F1’s current qualifying pace-setters Mercedes have been installed as favourites for next weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.
Given the one lap pace of the W04 and the tight, twisty nature of Monaco’s famous street circuit, many believe the Brackley based team has what it takes to get out in front in qualifying and stay there on Sunday.
Last year Michael Schumacher scored an incredible pole position for Mercedes only for a ten-place grid drop to be imposed from a crash in the previous race in Spain, however with Mercedes having a good run of form in Monaco and the current pace in qualifying many believe they will be hard to beat.
"I think Mercedes has a good chance to win in Monte Carlo," said Swiss commentator and former driver Marc Surer.
"Whoever starts at the front in the principality also has a good chance for victory," he is quoted by Speed Week.
"And the degradation of the rear tyres will not be such a big issue there."
Barcelona winner Fernando Alonso agreed when asked if he thought Mercedes were a threat in Monaco: "Yes, definitely,” he said to reporters.
"They've been on pole position for the last three races, they were on pole last year with Michael (Schumacher), so it would be a surprise if they weren't on pole position in Monaco.”
"And it's more difficult to overtake in Monaco, so maybe they can keep good positions for longer."
Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen also agreed: "I think Mercedes will unfortunately be pretty quick there and after that it's difficult to overtake.
"So you can really expect, from what they did last year and what they did here, that they should be pretty fast there."
As mentioned the tyres will be set to play less of a role in Monaco despite the super-soft and soft tyres making a re-appearance for the first time since Australia and China respectively.
Monaco is the slowest track of the year and with the major problem seemingly being overheating of the tyres, the lack of heat build-up on the stop-start nature of Monaco’s street circuit will help Mercedes in particular.
Despite that, pole-sitter from Barcelona, Nico Rosberg, told the DPA news agency he still expects a huge battle if Mercedes manage to be at the front after qualifying.
"In qualifying we are very good, so it's very likely that we'll be close to the front (in Monaco) and hopefully I can keep the train behind me."
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