OK, we’ll admit it – up until yesterday we were still pretty wrapped up in Daniel’s awesome Monaco win and it was pretty hard to look beyond the Honey Badger’s amazing triumph against adversity in the Principality.
The good news, however, is that now that we’re finally being forced to look forward, the post-Monaco glow has been instantly replaced with an almost as exciting pre-event sparkle. Why? Because we’re off to one of the sport’s favourite venues – Montreal, Canada.
Yep, it’s time to say a big “bonjour, hi” to the city where everyone says ‘eh’, where you can go ‘oot’ every night in a city that loves its grand prix almost as much as it loves ice hockey, and where you can liberally smear cheese curd and chips all over yourself at 3am and no-one… no-one, will bat an eye lid. It’s also where the tracks are temporary, the barriers close, and the circuit groundhogs are righteously terrified.
Right, so you know we love a bit of Quebec’s biggest city, but what do the boys think. Well, given that it’s where he won in F1 for the first time and it’s north America, it ranks pretty high in Daniel’s affection, but it’s also a big hit with Max too, as we found out…
Have you managed to process what happened in Monaco yet?
I think it’s only just really sinking in that I won the Monaco Grand Prix and crossing the line after such a challenging race felt amazing. My name is on the board now and it feels good to win the most iconic F1 race there is.
And from your latest win we head to the scene of your first in F1 – Canada. All set?
It’s awesome to be going straight to another street circuit that I love. It’s definitely one of my favourite races of the year, both because of the track and also the city of Montreal itself. The city is just awesome.
Monaco’s layout obviously played to the team’s strengths, but do you think you can repeat the success in Montreal?
I’ve had some mixed results in the race but I did win my first Grand Prix there in 2014 and had a podium last year. We’ve got some new updates coming, it’s the hypersoft tyre again, the chassis is running sweet, so we could be looking alright. Hopefully we can have another strong weekend and start chasing down the championship leaders.
Montreal’s a tricky circuit, with high speeds, close barriers and extremely high brake wear, but what’s the most difficult corner to get right?
I think the last chicane is really important to get right. You arrive at such high speed and when you hit the braking point the brakes can be a bit cold, which means you have to be careful and get it right every time. This will also set you up for the exit where you come very close to the wall. It is important not to brush it as you can damage the rim. A millimetre or centimetre doesn’t make too much difference; just don’t touch the wall.
It’s also a track where the fans can get pretty close to the action. Does that help?
Turn one and two have a pretty cool atmosphere, as the grandstands are usually full at that part of the track and it creates a small stadium feel, this makes the start a bit more special.
Your three races in Montreal have all been very different: you were 15th on your first attempt, with Toro Rosso, fourth in your first visit there with Red Bull Racing and last year you failed to finish. What can we expect this year?
Yeah, the 2017 race ended with disappointment for me, as I had to stop after only 10 laps with a technical issue. Our car as it is now should perform well in Montreal so I am hopeful of achieving a solid result and making up for last year. Besides that, I’m always excited to get back over to the American continent as I really enjoy being there, the people, food and atmosphere are always amazing.