Adrian Sutil has defied conventional Monaco wisdom by claiming that qualifying for the annual thrash around the houses isn't
While all around him, both in Wednesday's FIA press conference and outside in the various paddocks that house competitors in the Principality, continued to stress how vital it was to be on the front row, or front couple of rows at worst, the German suggested that, with the current tyre situation, it may not be the key to success in 2013.
Sutil may have a point, in as far as Fernando Alonso defied conventional Barcelona wisdom by winning the Spanish Grand Prix from row three a couple of weeks ago, and the German said that he believed that thinking ahead was nearly as important as pace on a Saturday.
“Yes, overtaking is difficult, but I don't see qualifying being an important thing for the race,” he insisted, “Just looking at all the last races, there have been several drivers starting from the back or in midfield and they were on the podium. I think Lotus have been a good example. You need to have the right strategy.
“Mercedes [have] struggled. They were one and two in Barcelona and had big problems in the race. It just shows that the tyres are so difficult in the race and it's a very different thing - qualifying and race. I'm here to race and the points are given in the race. Qualifying... it doesn't really matter where you are, you have to stay focused really.”
Sutil does not have the best of records in Monaco, although he will always be remembered for 'the one that got away' after he was torpedoed out of a likely top five finish by a wayward Kimi Raikkonen in 2008. Consequently, the German has a best finish of seventh in the Principality and, having missed last year's race while he attempted to reclaim his place in the F1 field, he is determined to set the record straight in 2013.
“In a way, [Monaco] is a bit different because you know from the past, and from experience, that there are more possibilities out there,” he reasoned, “It's a very tricky circuit, unforgiving and easy to make mistakes [or see a] safety car. The risk is high here and that opens up some situations for you… But it can work well for you, or [go] the other way.
“Having that in mind makes it a nice race, a nice weekend. Starting last or starting at the front doesn't mean you will win the race. It's all up [for grabs]. You need to be on the point and just stay focused for the whole race, until it's finished.”
Sutil's Monaco luck appeared to have followed him back into the F1 fold for, a seventh place in Melbourne aside, he has posted two retirements and a brace of 13th-place finishes in the subsequent four events. As a result he sits 13th in the table, five places and 20 points behind team-mate Paul di Resta but, despite twice being assaulted on the opening lap, however, the German refuses to see it that way.