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FORMULA 1

WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING GRAND PRIX DE MONACO PREVIEW

The jewel in Formula One’s crown. Winning the Monaco Grand Prix earns a driver respect like no other. At little over two miles, the shortest lap on the calendar is also one of the most challenging. To drive on the absolute limit for two hours, persisting with lines not more than inches from the barriers without conceding a single mistake, is a task former Williams driver Nelson Piquet once compared to trying to race a bicycle around your living room. It’s not by chance that some of the sport’s greatest names, such as Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher were masters of the principality.
For Monaco, Pirelli has made available the ultrasoft, supersoft and soft tyres.
Paddy Lowe: Monaco is the most incredible circuit and one of the highlights of the Formula One calendar. As a race track it is technically very demanding. It is twisty in places and yet surprisingly quick in others, so the car needs to have excellent mechanical qualities whilst also requiring strong aerodynamic performance.
The barriers run very close at every point around the track, so there is no room for error and no time for the drivers to rest. There is no such thing as a straight in Monaco! Just a short curve to St. Devote (Turn One) and a long curve through the tunnel. With modern F1 cars, which require a high degree of interaction for configuration of electronic settings on top of the busy workload of this circuit, it presents a real test to the driver. This is particularly challenging in racing conditions when you overlay the demands of strategy and potentially changeable weather conditions.
To win the Monaco Grand Prix is therefore a feat of incredible skill and competence, and is rarely achieved without a lot of experience. So, we go to Monaco with Felipe and Lance who are at opposite ends of that experience level. Lance at the age of only 18 faces the unique challenge of taking an F1 car to the streets of Monte Carlo for the first time and Felipe for the fifteenth time. We look forward to an exciting weekend and the best possible results for the team.
Felipe Massa: It will be the first time we go to Monaco with wider cars. So we will need to adapt to the new size for the extremely tight track. It will be challenging, for sure, but it always is in Monaco. It’s going to be an interesting race. It’s a race where anything can happen. Qualifying can be more important than the race, as the position where you start often decides where you will finish, so it’s important to have a good Saturday. Monaco is also like my second home Grand Prix, so I’m really looking forward to it!
Lance Stroll: It goes without saying that I am looking forward to my first Monaco race. It is going to be a special weekend on and off track, as I have some friends coming to see me race there. I have seen the race a couple of times and know the track from video games. I always go on the simulator a few days before leaving for the race so it is fresh in my mind, and then a track walk with my engineers is where I can pick up on the little things. Without doubt it’s going to be tricky. However, this is always the case with street circuits, especially for your first race, but I am going to enjoy the challenge. With the barriers so close there is less room for error, so it is important to build up to quick laps and then really push when it matters.

FORMULA RENAULT

ALEX PERONI TAKES HIS FIRST VICTORY IN THE FORMULA RENAULT EUROCUP

Alex Peroni (Fortec Motorsports) brought R-ace GP’s 2017 invincibility to an end. After obtaining his first pole position this morning, the Australian scored his maiden victory in the Formula Renault Eurocup on the streets of Pau ahead of Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP), who now leads in the general classification. Renault Sport Academy driver Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing) took his fourth success in the rookie category this season.

Alex Peroni (Fortec Motorsports): “It is a very physical circuit and Sacha pushed me to the limit. I chose the centre of the track for the start, but I locked up the wheels at turn one. Sacha got alongside me and it was a drag race for the lead before the yellow line ahead of Pont Oscar. It was tight, but I managed to keep the lead. I then had to maintain the pace to win the race. It is a special feeling. We know now that we can win. This will give us additional confidence heading to Monaco next week.”

Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “Finally back on the podium! I didn’t get a very good start. I had a lot of wheel spin, but Alex locked up his wheels and went a little wide at turn one. I dove to the inside to get alongside. We were so close to each other that I went on the sidewalk, but I didn’t find an opening before the yellow line. It was still a good race. Thanks to the traffic, I could close the gap and apply pressure, but there were no overtaking possibilities. Last year, I had a great race in Monaco. We have to keep working to get the first win of the season and catch up to the leaders!”
Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP):

I got a good start to protect third place from Will Palmer. I was sliding a lot early in the race and the two leaders pulled away from me. Overall, the race was somewhat monotone and straightforward, but this podium brings a lot of points for the championship. I am thrilled to now be leading the general classification before heading to Monaco. The goal will be the same as it was at Pau; get the best result possible in qualifying before getting a good start. I am full of confidence and hope to be able to battle for the win.”

Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing): “At the start, I was able to pull even with Will Palmer and stayed there for the first two corners. After that, I was positioned behind him at Pont Oscar and stayed there for the rest of the race. Max Defourny was pressuring me, but I wasn’t too worried, because it is so hard to pass at Pau. This weekend, I think the pace was good considering my amount of experience, but we must continue to make progress to get out first podium at Monaco. I’m really looking forward to it!”

FORMULA E

RENAULT E.DAMS WIN THE PARIS E PRIX

Renault e.dams win the Paris ePrix Earlier this morning, in cold temperatures, Seb Buemi topped the timesheets for Free Practice 1 with a fastest laptime of 1:01.998s. The Swiss driver was drawn in the first qualifying group and for the second consecutive time, he grabbed pole position. His pole lap was six thousands faster than his rival Jean-Eric Vergne. Nico Prost took his spot in the second qualifying group and qualified ninth on the grid after Oliver Turvey’s penalty.

When the lights went out, both drivers machines survived intact after a tight first corner. After a few laps, Séb Buemi managed to build a margin back to Vergne. Antonio Felix Da Costa and Lucas Di Grassi were involved in a close battle for P14 until the Portuguese driver hit the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport driver from behind which caused a full course yellow, which saw most drivers seize the opportunity to do their mandatory car swap.

Séb Buemi remained calm and managed to maintain his lead ahead of Vergne and José Maria Lopez. On lap 34, a mistake from the Frenchman saw him in the wall which brought out a safety car. At the restart and with twelve laps to go, Séb Buemi put his foot down and Lopez was unable to catch him. There was a second and final safety car period as Di Grassi pushed a bit too hard which resulted in his car ending up in the wall at Turn 8. In the final stages, the race finished under the safety car and saw Séb Buemi triumph for the fifth time from six races. Nico Prost crossed the line in sixth position. Subsequently, Robin Frijns got a five second penalty because he was found to have been speeding under the full course yellow, this promoted Nico Prost to fifth.

Renault e.dams leaves their home round remaining on top in the Teams’ championship with 190 points after another dominant race weekend, while Séb Buemi leads the Drivers’ championship on 132 points with Nico Prost holding onto third with 58 points.

Séb Buemi – n°9: To be honest, I was never expecting to be competitive here. Well, certainly not what I achieved today. So to be able to grab pole position and a win, is amazing. At the start of today, I knew if I took pole, I could do a good race. During the race, I had Jean-Eric under control even though he was pushing really hard. After the car swap, I knew I had to keep pushing and then he crashed. I thought I had a nine second advantage over José but then the safety car came out. I would really like to thank my team because they’ve done an amazing job: both engineers and mechanics. They all worked very hard. Everything worked out perfectly so they deserve this win more than me.

Nico Prost – n°8: It was a solid race, I made no mistakes. I overtook the cars I could due to our good strategy. We scored big points in both championships so that’s good for personally and for the team. I just need to work a bit more on my qualifying because I think we can still improve. If we qualify higher, I think we could do a lot better than what we have managed since the start of the season. But I am happy with the result today. It’s also great for our fans.

