14 June 2016
Paul di Resta Q&A at the Monaco Grand Prix 2016
During Paragon’s Monaco Grand Prix Day Trip, Paul di Resta took part in a Q&A with Rachel Wyse. Read on to see his thoughts on the Monaco GP and his expectations for the F1 season this year.
Rachel – Was the Monaco Grand Prix what you predicted?
Paul – I think Lewis, judging from when he was behind the safety car, just wanted the race to start. With a bit of an unfortunate strategy last year, I think Mercedes got it absolutely right this time and obviously Ricciardo feels a bit of frustration there with Red Bull at the end but you’ve got to try to win it and I think Mercedes took a gamble that paid off. We saw some good battles and ultimately what’s more important is keeping the Championship alive. Rosberg (certainly didn’t mind) losing a place at the last corner even if he finished in 7th place. It just keeps it all alive. Some of the race went away but it was a great day. You couldn’t have booked the weather any better; a great Monaco GP to watch!
Rachel – You’ve been around this track before, how difficult is it in terms of the weather we had this morning and afternoon?
Paul – I think when you’ve got a safety car start it tells you just how much water is out there. The comments coming back from the drivers was that they were trying to get the tyres up in temperature because Monaco is so slow and it was something they were struggling with. We saw how quickly it dried; Lewis was able to stay on the extreme wide tyre into the interface whereas a lot of people switched. This was the difference in him winning. Around Monaco it’s about keeping it out of the barriers and a lot of guys had issues but to be there at the end is where the points are and I think the surprises such as Alonso finishing in 5th shows the wise ones are always there to pick up the pieces when it all falls to bits.
Rachel – There were other drivers that fell out of the race, was that a surprise to you?
Paul – It’s always a surprise but at the same time, not everyone can be perfect. Around this track, you can be millimetres or inches away from having a crash. The likes of Palmer was very lucky to walk away from his crash. When you get home and see the incident, the front of the car was missing but it took the 2nd impact. His feet were actually dangling out of the front. It shows, with impact, what can happen. Even Verstappen, he went from hero to zero in a week. A little mistake can be painful around here. The likes of Ferrari, a strong contender, threw away Constructor’s positions; it just adds to the frustration and pressure of what the top manufacturers want because today it’s all about Constructor’s position. It was one of those races where keeping it on the island was where you were going to pick up the points.
Rachel – What about Hamilton and Rosberg. It’s much documented in the media about their relationship. What did you make of the Spanish Grand Prix in terms of the collision and how things were dealt with after?
Paul – I did have the conversation last Saturday when I was racing and I said to Nicky and Toto, what’s your opinion on it and they said they were both idiots. In my opinion, I’d put 70% of the blame on Rosberg. He made the mistake, was trying to react to something and didn’t leave Lewis enough room. You can justify that by the fact that Lewis was still going quicker on the grass and overtaking him. If you put yourself in the shoes of Nico, would Lewis have done the same thing? Absolutely. But on the balance, it would have been nice to see him get a penalty for this race, it would have been fair. Karma’s always there, and after what happened in the Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis would have signed the contract if he could have won and Nico finish 7th due to the impact it can have and lead on to. It’s 2 years now that it’s been very close and I’m sure we’ll see more fireworks in the next few races.
Rachel – How would you have handled it if you were one of those drivers and what do you make of their relationship?
Paul – I’m not sure there is a relationship. Can they be friends? Probably not. They’re both ultimately trying to win. What we mustn’t miss is that they’re both representing a brand like Mercedes-Benz and neither is bigger than the company. They’ve got 2 of the best drivers in the world and it’s a great problem for Mercedes to have. They’ve been teammates for the past 15/16 years and I believe the frustration comes up in the fact that Lewis has always been on top of Nico and has always had that little bit extra. Ultimately, it’s up to the team to handle that both internally and externally. For the public, it’s obviously great!
Rachel – Daniel Ricciardo started at poll position and he had a few words to say on the radio that he made as he crossed the line. What did he say?
Paul – His team came on the radio to apologise and he quickly stopped them and said “no words will justify this at the moment”, pretty strong stuff! He was very desperate to just get out of the paddock there and then. I can see where the frustration comes from; Daniel is a good friend, he’s been the man of the weekend and I don’t think you can take that away from him. He’s been exceptional. He’s been grinding the wheels off his car from the frustration of the last Grand Prix but I’m sure he’s the guy that can bounce back in Canada. The 2 Grand Prix he should have won that have been lost through strategy and the wrong call. Red Bull are still a strong World Championship team and I’m sure they’ll address it and that Daniel will be looked after and ready to go in a week.
Rachel – Who do you think is going to come out on top at the end of the season based on the performances at Monaco?
Paul – At this point, I’d put money on Lewis Hamilton.
The audience then ask questions.
Audience – Today we saw a collision between Nasr and Ericsson where the team order was that Nasr should have let Ericsson through. He deliberately disobeyed that order and a crash they happened. What’s the relationship like between a paid driver and the management?
Paul – It’s not a great circumstance. No team would ever do that, as in the contract it states to obey team orders, quite clearly that didn’t happen. I suppose in the same point, Marcus made a silly move; he’s got a group penalty for the next race. For Sauber, this is the hard thing at the moment, they’re really on edge to make it race by race so to come out with a bit of damage and no points, it comes down to what happened between Marussia and Jules Bianchi a few years ago that can make a massive investment into next year if they had picked up some points in Monaco which could have happened because there was some available at the end.
Audience – What do you make of Kvyat’s promotion?
Paul – The Red Bull team were in a position to do it. It was a very aggressive decision but it couldn’t have been a better fairytale in Barcelona. At the same time, poor Daniil! He’s got a point to prove and whether he’ll continue to be in that programme next year I’m not so sure. He made a bit of a mistake in Monaco which proves he shouldn’t have been there. But it’s one of those things in F1, sometimes you get an opportunity in F1; it’s not always fair, but at least he’s got a chance to try and resolve that over the second half of the year.
Audience – Is racing at Monaco the scariest experience of your life?
Paul – Actually, it’s probably the track you feel safest on. Although it looks impressive, there’s not much room to think about it as you’re not going as quick. Somewhere like Silverstone or Suzuka, if you come off there you’re really in trouble whereas here you just bounce along the barrier.
Audience – If you could take all of the drivers and have them race the same car, what order would you expect them to finish in 1st, 2nd and 3rd?
Paul – There’s 6 or 7 guys that are all within a very small difference of each other. I would say Lewis, who is undoubtedly the quickest driver in F1. I would also sign Fernando Alonso up in a minute because on a Sunday afternoon, if you want work rate and someone who is going to entertain throughout the year, he’s the guy. But then you’ve got Sebastian Vettel who is the only guy who puts the effort in that a team requires. He does all the background work and really focuses on it. Lewis is fortunate he made the right decision; he’s in the best car. It was his 44th win in Formula 1. You don’t do that on just talent.
Audience – Who would you least like chasing you in a race and who would you say is the most aggressive driver?
Paul – I think it comes down to who you’re battling with. Overall I’d say Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. They’re the guys that anyone would feel a bit insecure if you were having to defend from them. In Barcelona, Verstappen was lucky that it was Räikkönen, if it was somebody else it may have been a different result.
Audience – Which of the drivers do you least like and why?
Paul – I dislike all of them!
Audience – Which team would you like to drive for?
Paul – Williams, I’d obviously like to drive there, it would be very special. I’ve become part of that family. Claire and Frank have made me feel very welcome so if I get the opportunity I would grab it with both hands.