Q & A with Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado arrives in Monaco confident that he can score his Williams team's first points of the year, in a circuit where he has enjoyed a lot of success in the past

Q & A with Pastor Maldonado

AUTOSPORT heard from the Venezuelan ahead of the start of the weekend.

Q. A lot of people label you as 'the' Monaco specialist. Do you agree with that view?

Pastor Maldonado: It is always difficult. Maybe in the past in other categories it was probably a bit easier to make a difference. But now I am quite confident as I know the track very well. I think it is a very great opportunity for the team to score some points - and we need it. So I will do my best to achieve a very good position.

Q. Have you gone back over your career to work out exactly why it is that you have been so quick here? It is your driving style? Is it the impact on tyre temperatures?

PM: I think here the driver can make a difference much easier than other tracks. There are not a lot of quick corners here, so the aerodynamics of the car is not working as it does in Barcelona and other tracks like that. The grip level is not so high, so the driver can make a difference here.

Q. Were you always good in Monaco, or did you have to practice?

PM: I have always been good from my very first time.

Q. Did you do a lot of street racing earlier in your career?

PM: No. Never. This was my first time in a street race.

Q. It's just hard to find a reason for your Monaco speed?

PM: Well, I enjoy to drive in the wet - and it is the same as you do not have a lot of grip and the driver can make the difference. It is more or less the same way.

Q. The organisers have had to resurface some of the track at Ste. Devote overnight because of a lorry fire, will that affect things?

PM: I don't know. I have seen where the new bit is, and I think it is not exactly on the racing line. But, we need to see when we are in the car. But for sure tomorrow will be a bit more difficult because the track is too dirty, and it is going to change quite a lot for Sunday after the race, free practice, GP2 and World Series. It will change a lot.

Q. In what areas do you think it will be the biggest jump between World Series and GP2, and F1?

PM: It is never easy. But, for sure, in a track like this when you never come and practice, even for a team, to have the experience can make a difference to the whole weekend. I feel good in the car here on the streets, so it could a bit less difficult than for the other drivers.

Q. How will the Williams car be this weekend? Where are its strengths and weaknesses?

PM: Here, it is very difficult to predict. But, the car could be good. The need for aero efficiency is not as high as it is at other tracks, so the difference can be smaller here.

Q. A lot of drivers expect that because of the nature of the Pirelli tyres, there is a bigger chance of drivers making more mistakes this weekend. Would you agree?

PM: It is going to be so difficult this race, because of the tyre degradation especially, but also because of the DRS. In the race, after 10 laps, you will have no tyres and no grip, and if you can use the DRS it is going to be quite difficult for everybody. I think one of the most important things here in Monaco is the qualifying, because even if you don't have the same pace in the race or a quick pace in the race, you can maintain your position and keep the same slot you had in qualifying.

Q. How much experience do you have on the super soft tyre?

PM: I tried it at the Barcelona test. I think I feel quite good, on that. But here it is going to be completely different because it is not the same conditions. The track is so slow, with the corners and everything, so we will use the tyres in both braking and acceleration and it will feel like a new tyre here.

Q. You have had many good memories here, but also a bad one with the World Series crash in 2005. What do you remember of that?

PM: Nothing...It is in the past. I was excluded from the GP and afterwards for some races, but in the end I came back and I won. Now, it is in the past and you need to look forward.

Q. With the uncertainties about strategy and the tyres, are you approaching this weekend as one where you have an opportunity for a giant-killing performance?

PM: For sure, yeah.

Q. So it's your best chance of the season then?

PM: Until now, yes. For sure. We have a lot of chances to make our first points here - and especially for Rubens (Barrichello). He is so constant, he is so experienced and he knows the track very well. I think it is going to be a good chance for us.

Q. What will be the key factor to ensure that you are the one who ends up as the one getting the opportunities and not someone else?

PM: You need to build the weekend. Tomorrow is going to be a bit more difficult because we need to try many different things in the car - we need to understand and take the right decisions for qualifying. As I told you before, the key will be qualifying to be in Q3, to have a great start and keep the pace during the race.

Q. And how do you think you are now with your qualifying?

PM: Very good. I think here the only problem will be the traffic, especially in Q1. But it is the same for everybody. We need to have a little bit of luck.

Q. What about the challenge of Q2?

PM: Just push! Have a clean lap, that is important - especially here, to have no traffic.

Q. Which is the key corner here then?

PM: I think to make the difference, you must be very focused on all the corners. But for sure the Swimming Pool is an exciting and difficult corner because of the high speed, but even the braking after the Tunnel is quite strong, with low grip - and going down.

Q. Are you happy that Charlie Whiting agreed to say no to DRS in the tunnel?

PM: Yes, for sure. In terms of safety, it will already be difficult in other parts.

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