Wolff: Red Bull and Ferrari favourites in Monaco
Toto Wolff says Mercedes will be cautious with their expectations of success at the Monaco Grand Prix, but expects their rivals to thrive.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Red Bull and Ferrari will be favourites for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton will start the famous race buoyed by back-to-back victories while Valtteri Bottas made it a Mercedes one-two in the Spanish Grand Prix last time out.
Sebastian Vettel won at the Circuit de Monaco last year, ending a run of four consecutive Mercedes triumphs in the principality, and Wolff believes Red Bull and Ferrari ought to mount strong challenges this weekend.
He said: "Our first one-two of the season in Barcelona felt great. The car was quick, looked after its tyres and both drivers were positive about the balance and handling.
"But we're not thinking about it as a turning point - the track layout, surface and conditions all suited our car and played into our hands. So, we are staying cautious with our predictions as we head to Monaco.
"It's a circuit that gives us completely different challenges - and unique ones, too. Last year, it became a weekend of damage limitation when we didn't find the right set-up. It was a painful lesson from us and we are determined to show that we have learned it this year.
"We don't head into the weekend as favourites - they are Red Bull and Ferrari. Red Bull are strong in the slow-speed corners and where straight-line speed is less important, while Ferrari dominated last year. Our job is to deliver a smooth practice programme, apply our learning from recent races and maximise the potential of the car, whatever that proves to be.
"We are now starting the heart of the season, with seven races ahead in the next 10 weekends. We will race on a broad range of circuits before the summer break, with races coming thick and fast.
"This will test the team to its limits - and any weaknesses will be harshly punished in the points. We are clear-sighted about the challenge ahead of us and determined to prevail."