Blue skies and high temperatures greeted both spectators and drivers this afternoon as Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia took to the track to complete their one-lap Thursday qualifying on the street circuit in the Principality of Monaco. After a...
Blue skies and high temperatures greeted both spectators and drivers this afternoon as Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia took to the track to complete their one-lap Thursday qualifying on the street circuit in the Principality of Monaco.
After a successful morning test session and free-practice that saw both drivers work through their planned programme, Mark and Antonio finished the afternoon qualifying session 9th and 15th respectively, despite being affected by oil left on the track by the Sauber Petronas of Heinz Harold-Frentzen that resulted in the qualifying session being stopped for twenty-five minutes.
The team have dropped three and a half seconds from their 2002 official FIA time on this circuit, a clear improvement and a sign of the huge steps forward that have been taken in recent months by the Premier Performance Division.
Dr Mark Gillan - Head of Vehicle Performance:
"A very pleasing morning for the team as both drivers completed their planned programme and worked on qualifying set- up with some good results. Mark posted the fastest lap time in this morning's free practice and it highlights the potential of the R4 around this difficult and challenging circuit."
"Antonio had a slight incident when he clipped a guardrail but fortunately this only resulted in a damaged rim. Both cars and drivers were in good shape for the afternoon qualifying session and Michelin had provided a good and competitive compound. Frustratingly however, the session was stopped just before Marks' lap when oil was sprayed over certain areas of the circuit. Mark's lap time was affected as a result of the debris still on the track, but despite this he still posted a good time in 9th position."
"Antonio lost a small amount of time on the first corner and after that it was difficult to make a comeback. Overall we are pleased with how the programme is going so far and after all, it is Saturday that we are concentrating on and with that in mind we will be working hard this evening to ensure that we extract the best from our package in the short one-lap window that we have."
"The day started well this morning and I was able to complete a good programme with the team. We worked on rear mechanical set-up and of course qualifying set-up. At one stage during testing I did run wide but I took the precaution of going straight on and actually stalled the engine. The tyres are in good shape and I am pleased that we posted the fastest time this morning, particularly because I ended up having a slightly more challenging one-lap qualifying this afternoon that only placed me 9th."
"The team did a great job on the car and we had some favourable conditions, but as always with this one-lap qualifying anything can happen and unfortunately as a result of oil on the track my lap time suffered. It is impossible to say where I would have been had there been no oil, but either way, it is Saturday that we are now concentrating on and we are looking forward to another good day on track".
"Slightly disappointed with 15th but the circuit was somewhat slippery, particularly just before the swimming pool corner. I had achieved a lap that was one second faster this morning so I know that the car is capable of more. My morning session however was good and we did what we had planned, despite me getting slightly too close to one of the guardrails at one point. Fortunately there was only marginal damage to the rim and we continued without problems. I am however, encouraged by the pace of the R4 on the track and I am looking forward to getting back on track on Saturday."
Best time: 1:17.637
Best time: 1:18.967