Kimi Raikkonen is determined to have a better weekend than in Monaco than he enjoyed last year, when he lost practice time after changing the steering and struggled to get up to speed.
Monaco is also the last weekend with the current tyres, which have proved favourable to Lotus.
“Well, we’re not in first place so we can’t be too happy,” he said of his season so far. “For sure it’s not a nightmare, but we’ve still got a lot of races yet to come and anything can happen in Formula 1. Monaco’s a different challenge, so we’ll have to see what happens there this year.
“We certainly won’t make the mistakes we made last time. There were a few things we didn’t do right over the weekend and we suffered because of that. Sometimes that’s the way it goes, but the important thing is not to make the same mistakes again.
“It’s such a narrow, twisty track; you have to be extra sharp and focused through every single metre. It gives such a good feeling; a fast lap around Monaco. Overtaking is almost impossible, so to really enjoy racing there you have to be in the front.”
Inevitably Kimi says that qualifying is the key.
“We have to focus on qualifying. It’s a difficult place to race as it’s so narrow and – as I said before – passing is nearly impossible. I was stuck behind Rubens [Barrichello] in 2009 and we had KERS then, but you just couldn’t get past.
“We’ll have to see how the tyres perform and if there are any good strategies to be made, but the most important thing is to qualify well. It’s difficult to know how good the car will be in Monaco as you can’t simulate its characteristics; certainly not at any of the circuits we’ve visited so far this year anyway. We can say the E21’s been fast everywhere else so let’s hope it’s also fast there.
“We’ll do the best we can, but of course everyone will be trying to be on the front row. It’s not impossible for us, but we won’t know how good we are until we get there. We know that tyre changes have to be made so there are opportunities if you run a different strategy to your rivals, but it’s certainly more difficult here than anywhere else.”