Van Amersfoort Racing's Jake Hughes says Monaco is quickly becoming one of his favourite tracks after finishing fourth in Thursday's Free Practice session.
Hughes was near the top of the timing sheets early on in the day and maintained his competitiveness during the full 45-minute Practice.
Reflecting on his session, he said that the mentality of building up to full speed wasn't an option with little track time ahead of the all-important Qualifying tomorrow.
"By only having one Free Practice, it forces you to get into a certain zone and certain rhythm and when you come to a street track, you think 'I'm going to have to build into it,' but you can't, you don't have the time," he said after Practice.
"If you had three hours of Free Practice, you naturally build into it, but here we're unsure about how many laps we're gonna get, so every lap matters. But it's still impressive. Everyone knows that and has to take that risk effectively and then not make the mistakes. It looks tight, when I looked at the time sheet just now finishing the session, it looks tight. Quite a few guys are fighting for those first two or three rows."
For Hughes, it is the first time he is racing around the Monte Carlo streets but he says he has been enjoying every moment despite the high demands of the circuit.
"I just felt so comfortable straight away for someone who's here for the first time. The car felt really good, it's special. You have the city on you and all the fans on you, seeing everyone sitting in the grandstands. It just feels like you're in a special place before you're even on an out-lap.
"It feels cool and the car itself around here is rapid. I mean the dread to think what a Formula 1 car feels like around here but the F2 cars are already fast. I loved it."
"We don't have to chase our tails all night wondering why we're missing a second"
With such fine margins separating the top drivers in Qualifying, extracting every tenth-of-a-second in performance is critical to a driver's chances in the race.
Hughes has already marked out sections of the track that many could come unstuck at in their attempts to push to the absolute limits over a single flying lap.
"The toughest place I'd probably say is Casino, Turn 3. Braking for Turn 3, or Turn 1 at Sainte Devote, it's both of them, they entice you in.
"When you deliver the corner in a good way it feels like you under-pushed on entry. So it makes you want to ask a bit more and then you lock up or you lose the rear and that's the challenge, right? How much do you play with that risk and reward.
"That's why everyone loves street tracks. I felt like those two corners probably were the ones that are showcasing the most, at least in my cockpit. You saw everyone locking the front right into Turn 1 quite often and it's a tricky place because it's worth so much lap time if you get it right."
Fortunately for the VAR driver, he feels his car is already approaching the sweet spot in terms of set-up. With a strong opening session of the weekend, Hughes says there is little time left to find on talrehe car. He expects that figuring out how to work the tyres best will make up the majority of the team's overnight work.
"It's really good we don't have to chase our tails all night wondering why we're missing a second or something like this, we put the car on the ground and it just works. I felt good in it and it's now just going to be about tyre warm-up because it's still a thing here.
"I found it on the supersoft in the second run, we were effectively off-sequence with my near miss in the last corner and then getting weigh-bridged, we came out when everyone was already pushing on the supersoft.
"I didn't get any tyre warm-up, but still we were P4 with that. So that will be our main thing to get right. I don't think we'll do that many changes and that's the nice part about today."