Hamilton to Attend Goodwood Festival of Speed

It has been confirmed that Lewis Hamilton will attend this years Goodwood Festival of Speed on the 22nd to 24th June. Goodwood have confirmed that the F1 sensation will drive his McLaren up the 1.16 mile hillclimb course, his first appearance in a Grand Prix car in Great Britain.

The twenty-two year old will join the other three British drivers in F1, with Jenson Button and David Coulthard driving more conventional vehicles as Davidson tackles a 1987 Williams Honda FW11B, driven by Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet.

https://www.goodwood.co.uk/fos/

FIA: McLaren under Investigation

McLaren are to be investigated following their one-two victory in the Grand Prix de Monaco yesterday. In a statement released by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), the governing body said that they had launched an investigation into incidents involving the McLaren Mercedes team at the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix in light of a possible breach of the International Sporting Code .

The investigation will come as a shock to the Woking based team after the McLaren s of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton dominated the race around the famous Monte Carlo circuit on Sunday. However, it appeared that Alonso had been given the nod before making an unusually relaxed second pit stop. From this point on, Hamilton held position behind the two times World Champion, allowing the Spaniard to take an easy victory.

The investigation could focus on Ron Dennis s comments following the race, where he admitted the outcome was something he had to decide in the advance .

“We had to cope with the potential deployment of the safety car. So consequently you virtually have to decide in advance which one of the team’s drivers will claim the victory.”

Speaking of taking the victory away from Hamilton he said: “He is disappointed and frustrated, and I can understand that, but he would not have been any of those things if the safety car had been deployed. He would have won the race.”

“To be honest, I’m not happy not letting our drivers race, but the simple fact is it’s my job, which is a difficult one at times, and this was one of those times. The drivers are members of this team, and they have to behave and perform as members of the team. That’s the way it is.”

Dennis attempted to justify his decision, denying his team gave orders despite bragging at least two events this season that he had ‘controlled the race’, “Lewis has an equal opportunity to win the World Championship, I have been monstrously criticised in the past for not favouring a driver and frittering away the opportunity of a world title. But we will never favour one driver over another, no matter who it is. We never have and we never will. Time will tell that we do not favour anybody.”

The FIA banned team orders following the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, where Ferrari asked Rubens Barrichello to yield to Michael Schumacher. Schumacher passed the Brazilian just metres from the line, leading to international condemnation and a review of team tactics.

Related Forum Thread

Monaco GP – Post Race Press Conference

Drivers in Attendance:

1. Fernando ALONSO (McLaren Mercedes), 1h40m29.329s
2. Lewis HAMILTON (McLaren Mercedes), 1h40m33.424s
3. Felipe MASSA (Ferrari), 1h41m38.443s

Unilaterals

Q: Fernando, many variables as you said after qualifying, but today you started from pole, set fastest lap and set your second successive win here in the Principality.
Fernando ALONSO: Yes, it has been a fantastic weekend, no doubt, and to score this hattrick pole, fastest lap and race win is something very special and even more so here in Monaco. I enjoyed today s race so much with a perfect car all through the race, and it felt so good to drive such a nice car for 78 laps and win at the end.

Q: Of course, there was pressure from your team-mate Lewis at various stages of the race. You consolidated your lead towards the end of the second stint and then again in the third stint, but he was close to you at the beginning of that third stint.
FA: Yeah, he was. I had maybe a little bit less graining than the other cars in the first stint and I was able to open up a gap and just approaching my stop lap at the first stop, I caught Trulli and I was three laps behind, going two seconds a lap slower. It was unbelievable. I was nine seconds ahead and suddenly I was three seconds ahead. In a way, I think a little of the pressure was coming from the people that sometimes you have an advantage over, sometimes a disadvantage and I had problems in the key moments of the race, unfortunately.

Q: What was the supersoft tyre like, the one with a potential graining problem?
FA: It was OK. I think the most difficult tyre in the end was the first one we put on; in the first stint, everybody had a little bit of graining. The track was probably not in good condition and I think that was the most difficult set of tyres. I think at the end, obviously, we slowed down the pace as well because there was no time to risk any more, so I think the supersoft were able to stay very constant all through the stint as well.

Q: Lewis, keeping up your brilliant record of podium finish in every race so far but very very close to Fernando going into that third stint, and it looked as if you might have touched the guardrail going into Mirabeau.
Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, I hit the barrier plenty of times in the race and I was fortunate that we ve got a solid car. The team has done a good job as usual, and it s strong enough to take the hit. But yeah, we were quick, it s extremely difficult round here trying to follow someone. All weekend both of us have had great pace and it was tough. I tried to get as close as possible and tried to get ahead but… next time, I guess.

Q: Fernando mentioned that he was behind Trulli for a while. You had a very aggressive slice inside Jarno coming out of the swimming pool section.
LH: Yeah, today I think traffic was quite poor. It s always poor in Monaco just because it s so tight, but Fernando would get past someone and then I d have to wait quite a while until… or have to shout on the radio to get them to put the blue flag out. So it was always tricky. I would gain and then I would lose, more or less, and so that made it extremely difficult but I had to try and be as aggressive as possible but safe at the same time. I needed to come out of this race with as many points as possible.

Q: Going into that third stint you were very close to Fernando. What was your thinking at that point, just to push as hard as you could, perhaps force Fernando into an error?
LH: Yeah, absolutely. I knew that we were both extremely quick, and when you re behind someone you can t follow them that closely, so I knew there would be no way to get so close to him and overtake him. So the only way was to apply pressure and he s a two-time World Champion, he doesn t really make mistakes, so it s extremely difficult. He did a great job as well as the team, as always. We ve made a fantastic step forward and as you can see, we were a good step ahead of everyone else today, and that s all due to the hard work the team has done.

