Renault preview the Monaco GP

Kevin Magnussen says his “best is yet to come” at Monaco while Jolyon Palmer says the Monte Carlo street circuit is the “biggest challenge” in F1…

Jolyon Palmer

Just in case

Thinking of Monaco…
I love it! It’s tight and twisty and the barriers are so close meaning there’s no room for error. As a race track it’s the craziest one I’ve ever driven, not just because it’s a street course, it’s a street course like no other; it’s a proper road that’s used by the public every day and it wasn’t designed to be a race track, it’s very bumpy and it’s very easy to make a mistake and end up in the wall. It presents a really exacting challenge to deliver a fast lap time as you need to be practically brushing the walls everywhere. To put everything together and to win in Monaco is the biggest challenge in Formula 1.

How do you overtake?
With a lot of commitment! It’s very difficult: firstly you need a good pace advantage on the guy in front, and preferably you want him to make a mistake! There are a couple of places: Ste Devote is one, and there’s a DRS zone there too, and then into the chicane is the most obvious opportunity. Everywhere around Monaco takes a lot of commitment. Any overtake attempt you make could end up in contact with your competitor or the wall so you really have to balance the risk and reward. You have to get your move right and hope the other guy sees you; even if you do everything right, if your rival doesn’t see you it’s likely there’ll be contact.

Monaco memories…
One race I remember really well from watching when I was young was when Olivier Panis won. I watched this as a little boy – at about five years old – and it was a crazy Grand Prix, seeing Panis win in a Ligier! It just shows what can be possible. It’s a difficult track to overtake but there have been so many legendary races there!
I won twice in the GP2 Series in Monaco. My first win in GP2 was in Monaco in 2012 in the Sprint race where I nailed it off the start, took the lead at Ste Devote after a messy first corner then controlled it to the chequered flag. Then in 2014, it was pole, fastest lap and race win.

Glamour and parties…
I love it. That’s part of Monaco and what makes it so special. The circuit is a great circuit by itself, but put it in the context of where it is on the harbour front and add the whole atmosphere of the weekend where you have a great party ambience and the whole buzz of the place makes something really special. It’s a race that each and every fan needs to experience at some time in their life. It’s Formula 1 with a festival atmosphere.

Kevin Magnussen

Just in case

On Monaco…
Monaco is always a nice experience, the circuit is awesome to drive and the event is one of the most spectacular of the season. There’s a great history of Formula 1 there and the whole experience is great.

On the Monaco parties…
Of course, you’re aware of all the parties going on but when you’re there to race that is where your focus is. You can’t go mad over a race weekend, you just have to go to bed and know that there’s plenty of opportunity to party other times when you’re not at a race. I’ll happily miss a great party if it means I get to race a Formula 1 car around Monaco.

First experience of Monaco…
My first experience of driving Monaco was in a World Series by Renault car and I was so excited. It’s just awesome – there’s no other word – as it amazes you how narrow it is and busy you are over the course of a lap. I felt like I knew it so well from watching Formula 1 on television so many times before driving it myself, but there’s nothing like driving Monaco.

Previous results…
I’ve always been fast there but I haven’t had the results to show it. The best is yet to come.

On the Spanish Grand Prix…
I was pretty gutted as I was pushing so hard for the entire race and yet the performance wasn’t coming. There was a good opportunity after the crash on the first lap to move forward through the field, yet we weren’t able to do so. We couldn’t see anything on the data that was wrong with the car, so you start asking if the tyres aren’t in their working range or is there some other issue? After the race, the team discovered that the steering rack was damaged from contact with the kerbs which meant the handling was unpredictable and explained why I wasn’t able to get the performance I expected. I didn’t stop pushing, though, especially after we made a late stop for a fresh set of tyres.

On pushing right to the end…
You need to keep pushing right to the end of the race, even if it looks like you’re a long way from the points. You never know what could happen ahead; someone could fail to finish, there could be an accident between your rivals or a driver could get disqualified. Every position counts.

On Testing
It was interesting being part of the team when Esteban was driving as I spent time with my engineers and listening to the radio. It was more interesting when I was in the car and it was fabulous to have over 120 laps to enjoy the latest specification power unit and help the team understand so many new parts for the car. We made good progress on many fronts so I’m looking forward to seeing these developments on the car in the coming races.

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