Jolyon Palmer reviews Spa and previews the Italian Grand Prix, held at a track he loves.
What do you particularly like about Monza ?
It’s a very special track, and one I absolutely love. There is so much history there ; so many races have been held at Monza and lots of great drivers have won, particularly back in the old days when you needed to be quick and incredibly brave. Then there is the passion of the crowd – you can hear the fans when you drive round. The track itself is very old school and it’s fun to drive. We take off a lot of downforce so parts are flat out and there can be a lot of overtaking. It’s good fun.
You’ve had some pretty good results at Monza. Does this add to the fun ?
Yes, I won and took pole in GP2 plus I’ve won twice in F2, so it’s been a good one for me. I really enjoy racing at Monza and I think it’s actually one of my best tracks. I did FP1 last year as well so I’ve driven it in an F1 car, which is good experience, so I’m really looking forward to getting there and out in the car.
What do you think it takes to do well at Monza ?
With those straights naturally you need good straightline speed then stability under braking. There are a lot of high speed straights and very slow corners so you need to balance out the low downforce with the need to be late and hard on the brakes. It’s all about finding a good top speed, with the optimum downforce level for the chicanes.
You had your best qualifying of the year in Spa, do you think you can keep this momentum going ?
We go to Monza knowing it will be tough as it does not suit the characteristics of the car too much. However we also thought Spa was going to be tough and it was better than expected, particularly in qualifying. We need to approach it fresh, confident that at each race we are moving forward and in the fight now and see how we do.