Arriving at this weekend fresh from a Baku Feature Race podium, Enzo Fittipaldi says that the time is now to capitalise on his positive momentum. Monte Carlo represents one of the Brazilian’s favourite venues on the Formula 2 calendar and the Rodin Carlin driver is full of confidence ahead of Round 6.
Desperate to finally achieve a maiden Formula 2 victory, Fittipaldi says that his preparations have him in great shape before taking to the track on Thursday.
“We want to carry on the momentum from Baku, just need one more position for that win,” he said. “I finished P2 in Baku, I want P1 this weekend. Monaco is one of my favourite tracks. Last year I qualified third in my group and finished both races inside the top five, so I really enjoy this track. I’m looking forward to it and we’ll see what the weekend brings us. It’s coming and we’re close, it’s just about continuing to work hard and be consistent. We finished on a high in Baku and we’re going to carry that into this weekend.
“For Monaco, preparation is key. I’ve been preparing very well at Red Bull using the simulator and just getting ready for the race weekend as well as preparing with my team. I feel confident, I know we're ready and looking forward to having a good weekend. I know we're fast. I know we're competitive and I know if I get clean laps and everything goes as it should, we'll be up there. That's what I'm hoping for. I just want to have a weekend like Baku. A clean weekend, get some good laps in, that's the goal.”
Reflecting further on his experience around a venue, something that could prove critical with such limited track time ahead of the most important Qualifying session of the year, Fittipaldi says that pushing the limits is the only way to be fast between the walls.
With the track layout punishing even the smallest of mistakes, staying out of trouble and capitalising on a clean lap is the most important part of the race weekend says Fittipaldi. Keeping mistakes to a minimum will be the deciding factor, allowing those that nail the difficult balance between speed and survival the best chance of pole come Qualifying according to the Carlin driver.
“Getting clean laps in 100% is hard. It’s easy to get Red Flags or yellow flags that disrupt your lap, so when you do have a lap, it's important to not make a mistake and get that in because there's a high chance always in Qualifying of that happening. The track is going to be getting quicker and quicker in the last minutes, but there's always the chance that there ends up being a crash or a Red Flag. That's why it's important to get your laps in early.
“Because in Monaco, we split the Qualifying in two groups, so as soon as it's green, you go out because that's very little time. In 15 minutes, you could do three push laps and that's kind of what you want to do. So I think majority of teams go at the same time.”
With such a small window to achieve a lap that will have to be near perfection to take pole, extracting the maximum from tyre, car and driver is a hugely complex and complicated job. By the same token though, Fittipaldi says that is what makes Monte Carlo such a rewarding experience from inside the cockpit.
“Last year I did a good lap, I was like a tenth off of pole in my group and it was a good lap. That was a great feeling. Here, you put everything on the line, you're skimming the walls on your lap and in every corner, you might even tap the wall on the exit as well. You're always touching the walls but that's how to be fast here in Monaco.
“You have to be on the limit, leaning the car against the wall and using as much of it as possible. So it's a great feeling with how close you get to the walls. It's actually an unforgettable feeling and it's why I love Monaco. It's one of my favourite tracks and I really am excited to get in the car tomorrow.”