Vettel looks to end Ferrari’s 16-year Monaco wait
CHAMPIONSHIP leader Sebastian Vettel will this weekend seek to increase his advantage and inflict a demoralising blow to his rivals by securing Ferrari’s first win at the Monaco Grand Prix since 2001.
The four-time champion leads Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes by six points after five of this season’s 20 races, but heads into the classic 78-lap contest on the unforgiving streets of the Mediterranean principality knowing a victory could prove decisive in their tight title fight.
He knows also that there is some concern at Mercedes that their car, with a much longer wheel-base, could struggle to match Ferrari’s agility on the famous tight and twisting track where Hamilton, who loves the challenge, won last year.
The three-time champion will be seeking his third Monaco win after triumphing also in 2008 while Vettel, who won for Red Bull in 2011, is chasing his second win and, learning of Mercedes’ worries, will fancy his chances.
“At the moment, Ferrari have certain advantages there,” said Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda.
“We will have our problems with our longest wheel-base through the tight corners. It will be even worse than in Singapore.”
Despite winning every race in Monte Carlo since 2013, Mercedes appear to be truly afraid that they will start with a disadvantage.
Valtteri Bottas, who has replaced retired world champion Nico Rosberg as Hamilton’s teammate, warned: “A car with the longest wheelbase on a track with so many slow corners — we could be slower than them.”
Daniel Ricciardo, who lost a near-certain victory last year due to a Red Bull tactical bungle, will also be a threat to the leaders in what is expected to be an intriguing scrap in qualifying and the race.
“Last year was disappointing for me as I felt a win was on the cards,” said Ricciardo.
“But I am old enough and mature