Generally a good car around Monaco tends to do well here as both tracks are similar in terms of the layout with slow speed corners and not lot of time spent on full throttle. So if the race in Principality earlier this year was any indication, Red Bull cars are expected to be pushing Mercedes hard.
In Monaco, Daniel Ricciardo drove a brilliant lap to put the car on pole and was on course for a win until a pit-stop error -- the team wasn't ready with the right set of tyres -- lost him a chunk of time and the race lead. He eventually had to settle for second behind Lewis Hamilton.
Last year here, the Australian split the two Ferrari’s to finish second and on Thursday, was highly confident of having a good race this weekend.
“It’s obviously the next closest track to Monaco, so sure we look at it as a good chance to try to get the victory I’ve been after this season,” said Ricciardo.
The team can also hope on some gains from an upgrade its engine partner Renault is set to introduce here.
Teenage sensation, Max Verstappen too had a very fruitful outing here last year with Toro Rosso when he fought back from the back of the pack after stalling on the grid at the start and was a lap down after the initial laps.
A safety car allowed him to unlap himself and he fought his way to finish eighth ahead of his then teammate Carlos Sainz.
But both drivers are acutely aware of the added pressure the outfit faces to stop the Mercedes from winning a race only for the second time this year.
When asked about if the people are looking at Red Bull to beat Mercedes to liven up the season, Verstappen said the team will try not to buy into the hype.
“We just focus on our thing. Ya we have a good chance but we have to wait and see. It is difficult to say we will be number one team until we drive.”
“I think this track should suit us better. We don't know how well it will suit us, but it looked good last year and the previous years. So ya its definitely a better track for us.”
Ricciardo added, “I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself or them (team) for this weekend but I think deep down we obviously want to win. I believe we are a group of winners, so if there is a bit of pressure on us to get it done then I think we will thrive off that. Let’s see what happens. I’m definitely prepared and excited.”
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