We showed some great speed at the Monaco F2 race at the weekend, and our performance has given me a lot of confidence going forward.
I was feeling optimistic when I arrived at the track on Thursday morning. I was also just really looking forward to driving the circuit I had performed so well at last year. I love it here – the barriers being so close, flirting with danger around every corner, it’s a proper drivers’ circuit.
We knew that our speed in qualifying was good and being 11th quickest in practice gave me confidence that we could continue my run of top 10 starting positions this season.
However, because of the way qualifying works in Monaco with the split grid, and I had traffic on my best laps, I ended up 14th. I was in the slower group and we didn’t quite have the speed we had hoped for. However, I was optimistic that we could turn it around in the Feature Race, even though overtaking is notoriously difficult in Monte Carlo.
The strategy was panning out well before the red flag period and I knew we were getting locked in for a points finish. To come away with ninth was something I was really happy with, especially from my grid position, but we could have done more were it not for the procedural issue by F2 when we got going again. A lot of us ended up a lap down by error when we should have had a crack at the leaders who were yet to stop, so there was potential for a top five result.
Nonetheless I am proud of those two points, but I was even more proud of my start in the Sprint Race. It has to be the best of my season so far, maybe my best ever. It’s barely over 100 meters from the grid to the first corner in Monaco, so making up two places into St. Devote and getting into seventh felt awesome.
I was settling into a nice rhythm when my engine went. My heart sank because we were on course for our best points haul of 2019, and I could have made up another place because one of the cars in front slipped back shortly after I retired.
But that’s the way racing goes sometimes. I’m keeping my spirits up in the meantime as we have about a month until the next round at Circuit Paul Ricard in France. My Trident team and I will be using that time to improve the car in whatever way we can and hopefully go for more big points there.
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