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Monaco GP: Preview - Red Bull

NEWS STORY
18/05/2021

The Spanish Grand Prix was a difficult one, how do you feel looking back?
Max Verstappen: I feel good about it, but as a Team it wasn't the smoothest weekend, we definitely lacked pace throughout the race. It is what it is and we still secured second place and good points for the Team. It's still early in the season so we just have to make sure that we keep pushing and applying the pressure and start winning some more races. We are always analysing and pushing ourselves to the maximum.

Where do you think we need to improve in order to challenge Mercedes?
MV: I think our tyre degradation but also the general pace of the car wasn't good enough to really challenge Mercedes in Barcelona. I got ahead of Lewis in Turn 1 but if I hadn't, he would have just driven off so leading the race for so long made it look tougher to lose out on the win. We just need to keep on improving.

Looking ahead to Monaco, how excited are you to race there again?
MV: The Monaco Grand Prix is always very special, it's very different to other tracks, the circuit is very narrow but also amazing to drive over one lap in qualifying. You can really feel when you have got it all hooked up and the lap is going to be a good one - that makes you smile. I've never been on the podium in Monaco so I would like to change that! We just need to have a clean weekend, I think that is very important. We'll see if we are fast or not but so far in qualifying we have been quite close so I just hope it's going to be the same in Monaco.

There is no margin for error in Monaco so how important is qualifying?
MV: I know very well that there is no margin for error in Monaco (laughs), we just have to make sure we nail it on Saturday. Of course then on Sunday it is usually straight forward as overtaking is so difficult but a lot of things can happen. We need to be at our best now on Saturday and Sunday to make sure we are on the top step of the podium.

Spain proved to be a challenging weekend but fifth place on Sunday delivered solid points for the Team. How do you look back on it?
Sergio Perez: It was a tough weekend and it was compromised by the poor performance on Saturday in qualifying, I wasn't one hundred percent physically so I did struggle but I'm back to full fitness now. Looking ahead I'm getting more comfortable with the car so I hope we are able to show that in Monaco and put in a good performance on Saturday. I'm excited to race there especially as we weren't able to last year.

You said you spent much of the race behind Daniel thinking about how to overtake him. Talk us through that.
SP: It was aiming for the overtake in Turn 1, McLaren were very fast in a straight line so that obviously made things a bit harder for us. I finally managed to make the move but it was just too late in the race.

Looking ahead to Monaco, you finished on the podium there in 2016. What's the goal this weekend?
SP: Historically Red Bull has been strong in Monaco so I hope we are able to fight for the win. You need a lot of confidence with the car there because the margin for error is so small. I'm feeling more confident with the car so I hope I am able to show that throughout the weekend. I'm also looking forward to seeing the fans, the atmosphere is so different without them.

With a championship battle this year, how important is development and continuing to push on the 2021 car from everyone back at the factory?
SP: It's very important to maximise weekend after weekend. There are big challenges ahead and the season is very long so it requires everyone to be at one hundred percent to bring that championship home.

• Honda have six previous Monaco GP victories, all of which came in consecutive seasons from 1987-1992 thanks to Ayrton Senna (five wins) and Alain Prost (one win). In addition, Honda-powered cars led every lap of five successive Monaco GPs from 1987-1991

• Max Verstappen has led 144 laps this season, more than anybody else on the grid, and is only 25 laps short of his highest total in ANY season, set in 2018

• Sergio Perez is the only Mexican driver to finish on the podium in the Monaco GP, having finished third in the 2016 race

• Sergio Perez has been a consistent performer throughout his career in Monte-Carlo, having qualified 7th in Monaco on four previous occasions without ever starting higher!

What are the engineering challenges with a unique circuit like Monaco?
Which plethora of restaurants to go to of course! Joking aside, it's the slowest speed track that we go to. There are no high speed corners and the apex speeds are the lowest we encounter on the calendar. There's an emphasis therefore on putting downforce onto the car, usually by using large rear wings. We also have to consider the impact on brake temperatures due to the low speeds and the warm air. In addition, as we depend more on low revs and gears, we must consider the engine's ability to deliver the power smoothly and predictability… it's crucial for the driver around this track.

As Monaco is a street circuit, can you talk us through the track surface and how that impacts the car's performance?
The circuit is bumpier than most of the tracks that we go to so you need a set-up that supports the aerodynamic platform that deals with the low speed ride issues, also to encourage the tyres to stick to the ground when travelling over the bumps.

The margin for error is minimal in Monaco, how important is qualifying?
There is a great dependency on qualifying in Monaco as the circuit is twisty and narrow, the ability to overtake is very limited. If you make a mistake and use the kerbs a bit too much you do not have space to recover.

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