The Infiniti Red Bull Racing team have ascended to the top of the best-of-the-rest behind the dominant Mercedes team, and finished third and fourth in Spain two weeks ago. Current World Champion Sebastian Vettel and Australian Daniel Ricciardo have both shown what it takes to get to the podium in 2014, and will be hoping for another strong race in Monaco.
Ricciardo arrives in Monaco after taking his first official F1 podium in Spain after being stripped of the first one in Australia through no fault of his own. He admits he finds himself getting excited every time he arrives to race in Monaco.
“In Monte Carlo it’s impossible to do that calm, detached racing driver thing,” said Ricciardo. “Every year I’m determined I’m going to approach the weekend in a coldly logical way, and every year I end up bouncing up and down and getting excited. It’s just amazing. The atmosphere in town and down at the harbour, the history of the race, the massive crowd, it’s a real buzz.
“The track is properly old-school. Driving an F1 car anywhere is special – the speed, the power and the acceleration just blows you away – but here it’s… cool. I know there’s that quote about racing at Monaco being like riding a bicycle around your bathroom – well when I was a kid I used to love riding my little bike around inside the house. It was more fun; there were more obstacles and a bit more danger. That really is what this is like. Experience definitely helps: the driver can make a big difference if he knows the tricks that a fast lap demands.”
Four-time World Drivers’ Championship Sebastian Vettel is a past winner around Monaco in 2011, and knows how tricky it is to overtake around the tight and twisty circuit. The German knows a good qualifying is key to the whole weekend, and he will be gunning for his first pole position of the season this weekend.
“Monaco is one of my favourite tracks, it’s an absolute challenge,” said Vettel. “You cannot afford to make one single mistake, because you would easily crash into the railings. Overtaking is only possible with taking an extreme risk. It’s all about patience in Monaco and hoping for complete reliability as the suspension and drive are massively in demand around this extreme, uneven roller coaster of a circuit – it’s immense.
“In the perfect situation, you would have had a good qualifying and start from the front. Monaco offers some really great memories with the team, especially when everyone ended up jumping in the pool and one year Mark [Webber] and I even ended up in the harbour.”