Everything’s to play for in the GP2 Series this season after the opening round at Barcelona. I won the sprint race in Spain, so that was a boost, and now we’re heading to the glamour event on the calendar: Monaco.
Actually, I’m already there. I’m staying with Myles Mordaunt, who manages me along with Alexander Wurz and who lives in Monaco, and I’ve been really looking forward to coming back, especially after my first taste of the streets of Monte Carlo last year. We’re looking for a really strong weekend.
Last year was very difficult and it wasn’t what the DAMS team and I had been dreaming of before we arrived. We were unlucky with a missed communication in wet qualifying and that really hampered the whole event. But last week, when we did all our research back at the DAMS base at Le Mans, we saw that on pace it wasn’t the horror show that the results suggested. So I’m taking a lot of confidence there this weekend and there’s no reason why we can’t do well.
Anyway, before last year street circuits had always been a happy hunting ground for me, having won at the Macau Grand Prix and the Norisring in Formula 3, and done well at Pau in my rookie F3 season. Having said that, results on street circuits don’t come easy and I know that more than any other person. It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to be quick.
Monaco is where we use the super-soft Pirellis for qualifying. I was really looking forward to this last year because it’s a mega feeling to get the ultimate lap out of massively grippy tyres that you know aren’t going to last very long, and then I felt a bit cheated when it rained! We’ve all seen the Senna laps at Monaco over the years. Everything he said about driving on the limit in Monaco as a racing driver you go to bed dreaming of a lap like that! If I get anywhere near that I’ll be happy.
Because of the nature of the track, we get split into two groups for qualifying and one group lines up 1-3-5 and so on, and the other group 2-4-6. Now, I don’t want to say I’ve got the hardest group but I’ve got the hardest group! But the aim is to be in front of everybody anyway, and in that case it doesn’t make any difference, so at the end of the day you can’t let that worry you.
Obviously it’s really hard to overtake in Monaco, so sometimes you need strategy or just plain old luck to get you up the order, but you can’t rely on that. It’s the same on all street circuits, and we’ve just got to put ourselves at the front with strong pace, and then I can drive my own race. After qualifying on Thursday we’ll have a strong idea of where we are and there’s no reason why that can’t be right up there.