Vitaly Petrov: “When people think of F1, they think of Monaco”
You had a difficult race in Barcelona at the weekend – what was your take on events there?
Yes, it was difficult and naturally I was disappointed that I could not take advantage of the strong position I secured for myself in qualifying. I could have had an even higher position going into the race, but in qualifying the middle sector of my last lap was weak. In the race itself, I did not drive so successfully in certain parts after I stopped, but what I did learn from the experience is that ideally we would like to have more new, fresh tyres. Tyre degradation was a real factor there, and I think it affected my drive on Sunday.
What are going to be the key aspects to concentrate on in Monaco?
It’s a different type of race, a one-off. Qualifying will be very important. I feel we can qualify for the race very strongly and near to the front – this will be the key here, of that there’s no doubt. If you don’t qualify well, it makes it very difficult to move up a long way because there are not too many overtaking opportunities. It’s a tight circuit and opportunities are at a premium so Saturday will be an absolutely crucial day for us.
Do you feel driving at Monaco is something special?
It is, it really is. It’s an unusual race, different to the others because of the layout, the schedule over the weekend and how close spectators are to the action. It is a place where, as a driver, you really have to concentrate because it is a tight circuit. But, I have good memories there because I finished second there in GP2 back in 2009 so I’m looking forward to coming back and trying to achieve some more success. What you also have to remember is that Monaco is a massive fixture not just in motorsport but in all sport. When people think of F1, they think of the Monaco race. For that very reason, we know this is the big one.
How would you compare being an F1 driver now compared to this time last year?
Well, we have the KERS and Drag Reduction system (DRS) to deal with so there is considerably more for a driver to think about in the cockpit. At the moment, it is good having them (KERS and DRS) because it helps the overtaking considerably, so I think it’s a good thing. For me, this is not the main issue at the moment – the tyres are what we have to understand because these are affecting the outcomes of races.