Mercedes AMG is feeling the heat from a resurgent Red Bull as both teams gear up for the Montreal Grand Prix in Canada this Monday.
“For sure we are feeling the heat from them [Red Bull] and obviously they were very strong in Monaco and in general, they are coming at us very quickly,” Mercedes AMG driver Nico Rosberg of Germany, who currently leads the Driver’s standings, told F1.com on Friday.
“Nevertheless Monaco was a very specific track, because if you look at the Spanish Grand Prix the gap was a bit bigger. I think this is good for the sport: having some battle with other teams,” he added.
Red Bull had its best finish in the current F1 season after Dutch-Belgian Max Verstappen took the checkered flag at the Spanish Grand Prix and Daniel Ricciardo of Australia ended up second at Monaco. Mercedes AMG still leads the Constructor’s standings with 188 points followed by Ferrari (121 points) and Red Bull (112 points).
While the gap between Red Bull and Ferrari is only nine points, Ferrari still feels less threat from Red Bull than Mercedes AMG, according to Kimi Raikkonen.
“As I just said, we haven’t had the most straightforward start of the year, but I am sure that we have the speed and I know that we are able to fight for wins. And we want to win races! We don’t care who we are fighting with. Ideally it has to be a Ferrari finishing first and second!” Ferrari’s Finn driver told F1.com also on Friday.
Raikkonen is currently fourth in the Driver’s standings behind Rosberg, defending champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes AMG and Ricciardo. Hamilton of the United Kingdom registered his first win in the current F1 season at Monaco after Rosberg gave in to orders to let his team-mate pass for the lead. Rosberg had an unusually slow car at Monaco.
“The decision was easy and it was the right thing to do although of course, emotionally very tough. I do not have any second thoughts about this – when it comes to the future and that it maybe will get tight in the fight for the championship, it was the only right decision to do. It could have been the other way around as well,” he added.
Although Mercedes AMG is aware of Red Bull’s resurgence, it cannot ignore the challenge from Ferrari especially with the new engine package the Italian team is getting for the succeeding races from Montreal.
“In Monaco, we had a better race than Barcelona [Spain] – we are talking about for sure a podium but maybe a win,” Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel told F1.com also on Friday.
As for the intra-team rivalry between Rosberg and Hamilton, the German said he hopes to regain his winning streak on Monday.
“In the last Grand Prix [in Monaco]I hopefully got all of my bad luck out of the way in one race, so onward and upward again from now,” added Rosberg, who has won four of the first six races this year.
Hamilton is also optimistic about his chances of winning the championship anew this year as Montreal is just the seventh race of the 21 scheduled in 2016.
“There’s a long way to go yet. We’ve seen from these opening six races that anything’s possible and these swings inevitably go both ways,” he added.