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 millimetres 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. Williams’s last victory in Monte Carlo was delivered by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2003.
For Monaco, Pirelli have made available the soft, supersoft and ultrasoft tyres. This will be the debut of the ultrasoft tyre this season. Williams has chosen to allocate each driver with the same sets of tyres. Felipe and Valtteri will have two sets of soft tyres, four sets of supersoft tyres and seven sets of ultrasoft tyres available throughout the weekend.
Pat Symonds
The Monaco circuit is perhaps the most challenging we visit all year, both in terms of car set-up and for the drivers. While we always think of Monaco as a high downforce track, most circuits these days are. What is far more important here is to get a good chassis balance through corners that are generally slower and have a very different surface to those we meet on conventional race tracks. 2016 also sees the introduction of the new ultrasoft tyre. With overtaking difficult at Monaco, there will be a need to get the maximum potential out of the tyre for a good grid position, while managing tyre consumption to have the option of doing a one-stop race. The forecast is for a dry weekend, but one can never rule out rain in Monaco as onshore winds and high hills above can produce a microclimate. We can’t hide from the fact that our performance last year was well below par, and a lot of analysis has gone into determining why. Our hopes for this year, as always, will be to get both cars in good grid positions and race strongly from there.
Felipe Massa
Monaco is like another home grand prix for me because I live there. I’m not from Monaco, but it’s definitely my town. I pass through the track most of the time when it’s just a road, and then suddenly everything changes and in just a few months it turns into a race track. It’s pretty amazing to see what they do there with the tight roads, and then we go racing there at 300kph. It’s always a very difficult race. It’s very easy to lose your concentration and hit the wall. It’s a very important race for us as drivers, but also for people to enjoy from their boats in the glamourous setting of Monaco. It’s always a really nice weekend for so many people and not just the drivers. I’m really looking forward to an amazing weekend, and some good racing at one of my home grands prix.
Valtteri Bottas
Monaco is a unique grand prix and really challenging as a track for the drivers, especially mentally, as you have to keep focussed for the whole race distance and a good qualifying lap is crucial. It’s a nice feeling when you do a neat lap there. It’s a very busy week – it starts one day earlier than normal, because practice is on Thursday. Normally there are plenty of partners who come to Monaco for lots of events, so it’s probably the busiest race weekend off the track for me as a driver. It’s a big challenge. I’m still missing my first points in Monaco, so I’m looking forward to being able to achieve that. It’s kind of like a home race as well, as I live there. It’s nice being able to either walk or scooter to the paddock!



Q&A with Vijay Mallya
Team Principal, Vijay Mallya, targets another competitive showing in Monaco.
Vijay, the team scored six points in Spain and there were lots of positives from the weekend…
VJM: “We certainly took encouragement from our performance in qualifying and the race. It’s not easy to introduce a new aerodynamic package during a race weekend, but the team did an excellent job of installing and understanding the new components. We could see the benefits straight away in the data and from the drivers’ feedback. Barcelona has never been our strongest track, so to come away with six points means we can feel optimistic for the upcoming races.”
What can we expect from the team in Monaco?
VJM: “It’s always impossible to make predictions. Anything can happen and that’s what makes Monaco such an exciting weekend. Both our drivers are strong there, but the first task is to deliver a clean qualifying lap when it matters: we’ve seen before that qualifying can become a lottery when the track is busy. All being well we’ve got the potential to qualify in the top ten and score good points.”
Is the team’s goal of maintaining fifth place in the championship still realistic?
VJM: “It’s still the target and we are only 12 points away from fifth place in the championship. We’ve not enjoyed an easy start to the season with our fair share of bad luck, but with three quarters of the season to go we have plenty of time to catch the teams ahead of us.”
Nico on Monaco
Nico Hulkenberg hopes for a change of fortunes as he relishes the challenge of Monaco.
Nico: “Monaco is one of the best weeks of the year. The track, the location, the schedule – it has all the things that make Formula One such a great sport. This will be my sixth Monaco Grand Prix, but I will still feel a huge buzz when I walk into the paddock on Wednesday morning and see everything taking shape.
“The challenge of the track is good fun and very demanding. You build your speed with each session and by the time you get to qualifying you need to be right at the limit. When you walk the track you can’t believe that we actually race there because it’s so narrow. You need to be incredibly precise because you can’t afford even the smallest mistake. Mentally it’s very tough because it’s corner after corner and there’s never a moment when you can relax – even for a second.
“Monaco is one of my home races and I’m hoping that my luck will start to change this weekend. Sometimes you have a spell of unlucky races and there’s nothing you can do about it – that’s the way I look back on Russia and Spain. You have to put them out of your mind and move on. Monaco is a fresh start and I’m already smiling at the thought of driving around such a fantastic lap.”
Sergio on Monaco
Sergio Perez aims to keep scoring in the Principality.
Sergio: “Monaco is my favourite circuit of the year. It’s very demanding, but it’s also a track where the driver can make more of a difference. You need to be brave, push the limits and use every inch of the track – that’s why it’s so much fun in the car. I really enjoy the quicker parts of the lap – Casino and the Swimming Pool – where you need to be accurate and carry lots of speed.
“When I was a child I always dreamed about racing in Monaco. I’ve had good memories there and some difficult days too. Scoring points last year was special and a very important result for the team. It’s always a busy week on and off the track, but it’s good fun because the fans can walk the track and get really close to us. It always gives me a lot of energy just being there and soaking up the atmosphere.
“I’m happy with my results in the last couple of races. We’ve improved the car and we are moving in a good direction. I think the next run of races will give us the chance to show our speed and continue picking up the points we need for the championship.”



