Formula One is moving to Principality this weekend. Monaco is one of the best loved circuits of the season for many fans. The tight and twisty streets of Monaco test the limitation of both man and the machine. The circuit separates men from the boys.
Mercedes, which dominated the Spanish Grand Prix with a 1-2 finish, both in qualifying and in the race, are under no illusion about the tough weekend ahead. Some predicted turning point for Mercedes after Spain, but the team boss Toto Wolff is under no such impression.
He said, “But we’re not thinking about it as a turning point – the track layout, surface and conditions all suited our car and played into our hands.
“So, we are staying cautious with our predictions as we head to Monaco. It’s a circuit that gives us completely different challenges – and unique ones, too.”
It’s a no secret that Mercedes cars don’t like the street circuits with slow corners. The car’s long wheel base concept is thought to be a significant part of the disadvantage the German team suffer compared to the nimble Ferrari and Red Bull.
Last year Mercedes has endured a difficult race. Lewis Hamilton started 14th on the grid and finished the race 7th.
“Last year, it became a weekend of damage limitation when we didn’t find the right set-up. It was a painful lesson from us and we are determined to show that we have learned it this year,” he said.
Earlier when asked to preview the race he said, “Bloody worried.” He further added, “It’s a great challenge. Why our car doesn’t like to be quick around the corners of Monaco, we haven’t found out yet.”
He is anticipating a tough weekend for the Silver Arrows, and despite leading the both Drivers’ and Constructors’ championships, he knows they are not the favourites here.
“We don’t head into the weekend as favourites – they are Red Bull and Ferrari,” he said. “Red Bull are strong in the slow-speed corners and where straight-line speed is less important, while Ferrari dominated last year.”
He accepts, “”This will test the team to its limits – and any weaknesses will be harshly punished in the points. We are clear-sighted about the challenge ahead of us and determined to prevail.”
Last year Ferrari finished 1-2 and they will be favourites this year as well. But Red Bulls are also strong this year and they are particularly quick around slow corners and this circuit will provide them with plenty of such corners. While Ferrari and Red Bulls will lock horn for the front of the grid, Mercedes will be looking at staying as close as they can to these front runners.