Visa RB wants to maintain Miami form in Monaco

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Following two successful race weekends, the Visa RB team intends to maintain its competitiveness on the narrow streets of Monte Carlo with Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda eager to add further points to their tally.

Daniel Ricciardo did not start the season in a way he wanted, having struggled for pace in qualifying trim. Although he looked more comfortable in race configuration, he was unable to capitalize on his strong race pace due to the lack of qualifying performance.

The Perth-born driver, however, received a new chassis for the Chinese Grand Prix which appeared to have transformed his season. He showed improved pace right away in Shanghai only to excel in Miami, bringing his car home in fourth place in the sprint weekend.

The eight-time grand prix winner was strong once again in Imola last weekend, making his first Q3 appearance of the season. However, a suboptimal strategy saw him fall down the order and fail to score points in Italy.

Speaking of the forthcoming weekend in Monaco, Ricciardo added: “Firstly, I’m so excited to be able to race in Monaco again, having had to miss it last year. It’s one of those places that is just different, it has such a special feeling. It’s a track where the opportunity to drive a Formula 1 car is something you can never take for granted.

"Looking back, I’ve got a lot of good memories of this place and I’m excited to see what I can do around here this weekend. In terms of our performance, we are getting more consistent with the car and that is important coming into Monaco.

"Your race result here really depends on qualifying and last time out in Imola we got both cars into Q3 for the first time this year, which is a good sign. If we have a clean weekend and can repeat that, we should be in good shape for Sunday. Away from the track, it’s a big event and a whole show but I’m really just focussed on the driving. Viva Monaco, let’s go," said the Australian.

His team-mate Yuki Tsunoda displayed eye-catching speed in qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The Japanese racer was so competitive in qualifying that he ended up third quickest in the middle section only to secure P7 on the grid for the race.

Sunday's race saw then Tsunoda lose his competitiveness slightly, but he eventually made it into the point-scoring zone, finishing the 63-lap Imola round in P10 and adding a point to his tally.

The Japanese driver is eager to challenge for more points in the Principality: "I’m feeling generally confident about this weekend, having scored points in the last two races, three if you count the Miami Sprint.

"Monaco is a challenging and very exciting track where qualifying is always special. In fact, last year was the first time I made it through to Q3 on this track so I hope I can do the same again this weekend.

"It would be amazing if I could go on from there to score points on Sunday. I think the team is in good shape; our performance, consistency and competitiveness have improved from Miami onwards, so I don’t have any worries. Our focus is on extracting even more performance from the car, especially on Saturday afternoon, which is really the first part of the race itself as grid position is so important, and I believe we’ll be able to perform well again this weekend.”

Monaco poses a different set of challenges due to its unique layout. The average speed over the 3.337 kilometre-long track is very slow with some corners taken at less than 50 km/h, while the cars are only at full throttle for 30% of the lap. Moreover, the proximity of the walls presents drivers with a huge task, testing their concentration.

Expanding on the unique nature of the Monte Carlo track, technical director Jody Egginton said: “The unique challenge of Monaco makes it an outlier where the walls are close and the track is narrow, creating a rewarding but challenging place to drive, particularly in qualifying. Securing the best possible grid position on Saturday provides the most benefit of any circuit on the calendar, with one of the key parameters to optimising the car and driver being building up the performance lap by lap and maximising track time.

“The circuit layout demands maximum downforce and car mechanical setup which promotes mechanical grip and good kerb riding characteristics, meaning the mechanical setup is typically one of the softest of the season. Although the average speed of this circuit is the lowest of the calendar, of equal importance to optimising the grip of the car to this unique circuit is having the car well-balanced and with predictable handling on both new and used tyres.

"This allows the drivers confidence in utilising the whole track to the last millimetres, without major fear of clipping a barrier whilst also being able to carry momentum through the quicker corners around the Hotel de Paris, Massenet and Casino Square. Another key aspect of Monaco is a consistent and predictable braking performance. Tyre energies are very high in Monaco because of the many grip-limited and high braking sections, yaw and traction demands, and drivers have to remain focused on controlling wheel slip to keep the tyres thermally happy," added Egginton.