Q: Felipe, the only driver not to be lapped by the two McLaren Mercedes today. A big win for your opposition, however, over a minute behind them today.
Felipe MASSA: Yeah, McLaren definitely showed incredible pace today. I think that even if I pushed 150 percent on the limit, it would have been the same in the end. They were pretty quick today. There was nothing I could do with them. I could only expect some mistakes or something like that, or maybe a retirement. I was just thinking of finishing third, trying to score as many points as possible. OK, now the gap is a little bit bigger, but five points is nothing in a championship like this, so let s work hard for the next race. The package for this race made it impossible to catch them, so let s try to be in front in the next races.

Q: You had the same fuel as Fernando; where were they quicker than you in that early phase of the race?
FM: Well, in the beginning, I don t think Lewis was very quick. I also think he was a little bit heavier and I was just following him, and Fernando was much quicker than us, so that was really the key to the race for Fernando because he managed to create a gap which was a little bit easier to keep after the pit stop. And for me, I was just running behind Lewis for the first 15 laps without problems, and then I just hit traffic, so it was also very difficult for me. I also stayed a lot behind Trulli, a lot behind Davidson. I think Davidson was even penalised because of that. He was maybe ten laps in front of me. He really destroyed my race against them because they were just pulling away and I was behind the traffic. But anyway, I think the result in the end is quite good for me, for the team and we will keep fighting.

Q: And you had a very different tyre strategy with supersoft in the last two stints. Was that a gamble taken at the time, or was that the plan?
FM: When you see that you have nothing more to put into the car to fight, we just needed to fit another set of tyres and see if we could have a better and quicker car, but in the end, it was similar so it was just the lack of pace we had today.

Q: Fernando, we would never have imagined that huge margin of victory coming into this weekend.
FA: No, never. Absolutely. I think it has been a very nice surprise to see how the team was performing this weekend. I ve had 16 or 17 wins in my career and I never won with more than a minute to the third guy. For sure, this is the easiest and probably the nicest victory so far.

Press Conference

Q: Fernando, tell us what this victory means today, your second successive here in Monaco?
FA: It means like all the victories, it means a lot, psychologically and also for the championship battle. To win a race and not to be able to score more points than your rivals – and I think enjoying driving here – is not easy and I did today, thanks to a fantastic car which was so nice to drive all through the race. I enjoyed today, and that s probably the best thing about today, even more than the victory.

Q: What about the start; obviously very crucial?
FA: Well, the start was not particularly special. I think the reaction time was not great and maybe I lost a little bit at the beginning of the start but I knew that there is a very short distance between the pits and the first corner, so I knew that it was nearly impossible to lose first position there, so I just covered myself into the first corner and from then on I tried to push a little bit and open up a gap.

Q: You mentioned losing a lot of time behind the backmarkers; was it better after that?
FA: Yeah, yeah, I think so. It was the most difficult part, especially in the key moments of the race because if this happened in the middle of the stint, you are able to open a gap after that problem, and approach the pit stop time, with a nice gap. But yeah, I had a nine or ten second lead on lap 17 and on lap 18 I had three seconds, so that was a little bit difficult, because I was so happy with the nine seconds, and a little bit worried with three.

Q: And then at the start of the last stint, you saw your lead disappear; how worried were you about that?
FA: No, nothing, no, nothing at all. I think after we stopped, we just cruised to the end, just bringing the cars safely home and there was nothing more to do. After pitting, Lewis and I kept the first two positions and I just slowed down. I tried to take care of the tyres, maybe we were just a little bit worried about the supersoft having some graining, so I took it very easy in the first four or five laps of that stint, just to take care of the tyres and I knew that even if a car behind you is 0.5s quicker, it will probably never overtake you here in Monaco.

Q: Can we suggest there wasn t really a fight for the lead, then, for the last 20 laps or so?
FA: Well, it s always a fight, because you are not able to make any mistakes, you cannot go wide in a corner, you cannot miss one of the chicanes, braking too late. It s always more the pushing from the guy behind if he s that close, but in a way, to have that battle in Monaco is a little bit easier for the first guy, because it s a little bit easier to maintain position.

Q: Lewis, you certainly caught him, but then did you just easy off, did you just decide that there was no point fighting for this?
LH: I caught him up and… it s extremely difficult to overtake here in Monaco and he was obviously close to me, and I was told to take it easy. There was no point in pressuring him into a mistake, and then when he did make a mistake, crash into him so it was best to finish one-two but to be honest, I pushed as I could to the end. I never give up, no matter what, and so I didn t really take too much notice and I kept going.

Q: How did you feel about your start?
LH: I thought my start was quite good. The key was to slot in behind Fernando obviously he starts on the better side of the grid which sort of sets him up for turn one. I wasn t going to do anything crazy. We re both leading the World Championship and we want to keep it like that but I think I had quite good pace for the first couple of laps and you just can t follow. It s been proved that, even up to four seconds behind someone you still lose downforce so considering I was that close to him for quite some time, it was good. But then I had quite a bit of graining with the front tyres and I couldn t get the car round the corners.

Q: And I guess you hoped that three lap difference between your first pits stops for you…
LH: Yeah, I was actually quite surprised because I was fuelled to do five laps, maybe six laps longer than Fernando and they stopped me with three laps, so there wasn t much time to pull out a gap or improve my time, I wasn t really given much time for it. I came in two or three laps after. That was unfortunate but that s the way it goes.

