Despite losing his voice and spending his entire race stuck in traffic, Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo says he’s still in love with the Monaco Grand Prix.
I’d gone to Monaco with high hopes of doing something special but in the end Monaco was a frustrating race. We gambled on rain falling and when it didn’t, that certainly hurt us. It was one of those times when, unless you’ve got a weather forecaster with a crystal ball, it was always going to be a coin toss. The radar said rain was coming, so the team decided to keep me out on the supersofts past the point where I’d usually have come in. The plan was to wait it out until the rain started to fall, come in for the inters and then take places off those who needed to pit for a second time. The rain never came and in the end I had to pit for the soft tyre and as a result lost quite a bit of track time. I think I drove pretty well and did all I could, so I’m not too upset. It’s just one of those things.
And frankly, even though I spent the second half of the race behind Button and Kovalainen and knew it was going to be very unlikely I’d score, I still enjoyed it. It’s an enormous buzz to drive an F1 car in Monaco. Everyone was pushing each other hard, trying to force a mistake and it’s really, really good fun. I’d have liked a better weekend but I’ve come away from Monaco still in love with the circuit.
It is a bit disappointing, given that I won there the last two times out in the World Series by Renault. We know there are faster cars than ours in F1 at the moment but Monaco, as I said before the weekend, is a circuit where the driver can make more of a difference. But the reality of F1 is that the competition is seriously tough. I still felt strong around the circuit but there’s a grid full of guys who feel strong too – and lots of them know a few more Monaco tricks than I do. Something to remember for the future.
The other thing I’ll remember is that I spend the weekend virtually speechless. I lost my voice going into the weekend, which was a little inconvenient. I suspect I didn’t take too well to the air conditioner on the plane. It left me feeling a bit frustrated and more than a little useless because this really isn’t the circuit where you want to have a problem communicating.
In the end we figured out a series of signals through which I could communicate with my engineer during the race. Basically he’d do most of the talking and I’d answer by using some of the buttons on the steering wheel, which he would pick up on telemetry. It worked out OK but it wasn’t exactly ideal.
Anyway, that’s done. My voice is slowly returning and I should be fine for Canada. I’ve only had a limited amount of time on the track in Montreal but it seems to be a hell of a good circuit for racing. Obviously it presents a very different challenge to Monaco. We did a little bit of preparation for it while testing in Mugello, that should help us but I guess we’ll find out on Friday. As usual I’m optimistic we could be in for a good one – and hopefully it will really get our season into gear. Or this week it might really rain – and as we all saw last year, if it does anything can happen.