Tag Archives: Monaco

Christian Horner: “We are now where we should have been in January…”

Christian Horner says that Red Bull is making progress in its pursuit of Mercedes – but says much still depends on what Renault can do.

At a track where the emphasis switched from the power unit to the chassis Daniel Ricciardo finished a strong third in Monaco, although Sebastian Vettel suffered a disappointing turbo failure.

“Daniel was amazing, considering where he was after the first lap,” Horner said when asked by this writer. “We got a little bit lucky with the puncture for Raikkonen. But his pace was very good. He looked after the tyres well and pushed hard at the end of the race. He was certainly than Lewis, but no chance to overtake. It was certainly the closest we’ve been. So we’re getting there. It’s the first time this year we’ve been racing a Mercedes, so it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

Horner remains confident that Red Bull can continue to close on its main rivals.

“We’re clearly the second quickest team at the moment, and we’re nibbling into that gap of Mercedes. It’s nothing short of commitment and hard work and clever design that’s going to close that gap.

“We’re very much in Renault’s hands. We are making progress, they’re making progress, Total on the fuel side have been making progress. But really we are now where we should have been in January. And Mercedes obviously aren’t standing still. But we’re only at race six, there’s still a long way to go in this championship.”

Horner admits that the next race in Canada could be more difficult, due to the extra focus on the power unit.

“Montreal is going to be a challenging race for us, and it will be interesting to see how we fair there. Obviously Renault are working hard behind the scenes. We were much, much closer [in Monaco], it’s the first time we’ve raced Mercedes this year. Dan’s pace, particularly in the last third of the race, he was the quickest car on the track.

“So I think we take a lot of confidence out of that. But you’re going from one extreme to the other. Here’s all about handling characteristics, the next event will be predominantly straightline performance. It’s going to be very interesting to see how we fare against the Mercedes powered teams in Montreal.”

Regarding Vettel’s Monaco disappointment he said: “Obviously this weekend was pretty tough on him. He’s smart enough to recognise that, so of course, like any sportsman he’s going to be frustrated when things go wrong. There will be time to take a breath and reflect. He’ll just keep working away at it, it’s the nature of who he is that he never gives up, he’ll keep his head down and keep working harder and harder.”

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Kimi Raikkonen Q&A: “Monaco is just a distant memory”

He may have been feeling a little punchy after the Monaco GP, but Kimi Raikkonen has now put his disappointment behind him, so in theory there won’t be any confrontation with Sergio Perez in the Montreal paddock. Instead Kimi is now looking forward to Canada, a race he has won in the past. He’s also experienced disappointment, none greater than when he was hit by Lewis Hamilton in 2008 while waiting at the end of the pitlane. Here’s a Q&A supplied by the Lotus team.

Q: What are your feelings after Monaco?

“We had a bad result on Sunday in Monaco; that was clear for anyone to see. It could have been even worse, but it could have been much better as well. We came out with one point so at least we got something back after losing the solid fifth place, but that’s not much consolation. The car felt good for qualifying and the race which is a positive as it was another circuit – and a difficult circuit – where we’ve been able to have the car pretty much as we wanted. We still lack just a little bit of speed in qualifying sometimes, but our race pace was good again; not that you can show that when you’re stuck behind slower cars like we saw in Monaco. We don’t know how the car will be in Montréal –we will have the answer to that question soon – but there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be competitive again.”

Q: It was quite some fight back you made at the end of the race…

“Well, that was a bit different as I had fresh tyres and we should never have been in that position in the first place, but it was good to at least get a point at the end. In a way, it almost makes it more frustrating as when we had the clean air after the pit stop it was probably the first time you saw how quick our car really was.”

Q: You were pretty frustrated after the race?

“No-one wants to lose so many points thanks to the actions of another driver, but that race is over; Monaco is just a distant memory and I’m all ready for Canada.”

Q: What’s your opinion of Canada?

“I have won there which was pretty good, but I have experienced some setbacks there as well. Many times the race has been quite a lottery as there seem to be different things which affect it. The weather can change a lot, sometimes the tyres or the track aren’t working very well, sometimes there are a lot of safety cars, or sometimes another driver runs into the back of you when you’re waiting at a red light. As for the place itself, I’ve always liked Montréal. It is one of the nicest cities we visit all year.”

Q: What do you need for a good result in Canada?

“A good car. Like at every circuit you need to get the set-up exactly right. You need a well-balanced chassis in the medium downforce configuration and you don’t want to be too hard on brakes as there’s a lot of aggressive braking there. It’s something I quite enjoy, the stop and go style of the circuit.

