Having won the last two races on the bounce, it may sound strange for Lewis Hamilton to say he expects a difficult weekend in Monaco – but the unique layout of Monte Carlo is a concern for Mercedes based on recent history...
Ferrari were dominant in the Principality last year, with Sebastian Vettel leading home team mate Kimi Raikkonen for their first one-two of that campaign. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo completed the podium in third.
The best-placed Mercedes was Valtteri Bottas in fourth, with Lewis Hamilton capping a challenging weekend with a disappointing seventh, having qualified down in 14th.
And while the Briton will hope to be higher this year, he reckons the advantage could swing Red Bull's way in Monaco, referencing the team's supreme pace in Barcelona's slow-speed final sector, which is often a barometer for Monte Carlo form.
“We came from the last race knowing this is going to be one of the tougher races for us,” said championship leader Hamilton. “If you look at the last race [in Barcelona] and even in testing in February and even the test the other day, the Red Bulls were particularly quick in the last sectorsector – that’s where they’re always very, very strong.
"So you can imagine that they will be incredibly quick here this weekend, which is actually a surprise on previous years, because Ferrari were very strong last year and for whatever reason, Red Bull didn’t get it together but maybe this weekend they will.