Pastor Maldonado continued his impressive run of form in Monte Carlo to qualify a season-best ninth for the Monaco Grand Prix, while a mistake on his final lap left Romain Grosjean eleventh; stopping him progressing into the final part of qualifying for only the second time this season.
Both Romain and Pastor consolidated on pace shown in this morning’s final free practice session to constantly flirt with the top 10 during qualifying, “The car was getting better throughout the weekend from the free practices through to qualifying” said Pastor, “I think it was possible to be slightly better but from ninth we can have a good race tomorrow.”
Romain rued a small error which left him less than a tenth of a second from the final part of qualifying, “My fault, the car is a lot better than P11. I made a mistake on my lap which cost me Q3, I locked a wheel and went straight on which lost me three or four tenths.”
The Frenchman continued to explain, “The key in qualifying is to get the tyres to work which was difficult today with the cold temperatures, and it was hard to get them into their window to push hard.”
Pastor believes his qualifying position has given him a great opportunity, “In all sessions this weekend we have been able to post competitive laps and tomorrow, with a good strategy, we can score some good points!”
Romain is also focusing on having a competitive Grand Prix; “P16 is not ideal but we will take the best strategy and we can see what we can do from there. Anything is possible here in Monaco because of rain or safety cars so I am hoping tomorrow’s race is a bit crazy so we can get back into the top 10!”
Pastor praised the E23’s ability to respond to fine tuning throughout the weekend; “This morning I was a bit worried about the balance of the car, we made some changes and the car responded to those changes really positively.”
It was a sentiment shared by Trackside Operations Director Alan Permane, “Both cars are performing well here and are performing well with the updates which we have put on the car this weekend. Those updates are also applicable to future races so we’re confident we can build on these results for future Grand Prix.”
“Pastor did a good job to get into Q3,” Alan continued, “Romain will have a tough job from P16 but we will see if we can help him out with strategy because there will be some slower cars around him at the start.”
“We always want a bit more and it would have been good to be ahead of both of the Toro Rossos and Force Indias for the race tomorrow. It will be a fairly obvious one stop race, but we will try to do something different with Romain.”
Both Pastor and Romain will gain one position on the provisional grid for tomorrow's Grand Prix, moving up to P8 and P15 respectively after Carlos Sainz Jr received a penalty and will start from the pit lane.