Q: Felipe, bit of a margin between McLaren and Ferrari today do you think it is down to the long wheel-base of the car?
FM: I don t know. I think it is difficult to say exactly what the difference was. The only thing you need to say is that they were much better today. So I think looking at the pace, third place was a great result starting third and finishing third and just having an intelligent race and thinking of the championship. It is very long and five points is still everything open so let us go to the next races and I am sure our car will be more competitive and let s make a fantastic race there, but I think today it was amazing to see what these guys were doing and after a while when I saw the difference, the gap, I just started to think about my car, the engine and everything for the next race.

Q: And no worries at all, apart from a moment at the swimming pool?
FM: No, I think the biggest problem today was the traffic. I was stuck many times behind other people and I think that Anthony Davidson took a drive-through (penalty) because of that. I was eight, or nine, laps behind him and I couldn t get close to pass him and he never let me by and also Trulli was very difficult today. Many of the seconds I lost to the McLaren guys today was because of that, but our car was slow today and so I am just happy to finish on the podium.

Q: But you are expecting to be as competitive in Barcelona again?
FM: Yes, sure. Last year, Renault and McLaren were very quick here and also in Canada and in Indy we were very strong, especially Indy, and also this time we are confident in our package for Canada and Indy so hopefully we can have a great car there and try the best to be in the front.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Rodrigo Franca Racing Magazine) For all three of you, in the 1980 s, it was famous that Nigel Mansell, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost were four guys who were friends and who were then chasing the title and they stopped being friends… The four of you, including Räikkönen, seem to be friends. Will it be the same when you are chasing the title?
FM: I think first of all, we have a good relationship, but it doesn t mean we are friends. The other very important thing is that we all have a best friend and it is not always a guy from Formula One, but from other things; maybe a guy who grew up with you or something like that. But I think the relationship is good and everybody respects one another and that is how it has to be. I mean, for sure, a couple of times we are going to have some issues, but that is normal in this sport. But the day after everything is fine, so….
FA: (only does a thumbs-up , does not speak; laughter)
LH: Same… Next question.

Q: (Mark Hughes Autosport) Lewis, at the first stops you stopped about three laps later and a second a half longer, when we expected you to run maybe five laps longer… Was there a problem at the first stop or were you called in early at the second?
LH: No, I really … I m looking forward to speaking to my engineers… I am pretty sure the reason they called me in earlier than I had fuel for is because of the Safety Car. If the Safety Car had come out they could really have changed the result so it was better to get the pit-stop done. Felipe had made his pit-stop so he was no trouble to me and I could have kept my position so they brought me in after three laps and I thought we were going to go shorter on the middle stint, but we didn t.

Q: (Mark Hughes Autosport) Does that suggest you were gambling on a Safety Car period?
LH: To be honest, I have no clue. I just did my race. And the team took care of it all.

Q: (Ian Parkes The Press Association) Lewis, it was noticeable that after the podium ceremony you handed your trophy to your brother Nick. Is there any significance in that? Did you dedicate it to him in any way?
LH: No, not really. My brother supports me in every race and it is good to have him there and he loves to be a part of it and I am proud to have him with me and it is great when he comes up and I can give him the trophy and make him feel important and just show him that he is.

Q: (Lionel Froissart РLib̩ration) Lewis, did you touch the rail two or three times in your last stint?
LH: Yes.

Q: (Lionel Froissart РLib̩ration) Where? Mirabeau?
LH: I hit a couple of barriers. I am not really sure which ones. I just tapped them.

Q: (Kevin Garside The Daily Telegraph) Lewis, for the first time this season you looked disappointed with second place today. It seems the pattern developing is that you are always heavier in the third qualifying session which gives the world champion, Fernando, the best shot at pole. Is this hampering you? Do you feel frustrated?
LH: At the end of the day, I am a rookie. I am in my first season in Formula One and I have finished second in only my first Monaco Grand Prix so I really can t complain, but to see that I am of a similar pace to Fernando is a positive for me. But it is something I have to live with. I ve got number two on my car. I am the number two driver.

Q: (Marco Evangelisti Corriere dello Sport) Felipe, during this weekend when did you realise that the McLarens were untouchable?
FM: Honestly, in the qualifying we were a little bit worried with their pace and in the practice we were not 100 per cent sure. We had already seen that this year sometimes they are quick in the test but in the race it is something else, especially in Barcelona, if you see were more competitive in the race and we were much quicker. So, and then, in the qualifying we saw the lap times and we were not 100 per cent sure and the only thing we thought was that maybe they didn t have a perfect lap in qualifying. In the race, it was clear for everybody…

Q: (Joe Saward Grand Prix Special) Fernando, did you hit any of the back-markers?
FA: No.

Q: (Juha Päätalo Financial Times Germany) Two questions, firstly for Felipe in Barcelona you were more than 30 seconds in front of these guys and here 69 seconds behind them. You must have some idea why?
FM: No, actually I don t have. We will see next race. Hopefully, it is something related just to this track which we don t know. For sure, we are quite happy with our car, it is competitive, but for this track it is not. So hopefully, it is just related to the layout of this track or something not related to the car. Even if you look at Renault, we were not so much quicker this time. Usually on other tracks they are much slower than us. So maybe it is related to our car at this track. But, we don t know. We need to go to another track and try to understand the problem exactly so it doesn t happen on a slow track, or something like that. Even in the last sector at Barcelona, we were slow and yet we were the quickest. At the end of the day, it is difficult to explain.

