Fresh from scoring points at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Lotus Renault Grand Prix driver Nick Heidfeld is looking forward to the most prestigious race of the season: the Monaco Grand Prix.
You made a strong performance in Spain after starting the race at the very back of the grid? "Yes, I was satisfied with finishing eighth after starting last. I had to be determined and fight through the field with a number of overtaking manœuvres so it was good fun for me behind the wheel – I enjoyed the race a lot. And similarly to Turkey, with one or two laps more I could have gained a couple of positions from the two Mercedes cars, but it was still a good result and gives me lots of confidence going into Monaco."
Looking ahead to Monaco – how do you think the team can compete there? "Monaco is a very different track from the Circuit de Cataluña. The circuit is not a dedicated race track which means it is used by public vehicles. It is more bumpy than a race track, but the surface is actually very smooth meaning it is very slippery. We will be using Pirelli’s softest tyres for this race, and this will be a key factor. It will be interesting to see how we can compete there, but in the past the car has been well-suited to the circuit and I’m confident it will be the same this year."
Talking about the tyres, which is a hot topic at the moment, how do you expect them to behave? "Well, over the course of the weekend, the track surface has historically improved more than any other circuit on the F1 calendar. This time around it will be interesting to see by how much and in what way it improves because these Pirelli tyres work very differently from the Bridgestone tyres we used previously. I expect tyres will be a key factor in Monaco, as they have been at the other races too."
Tell us more about the experience of the Monaco Grand Prix – it’s known to be quite a busy few days… "Well Monaco is one of my favourite circuits and it usually a really fun race. The schedule is unique as we run on Thursday (starting a day earlier than usual) but we do not drive at all on Friday. We then return to action on Saturday – with P3 and Qualifying – and the Race on Sunday. Even though I have competed here many times, it does feel different to the other races and a little strange when you are used to the normal race schedule. But, you have to remember Monaco is its own race - it is and will always remain unique."
What elements of the Monaco race make it so special and memorable? "Well, if I had to recommend a race for spectators to go to I would tell them to go to Monaco – it is such a special event. The location is fantastic and there is such an amazing atmosphere all around us, it’s a really crazy race. It is not the easiest circuit for the team to work at, as it’s such a small location, but it is an essential part of Formula 1 and it is a great spectacle for everyone involved."Source Lotus Renault GP