Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo loves racing at Monaco. His two World Series by Renault events in the Principality were clean sweeps of pole and victory. Last year he didn’t finish his maiden F1 Monaco Grand Prix after clipping a kerb and damaging his steering – he has higher hopes for this year.
I still get just as excited coming here as I did the first time. The race, the atmosphere, everything about this place is great. And the Red Bull Energy Station in the harbour is kick-ass. I love it; it’s just so cool. I have visions of the future, when I’m not racing, coming here to chill out, take a swim in the pool, sink a couple of beers and watch the next generation hammering around the streets. Monaco’s just superb.
But back to the present, this is my sort of track. It’s got a real old-school vibe and like all street circuits, it’s a lot of fun. Last year I was really buzzing to race here. It didn’t go how I imagined, I really wanted to be quicker than I was, so this year I’m not going to talk it up too much – but I am confident we’ll be competitive and I’ll show some proper speed around the Circuit de Monaco.
We’ve had five races so far in 2013, so we should be getting to the point where we know our car and its capabilities – but Monaco is another unusual circuit so the lessons learnt in the last couple of months don’t necessarily apply. The one thing that should guide us is that Barcelona is a very high downforce circuit and this is even higher downforce – if you have it. So, because we were quicker in Barcelona than the team has been for the last few years, that probably points to us having a positive race here. Certainly we should be stronger than we were last year.
That’s a start. On top of that I’m a year older and experience definitely helps because the circuit is so difficult. It’s one where the driver can make a big difference if he knows the tricks that a fast lap demands.
It’s definitely somewhere the driver influences the outcome more than at other circuits. The effect is more apparent in junior categories where the drivers are all inexperienced on street circuits. In F1 you still need a fast car to get on pole because the 21 guys you’re racing against have all been here before as well – but experience of the track might be the thing that makes the difference, for example, between making it into Q3 and just missing out. Pastor Maldonado proved that a couple of years ago when he made it into Q3 in a Williams that shouldn’t have been there – because he knows this circuit.
I hoped I’d do the do the same last year but I didn’t pull it out. But I get another chance this weekend.
- More F1 on redbull.com/motorsports
- Visit the official Formula 1 website
- Search for Formula 1 videos on YouTube