Monaco preview quotes: Force India
Q. You have become known as a Monaco specialist. How do you feel about this year's race?
AS: It's always nice to go back there, because it's one of my favourite circuits, I like the atmosphere and the whole weekend. It's very special, and it's a nice circuit with good memories for me. Two years ago I was quickest in wet practice and we went even better last year, again in very tricky conditions with rain and a drying circuit. I've had two good years in a row, and hopefully I'll have maybe another one now. But it's always up to the conditions to a certain extent.
Q. How did you feel last year when you started moving up the order and your strategy began to work out?
AS: For sure it was very nice. Every lap I passed the pit I saw one position on my pit board and I thought it's going well. When I was up in the points I thought 'Wow, this is my race!'. When I was in fourth position I was doing fastest laps at that stage in the race, and it was unbelievable.
Everything came together, we were on a really good strategy, and it was perfect. When it dried it was the right time to change onto slick tyres. Everything was 100%. Then there was the shock for me and all the team. It was like a dream, or a nightmare actually. You think you're going to wake up, and nothing's happened. It sounds dramatic, but that's how it really was. Still I think it was a very great weekend. I made the most of it, and I was very proud.
Q. What's so special about Monaco for you, why do you feel so at home there?
AS: I just like the circuit layout and since F3 times I've been fast there. It's very narrow, you have to risk quite a lot to be fast, and you have to go very close to the wall all the time. And you have to know the circuit, the different cambers and the tricky areas where you have to be really precise. You can go there and make an impression with a slower car as the driver can have more input, so your motivation is right up. Maybe that's why everything comes together!
This year you've got the most competitive car that you've ever had. Do you really feel that you can get further up the grid?
AS: Potentially yes. I think the field will again be very close together, so every hundredth counts. It could be similar to Bahrain, where we just needed a few hundredths to go into Q2, and I hope to find that on my flying lap in qualifying. I think this is going to be one of our best opportunities to get into Q2.
Q. Would another wet weekend help you?
AS: It always helps us. It's risky, anything can happen. You can have aquaplaning and end up in the wall, like in Shanghai, but it's clear that on average we're in the top 10 in the wet races, so it's much easier for us to score points. That's why I'm always looking forward to a few drops of rain in any race.
Q. The last race in Spain seemed quite encouraging. What is your perspective on it now, 10 days on?
GF: Spain was quite a good race for us. On my first stint, after I changed to the softer tyre, I could fight with Nakajima, Kubica and Piquet and then in the last part of the race I was lapping quicker than anyone else. Overall the car felt good, the pace was quite encouraging and I think we can be pretty pleased with how it went. The front adjustable wing seems to make things easier and with the modifications coming through now I think it looks OK for the second part of the year. If we can qualify better than we have been doing so far, we could get some better results.
Q. Giancarlo, is Monaco an event you look forward to?
GF: Yes, definitely. For me, Monaco is the best track in the world, one of my favourites, as the twisty track itself is phenomenal, the fans are so close to the cars so you get a real atmosphere, and the surroundings are so beautiful. It's certainly the best place for a celebration - I have to hope that we can celebrate a good result on Sunday too! It has given me some good results and good memories as well. Last year I celebrated my 200th race start, I've been on the podium twice in 1998 and 2000 and 2007 was particularly good as I came home 4th when no one was expecting it.
Q. What do you think is possible this year?
GF: Realistically this year points are going to be difficult particularly if it's dry and overtaking is even more difficult. But getting a good result is my target. We have an upgraded aero package that will for sure help us, but the whole race is a lottery so you've got to be lucky too.