Рубрика: Autosport News

Alpine not ruling out F1 driver line-up change after latest Ocon Gasly clash


The French manufacturer nearly had both its cars out of the Monaco Grand Prix early on after Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly collided on the exit of Portier on the opening lap of the original start.

Ocon had made an optimistic lunge down the inside of Gasly on the entry to the corner and, as they exited, they clashed wheels.

The incident pitched Ocon into the air and badly damaged his car as it crashed back down – putting him out of the race. Gasly was able to continue and went on to score his first point of the season with a 10th-place finish.

Ocon later took full blame for the incident and apologised to the team. He was subsequently handed a 10-second penalty by the FIA, which will be converted to a five-place grid penalty for his next race.

Team principal Bruno Famin was clearly far from impressed about what happened, and he vented his anger from the pit wall as Canal+ interviewed him live.

He said: “We have a lot of damage on the car. The left-rear suspension is bent, the gearbox casing is damaged. We’re changing the whole gearbox, it’s a huge amount of work.

“This kind of incident is sad, it’s exactly what we didn’t want to see. Esteban’s dive was completely out of place, it was exactly what we didn’t want to see, and there will be the appropriate consequences.”

Asked how serious his response would be, one English translation of his words was: “We’re going to take drastic action.”

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

That has been interpreted by some as a direct threat about benching Ocon, for one race or more, as punishment for what was felt to have been a needless collision.

However, the exact phrase Famin used in French – ‘trancher dans le vif” – is not something that can be translated directly to English.

What comes closest is ‘cut to the chase’ or ‘cut right into the core’ – and effectively means making a definite call to get something done properly.

Famin did not issue any further public remarks about his stance on the incident or the subsequent action, beyond the official team press release on Sunday night.

There he said: “As a team, we will review and manage the incident between both cars behind closed doors. We must avoid situations that have the potential to compromise the team.”

However, Autosport understands that Famin is fuming about what happened, and thinks that this latest collision is the final straw to a situation that has been bubbling away all season.

The team has been mindful since Bahrain that its competitive situation means it cannot let slip any opportunities to score points, so it has been instructing its drivers to take extra care when racing each other.

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

It seems such policy was in play in Monaco too, as Gasly revealed afterwards that the rear car was supposed to help the one ahead.

“We had clear instructions before the race on what to do, and whoever qualified ahead, the trailing car was supposed to help throughout the race,” he said. “That was the strategy. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen.”

Alarm bells have been ringing for a while though, as the pair battled ultra aggressively with each other on the opening lap of the Miami Grand Prix – where it was probably more through luck than skill that they did not actually make contact.

Having told the drivers after that incident to avoid such antics in the future, the fact that it has happened in a much worse way in Monaco has left Famin feeling that the situation cannot carry on as is.

No decision has been taken about what will be done, but it appears that he will do whatever it takes to guarantee no repeat in the future.

It is understood that a whole range of options are being considered – which could include financial penalties, team orders that totally prevent Ocon and Gasly fighting each other for position, or even the nuclear option: a change of driver line-up.

One other possibility could be for Alpine to go down the route that Mercedes did in 2016 after some worrying collisions between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Back then Mercedes drafted up a code of conduct that both drivers agreed to abide by, and a clear warning that any indiscretion would likely result in a one-race ban being imposed.

It is understood that Famin spoke to both drivers after the Monaco GP, with Ocon clearly under the spotlight for having been the catalyst for the collision.

And it is not lost on Alpine’s senior management that the French driver has a history of troublesome times with team-mates that have resulted in contact – including with Fernando Alonso at the same team and Sergio Perez at Force India.

All eyes will now be on Enstone to see just how big a step it feels it needs to make to do what is best for the team.



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RB could offer answers about Red Bull F1 bumps weakness


The world champion squad endured a challenging time at the Monaco Grand Prix as Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez struggled to extract pace from their RB20.

Its car behaved like it was on a knife-edge at times and was not comfortable over the bumps and kerbs that are key to performance around the Monte Carlo lap.

The team was left further confused by the fact that the softer it ran the car to theoretically improve its ride, the worse it actually performed.

