May 22, 2013, 9:03 AM EDT
Felipe Massa has the unfortunate distinction of being the only driver to have started the Monaco Grand Prix for pole position in the last nine years without winning it.
But that doesn’t sour his view of the uniquely challenging Monte-Carlo street circuit.
“Monaco is a very special track, completely different to all the other venues we race on,” he said.
“Everywhere, you are really close to the edge of the track to the guard rails and you have to drive on the limit but not the slightest bit over it, because the smallest mistake is severely punished in Monaco. It is such a special circuit and I get a great feeling from racing there.
“I don’t think one part of the circuit is particularly more difficult than another. Every corner is difficult and a big challenge, so in order to get a perfect lap here, you must drive every turn at a hundred percent.
“At some tracks, if you make a little mistake at one corner, you can make up for it elsewhere on the lap, but in Monaco, the slightest error at one point and you will lose a lot of lap time and that’s what makes it a fantastic place to drive.”
Massa led the rain-hit 2008 race but went off at Sainte Devote. He lost victory to Lewis Hamilton despite the McLaren driver puncturing a tire when he hit a barrier.
“I had a great car in 2008 and I was also fighting for the win,” said Massa, “but unfortunately the race was run in the rain that year and so many things happened that in the end I was third.”
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