One day ahead of the first track action in Monaco, Fernando Alonso said in the press conference that even though he's very eager to win this race, he expected Mercedes to be very tough to beat.
“Monaco is a unique track where you need a special set-up and confidence in your driving,” continued the Spaniard. “We have had two podiums here in the last couple of years, so we should be competitive again and I hope to get a good result. We can expect Mercedes, who have been on pole for the last three races, to be very strong again and remember they were on pole position here last year with Michael (Schumacher) although he lost that place with a penalty. We know how difficult it is to overtake here, so maybe that makes them favourite here. But we must not forget our main target which is the championship and in that battle, Vettel and Raikkonen are ahead of us, so if Mercedes has to win one race, maybe this is the one and we must just concentrate on finishing ahead of the others.”
In Spain, Fernando said he would settle for finishing second in all remaining races of this season, if it meant he would be champion come the end of the year, however, when pressed this afternoon, he admitted he would really like to win on Sunday. “Of course we want to win the championship, but Monaco is a special race, let’s say the most important race of the championship. Because everyone in the world has heard something about Monaco Grand Prix, Indy 500 and Le Mans, the three races that everyone knows about even if they are not motorsport fans. Here we are in Monte Carlo and it’s been many years since Ferrari has not managed to win here and for me personally, I could be the first man to win for three different teams and for sure that is a huge motivation to do it.”
How to achieve that win? “A good lap on Saturday finding a little something more than on the other laps, then a good start, while race pace and tyre degradation don’t count for much,” answered the two times Monaco winner. “You also want a clean strategy, which works well and hope that the Safety Car does not come out at the wrong time. Here the area where we have to up our performance more than at other races is qualifying, historically the point on which we have to work the most.”
Tyres and whether Pirelli would change their characteristics and by how much, has been the hottest gossip topic in the F1 media, but the Ferrari man seemed not to have given the subject that much attention. “I have not formed an opinion on what effect that might have, because we are still waiting to find out what will be the final changes to the tyres,” he explained. “When we know exactly what their characteristics will be and probably we must wait until we have raced on them first, then we will be able to form an idea. From the Ferrari side, we are not taking too much notice of the tyres, as we have an important race to deal with this weekend and we know that the tyres are the same for everyone.”