This potentially points to a suspension design that does not have enough of an operating window to cope with low speeds and bumps without compromising the car’s ride height and ultimate downforce.

Team boss Christian Horner said that the team needed to get quick answers as to what was happening – but big clues could come from RB, as it uses Red Bull’s 2023 suspension and did not encounter similar challenges around Monaco.

Asked about Red Bull’s plan to get itself back to the front, Horner said: “Quite a lot of focus will now take part on why have we had these ride issues? Why is the car struggling on the kerbs?

“The RB car is running with our suspension from last year and didn’t seem to have the same issues. So we need to understand if it’s something that we’ve introduced.”

Verstappen suggested that weaknesses with ride on bumpy circuits have been a Red Bull characteristic for a while, but have only been ‘found out’ by the opposition because the field had got closer.

Horner suggested that the team did not have an answer right now as to what the cause of the problem was – so it was hard to predict when a solution could be in place.

“First of all, it’s understanding what the issue is,” he said. “So once we’ve done that, then you can look at what the relevant fix is.” 

He added: “We saw it in Singapore last year as well. So we’ve had another example of that. We know it’s an area of the car we need to work on.

“We’ve got some lessons to take out of this weekend and some issues that we need to address with a car obviously.”

However, there is time pressure on Red Bull to get some solutions in place because the next race in Canada is another venue where kerb riding is critical to a good lap time.

“It’s a track that we’ve performed well at previously,” he said. “They’ve resurfaced the whole circuit again, so let’s see. But Ferrari and McLaren, they’re quick.

“It was always going to happen that there was going to be convergence. Of course, this has been a tough weekend, but we’re still leading both championships. Obviously, we’ll look to take the lessons out of this weekend and apply to the next one.”



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Autosport Podcast: F1 Monaco GP review



Leclerc was able to pull away in the late stages of the race from McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, with Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari in third to make it a double podium for the Scuderia.

Joining Bryn Lucas on the Autosport Podcast is Alex Kalinauckas and Jake Boxall-Legge to discuss Leclerc’s excellent performance, a chaotic opening lap that led to both Haas drivers clashing with Sergio Perez and the two Alpine’s coming together before the tunnel.

Also, should Red Bull be concerned about what Max Verstappen called “a fundamental problem” with its car as he had to settle for sixth?

Elsewhere, Williams picked up points for the first time this season via Alex Albon’s ninth place, and is Aston Martin going backwards after its latest upgrade package?

 



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Leclerc wins on hometown streets


An audibly ecstatic Leclerc crossed the line 7.1s clear of Piastri to claim his first-ever victory at the Monaco street circuit, after overcoming the Australian at two standing starts after an early red flag, and then set the pace sufficiently to deny McLaren a tactical advantage. 

Despite periods of pressure from Piastri over the 76 laps of uninterrupted running following the early hiatus, Leclerc absorbed it all and did enough to anticipate a potential McLaren upset by backing up the pack to quell a potential pitstop window.

In the final stages, Leclerc dropped Piastri to build up a gap that surpassed eight seconds, before electing to back off and «bring it home» to dispel his dreaded ‘Monaco curse’.

«No words can explain that,» Leclerc said after the race. «It’s such a difficult race, I think the fact that twice I’ve been starting on pole and I couldn’t make it makes it a lot better. 

«It was a difficult race emotionally, because already 15 laps from the end you’re hoping nothing happens. I was thinking a lot more to my dad than a lot more when I was driving.

«At first, we had quite a lot of margin but there was 78 laps to do. There was a big portion of the race where I had to manage the gap with George, but then I could push a lot more.»

A first-lap shunt produced the early red flag, as Kevin Magnussen attempted to squeeze his Haas down the inside of Sergio Perez at Beau Rivage. The two made contact; Perez’s car sustained heavy damage as he was tipped into the opposite wall, and also wiped out Nico Hulkenberg in the process. 

Marshals remove the damaged car of Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20, from the circuit after a crash on the opening lap

Marshals remove the damaged car of Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20, from the circuit after a crash on the opening lap

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Heavy damage to the barriers created a 40-minute delay in the race’s resumption, but that proved not to be the only skirmish on the opening lap: Carlos Sainz also sustained a front-left puncture into Turn 1 while attempting to pass Oscar Piastri for second, which sent him to the back of the field as he initially pulled over at Casino Square. The Spaniard was handed a reprieve when he was reinstated to his third-place grid slot at the restart.

