Eric Boullier interview, Post-Monaco GP
Eric, Vitaly retired from P13 this afternoon in Monaco. Tell us about his race…
We knew it would be difficult for Vitaly today. Starting from P14 is not ideal, and especially not at a circuit like Monaco where it’s almost impossible to overtake. He was doing a good job in the race when he suffered a puncture, which cost him a lot of time and put him a lap down, then the Safety Car cost him track position because he was caught behind the leaders. In the end, he reported a problem with the rear of the car and because he wasn’t going to score points, we called him into the pits as a precaution. There’s not much more to say; that’s racing.
What positives can you take from the weekend?
You have to look at the whole picture. He did a good job from the start of the weekend and he wasn’t far from Robert in the three practice sessions, without making any mistakes. Monaco is not an easy circuit for any driver, especially a rookie, and he was performing strongly in qualifying, too. We certainly felt he could have made it through to Q3 for the first time, but his accident cost him dear. Overall, though, he showed he had made more progress and he was only half a second away from Robert. That was very encouraging.
More than ever, it seems that Vitaly just needs to put everything together into a smooth weekend, and results will follow. Do you agree?
Of course. He needs to ensure that there are no mistakes that cost him track time, then he will be able to qualify and race inside the top 10. It’s a little bit putting together a good lap: you need to be strong in every sector, then the lap time comes. That will be Vitaly’s challenge in Turkey, to put together a smooth weekend and transform the progress he has made into results.
Vitaly has had accidents on three race weekends in a row. What is the team’s view on this?
We have to give him time to learn. He did very little testing during the winter, and there is a lot of pressure at every race weekend. That makes it all the more important that we don’t add to it unnecessarily. He knows the circuit in Istanbul and, from Vitaly’s point of view, it will be an opportunity to demonstrate what he is capable of. We have great belief in his ability to deliver.