I would say it was difficult and a little bit surprising in the end because I didn’t expect to finish in the top 10 after starting from the pit lane. I had a very heavy fuel load at the start of the race and, especially at Monaco, this is hard work for a driver.
So were you happy with 10th?
I am never happy with 10th place because my goals are a lot higher than that, but considering how the car felt on Saturday and the results we had in qualifying I would say we achieved the best result we could realistically expect.
Why did you start from the pit lane?
After qualifying it was obvious we had problems with the car so we took it out of parc fermé to make some changes to the set-up and the suspension to try to improve the situation. Anyway, considering the qualifying result we had nothing to lose.
How were the lap times during the race?
Naturally, with such a heavy fuel load it was not possible to set really fast laps at the start of the race but that was expected. However, towards the end of the race when I was on the super soft tyres my lap times were not too bad and that helped me to break into the top 10 which is not an easy thing to do when you start from the pit lane at Monaco!
Why did you have such a heavy fuel load at the start of the race?
After qualifying I discussed the strategy as usual with my engineers and we decided the best chance of making up some positions was to go for a long first stint. This also potentially put us in a good position in case there was a safety car, which is likely at Monaco. In the end there wasn’t a safety car and that is actually quite an unusual situation in Monaco when you look at what has happened in recent years.
Do you know why the car performance didn’t meet expectations in Monaco?
The team is still analysing this as there was no obvious reason for our qualifying performance. We expected to be pretty competitive so it was a surprise in practice when we could see the pace wasn’t there. From then on we knew it was going to be a tough weekend. Ideally in Monaco you want to start the weekend with a set-up you are happy with and then just make some adjustments to match the track evolution but that didn’t happen for us.
Do you expect a similar weekend in Turkey?
I am confident Monaco was a one-off because we had been really competitive in the previous races, so we know the car is pretty good. Monaco is a unique track so I think we won’t have the same issues in Turkey. Nevertheless, we have to push really hard to understand what happened and to improve the car for the next races. We are third in the Constructors’ Championship and everyone back in Cologne is working hard to get more and more performance from the car so even though Monaco was disappointing we are staying positive. This is important.