Sebastian Vettel targets first Monaco Grand Prix win
Monaco Grand Prix
- Venue: Monte Carlo
- Date: 26, 28 & 29 May
Coverage: Practice on red button, online and 5 live sports extra (Thursday 0855-1035, 1255-1435, Saturday 0955-1100). Qualifying live on BBC One, HD & 5 live sports extra (Saturday 1210-1430). Sunday: Race live on BBC One, HD, online and 5 (1205-1520). F1 Forum on red button & online (1520-1620). Highlights on BBC Three (1900-2000).
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel says he cannot only rely on having the fastest car if he is to win the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time on Sunday.
The world champion has won four out of five races so far but says Monte Carlo's street circuit demands more.
"It's a difficult one as it is a track where everything needs to be right, you need to have confidence and the car to your liking," said Vettel.
"You don't need the quickest car but you do need to feel comfortable."
He added: "It would be a huge honour to win here."
Vettel's best performance around the tight and twisting streets of the principality came last season when he finished behind his team-mate and race-winner Mark Webber.
“This is a track where the driver can make a difference”
Webber went on to dominate the race after taking pole and Vettel's second-place looked tighter than it was because of four interruptions by the safety car.
Vettel has been a dominant force so far this season and has a healthy 41-point lead over McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in the title race but the 23-year-old German concedes that Monaco's narrow, low-speed circuit represents a very different challenge.
"This is a track where the driver can make a difference," added Vettel. "But it's not always black and white.
"It is a long weekend, there might be things that are bothering you and you have to carry them through the weekend with you.
"The focus is very intense and you need to concentrate. It's very tight, there's not a lot of space and the higher up you can qualify will better your chances on Sunday.
"But we've seen some crazy races this year with the tyres and we don't know yet what to expect here or how many pit stops there will be."
The first Monaco Grand Prix was held in 1929 and it is still regarded as the blue riband event on the calendar.
Brazil's three-time world champion Aytron Senna has a record six wins in Monaco with Michael Schumacher, now driving for Mercedes, next in line with five victories.
But when asked if it was a hole in his record, the sport's newest world champion Vettel responded: "No, it's not a hole.
"The history of the grand prix and the tradition is huge and it would be a huge honour to put my name on that list of winners around here.
"We are driving for the championship that is more important but this is one of the races that as a driver would mean a lot to me."
Both McLaren drivers, Hamilton and Jenson Button, can already count a piece of Monaco silverware among their trophies.
Button, a former Monaco resident, took the flag during his title-winning season with Brawn Grand Prix in 2009 and the now McLaren man agrees that this weekend presents his best chance of a first win of the campaign.
"We have to be positive coming into this race," said Button, who finished third last time out at Barcelona's Spanish Grand Prix.
"You'll still see the quick cars at the front but there's a smaller difference in qualifying and so one mistake from Red Bull and you've pipped them.
"It's a unique circuit where mechanical grip is important. We may not be as strong as Red Bull aerodynamically but mechanically we are strong.
"I'm looking forward to it and I can't wait to get out there tomorrow."
Hamilton was a close second to Vettel in Barcelona and is the only other man to claim a victory this season when he took the flag in Shanghai.
And the 26-year-old is also confident that a second win in Monaco - and a second of the season - is a real possibility this weekend.
"It might be my best chance so far [since China]," said Hamilton, who won in Monte Carlo three years ago.
"When you go to circuits that are downforce dependent [like Barcelona] we are less likely to win.
"A lot of my energy will be used up trying to keep myself out of the barriers.
"I hope that our car works well this weekend and we are able to extract the most from those tyres."
Fernando Alonso is a double winner around the streets of Monte Carlo and he is also confident he can bend the circuit to his will this weekend.
The Spaniard was not able to take part in qualifying last year after a heavy crash during practice last year but still managed to cross the line in sixth despite starting in the pit lane.
"Monaco is so different compared to any other circuit," said Alonso, who finished fifth in Spain despite leading the race. "We always see some surprises here.
"I'm confident. Aerodynamics are less important there so hopefully we can have a good weekend and score some points."