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Monaco GP: Preview - McLaren


Stoffel Vandoorne: "Although the Spanish Grand Prix result was frustrating and of course not a result that we were looking for, we were still able to find some positives over the weekend. The upgrades we brought to the car have delivered the performance we were hoping, and we managed to take a lot of information from each day on track, which has been really useful for the engineers and the design team back at the factory and is helping our programme from race to race.

"Since Barcelona, I've been back at MTC in the simulator, and I feel ready and excited to head to Monaco. It's the first time that I'll be racing in my 'back yard', as it's recently become another home race for me. It'll also be my first time behind the wheel there in a Formula 1 car, but it's not the first time I've driven on the famous Monaco circuit. I raced there in GP2 for three years, and also in World Series by Renault, so I know it pretty well and enjoy driving there. It's one of those tracks where even if you have the best-performing car, but you're a victim of bad luck in the traffic, it can affect the outcome of the whole weekend. It makes for really exciting racing for the fans, and anything can happen there.

"It's also great to see Jenson back in McLaren-Honda colours and alongside me in the garage. Both of us love driving on this circuit and I hope it'll be the best opportunity for us on track so far this season. I know both of us will also be keeping one eye on everything happening in Indianapolis, too, and hope Fernando can also enjoy a good weekend over there.”

Jenson Button: "It feels slightly surreal to be back in the cockpit for the Monaco Grand Prix. When the call came from Eric there was no hesitation - it's a totally unique situation and a great opportunity. I'm looking forward to stepping back behind the wheel for one of the most crazy, unpredictable and exciting races of the year.

"Monaco is truly unique as a track, and requires a lot of work to fine-tune the car and optimise the set-up for the narrow layout. It's always a challenge - a huge challenge, for any driver - but a really exciting challenge, and has always been up there in my favourite races of the year.

"Although I haven't turned a wheel on track yet in the MCL32, I feel well prepared. I know the track well, of course, and I've done quite a bit of work in the McLaren simulator already. I'm still fit, and I've been training probably more than ever, because I've had the time to focus on my triathlon preparation and competitions. I'm looking forward to working with the team again, and, as I'll be on the other side of the garage this time around, I'll do my best to look after the car for Fernando!”

Eric Boullier: "The Monaco Grand Prix is often referred to as the 'jewel in the crown' of Formula 1, and it's easy to see why. It's every bit the spectacle you see on TV, and, due to the traditional 'rest day' on Friday which sees the schedule for practice shift forward by a day, the Principality is always a buzzing hive of excitement from early in the week.

"Of course, for McLaren Honda, this final weekend in May is even more significant than usual this year. For the first time in recent history, we'll be supporting two teams on opposite sides of the world, with Fernando taking part in his first-ever Indy 500 with McLaren Honda Andretti. In the famous Monaco paddock, we welcome the return of Jenson, who we are all looking forward to working with again, and who is already doing a sterling job deputising for Fernando, having already completed stints in our simulator in preparation.

"From a trackside point of view, we'll be bringing more updates to the car this weekend, which we hope will return positive feedback to mirror what we saw in Spain. Despite our result there, we're encouraged by the progress we're making, and hope in Monaco we'll have the opportunity to execute a more representative performance than those we've managed in recent races.

"Of course, the first priority is to finish the race with both cars, and work through the best possible strategy in order to give ourselves any fighting chance of a decent result. In Monaco, you can't take anything for granted, and it's certainly all to play for.”

Yusuke Hasegawa: "This is a particularly special week for everyone at McLaren-Honda. Not only are we heading to Monaco for the Formula 1 jewel in the crown, we also have Jenson back racing with us and Fernando competing in the Indy 500.

"Monaco is one of the most legendary races in the world and full of history. It's always incredible to watch, and for the team, drivers and fans it's a highlight on the motor racing calendar.

"In Spain two weeks ago we showed some positive steps forward, and in Monaco outright power plays less of a role, so we are hoping the race will be a big opportunity for us. It's very technical and a real drivers' track with no margin for error, so set-up will be key as will a strong qualifying session.

"We will have Jenson, a Monaco winner and world champion, behind the wheel, and Stoffel has also experienced the top step of the podium in Monaco in GP2. Between them we have a formidable driver line-up and it's our aim to keep pushing forward and give them both a car competitive enough to finish in the points.”

Track length: 3.337km/2.074 miles (the shortest of the year - longest: Spa-Francorchamps)

2016: pole position Daniel Ricciardo, 1:13.622s

2016 fastest lap: Lewis Hamilton, 1:17.939s (lap 71)

Lap record: 1:14.439s (Michael Schumacher, 2004)

Tyre choice: Purple Ultrasoft, red Supersoft, yellow Soft - the third time this combination has been used in 2017

Distance to Turn One: 210m / 0.130 miles (shortest of season)

Longest straight: 510m / 0.317 miles, on the approach to Turn One (longest of the season: China, 1.17km/0.727 miles)

Top speed: 295km/h / 183mph, on the approach to Turn 10 (fastest of season: Monza, 350km/h / 217mph)

Full throttle: 50 per cent (highest of the season: Monza, 75 per cent)

Brake wear: Medium. There are 13 braking events around the lap

Fuel consumption: 1.5kg per lap, which is low. This racetrack has the lowest fuel effect of the year

ERS demands: Medium

Gear changes: 48 per lap/3744 per race

Laps: 78 laps

Start time: 14:00hrs local / 13:00hrs BST

Grid advantage: Pole position is located on the inside of the track. The racing line is towards the outside, giving slightly more grip, but it's only a short run to Turn One and the pole-sitter wants to be on the right-hand-side for Sainte Devote

DRS: There is one DRS zone, on the approach to Turn One

Don't put the kettle on: For the last two years, the race has been lost in the pits. Lewis Hamilton made an unscheduled pitstop from the lead during a Safety Car period in 2015, dropping to third place, while a delayed pitstop for Daniel Ricciardo in '16 handed victory to Hamilton. Given the durability of this year's wider tyres, it will most-likely be a one-stop race if it's dry, and the pitstops will come at around half-distance

Pitlane length/Pitstops: 301m/0.193 miles (longest of the season: Silverstone, 457m/0.283 miles). Estimated time loss for a pitstop is 22s

Safety Car likelihood: 80 per cent, which is high. The lack of run-off around the lap means even the smallest mistakes can result in contact with the barrier. The resultant debris brings out the Safety Car, or the Virtual Safety Car, which was used for the first time at the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix

Watch out for: Turn Three. This blind 155km/h (96mph) left-hander, named after the French composer Jules Massenet, rises over a crest, making it easy for the drivers to out-brake themselves and run wide. If they get off the racing line; it's easy to end up in the barrier on the outside.


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