Sebastian Vettel admitted that things were looking a lot tighter at the head of the field following Thursday practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.
The defending champion, winner of four of the five races run so far this season for Red Bull, was quickest in the morning session before slipping back to fifth following the second 90 minutes of running.
While he admits it looks tight, Vettel was happy with the opening day in the principality and in particular with the performance of the Pirelli tyres after questions were raised pre-event about the longevity of the super soft compound.
“It's been positive so far,' he said. “Both tyres are working well and seem to be lasting, which is important. We will see how the conditions are on Sunday, but the super soft tyre seems to be the preferred one for qualifying. It seems to be quicker and you can extract more lap time out of it.
“I had a good feeling straight away in the car; it's fun driving around here; it's a different track and it's quite bumpy and rough. I brushed the wall after three laps, so hopefully that's that done for the weekend! The car looks competitive, but everyone is very close to each other, so it looks tight.”
Monaco is one race Vettel has yet to win and he admitted that success on the streets of Monte Carlo would be special if he can manage it this weekend.
“Let's wait and see - it's a long weekend and we know that anything can happen here,” he told the official F1 website. “I really like to drive here, as this track is so different to anything that we normally race on. But I also know that winning here means that every jigsaw piece falls into the right place. The car, so far, has delivered exceptionally well, but Monaco follows a different set of rules.
“[Winning Monaco] is something special. This track is unique and the tradition is awesome. These narrow streets with a view of the Mediterranean are unbeatable, and it must be very special to add your name to all the winners of the past - the heroes of Formula One. But before that honour comes some very hard work.”