Mark Webber will line up fourth on the grid for the Monaco Grand Prix and with the biggest question mark about tomorrow’s race being the ability of Mercedes to maintain their tyre life the Australian sounded quietly confident when speaking this afternoon:
“I dont know how Mercedes will go,” said Webber. “We’ll see what happens with strategy but we’ve got to be there to capitalise on any mistakes that might occur. There’s been a bit of a form card evolving that they are strong on Saturday’s and not quickest on Sunday’s. They might be able to pull it off tomorrow but we’re in a good position to capitalise.“
With Mercedes once again locking out the front row the tight confines of the Monaco circuit means that this is the perfect opportunity for the team to utilise a “rear gunner” strategy that would see one driver hold up the pack. The pace setters have however shown promising long run pace this weekend, especially with Nico Rosberg at the wheel, and Webber admitted that they seem to have made progress.
“It [their long run pace] was a lot better on Thursday than their Barcelona performance which Ross touched on,” said Webber. “They’ve got a few things in their favour; we all know that. They’ve got a clear track but there’s still 78 laps to go. I’ve been at the front here and it’s not easy to control the race.”
With Red Bull having been off the pace in the opening practice sessions it seemed as though the team might struggle this weekend but as the track has evolved the performance has improved. Webber commented that this is not unique to 2013 and that it has been a “Red Bull trait” to be slow on Thursday before improving on Saturday and Sunday.
“We’ve never been super strong on Thursday’s in the past and this year was no different,” said the Australian. “Today is important and tomorrow’s the most important. Traditionally we haven’t been as good on a green circuit, and this is probably the greenest track we go to. It’s not like Barcelona with a lot of categories running here. It’s been a Red Bull trait that we are not as strong in those conditions.”