Rain Fall Down
A red flag was followed by rain that heavily restricted running for the Formula 1 drivers, but Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado completed a solid first day of running despite the challenges.
Highlighting the team’s good progress, Pastor was able to take a finish of sixth in the morning practice session, while Romain improved to go tenth fastest in the second session.
In the early running, Pastor was able to quickly set about strong laps but Romain struggled with an issue that saw him run outside the top ten.
“In the morning I wasn’t happy with my grip,” he said. “We made some real improvements in the break which was great and it showed.”
Those changes became quickly apparent, with Romain comfortably running in the top ten in the afternoon.
While he was able to get some clear strong laps, Pastor was unable to find a clear lap free from traffic and ended 14th in a disrupted session.
Traffic may have been an issue but, when the rain hit, the Venezuelan had the freedom of Monaco as he and the team opted to try the super softs as the rest of the grid stayed in the garages.
The exploratory run lasted only one lap, with Pastor expertly controlling the car in challenging circumstances before returning to the pit and waiting for the weather to clear.
“It was risky to go out on the track, but it wasn’t raining everywhere so we wanted to see if we could manage a lap or two on super softs,” he said. “It wasn’t possible but we tried. It was very tricky and I had to take it slow.”
Team-mate Romain watched on, and the Frenchman believed the risk was necessary.
“The team wanted me to go out again,” he said. “I thought it was optimistic so I’m glad it wasn’t me out there!”
Joking aside, the Frenchman believes the uniqueness of Monaco places huge emphasis on qualifying, and in turn, the super soft tyres making Pastor’s attempt important.
“We didn’t get to use the super softs today, so we know there’s more work on Saturday morning,” he said. “We weren’t able to do a long run, but if you try to do it in Monaco it’s hard to see. It’s not as important in Monaco, it’s all about qualifying here and we need the super soft data as opposed to long runs.”
While no-one was able to complete a true super soft run, Pastor believes signs bode well for the team in the all-important qualifying on Saturday.
“We didn’t expect to be that competitive on the softer tyres, we usually are stronger on the harder,” he said. “The consistency was there today and we were always around the top ten.”
“I’m confident, the car is looking good and the track will improve. On Saturday, we need to see what it will be like but hopefully we can improve further with the super softs.”
Technical Director Nick Chester hopes to see today’s progress continue and both drivers qualifying strongly for the Monaco Grand Prix.
“We’re satisfied with how the cars are going and I think come Saturday with some decent runs, they should get nicely up the timesheets for qualifying.”