In recent years, Red Bull and Ferrari travelled to the Monaco GP bullish that the track’s characteristics could give it a decent shot of stopping the dominant Mercedes team. With the German car manufacturer’s old engine advantage negated by the tight and twisty layout, and its longer wheelbase car not ideal for the street circuit, its rivals have been able to knock it off the top spot.
Scuderia Ferrari German driver Sebastian Vettel triumphed in 2017, while Daniel Ricciardo won the race for Red Bull last year. The Australian should also have won in 2016 were it not for a pitstop blunder when his tyres were not ready.
But this year both Ferrari and Red Bull are under no illusions that Mercedes is heading there as the clear favourite – based not only on the German car manufacturer’s dominant start to 2019 but also by analysis of where the W10 was quickest in Spain. The pace of cars from the tight left-hander at Turn 10 to the start-finish line is often viewed as a good indicator of how strong cars will be at Monaco – which features similar speed corners. As well as Mercedes enjoying a 0.444 second advantage over Red Bull, and a 0.635 seconds edge over Ferrari this year, the S3 figures show the incredible step forward that Mercedes has made in 2019.
For Ferrari, whose driver Sebastian Vettel singled out sector three as an ‘Achilles Heel’, there remains a slim hope that the sector three form may not be a full indicator of how things will be in Monaco. However, Scuderia Ferrari Team principal Mattia Binotto is adamant the Italian side will not give up without a fight and is confident in a strong result:
“I think that Monaco is quite a different circuit to Barcelona in the overall way that you setup the car, and with the mechanical [aspects] that you can work on. The tyre compounds will be different to Barcelona so I think at the end it is a different circuit. There is no doubt that downforce is useful in Monaco as it is in Barcelona, but I think our drivers can still do well in Monaco.” – Mattia Binotto explained, ahead of the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix.