18 May 2015
F1 Monaco Grand Prix: Monaco ‘always a step into the unknown’ for Grosjean
Romain Grosjean is hoping that the improved Lotus E23 will carry him to more points in the Monaco Grand Prix, but knows that he can have a bigger input there than anywhere else.
Like every race driver to have hit the legendary Armco, Romain Grosjean admits that there is a balance to be struck when taking on the Monaco Grand Prix circuit.
The Frenchman is more mature than version of himself that seemed to find the barriers with daily regularity a couple of years back, and is hoping to steer clear of the obstacles this Sunday in order to prolong a scoring streak currently standing at three races as Lotus returns to prominence in 2015.
Grosjean's first two Monaco appearances as an F1 driver ended in retirement, before he finally got himself on the board with eighth place – in an under-performing car -last year. It was a similar story in GP2, where he only made a breakthrough at the third attempt, claiming a podium on his last race there in the feeder series. Despite that, however, the magnetic appeal of the Principality keeps luring him back.
“It's a crazy week with all the focus and attention, but everyone loves Monaco,” he explained, “It's a very challenging circuit and unique on the calendar and, as a driver, you have to stay calm and relaxed on a track that doesn't allow for any mistakes. I've been super quick in the past, but I've also hit the walls too, so there's a real balance to be struck. It's an exciting and glamorous grand prix but always a step into the unknown, because it's difficult to predict how well each car will work there.
“When you finish a lap and you know it's quick because you've given everything and thought you were about to go off about three times, it is something special - finding the balance between pushing too hard and not enough makes a huge difference in Monaco.”
With his results this season mirroring the one he took in Monaco twelve months ago, Grosjean is confident of taking some points home from the blue riband race, especially with the E23 Hybrid seemingly immune to big variation between circuits.
“The emphasis at Monaco is on low speed corners, which is historically hasn't been our greatest strength but, this year, our package has proved to be pretty good no matter what the circuit layout,” the Frenchman confirmed, “The E23 has been pretty confidence-inspiring, which is something very good on a street course.”
Having scored back-to-back seventh places in China and Bahrain, Grosjean felt a similar result could have been on the cards in Spain had it not been for a variety of problems that he hopes to steer clear of this weekend.
“You have some weekends where everything goes to plan, then you have some where everything's a bit more difficult,” he reflected, “In Barcelona, we didn't quite get everything going in the right way. I never like missing FP1, so felt that made getting the car where I wanted more of a challenge, then we couldn't unlock the pace we thought was there.
“In the race, there was a small bit of contact between me and Pastor [Maldonado] – the least said about that the better – then I lost fourth gear in the car. It was difficult to re-programme to drive around the problem at first but, once I did, the lap times weren't bad at all.
“In the end, I finished eighth and collected more points but, had the weekend been perfect, maybe a seventh-place finish was on the cards. Despite the many challenges over the weekend, it certainly wasn't the end of the world!”
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