Formula 1

2024 Monaco Grand Prix: What the Drivers are Saying after Qualifying

11 Mins read
Photo: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Charles Leclerc took a magnificent pole position on Saturday at the 2024 Monaco Grand Prix – the third time he’s secured top spot at his home circuit.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver will be hoping it’s third time lucky as he looks for his first victory around the streets of Monte Carlo, but there will be a stern challenge from Oscar Piastri, who secured a front row spot in qualifying for the second consecutive race weekend.

Read what the drivers had to say after a thrilling hour of qualifying:

Charles Leclerc — Scuderia Ferrari — 1st

“I’m very happy. We were fast right from the beginning of the weekend and I really think the whole team deserves this pole position. 

“We know how important is track position here and having the possibility to start in front of everyone gives us the best chances.We know from the past that we have to win the race tomorrow on track but so far we have done an amazing job. 

“Of course, I want to thank all the people here as I felt their support right from Wednesday. Now we have to complete the job, and we will do our best to bring home this victory.”

Oscar Piastri — McLaren F1 Team — 2nd

“I’m really pleased with that. It’s great to be starting on the front row, and next to Leclerc who has been incredibly quick all weekend. I feel like we’ve been building momentum, and what better colours to do it in than these. 

“Our aim for tomorrow is to get a good start, and take the opportunities that will come to us. While overtaking will be tricky, we’ll give it everything. We’ve got a good starting spot, so let’s see what we can do.”

Carlos Sainz — Scuderia Ferrari — 3rd

“I feel that I’ve progressed well today after a difficult start to the weekend yesterday. Of course I’m not satisfied as I would have preferred to be on the front row. 

“However, we have a good fighting chance for tomorrow and we still have a long race ahead of us.Congrats to Charles for the pole position at home! Let’s race.”

Lando Norris — McLaren F1 Team — 4th

“A good Qualifying result for us. It was just so close. Of course, we would have loved to have been one or two positions higher, especially here where overtaking is so difficult, but, I’m happy with it and we’re in a good place. 

“A good job by the team for Oscar to be in P2. We’ve got a good team result and we’ll try to maximise it.”

George Russell — Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team — 5th

That was a strong result today. It’s just two hundredths of a second to P3, so of course it’s frustrating when the gaps are so close, but the main thing is that we are making progress. The team has worked flat out to bring new parts here sooner than expected, and that’s massively appreciated because the car was feeling great. 

“The car was dancing a lot in the first sector and my lap felt very strong – afterwards, you can always convince yourself there was bit more in there, but it’s just such an amazing adrenaline rush to drive a lap on this circuit. 

“Overall, I am happy because we could have been P3 today, but most importantly we are making progress and hopefully this can be a bit of a turning point given that our car has never been super strong here. The race has been pretty chaotic in the last couple of years and I’m not sure what the weather will be like tomorrow, I guess a bit of rain would be welcome to spice things up!”

Max Verstappen — Oracle Red Bull Racing — 6th

“It has not been a good weekend for the Team in general. We have tried a lot of changes over the past few days and nothing has helped optimise the performance of the car. In general, it drives well on the straight but has been very difficult over the curves and bumps so has not been good to drive on this kind of track. 

“The ride of the car is not good and it has been bouncing around a lot, which makes it really tricky. The issue isn’t a new thing for us and we have been struggling with this for a while. 

“We have tried everything to solve the issue but I still felt like I was often close to going into the wall. Although I did feel comfortable pushing it to the limit, it is a huge challenge to be consistent and we just didn’t have the fastest car today. 

“Looking to tomorrow, we will work hard to try to find the problem. In Monaco things can happen that you don’t expect, so never say never, but we are not expecting miracles.”

Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team — 7th

“The car has felt great this weekend from the get-go and we were competitive through Friday and this morning in practice. I’ve been pushing the limits everywhere and the qualifying laps felt good. But each time I go into qualifying, I struggle to keep making progress with the car and it feels like I lose performance relative to the cars around me.

“There was a bit of a difference with our cars in the high-speed corners, as George is running the new wing this weekend, but it is great to see the team pushing so hard to bring upgrades to the last race and this one, too. 

