|Following his confident maiden GP2 victory in the opening round of the 2016 Series Norman Nato looks back at the Barcelona weekend and forward to this weekend’s race at the famous Monaco circuit.
Norman, the opening round of the 2016 GP2 championship in Barcelona went really well with a good qualifying and the Feature Race win. Did you expect these results?
I didn't know what to expect in terms of results but after a good preparation during the pre-season tests I knew we had the opportunity to have a good first weekend. We were always classified in the top 5 during the pre-season test days with the two best times overall; I therefore knew we could achieve a strong performance in Barcelona. However, a race meeting is always different from testing. The race schedule is much tighter, you therefore need to put everything together at the right moment if you want to fight for the front row in qualifying and the race win.
Next up is Monaco, your home event. What does it mean for you to drive through the roads of the Principality?
It’s really exciting to drive in Monaco, it's like a dream when you are young to drive on this circuit. What is funny for me is that I'm used to driving in these streets during the year with my road car but obviously it's not the same driving style. I don't live far from there so I will get the support from my friends and family. A street circuit is really different to compare to where we usually drive you need to be even more confident than on a normal circuit if you want to be fast. I have high expectations for this race event and will try to have the same weekend I had 2 years ago (pole position, victory and best lap).
Apart from it’s extreme narrowness, what makes Monaco so special for a driver?
Well, mainly it is the history of the Monaco GP that makes it special for us. We all know that only the best drivers manage to win this Grand Prix so it is therefore a great motivation to be part of history. It is even more special for me this year as it's been exactly 20 years since my good friend Olivier Panis won the Monaco Grand Prix in F1. I will have his helmet colors on this occasion and will do everything I can to achieve the same performance that he did 20 years ago.
The track layout in Monaco is really unique. Can you tell us the key spots of the Monaco street circuit?
Turn 3 is quite impressive for a driver because you are flat out from the uphill section and then you dive into this long left without seeing the apex. It's quite a challenging corner, but I love it! Turn 10, we are flat out in the tunnel and then we have to brake hard and as late as possible for the chicane. It's challenging because of the bumps and each year you can see drivers going into the barriers because of braking on the bumps.
With such solid results in Barcelona, do you think we can expect to see you on the podium again in Monaco?
As I mentioned before, I have high expectations for Monaco. Qualifying will be very important, as it is quite difficult to overtake without taking a lot of risks. My goal is to fight for pole position and victory to be able to lead the championship after Monaco. First we will focus on our preparation at the workshop, and then we will push as much as we can during the race meeting.