Overtake sat down with Carlin driver Billy Monger ahead of race two for this weekend’s rounds of the British F3 Championship at Silverstone
A cloudy start to Sundays racing, but it’s all to play for as today’s race two sees a reverse grid and with points for both overtaking and for final finishing place, there is all to play for.
Overtake sat down with Carlin driver Billy Monger ahead of today’s race two.
OM: You finished P8 yesterday, how you feeling for today?
BM: Yesterdays race was OK. Obviously starting P5 I wanted to move forward, but me and the team made the call to save our four new tyres for today’s races, so we started the race on old tyres, while I think everyone in front of me apart from my two team mates used either two new or four new tyres. So today we should be in a good place tyre wise at least so hopefully the pace should be strong. I think a reverse grid I’m starting tenth so I finished in front of everyone who is in front of me today so that’s just gotta be the aim! [Laughs]
OM: In terms of the Silverstone track, how do you find driving it, how does it rank on other tracks you have driven on?
BM: Oh it’s really awesome to drive on in a grand prix car, especially Maggots, Becketts, once you get that right it’s an awesome feeling! Before this weekend I’ve never really driven a grand prix circuit, it’s always been on, with F3 you drive the national circuit, so for me to drive the same circuit as all the F1 cars do that was obviously an awesome feeling. The pace has been really good so far. We struggled Friday a bit and the team got the set up right for qualifying which was great and like I say in the race the tyre situation held us back a bit that’s why our pace wasn’t as good as it could have been, so hopefully with new tyres on our side today we should be right up there.
OM: In terms of yourself and Carlin, how have you found driving for them and getting to grips with F3 cars?
BM: Obviously it’s been a big learning curve and I’m still learning with every lap I do in the car. Carlin have done an awesome job just to get me out on track this year. Between me and them we have developed the hand controls and everything and the systems we use in the car. So that took us a few months at least, nearly half a year to get that to a stage where I can just drive it [the car], and we are still working on stuff like that as we go along throughout the season, but its been awesome driving for Carlin, they have done a great job so far for me and like I say it’s a step up to F3 from F4 so for me not only have I had to learn these new controls, I’ve had to move up a category. It has been a steep learning curve but I think I’m handling it quite well. Our pace is normally been minimum top six, top eight, so yeah I’m really happy with my performance and yeah looking forward, hopefully, to the second half of the season and moving further up the grid and fighting for wins.
OM: Finally looking at the championship, have you got one eye on it, or is it just a case of competing and getting back up to speed with racing?
BM: It’s difficult for me, obviously last season with my accident I missed out on a seasons worth of racing, so for me the first sort of three rounds not only have I, like I said, learn the car and the controls but also my race craft, getting back in the swing of how everything works because you do get a little bit rusty from not being out racing and obviously I have been watching on the sidelines for a year before the start of this season so for me that something I’ve had to deal with. I think if the season started sort of after this round, so after this weekend it will be the half way point of the season, if we had this much knowledge and experience now, I think then I’d be aiming to win the championship because I feel like that’s the sort of level we are fighting at. We are currency eighth in the championship only I think ten points off fourth. So it’s really close. We had a DNF at Rockingham so obviously without that we’d be fourth in the championship at the minute. So for me there’s been a lot of positives. I think realistically I’d like to think top four/three in the championship, I think that would be a really good result for me this season. So that’s kinda what I’m aiming for at the minute.
Race two starts at 11:40 today.