“We have been much closer to the front here, and the car is feeling much better than it has in Monaco in previous years; we just have to keep on pushing and getting closer to the front through the year.”

Yuki Tsunoda — Visa Cash App RB – 8th

“Today was much harder than expected, but we picked up the pace quite a lot and managed to improve lap by lap in every session from Q1 to Q3. Q1 was a bit of a struggle considering the pace we had in free practice, but we managed to squeeze out every millisecond from the car. 

“It was super intense, one mistake is a big compromise here. I felt a little bit of pressure, but at the same time enjoyed it, I managed to keep my mind calm and extract the performance of the car. It’s going to be tricky tomorrow, it’s hard to overtake here so the start is very decisive and the main thing is to have a clean race. 

“The pace is good, so we just have to extract all car’s performance. Overall as a team, we did a fantastic job, consistently this week. Ending up in P8, it’s a nice feeling and definitely special here.” 

Alex Albon — Williams Racing — FP1: 15th, FP2: 9th

“It was great out there today; I really enjoyed those laps. We’ve had the car in a good place all weekend, however we’re still struggling a little with understeer in Sector 2, so we’ve made some changes throughout the day to try get on top of it. 

“It was all about getting the tyres in the right window, so we chose clean air, focusing on the tyres and not worrying about the track evolution as much. Looking to tomorrow, graining might be a problem, so we’ll have to manage this throughout the race. Hopefully, I can get some clean air and look after the tyres. 

“On paper, this track is the least weight penalising of the year, so it’s allowed us to play on a slightly more level playing field. 

“For the team, I think with Logan not having the upgrades and with a slightly alternate setup, it was potentially the difference in him making it into Q2.”

Pierre Gasly — BWT Alpine F1 Team — 10th

“I’m very pleased we reached Q3 today for the first time this year. I took a lot of risks and touched the wall one time too many but these are the chances you have to take in Qualifying in Monaco. 

“In the end, I’m pleased with the outcome, even if more was possible. We had to work hard yesterday and the simulator team back at Enstone did a great job to try out a few test items and suggest some changes to improve the car. 

“We know Monaco is a track full of opportunities and we have put ourselves in contention to score points in tomorrow’s race. There’s still a long race ahead of us. We will need to be prepared for many scenarios with the target to come away with points for the team.”

Photo: Alpine F1

Esteban Ocon — BWT Alpine F1 Team — 11th

“It’s been a very busy Qualifying day in Monaco. From my side, it’s definitely mixed feelings. There are positives as we made some good improvements to the car to really be in contention for the top ten in Qualifying. 

“We got through Q1 comfortably but I made a mistake on my Q2 lap by locking up into Turn 1, which most likely cost us a spot in Q3. We had the pace and I pushed to the limits to optimise everything we had in hand and sometimes mistakes do happen. 

“We are starting close to the points and there are always opportunities to take in Monaco. We will give it our all from where we are starting with the ambition of scoring points for the team.”

Nico Hülkenberg — Haas F1 Team — 12th

“I think the car is where it’s been looking all weekend, just not quite good enough for the top 10. My last lap was pretty clean in Q2 so I’m happy about that. 

“Unfortunately, we just weren’t quick enough, but where we are in P12, we’re going to need to roll the dice and take some risks to get a result. We’ll have to see where everything unravels after the start.”

Daniel Ricciardo — Visa Cash App RB – 13th

“It was a tough day today. Qualifying is very important here in Monaco and it hurts starting outside the top 10 for tomorrow’s race. Yesterday we felt we were in a good place, I knew there was a little bit to come for us so I was definitely excited coming into today, but unfortunately, it feels like we took a little bit of a back step. 

“I’m not disappointed with the way I drove, it just simply wasn’t quite enough to get the most out of it where I needed to. The car was slightly trickier in some places and I was struggling a little, but it wasn’t a matter of us making any big mistakes. 

“Personally, I just found it difficult to get the tyres going in the first lap and then, whenever I was able to lift the pace, we couldn’t find as much time as the others. I’ve qualified a few times around this position here and certainly, it won’t make our life easy.

