Parc Ferme Interviews - Conducted by Loic Duval
Q: Charles, being home, not three in a row but it's been a fantastic qualifying - thank you gentlemen - what do you think about today?
Charles Leclerc: I'm not satisfied with P3, but on the other hand we need to look at the situation we are in with the car. It was a very tricky Qualifying, a bad weekend for me, especially I struggle a lot with the car. We struggle a lot on bumps compared to the other cars, but in Qualifying the car was a bit more alive, I was a bit more at ease with the car and we managed to do P3, very close to the pole position. So all in all, you know, happy, but I would have preferred to be first of course.
Q: Checo last year was third on the grid and he won the race. Everything is possible, as you know, here in Monaco. What do you need for tomorrow just to get that extra thing to be able to win at home and to bring that trophy to your fans?
CL: I guess a little bit more luck than the other years, but apart from that, I don't know how is the forecast. Yesterday it looked like maybe we'll have some rain. So if it's the case then everything is possible and I'll go for it anyway and let's see where we end up.
Q: Max, what a what a lap in Qualifying. What a final sector. I mean you were behind, you know, after the first two sectors. I mean yesterday you were unhappy after FP1 and at the end of the day you are again on pole position, your first one here in Monaco, how do you feel?
Max Verstappen: Yeah, very happy. I mean, we knew that this was going to be a little bit of a struggle for us this weekend to get everything together. Yesterday it wasn't the best start but I think we kept on improving and kept on being better. But then in Qualifying you need to go all out and risk it all. My first sector wasn't ideal in my final lap - I think Turn 1 was a bit cautious - but then I knew that I was behind, so in the last sector I just gave it everything I had. I clipped a few barriers, but of course very happy to be on pole here for the first time.
Q: As you know, in Monaco you didn't have so many opportunities to try a start so far in free practice, it's really important for tomorrow. It is what you need to win the race. And at the end of the day, even though we are in Monaco, we know that it's only 44% of the polesitters that win. What do you need for tomorrow?
MV: Yeah, we need a clean start. I mean, it's a short run to Turn 1 and you know in Monaco a lot of things can happen, right? Safety car, rain, you name it. There's always a bit of chaos involved but I think race pace-wise here the car is quick, so that is not the problem but we just need to keep it clean and calm.
Q: Fernando, you told your team that you were driving like an animal during Qualifying, we could see it, we could see the emotion, we could see the passion. It was missing just a little bit. That final sector, actually, that's all. You were always really competitive in Sector 1, Sector 2. How do you feel now?
Fernando Alonso: Yeah, I feel good. Obviously pole position means a lot here in Monaco but you know today Max was a little bit faster, which is a shame, but I think first row on the grid for us is quite a big thing here. As you said, the last sector seems to be our weakest point of the circuit. Let's see tomorrow, what we can do in terms of a strategy, if there is any weather coming or something, but we will try to win.
Q: And what about those few metres from the first row to the first corner? Do you think you have that opportunity to go and cross that first corner in P1?
FA: I mean, it's very short into Turn 1, but yeah, we have normally a good starts this year. Max is a little inconsistent, so maybe it's one of those bad ones tomorrow.
Q: Max, that was an adrenaline-filled session for everybody. And a stunning final lap by you. Your first pole in Monaco. Is this the best pole of your career?
MV: No, I don't think so, but it was good enough. And I'm just happy to get my first pole here. You know, it's always super hectic. And finally, you know, we also had just clean running in Q3 as well, so that was nice for everyone to just push to the limit. And yeah, I mean, the whole qualifying went pretty well. I struggled a bit to put it in the first lap, with warm-up, with the tyres, and just putting it all together, all the sectors. But I knew that the last lap I had to do it, because they improved. And I also knew going into the last sector I was down on them. So I had to push flat out in the last sector, risk everything to get back the lap time. And luckily, we did.
Q: You were three tenths down going into that last sector. Can you just describe what you did at the end of that final lap?
MV: Touched a few walls! Guard rails and walls. And yeah, I mean, I was always quite quick in the last sector but yeah, I definitely pushed a bit harder on the last lap.