Q: (Juha Päätalo Financial Times Germany) What was the team s explanation for you pitting early?
LH: I just said I haven t spoken to my engineers, so I don t really know. I can only assume as we were all on a two stop strategy that if the Safety Car came out it really could have had a big effect and we wouldn t have ended up with the points we ended up with. It was important to get us in because anything could have happened and so it was the safe route.

Q: (Ralf Bach R & B) Fernando after your second victory for Mercedes, can you tell us how familiar are you with the new tyres and car? Can you say 70 or 80 per cent?
FA: I think related to the previous question I can clarify maybe the situation. I was two laps later than I should be in the first stint because I saved fuel in the first part of the race, in the formation laps and like that, they were telling me on the radio so maybe I was only three laps shorter than him….. And (compared to Renault) I am very happy and I am very confident with the car now. I think I am 90 per cent. For sure, I need to learn more about the car and the tyres, but this race was very important for me because I learned some good things about the tyres, how they behave all through the stint, and how to drive them all through the stint as well and every time I am in the car I am improving as well. I am quite happy but there is still more to come I hope.

Q: (Frédéric Ferret L Equipe) Fernando, did you have any worries during the race?
FA: It was quite a nice race and I had no worries all through the race, only approaching the second stop when around lap 50 or whatever it was, for sure, a Safety Car in that moment can be a drama because everybody can catch you and you have to stop once more and people there for one stop will overtake you. So from having 40 seconds lead from the third guy around lap 50 or 51 I was so happy to come in for the last set of tyres and to stay out and … the Safety Car was not any more a problem at that time.

Q: (Ian Parkes The Press Assocation) Lewis, you mentioned that there were team orders towards the end of the race, that you are the number two driver… Is this something that you find difficult to come to terms with?
LH: There weren t necessarily any team orders. They don t say that I had to stay behind Fernando… But the goal of the team is to score as many points as possible and we want to pull away from the Ferraris and the only way we can do that is to finish in first and second or ahead of them. It was easy for me to maybe push a bit harder and to touch the barrier and maybe to crash or push Fernando into a mistake, but that would have been a negative on the team. Coming into the season, I expect to be the number two driver. I am a rookie, it is my first season, but I am just pleased to be here and it is really is a great feeling for me to be sitting next to these drivers and still living my dream and to be on the podium in all five of my first Grands Prix … I hope to continue like that.

Q: (Rodrigo Franca Racing Magazine) Lewis, what did you learn from GP2 series and who do you see from your old GP2 rivals who could do a good job in Formula One?
LH: GP2 was a great category obviously and it helped boost my opportunity to get into Formula One and is a great stepping-stone for anyone s career. I haven t really had the opportunity to watch it as I am so busy during the weekends, but there are lots of drivers there without giving any names who did a great job and they all have the potential…
FM: Let s hear about Nelson Piquet… (laughter)

2007 Grand Prix de Monaco – Lap by Lap Report

Fernando Alonso lines up on pole for the second year in a row at the famous Monte Carlo circuit, with team-mate Hamilton alongside and the Ferrari of Felipe Massa behind.

Lap 1, Raikkonen makes up four places moving him into twelfth. Webber and Heidfeld touch but continue.

Lap 2 of 78, Liuzzi loses the car in Casino Square and retires. Marshalls recover under double waved yellows.

Lap 4, Alonso begins to drop Hamilton, who may be carrying more fuel, with Massa following 1.6 seconds behind.

Lap 7, Kimi Raikkonen chases down Button, attempting to snatch eleventh away from the Brit.

Lap 19, Webber makes an unscheduled stop and retires with engine misfire, and then gearbox failure. Hamilton sets fastest lap as Alonso battles with traffic.

Lap 20, Hamilton loses three seconds trying to pass traffic, Trulli the most difficult to pass. Despite this, Hamilton reduces gap from 8.5 seconds to 5.5 seconds as the pair of McLarens battle for the top spot.

Fisichella pits on lap 22 from fourth, Rosberg pits from fifth. Heidfeld gets ahead of Fisichella.

Lap 25, Alonso pits from the lead. Massa also pits and takes on super soft compound tyres.

Lap 29, Hamilton pits but rejoins some four seconds behind Alonso.

Lap 33, Raikkonen battles Heidfeld, who has already pitted. Kimi appears to be struggling on tyres at this stage of the race, he has yet to pit.

Lap 36, Davidson given stop go penalty for ignoring blue flags.

Lap 39, Coulthard reports possible front wing damage.

Lap 42, Button pits and rejoins in eleventh.

Lap 44, DC pits but mechanics don’t replace front wing.

Lap 48, Kovalainen told his Renault had a rear puncture, the reason for pitting earlier. Raikkonen pits.

Lap 50, Alonso pits and takes on super-soft tyres.

Lap 51, Hamilton pits and rejoins behind Alonso.

Lap 54, Massa pits and the mechanics have issues removing the front wheels. Meanwhile Sutil crashes where Liuzzi had his off earlier in the race.

Lap 58 and Hamilton closes in on Alonso.

Lap 60, Rosberg pits.

Lap 62, Jenson Button pits for his final stop, falling back to ninth. Raikkonen fastest driver on track as he catches Wurz.

4 laps to go and Albers retires.

Alonso takes victory, ahead of Hamilton, Massa, Fisichella, Kubica and Heidfeld. Raikkonen finishes eighth behind Wurz. DC finishes, only to stop on track on the slowing down lap.

Ferrari Optimistic Despite Raikkonen’s Poor Form

You could be forgiven for suggesting that the bad luck which hampered Kimi Raikkonen at McLaren has followed him to Ferrari. Following a torrid few weeks, culminating in retirement from the Spanish Grand Prix, Raikkonen is once again on the back foot following an accident in qualifying today.

