Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 1st, 2011 Race - 1st
“It’s something special to race in Monaco; it’s tight and there’s no room for error. It’s rough and, as it’s a street circuit, the road surface is uneven so you get shaken in the car and there is no room for mistakes. You have to push yourself and the car to the limit to be fast, you have to push as hard as on other tracks, but there’s no room. You can almost feel it when you are just missing the wall and just get through - but it’s a nice feeling. You need to be fully focused on track, it’s a special thing to win in Monaco.”
Mark Webber, Red Bull
2011 Qualifying - 3rd, 2011 Race - 4th
“Monaco is a really special track, it’s an old circuit in terms of when it was first designed and the layout hasn’t changed too much since. It’s got a bit easier from when I first joined Formula One ten years ago, but it’s still a test of man against the track and with the car. You’re racing other people, but it doesn’t always feel like it because the track is always asking you to give more. If you bite and try to give it more then you crash so it’s a very, very challenging circuit mentally. Physically it’s quite straightforward, but in the mind you need to be very disciplined and that’s the challenge around Monaco.”
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2011 Qualifying - 9th, 2011 Race - 6th
“Monaco is a very special circuit. It’s up there with Silverstone as the place where I most want to do well at. Even though Monaco has the slowest average speed of all the circuits we visit in a season, it always feels incredibly quick. That’s because the acceleration is so rapid and the walls so close: there really is no room for error. Apart from the run-off at Ste Devote, and the tiny escape roads at Mirabeau and the harbour chicane, there’s no room to make a mistake. But when the stakes are at their highest, I just find it more exciting.
“Still, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that, despite pushing for the win, consistency and scoring decent points is currently the most sensible way to tackle this world championship. I’ve scored points at every race, and I’m only eight points off the lead of the championship. That’s a really encouraging statistic and it’s reassuring to see my approach is paying off. Nevertheless, I’m coming off the back of two relatively disappointing results and there would be no better place for the cards to fall in my favour than at Monaco.”
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren team principal
“I’m incredibly proud of the team’s record at Monte-Carlo. We’ve won the Monaco Grand Prix more than any other team, and it’s a race we all regard as incredibly special, and integral to the sporting image of Formula One. This is a unique event in so many ways - it places unique demands on the driver, the car and the team. Accordingly, winning in Monaco is considered a more significant victory than a win at other circuits.
“Both our drivers will arrive in the paddock feeling particularly determined this year: Jenson, because he will be determined to set the record straight after losing a victory in 2011 that many felt he rightfully deserved; Lewis, simply because he has been driving brilliantly all season and a victory at his favourite circuit would be just reward for all his speed and commitment.
“For the entire Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, too, we travel to the south of France feeling determined to string together a faultless weekend and to demonstrate our full potential. I have absolutely no doubts that the team is feeling very strong, and a win at Monaco would be the perfect fillip for their efforts.”
Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
“Monaco is a little bit different and it’s hard to say how it will go there. It’s useless to put races in different categories, because all of them are as important to me. However, as a special race there is nothing like Monaco. There is no better feeling than to get things going well in there. To race in the streets of Monte Carlo is really different from everywhere else; a challenge I look forward to every year. It is very, very difficult, almost impossible, to have a clean weekend there.
“I’ve only managed to get it right once before, you really do get the greatest feeling by winning it. My win in 2005 ranks up there with my most memorable. So to win it again would be just as special. It’s such a twisty and narrow track. You have to be extra sharp and focussed in every single metre you go fast there. It gives such a good feeling a fast lap in Monaco. Overtaking has been almost impossible there in the past so to really enjoy racing there you have to be at the front.
“Monaco is always special. It’s an interesting place to go to, with a lot of fans and a lot of parties going on - or so I’m told. It’s a completely different atmosphere from anywhere else.
“We have to focus on qualifying. It’s a difficult place to race as it’s so narrow and passing is nearly impossible. I was stuck behind Rubens [Barrichello] in 2009 and we had KERS then, but you just couldn’t get past. We’ll have to see how the tyres perform and if there are any good strategies to be made, but the most important thing is qualifying well. It’s difficult to know how good the car will be in Monaco as you can’t simulate its characteristics, certainly not at any of the circuits we’ve visited so far this year. We can say the E20 has been fast everywhere else so let’s hope it’s also fast at Monaco.”
Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
“I think Monaco is going to be a fantastic event and it is a special race for me for sure. There are certain to be a lot of French fans, and I’m looking forward to their support. It’s also a very special event in its own right, and the atmosphere is quite crazy! As a driver you have to stay calm and relaxed and try to do your job. It’s a track that doesn’t allow any mistakes. You have to respect it and that is the key there I think. Hopefully we can have another good result.