Q: Is Montréal another circuit where qualifying is crucial?

“Qualifying is important at every circuit, but not as essential as it was in Monaco to get a good result. It’s not easy to get past, but there are one or two places to overtake.”

Q: What are your thoughts on the Championship after losing ground to Sebastian Vettel?

“For sure we lost ground on the lead in Monaco, but it’s not over yet. It’s still early in the season and twenty-one points behind is not too much to catch up; especially if Sebastian has a bad weekend too at some point. The most important thing is that we return to our race level before Monaco to get things going our way as soon as possible.”


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Mark Webber on Monaco: “It’s still a daunting place…”

A winner in Monaco in 2010 and again last year, Mark Webber is looking forward to returning to his favourite street venue next week.

Like everyone else Webber is eager to find out whether Mercedes can maintain its pole streak.

“It’s always been a good circuit for me,” said Webber. “In F3000 I won there, and I’ve had a couple of wins in F1. I think I had good street circuit experience in Adelaide GP Formula Ford, Surfer’s Paradise Formula Ford. I think I’m comfortable on street circuits. Well, those type of street circuits, I can’t translate it to Singapore yet, I don’t know why!

“I don’t know what makes me feel as comfortable as I do round there. It’s still a daunting place, don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting here saying you’re on holiday round there – it’s a very, very challenging venue.

“If Mercedes have their one lap pace it might be interesting, if they bang it up the front there again.”

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Force India will fight McLaren for fifth place, says Fernley

Despite Adrian Sutil’s recent bad luck Force India is currently holding fifth place in the World Championship, and while the team acknowledges that it won’t be easy to outrun McLaren over the season, it does not rule out the possibility.

Sutil set second fastest lap in Bahrain and third fastest lap in Spain in the course of recovery drives from early delays.

Deputy team principal Bob Fernley believes that the outfit can maintain its good current form.

“Fifth is something we’ll fight for, but being realistic you can’t easily fight with the might of McLaren,” Fernley told this writer. “It’s nice to come out of the first five races in fifth place, but can we hold it? It will be tough. But we’ll give it a good go! We’ve got competitive drivers giving everything they can.

“I think the weakness for the team at the moment is getting both cars in the points. That’s what we’ve got to try and overcome. In Bahrain effectively we beat two Mercedes, two Ferraris, two McLarens and a Red Bull. We’re not quite there yet to be able to take on the pace that some of them have, but I think we can race Mercedes at the moment.”

Fernley doesn’t think that the team will lose out in the development race.

“In fact in the last two years we’ve got better through the season, and I think the same thing will apply. But I’m not sure that you’re going to see the same big steps that we’ve seen in the past. We’re coming to the end of evolution of development. Of course there will be some things, but I don’t think there’s a big upgrade left in anyone’s cars. And soon people will have to start looking at 2014.

“We’ve just got to brush ourselves down from Adrian’s point of view, and with Paul just continue on, because he’s had a remarkable run. We’ve never had a bad car in Monaco, we’ve always done quite well there. And it’s encouraging for us that we could go to places like Shanghai and Barcelona, historically not our better tracks, and at both qualify and race in the top 10.”


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Tyres still the key for Mercedes at Monaco, says Brawn

Ross Brawn has stressed that tyres will still be the key factor for Mercedes in Monaco, despite the unusual nature of the track.

Mercedes had a strong package in 2012, when Michael Schumacher took pole and Nico Rosberg finished a close second.

“Monaco is a not usually a race to which teams bring many updates because the track conditions change so much across the weekend,” said Brawn. “The priority is always to get the drivers comfortable with the unique challenge the circuit presents, and to give them a set-up they feel confident pushing to the limit.

“Both Nico and Lewis have historically been incredibly competitive in Monaco and this weekend will certainly allow their talent to shine. The engineering team will be focused on getting the most from our car on the slow, bumpy layout and there will of course be particular emphasis on achieving tyre consistency and durability.

“Meanwhile, our work continues back at Brackley and Brixworth to fully understand the reasons for our below-par race performance in Barcelona, in order to develop the right solutions for the upcoming circuits where high tyre usage could once again be a limitation for us.”

Meanwhile Toto Wolff added: “It is clear to everybody in the team that, while we have a strong car right now, we are not able to use that performance properly on Sunday afternoon. Although overtaking in Monaco is difficult, we cannot afford to be complacent in terms of tyre management and we will need to do significantly better than we managed in Barcelona in order to score a strong result.

“We have only scored points with one of our cars at the past three races and this is something we must improve quickly, beginning next weekend in Monte Carlo.”

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