During second qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, a race he won two years ago, the Finn retired to the pits with broken steering, leaving him a distant sixteenth for tomorrow s race.

“I was on my first run with soft tyres when, coming out of the Swimming Pool chicane, I hit the barrier with the left front wheel. At first it seemed that everything was alright, but when I got to Rascasse, the car would not make the turn.”

“I managed to get back to the pits and the mechanics tried to fix the car but we realised it could not be done in time. Here, the very slightest error costs you dear and it is a real shame because I think I could have fought for pole position.”

In a post qualifying interview with ITV, Stefano Domenicali, Sporting Director at Ferrari, described the uphill battle the team will face in getting the Finn to the front of the field tomorrow:

“It s a shame for him for sure…let us keep the concentration for the race. We ll need to think about the race for Kimi from that starting position, but Felipe did a great lap.”

Ferrari s Jean Todt shrugged off Raikkonen s incident, and also went on to praise Massa, whose shown to be as good, if not better than his higher paid team-mate during the first four races this season.

“As usual, qualifying was very close, made even more uncertain this time by the changing weather. On this unique track, starting from the front row is very important for the final result and for the first time this season, neither of our cars is there.”

“Kimi touched the barrier at the Swimming Pool and he had to pit with a damaged car and so was unable to take part in the final part of the session. He will start from sixteenth spot which will obviously make for a very complicated race. For his part, Felipe did a perfect final lap, to take third place. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts he was unable to get ahead of our closest rivals.”

“The outcome tomorrow will be decided by the usual factors – strategy, reliability, the start, team work and the efforts of the drivers, as well as the performance of the tyres. There will be a further variable, linked to the weather which can make things even more uncertain.”

Stewards Clarify Qualifying Positions

Following qualifying it appeared to the pit lane, international media and race audiences that the stewards had demoted David Coulthard to sixteenth position for blocking Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen during Q2. However, it has now been announced that the Scot will now start from thirteenth on the grid, demoting Kovalainen to fifteenth.

If you’re as confused as we are here as Forumula1.com, here are the current provisional qualifying positions for tomorrow’s race (we’ll let you know if they change again…)

1. ALONSO (Mclaren)
2. HAMILTON (McLaren)
3. MASSA (Ferrari)
4. FISICHELLA (Renault)
5. ROSBERG (Williams)
6. WEBBER (Red Bull)
7. HEIDFELD (BMW)
8. KUBICA (BMW)
9. BARRICHELLO (Honda)
10. BUTTON (Honda)
11. WURZ (Williams)
12. LIUZZI (Toro Rosso)
13. COULTHARD (Red Bull)
14. TRULLI (Toyota)
15. KOVALAINEN (Renault)
16. RAIKKONEN (Ferrari)
17. DAVIDSON (Super Aguri)
18. SPEED (Toro Rosso)
19. SUTIL (Spyker)
20. SCHUMACHER (Toyota)
21. SATO (Super Aguri)
22. ALBERS (Spyker)

Monaco Grand Prix – Post Qualifying Press Conference

Drivers in Attendance:

1. Fernando ALONSO (McLaren Mercedes), 1m15.726s
2. Lewis HAMILTON (McLaren Mercedes), 1m15.905s
3. Felipe MASSA (Ferrari), 1m15.967s

Unilaterals:

Q: Fernando, it looked as though that qualifying session had everything: traffic, threat of rain, the combination of fuel load, new tyres etc. A brilliant pole for you.
Fernando ALONSO: Yeah, I m very very happy. It was a very important pole position and, as you said, we had a little bit of everything going on in qualifying. We were expecting rain, it came but very light and it stayed only one lap. The track was a little bit slower but then it picked up again to normal speed. We had traffic, as usual in Monaco. You can t expect to avoid the traffic and I think it was very stressful for everybody with these so-so weather conditions.

Q: It looked as if you caught Nico Rosberg right at the end of your lap. Do you feel you lost time because of that?
FA: Yes, absolutely. I think Nico was unlucky because when he left the pits, he did a very good out lap and he crossed the line with one second to go, but it was not enough not to hold me up a little in the last three or four corners. But I think Monaco is so special that it s difficult to have a clear lap.

Q: You were fastest in Q2, set fastest lap of the qualifying session as well. Your thoughts about the race and the speed of the McLaren Mercedes around here? It s always been a great circuit for the McLaren team.
FA: Yeah, it is. I think the whole weekend has been quite good for us. Even this morning, in wet conditions, the car seemed to be competitive, and we are at the top always, and yeah, I think qualifying has been very good and to be on pole position here in Monaco, as last year as well, is very very important, as we know on this circuit. And to have the first pole position this year for McLaren Mercedes is also special, so I m really happy. I hope I will enjoy it all day today.

Q: Lewis, as we say, a clean sweep for the McLaren Mercedes team. It looked as if you were held up by Mark Webber going through the tunnel.
Lewis HAMILTON: Yeah, I had a fantastic qualifying, I think. It was quite exciting, and then it started to rain in the middle part of the session. I think I was P1 at the time and I was hoping it would continue to rain, but unfortunately it didn t. It was a bit of a gamble, a bit of a lottery really. I called in and said let s come into the pits on this lap just in case it rains towards the end. The lap was fantastic, it was really on the limit. I think I touched one of the barriers on the exit of turn four and I was three tenths up on my previous best, and then I got held up by Webber. He was on an out lap. I don t know whether he saw me or what but he didn t let me past until turn eight, so I lost half a second behind him. I still managed to pull it back. I was only a tenth off my previous lap but still the tyres were gone and that was that.

