Toto Wolff knows Mercedes will have to work hard especially with the high downforce advantage of Red Bull, as Max Verstappen eyes first Monaco GP podium.

Historically, Red Bull has done well on the streets of Monaco, especially with the high downforce set-up the F1 car has. Its been hard work for Mercedes to beat them and even for 2021, they will have to find ways to get ahead of them.

“The first couple of races have provided us with both wheel-to-wheel and strategic battles for victory,” said Wolff. “Spain was far from a perfect weekend for us and there are lots of learnings to take forward, but nevertheless, to come back from a 2-4 on lap one and score a 1-3 was a very strong result and one we can be proud of as a team.

“Next up is Monaco. There’s really no race like it and it was hugely missed last year – we can’t wait to be back in action on the streets of Monte Carlo! It’s such a unique, intense weekend for the drivers and the team, with no margin for error. It puts the fire under your ass, and we love the challenge! Monaco is a high downforce track and we know that’s a key strength of Red Bull.

“They were very quick in sector three in Spain and that’s often a good indication of strong performance in Monaco. So, we head into the weekend knowing they are the team to beat, whilst also knowing we’ll face strong competition from some of the other teams, too. But, just like the season so far, we’re enjoying the hunt,” summed up Wolff.

While Wolff and Mercedes keep a close eye on Red Bull, Verstappen is eyeing his first podium in Monaco. The circuit hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Dutchman, where he has retired twice and has a best of fourth place finish.

“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,” said Verstappen. “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.

“I know very well that there is no margin for error in Monaco, 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,” summed up Verstappen.

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