Vitaly Petrov: "Each race teaches me something new" Vitaly, in Spain you completed your first dry race. How was the weekend from your perspective? It was a weekend with positives and negatives, and another race that taught me a lot. It was...
Vitaly Petrov: "Each race teaches me something new"
Vitaly, in Spain you completed your first dry race. How was the weekend from your perspective?
It was a weekend with positives and negatives, and another race that taught me a lot. It was very important for me to complete the race and get some more experience of the car in dry conditions -- how the balance changes during the race and how to manage the tyres. The car felt consistent and the pace was good, but it was always going to be difficult to score points because overtaking is so difficult there. I had a good battle with Kobayashi for most of the race and managed to stay ahead of him, but I was disappointed to just miss out on points.
Has adapting to Formula 1 been as challenging as you expected it to be?
The most difficult thing is to put together the perfect weekend, and I think that comes down to experience. You need to get the most from the car in every session and you can't afford to make any mistakes because it affects your entire weekend. That's why races like Spain are an important part of my learning curve and I certainly feel more confident now that I have completed a full race distance in the dry. I know there are lots of areas where I can still improve and that it's important to spend as much time as I can with my engineers to try and understand everything about the car. Each race teaches me something new and is another chance to improve.
We now head to Monaco this weekend -- is it a track you enjoy?
I'm really looking forward to Monaco and driving an F1 car there for the first time. I enjoyed the track in GP2 and I'm sure it will be even better in my F1 car. But I know it will be a difficult race too because it's a street circuit and there's no room for error. Also, overtaking is almost impossible in Monaco so qualifying will be very important, and it won't be easy with so many cars on the circuit, especially in Q1. I think to complete just one clean flying lap will be a good achievement. More than anything, it's important not to make any mistakes if we want to finish in the points.
Robert Kubica: "I enjoy street circuits and I've always gone well in Monaco"
Robert, you scored points last weekend in Spain, but you ended the race a bit disappointed...
It was a bit frustrating because I had a difficult first lap and lost three places, which affected the rest of my race. I also made contact with Kobayashi, which damaged my car and gave me a lot of understeer. Even with the damage, I was surprised that my pace was not too bad and I was able to follow Sutil closely after my pit stop. But it's so difficult to overtake in Barcleona and there was no chance to get by him. Although it was encouraging to see our pace during the weekend, especially compared to Mercedes, I felt that we should have come away with more points.
Looking ahead to Monaco, is it a race you enjoy and what are your expectations for the weekend?
I always enjoy street circuits, especially Monaco, and I've always gone well there. There are aspects of Monaco that are both positive and negative for our car, so it's difficult to know how competitive we will be until free practice begins on Thursday. Also, as we saw in Barcelona, qualifying is going to be the most important part of the weekend because overtaking is even more difficult in Monaco. If you want to score good points you need to qualify towards the front and avoid any mistakes.
What is the secret to a good set-up in Monaco?
It's all about having a car that is reactive and easy to drive. To find those final few tenths you need a car that gives you the confidence to really push to the limit and almost kiss the barrier with your tyres. I expect it will be even more challenging to drive Monaco this year with a full tank of fuel because the car will become less reactive. The tunnel used to be taken flat, but with heavy fuel I expect it will be much more of a challenge.