Q: Lewis, you ve won three times here before, twice in Formula Three, once in GP2. It just looks as if you love driving a Formula One car around here.
LH: I do, I do. It s an awesome track, it s my favourite and just knowing that you re brushing the barriers all the time, that there s no room for error. It s extremely quick, you wouldn t believe how quick we re going round here, 180 miles an hour between… there s not really much room there. And to me, for my first Grand Prix, I m really happy to be second. It s good for the team and I think Fernando did a great job, but I think tomorrow is going to be interesting.

Q: Felipe, P3 for you and an interesting moment in Q2 when your team-mate Kimi Räikkönen seemed to stop in a familiar place for Ferrari, and you almost hit him, for the outside, anyway.
Felipe MASSA: Yeah. I just saw the yellow flags but I didn t expect somebody to be stopped in the middle of the track, and so it was a little bit of a moment. I just managed to pass by without touching. Apart from that, the qualifying was not so bad, so looking at the pace of McLaren in practice, in the sessions, in Q1, Q2, I think in the end I managed to do a good lap. The race in Monaco is always special, there are always some surprises, so hopefully we can have a good race tomorrow, try to score as many points as possible and hopefully be on the podium.

Q: What were the conditions like from your point of view in terms of potential rain, any rain drops falling, and indeed, the traffic?
FM: Well, the conditions today were pretty difficult. Tomorrow we have the possibility of having some showers, maybe even in the race, so if we have that, it will really be a big lottery and it will be a little bit of a funny race but hopefully we stop in the pits to change tyres at the right moment, to do everything in the right way. The race is pretty long as well, so concentration will be very important. Hopefully we can put everything together tomorrow.

Q: Returning to Fernando, your final thoughts on tomorrow, particularly as McLaren is the most successful team ever around Monaco. I guess it s going to be interesting from your point of view to see when Ferrari stop for fuel.
FA: I think it s always very special to be on pole in Monaco, but also to be as long as you can in terms of fuel loads, so you need to find a compromise and we will see tomorrow how our competitors found the perfect strategy and hopefully our strategy will be better. But you never know. I think with very interesting weather conditions as well, it s a very unexpected race probably.

PRESS CONFERENCE

Q: When you look back to last year, on pole then, and victory followed the day after; you must already be a little optimistic.
FA: I think we need to wait. I think this year is a little more special, regarding the weather conditions which are not 100 percent sure, either wet or dry, so I think it could be a very difficult race, and a little bit like a lottery for everybody. So I think even starting from pole position, we have to be calm in tomorrow s race and wait and see, because the race will be very long. I also think that the cars are a little bit more difficult to drive this year with these tyres, especially under braking. We saw a lot of people going off on Thursday and the level of concentration will also be extremely high. The race is so long that even pole position will probably mean nothing.

Q: Are you expecting rain tomorrow?
FA: I don t know. The team said four different things in one hour, so I think everybody is so confused, the weather is changing so quickly, so I think until tomorrow at one o clock we will not have a perfect prediction.

Q: What was it like in the wet conditions this morning?
FA: It was very very difficult. I think all the white lines are very very slippery. There is no possibility to avoid them because they are all around the lap. Also the kerbs are very slippery as well, as normal, and here it s quite tight, the circuit is very narrow, so if you cannot touch the white lines, and you cannot touch the kerbs, there s not much space to put the car. I think it was difficult for everybody.

Q: I hope pole position means something…
FA: It means something but 78 laps tomorrow, we cannot forget the points are Sunday afternoon, not Saturday.

Q: Lewis, very interesting time on your very first lap when in theory you ve got a race fuel load which was only 0.2s slower than your fastest time in the first session. Does that tell us about your fuel strategy?
LH: I don t think so. You can take what you want from it, but it definitely doesn t mean anything about my fuel load. I think we were just extremely quick and I felt great in the car. I thought it was almost exactly the same time as I did at the end, I thought I did 1m15.9s on heavy fuel. I think that s what I qualified second with. It was good, a good lap, but at the end… it was a really exciting qualifying session. I think we did a very good job. I thought the team was quite accurate with the weather conditions; they said it was going to rain when it rained, and mid-part of the last run, it started to spit. I was on a good lap and I was fortunate to finish it but then we couldn t push for the rest of the laps. We came in, got the tyres on, and started the lap and it was good. I was three and a half tenths up by turn four and then I caught Mark Webber and I lost half a second behind him but still managed to do exactly the same time. I m really happy with it, it s good for the team and I think it will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow.

Q: You seemed to have a drama at the hairpin – Portier; was that Webber-induced?
LH: Yeah, well I caught him through turn four and I don t know whether he didn t see me or what. In the drivers briefing, he was saying they need to be hard on us for holding people up and he came out and held me up. But I think it was the same for everyone. It doesn t really affect me, I still got second. That s good.

Q: Felipe, disappointed or pleased with third?
FM: Pleased because I did a good lap, so I think it was a good position, looking at McLaren s pace. I think it was a good lap, I tried the best I could, so I think starting third is not a bad result, looking that the race here in Monaco is always very special. I think I m definitely not disappointed. I m confident, looking forward to the race tomorrow, and trying to finish the race with as many points as I can, looking at the championship.

Q: Were you held up by traffic at all? You were having a word with Kubica at the end.
FM: I don t think it was me. I had traffic, but only on my first run, which was Lewis but then when I did my best lap, I didn t have any traffic, so it was a very clean lap, so it was pretty OK, no particular problem.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Sal Zanca Associated Press) Fernando, what kind of race would you like a dry, sunny and straightforward one or a tricky one with a chance to show how good you are?
FA: I would prefer a sunny race and a completely dry race. It is already special and a lottery at Monaco always, especially this year with the new Safety Car rule that can be a drama tomorrow for everybody, so I think starting from that problem even if you had a wet track, it would be a very difficult race and starting from pole a normal race is better for me and would mean more points for sure.

