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Monaco Grand Prix: Post Qualifying press conference

NEWS STORY
25/05/2024

Today's post-qualifying press conference with Charles Leclerc, Oscar Piastri and Carlos Sainz.

Track Interviews - Conducted by Loic Duval

Q: Charles, it's your third pole position here at home in Monaco. The laps looked amazing. How was it out there?
Charles Leclerc: It was nice. The feeling after a qualifying lap is always very special here. Really, really happy about the lap. The excitement is so high that it feels really good. However, I know more often than not in the past, qualifying is not everything. As much as it helps a lot for Sunday's race, we need to put everything together coming Sunday. And in the past years, we didn't manage to do so. But we are a stronger team. We are in a stronger position. And I'm sure we can achieve great things tomorrow. And obviously, the win is the target.

Q: So what do you need then? You know, there's less than 200 metres from the first row to the first corner. Then there is a long race, of course. You know that it didn't turn out your way in the past years. What do you need to make sure that this time is going to be the day?
CL: I need a good launch. I need a good launch off the grid. And then once we do that, then hopefully Carlos can have a great start and follow me into Turn 1 and be 1-2. And if we are 1-2, then we can manage that as a team. That would be the perfect scenario. But whatever happens, we just need to bring that victory home.

Q: All right. Congratulations and thank you. Guys, here's the Prince of Monaco. Charles is in pole position for tomorrow's race.
CL: Perfect. Thank you very much. Thank you. Merci tous, vraiment.

Q: Oscar, really close to the first pole here in Monaco. We can see the momentum coming with the team everywhere. You're getting better, better. It's so close. So what was missing today to get that pole?
Oscar Piastri: Good question. I mean, I think if you took the second half of my first lap in Q3 and the first half of the second one, it would have been enough. But, yeah, just a couple of mistakes at the end. But, you know, credit to Charles. He's been incredibly quick all weekend. At certain points, I don't think anyone thought we were going to get close to him. So, yeah, nice to be starting on the front row. I feel like it's been a good weekend in terms of building momentum. And, yeah, what better colours to do it in than these?

Q: What are you going to do tomorrow to try to beat the home hero here? Is it at the start? Is it all about strategy? We know that it's difficult to overtake, so what do you need to make this happen?
OP: A bit of both. I mean, a good start always helps. And if you can get into the lead, then you can control it very easily around here. So that's probably the first goal. And if not, then with strategy. Because, yeah, as optimistic as I want to be, overtaking around here is not easy. So we'll try our best, but starting from a good spot and yeah, a chance for a good day tomorrow.

Q: Carlos, P1 and P3 for Ferrari, third position for you. Still, everything is possible from there, of course. The car looks really, really good today. How much risk did you have to take to make this happen?
Carlos Sainz: Yeah, I think overall it was an improvement for me. I've been struggling all weekend with confidence and feeling with the car. So overall, to step it up and be P3 was a step forward. Obviously not entirely happy because I wish I could have been fighting for pole position. But the truth is that Charles has been doing an outstanding job. The car has been amazing all this weekend and he managed to extract the most out of it. And yeah, I'm happy for him.

Q: How is the car in long runs? Of course, it's all about qualifying, but you still have a race to do. How is the car in long runs? Do you think that you have something in the pocket to beat at least one McLaren?
CS: Yeah, definitely. Yesterday, I looked very quick on the long run, so for some reason, this weekend, I've been struggling on the short runs, and the long run seemed much better, which is something we will need to look into, but I'm confident that tomorrow the pace in the long run will be good. It's just a matter of track position here, and we've lost it with not a great quali position. But, you know, it's Monaco. Anything can happen, like always, and we will give it our best shot, but the priority will be to win with Charles tomorrow.

