J’adore Monaco - Q&A with Jolyon Palmer

Thinking of Monaco…
I love it! It’s tight and twisty and the barriers are so close meaning there’s no room for error. As a race track it’s the craziest one I’ve ever driven, not just because it’s a street course, it’s a street course like no other; it’s a proper road that’s used by the public every day and it wasn’t designed to be a race track, it’s very bumpy and it’s very easy to make a mistake and end up in the wall. It presents a really exacting challenge to deliver a fast lap time as you need to be practically brushing the walls everywhere. To put everything together and to win in Monaco is the biggest challenge in Formula 1.

How do you overtake?
With a lot of commitment! It’s very difficult: firstly you need a good pace advantage on the guy in front, and preferably you want him to make a mistake! There are a couple of places: Ste Devote is one, and there’s a DRS zone there too, and then into the chicane is the most obvious opportunity. Everywhere around Monaco takes a lot of commitment. Any overtake attempt you make could end up in contact with your competitor or the wall so you really have to balance the risk and reward. You have to get your move right and hope the other guy sees you; even if you do everything right, if your rival doesn’t see you it’s likely there’ll be contact.

Monaco memories…
One race I remember really well from watching when I was young was when Olivier Panis won. I watched this as a little boy – at about five years old – and it was a crazy Grand Prix, seeing Panis win in a Ligier! It just shows what can be possible. It’s a difficult track to overtake but there have been so many legendary races there!

I won twice in the GP2 Series in Monaco. My first win in GP2 was in Monaco in 2012 in the Sprint race where I nailed it off the start, took the lead at Ste Devote after a messy first corner then controlled it to the chequered flag. Then in 2014 it was pole, fastest lap and race win.

Glamour and parties…
I love it. That’s part of Monaco and what makes it so special. The circuit is a great circuit by itself, but put it in the context of where it is on the harbour front and add the whole atmosphere of the weekend where you have a great party ambience and the whole buzz of the place makes something really special. It’s a race that each and every fan needs to experience at some time in their life. It’s Formula 1 with a festival atmosphere.