Monaco drive 'mind-blowing'
I'M going to remember my recent trip to Monaco for a long, long time. Winning back-to-back support races was a huge buzz but threading a formula one car through the world's most famous street circuit for the first time was mind-blowing.
Monaco was by far the busiest weekend I've had so far. On Friday morning, the World Series by Renault practice session finished at 9.15am and I had to bolt to the Toro Rosso garage for the start of F1 practice at 10am.
It wasn't a lot of time to adjust and recalibrate my brain but jumping straight into the F1 car from the Renault did give me a real chance to compare the cars. I thought the world series car was quick but the F1 was another step up. I was almost 10 seconds a lap faster; it was unbelievable.
Monaco is such an awesome circuit and even though I raced there last year, driving it in the F1 car was a real eye-opener. There's just something about it that makes you want to keep pushing harder and harder. Because it's a street circuit it actually gets faster and faster as the race weekend goes on; that's because the rubber builds up on the track and gives more grip.
It was great to have my parents at Monaco this year, too. They try to come over to Europe a couple of times a year to watch me race.
Spraying the champagne on the Monaco podium for two years in a row is a dream come true but the ultimate prize would be do it in an F1 car.
My F1 debut in Melbourne seems such a long time ago now. So much has happened since Albert Park.
I've been to Malaysia, China, Turkey, Spain, Monaco and Canada with my F1 duties plus visits to Italy and Belgium for World Series by Renault.
All this travel around the world has taken a bit of adjustment. It's not as glamorous as it sounds because you don't really get to explore the cities. It's usually just the airport, the track and the hotel.
But I'm not complaining because the important thing is I'm getting seat time in the Toro Rosso F1 car. I'm more comfortable now than I was in Melbourne. I know where all the controls and buttons are on the steering wheel, which is slightly different to the Red Bull Racing machine. It's pretty important to know exactly where things are because you can't take your eyes off the road at 300km/h.
I've been pretty happy with my performances, too. I know what my role is now for the year and I feel like I'm contributing to the team and they're treating me like a full member instead of just the extra guy.
There's been a lot of speculation about me getting a race seat with Toro Rosso next year, which makes things a little awkward with the team's current drivers, Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari. There is a natural tension in motor racing and especially in F1. It's the pinnacle of racing, so the stakes are high.
But it's not a war zone, there are no uppercuts or jabs being thrown, or anything like that. We all still talk and trade feedback on how the car is performing.
Despite missing the first round of the Formula Renault 3.5 championship I'm up to sixth in the standings, 29 points behind the leader, my Red Bull Junior teammate Jean-Eric Vergne. I'd love to win the title but with my F1 commitments that could be difficult because it looks like I'll miss the final round of the season.
But either way I'm going to push as hard as I can to win as many races as I can. Hopefully it will be my last step before I get a full-time F1 drive next year.
Australian Daniel Ricciardo is the test driver for the Red Bull and Toro Rosso formula one teams. He is racing in the World Series by Renault this year.