Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport executive director Toto Wolff knows his drivers must find the perfect rhythm to have a chance of a good result at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The tight and twisty layout makes it tough for drivers and Wolff acknowledges that the entire weekend could be ruined by one small mistake.
“The Circuit de Monaco is a driver’s track. Its tight layout and close walls mean that there is no margin for error and every mistake is punished.
“Braking as little as two metres too late can ruin the entire weekend. If you’re lucky, you end up on an escape road. If you’re unlucky, the car is wrecked.
“To be successful in Monaco, the driver needs to find a perfect rhythm.”
Wolff admits Monaco is different from other circuits with the focus in practice not on new updates but getting the car set up as perfect as possible for the rest of the weekend.
“The driver needs to be able to trust the car from the beginning, to then carefully approach the ideal lap.
“So the team tries to hit the ground running by providing a car that inspires confidence from the moment the driver first leaves the pits on Thursday.
“At other races, the team might bring new items to be tested on a Friday, but in Monaco every minute of the Free Practice sessions is devoted to finding the ideal car set-up.
“The way the team approaches the set-up process also differs from other races.”
Traffic is always a problem at the Circuit de Monaco and that forces the team and driver to make the most of the time when they have free space in front of them.
“Making the most out of the practice sessions is particularly important because he can easily complete an entire session and only get a handful of clear laps, where he’s not in traffic.
“It’s up to the team to plan accordingly and find a good moment to leave the garage, enabling the driver to get in consistent laps.
“It also means that the driver needs to manage his position on track on Thursday and Saturday.
“Four or five seconds to the car in front is usually enough room in Monaco whereas a three-second gap makes the car in front a hindrance.