Personal enjoyment of the Monaco grand prix circuit will drive both Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen on this weekend, despite the improvement shown by Renault at the last race in Spain.

While both drivers will admit to having better performance in Barcelona, neither will predict a return to the front of the field in Monaco this weekend. Both, however, have their own reasons for looking forward to the fifth round of the season.

"I can't really put it into words," Fisichella admitted, "I like the circuit a lot, I usually have a good feeling straight away, and it is one of the unmissable events in motor racing. The races are full of incident, so you have to be ready to take every opportunity and push all the way while staying at maximum concentration to avoid making mistakes. It's a pretty fun challenge to be honest, and I can't wait to get out on the track on Thursday.

"There is a really special atmosphere in Monte Carlo. The paddock is in the middle of the city, plus the circuit is fun for the drivers and the engineers because it's so different to a normal track. You feel much closer to the people and, at the same time, you can sense this is a place full of history, one of the legendary places in motor sport. It is a grand prix unlike any other, and that makes it really interesting."

The Italian has years more experience of racing in the Principality than his rookie team-mate, but Kovalainen's previous forays have left him wanting more this weekend.

"I can't wait!" the Finn bubbled, "This is one of the most interesting races of the whole year because the circuit is so unusual. On a street circuit, you simply cannot afford to make mistakes. If you brake a bit too late, you are in the wall, and that's game over. You have to concentrate for every instant. I have good memories of my GP2 race in Monaco, when I set pole, led most of the race and, in spite of pit-stop problems, finished fifth. I am really looking forward to seeing what the circuit is like to drive in an F1 car!

"To be honest, I think it is tighter and even more narrow than what you see on television! The corners are tighter, the walls are always too close... It is almost impossible to pass unless you are much faster, or your competitor makes a mistake. You are so close to the buildings that the sound is bouncing off them, and that means you hear your engine much louder - and the engines of the cars around you. It's a really strange feeling in the opening laps, but Monaco is a spectacular grand prix, and it will be an interesting race."

Renowned as something of a Monaco specialist, Fisichella probably holds Renault's best chance of a decent result this weekend, and the Italian is buoyed by most of what he found last time out in Spain.

"Okay, my race in Barcelona was a tough one, because of the refuelling problems, but I think our level of performance during the weekend was better," he surmised, "Hopefully, we can carry on moving in the same direction. We are not on the pace of the leaders yet, and we are honest about it, but we are moving forward, and that's important for the motivation and for the team. We are determined to bounce back, and everybody is working flat out to make sure that happens as soon as possible."

 

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