Maldonado: You need to stay away from the walls
"You should get close, but making contact is too close!"
After frustration in Monaco, Pastor Maldonado looks to the ever-challenging Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with a strong finish the target.
Do you like the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve?
It’s amazing and I always enjoy being there. Canada is a great race not only because of the track but because of the people who come to support it. There is a great atmosphere all weekend and the city is quite close to the circuit which means there is a great vibe all round. There is also a lot of history to the Grand Prix and it has been around for a while - it is one of the great GPs during the season.
What do you need for a fast lap around the track?
You need a good race car to have confidence to push and that is something we have with the E23. You use the kerbs quite a lot, so you need to be able to ride the bumps well and you need good turn-in for the chicanes. Also, like Monaco, you need to stay away from the walls. You should get close, but making contact is too close!
How variable can the weather be in Canada?
It’s an interesting part of the race as you never know what the weather can be like in Montréal. I’ve been there when it’s been pretty hot, but I’ve also been there when it’s cold and when it’s very wet. Any of these conditions can make things interesting especially as the track isn’t used much so you don’t know how it might react.
Monaco was rather a short race for you; how frustrating was that?
Of course it was frustrating, but that’s the way that racing goes sometimes. There were lots of positives; we qualified well and the car felt good on the track. Unfortunately there was an issue with a part and the only alternative was to retire the car. That’s racing sometimes.
Do you think Montréal could be the venue to get your championship charge on course?
I’ve approaching every race wanting to finish in the points. The circuit in Canada has its own challenges but there’s nothing to say we shouldn’t be fast there. This year’s car has felt good so I’ll be pushing for points in the race. At most of the races this year we’ve looked strong all through the weekend and it’s been the final piece of crossing the finish line in the points which has been out of reach. That’s what we want this weekend.
How competitive has the racing been this season?
It’s been interesting where we are and there is still a lot of potential for us to do well this season. We’ve seen that the Mercedes is consistently the fastest car, but they are not unbeatable. Behind them there’s a great battle. We seem to have a car that is in the top ten on qualifying pace and quicker than some of its nearest rivals when it comes to the race pace. At somewhere like Monaco it’s difficult to take advantage of superior race pace, but at more open circuits we’re well placed.
How has the E23 evolved so far?
We’ve had upgrades and we have a good understanding of how to get the car to work how we want it. It’s much more predictable and delivers more than last year’s car. You can see that the lessons learnt in 2014 have been applied. I’m looking forward to some good weekends where we can deliver what we’re capable of.
What’s your focus mid-season?
Over the year your focus doesn’t change much and it’s pretty simple; you want to do the very best you can at every race. You turn up at the track, work with the engineers, get in the car then drive the best you can.