A lap of Monte Carlo with Renault's Robert Kubica 14 May 2010
Renaults Robert Kubica talks us round a flying lap of the Monte Carlo track ahead of this weekends Monaco Grand Prix
I always enjoy racing in Monaco and I'm a big fan of street circuits because I think they give the drivers more opportunity to show their skill. I've always gone well there, and I finished on the podium in 2008, so I'm looking forward to this year's race.
Without a well-balanced car, Monaco is tough. You need a smooth car that is driveable because the circuit is so tight and bumpy. Once the car is balanced, you can really push to the limit and go through the corners just centimetres from the barriers. Unlike most of the modern circuits, there is no margin for error and you have to respect the walls because there is very little run-off area.
Because you are constantly in a corner and the walls are so close, it's a very demanding race for the drivers - not physically, but mentally. Most circuits usually have a long straight where you can relax for a few seconds, but in Monaco you are constantly busy.
Like most street circuits, overtaking in Monaco is almost impossible. Part of the reason for this is the low grip levels, and although the track improves during the weekend, you need to stick to the racing line. Also, a lot of the braking zones are bumpy and, unless you make a mistake, it's impossible for anybody to get by you.
The first corner is one of the few parts of the lap where there is some run-off and we usually see a lot of cars running wide there. It's a very difficult corner to get right, and it's really tight on the first lap, especially if you're starting near the back of the grid as I did last year. In the opening laps I had to back off on the straight approaching turn one because there was such a bottleneck.
The tunnel is the fastest section and used to be taken easily flat, but this year it should be more challenging with a heavy fuel load in the early laps of the race. In fact, the whole lap will become even tougher with a heavy car because it will make the car less reactive.
The Swimming Pool chicane (Turns 13 and 14) is a part of the lap where you really need a well- balanced car. It's very high speed, taken in fifth gear and you have to attack the kerbs and change direction very quickly. It's an exciting part of the lap, but it's easy to get the car bouncing in a bad way, and if you get it wrong there's no escape from the barriers.