Stoneman celebrates ‘great’ Monaco podium

Dean Stoneman took his second podium finish of the season in Monaco, as the Red Bull-backed DAMS driver secured second place behind winner Jazeman Jaafar in an incident-filled race.

Stoneman revealed the experience of driving the streets of Monaco for the first time was thrilling, and a pre-qualifying chat with a current Formula 1 race winner gave the Briton some tips of how to drive the tight and twisty Armco-barrier lined circuit.

“Tenth from Free Practice was OK, it was only 45 minutes and no second session like we normally get with World Series,” said Stoneman. “With free practice I knew that I just had to learn the track and bring the car back with four wheels on it.

“I’d been in the sim and I knew which way the track went but when it’s the real thing the fear factor is a bit different. It is pretty narrow and doing 130, 140mph between the barriers you really feel it.

“But we knew that it was qualifying that mattered.

“Before quali I had a good chat with [Daniel] Ricciardo, I explained what I was feeling and he translated it into his experiences with the different cars he has driven round here and gave me good tips that I could use.

“Qualifying could have been better, I put in some good laps but then I made a small mistake and bent a track rod and that induced some understeer so I couldn’t go quicker.”

Stoneman admitted he had been dreaming of racing at Monaco all his life, and the Briton was able to capitalise on the drama that caught up most of the other side of the grid at the first corner to slip into second, a position he would hold on to until the chequered flag. He admitted he knew getting past Fortec Motorsports’ driver Jaafar was unlikely, so he settled for second early in the race.

“It’s been a lifelong dream to race here and that’s not a bad result for the first time,” insisted Stoneman.

“I knew that going from fifth on the grid I had to do something from the start and while the others were getting tangled up at the first corner I went down the inside, got turned and had a good drive out into second place.”

“I realised early after the end of the safety car that I wasn’t likely to beat Jaafar to first to be honest. He was setting a good pace and I was going to have trouble getting past. He’s no fool and you can be two seconds off the pace here and still defend so I knew it was more about making sure of second. I made sure I didn’t over drive the car and the tyres and later in the race just dialled it down a little,”

“It’s great to be on the podium again and we’ve not made a bad start to the season. The DAMS guys did a great job all week.

“The guys gave me a good car again, not perfect but it was my first time here so we now have a better idea what I need, we are learning all the time and I can’t wait for Spa.”