DAMS’ Roy Nissany has compared racing at Monaco to the recent Italian Open final between Tennis legends Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, only “faster,” explaining that it’s all about the “mental game” when competing around the punishing streets of the principality.

Nissany classified seventh in Thursday’s Qualifying session, a major leap forward from the opening round of the season, when he started back in 14th.

Benefitting from past experience of the Formula 2 machine around the Monte Carlo circuit, Nissany said that while he was pleased with a place inside of the top 10, it was a slightly bittersweet afternoon, as felt there was potential for more.

“It is a step forward, but I have mixed feelings,” said Nissany. “The progression is positive, 100%. We work so hard, and we are trying so much. Qualifying is mentally hard, and it is so demanding, pushing the car to its limits, but not being able to even be 0.1% over the limit.

“This venue has such an atmosphere and that puts even more pressure on the driver. It’s a really big mental challenge. But it’s my third time here, so I had some experience to use, although it has been a while, since 2018.

Nissany finished seventh in Thursdays Qualifying session
Nissany finished seventh in Thursday’s Qualifying session

“I am happy with my result and I am satisfied, but you always strive for more, especially when it feels so fast around these streets. You finish a strong lap, that feels really good, and you are happy to be in the top 10, but on the other hand, you always want to be a bit higher up. I think it is a good place to start from though, especially for the reverse grid race tomorrow.”

With overtaking at a premium, and the risks of attempting a manoeuvre high, Nissany knows that a mentally strong performance could see him come away with his highest haul of points at this level.

With this in mind, and a starting position of fourth in Friday’s reverse grid Sprint Race 1, the Israeli says he will be targeting “points rather than glory.”

“Monaco is not the greatest place for overtakes. It is so risky and you have to use common sense. I will just keep it consistent, keeping the car off the walls and off other cars. I think that’s the main aim for everyone. It’s more of a survival game in these streets, as opposed to the overtake game like Bahrain.

“It's a mental game. Last week, Nadal played Djokovic and you could see that the one who kept his focus the longest was the winner and that was Nadal. As soon as a bit of focus was lost, the momentum was gone, and it was downhill from there. It’s the same around here, only a bit faster, but the mental game is the same.”