Press Conference

Q: Very well done, Charles. What a lap. You saved your best until last. First up, how special does it feel to take another pole here at home in Monaco?
CL: It feels as good as the first one. I think in Monaco, the emotions you get, the tension that you have before getting into the car is so much more than anywhere else on the calendar. So yeah, once you finish the lap and you hear that you're on pole position, it's always a very special feeling. However, maybe in the past the emotions were staying for longer, but now obviously having started twice on pole and not bringing the victory, which is at the end what matters the most, is where my mind is at the moment, just trying to prepare and make everything possible. It's been a bit of a roller coaster. The weekend has been incredible until after FP3 where there was an issue with my engine and there was an engine swap at the very last minute, which was quite tricky. But fortunately for me, there wasn't any consequence for my weekend.

Q: We will come on to the race in a second, but how smooth was that session for you? And at one point you came on the radio and said there was a problem with the pedals, I think. Could you just clarify what that was about?
CL: Yeah, I mean, I felt something strange, but actually after that, the feeling was fine.

Q: What about the session then? Did it build as you'd hoped going into qualifying?
CL: No, no, we were... In Q1 it was very tricky, I took that sticker, that sponsor sticker on the lap. That was pretty important at that time, which slowed us down quite a bit. Then we pitted, we took off the sponsor banner from the front wing, we went again. So that was already quite tricky, because in qualifying in Monaco you just want to be out and just do normal laps, so I was just praying for no yellow flags or red flags after that. Luckily for me, it was okay. Then in Q2, we struggled a little bit more with the balance of the car. I couldn't find the right feeling. But then in Q3, we did some modifications, especially with the front wing and the tools and my driving, and then I found the pace again, so I was a little bit happier in Q3. But the feeling was, for some reason, a bit better in FP2, FP3.

Q: Is this the best Ferrari you've driven through these streets?
CL: I think 2022, I unfortunately couldn't finish the lap in Q3, the second lap in Q3, because there was the red flag for Checo. I think this would have been quite a bit better, and I think the car was in an even better place back then, because it was a very smooth qualifying. It's all about the build-up in Monaco, and maybe in [this] qualifying we didn't have the smoothest of build-up, but that doesn't mean I'm not happy with the lap. I'm extremely happy with the lap. I'm very, very happy with the car and it's been a really good weekend until now. But as I said, we shouldn't get carried away with the pole position.

Q: So how are you approaching the race tomorrow?
CL: As always, we just try to approach every race the same. Obviously, having in mind that it's Monaco here, track position is very important, and we'll try to maximise our race and take that victory. Yeah, all of what I said is very obvious, but we are just trying to approach it as a normal race, and that's what we'll do.

Q: How easy is it to protect pole position on the run to Sainte-Devote?
CL: Well, I didn't see many times people losing into Turn 1, so I guess it's a very short run down to Turn 1. But never say never. Obviously, we'll focus on the start and we'll see what happens.

Q: Very well done today. Thank you, Charles. Oscar, let's come to you now. Great job by you. You've split the Ferraris here at Monaco. How satisfied are you with that session?
OP: Yeah, I think on the whole, very happy with it. We were struggling a little bit through the weekend. We didn't really know quite where we sat. A bit of work to do after FP3, but the car felt very good in qualifying. I think the last lap of Q3, there are a few corners I wish I could have again, but yeah, when you're pushing so hard, it's kind of inevitable that there's going to be mistakes here and there. So no, very happy with it. I think the pace in the car was good. And yeah, I think for a Monaco qualifying, it went reasonably smoothly. I hit the wall pretty hard in Q2, so that was a bit of a scare. Apart from that, it was a smooth qualifying and happy to be on the front row and hopefully staying on the front row this week.

Q: You say there are a couple of corners which you wished you could have again. The gap between you and Charles was a couple of tenths. Can you visualise where you lost that time?
OP: Yeah, I think Turn 5 and Turn 10, the chicane after the tunnel, were not my best. I think the rest of the lap was pretty solid, just struggled a little bit in those two corners. Whether it would have been enough for pole, I'm not sure. Yeah, I mean, for me, it's pretty pointless saying if you could have done... Max summed it up very well a few weeks ago. I won't repeat it, but it's a good analogy, and I think everybody can say the same. So, yeah, pretty happy with it on the whole.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Monaco here.

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