Alain Prost – co-owner of Renault e.dams: Today for us, is a double victory and it’s more than symbolic. We are very happy to have won the ePrix in front of our fans. All of our partners were here, in particular Renault who has supported us since the start of the championship. We have also built a gap in both the teams and drivers championships which was one of our goals. We are really satisfied with today and we will enjoy this victory. After taking victory in Monaco, to win in Paris was one of our targets which we have achieved in some style.

F1Weekly podcast # 727

NASIR TRIES TO CONVINCE CLARK THE SPANISH GRAND PRIX WAS EXCITING! THE HOST IS MORE CONCERNED WITH FERNANDO AND THE INDY 500. WE HAVE A BRIEF MOTORSPORTS MONDIAL.  AND THIS WEEKS INTERVIEW…ORIGINAL F1W LISTENER AND NOW MOTORSPORTS JOURNALIST CHRISTOPHER DEHARDE! AND WE TOP IT OFF WITH TECH TALK WITH TIM!!!

HERE IS FERNANDO COMMENTING ON HIS THIRD DAY OF INDY PRACTICE…”I was (running) behind a car just a couple of seconds in front, but we (tried some laps) without any car in front. We tested a couple of different trims and different setup options. The car felt quite OK from the very beginning of the morning, but then I think we did improve it during the day, so I’m quite happy. We worked still a lot on the race situation, keeping other guys out there and running in traffic. I think we found a good balance for traffic. I think tomorrow we will concentrate a little bit more alone on qualifying, but the priority is the race.”

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WRC

CITROËN DRIVERS FEELING CONFIDENT AFTER SHAKEDOWN

The Rally de Portugal shakedown was held this morning close to Baltar, around fifty kilometres from Porto. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were the Citroën Total Abu Dhabi WRT’s best performers, setting the fourth fastest time.

– Made up of a succession of crossroads, a wide section and finishing on the large corners of a gravel circuit, the Rally de Portugal shakedown was varied… without particularly reflecting the characteristics of the event itself.

– After completing their three mandatory runs, Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle headed back to the Matosinhos service park to alter the set-up of their C3 WRC. They headed out for another two runs and finished with the fourth fastest time, 3/10ths off the lead pace.

– Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau completed two series of two passes on the 4.6km-long stage. On their final run, they were on course to set a top-ten time when they stalled on a hairpin. In the end, the French crew set the twelfth fastest time.

– Craig Breen and Scott Martin completed five passes. On their third attempt, they set the thirteenth fastest time, a tenth of a second behind their team-mates.

– On their first competitive outing in the C3 WRC, Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi and Chris Patterson also completed five runs. They progressed on each pass, ending up with the sixteenth fastest time.

– Later on this afternoon, the crews will drive onto the Guimarães podium for the ceremonial start of the rally. The first stage will be contested this evening on the Lousada rallycross circuit from 7.03pm (GMT+1). The cars will then enter parc ferme for the night.

INDYCAR SERIES

FERNANDO AT THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE

Fernando Alonso, the two-time Formula One champion making his Verizon IndyCar Series and oval track debut at this year’s Indianapolis 500, completed his rookie orientation in a private test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 3. The 35-year-old Spaniard, a teammate to Marco Andretti in one of six Andretti Autosport entries, began the methodical process of getting up to speed by completing 55 laps in the No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda with a best circuit of 223.025 mph.

FERNANDO ALONSO (No. 29 McLaren-Honda-Andretti Honda):  “I was a little bit concerned (heading in) about the conditions, about the temperature, as it was much hotter today than at the test we did here on May 3rd. But no, the car felt as good as it did at the test, and I was able to make some setup changes without losing the confidence in the car. Everything went very smooth. The last half an hour maybe we had some issues with the rear suspension, and we could not complete the program that we had planned to run a little bit in traffic at the end of the day, so we missed that part, but overall it was an amazing day. I’m happier than the first day with the car because I was able to feel some of the setup changes that we were planning in the morning.  We did not do much running in traffic, so that’s still the thing that I need to go through in the next couple of days. But I did two or three laps behind some cars that were going out of pit lane, and it was good fun.”