Event: 04 Spielberg
Session: Race 3
Track: Red Bull Ring / Austria
Pole position: Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam)
Race winner: Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam)
Weather: sunny, 25.7 °C

For Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam), his second victory at the 4.326 kilometres long Red Bull Ring also was his third race win in the 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Behind the 17-year-old Canadian, equally old British driver Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) took the flag in second place while 18-year-old German Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) was classified third in the twelfth race of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season. Stroll is heading home from Styria as the leader in the drivers’ standings, he is now 38 points ahead of second-placed Ilott.

Starting from pole position, Lance Stroll managed to hold on to first place at the start and led Callum Ilott and Niko Kari (Motopark) into the first corner. David Beckmann (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) also found himself among the front runners, but then dropped back to the end of the field following a collision with George Russell (HitechGP) and the subsequent spin. Due to the accident, Russell retired in the pits. On lap three, Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and Alessio Lorandi (Carlin) retired. After that, Jensen’s race came to an end in the gravel trap and the safety car was deployed.

After the restart, Stroll remained in front from Ilott while Kari was involved in a hard fight with the drivers behind him. The Finnish rookie driver eventually had to admit defeat to Maximilian Günther in the battle for the final podium slot. Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP), Joel Eriksson (Motopark), Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark) and Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing) also overtook Kari at this stage of the race. Red Bull junior driver Sette Câmara overtook his Swedish team-mate for fifth soon after that. Out in front, Lance Stroll drove an undisputed victory home. Callum Ilott and Maximilian Günther joined him on the podium, Ben Barnicoat finished fourth as the best-placed rookie driver, but lost this position due to overtaking under safety car to Sette Câmara. The Briton was classified fifth from Eriksson, while Guanyu Zhou (Motopark), Kari, Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam) and Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) were in seventh to tenth place.

Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam): “The race wasn’t as easy as it perhaps looked from the outside, because there are always possibilities to make mistakes. For instance, I had to be careful at the start. At the restart and in the first few free laps, it would have been easy to make mistakes. However, it all went well. Initially, I tried to build up an advantage and then keep it without taking any risks. All in all, I had a fantastic weekend with two victories and one second place at the Red Bull Ring.”



British driver Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) has won the tenth round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship season at the 4.326 kilometres long Red Bull Ring. Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) finished second from Maximilian Günther (Prema Powerteam) to extend his lead in the drivers’ standings. The race was stopped early after an accident involving Ryan Tveter (Carlin), Zhi Cong Li (Carlin) and Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing).

Callum Ilott took the lead at the start, but had to defend his position from a charging Maximilian Günther. The two youngsters having battled for the lead on the opening lap, Ilott eventually came out in front before the safety car was deployed for the first time following an accident involving Ryan Tveter, Arjun Maini (ThreeBond with T-Sport) and Weiron Tan (Carlin) on the opening lap.

After the restart, Ilott stayed in front while both Stroll and Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) managed to overtake Günther, the German dropping back to fourth. A little bit later, however, Günther countered against Jensen and moved back up into the top three again. Meanwhile, Pedro Piquet had to come in from fifth place for a drive through penalty following a jump start and dropped back considerably. Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) inherited fifth place.

On lap 17, the race was stopped after an accident involving Ryan Tveter, Zhi Cong Li and Pedro Piquet. Tveter had spun through the gravel trap and returned onto the track where Li, unable to see Tveter’s car due to the dust that was whirled up, hit the American’s race car almost at full speed. The upcoming Piquet was unable to avoid the two, but the Brazilian escaped unscathed. Tveter and Li incurred injuries and were taken to hospital for further examination. The race was stopped immediately.

Thus, Callum Ilott took victory from Lance Stroll, Maximilian Günther, Mikkel Jensen, George Russell (HitechGP), Nick Cassidy, David Beckmann (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Harrison Newey (Van Amersfoort Racing), Ralf Aron (Prema Powerteam) and Ben Barnicoat (HitechGP). For Beckmann, the best-placed rookie who only drove his fourth Formula 3 race at the Red Bull Ring, this was his first top ten result while his fellow rookie driver Newey also scored his best result in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship to date by finishing eighth.

Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing): “I had a good start, but Maximilian was able to overtake me on the opening lap. After he had made a mistake, I managed to get past him again. Right after this overtaking move, the safety car was deployed. After the restart, I tried to pull a gap and to avoid any mistakes. Of course, this victory is a great result. However, it is even more important that Ryan, Zhi Cong and Pedro hopefully are okay.



