Force India team and drivers preview the Monaco Grand Prix, Round 6 of the 2014 Formula 1 World Championship, taking place on the streets of Monte Carlo;
Vijay Mallya looks back on Spain and sets his sights on more points in Monaco:
Vijay, it was a double points finish in Spain. Another solid performance by the team…
It was a good weekend. Perhaps with a different strategy we could have stolen one more place with Sergio, but overall everybody seemed satisfied that we had come away with a fair result. Barcelona has never been the greatest track for us, so it was good to see both the cars in the points. We brought some updates and worked hard to optimise them, but there is a bit more we can do to take full advantage of those parts in the coming races.
Did you enjoy seeing Nico and Sergio fight against each other for most of the race in Spain?
We didn’t give any team orders; we just let them race as we did in Bahrain. It’s good to have some competition between the drivers. They are both quick; they are hungry and competitive. The spirit is good and they respect each other. As long as they keep scoring points it keeps up their own motivation levels as well.
Did you feel that the pecking order among the teams changed in Barcelona at all?
It’s a given that things will always change in Formula One, especially in the first year following major rules changes. We have noticed that our immediate competitors are getting stronger, but we are working hard to maintain our competitive advantage.
What are your expectations for Monaco?
Monaco is one of the premier events of the year and hopefully we can perform well there. It’s a track where you can take nothing for granted because you have to balance speed with respect for the barriers. It will be interesting with the new cars because it is so unforgiving and the drivers will have to be at their very best.
Driver’s View: Nico Hulkenberg looks to extend his run of points finishes in the principality:
Nico, you kept up your run of points finishes in Spain. That’s five in a row now…
Yes, it keeps up our momentum and shows that we can score points even when we are having a difficult day. It shows we have consistency, which is important for keeping our position in the championship. We are in a big battle with some strong teams and being able to score points race after race could make the difference by the end of the season.
Tell us how much you are looking forward to Monaco…
It’s the event of the year. Your heartbeat goes up when you arrive there and walk over the bridge into the pits. The place looks amazing with the buildings, the scenery and the mountains. Of course the biggest thrill is driving the track because it’s so unique and gives you the biggest excitement of the year.
Would you say it’s the most difficult track of the year?
In terms of precision it’s right up there with Singapore as the toughest race of the year. You never get a break during the lap; you are always working hard because it’s corner after corner. Even the straights are really short and it’s high-speed for such a narrow track. I particularly enjoy the swimming pool area, which is very quick, and the two right-hand corners before the tunnel.
What are your expectations for the weekend?
I think it will be a normal track for us. As far as the pecking order is concerned, it’s very tight and competitive at the moment so we need to keep working hard and keep developing.
Driver’s View: Sergio Perez gets ready for one of the highlights of the year – the showdown in Monaco:
Sergio, Monaco is a favourite of yours – tell us why you enjoy it so much…
It’s a big challenge and I have always believed it’s a circuit where ?the driver can really make a difference. So you always have the chance to do something special there. It’s not the most difficult lap of the year, but you have to always keep your concentration.
Which parts of the lap to you enjoy?
I enjoy Casino Square. It’s quick and you have to be very precise with the way you position the car. The other thing that makes Monaco so special is the fact that it’s unique in every aspect. Every corner is iconic and there is no other race like it.
Do you expect Monaco to deliver any surprises this year?
I don’t believe that there will be a major surprise and I expect the same teams to be at the front.It’s hard to predict how strong we will be, but I hope that we can continue our good form.
You live in Monaco so do you regard this as a home race?
Not really. It’s always nice to have a race where you don’t have to do any travelling and you can sleep in your own bed. For me a home race will be Mexico when Formula One returns there next year.
Subbed by AJN.