Q: (Rodrigo Franca Racing Magazine) You three said Monaco is special because of everything. Ayrton Senna was remembered just yesterday and I would like you all to say something about him…
FA: I say always the same because for me in Spain it was not possible for me to watch Formula One because it was not on television when I was a kid, but some of the news that was coming to Spain after the Formula One races (made it possible that) I was able to see Senna winning races because it was 88 and 89 the good years of Senna and McLaren. I always remember that white and red car and the yellow helmet of him. He was my favourite driver even if I did not see him on TV because he was in the news.
LH: Ayrton was my favourite driver and when I first started watching Formula One it was the red and white car at the front and as a little boy I was always dreaming of driving that car and I am driving it now and, so, you know, when you come to Monaco… I have lots of memories of watching him win here and when he lost a race when he crashed and I was definitely emotional when he passed away, but still … it is great to be racing here and to be doing as well as he always did when he was racing.
FM: I was a big fan of his and all of us. He was particular here in this race he was a kind of king of Monaco and it would be nice to have him here just for five minutes to ask him what he was doing here just to help me a little bit!

Q: (Juha Päätalo Financial Times Germany) Felipe, was there any way you could have got pole position, maybe with some strategies, or were McLaren just too fast?
FM: I don t know. The strategy we will know tomorrow. So after the race maybe I will tell you if it was possible to use a different strategy to take pole position. But in the end maybe the pole position is not everything and the race is the most important thing. We have a reasonable good strategy we will know that tomorrow and I think I did a good lap as well, but I think pole position today was a bit difficult.

Q: (Livio Oricchio O Estado de Sao Paulo) For Alonso and Lewis, you are first and second on the grid and in the championship. All the drivers this year who led through the first corner went on to win the race. Will you talk to each other about the start?
FA: The team will say to us something I think. We respect each other obviously and want the best for the other one, inside the team, and we want to beat our opponent that this year seems to be Ferrari and starting first and second at Monaco what we aim is to finish first and second because it is the most points and apart from that I don t think there are any problems between us and it should be just a normal race.
LH: I agree. The team will speak to us before, but we are professional. We respect each other and we are team-mates and we want to do a good job for the team, but we also want to win and we will go into that first corner probably not as aggressively as we would if we were going into it with a Ferrari. But we are going to be conservative and see what happens. We are on different fuel strategies, similar pace. So we ll have to see how it goes. It is going to be difficult tomorrow with the conditions and also you never know when the pace car is going to come out. We ll see.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi La Gazzetta dello Sport) Felipe, did you feel extra pressure as the only Ferrari driver fighting for pole?
FM: No, usually, we drive alone. We don t drive with two drivers. We have our own cars and we drive alone. So it didn t mean anything to me.

Q: (Frédéric Ferret L Equipe) Lewis and Fernando, how is the pace of the McLaren in the long runs?
LH: I think we have seen in the past the Ferraris have been extremely very quick, but I think if you look at it we have been the quickest this weekend. I think we have a great car, the best car, and I think on Thursday we had a very good long run, very consistent, so I have no worries going into the race.
FA: Same.

Q: (Stéphane Barbé L Equipe) Fernando, at the end of the day, are you able or not to know the fuel strategy of your opponent?
FA: Not really. We try to analyse the whole weekend all the times of everybody and estimate what fuel load they can run. But it is not so easy and not so precise. Especially here in Monaco you can go up and down two-tenths very easily with a kerb you touch in a bad way. So this weekend our estimation will not be very important. We just need to do our (own) race and hope it will be better than the others.

Q: (Andrea Cremonesi La Gazzetta dello Sport) Kimi had a bad day. Do you think this will have an affect in the championship?
FA: Well, there are 17 races and we saw, unfortunately, in the last two years, that after having a big gap in the middle of the season, it can disappear in the end. If you do a good last part of the championship, you can win, as Michael did last year he was 25 points behind me after Canada and then equal in Japan after six or seven races. So I think even if you lose points now, it is not over. You can do a good recovery in the last part. But it is so tight and close between Ferrari and McLaren this year that any mechanical problem that you have with your car is costing you a lot of points unfortunately.
LH: Sorry, I was in a daze there… I didn t know if that question was for me! I think it was unfortunate but I don t really know what happened to him. I thought he spun and I got held up by Felipe. He had to stop and I had to stop on one lap, but I think it is difficult for him at the moment. Obviously, Felipe is doing a better job and whether he is being more fortunate or what I am not sure. But he is doing a good job. As Fernando said it is a long season and there is a long way to go so he has time to catch up if he needs to.
FM: I agree with what Fernando said. He said everything. The only thing is that he had a bad qualifying, but if it is raining maybe he can have a good race tomorrow even starting from the back. You never know. The races here can be very different. But it is also true that there are many races to go. It is important also to be consistent, every race, but there is nothing finished yet. You can recover. Maybe one of us can have a bad day tomorrow. I had already my bad day in qualifying at the first race.

Q: (Ian Parkes The Press Association) Lewis, are you happy to curb your natural instincts at the start of the race tomorrow?
LH: Yes, I think you have to run on your natural instincts and see how the start goes. If I get a better start and it looks like I can pass, then I probably will, but I won t do anything silly to risk pushing both of us out of the race. It is a long, long race and I think I feel good about our strategies and I feel we can come away with a one-two. So, it is important we are sensible.

