May 29 (GMM) Ferrari’s rivals admit to reverting to ‘rain dance’ tactics ahead of the Monaco GP on Sunday.
Pole sitter and local Charles Leclerc is looking to reclaim his championship lead over Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as soon as possible.
“The whole weekend has been a bit difficult for me,” Dutchman Verstappen admitted, after qualifying just fourth behind his teammate Sergio Perez.
“Charles was out of reach but I think second place would have been possible with my last lap. I was two or three tenths faster when the red flag came out and then it was all over,” he said.
Dr Helmut Marko agreed: “It’s annoying. Our weak point, turn one, was in the past already – we were on an equal footing with Leclerc until the accident.
“That’s why he (Verstappen) is not in the best of moods right now.”
‘The accident’ was actually triggered by the sister Red Bull, so part of Verstappen’s frustration was aimed at Mexican Perez for keeping P3 despite the crash.
“It’s just annoying because whoever is in the wall has the advantage,” Verstappen said.
Perhaps his best shot at minimising the damage on Sunday, therefore, is the forecast of possible rain. When asked if he will be doing a ‘rain dance’, Verstappen admitted: “Maybe I’ll try that.
“I need that now, of course.”
Marko, meanwhile, said a penalty for polesitter Leclerc for missing the FIA’s signal for him to park on the weighbridge before returning to the Ferrari garage also would have helped Red Bull.
“It should be a pitlane start or last place on the grid – that’s how it’s done in all the junior categories,” said the top Red Bull official.
“I don’t wish it on him because he’s already very unlucky in Monte Carlo but if you go by the regulations, there should have been a penalty.”
But the FIA did not agree, and Marko said Red Bull will not lodge a protest.
“Maybe the predicted rain will come,” said the 78-year-old Austria. “We all know that Max is in a class of his own on a wet track.
“Otherwise we can only try something with the strategy.”
Mercedes reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne told RTBF: “Rain could really change things – it would be a very different race.
“The conditions would be difficult with incidents and safety cars.”
Mercedes, meanwhile, is also struggling in Monaco, prompting boss Toto Wolff to also hint that he will be rain-dancing ahead of Sunday’s race.
“I hope that it will rain and that it will be really heavy,” he said. “Then the podium would be the goal.”