This changed the dynamic of the race considerably as the field swapped tyres to satisfy the rule necessitating both compounds to be run, theoretically ensuring that everyone could run to the end without stopping.

As such, a tactical game emerged between the Ferraris and McLarens as they tried to deny and create a pitstop window respectively; Leclerc was tasked with slowing the pace down to limit the possibility that Lando Norris could clear George Russell sufficiently to bank a free pitstop. 

As the laps flew by, McLaren’s chance of setting the cat among the pigeons by giving Norris fresh tyres dwindled as Carlos Sainz did his bit to keep Norris from making further progress on Russell — the gap stalling at about 15 seconds.

With 10 laps to go and with no chance for the McLarens to make a stop, Leclerc pulled the pin and held his nerve to win — and left Piastri in the clutches of Sainz, who also still had Norris sat on his tail. But neither Sainz nor Norris could make a tilt to claim second, giving Piastri second.

George Russell held on for fifth after warding off Max Verstappen for over 25 laps despite the Dutchman having fresher tyres; Lewis Hamilton’s stop from seventh thanks to a free pitstop window to Yuki Tsunoda gave Verstappen the chance to stop too, but the Red Bull driver could not make the most of his newer hard tyres to mount a pass. Hamilton retained seventh as a result.

Tsunoda claimed eighth after absorbing pressure from Williams’ Alex Albon throughout the opening 70 laps of the race, banking tyre life in the process to leave the Anglo-Thai driver for dust in the race’s final act. Through Albon, Williams secured its first points of the season — also the team’s first scoring finish at Monaco since 2017.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Pierre Gasly survived a first-lap encounter with Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon to cement the final point. Ocon attempted a lunge at Portier on the opening lap to make tyre-to-tyre contact — which sent him slightly airborne and ultimately caused his retirement.

Monaco Grand Prix result



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Why Russell got new Mercedes F1 front wing over Hamilton in Monaco


Speaking about the 0.078-second gap between them as they lined up fifth and seventh, Hamilton was eager to suggest that he never had any realistic chance of beating Russell because of their different-specification cars.

“The team has worked really hard back at the factory to bring an upgrade in the last two races and also an upgrade this weekend — but we only had one, which George has,” he told Sky. “I anticipated it would be difficult to outqualify George because he has the upgraded component.

“Once we get to qualifying, I don’t understand. I already know automatically that I’m going to lose two-tenths going into qualifying.

“That’s definitely frustrating and it’s something that I don’t really have an answer for at the moment. I’m not driving any different. The laps are really great. Just, I don’t know.”

Hamilton went on to suggest that he did not expect to ever outqualify Russell again this season, and then later told the written media that he did not know what was happening to his car on Saturdays.

“Since the start of qualifying, it’s like… I don’t know if it’s a turn-down or something of performance,” he said. “But performance comes away from my car, for some reason. So, a bit frustrating that we’re only seventh.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W15

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Hamilton’s remarks could be interpreted as a hint that things were not entirely equal at Mercedes – and perhaps even that Russell was being given preferential treatment because he is the one who had the wing.

After all, Russell is remaining with the team next year while Hamilton has already decided to move on and join Ferrari.

However, the reality of how Mercedes chose which driver ran the wing was not a matter of picking one over the other.

Instead, Autosport understands that, with the team aware it would have only one version of the wing, the option of running the new wing was given to both drivers and it emerged that Hamilton made clear that he preferred not to go with it.

Firstly, there was the desire to have a more stable platform throughout practice and qualifying so he could build up his confidence around the track – rather than risk switching around configurations.

Plus, with the new wing being a different specification to the version run so far this season, there was an added risk from heading into qualifying with no spare.

With parc ferme rules in place, if the wing had been damaged in an incident, then a switch to revert to the other specification would have meant a breach of these regulations – and a pitlane start.

While Hamilton may have been a bit frustrated by knowing that he had a bit of a disadvantage this weekend, the team is at least sure things will be totally equal next time out in Canada.

As Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said: “We’ll have that on both cars for the next race in Montreal.”



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Red Bull «getting found out» by F1 rivals as gap closes


Verstappen struggled throughout practice over the many kerbs and bumps around Monaco’s tight street circuit.

And while the Red Bull team turned around its practice woes last week in Imola, there was little that could be done to give Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez an RB20 that could beat Ferrari or McLaren in qualifying.

Verstappen’s first flyer in Q3 was good for third, but after brushing the wall at Turn 1’s Ste Devote the Dutchman couldn’t set a second lap, ending up sixth, three tenths behind Ferrari’s polesitter Charles Leclerc.

But regardless, Verstappen said he was not in the hunt for pole with a car that couldn’t handle the bumps.

«We tried a lot of things on the car and literally nothing made it better, so then you’re just stuck,» Verstappen said when asked by Autosport to explain his suspension issues.

«In the second sector we are so bad, just because I can’t touch any kerbs because it just upsets the car way too much. You just lose a lot of lap time and it’s incredibly difficult.

«We went softer stuff for everything, but the car is like a go-kart. It’s like I’m running without suspension, so it’s jumping around a lot; not absorbing any kerb strikes or bumps or camber changes.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Erik Junius

«The last corner, I think the amount of times that I just jumped almost into the wall was really incredible.»

Verstappen says Red Bull’s Monaco issues aren’t too dissimilar to the low-speed handling problems on bumpy layouts it has had over the past two years with the ground-effect machinery, something its difficult 2023 Singapore Grand Prix weekend already foreshadowed.

But while Red Bull always had a quicker car that could mask those issues, the triple world champion believes it is now being found out on bumpy circuits because Ferrari and McLaren have all but closed the gap.

«It is not something new, we have had this problem since 2022,» Verstappen explained.

«Of course, the last few years we have had a car advantage, so it gets masked a little bit because we gain in the corners where the kerbs and bumps are not so much of a limitation.

«But with everyone catching up, naturally, when you are not improving your weakest point, you get found out and that’s what happened this weekend.»



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Pirelli set for new extreme wet-weather F1 tyre test with Ferrari


The two-day test will consist of a day of dry running with 2025 prototype slick compounds, before the track is made wet for day two when the Italian tyre manufacturer tries out a new extreme wet compound.

The wet track running is key because wet tyre tests are harder to organise, with Pirelli having to book in days at Paul Ricard or Fiorano where the track can be made wet artificially using sprinkler systems.

Pirelli has gone blanket-less during the 2023 season with its blue-rimmed rain tyres, which have been unpopular because of their huge performance drop compared to intermediates. Furthermore, the lack of visibility in conditions that benefit from those full wet tyres is already on the edge of what is deemed safe.

«We have two test days; the first one is a dry session, the second one we wet the track,» Pirelli chief engineer Simone Berra explained when asked by Autosport about the objectives of the test.

«We are testing both wet and intermediates, but the priority one is the wet. We would like to improve its performance.

«We know that at the moment the wet is suffering a little bit too much from overheating and in terms of performance it degrades quite quickly due to the blanket removal we did last year. 

«So, we are working to decrease the movement of the tread pattern and improve the overheating.

«We have a plan for the intermediates as well, basically using new compounds. Our target is to remove the blankets as well for the intermediates like we have done with the wet tyres.»

Pirelli wet tyres

Pirelli wet tyres

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

The target is to have more robust compounds ready for the start of the 2025 season, although Pirelli didn’t completely rule out introducing something sooner if the test at Le Castellet is a success.

On the first day with Ferrari, Pirelli will try and nail down its tyre structure for 2025 and evaluate prototypes of its softer range of compounds for next year.

«For the slick test on day one we are mainly focused on freezing the structure for next season,» Berra added.

«But more importantly, we will try to test C3, C4 and C5 as well at compound level.

«For the C5 I think it’s the first time this season we are testing it. So, it will be interesting to see some results for the next-generation compound.»

Before Imola, Ferrari already conducted a wet-weather test at Fiorano at the behest of the FIA to trial the latest spray guards solution, which was not a success.



