Monaco Grand Prix Preview: Can Mercedes Be Topped?

Formula 1 returns this weekend for the sixth leg of the 2014 season but the only question of real significance heading into the Monaco Grand Prix is whether Red Bull Racing or Ferrari have what it takes to knock off a red hot Mercedes.

The combination of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have dominated early season results, polling 1-2 in the past four GPs- Spain, China, Bahrain and Malaysia. Hamilton has claimed all four since Rosberg took out the Melbourne GP, but the German showed how close the title fight will be in Spain a fortnight ago when he finished 0.6 seconds behind his English teammate.

“The last few races have been just incredible. I honestly never expected I’d win four consecutive Grands Prix in my career and I’d love to continue that run here,” Hamilton said.

I’ve had some work to do in terms of getting the car exactly as I want it after the weekend in Spain: it was so close between our cars at the end and I need to keep pushing to find any extra edge I can.”

Rain is expected to influence the Monaco Grand Prix as early as Thursday and both Red Bull and Ferrari will be looking to sneak a win away from Mercedes on the short circuit, gear change heavy track which clocked in as the both the slowest average lap speed and corner speed of the 2013 season.

Red Bull rookie Daniel Ricciardo claimed his first podium finish in Spain, but reigning champ Sebastian Vettel clearly isn’t ready to hand the torch over to his Australian teammate. The German doesn’t have a great track record in Monaco- he has won here just once however finished second behind Rosberg last year- but is coming off a stellar fight back in Barcelona where he managed a fourth placed finish after starting a distant 15th.

Both Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso stayed back in Barcelona to continue testing on the F14 car, but it seems as if Ferrari still have a way to go before they are able to close the gap.

“This year I think Monte Carlo will be one of the few possibilities to challenge Mercedes, especially for Red Bull,” Alonso said.

“In the corners (Red Bull) are very fast but on the straights they seem to lose a lot of lap time.
In Monte Carlo there are no straights so Red Bull could challenge Mercedes there.”

The Monaco Grand Prix kicks off on Sunday and consists of 78 laps over 260km/161m.

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