Zane Maloney will be in the thick of the action in both races around the streets of Monte Carlo after Qualifying fifth overall for Rodin Carlin. The Bajan driver was satisfied with his efforts after a hectic session that was curtailed by a late Red Flag.

While there may well have been time left on the table for many of the drivers courtesy of the early stoppage, Maloney has no real complaints about how the session unfolded for him and his team. The Carlin driver admitted that even with a few scrapes of the barriers along the way, he was happy to be in contention inside the top 10.

“Even before the session started, we're at the back of the pitlane, so we expected there to be quite a lot of traffic and quite difficult, but the team sent me out in a great position on track,” Maloney explained.

“Usually we have two sets of tyres on most tracks. In Monaco, we know that it’s one set of tyres, maybe three laps if everything goes perfect for you, so you have to be on it straight away. If you start three or four-tenths slower, then you're never gonna make that back in three laps. In terms of wall touches, yeah, I had a few but none big enough to really damage the car so I was fully on the limit, a bit risky at some points but never over or doing too much. It was quite a clean session.

“For sure there was quite a lot more time left in it. From the first to the second lap, there was a big jump of lap time. And then the second to the third lap, I actually went one-tenth slower, because I made two big mistakes on that second lap. So for sure if I put the third lap together then, I don't know how much time but for sure, I’d have been a big chunk quicker again.

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“Then we missed that last lap as well, same as everyone. So, I think the optimal lap time was a good six or seven-tenths quicker than what I did. Everyone had the same amount of time, same number of laps, so I just didn't put it together enough.”

After getting out of the car, Maloney said that the session was as much a mental battle as it was about avoiding trouble and securing a clean lap. With the condensed session times punishing any errors much more than a regular Qualifying session, being on the pace immediately mattered.

A busy lap already, balancing potential traffic issues along with gaps to cars ahead and getting clear track in front for a flying lap meant there was nowhere to hide at any point in the session.

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“The adrenaline is just crazy. When you’re usually on a cooldown lap, you breathe you're okay and you start talking to the engineer, preparing for the next lap. But in Monaco, you get around the hairpin which is half the track finished already on the cooldown and you're still probably 190 heart rate. So that's the biggest thing.

“You have to have a lot of aggression but try to keep that heart rate down, breathe properly and to be honest, Monaco's all mental and you just need to risk everything to be quick.” Interestingly, despite the challenging nature of the Monaco streets, Maloney says it was one of the first times in a Qualifying session he was thinking positively rather than about potential disaster.

The opening rounds of the season have been tough with flyaway rounds and new venues for rookies including the likes of Jeddah, Melbourne and Baku. With several Rounds now under his belt, Maloney says he was feeling much more at home during Monte Carlo Qualifying compared to sessions earlier this season.

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“I was pushing maximum attack straightaway. You kind of have to go with a lot of aggression and hope that you don't crash. We saw quite a few drivers crashing, but that's so easy to do around here. One small lock up, one small bit of oversteer and you’re in the wall, so I wasn't thinking about it at all to be honest. I know in Jeddah and Baku getting to grips with the F2 car I was thinking about not crashing, don't touch a wall, whereas here I wasn’t.”

The potential for points in both the Sprint and Feature Races is a great opportunity for him, especially after a disappointing Baku race weekend. He is keen to score but is maintaining a level head going into tomorrow’s Sprint.

A race victor already in the Principality back in his Formula Regional days, Maloney has experience to fall back on, but says there can be no real game plan for a Monaco race. Ensuring he makes the chequered flag though could go a long way in boosting his prospects for the higher points-paying Feature Race on Sunday.

“No expectations to be honest, I think it's gonna be chaos, especially here at Monaco. So I want to stay out of trouble but I said that before Baku. We just really need to try to stay out of trouble and then we'll see what we can do starting P6 and P5. I think we can do something from there.

“Tomorrow is more about finishing the race as high as we can and just learn for Sunday. Sunday's a big race with the pitstop, so Sunday is the one I'm really gonna go for. Tomorrow, I think is more about consolidating points and I think everyone will be thinking the same thing, but we'll see. I want to put myself in a good position for the weekend and I’m really looking forward to it.”