Driver:              Max Verstappen
Car:                  Red Bull Racing – TAG Heuer RB12
Laps:                118
Best time:         1:23.267 (P1)
Circuit length:    4.655km
Max Verstappen took over in the RB12 for the second and final day of 2016’s first in-season test. Max had a busy day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, completing 118 laps, running with tyres and a setup similar to those used for the Spanish Grand Prix at the weekend. He finished the day P1 on the timesheet, 0.739s ahead of his nearest rival. Of much greater significance, he completed his program with no reliability issues.
Max carried on the aero development work started yesterday by Daniel Ricciardo. His program, however, had the additional target of getting the driver comfortable in the car and comfortable with his crew. Despite having already won a grand prix in the RB12, Max is still getting to know the car, and thus the great benefit of the test day was allowing him to fine-tune his setup preferences and develop relationships with his engineers and crew.
“It was good to get back in the car today,” said Max afterwards. “The car is good to drive, very enjoyable and we achieved very good mileage. We didn’t have any problems and could run the whole day. For me personally it was good to have the opportunity to get even more comfortable with the car. I was able to try some new things and find ways to improve my performance. I learned a lot about the RB12 today, which is very, very positive.”
Head of Race Engineering, Guillaume Rocquelin added: “A big part of the day was for Max Verstappen to keep working with his crew and his team of engineers, just to build up that rapport. We’ve also been looking at the setup options that he prefers. I know he’s won a race but ultimately he’s only been with us a week, so there’s still a lot that we need to work on together as we get to know each other. We had to go through the various options and evaluate them with Max, see what he likes – things like the layout of his steering wheel and what he wants to see on the display. On top of that we had a normal run plan, very similar to yesterday, working on medium-to-long term development of the car. It went well. We did 118 laps despite doing some really short runs for aero-mapping. It was a very solid day and, overall, a very solid test with 200+ laps, no issues with the car and a good program of work completed.”



Event: 03 Pau
Session: Race 3
Track: Pau / France
Pole position: Alessio Lorandi (Carlin)
Race winner: Alessio Lorandi (Carlin)
Weather: sunny, 18.9 °C

In bright sunshine at Pau in the south of France, Alessio Lorandi (Carlin) claimed his maiden FIA Formula 3 European Championship race win. The Italian led from the first till the final lap at the 2.76 kilometres long street circuit at the foot of the Pyrenées and thus also secured the first win of his team Carlin in the 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam) crossed the finish line of the prestigious Grand Prix de Pau, one of the world’s most important Formula 3 races, in second place from George Russell (HitechGP) and thus took over the lead in the drivers’ standings.

Right after the start of the race, Nick Cassidy (Prema Powerteam) and Sérgio Sette Câmara (Motopark) collided. Some of the drivers who followed were unable to avoid the two, resulting into the retirement not only for Cassidy and Sette Câmara, but also for debutant David Beckmann (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport) and Zhi Cong Li (Carlin). Nikita Mazepin (HitechGP) headed into the pit lane after one lap and also had to retire. After the accident, the safety car was deployed and the race was neutralised until the end of lap five.

At the restart on lap six, Alessio Lorandi stayed in front, but Lance Stroll was right behind him and waited for the Carlin protégé to make a mistake. Initially, the two were able to pull clear from third-placed George Russell. While the positions out in front remained unchanged, the best-placed rookie Joel Eriksson (Motopark) overtook Ryan Tveter (Carlin) on lap nine to take sixth place.

Among the front runners, Russell was able to close up to Lorandi and Stroll in the final part of the race, but a slow puncture stopped his progress just before the finish. Thus, the Brit remained third behind winner Lorandi and second-placed Stroll. Callum Ilott (Van Amersfoort Racing) finished fourth from Mikkel Jensen (kfzteile24 Mücke Motorsport), Joel Eriksson, Ryan Tveter, Niko Kari (Motopark), Arjun Maini (ThreeBond with T-Sport) and Pedro Piquet (Van Amersfoort Racing).

Alessio Lorandi (Carlin): “It was a very good day for me, because I have won the Grand Prix de Pau! We had already done a good job in qualifying, allowing me to start the race from pole position. At this track, that is extremely important, because one can hardly overtake here. Admittedly, my start wasn’t fantastic, but it was enough to take the lead. After the safety car, Lance kept me under pressure, but I didn’t make any big mistakes and I managed to stay ahead of him until the finish. Now, I hope that this victory will not remain the only one for me and that I will still be able to be a contender in the battle for the title.”

Lance Stroll (Prema Powerteam): “My start was good, but Alessio did what he had to do to stay in front. Throughout the race, I was within striking distance and I was a little bit faster, but he didn’t make any mistakes. Had he made one, I would have been ready for an attack, but I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks and rather settled for the points for third place. Congratulations to Alessio for this victory! I reckon, the race wasn’t easy for him, especially as it was his first time in the lead. He has done a good job.”

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