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Vettel eyes Monaco F1 as chance to beat Mercedes

Sebastian Vettel is hoping that the unique nature of the Monaco street circuit will help close the F1 gap between Red Bull and Mercedes.
Sebastian Vettel has admitted that next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix offers perhaps the best chance for Red Bull Racing to end Mercedes' unbeaten start to the 2014 F1 season.

The four-time reigning world champion has been on the receiving end of the sort of treatment he usually hands out in 2014, with Nico Rosberg and, latterly, Lewis Hamilton proving unbeatable at the wheel of the W05 Hybrid. The Briton claimed his fourth win of the season – and fourth in a row after retiring from pole position in the Melbourne season-opener – in Barcelona last Sunday, taking over from his team-mate at the top of the standings.

With the RB10 already underpowered compared to its main rival, Vettel also seems to have attracted the majority of the misfortune heading RBR's way, allowing new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to notch up some impressive results without actually overhauling the German in the standings. Next up, however, is the one race on the calendar where the formbook can potentially be torn up and thrown away.

“I think yes [we can fight with Mercedes on a track like Monaco],” Vettel, a winner in the Principality in 2011, said, “It is difficult to predict but, at Monaco, perhaps you need a little bit less power - you still need power, but probably a little bit less than at other places - or maybe there's some rain, which could help us as well. So there's always a chance to beat everybody.”

The problems at Red Bull did not disappear with the chance to test, as reserve driver Sebastien Buemi suffered a gearbox problem that ultimately sidelined both drivers well into day two, but Vettel believes that the rest of the two-day session proved useful.

“We spent all night and all morning fixing the problem but I think, in the end, the afternoon was still very good for us,” he insisted, “We could do a lot of laps during the time we had but, sure, it was not a perfect day

“We've not really [tested anything special for Monaco] and, in terms of tyres, we used the same tyres as the [recent] race weekend, so I think it was more useful for us to try and understand more of the car in general, rather than prepare for one single race.”

Although his Spanish weekend was one of widely contrasting fortunes – starting with him sitting out opening practice after his car stopped with just four laps on the board, and continuing with a gearbox problem in FP3 that not only cut short his session but also meant that he'd take a five-place grid penalty for changing the offending item – Vettel managed to charge from 15th to fourth.

“I think Sunday was already a step in the right direction,” he claimed, “Obviously, last weekend was a very short weekend from my side, with very few laps, but it was definitely a much better feeling in the car to previous races.”

Although his Monaco results haven't always been the best – and despite knowing that both Mercedes drivers have won in the Principality, including Nico Rosberg's win over him last year – Vettel will be looking to kick-start his campaign when the Monaco weekend gets next Thursday (22 May).

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB9 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W04 26.05.2013- Race,
Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull Racing
Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes
24.05.2015- Race, William Stevens (GBR) Manor Marussia F1 Team
24.05.2015- Atmosphere
24.05.2015- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W06
24.05.2015- Podium, winner Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W06
24.05.2015- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-30 out of the race
24.05.2015- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T
24.05.2015- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-30 is burning after the stop
24.05.2015- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Honda MP4-30
24.05.2015- Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10
24.05.2015- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T
24.05.2015- Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 crash after a contact with Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23 in St. Devote corner
24.05.2015- Race, Max Verstappen (NED) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR10 crash after a contact with Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 Team E23 in St. Devote corner
24.05.2015- Race, Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF15-T
24.05.2015- Podium, winner Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W06 and HSH Prince Albert of Monaco (MON)
24.05.2015- Race, Daniil Kvyat (RUS) Red Bull Racing RB11

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May 16, 2014 3:21 PM

Well, the RBR will probably be ok there, but realistically they'll still be on for 3rd and 4th at maximum. Neither Daniel nor Sebby have shown particular skill at the track so who knows who comes out the winner of the inter team battle...however I don't predict a Senna 1992 where one of them beats the dominant Williams after they won the first five races. And before the fanb0iZ be hatin': I just looked up Vettel's qualy record at Monaco to confirm my impression that he isn't particularly good there and he's 3:3 against his teammates, including getting outqualified by the one and only Sebastien Bourdais in 2008. Also 1 fortuitous win around the place for 4 championships in at least 2,5 vastly dominant cars is a poor Monaco win ratio IMO. Daniel was 1:1 vs Vergne in qualy and retired twice in the race so that's nothing to write home about either.

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