Sébastien Bourdais admitted that he was pleased to have notched up a point in what he considers to be his 'home' grand prix in Monaco in the absence of the French race from the Formula 1 calendar – and Scuderia Toro Rosso hope the self-confidence boost from the result will help the record-breaking former multiple Champ Car king to turn his thus far miserable season around.
Bourdais has endured a torrid start to the 2009 campaign – his second in the top flight – finding himself almost routinely out-qualified and out-raced by young rookie team-mate and namesake Sébastien Buemi, but around the narrow, tortuous streets of the glamorous Principality, the boot was very much on the other foot.
Although Buemi once again had the upper hand on Saturday – lining up twelfth, almost half a second clear of Bourdais in 14th – the roles were reversed on race day, as the Swiss ace betrayed his inexperience at the highest level in misjudging his braking eleven laps in and clattering into the back of the Renault of Nelsinho Piquet at Ste Dévote, removing both from contention on the spot.
Bourdais – who had closely shadowed the sister STR4 up until that point – went on to produce a composed performance, staving off the pressure of Giancarlo Fisichella in the Force India behind him race-long to register his first point since the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne almost two months ago. It was, he conceded, something of a relief as the pressure mounts.
“It feels good to score points here, at what can be considered my home grand prix as there is no French race,” remarked the 30-year-old. “The team worked really hard today. I felt that, again, I hadn't done a good job in qualifying, so I can be happy to finish P8, given the small number of incidents today. It's another point which is important – it's not enough, but it's better than nothing!
“The car performed consistently, especially on the 'Prime' tyre, although the balance wasn't perfect. Then, on the 'Options' I tried to look after them as I'd had trouble with them on Thursday. I managed the situation, as the car was moving more and I had some degradation. Once I got ahead of my direct rivals and there was no-one within reach in front of me, I settled into a rhythm, concentrating on bringing the car home.
“I had several tricky moments, but that's what street racing is about. It was a fun race, with the satisfaction of scoring a point [after] starting 14th. If I can improve in qualifying in the coming races, then maybe we can hope for more, starting in Istanbul.”
“I didn't have a perfect start and I lost a position to Piquet,” countered a disappointed Buemi, “but it was not going too badly. Then I just tried to overtake him, as with [Sebastian] Vettel slowing everyone down on the 'Option' tyre, I thought this might be my only chance to get back ahead of him.
“I was right up behind Piquet, in his slipstream, and when I tried to pull out and make my move he went on the brakes and I could not get out from behind him, so I ended up pushing him all the way into the first corner. I am sorry about this and I went and apologised to him.”