M ittwoch is the PR day before the Monaco Grand Prix. auto motor und sport will find stories and rumors in the paddock for you. We ask the engineers what's new about the car and the drivers how they assess the race. Here is our foray through the ten garages.
Mercedes can approach the highlight of the season in Monte Carlo calmly. With five one-two victories behind you, you are now on a racetrack whose characteristics seem tailor-made for the Silver Arrows. The Mercedes is a force in slow corners. He would have to drive in a league of its own on a racetrack with mostly slow corners. But the engineers warn: “Monaco is a special case and difficult to calculate.” What can happen to Mercedes? For example, that rain in qualifying makes Monte Carlo an even bigger lottery than this race already is. Mercedes is still under the impression of the death of their chairman Niki Lauda. On the cars, the two-time Monaco winner is remembered with different paintwork. A Lauda photo show runs all day in the motorhome. The team members wear a black ribbon. Lewis Hamilton was represented at the FIA press conference by team-mate Valtteri Bottas. The world champion did not yet feel able to speak in public about the loss so soon after the death of his mentor. Team boss Toto Wolff postponed a press conference scheduled for Wednesday to Thursday for the same reason.
The Monaco GP is Charles Leclerc's home race. For a win, the Ferrari driver needs more than just the home factor. During the tests in Barcelona, Ferrari looked for the reasons why you lose so much time on Mercedes in the slow corners. “We learned a few things from the test, but that won't be enough to catch up with Mercedes. We need more time for that. The engineers are working hard to understand the problem. ”The only hope:“ Monte Carlo has its own laws. ”And they could gain even more weight if it rains on Saturday as predicted. “Monaco is already a lottery in the dry. Much more in the rain. I wouldn't mind if it rained in qualifying, ”Leclerc asks for the assistance of the weather gods.
Max Verstappen does the Red Bull Fans little hope. Mercedes is a huge favorite. And Monte Carlo is after thatExperience from Barcelona no longer a Red Bull track: “I don't think we will be as strong here as in recent years.” This time the Dutchman will try everything to get through the weekend without an accident. The crash in the third training session relegated him to the last row in 2018. Verstappen had to be happy that it was enough to finish 9th in the race. Catching up is a tedious affair in Monte Carlo, says Verstappen: “If the person in front is driving in the middle of the street, nothing works. Overtaking has become even more difficult with the wide cars. ”
Sergio Perez is nervous: “Our upgrade from Barcelona didn't work and we still have no answers , Why. I can only hope that the circuit in Monte Carlo suits us better than Barcelona. ”Perez does not want to draw conclusions about Monte Carlo from the split times in sector 3 of Barcelona:“ In Barcelona you have two fast sectors before you get to sector 3. The tires are in a different condition than in Monte Carlo, where there are hardly any fast sections. ”
Robert Kubica was last in Monte in 2010 Carlo drove. At that time, the Pole was on the front row with his Renault and finished third in the race. That was long ago. “Monte Carlo will be a different track for me this time than it was back then. Compared to 2010, the cars have become wider and faster. That shifts the perspective. ”Kubica fears that the weaknesses of his Williams will have an extreme effect on an extreme course like Monte Carlo. “We have to hope for one of those surprises that Monaco is so famous for.”
Monte Carlo should be good ground for Renault. The Renault R.S. 19 has worked best in slow corners so far. The French national racing team could use a strong race. 'The season was a bit screwed up, even if it might be the wrong word for it,' Nico Hülkenberg sums up. “Something always came up. We were almost never able to reach our full potential forat most me in Melbourne. We really have to get out of this rhythm now. ”If the defects and faults hadn't existed, Renault would easily be number four in the field, claims the Rhinelander. Even in Barcelona, where the black and yellow armed forces remained without points. “In terms of speed, we were into the music. But if you start at the back, you just can't get forward. ”The pressure has increased, admits Hülkenberg, but not yet so great that there is no air to breathe. “We all want to do better than before, but we also can't bend iron with our bare hands. We are working under high pressure to put a better package together. ”Renault brought new front and rear wings and modified baffles to Monte Carlo.
Alexander Albon only knows Monte Carlo from Formula 2. But the Thai expects a completely different picture with cars that have twice as much horsepower and significantly more downforce than the junior class. “The most important thing for me will be to build trust in my car. Confidence is lap time in Monte Carlo. Daniil Kvyat is cautiously optimistic: “Our car has been competitive on all racetracks so far. It can also take slow corners, but we mustn't conclude from this that we are automatically fast in Monte Carlo as well. This route is an isolated case. 'The Russian only wants one thing for the weekend:' I finally want a clean and problem-free Sunday.
HaasF1 goes into his fear race with mixed feelings. Team boss Guenther Steiner takes stock: “Barcelona showed that we have a good car. That gave the team back confidence. But I don't want to go into the race too optimistically. If we don't get the tires in their window, things will be difficult. I hope the Pirelli C5 tire helps us. If not, we have to survive and focus on the tracks where we don't have these problems. For example France and Austria.
For McLaren, the season is going better than expected. The team leads the midfield with 22 points. Still, McLaren has something to make up for. A good result in Monte Carlo should make one forget the shame of Indianapolis, where Fernando Alonso failed to qualify for the race. Carlos Sainz knows Monaco better than his young team-mate Lando Norris. His milestone for Thursday: “Work on the setup with patience and methodology so that I can find confidence in the car. In the past, I've always been able to qualify for Q3 and get points here. I want to continue this record. 'Lando Norris has also had good experiences with the street circuit:' I made it onto the podium in Formula 2 last year. '
Kimi Raikkonen is not Monte Carlo's biggest fan.The Finn is driving in the principality for the 17th time. And he always finds it harder to make a difference as a driver. “When I first came to Monaco in 2001, you could get even more out of it as a driver. Meanwhile, Monaco has become more of a normal racetrack. And that's where the car makes the difference. '