"Monaco: my home town! Obviously, I associate many wonderful memories with this place. It’s where I grew up and where I now live as an adult. But in sporting terms too, I have had some great moments there: in particular last year when I won there for the first time in my Formula One career. That was an absolutely incredible feeling. Driving a Formula One car there is simply fantastic and it’s an event every driver looks forward to each year. Overall I was quite pleased with the last race weekend in Barcelona. Disappointed, of course, not to have taken the win but happy that the team achieved another one-two finish. The Championship battle is very close and to re-gain the advantage at my home race would be fantastic, so I’ll be pushing harder than ever to make that happen. I had a productive day of testing in Barcelona where we made some good progress with braking and starts: two areas that I feel are costing me time at the moment. Hopefully that will give me the extra edge next weekend. It should be an exciting weekend and I can’t wait to get started."
Monaco: In the Cockpit with Nico Rosberg
Monaco represents an immense challenge for the drivers. As you negotiate all those narrow streets, it’s extremely difficult to get the most out of yourself and the car without making a mistake as the circuit is very unforgiving. The slightest miscalculation can ruin the entire weekend and deprive you of a potentially excellent result. It may still be possible to salvage a respectable finish, but if you’re aiming for victory or a podium then you really can’t afford to make any mistakes. You’re constantly driving at the limit and these new turbocharged Hybrid cars will make it even more of a challenge.
What makes for a fast car in Monaco? You need a soft setup but you have to avoid overdoing it. You also need the maximum in terms of downforce. Handling could play a special role this year. Turbocharged cars are very different to their predecessors. They can be more difficult to drive through certain types of corner and you notice it a lot more on a street circuit like Monaco.
With the barriers hemming you in on both sides, you’re driving at the limit all the time. You can’t see very far ahead, which means you have to navigate most of the track from memory. You have to know which corners are coming up next. One of the key points is the hairpin: the slowest turn on the entire race calendar and an exceptionally difficult corner to get right.
The next unusual feature is the tunnel. The big difficulty here is that it’s obviously much darker than the rest of the track. As you emerge, your eyes need to quickly readjust to the bright sunlight. This is quite problematic, because you have to prepare for the next braking zone which follows on immediately. At this moment every second counts: especially because the bumpy surface on the section leading down to the chicane can easily throw your car out of line. I always have a smile on my face at this point, as it used to be my route to school. The school bus used to take us through the tunnel each day but now I’m roaring along the same road in a 300 km/h Formula One car. That’s quite a special feeling!