Five races into his rookie Formula 3 season and Paul Aron is already focused on the bigger picture. After holding off Gabriele Minì for the final points-paying position in the Sprint Race, the PREMA Racing driver isn’t changing his approach for Sunday’s Feature Race – maximising his potential points haul.
Whilst the Estonian was disappointed not to have the pace to secure the additional point on offer for the fastest lap, Aron says that he executed his target of a clean-cut performance.
“It’s Monaco, so there was not a lot going on as we expected. We were still in the position to fight for points and the goal was to try to stay clean and and bring it home. Obviously, if we could, we would have gone for the fastest lap, but I think we didn't have the car where we wanted today, and it was going to be difficult to push for the fastest lap. So, we just decided to stay clean, got the data for tomorrow and hopefully we can make an improvement.
Finishing where he started, it was game of cat and mouse throughout the 27-lap affair. Balancing between taking advantage of any opportunities with the potential risks of gambling on a move around Monte Carlo, Aron says he enjoyed the thrill of being hunted down and is eager to do the same to Minì and his PREMA stablemate Dino Beganovic tomorrow.
“I think you just need to stay open minded, all the moves we saw were people just taking advantage of opportunities. If there are two cars on the inside, the car behind the first one will be boxed in and there's an opportunity around the outside. I was in between two of those packs of cars, so there were no real opportunities for me to fight for any positions. To just send it for a move is quite risky. You need to have the car dialled in to be able to put pressure on the car in front and in shape for a move, which we didn't have today.
He added: “I'm a racing driver, so I'm used to being under pressure. I knew after the first few laps that Minì was going to be faster than us. But in the end, what you have to manage here is the exit of basically two corners - Turn 8 and the last corner. I made sure that on every lap those exits were done correctly, so that Minì wouldn’t have a proper chance. It was nice to race under pressure rather than cruising around, maybe I was able to find a bit of lap time in places where I was a bit slower before, so generally I would say it was still a positive.”
Whilst a maiden podium isn’t far from his mind lining up third on the grid, improving to second or going for the win isn’t an out of the question possibility. However, the Mercedes junior recognises that the season is a marathon not a sprint and with plenty of races ahead, the target is to secure a solid haul of points to bridge the gap to the leading pack.
“I think again I’ll be in between two different packs of cars, first and second fighting and the fourth and fifth guys. It’s Monaco, you never what can happen. From my side, the goal is to stay clean and bring home the good points. We’ll try to work today to have a bit more pace for tomorrow, so we can also fight for the fastest lap which could give us one more point.
“If you look at it in the long term, it’s more valuable to bring home 15 points than trying to fight for 18 points and crashing. It’s all about risk management, you need to approach every opportunity differently, you can never predict what’s going to happen. If you have an opportunity, then obviously go for it, but if not, you need to manage what it’s worth doing and what is not.”