Valtteri Bottas qualified 11th and Felipe Massa 14th for the Monaco Grand Prix. Both drivers comfortably progressed into Q2 after posting times of 1:15.521 (Bottas, 12th) and 1:15.710 (Massa, 15th) on ultrasoft tyres. The team’s performance at Monaco has improved from last year, but both drivers fell just short of making it into Q3. Bottas will start 10th on the grid, due to a five-place penalty for Kimi Raikkonen following a gearbox change.
Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: “This isn’t where we want to be, but it’s a step better than where we were last year. We managed to get the most out of the car. If we put our top sectors together, we’d be in the back end of the top 10. If you look at our times against the top cars, we can see that we have made progress and it’s now clear where we need to develop the car if we want to go faster in Monaco.
“We have worked very hard to get the set-up better around here and now this is a car that could have scraped into the top 10. We can have a reasonable race tomorrow. Valtteri will start from a point-scoring position in 10th with a free choice of tyres, and Felipe 14th. With the attrition we usually see and with a decent tyre strategy, we can definitely get both cars into the points and that is our aim.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Obviously we’re not happy to be out of Q3, but we’ve made progress, which is good. We just need to try to make more – and there’s a good chance to get my first points here. This is one of the busiest races in terms of what happens on track with safety cars, so we need to take that opportunity to get some good points.”
Felipe Massa: “It wasn’t an easy qualifying for us. We were fighting for one tenth the whole time. Unfortunately, without that one tenth we are down a few positions. It’s really a shame because it’s just so close. It wasn’t our day for getting the most out of the car with what happened with the red flags, however the car is behaving well. It won’t be easy to get points but we’ll try the best we can.