Jean-Eric Vergne is still chewing over his drive at the Monaco Grand Prix and says he won't be able to fully digest that race until he gets what he thinks he deserves – some points in Montreal.
It’s been a few days since the Monaco Grand Prix and I’ve had some time to try and digest what was a simultaneously satisfying and disappointing race.
First, I was pretty happy with how the weekend went for me in terms of pace. Going to Monaco I was quite honest about how I felt about the track – and that feeling wasn’t too good. I’ve never had much luck around street circuits – be it Pau, Macau or Monaco – and in Monte Carlo last year in Formula Renault 3.5 I didn't feel comfortable. I don’t think I was scared by the thought of the Monaco GP, but I was a bit anxious about it and didn’t know what to expect. Also, the simple fact is, I was up against a team-mate who had won the Monaco round in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2011 and 2010, and had driven in Monaco in FP1 last year. I didn’t go into the weekend with much confidence.
To be honest, though, I thought every session went really well. We were constantly improving the pace, although in qualifying I did make an error. I was trying to push a bit too hard. It can happen to the very best in Monaco and I was the least experienced out there, though I guess that’s no excuse.
During the race itself, my performance was really good – especially after the start, where everybody cut the corner. That was frustrating and I lost a lot of positions when I should've been gaining some, but there was nothing I could do about that. The stewards obviously decided that because of Romain Grosjean’s accident, those coming through had no option but to cut the corner. We just had to deal with it. Hence the decision to come in early, take off the super softs and go for a long second stint on the soft tyres. That was totally the right call and the race was fantastic after that.
If the rain had stayed away we would have ended up seventh. In the dry, I think I could have nursed the tyres until the flag. But it did rain and the tyre degradation meant it got really messy out there and I had no real choice but to stop for tyres. I think it was worth gambling on the inters. If the rain that fell when Webber was on the podium had fallen ten minutes earlier we could have done really well. I won’t say we would have won, but I definitely think we could have had a fantastic result.
That’s racing, though. You take risks and you're either robbed or rewarded. This time we got robbed. Maybe next time it will go the other way.
We were all a bit pissed off afterwards, but ultimately I can be happy with my performance. I was as quick as Schumacher in front of me and his tyres were 20 laps newer than mine. I was sometimes as quick as the leaders and I was pulling away from the Force India by as much as five tenths or more every lap. We’re sad that Williams got the last point, but as I said, that’s racing. We can still be proud of our progress.
The days after the race have been fun, if totally different. On Tuesday, I went to Roland Garros in Paris to watch the French Open tennis. I wouldn’t say I’m fanatical about the sport but I do play, mostly with my trainer. It’s easy training. If there’s a tennis court where we’re staying, I always take a racquet with me.
Anyway, Eurosport very kindly invited me to Roland Garros, which was the first time I’d ever seen a match of that level live. And I got to see the very highest level – Rafa Nadal. He was playing an Italian called Simone Bolelli, who’s ranked 111 in the world – no contest. Nadal demolished the poor Italian 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. Pretty impressive.
The following day Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost and I travelled to Zurich for a meeting with our sponsors, Falcon Private Bank. We toured the bank and met the staff.
On Friday, I’ll travel to Canada. I’ve never been there before so I’m really excited about the race and about the days before it. I’m going early as I’ve been invited to stay at a remote hotel near Trois Rivieres, about 140km northeast of Montreal. It’s in the middle of the mountains and surrounded by lakes. I’m looking forward to chilling out there by the lake, doing a bit of salmon fishing and seeing some wildlife. It should be a peaceful few days before a pretty crazy race weekend.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one I like. I’ve driven it in the simulator and it’s definitely one of my favourites on the PlayStation. I can’t wait to get out on the real thing.
The track itself is the kind I like: low downforce and quick. The weather can be unpredictable, which should make it interesting. We’ve also got super soft tyres again, which we learned a bit about in Monaco. They should behave differently in Montreal. The location, too, is one I think I’ll like – a great city with a real atmosphere and a passion for racing.
I said at the beginning of this blog that I’ve had time to digest what happened in Monaco, but the truth is I don’t think it will be properly digested until I get the sweetness of a good result in Montreal.