“We know how important quali is in Monaco, for the entire race and the race result” – Binotto
Mercedes cannot rule out a grapple on track this weekend with a number of contenders as some midfield favourites showed serious pace at the Circuit de Monaco this afternoon.
Speaking at the post-practice conference, Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff, admitted that Ferrari’s duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz looks strong on the streets of Monaco, while they’re also expecting a lot more from Red Bull at this high downforce circuit.
Alongside the threats of Ferrari and Red Bull this weekend, Wolff also pointed out the strength seen in McLaren and their Qualifying abilities so far this season.
“I wouldn’t discount any other teams”, he said.
“We’ve seen the Ferraris have been pretty strong.
“Carlos was always there, right up, and Charles didn’t even run so the Ferraris have been very strong.
“Red Bull definitely, that has been their track, they have a lot of downforce, so we expect them too – but the McLarens have always come when it matters in qualifying.
“So yeah, everything can do well here.”
Meanwhile, Ferrari Principal, Mattia Binotto, is hoping Charles will show up with his usual qualifying form to land a good starting position for Sunday’s race.
“I think Charles is very strong in quali”, he said.
“He has always been very strong and he has performed very well at the start of the season during the quali.
“Here again it will be important because, again, we know how important is quali in Monaco, for the entire race and the race result.
“So, at least he can try to do as good as he did in the first races, of course, and eventually, let’s see, whatever he can do on track.
“I think driver ability is very important. As we said, he’s very, very strong in quali.”
Echoing a similar plan, Red Bull’s Christian Horner says the team need an epic run on Saturday to secure a high starting position at a track renowned for tough overtaking but admits the fight for the podium is marginal once again.
“Judging by the first four races, it’s going to be very tight again.
“There’s not much between the cars at the moment, certainly on a Saturday and that’s always crucial around here.
“So, it’s going to be about getting the perfect qualifying together, which will play a key role, as it always does, for the outcome of the race.”