximum today.

„Whatever the outcome, I will give my all tomorrow. It feels great to be at home and to see all the fans around the track. It’s Monaco, it’s very unpredictable, and also challenging for us drivers, especially in the race with so many laps. It’s a great challenge and we will try to put everything together to get a good result.”

Carlos Sainz, 4th, 1:10.611

„Today was very frustrating for me. I’ve been driving well all weekend and I was very strong in qualifying. I felt confident with the car and I had a very strong pace. Unfortunately, my last attempt was a bit compromised with traffic during the preparation lap and then I didn’t have the chance to finish the flying lap due to the red flag. It was my first chance to put it on pole here in Monaco and lining up P4 is really frustrating. I’m not happy.

„Tomorrow it will be tough to overtake, but I will do my best and I will try to maximize our chances. Well done to the team for giving us a strong car to fight up there today.”

Red Bull

Max Verstappen, 2nd, 1:10.576

“Qualifying around here is a lot of fun. I did a decent first lap in Q3 but the tyres weren’t quite in the window and I knew it was going to come down to the last run. My last lap felt really good as I was going into the tunnel, but because of the red flag I couldn’t finish it which was frustrating as I felt so comfortable in the car and I knew pole position was on.

"Obviously Charles is driving very well so I knew it would be tight but everyone back at the factory and here at the track has done an amazing job to get the car to where it is now, especially after we struggled so much on Thursday. I think it’s been a very good weekend so far, we recovered well from practice and we’re starting on the front row tomorrow, which is the most important thing in Monaco, so it’s not too bad. I can be quite happy with second after that red flag and now we just need to finish off the job tomorrow!”

Sergio Perez, 9th, 1:11.573

“I was making good progress throughout qualifying and then in Q3, the session I thought was going to be the smoothest, turned into the worst one. Things got really messy and it just didn’t come together. We seemed to go backwards and we didn’t make the progress we hoped or expected to. I was struggling a lot with the dropping temperatures so we changed our approach going into the final session and it just made it worse, and then on my final Q3 run I got traffic in the last sector so I lost the lap. We know how important qualifying is here in Monaco but we’ll try and do the best possible job we can to recover tomorrow.”


Lewis Hamilton, 7th, 1:11.095

"The car didn't feel too bad on Thursday but we made some changes and it felt terrible today, so we'll have to go back to the drawing board. From my point of view, I just had such a lack of grip out there, which then leads you to try to overdrive and start pushing to get more from it but to no end - it just doesn't improve. So overall, a difficult day. Obviously Valtteri was able to get something out of the car but we have definitely had some problems today.

"It's almost impossible to overtake here and from where we are, that's pretty much the case when everyone is running at the same speed. Saturday really is the day. I guess the minimum would be, hopefully, seventh and then we have got to try and somehow see if we can move forwards."

Valtteri Bottas, 3rd, 1:10.601

"On Thursday and even in practice this morning, I didn't have the greatest feeling in the car - we were still struggling with the tyre warm-up and mechanically, the car just isn't made for tracks like this. But I think we maximised everything set-up wise for Quali, we made some changes and I felt comfortable. As qualifying progressed, I saw that we had a chance for pole position so it's a shame I never got to finish the last run - I guess we'll never find out if it was enough but it was a good lap up until the red flag, I was a tenth or two up.

"It is great to see many teams out there competing at the front, it's exciting and we are all pushing so much on the track, trying to make every small gain we can. I am sure tomorrow will be a tight battle."


Lando Norris, 5th, 1:10.620

“Really good qualifying – I’m very pleased to be P5. We were only two tenths off pole and just half a tenth off P2 – which isn't a lot – so it was really close. But I feel like I did a good lap and I don’t think there was anything more in it. I'm really happy – although knowing that by doing something different you could've maybe gained that half a tenth and quite a few positions is tough, but I’m still pleased with how we did. It was a good day.

