Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel says he expects to see a lot of traffic around the short Circuit de Monaco circuit, adding that qualifying will be vital due to the lack of overtaking chances.
The Italian team arrive into Monaco after a disappointing Spanish Grand Prix. Both Ferrari drivers failed to make an appearance on the podium as both Vettel and Charles Leclerc couldn’t match the pace of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen. Ferrari’s rival Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport claimed their fifth consecutive one-two finish of the season in Barcelona.
Vettel has so far been the leading Ferrari driver in the drivers’ championship, but the German hasn’t been able to get to grips with his 2019 machinery. The 2019 SF-90 was fastest overall in pre-season testing, but were stunned as they couldn’t replicate their pace in the opening five races as Mercedes resume their domination in F1.
It hasn’t been an easy ride within the Ferrari camp as both Vettel and Leclerc are producing equal pace throughout the season, which has caused multiple episodes of team orders being used to their drivers during the races. In Spain, Ferrari deployed their team orders twice to both Vettel and Leclerc.
Prior to the Monaco Grand Prix, F1 legend and two-time champion with the Scuderia, Niki Lauda passed away at the age of 70 years old. The Austrian was Ferrari’s most successful driver before the arrival of Michael Schumacher. Lauda was known for his speed, talent, determination and bravery, having survived a terrifying accident at the 1976 German Grand Prix which left him with burns on his face. He won two titles with Ferrari; 1975 and in 1977.
The Motorsport community united and paid their respects to the Austrian as the news broke out. Vettel joined in by commenting that his presence will be difficult to fill, as well as previewing the upcoming round around the ‘iconic’ Monaco circuit.
“Niki leaves a void that will be difficult to fill. He was a genuine motor racing icon. Nevertheless, we are here to race,” said Vettel.
“There’s no doubt that Monaco is the most iconic race of the season, driving uphill at first and then down through the city streets, before going through the very quick tunnel in the dark, coming out into the port section. It’s really unique.
“For the drivers and engineers, this bumpy track is a world away from the circuits we are used to and that makes it even more challenging.”
Ferrari have won the prestigious Monaco Grand Prix ten times, with their latest coming at the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix where both Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen locked out the front row and claimed a one-two finish.
Vettel won that race in 2017, and was close to taking the honours again in 2018. But the German couldn’t find his way passed a wounded Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, who was carrying a MGU-K failure whilst on his way to taking the win.
The difficulty of passing around the streets of Monaco is to near impossible, and Vettel noted this saying that Qualifying will be a vital session in the weekend. The four-time world champion also added that finding a clean lap in Qualifying will be a challenge itself, being one of the shortest tracks on the F1 calendar.
“The cars need maximum aero downforce and a set-up that gives the driver the confidence needed to brush the walls to chase the fastest lap time,” added the German.
“Here’s no room for error in Monaco and with just seven corners and no real straight, overtaking is almost impossible. That’s why it’s vital to qualify well.
“The track is so short that, in free practice and qualifying, there’s always traffic. You just have to keep going to try and find a clean lap.”