Q: (Malcolm Folley The Mail on Sunday) Lewis, have you had a chance to put into perspective what starting the Monaco Grand Prix from the front row of the grid will feel like?
LH: I think it is going to be, well…Driving this track, every year, is just something special for me. To come here and to drive for a team I always wanted to drive for in my first Grand Prix here, it s a very, very special moment for me. Tomorrow, we just want to finish the race in the points, continue the way we have been going this season. It will be amazing to be sitting at the front there.

David Coulthard Demoted

F1 veteran David Coulthard will start 13th on the grid following a penalty by the race stewards that deemed the Scot “blocked” the onrushing Renault of Heikki Kovalainen.

Coulthard had qualified his Red Bull in tenth, putting him into Q3, but his times were promptly deleted. As a result, Jenson Button was awarded to take part in the Pole Position Shootout, the first time the Briton made it through this season along with his team-mate.

The Red Bull driver felt the lack of communication between himself and team led to his demise.

“I communicate with the team so I know what’s going on with the traffic and apparently there was a misunderstanding and I didn’t get the correct info. But what’s quite clear is that I wasn’t trying to screw his lap, I understand the system around here, it was just a lack of communication.”

His team-mate, Mark Webber, put the Red Bull into an impressive 6th spot and a rueful Coulthard was left wondering what could have been.

“It’s obviously very disappointing because I was progressing well through each of those sessions and was very confident I could get the maximum out of the car.”

Kovalainen was unable to produce a hot lap after the incident and will take his place in 15th alongside the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen on row eight.

Monaco Grand Prix – Qualifying

Qualifying for the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix began on a slightly damp track, following a short shower before the start of an awe-inspiring session. In a session with so many parallels with last year, Fernando Alonso took pole position as his nemesis parked his Ferrari at La Rascasse.

After battling his rookie team-mate throughout all three sessions, the two times World Champion beat Lewis Hamilton by just one tenth of second to secure pole on a 1:15.726 the first time this season a Ferrari hasn t been on pole. Felipe Massa put in another impressive performance in his Ferrari, and during the dieing moments of qualifying, he set a time that moved him from seventh to third on the timesheets.

As his Brazilian team-mate crossed the line to end the session, Kimi Raikkonen was making his way to his new two-hundred foot yacht. The Finn broke his steering on his right-front wheel as he travelled over curbs exiting the Swimming Pool, but the damage may have initially been caused as he ran wide in Tabac. Despite a slight pause in La Rascasse, reminiscent of Michael Schumacher s controversial incident last year which cost the German pole, Raikkonen returned to the pits, once again showing his uncanny ability to return even the most heavily damaged car back to his mechanics. Unfortuntely, the damage was too severe to fix in the remaining eight minutes of Q2 and he finished fifteenth on the timing sheets.

Giancarlo Fisichella, a veteran around Monte Carlo, impressed with a fourth position for tomorrow s race. Meanwhile, the sister R27 driven by Heikki Kovalainen struggled for most of the second session, only for David Coulthard to block him as he attempted to set a time to fall into the third and final session. David Coulthard was quickly punished by the stewards and told he wouldn t compete in Q3, he will now start from sixteenth tomorrow, two places behind Kovalainen.

With Coulthard in the dock, Button was promoted from eleventh, meaning that for the first time this season, Honda had both cars running in all three sessions. Rubens will start ninth ahead of Jenson, in tenth.

BMW Sauber finished a disappointing qualifying with Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica lining up seventh and eighth. Rosberg continued his 2007 form, putting his Williams on fifth ahead of Mark Webber. Team-mate Wurz starts 11th ahead of Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Ralf Schumacher continued his dismal season finishing twentieth, as Trulli put his Toyota in thirteenth. Both Super Aguris failed to progress beyond the first session, Anthony Davidson starting seventeenth, four places ahead of Takuma Sato.

Despite topping the timesheets in third practice, Adrian Sutil starts from nineteenth tomorrow, behind Scott Speed. Meanwhile his team-mate Christijan Albers failed to set a time in his Spyker due to a hydraulic failure which leaves him twenty-second and last.

McLaren will be hoping they can keep Massa honest during the opening stages tomorrow. With thirteen wins, the Woking based team have won more Grand Prix around Monaco than any other.

Monaco Grand Prix: Third Practice Session

After a week of media attention surrounding his chances this weekend, Adrian Sutil topped the timesheets ahead of Saturday’s Qualifying session for the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix.

During today s rain affected third practice session, Sutil beat the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen to set the fastest time of the session, a first for a Spyker driver. In the dieing moments, on the drying Monte Carlo circuit, he edged out the Finnish driver by 0.127 seconds, setting a time of 1:36.612.

The 2007 phenomenon, Lewis Hamilton, came third for McLaren with Giancarlo Fisichella, Scott Speed and team-mate Fernando Alonso completing the top six. Sutil s team-mate, Christijan Albers, finished nineteenth after a brief off track excursion at the Grand Hotel hairpin.

It was almost halfway through the session before most drivers took to the track. Almost all teams predicted the downpour some ten-minutes into the session, turning the already damp track into a no go area.

Toyota, as ever, were among the first runners to take to the track, tiptoeing around until a dry line formed. Ralf Schumacher struggled alongside his team-mate, and despite being slower than the Italian, still managed to slide down the escape road at Sainte Devote and Mirabeau.

Other drivers fell victim to the arduous track conditions and slid off at the same corner, including the McLarens of Hamilton and Alonso, and the Red Bull of Mark Webber. Alex Wurz spun his Williams but managed to continue.