Esteban Ocon says driving the streets of Monte Carlo is a privilege and called it a special place as the Frenchman looks to continue his excellent run of results recently at the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend.
After a difficult opening two races for Ocon, the Frenchman has certainly caught the eye with some fantastic drives in Portugal and Spain, notably, out-performing his two-time World Champion team-mate twice.
The Alpine F1 Team driver is excited to back in Monaco, after the Grand Prix was absent from the Formula 1 calendar in 2020 as it fell foul to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Monaco is a special place. Whenever you think of Formula 1, you also think of Monaco. It’s a privilege to drive a Formula 1 car around the streets there, and I’m very excited to do it again this year.
“I really like the location, all the boats in the harbour, the sea sparkling in the sun and the atmosphere. Everything about it makes it so incredible.”
Due to the cancellation of the Monaco Grand Prix last year, Ocon will be making his first appearance in the streets of Monte Carlo since 2018, in which he finished in a respectable sixth place when he was driving for Force India.
However, Ocon says the lack of driving in Monaco over the past two years could see him take a while to find the limits around the circuit.
“It’s been a while since I’ve raced in Monaco, back in 2018, which is the same for Fernando actually.
“I think it’ll take us a little bit of time to get back up to speed and find the limits during practice.
“It’s the most challenging circuit of the year for a driver. You have to be on it and have confidence in the car.”
Fernando Alonso – “I’m looking forward to being there again this weekend”
Team-mate Fernando Alonso also says he can’t wait to be back on the streets at the Monaco Grand Prix, making his first appearance in Monte Carlo since 2018 when he was driving for McLaren F1 Team, but failed to finish the race.
The Spaniard is a two-time winner of Monaco Grand Prix, with the last victory back in 2007 for McLaren, and he says that qualifying will be important and needs to maximise its one-lap performance.
“There really isn’t a race like it and I’m looking forward to being there again this weekend.
“I’ve had two wins at Monaco in Formula 1 and I enjoy the strategic element of Sundays here.
“Qualifying will be very important, just as it was in Spain, so we need to work on maximising our one lap potential to make sure both cars do well on Saturday. Traffic management will also be key here.”
Alonso struggled last time out in Spain, as a long stint on the mediums tyres saw the Alpine driver fall out of points and down the pecking order, finishing fifteenth overall.
The two-time World Champion has yet to out-perform his team-mate in a race and will look for a strong performance in Monaco, but says the tight circuit of Monte Carlo makes it very challenging for F1 drivers.
“It’s a very challenging circuit and with the barriers either side of you for the entire lap is a constant reminder you can’t make a mistake.
“You have to concentrate so hard for the entire race distance.
“But this is what we live for as a Formula 1 driver and I enjoy that thrill you have with the sharp turns and bumps at every corner.”