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What we learned from Friday practice at the 2024 F1 Monaco GP


Charles Leclerc and Ferrari ended Friday on top at Formula 1’s 2024 Monaco Grand Prix – the home hero in command in FP2, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had another low-key Friday.

The FP2 long-run averages suggest the world champion and his team have a clear edge, yet this will count for very little if they cannot sort a better set-up ahead of qualifying. So far, for that critical Monaco session, Leclerc is predicted to dominate.

Adding to the mix on Friday was Mercedes and Aston Martin starting this event strongly with Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. McLaren, meanwhile, is really yet to show its hand even over one lap after completing different run plans to most of the rest.

The story of the day

First practice at Monaco, as ever, was about building driver confidence, with the times falling around six seconds from initial benchmarks to 1m12.169s by the end of the first one-hour session.

That was set by Mercedes driver Hamilton, the Silver and Black Arrows squad benefitting from not having to compromise its set-up for low- and high-speed corners here as Monaco lacks any of the latter.

Leclerc then headed the times pretty much throughout FP2 – his pace on the mediums early on nearly a second quicker than the rest. But when the soft tyres went on for the qualifying simulation runs, not only did he go quicker but Verstappen couldn’t sneak ahead of Leclerc’s harder-compound previous personal best.

Hamilton ended Friday as Leclerc's nearest challenger, as Mercedes appeared suited to the low-speed Monaco layout

Hamilton ended Friday as Leclerc’s nearest challenger, as Mercedes appeared suited to the low-speed Monaco layout

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Both drivers then had complicated later attempts on the softs, with Leclerc having two oversteer moments at the hairpin and Portier – abandoning his lap after the second when he had just set FP2’s quickest time in the first sector.

Verstappen, meanwhile, had a few minutes earlier thwacked the barrier at the previous corner – Turn 7 beneath Mirabeau – with his left-rear and had to pit to get things checked over.

He reappeared soon enough to join the long-run data gathering that typically ends FP2, albeit for a much shorter period at Monaco as in a dry Sunday event here – as is forecast – race pace matters much less given the overtaking challenge at this very narrow venue. Come the session’s end, the top two drivers in the championship were split by Hamilton and Alonso.

When comparing their quickest laps, Verstappen ships a tenth to Leclerc in the Loews hairpin alone

Hamilton’s best time came on used softs compared to Leclerc ahead, as Mercedes (and McLaren) ran the same set of softs they’d used for qualifying simulations in FP1 due to a predicted rain threat for the second session that never came.

Resting against this how Leclerc’s FP2-leading time came nearly 10 minutes before Hamilton’s, which means he actually missed out on up to 0.4s of track evolution. This will be another major Monaco theme to watch in qualifying.

What the data tells us

In terms of engine modes, the GPS data from the fastest four cars shows Verstappen as the outlier – his straightline speed notably down in all the acceleration zones around this short track.

At the power peak at the exit of the tunnel and the run down to the Nouvelle chicane below, Verstappen’s top speed is 172.7mph. This compares with 176.5mph for Leclerc, 177.7mph for Hamilton and 178.3mph for Alonso.

For a second Friday in succession, Red Bull is on the backfoot, but a turnaround might be trickier to achieve at Monaco compared to Imola

For a second Friday in succession, Red Bull is on the backfoot, but a turnaround might be trickier to achieve at Monaco compared to Imola

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

This is a typical Red Bull tactic for Friday practice. Gains on engine modes being turned up to full whack for qualifying – which will also be the case for the rest but likely to a lesser extent elsewhere – are to be expected for Verstappen’s squad.

The GPS traces also show Ferrari gaining on Red Bull through the low-speed turns the RB20 and its predecessors have detested. When comparing their quickest laps, Verstappen ships a tenth to Leclerc in the Loews hairpin alone.

Again, a higher engine mode will compensate this somewhat tomorrow. But Autosport observed here in FP1 that each time by, Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez were just having to delay an age to get on the throttle as they waited for their noses to swing through the very tight left-hander.

This is backed up in the GPS data, while we also observed just how smoothly Leclerc was able to rotate his SF-24 through the whole sequence throughout FP1. The Red Bulls were just less silky, plus oscillating more over the bump on the approach to the hairpin’s apex.

