TORO ROSSO - Monaco GP Thursday

Brendon Hartley (STR13-03, Car 28)
First Practice Session
Best lap: 1:14.034, pos. 12th, 46 lap
Second Practice Session
Best lap: 1:13.222, pos. 11th, 47 laps
“It was a really positive day, it’s awesome to drive around Monaco for the first time in a Formula 1 car! It’s a special feeling around here, dancing from wall to wall. In terms of performance, I think straight away we were in the top 10 on the Hypersoft. We finished the morning P12, but running on the harder compound tyre which looked positive. In the afternoon, I was 11th on the Hypersoft which is promising, it’s very close to the cars ahead and also the cars behind. We’re definitely in the fight, and the goal has to be Q3. It’s tricky here with traffic, you have to be clever with strategy in qualifying - and a bit lucky too!  I’m happy to get the new updated aero parts that Pierre was running in the first two sessions. The team has done a good job to bring some updates here and all of the emphasis now goes into getting us as far up the grid as we can!”
Pierre Gasly (STR13-05, Car 10)
First Practice Session
Best lap: 1:14.240, pos. 14th, 38 laps
Second Practice Session
Best lap: 1:13.410, pos. 14th, 32 laps
“First day in Monaco, it’s really cool to be back driving these streets! The last time was in 2016, and it’s one of the most amazing tracks of the year, so it’s really good to be here. We tried a couple of things today, and at the moment I think it’s really close between P7 to the back of the field, so it will be super tight this weekend. I didn’t really find the right settings to feel fully comfortable with the car, so I’m a bit out of sync at the moment, but Brendon looks pretty good, so we’re probably going to work and analyse more tonight to try and find the best package. The car seems to be fast so if we manage to find two or three tenths I think we can fight to be in the top 10 - that will be the target for us to work towards tomorrow.”
Jonathan Eddolls (Chief Race Engineer):
“The team enjoyed a successful day all round. Monaco is a circuit with a unique layout and very different requirements from the car compared to the other circuits we have raced at this season, so the setup is very different to the tracks that we’ve run before. It goes without saying that drivers are important at all track but in particular here there’s an awful lot to be gained from giving the driver a car that has good stability and one that he can build confidence. Since neither has driven here before in F1 the plan was to give both drivers as many laps as possible in both sessions, which we did generally on the whole. P1 was a very good session as both drivers completed the entire plan. We didn’t have too many mechanical setup tests to carry out as it’s very difficult to quantify tests here because the track evolution is so big. However, we did come here with new aero parts which we fitted to one of the cars. So throughout the sessions we were analysing the data and building on our knowledge. For P2, we did make some setup changes to the cars to try and improve the overall balance, it was more fine tuning because the drivers were pretty happy and we were looking quite competitive. The first low fuel runs were good - we were very happy - then we had a red flag for the issue with the track. Then obviously it becomes difficult, because everyone wants to go out at the same time, so it was hard to find a good gap in the traffic. We were one of the first cars out so we had clean out laps, but then we caught cars who were late going out which interrupted our timed laps. This meant our second runs weren’t as clean as they could have been, so I don’t think we’ve shown the true performance. I think the car is looking competitive here which is encouraging – on the short runs and the high fuel. We had an issue with Pierre’s car on the high-fuel run, it appears to be some kind of brake issue, so we need to understand what’s caused that, fix it, and ensure we have no issues going into the race - I’m confident we’ll get to the bottom of it. On the whole, it was a very positive day, and I think we’ve got some good confidence going into P3 and Qualifying.”
Toyoharu Tanabe (Honda F1 Technical Director):
“As usual on the first day of practice, we have worked on tuning our settings step by step to suit this circuit. In today’s sessions, we took into account two factors, firstly the fact that the track will get much quicker over the weekend, as it gets cleaner and rubbers in and secondly, data from today did not correlate in every area to our simulation work, so we made adjustments accordingly. The mid-field looks very close, but the team reckon the car is working well here, so we feel we can have a good qualifying and race. One feature of Monaco is that we now have a whole day to study our data and prepare for qualifying in two days’ time.”

Tom Beeler

Tom has been a contributor to RIS since 1992. He was invited to join the staff as a full-time reporter/editor in 1995, and has covered IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, Grand-Am, ALMS and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In addition to his RIS work, Tom has been a contributor for General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and the ACO.

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Volume 2018, Issue 5, Posted 3:58 PM, 05.24.2018