21-24 MAY, MONTE CARLO, ROUND 6 OF 19
Unofficially Formula Oneís biggest race, 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. Itís not by chance that some of the sportís greatest names, such as Graham Hill, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher were masters of the principality. Williamsí last victory in Monte Carlo was delivered by Juan Pablo Montoya in 2003.
We have come out of the Spanish Grand Prix in a positive position and continue the European leg of the season with a lot of optimism. In Barcelona we were quick in the parts of the track that are akin to Monaco, so are hoping for a decent weekend. Ití so important to get the drivers in the car and running at a track like Monaco because rhythm is important, so Thursday practice will be important. The track isnít the best suited to our carís core characteristics, but from what we saw in terms of balance in Spain we are optimistic.
As a Monaco resident I see the track being built and the grandstands going up in the weeks ahead of the race and the anticipation starts to build. Witnessing the whole build up and then the roads forming into iconic racing corners is a very strange but cool experience. Itís not the easiest race on the calendar but that challenge makes it a thrilling circuit to drive Ė for me itís the most special race of the year. The first year I drove here I found it challenging so itís nice to go into the race with some experience under my belt already.
With the Monaco Grand Prix I get to see the whole process of how a Formula One race comes together way before the fans get there, which is something I would never normally witness. Itís a one off race, especially as I can walk to the track in the morning from home. Itís a long, special but important race and I hope we can
have a strong weekend. Although I prefer longer faster circuits like Spa and Monza, nothing can take away from the thrill of the streets of Monaco. Your first thought is to qualifying well, and from there to make sure that you finish the race. If you do that then you are in with a chance of getting some really good points.