'Finding the rhythm for this track is everything'
Valtteri, you started third and finished fourth. Talk us through your race...
“For sure it's disappointing because I think third was possible and it could have been a completely different Sunday with five hundredths better in Qualifying. We definitely were more unlucky as well I think compared to Red Bull and (Daniel) Ricciardo. While I was stuck behind (Carlos) Sainz and overheating the brakes, Daniel was setting great lap times. I think the pace of Red Bull was quite strong as well. They did really challenge us. They saw the opportunity and they took it, so for sure it’s disappointing to lose the points like that. Just before the pit stop I was starting to struggle with the rear tyres a bit more than the Red Bull. Tyre wear was higher than expected. The first numbers that were calculated, we could nearly do a race with one set of tyres. But there was no way today – at least for us. We're definitely not happy with the amount of points we're leaving Monaco with.”
How did the car behave during the race?
“It was definitely not all the time in the window. We were struggling quite a bit with the backmarkers. If we lost a bit of pace we also lost some front tyre temperature. We also lost a lot of time with managing brakes as we were overheating the callipers. I had to manage that with braking softer and adjusting the brake bias. We lost a lot of time. Doing that you lose the rhythm and Monaco is a track where you need to be pushing all the time. Finding the rhythm for this track is everything. When you have to lift and coast and manage the temperatures it's not good here.”
'It's just a fine line here in Monaco'
What's the reason for your tyre struggles?
“We're struggling to get the car nicely balanced. Especially in the very slow speed corners. I was struggling with the rear stability and when the rear is not stable you are not putting energy through the front tyres either because the fronts are not sliding at all. When the rear is stable the fronts are understeering slightly and that puts more temperature in the front tyres. When you can carry more speed through the corner you just gain more energy and temperature in the tyres. But for some reason Ferrari seems to have both of their axles front and rear always working. For us they are not really coming together at the same time all the time. They are doing a better job at the moment.”
You and Lewis both had a decent FP1 and then struggled in FP2. After that, you were able to get things back on track but Lewis wasn't. Why do you think that you were able to get a better handle on things?
“We both equally struggled in FP2. In FP3 I had a little bit better session with some quicker laps. Setup-wise we were pretty identical. The car wasn't easy to drive this weekend and, like I said, it is all about finding a good rhythm and confidence here. Then you can find chunks of lap time. He made a couple of mistakes in Q2 and had some traffic, so he never got that lap time. I had a few nice laps in a row and was able to build on that. It's just a fine line here in Monaco. He seemed to be struggling a bit more with the balance of the car compared to me this weekend.”
How close was it at the re-start with Daniel Ricciardo?
“It's so tricky to gain a position here. I was trying to secure the place. I was looking for a gap but there was nothing. After the re-start from the Safety Car I thought there was a chance to go for it but then I saw the guardrail coming closer and closer. There was nowhere to go. That was the only opportunity to get the position back.”
'The team knows my potential'
Looking at the race pace of the Red Bull, do you think there are in the mix now?
“For now it was just Monaco – that’s my feeling. It is such a unique track. It is all about downforce and mechanical grip and having a good car over the bumps. Canada is very different. It's full of medium speed corners and chicanes. I think sooner or later they are going to be there. They are a strong team that can make really strong cars. We should never underestimate them. But I reckon Canada could be a bit more tricky for them.”
Ferrari seem to have a clear number one and number two driver. Would you be willing to play that secondary role?
“I don’t know what happened in the race with the Ferraris. But we are not at that point yet. I think I showed good performance this weekend and it's still a long way to go. The team knows my potential.”
Do you feel sorry for your compatriot Kimi Räikkönen. He hasn't won a race in a while and lost the chance today…
“Sure it would have been nicer to see a Finn winning. That's a fact. Kimi was happy for me for my first win. It would have been nice for him. But that's racing. I'm not sad for other people. We're still racing against each other.”