Neither LRGP cars were able to seek the pace necessary to secure spots in Q3 today, despite improving their times since Thursday’s practice sessions.
Vitaly finished in P11 with a time of 1min 15.815secs, missing out on a place in Q3 after finding himself more than three-tenths of Sergio Perez in 10th.
Nick, meanwhile posted a best time of 1min 16.124secs, leaving him in P16 on tomorrow’s grid.
Leading up to this race, there were a lot of people saying we might just pull off something quite special here in Monaco.
Historically, Enstone teams have hit top form in Monaco (although history doesn’t always repeat itself). And with a disappointing pace shown on Thursday, we were hopeful our form would improve today as it has done so often this season come P3 and qualifying.
Given this, there was real reason for optimism that things might come good just at the right time. Unfortunately that did not happen; we struggled (as we did on Thursday) when using the supersoft tyres, seeing little marked improvement in lap time. Q3 did not beckon for either Vitaly or Nick today, as we had hoped heading into this weekend, however that should not be reason for despair. We know that we can start well – we saw that in Malaysia. And there will be even more emphasis on the importance of this tomorrow because if we don’t, then it will be a real battle to achieve the points the team wants.
As we know, anything can happen here in Monaco over 78 laps. And we are not just saying that as a reason for false optimism, not at all. There is a real possibility for mistakes here, cars scraping into the sides of the tight turns can lose time and that is when the passing opportunities (which are few and far between normally) will present themselves.
In 11th, Vitaly is the first car on the grid not having to use the tyres he qualified with. Looming just outside the top 10, the Vyborg rocket will be very much ready to pounce. In 16th, Nick’s tenacity may just prove more fruitful than we imagine. Though much of our success tomorrow may be out of our hands, points are still very much up for grabs. And if we do score some points, we might just prove people right.
Vitaly Petrov, R31-03
Qualifying: P11, 1.15.815, 21 laps
Nick Heidfeld, R31-04
Qualifying: P16, 1.16.124, 22 laps
Source: Lotus Renault