Qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix started in light rain and ended with a dry track for which all drivers changed to dry tyres. Sauber F1 Team driver Nico Hülkenberg missed Q3 by six tenths of a second and finished 11th, while Esteban Gutiérrez could not find grip on the intermediate tyres and will start from 19th tomorrow.
It was a challenging qualifying. Q3 would have been possible as I was six tenths away. But we changed too late onto the super softs and only had one timed lap, which was a missed opportunity. However in changing conditions like those here in Monaco we can be happy we managed to stay out of trouble. P11 is just outside the top ten, so we can choose our strategy for tomorrow accordingly, which is quite good. I simply have to get the most out of the start, gain one or two spots, and stay out of trouble in the first corner. Then one of the most challenging races lies ahead, but I am looking forward to it, because Monaco has it’s own rules and, in the end, this is why we love it so much here.
It was a disappointing qualifying because we didn’t look in bad shape and just our pace on the intermediate tyres wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t able to find more time, I put the lap together and just couldn’t find the grip. It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow, considering that it is really hard to overtake here in Monaco. But we will try our best and hopefully a good strategy will help us to get through the traffic.
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal
We had tricky conditions during qualifying. Esteban left the racing line a few times, which certainly left him with less confidence and hence a result like this. Nico drove a good qualifying, but the timing of the change to super softs was unlucky. Nevertheless, it was difficult to estimate when to change tyres. We will fully focus on the race now, which might hold some opportunities.
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
The conditions were difficult throughout the session. Esteban struggled with a lack of grip in Q1 and front locking. We need to investigate the cause for that. For Nico, Q3 was possible. If we had switched to the dry tyres one lap earlier, we would have made it a lot easier for him. But starting from P11 there is still a good chance for points, and we will do the best with our strategy to achieve that tomorrow.