“I think Monaco is a specialist track and it’s very difficult to say if a car will suit there or not. It’s bumpy on the straights and it’s a very low-grip track surface. All these things mean that you never know what to expect. On a more normal racetrack you know more what you are going to have. I hope we will have a pleasant surprise and that the car will suit Monaco’s unique challenges. That would be nice.”
Eric Boullier, Lotus team principal
“We are celebrating our 500th Grand Prix in Monaco so what a story [winning] would be! Monaco is a unique event and it really is the jewel in the Formula One crown. Historically Enstone teams have shown good pace in Monaco, but last year’s car wasn’t strong in slow-speed corners so we may have some work to do. In terms of the team and our drivers, we’re all ready for a win. We’re looking at every aspect of the car and how we run it and we’re all focused tremendously on achieving our goals. A win would be a fabulous thing.”
James Allison, Lotus technical director
“We’ve got a bigger rear wing as you need more downforce at Monaco than you need anywhere else. If you look closer, or if you are a very keen fan of bodywork changes then you’ll see that the area around the side pods and the rear drums will be different too. We have to make modifications to the suspension to enable the necessary lock to get around Loews Hairpin and Rascasse. We have also made some changes, for Kimi in particular, to make the steering a little more reactive for Monaco.
“Perhaps if we look back, of the five races we’ve done so far, the race where we were least impressive was China and that’s a track with relatively few sweeping corners and lots of lower-speed traction events. So there is a train of thought that Monaco might not play to the strengths of our car.
However there are other things about Monaco that are different entirely, which are much harder to gauge. For starters the corners are so slow that the strength we’ve seen in very fast corners compared with moderate corners is not really any sort of form guide for competitiveness around Monaco’s twists and turns.
“Secondly, driver skill plays a relatively bigger part at Monaco than at most tracks, and we are fortunate to have a pair of decent peddlers. Finally, a large part of Monaco is confidence from the driver. Confidence that they can lean on the car and know that it’s not going to misbehave. So far, the E20 has proved to be a very predictable, straightforward car to drive - a quality it shares with the R30. So hopefully they will be able to lean on it to good effect. We’ll have to see.”
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 5th, 2011 Race - DNF
"Monaco is just a circuit of its own very unique character. In a way, you could look at it with a big portion of irony with regards to the contradiction that, for so many years we have successfully campaigned for more track safety, and then we deliberately race in Monaco. But in my view this is justifiable once a year, especially as the circuit is really so much fun to drive. Every time you go there, you just look forward to finally getting out and driving the track. Of course, knowing that I will lose five positions on the grid does not add to this feeling but this just means that I will have to try even harder. I'm actually quite confident that we should look reasonably good in Monaco due to the hard work that everybody in the team is putting into the development of our car. So let's make the best out of the weekend."
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2011 Qualifying - 7th, 2011 Race - 11th
"I love the Monaco Grand Prix weekend and it's a great feeling to be driving at home, knowing that all my friends and family are watching. I have always been quick around the streets here, and I believe a good result is possible for us next weekend. The nature of the track should suit our car but as we have seen at every race so far this season, tyre management will be crucial. With five different winning teams so far this year, at least ten drivers have the chance to win in Monaco so this could be one of the most interesting races there for years."
Ross Brawn, Mercedes team principal
"The uniqueness of Monaco makes it one of those tracks where anything can happen, particularly in a season that has proved to be almost impossible to predict so far. Despite the logistical challenges of the weekend, Monaco is a race that everyone on the team and the drivers really enjoy, and the experience of winning in Monaco is something very special indeed. After Nico's win in China, we have had two more difficult race weekends, but I am confident that we will start to see an improvement in Monaco as the developments that we have brought to the car recently take effect."
Norbert Haug, Vice-President, Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"With five different winners from five different teams in five races, it has been an exciting and unexpected first quarter of the 2012 season. Now Formula One visits the most atypical circuit of all, Monaco. It makes unusual, one-off demands of the cars: there are fast and narrow sections, but also eight corners taken at under 100 km/h and over 4,500 gear changes during the race. It is also incredibly challenging and rewarding for the drivers. In Monaco, more than any other circuit, the driver can really make the difference, especially on a single qualifying lap. Both Nico and Michael have shown a great feeling for the circuit and the ability to master it in recent seasons. After all the talk of unpredictability of the teams' performance levels this year, there are also clear facts: three of five races have been won from pole position, including Nico's victory in China. What's more, the five drivers who have completed every race lap are all in the top seven in the current championship standings. Strong qualifying speed has been rewarded at every race, and consistently finishing races appears to be even more important in 2012. In the last three races, Nico has scored a total of 41 points, the second highest total in the field after Sebastian Vettel with 43. Our focus in Monaco will be to extract the maximum from our further developed technical package. Giving the drivers a car they can trust and feel confident in is worth more here than at any other circuit on the calendar."
