Pic peaks in Monaco
It's no exaggeration to say that after winning pole position, clocking the fastest lap in the race and taking the chequered flag for victory in the Monaco GP curtain-raiser, Charles Pic was the prince of Monaco in his maiden race there! At just 18, the Tech 1 Racing driver is the season's only rookie and only French driver to have won a Formula Renault 3.5 race so far.
The thing which most caught people's attention was the ease with which he mastered a circuit that he didn't know under decidedly awkward weather conditions. He snatched pole position during qualifying with an amazing final lap, flying home a full 1''313 ahead of his closest rival. "The track was wet at the start of the session so we were all on rain tyres. Then we saw that some drivers had mounted their slicks and improved their times. After coming into the pits I only had a single lap in which to go for it before the final flag. In times like this you need all the confidence you can muster, so having a perfect set up is vital. I really must thank the team for all the work they put in to provide me with a car that ran cleanly and reliably all weekend."
That said, the way Charles controlled the race was worthy of an old hand. Time-wise nobody managed to get within half a second of his fastest lap. The young FFSA Team France driver said "I attacked hard in the opening laps in order to open up a gap between myself and championship leader Giedo Van der Garde. When the safety car cancelled out my gap I repeated the same strategy after the restart. I lost a bit of time getting past a back-marker because I didn't want to take any unnecessary risks." Still, at that time Charles was still holding a comfortable lead but it was once again put in doubt when the safety car had to make another sortie. This time however three cars were stranded in the Massenet turn. Since the 44-minute threshold had passed the race officals decided to red-flag the race. Charles' victory was unequivocal and not as unexpected as all that, given that he was already on the podium in Monza in his very first Formula Renault 3.5 outing!
He received his trophy from the hands of Carlos Ghosn, President of Renault Nissan. Not only is this spectacular result good for Charles in terms of his reputation but it also does him no harm as far as the championship standings are concerned. He is lying 3rd in the current standings going into the next round at Silverstone next June 7-8. "I'm not thinking about the championship for the moment. I still have such a lot to learn. The main objective at Silverstone will be to avoid making mistakes."
-credit: charles pic