Q.To all of you, Monaco is also special because you don't drive on Friday. Do you like that and do you have a routine for what you do on Friday?
JB: For me, I'd rather we practiced on Friday and went straight into qualifying on Saturday, because it's just an extra day of work.
MS: Be good if we could have Thursday and Friday to run around and have some more fun. Well, usually we have events. On my side, I have a couple of events that I have to look out for, and probably a bit of time with the team to prepare for the day after and then the rest is just relaxing.
JB: Yeah, spend time with the engineers and sponsor events most of the day.
RB: I would prefer to drive on Friday and have Thursday off. It's kind of a boring Friday, really, because you cannot sleep because it's more noisy because other people are driving on the track, so I would rather have the weekend as a normal one and have Friday and keep on going.
NH: Pretty much the same; I would prefer to drive on Friday. As it is now, you have some meetings with the engineers, some PR stuff to do, but basically in your mind, you're just looking forward to the next day, you want to get into the car and get on with it.
NR: For me it's fine (as it is); a quick engineer meeting but then straight to the pool with friends and have a good time and relax. It's nice like that too.
JT: It's the longest weekend of the season and I don't think any one of us enjoys it because, logistically, Monaco is difficult, we all know that. So we spend one more day in such a chaotic situation, a day that most of the time is spent doing PR or media or anything like that. Obviously on Friday, what will I do? We still have to decide, with Tom (Webb, Lotus press officer) and hope I can get a ride on my bike and then lay down by the pool but I'm sure I will have to come here and do some work.
Q. For you all, qualifying seems to be most exciting but not so important. Would you suggest changing the system again and maybe to come back to the system of some years ago with only one lap, to make it more exciting?
MS: I think it's good and quite honestly it is only one lap because the tires only last one lap, or are at their quickest so I don't think there's a big difference.
JB: Yeah, people are saving their tires so much these days that you are running once in every session and that's it, you're not really chucking tires at the car. Last race we did three runs, and in Q2 and Q3 it was just one lap in each session, so it's pretty limited running now and I think it's a good system.
RB: I think the changes are quite big because no one was prepared to see what the tires (were like). The tires are so different to last year so it's worth having a look, although I think qualifying is very good. For example, if you go out here in Monaco, you have just one run in Q1 and if you have traffic, you could have a problem as well, so it's worth having a look. I think qualifying has been quite good for the past so many years but we only have one run right now so it's worth having a look to see if there's anything different for next year.
NH: Well, the reason why qualifying might not be as important as in the past any longer is nothing to do with the way qualifying is now, in three sessions. It's down to the tires, why some teams over the last few races chose to save some tires. I think the way qualifying is now with the three sessions, down to ten cars at the end is good, but we have to see if we want to have it the way it is now, that people chose not to go onto the quicker tires.
NR: Same as Nick.
JT: I'm of the same opinion. The tire usage nowadays is so important and the way they handle them, so you need to try to use them the minimum possible, save them for the race so at the end of the day, you're very limited with the running, with the way you want to run. So we have seen races that, even if people are sat on the back of the grid because of a problem, they all have new tires available and they can still make up places to get easily into the points and also a podium finish, so at the moment qualifying is not important any more.
Q. To all drivers: with the super-soft and soft tires, what do you expect from the race? Very short stints as in the last races, or do believe there will be more time on the track?
JB: I really haven't got a clue yet. I think we haven't run the super-soft tire for a long time. We haven't run it on our existing car. I'm sure there's going to be quite a bit of degradation on the super-soft. The soft is going to last longer, probably, than on other circuits, because you don't have high speed here, so there's a lot less degradation on the high speed corners, but strategy-wise, it's very, very difficult to know what to do. It's been very difficult every race this season, to really pick the right strategy. I think when you get into a race situation, there's more degradation than you expect, for most people, and I think here it's going to be a little bit up in the air. I think you're really going to have to think on your feet during the race, because we don't know where there's going to be a lot of degradation or not. It might be two stops, there might be five. You never know.
