Roman Stanek was one of those to hit the jackpot in Monte Carlo after a Safety Car and Red Flag played to his and Trident’s advantage. It meant the Czech driver managed to go from P22 and last on the grid to finish seventh, his second points finish of his rookie Formula 2 campaign.
Admitting that it took a little bit of luck, Stanek was also quick to pay tribute to his team’s work. A great strategic game plan opened up his options when the Safety Car did arrive, leaving him to bring home the points for the Italian team. There was some late-race pressure from ART Grand Prix’s Victor Martins, but Stanek was pleased to have held onto a solid P7 finish in the Principality.
“I don't know exactly how it happened, I would first of all say we were very lucky, but also our strategy paid off very, very well. The team was on it, they did an amazing job with me pitting at the right time with the crash there from Jack (Doohan), so it was a very good strategy.
“To be honest, after my Free Practice, where I did basically 80% of the lap, I didn't expect to score any points at a track like this. So again, they did a very good job, so now I'm lucky."
When the Safety Car did arrive, Stanek was none the wiser as to his racing position until after he stepped out of the car under the Red Flag. It was only after regrouping with his team that the Czech realised the fight for points was on.
“I didn’t really know because, sometimes you have time to look at the big TV screens by the side of the track but here in Monaco, there’s just no way. So when there Red Flag came, I looked at the TV and I asked: ‘Did we undercut them? Did we make the step on everyone?’ And then at first they said no, there were still some and I was okay, we are still last. Then when I jumped out the car, they told me that we jumped them. We did a good job, so then I just kept the position.”
From that point on, his task was simple on paper but the job is never simple around the streets of Monte Carlo. With a recovering Martins quickly baring down on him, Stanek felt the pressure but kept things controlled, never defending unnecessarily or risking his points finish. Overall, he enjoyed his first visit to Monte Carlo despite an up and down weekend.
“We definitely need to work on the pace. The pace was not there when Victor was behind me, I think he caught us six seconds in four laps, so we really have to improve that.
“To be honest, I only looked in the mirrors before Turn 5, the downhill right-hander because that is the spot where you can put a nose in and that usually doesn't go well. I was struggling a lot with graining, so I was slow out of the previous corner into five, and he was trying to overtake me there are a couple of times, but I guess he played it safe.
“It’s definitely nice to score more points, very happy, especially after Qualifying. I'm happy because the team did a great job. I hope I will have the chance to race here next year because the track is a proper track. It doesn't compare with Baku, Melbourne or Jeddah.”
Turning his attentions to Round 7 and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Stanek says that there’s the potential for another strong performance from the Trident team. Fresh from in-season testing there a few weeks ago, all the teams will be looking to consolidate all of the data they acquired as the European season kicks into gear.
“It’s a good points finish. I can’t wait for Barcelona because we did some good improvements there in testing on the car. I think it will be nice.
“I did pole position there last year in F3 so I hope we can get more points. I think we did a good step again with the car at the test in Barcelona, so I think we will be able to be up there. It’s a track I like, it’s very tight there as there is a lot of testing there during the winter and in the post-season. I’ve tested there many times and in F3, so it's a track that everyone knows very well. Now it's time to push in Barcelona.”