Daniel Ricciardo says an engine mode error from Red Bull cost him a chance of qualifying third for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel took third place with a 1:15.849, while Ricciardo took fourth place, 0.2s slower than the Ferrari.
While the result is Ricciardo’s best qualifying of the season he says a mix-up on the pit wall left him in the wrong engine mode at the start of his lap and cost him crucial time on his final run.
“Pit wall thought I was in a different engine mode, which I wasn’t, so then when they’ve told me to make the standard change it’s put us out of the correct one,” Ricciardo said.
“So then starting the lap I could feel the power was down. So I realised we were in the wrong one so I’ve turned it back but it’s only made the switch too late.
— Infiniti Middle East (@InfinitiME) May 24, 2015
“Long story short, before Turn 1 we were 0.2s down and that was that. It was all a bit late.
“Normally I was getting the call to make whatever switches I need to make around Turn 16 and that was fine, it was giving me enough time, but this call came late, in between the second-last and last corner, just after Rascasse.
“So I quickly got on the switches but coming out of the last corner I could feel the power wasn’t right so I’ve then tried to figure it out and it’s kicked in but it was too late. I was in sixth gear, getting in to Turn 1 wasn’t even in seventh.
“It’s free lap time lost so a bit frustrating. It’s the last place you want to have those errors. Could be third today so that’s probably the biggest frustration, we know it could have been better.”
Kimi Raikkonen says he needs to understand what is causing his qualifying problems after a "pretty disastrous" session at the Monaco Grand Prix.
– Heikki Kovalainen: Pole position crucial for Monaco supremacy
Having crashed in FP3, Raikkonen comfortably progressed to the final part of qualifying before a slow first run left him out of position.
Raikkonen's final lap left him sixth on the grid – with the two Red Bulls between him and third-placed Sebastian Vettel – and he admits it's a poor result in Monaco.
"I had a pretty okay first lap and I had one more lap and then there was a Toro Rosso so I had traffic on the second lap," Raikkonen said.
"I came in because I was too slow already and obviously it was pretty disastrous. The car felt okay but it was hard to get heat in the tyres.
"The end result is what it is and we will try to do a good race tomorrow."
And Raikkonen says he needs to work out why he struggles so much during qualifying compared to Vettel.
"It’s difficult because obviously tomorrow’s race is going to be tricky.
"We seem to manage to get it wrong every race, so we need to work on something to try to improve it.
"We don’t put ourselves in very good positions for Sundays and obviously it makes our races difficult.
"Obviously when you are stuck behind you spend time trying to get past cars and then you miss out on the fight at the front. But it’s part of the game."
Jenson Button is confident that the Monaco Grand Prix will bring with it McLaren’s first points of the season.
This has so often been a happy hunting ground for the team, having racked up 15 wins on the streets of Monte Carlo – more than any other constructor.
The chances of it being the 16th this year, though, are nil and McLaren are instead aiming just to get a point on the board after making their worst start to a Formula One season since entering in 1966.
Issues with the new Honda power unit are gradually being ironed out and Button will start 10th on the grid after frustration turned to relief.
— PA Sport (@pasport) May 23, 2015
The British driver was pipped to a place in the third qualifying session after a yellow flag cost him valuable time, only to be bumped up afterwards from 12th due to penalties handed down to Sainz Jr and Romain Grosjean after qualfying.
“There’s always a bit of ‘shoulda woulda, coulda’ in qualifying, but I would have easily been inside the top 10 today,” Button said.
“On my final lap in Q2, I lost a lot of time lifting for the yellow flag at turn one. I then gained a lot of it back – I was only a tenth off my best – but it wasn’t enough.
“And I think we could have had some fun in Q3, too. I think we’d have been fighting two or three cars for position.
“The car felt really good, although we still don’t have enough outright pace, but I have a lot of confidence in it, especially under braking.
“Today’s performance shows the progress we’re making.
“The team has done a fantastic job this weekend, and they should be happy because the car is getting better all the time.
“This is a nice little stepping stone for the future. Our aim tomorrow will be to score points.”
— Tiffany Jane (@tiffanycromwell) May 24, 2015
Fellow McLaren driver Fernando Alonso starts 13th on the grid today, when both drivers are hoping the stewards take a harder line.
Alonso said the traffic this weekend has been “ridiculous” at times and Button echoed his team-mate”s sentiments.
The 2009 world champion added: “It feels the worst it has been, but we’re going to do it unless there are penalties. That’s the problem.”