“It’s frustrating, but we’ll work together with the team to understand a few things better and we’ll try to get on top of it for the race.”

Lance Stroll — Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team — 14th

“I think more was possible today. I put in some strong lap times to progress through to Q1, but then hit some traffic during my final flying lap in Q2. 

“That cost us a couple of tenths. It’s especially tough to pass here, so I expect we’ll have a difficult day tomorrow, but we’ll still be looking to fight for points.” 

Kevin Magnussen — Haas F1 Team — 15th

“The pace was there in the car and I think we could’ve been fighting for Q3, and Q3 in Monaco means you score points, so I’m pretty gutted again. We fuelled the car for another lap in case in the first lap we encountered traffic, and we could abort. 

“I started the push lap, gained more than one tenth in the first corner but we aborted the lap. In the second lap, there was traffic the whole lap.”

Fernando Alonso — Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team — 16th

“It was a case of wrong place and wrong moment today for me. This is Monaco and you need to find some luck here too! I lost quite a bit of lap time with the traffic in Q1 and there is nobody to blame as we can’t expect the traffic to vanish. 

“Heading into Qualifying, we were thinking Q3 looked possible. It will be a tough day tomorrow, but we will take any opportunities that come our way.” 

Logan Sargeant — Williams Racing — 17th

It was a good session for us. I’ve been driving well since FP1 and I was really happy with my laps in Qualifying – I felt like I got everything out of the package I had today. 

“Obviously, we’ve been open that we have some cross-car differences this weekend and I can only expect quite a bit of the difference is coming from that. It is tough to overtake here but we need to focus on ourselves, try to have clean stints and see what we can do tomorrow. Monaco is one of the most special tracks to drive. 

“To sit in an F1 car and pull out of the garage for Qualifying is like no other and to be able to put the car on the edge like that is everything we dream of so it’s a pleasure to drive here.”

Sergio Pérez — Oracle Red Bull Racing — 18th

“Today was a complete disaster, we didn’t get into the rhythm and we didn’t have the pace. On my final lap when things were looking good, I came to turns six and seven, they were full of traffic, then there were some stickers or something laid down on the track and I couldn’t get the lap that I needed. 

“Two or three tenths would have changed it, but I didn’t get it and then unfortunately the tyres were too warm and I couldn’t get through Q1. We should have been in Q3 and given the margins were so small, a better lap would have changed things dramatically, we were P5 this morning, so we knew what we were capable of. 

“It has been a very tricky, difficult weekend for us and not ideal overall. I am just very disappointed because we couldn’t get the maximum out of the car today and we had so much more potential than we showed. Unfortunately, unless there is some rain tomorrow, we cannot hope for much, there is nearly zero chance to overtake around here.”

Valtteri Bottas — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber — 19th

“Today has been a tricky day in the office. I slightly touched the wall this morning during the final practice session; nothing major, as I was still able to take part in Qualifying later in the day. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have enough one-lap pace to make it past the Q2 threshold – that was pretty straightforward. 

“Overall, it hasn’t been an easy weekend for our team so far. Monaco is one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar – that’s both its best feature and what makes it so demanding. There will be plenty to investigate overnight, to find that extra step that could allow us to slightly improve tomorrow. 

“Things should be a bit better in the race, once everything stabilises, even though it’s not going to be an easy one starting from the very back. Still, not all hope is lost; we know very well how anything can happen here, and we’ll make sure to be at our best to catch any good opportunity.”

Zhou Guanyu — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber — 20th

“The whole weekend has been difficult so far, and today’s qualifying session was no exception. We weren’t able to get everything – from tyres to temperature – in the right window today, and I struggled a lot with a lack of grip. 

“On such a track, you need confidence and grip to extract most out of your laps, and while I reckon that my efforts were quite clean, we’re still a second off. In Monaco, Saturday matters most, however, the race is always a different story, and we’ll use it to better understand what we’re lacking to close the gap. 

“As a team we’ll look further into our setup to see how we can improve ahead of tomorrow.”

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