Sergio Perez won the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix, but insists Red Bull will struggle this year to show their speed around the streets of the principality.
Red Bull have utterly dominated the 2023 Formula 1 season so far, winning all of the first five races, Sergio Perez in Jeddah and Baku, Max Verstappen in Bahrain, Melbourne and Miami. But the winner of last year’s Grand Prix in Monaco is wary that the track might not allow the Red Bull RB19 to flex its muscles.
Indeed, Fernando Alonso is banking on Monaco to diminish the advantage of Red Bull, siting it as one of the F1 venues of 2023 when he could actually win a race for Aston Martin.
Perez won Monaco in 2022, after crashing in qualifying and in tricky rainy conditions on a weekend when Verstappen was having one of his rare slumps, and when Ferrari botched Charles Leclerc’s pitstop during the race, and the Mexican is concerned about the RB19’s ability to warm up its tyres.
The RB19’s pull-rod front suspension is designed to work in tandem with the rear push-rod setup to reduce the car’s dive under braking and allow for a more stable aerodynamic platform. However a downside of the design is a difficulty in bringing the front tyres up to temperature quickly – for qualifying – which explains Red Bull’s smaller qualifying advantage than in the race.
Anything can happen in Monaco
“We certainly know it’s not our strongest circuit. We will struggle a bit to show our strengths, but it’s still Monaco,” Perez said on Thursday.
“Come Saturday you still need a good warm up on your tyre, that is the key around here. Lets say it’s not our strongest circuit, but we will see. It’s Monaco and everything can happen,” he added.
“Fernando [Alonso], the Ferraris, I do expect them to be quite strong as well as they were in Baku, and obviously over one lap around this place they will be strong. I do expect them to be quite strong and also Mercedes can be in the mix,” the Mexican maintained.
Verstappen also weighed in on his team’s qualifying form; he said: “We’ve not been, let’s say, very dominant in qualifying. We have always been very good in the race, but in the race here we know we can’t pass.
“It’s very important to have a strong qualifying and make sure the car is in the best window it can be for one lap performance because that’s what this weekend is all about.
“I think everyone enjoys coming here, putting it on the limit, and trying to be as close as you can be to the walls. From that side of things of course it’s an amazing feeling to be driving,” Verstappen concluded.
Verstappen who leads Perez by 14 points in the Drivers’ Championship will be looking to extend his lead by winning his fourth race of the season, while Perez will definitely be targeting another win on the trot in Monaco this weekend.
That is unless Fernando Alonso or Charles Leclerc decides to crash the Bulls’ party…