Paul di Resta, Force India
2011 Qualifying - 13th, 2011 Race - 12th
“The Monaco Grand Prix is probably the highlight of the year and the race that every driver wants to win. It’s always a really busy weekend: the grandstands are packed, the yachts are in the harbour and everybody is looking for the best view. When the weather is nice it really helps make for an electric atmosphere. It’s where I live now and it’s interesting to see how much busier Monaco gets when the race comes to town. It’s really nice to go home each night, sleep in your own bed and enjoy your own space. Also, I will have a lot of family and friends around me who come down to watch the race.
“It’s a circuit that’s all about confidence and commitment, and you need to build up your speed through the weekend to extract the maximum lap time. There are some great corners, such as Casino Square where you arrive at 185 mph and brake as you turn into a blind corner. Then there’s the slowest corner of the year, the hairpin, taken in first gear using maximum steering lock. For the end of the lap through the swimming pool you really feel the downforce and you need a car that can ride the bumps and kerbs. It’s a real challenge for drivers and engineers to get the perfect car.”
Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
“I enjoy the challenge of Monaco. There’s no part of the lap where you can relax for a second – even the main straight is not really a straight. I do like street racing in general because you need to grow with the car over the sessions to find the limits. If you get it right you’re only a few centimetres from the barrier so there’s no margin for error.
“I think we have taken a good step forward with the developments we made for Spain and they will continue to help us in Monaco. We still have work to do to understand and fine-tune them along with the set-up, so that is something the team is working on. When you see how close the teams around us are it can really make a difference to find even the smallest gain.”
Dr Vijay Mallya, Force India team principal
“The Monaco Grand Prix has always been a personal favourite of mine. It’s a wonderful venue to experience Formula One and nowhere else comes close to capturing the atmosphere and glamour that surrounds the race. I would love to see us performing well this weekend and challenging for points once again. We’ve certainly made progress with the car lately, but the whole grid remains very closely matched. Just a couple of tenths can separate ten positions on the grid so nobody can afford to take anything for granted. We also know that Monaco can be an unpredictable race so anything is possible. Our focus will be on making sure we qualify well to get track position for Sunday.”
Sergio Perez, Sauber
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
“This Grand Prix is the most special one for me. I have been waiting to race in the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix all my life and, of course, after what happened last year I am looking forward to it even more. I strongly believe on this track the driver can make more of a difference than on any other track. As a team we are in good shape and I want to keep that momentum for Monaco. I also think our car can perform quite well on that unique city circuit. Of course I also think back to the accident I had in Q3 last year. To me it is like a watershed event in my career. There is a time before and a time after the accident. I learnt a lot from what I had to go through and I think it made me stronger. I really want to show what I can do in Monte Carlo.”
Matt Morris, Sauber chief designer
“The Monaco track is probably the one where the driver has the most influence on the overall performance. Last year both our drivers were competitive – Sergio until his accident in Q3, and Kamui finished a strong fifth in the race. The main challenge for setting up the car will be to optimise the mechanical grip. I’m confident we will be able to handle this. The development package that we ran for the first time in Barcelona will also be used again in Monaco, so we will be able to carry over its performance gain. Pirelli will provide us with the soft and the super soft tyres. This is actually the first time this year that we will be using the super soft compound during a race weekend. We tested it briefly during winter testing in Barcelona, which is a track that’s not exactly suited to this tyre, but I don’t see us having any problems in managing this tyre compound. The track has been resurfaced in some areas, for example in the braking zone after the tunnel, so we have got rid of the bump there. That’s something the drivers have to get used to, but, if anything, it should be easier. One of the design considerations of the C31 was to improve it over the kerbs, so we should be stronger at kerbing compared to last year. We have been competitive so far this season, and I’m confident we can be very strong in Monaco as well.”
Heikki Kovalainen, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 17th, 2011 Race - 14th
"Monaco's the race everyone in F1 wants to win, and it's not just a famous F1 race, it's one of the biggest annual events in the world. For drivers it's a pretty hard-core race, in and out of the cars, but it's a challenge I really enjoy and racing around the streets is one of the real highlights of being an F1 driver. On track it's one of the races where the pack bunches up a bit and that might give us a chance to do something special. Last year I finished 14th, one of our higher finishes of the season, so hopefully we can improve on that this year. We have KERS this year and a car that has good race pace, and as our car is slightly easier on the tyres than some of the teams ahead, maybe that will help us achieve a high race finish."