“It’s been a good weekend for us, and we extracted everything we could out of the car. On my final Q3 lap especially, we took quite a few risks, but it all paid off and it was definitely one of the best laps I've done in my career. We did a good job today as a team and we just need to try to finish it off tomorrow."

Daniel Ricciardo, 12th, 1:11.598

“It’s more confusing than frustrating at the moment, that’s the emotion I'm feeling. There were some laps that, for sure, were a bit messy which explained maybe a couple of tenths. Since Thursday we’ve made some progress and this was continuing throughout qualifying with each run. I had to stop at the scales towards the end of Q2, so we didn’t have the tyres as we wanted which put us on the back foot a little bit for the final run.

“Usually, you can feel when you’re a bit off the pace, but I haven’t had that, and I don’t feel like I've forgotten how to drive this track. I’m still getting up to speed with the driving style needed to get the maximum out of this car, and maybe that’s amplified here in Monaco. But, we know what we need to work on and we’ll keep pushing for the race tomorrow.”


Pierre Gasly, 6th, 1:10.900

“I’m extremely happy with my qualifying, I think we did the best with the car we had whilst others didn’t maximise their lap, and to qualify where we have today is definitely a massive achievement. I’m very pleased with all the work the team has done, to give me such a strong car when it mattered, I think it was one of my best laps of the weekend and I’m so glad it all came together today in Q3.

"The car operates so differently here than at other tracks so it’s all about playing with the limits and getting as close to the walls as possible. We need a strong start tomorrow and to really work hard on our strategy. We obviously have fast cars starting behind us tomorrow, but we know how hard it is to overtake here in Monaco, so we need to stay focused and have a clean race. I think we can aim for good points and I really hope we can come away with a big reward for all the work the team have been doing.

"I still get an adrenaline rush driving round the streets here in Monte Carlo, it’s such a fast track with these cars and your concentration has always got to be super high. The feeling it gives you here, you don’t get that anywhere else, it’s the best feeling in life and that’s why it’s my favourite track. I’m loving the atmosphere, especially all the French fans, so to come away with a good result in front of a crowd again would be really exciting.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 16th, 1:12.096

“This weekend has obviously been a challenge, having never driven in Monaco before, but I think my qualifying lap was quite good and I was unlucky to miss out on Q2. We’d planned on doing three push laps but only managed two. Having to go to the weighbridge during the session affected our plan and then we hit traffic in sector two on my best lap. We have to analyse all the data and see where my weaknesses are compared to Pierre and then hopefully, I can improve to be able to fight with him in Q3. I think we’re definitely seeing improvements race-to-race though and I’m happy with the performance in the car.”

Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel, 8th, 1:11.419

“On a track like this, you need confidence, and I think qualifying eighth is a good sign that we are making progress with this car. Already on Thursday, I had a good feeling with the car in practice, and today was just about building on that feeling and progressing in each session. In Q1, it was very tight because we only ran one set of Softs because I wanted to make sure we had a second set for Q3.

“It worked, but then we were not able to use them [due to Charles Leclerc’s crash], which was a shame. However, we can be happy about getting the car into Q3, which means we are starting inside the points already and, here in Monaco, that is crucial because it is so hard to overtake.”

Lance Stroll, 13th, 1:11.600

“It was a tricky session. I did not quite have the balance in the car and I was not able to string a lap together. On my best lap, I lost some time in traffic behind [Lando] Norris, too, so that did not help either. Qualifying is very important here, so it is not an ideal result, but we will see what we can do tomorrow. If we make a good start, perhaps we can make some progress. Sebastian was able to get the car into Q3, which I think shows that we are in the mix for points when we put everything together.”

Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen, 14th, 1:11.642

“The car felt okay, even though I had more confidence in the tyres this morning. It’s easy to lose that feeling, especially around here, and it’s these small things that end up making a big difference in laptime. I don’t think much went wrong, we just weren’t fast enough in the laps that mattered. Of course, you always want to be higher on the grid, but we’ll need to make the best of it tomorrow. Hopefully we can have a bit of luck as you never know what’s going to happen. We need to survive the first few corners and then do our race.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, 10th, 1:11.779

“I am really happy about our first Q3 of the season. It’s a day in which we put all together and we finally got what we have been deserving for a while. We did everything right – the car felt great from the start of the weekend, the team sent us out at just the right time and we put the lap together when it mattered. The only regret is the red flag at the end, as I think that lap would have been good and we could have been even higher. I felt confident around here from FP1 and this feeling does so much on a track like Monaco. Tomorrow we need more of the same: a clean start, a good strategy and a good race. Hopefully we can bring home a good result and our first points.”


Esteban Ocon, 11th, 1:11.486

“It was very close today and starting in 11th place is not too bad. With what we had; it was probably the best we could do. I was happy with my lap and driving in qualifying around Monaco is always enjoyable. We’ve not been as fast as we have been at the last couple of races, but we have things to analyse, which will definitely help us in the future. We’re in a good starting position tomorrow – it’s not perfect – but we do have a free choice on tyres. We’re a place away from scoring points and we’ll be ready to attack in the race.”

Fernando Alonso, 17th, 1:12.205

“It was a tricky session today and it’s always a little bit messy in qualifying here as you’re trying to find clear space. I don’t think that was the cause for being eliminated in Q1 as we just couldn’t find the performance the whole weekend and we were expecting more from our package. It’s going to be very difficult starting near the back here in Monaco, but anything can happen in this race.”


George Russell, 15th, 1:11.830

"That was the maximum today, and the Q1 lap was great. It is just exhilarating to get a good lap around here because it is not easy. It was very difficult in practice and I was struggling to get the confidence in the car, however in qualifying things seemed to come together. We knew that our car isn’t that well suited to low speed corners and we knew the Alfa Romeos could be quick. To outqualify an AlphaTauri and an Alpine to get P15 is the best we could have done. It is an interesting race here; it is a difficult street circuit where a lot of things can happen. Tomorrow is going to be won and lost for everybody in the pits, so let’s wait and see what happens."

Nicholas Latifi, 18th, 1:12.366

"Firstly, I would like to say a huge thanks to the team for getting me back out there after the crash in FP3. Although that happened, I got all the references that I needed so I wasn’t lacking confidence going into qualifying. Today we had much cooler conditions and I struggled to get the soft tyres in the right window and the balance wasn’t feeling as good as Thursday. I felt there was more in there today as I would have liked to have been a bit closer to Q2, but nonetheless it was still one of the most exciting laps of the year so far."


Mick Schumacher, 20th, No time set

“My feeling in the car was very good, and it is still very good. Looking at FP3, my first push laps were very competitive, and we were right up there with Alpine and Williams – that’s very good to see. Usually with those tyres you can’t improve on the second and third lap. You never know what would have happened, but I think we were definitely in the fight with Alonso and Latifi, that would have been something. In general, I just over pushed the car. Frankly that’s it and I feel very sorry for the team.

“We lost a full session by missing qualifying. It’s very unfortunate, but it won’t put us down. We start from P20 and we still have a lot of guys we can overtake. This is a special track, a special venue, so I hope the race will be exciting. If we’re able to bring that excitement into the race, that would be great. If we can show our potential and some speed, and if we have some nice moves, that would be great too.”

Nikita Mazepin, 19th, 1:12.958

“We’re a little frustrated as it’s not the first weekend where we seem to be quite strong at various times in a session, then for qualifying our competitors are able to extract the most. I was wary of falling into that trap again as obviously FP3 went very well for us. I knew that we’ve been doing a good job consistently throughout the weekend, but we perhaps don’t have as much available when it’s really necessary. I know that everyone on the team is doing their upmost best to extract from the car and we know where we stand. I think everyone did a great job today. Qualifying around here in Monaco is just very exciting. I’ve really enjoyed driving here, the whole atmosphere is very cool.”