Nico Rosberg is confident of registering his best result of the 2009 Formula 1 season to-date as he returns 'home' this weekend – with the circus arriving at the most glamorous and prestigious race of them all, the Monaco Grand Prix.
Despite displaying blistering pace in free practice so far this year – topping the times in no less than eight sessions out of 15 – and never failing to qualify inside the top ten, Rosberg has still not succeeded in bettering sixth position on race day, with a further brace of eighth places in the rain-shortened Malaysian Grand Prix and in Barcelona last time out leaving the young German with a scant 4.5 points in the championship chase almost a third of the way in.
What's more, there are fears that as bigger-budget rivals begin to catch up on the 'double-decker' diffuser front, any advantage Williams might have enjoyed – if failed to exploit – early on may now be practically null-and-void, making it all-the-more important to strike whilst the iron is still at least vaguely warm.
“In general, Spain wasn't easy for us,” conceded the 23-year-old. “We struggled to get the tyres up to temperature for qualifying on Saturday, and then I had a balance problem with the rear of the car at random stages during the race which affected my ability to really push when I needed to. As a result, we didn't get the result we wanted in Spain, but coming home with a point is always positive, particularly as we haven't collected any recently.
“Monaco should be a good race for us. Our car has traditionally gone really well there in the past few years, and I believe it will be strong again this year. As we haven't managed to get the results that our car deserves yet, it would be great for everyone in the team if we came away with something positive from the weekend.
“Monaco is my home town, so all my friends and family will be there supporting me which will be great. Living within 100 metres of the track also makes life so much easier over the weekend as well. It is a completely different place when Formula 1 is in town, though. Normally it's quite quiet, just like anywhere really, but the grand prix weekend brings a different atmosphere to the place and that's really special to be a part of.”
Rosberg has yet to finish inside the top ten around the winding, tortuous streets of the Principality, despite twice having started from the third row and having qualified no lower than eighth, so the inaugural GP2 Series Champion is clearly hoping for a change of luck this weekend. Team-mate Kazuki Nakajima, for his part, has yet to either make it through to Q3 or trouble the scorers hitherto in 2009, but the Japanese ace did get amongst the points-finishers on his maiden appearance in the Monaco Grand Prix this time twelve months ago.
“Spain was another difficult race for me, the 24-year-old reflected. “The incident on the first lap and subsequent pit-stop dropped me to the back, and I really couldn't recover. We need to move on from that, though, and look for something more positive from Monaco.
“I hope we have a good car in Monaco – we normally do – and I need a better race this weekend. Although it's not my favourite track to drive, I went well in Monaco last year going from 14th to seventh in my debut race [there] to get two points for the team. With the new regulations this season, I think it will be quite a different experience in Monaco this year and the new slick tyres will really help with the grip levels. I just hope the race will be incident-free for me.
“Monte Carlo is an iconic destination for Formula 1. The atmosphere is completely different to anywhere else we go and that can't fail to make it a more exciting weekend than usual, but it really is just another destination for me. The glitz and glamour is all a bit too much for me to really enjoy myself there, so I'll be keeping my usual routine of working hard at the track during the day and then having quiet evenings at the hotel – probably some training and treatment followed by a quick supper and an early night.”