Monaco F1 Grand Prix 2011: Qualifying Report - Jenson 2nd, Lewis 7th (VMM)


Monte Carlo, Principality of Monaco, May 28, 2011

- MP4-26A-04
- P3 programme: 2nd, 1m14.433s (+0.563s), 17 laps
- Qualifying:
- Q1: 2nd, 1m15.397s (on Primes)
- Q2: 3rd, 1m14.545s (on Options)
- Q3: 2nd overall, 1m13.997s (on Options)

“Today’s result in qualifying takes a bit of a back seat after what happened to Sergio [Perez] in Q3 this afternoon. We all know this circuit can be dangerous, and I know what it feels like to go off at that particular corner, but I’m very happy to hear that he appears not to have been seriously injured. I’ve got no doubt that he’ll already be telling the doctors that he wants to race tomorrow.

“As for my performance, I was very happy with my Q3 lap: I knew there was more to come from the car after my Q1 and Q2 runs, when I had a bit too much understeer. While second isn’t the easiest place to get away from here, it’s still nice to be up at the front.

“I think we’ll see a different Monaco Grand Prix from what we usually see – strategy will be important, and I think it will make the race more exciting than normal because we should be able to push for victory despite not starting from pole.

“Our car feels good here, and that’s given me a lot of confidence: I’ll be pushing in the race tomorrow.”

- MP4-26A-03
- P3 programme: 6th, 1m15.386s (+0.953s), 14 laps
- Qualifying:
- Q1: 1st, 1m15.207s (on Primes)
- Q2: 1st, 1m14.275s (on Options)
- Q3: 7th overall, 1m15.280s (on Options)

“I hope Sergio is well – my prayers and thoughts go out to him and his family. He was driving so well this weekend – you could see that from the onboard footage – but it was a very heavy shunt. You never want to see another driver get injured, and it’s at the back of your mind when you go back out, but you need to stay professional.

“After the restart in Q3, I had no temperature in my tyres or my brakes, so I didn’t manage to pull a great lap together. With hindsight, we probably should have put a banker in.

“I felt I’d been driving well all weekend and I had the pace to be on pole – I’m certain of that, in fact. I’ll do my best from my grid slot – and, while it’ll be tough to win from there, I won’t give up. I’ll keep pushing. My job will be to get as many points as I can tomorrow.”

MARTIN WHITMARSH - Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

“First of all, I want to say on behalf of everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes that we hope Sergio is okay. That’s more important than anything else.

“Moving on to our own performance in qualifying today, Jenson put in a great lap quite early in Q3 – and, although he’d doubtless have liked to have a go at improving it, when the track reopened it had become slower so it wasn’t possible for him to do so.

“Lewis hadn’t yet set a time in Q3 before the session was temporarily stopped, and P7 was the result. He’s understandably disappointed, because he’s been in fantastic form all weekend and was looking very good in Q1 and Q2 today. It’s fair to say that he fancied his chances of bagging pole position today, in fact.

“Instead, as I say, he’ll start from P7 – which, on the tight confines of this notoriously tortuous circuit, presents quite a challenge in terms of recovering from a disappointing qualifying position. But he loves this circuit – and, if there’s one man who’s capable of making that recovery, it’s Lewis.

“Jenson will start tomorrow’s race from the front row. He’s won here before, in 2009, and he’ll definitely be aiming to do so again this year.”

* Official photos and report courtesy of VODAFONE MCLAREN MERCEDES *

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