In FP2, both Red Bull drivers complained about their ride quality. This centres on their low ride heights, with Perez’s RB20 a particular handful when turning for Massenet at the top of the hill in the first sector where he whacked the inside barriers in the early stages. Verstappen, meanwhile, was struggling more with a set-up that meant he couldn’t “drive better over the kerbs”, per Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko.

Concentrating on Red Bull and Ferrari, which given how today has played out must be considered the favourites for pole (with the caveat a McLaren rise is expected and drivers from other squads can spring a surprise on this unique layout), and things do look much better for Verstappen and co.

This is because Perez’s long run average over 10 laps on the mediums came in at 1m15.920s, compared to Ferrari’s best via Carlos Sainz at 1m15.377s over 11 laps. Sainz seemed less comfortable overall compared to Leclerc on Friday.

Red Bull's long-run pace was superior to its rivals, but it won't be able to exploit it if its drivers qualify down the order

Red Bull’s long-run pace was superior to its rivals, but it won’t be able to exploit it if its drivers qualify down the order

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Verstappen ran the hards through the late long runs, while Leclerc’s average was more consistent than Sainz’s but much slower at 1m16.599s, with the Spaniard’s average calculation boosted by having five outliers removed. These had to come out due to the major traffic factor here, which as ever means the long-run data is an outlier in itself compared to the other races.

Indeed, one paddock insider pointed out on Friday evening that FP2 pace can actually be quicker than race pace at Monaco in many instances, as drivers will often circulate to a slower speed to protect advantageous positions.

Front tyre graining was a problem for many cars in FP2. Keeping that under control will be a significant factor for success on Sunday, but Saturday superiority will inevitably trump all.

Can Leclerc convert a strong Friday into an equally impressive weekend this time around?

Can Leclerc convert a strong Friday into an equally impressive weekend this time around?

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images



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Ferrari «not reachable» for F1 rivals in Monaco so far


The Monegasque was just under 0.2 seconds clear of Lewis Hamilton in the second free practice session at the Monte Carlo circuit, and half a second clear of the nearest Red Bull — Max Verstappen, who was fourth fastest.

Red Bull struggled to unlock performance from its RB20 and suffered over the bumps around the circuit, while the Ferrari seemed a far more competitive prospect after the opening day.

Perez reckoned that the Ferrari seemed able to «put it on really easily» when it came to preparing for a hot lap, and that the nature of Monaco rewarding qualifying more often than not set the Italian team as favourites.

«Ferrari at the moment are just not reachable,» Perez said.

«I think they’re really strong and whenever they need the lap, they just seem to put it on really easy, really quick.

«It’s something that is quite a benefit around this place, to be able to put the lap in quick and whenever you need it to, and don’t struggle so much with tyres and that sort of thing.

«They’re looking very strong at the moment.»

After Mercedes also factored at the top end of the timesheets, George Russell reckoned that the W15 gave him a feeling of «the best I’ve ever felt» around Monaco, and suggested that the 2024 field would break the lap record around the principality.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

The Briton had his own struggles however, commenting that the car was «shaking to bits» under braking, and noted that Leclerc had the advantage heading into Saturday’s sessions.

«As soon as I touched the brakes, the whole thing was shaking to bits. So I don’t know what was going on.

«I tried my best, holding it as hard as I could, like a gorilla, trying to hold onto it and the thing kept shaking.

«On a track like this where you need confidence to attack, it really set us back and we just decided it was best to call it a day during the long run and try and analyse what was going on.

«But generally the car’s been performing really well today. FP1 we were P3 I think and then Lewis P2 this afternoon. Clearly working well, but you know Charles is well out in front.

«We know how quickly everything changes, but definitely today’s been one of our best Fridays, no doubt. The car’s feeling the best I’ve ever felt around around Monaco, so lots of positives.

«Everybody’s developing so quickly at the moment. And you see how quick the lap times are today compared to last year. We’re way, way quicker, potentially even breaking the lap records.

«Somebody will probably do tomorrow. Hopefully, it’ll be us.

«But it’s feeling good. And we’ll have to see what the weather does as well.»



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