Vitaly Petrov, Caterham
2011 Qualifying - 10th, 2011 Race - DNF
"I’ve raced a lot in Monaco, not just in Formula One. I had a podium there in GP2 when I finished second in 2009, which was good. In F1 I’ve raced there twice. The first time wasn’t so great but last year was pretty good, right up until the point I crashed! That was so disappointing, but I couldn’t avoid it. We had a good strategy and I’d had a good race up to that point, but that’s how racing goes sometimes. Monaco is an unbelievable place though. Normally, between Barcelona and Monaco we have just one week and I’d leave Barcelona on Sunday night and drive to Monaco, because on the Tuesday of the race week we have the football match for the F1 drivers, which is always great. The track itself is always a little bit dirty at the start of the weekend and it’s quite difficult to get tyre temperatures up during the lap. It’s tricky because the walls are so close. If you make one mistake or have a little bit of oversteer, you don’t even get a chance to correct it - you’re in the wall. It takes quite a bit of mental preparation and you need to be totally focused for every single lap of every session. The race itself? The atmosphere in the race is incredible. It’s just an amazing place to drive a racing car and I really love it."
Mark Smith, Caterham technical director
“Monaco is a unique challenge, for the drivers and the teams. The fact we are in very different garage conditions to normal, and in a cramped paddock, makes it a tough race for the truckies, the mechanics and the engineers, but it is a race we all look forward to and one that everyone wants to do well at. The short length of the lap and the limited high-speed sections means there is much less difference in lap times than at somewhere like Barcelona. We all use high downforce settings, and we have a specific aero configuration we will use in Monaco and probably Hungary, but the days of cars sprouting all sorts of special wings just for Monaco are behind us. The cars may not look hugely different to how they appeared in Spain, but we do have as much downforce as we can find for the whole weekend in Monte Carlo.
“The other challenges are managing the brake cooling and tyre wear. Even though it’s a stop - start lap, the brakes are not put under huge strain as the speeds never get as high as a normal track, but there is a real emphasis on making sure we cool the brakes as efficiently as possible, and that is something we worked on at the Mugello test, so we are happy we have a good solution for that. For the tyre wear we have planned as well as we can, but we have seen so far this season that until we are actually out on track it’s almost impossible to know which teams will be hard on the tyres and which teams will be able to manage the degradation levels well. We have the soft and the supersoft compounds in Monaco, and if the wear rates on the softs are anything like we saw in Spain, strategy will be critical.”
Pedro de la Rosa, HRT
2011 Qualifying - n/a, 2011 Race - n/a
"Monaco is by far the most difficult and technical circuit in the entire Championship. The only trick to this track is to do miles and not change the car's set-up too much because you can find more time in the driver than in the car. We must try to do as many laps as possible on Thursday in order to build up some confidence for qualifying because it's the most important thing in Monaco. Another major difficulty at this track is the traffic, it's vital to complete a clean lap and make the most of it. Pirelli is bringing its soft and super-soft tyres so it's even more important to do a good first lap with the super-softs as you won't have two laps with them. In the race the most important thing is to manage your strategy well and it's more than probable that there will be a safety car so luck can also come in to play. We're all really looking forward to the race because it's a less aerodynamic track than Barcelona and, therefore, we expect to be closer to the leaders than in the last Grand Prix."
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT
2011 Qualifying - 22nd, 2011 Race - 17th
"Street circuits aren't my favourite but Monaco obviously has a special place on the calendar. It's not every day that you get to race in such a beautiful setting and with such a special vibe surrounding the race. It's one of the toughest races because you're so close to the guardrails that you know you can't make one single mistake. Last year I had a decent outing despite facing many problems in qualifying and practice. Coming away from a disappointing weekend in Barcelona, I am hoping for better luck this time and to get a proper chance to work with the updates we brought in Spain and have a trouble-free weekend."
Luis Perez-Sala, HRT team principal
"Monaco is a very special Grand Prix and a circuit that, in my day, I really liked to drive at because you're always very close to the guardrails and you can't make one mistake. It's a very demanding track mechanically, where drivers need great ability and suffer physically and psychologically because you can't make any slip-ups and therefore you need to be fully focused at all times. It's a tough test for the car's reliability and even more so if it is hot. We have minor upgrades for this race which we hope will help us to close the gap to the front pack. The team is really looking forward to taking on a beautiful race as is Monaco."