Monaco Grand Prix: Williams preview Monte Carlo

Felipe Massa leads Valtteri Bottas

Felipe Massa leads Valtteri Bottas

Former Williams star Nelson Piquet once likened the Monaco Grand Prix to riding a bicycle around his living room.

Anyone who has attended the race will know that’s untrue; riding a bike indoors is much easier than controlling an 850bhp grand prix car through the streets of the Principality!

The track is narrow, bumpy and unforgiving, and those factors combine to make overtaking very difficult. The working conditions are difficult because the teams have to work in a makeshift paddock and the narrowest pitlane of the year, and yet everyone still loves the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Principality first staged a motor race through its streets in 1928 and it remains the jewel in F1’s crown. The race’s unique blend of glamour and history makes it one that every driver wants to win, although Williams have won here only once, in 2003. When will the team win again?

Rob Smedley:  Clearly Monaco is very different to where we have been so far this season. The race engineer plays a key part of the race weekend as they have to think a little outside the box and work differently in terms of car specification. This has taken up a lot of time preparing in the simulator. It’s a race of attrition and small mistakes can hurt you badly. The whole team are flat out all weekend, ensuring that all the finer details are covered and that the approach is correct, if this all goes well then we should be able to get some good points. It’s a very special place, Monaco, it’s the last of its kind.

Felipe Massa: I love Monaco. I live there so it’s great to be able to go home and see the family and sleep in my own bed after each day in the car. I am luckier than most as this happens at two races for me (Monaco and Brazil). The track is amazing and steeped in history. We will need good stability for the circuit as it’s so tight and traction is more important than top speed. The slow corners are very slow, but the track demands a lot of focus. The barriers are close, and it takes time getting use to driving right up against them, sometimes you can even touch them and still do a good lap. Monaco is a special place, there are no tracks like it on the calendar and that makes us enjoy it even more.

Valtteri Bottas: Qualifying in Monaco is the most important of the season as the design of the circuit makes it very hard to overtake in the race. Strategy is also important in the race as you want to make sure that no time or positions are lost during the pitstop, it will be hard to make those positions up. There is no room for mistakes in Monaco as the barriers will punish you. I am really confident driving there now that I have experience, and so [I'm] looking forward to the race. It’s also the closest thing I will have to a home grand prix as I live in Monaco, it will be nice to go from home in the morning.

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