“I was really gutted with how Monaco turned out because we were very quick in all the free practice sessions and I felt very comfortable with the track. We’d managed to find a good car set-up for this unique circuit and then, in the one session where we really had to get everything right, we made mistakes that cost us dear, as Qualifying is the most important session of the weekend. We did not manage it well and then, starting from the back, it’s more or less mission impossible. But I was happy about the wet conditions, as that would give us more of a chance. I can be very happy with the race, taking risks, pitting on the first lap for Inters in low grip conditions, passing cars and putting on a show, so it was frustrating not be rewarded with at least a point. As a team we know we have work to do to perform at the highest level in the coming races. We know the performance level is there, so we are going to keep pushing even if we have lacked success so far, but there are signs that we still have plenty of chances to do something good, maybe starting this weekend in Baku.
I have a good feeling about this race, as the Baku track is made up of nothing but slow corners and we know that, so far this year, we seem to struggle more in high speed turns. So, I think the layout could potentially suit us. We mustn’t forget there’s that long main straight, so we will have to see how we deal with that. But overall, I’m reasonably optimistic we can perform well there. Last year we did really well here, as I finished on the podium in third place after qualifying fourth and it was an excellent race for the team as Yuki was also in the points in seventh. So, we come to Baku to “defend” that result. Getting a tow down that final long straight would be helpful for Qualifying, but apart from that, it’s another street circuit, very twisty and tight with characteristics similar to Monaco, which means mechanical grip has a greater importance than at other tracks. We had the speed in Monaco, let’s see if we have it here too.”
“Since the last race, I’ve spent some time in the factory and we had several meetings to analyse what happened in Monaco. We were consistently in the top ten during all free practice sessions, so we had high expectations going into Qualifying, thinking we would get both cars into Q3. Unfortunately, it turned out to be our poorest Qualifying of the year, made worse by the fact that my problem in Q1 affected Pierre’s performance too, although I’m not sure why the session was red flagged for such a small incident. But the bottom line is that you shouldn’t crash into the wall in Quali! As for the race the rain, which can sometimes help, did not work in my favour. Maybe next time.
Now we go to Baku, which was a really strong race for us last year. I qualified eighth and was P5 in the race until I lost a couple of places in the last moments after the red flag, which left a one lap race to the finish. There are not many downsides or parts I don’t like about Baku. I particularly enjoy sector 2, where it goes past the old buildings, and there are plenty of passing opportunities not just on the very long straight, so in general I like it. I hope we can have a clean race week in Azerbaijan and score some points. The team needs to have a strong weekend, putting everything together for the best possible result. We must not repeat what happened in Monaco.”