Q: And what about the car? You said you weren't happy with it at the start of the weekend? What are your biggest concerns going into a 78-lap race around Monaco?
MV: I mean, the race should be OK. It's just about having a clean start. I mean, there's always chaos involved in Monaco. But I think our race pace, in general the behaviour of the car on the tyres is fine. But it was all about just putting that together over one lap, which I knew was going to be a little bit harder for us here in Monaco, just with how our car is, the characteristics of it. But still to be first here is great for the whole team.
Q: Are you surprised by how close it is at the front between you, Fernando and Charles?
MV: Not really, I mean, I knew that going into this weekend it was going to be tight around here. And yeah, it has proven that in Qualifying.
Q: Alright, many congratulations, thank you. Fernando, coming to you now, sensational stuff as well. Less than a tenth separating you and Max. Did you think you'd done enough after the first run?
FA: Yeah, you never know here in Monaco. As Max said now, you know, anything can happen. There are always couple of incidents, yellows, you know, red flags. So it's better to put a lap on the board and just be at the front. So when they told me that we were P1, just Tsunoda and Max completing the laps, I knew that the possibility was there to be P2. But yeah, I think even if it feels very close, the proposition, we have to be happy. I think we came here with some concerns about our performance on Saturdays. We seem very good on Sundays and taking care of the tyres - degradation is very good on our car. But we struggle a little bit on the street circuits to put the temperature and to hit the lap in Q3. And we're starting in the first row of the grid in Monaco, so I think it's job done today.
Q: Is there anything you could have done differently on that final lap?
FA: I don't think so. I think both laps in Q3, we were increasing the level of risk into uncomfortable level, let's say. And I think both laps in Q3 were... yeah... a little bit over the limit sometimes but everything went fine. Last sector seems our weakest part of the circuit. Already in FP3, we were I think eighth quickest team in the last sector, so there is something going on there that we need to analyse a little bit, maybe going into Singapore or wherever is then the next opportunity we have.
Q: Let's look at the positives: in the last seven years the driver starting second has won here more than the driver starting on pole position. How do you rate your chances tomorrow?
FA: Great, looking at that! Let's see. I think it's a long race. I don't think that overtaking opportunities will come at all, as it is Monaco, but this is a very demanding race: on the car; on the gearbox; on the brakes. You know, there are a lot of things that you need to take care of over 78 laps. So, we have to be focused, very concentrated, we have to be sharp on the strategy, pit stops. You know, anything can happen. If an opportunity comes, we will take it.
Q: Charles, coming to you now. Not quite three poles in a row for you here at home, but a hugely impressive performance nonetheless. How satisfied are you feeling right now?
CL: Disappointed with third but at the same time, I think I need to look at the weekend as a whole. I've been struggling with the car like crazy. We've had a lot of problems with bottoming, especially over the hill to Turn 3 and Turn 13 also. In Qualifying, it was the same but with the new tyres, you can extract a bit more and I managed to put everything I wanted in one lap. Wasn't enough for the pole, but anyway, I think that was the maximum we could do today.
Q: If you'd had a cleaner run into Qualifying through practice, do you think pole position might have been on today?
CL: No, I don't think so. Because even looking back at the lap in Q3, honestly, the lap was really good. So yeah, I don't think there was much more.
Q: So, let's throw it ahead to the grand prix tomorrow. What do you think you can do?
CL: Well, I mean, as Fernando said, it's not the track where you can overtake and even if we could overtake, I think that in terms of race pace, we are a little bit behind. But let's see, I mean the forecast, I haven't seen the forecast recently, last time I checked it, there was some rain around. So, if this is the case, then there will be a little bit of luck into play too. And hopefully we can take the right choices and make up some positions.
Q: So, are you going to be doing a rain dance tonight?
CL: No, no, no, I'm not that desperate. If it's dry, Monaco is also nice with dry. I mean, the last few years the rain didn't really play in my favour. So, if it can be a dry race, and we can stay on the podium, that will be already a good weekend considering the difficulties we've had.
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