I Think It's Gonna Rain Today
Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado completed a good morning of practice followed by a limited afternoon of track time during the first day of the Monaco Grand Prix. The streets of Monte Carlo were dry for the initial Free Practice session where a total of 71 laps were completed by both drivers, however heavy rainfall at lunchtime meant most of the afternoon session was spent in the garage whilst the track dried.
Romain completed 36 laps in total today, but remained optimistic about the performance of the car. “This morning was a learning experience as the tyres are pretty hard here so it’s difficult to find enough grip. This made things a little tricky today as there’s no space for mistakes here. Certainly the car is working well and we could run through a decent programme today, even with missing a lot of the afternoon session because of the wet track.”
The Frenchman also spoke of how the varying weather played a factor in today’s running; “The tyres were too hard to get the grip in the conditions today and hopefully Saturday will be better in terms of weather and in terms of car balance as well. It is hard to predict what we can achieve here tomorrow, of course it would be nice to be in the top 10. I may have be a little bit on the cautious side today, to enable to me to build my weekend properly so I hope that we can continue to progress these next couple of days. Monaco is very special and apart from any other circuit. Qualifying is more important here that perhaps at any other circuit we visit through the season. Overtaking opportunities don’t really exist here so a good qualifying is key. We must be very fast, get the maximum out of the lap and sometimes take some measured risks and qualify as high as possible on the grid.”
Pastor agreed “Saturday’s qualifying may well be the key point of the whole weekend and the difference between finishing well and not well at all.” Pastor finished his first day’s running in Monaco with 45 laps in the bag and was a consistent P14 in both sessions. He commented, “it was disappointing in the afternoon as we planned to run more and test more parts of the car but we wouldn't have learnt what we wanted to learn with a wet track. We did at least get some laps at the end of the session with the super soft tyre which means we do have a comparison between the two compounds. The morning went well, even if the track’s not yet 100%. We have a good amount of data so we can prepare for Saturday and qualifying which is so important here.”
Overall he remains positive for the coming days; “I think the track will improve a lot. It’s difficult to say how the car is compared to the last race as the circuit is so special, but hopefully as soon as the track improves it will help us.”