RB: I don't think it's any different. We really have to wait and see, because the super-soft was obviously not at the right track [during testing] and whenever we tested in Valencia, Jerez and Barcelona, it was lasting one lap, but you have a lot more grip there so you use the tire a lot harder and then the tire has a tougher time, so as Jenson said, we've got to wait and see. Obviously we might have some readings on Thursday but by Saturday it's going to be a different reading because there's more rubber on the track. I still think the answer is really going to come on Sunday.
Q. I don't know if you are aware but there was a huge fire down at Turn 1 last night and they've had to replace a very large section of tarmac there, going into the apex and it's in the braking zone as well. I just wondered if any of you have been down there and viewed it at all, and if you haven't, your thoughts on it, how dangerous it might be?
NH: Well, I don't know if it's true, but from what I heard, it was dangerous of the guy to smoke and fuel the car at the same time. I don't know if there really is a reason but that's the one I was given! I walked the circuit before and it looked OK, it didn't look...it looked like they did a good job.
JB: I've heard about it, but no, I haven't checked the circuit yet but they're the professionals, they know how to lay tarmac. Hopefully it will be fine tomorrow.
NR: It might just make the tarmac more oily or something because it's so fresh, than the other tarmac around and that could be a bit of an issue.
RB: If it is oily, we have to see if it rains, but I don't think there's any prediction for that, but there might be a problem.
Q. We know now that overtaking is possible; I want to know what you think about overtaking here on such a narrow track, Monaco? What's going to happen?
RB: I think that Monaco is a non-overtaking territory in a way. I think it was very wise of the FIA to actually introduce some of the DRS but not in the tunnel. We've got to try to overtake, for sure. There are differences in speed that might make it possible. It's very, very narrow. We've seen in the past people trying to overtake and just crash into each other. I think we need to learn. I'm very happy with the decision that we're not going to be using (DRS) in the tunnel. The rest is fine; we should try and then see what it brings to the event. If we can make overtaking possible here, it means that we overtake anywhere on Earth, so it remains to be seen.
NH: I think we've seen a lot more overtaking everywhere so far, but I think in Monaco it will still stand out in the way that there will not be more overtaking than in the past, even though we will be allowed to use the DRS on the start and finish straight. First of all, it's [the zone is] very short, like 350 meters or something like that – the whole straight – and in the past we've had like 800 meters. And, on top of that, even if you use it, there's no way you can go, because the car in front of you is taking what we call a straight line, it takes the corner on the right hand side, on the inside. You cannot go to the left on the outside because there's no way you're going to pass there, so I think it's a bit useless to use the DRS here to be honest, but we're going to use it. If we will see more overtaking? It might be more down to the tires, but as we've discussed earlier on, we still have to fight out how big the differences are between soft and super-soft and how long the tires are going to last.
NR: I think the tires could be very interesting this weekend, and if they degrade a lot, that will definitely increase the amount of overtaking that we see.
JT: We can probably see some more overtaking, but it will remain a mission in the way that you can try but not always succeed. Anyway, it will not be down to KERS or DRS, it will probably be more down to the different tire wear.
MS: tires will certainly be the most important factor but I think if you have the right tire and the right situation in place then it will normally help you. I have at least good memories when in one race I started last and went forward. So overtaking is a chance, yes it's difficult, it is a challenge but it's not impossible, and it's certainly an extra help.
JB: As all the guys have said, tires are the big difference around here. I don't think DRS is really going to help you overtake. It might help you get closer, but also we've got the benefit of using KERS. I think if the guy in front is struggling a little bit with his tires and you use your KERS correctly, that can help with an overtaking move. We've got two things that should help us here but it's also going to be extremely difficult, as it always is around Monaco. But we will obviously give it a shot.
Q. Michael, you've had various critics of your on-track tactics over the years, including Rubens sitting up there. The latest is Lewis Hamilton. He said you interfered with the battle for the lead in the last race. You let your friend Seb Vettel through, I think in the last 10 laps, and forced him to go wide and onto the marbles a few seconds later. Is that right, or is that wrong, or don't you care?
MS: I don't recall it and I don't think it would make sense because I think I have a lot more...although Seb is my friend, but then Lewis is running a Mercedes engine and that's obviously a lot more important to me, not that I try to favor or not favor anybody. No, that certainly must have been a misunderstanding, but not my idea. I try to keep out of everybody's way and just do my own thing.