F1 Raceweek: Ferrari and Red Bull target Monaco upturn
The Monaco Grand Prix will provide an opportunity for Mercedes' rivals to hit back this weekend after a Silver Arrows one-two in Spain.
Lewis Hamilton stretched his lead over Sebastian Vettel to 17 points by following up his win in Baku with another at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas finished second ahead of Max Verstappen, with Vettel in need of a response - and ideally a 50th victory - after finishing fourth in his last two races.
Vettel lost two places after he was brought in for a pair of pit stops and Kimi Raikkonen was forced to retire with an engine failure on lap 25 in Barcelona.
The Ferrari duo can ill afford to lose more ground on the streets of the principality, where Red Bull will be expected to make their presence felt in their 250th race.
As always in Monaco, qualifying will be key in a race which provides little opportunity for overtaking and Pirelli will debut their hypersoft compound on Sunday.
Ferrari dominated the prestigious race last year, Vettel and Raikkonen finished first and second respectively as Mercedes struggled.
TALK OF THE PADDOCK
Toto Wolff claimed Ferrari and Red Bull are favourites and Mercedes are limiting their expectations in Monaco.
The Mercedes boss says the slow, tight track should play into the hands of their rivals.
Raikkonen is "fairly optimistic" Ferrari should go be in good shape and feels they are learning from setbacks.
Daniel Ricciardo stated that he is on a "redemption" mission at an "insane" circuit where he was left fuming after a bungled pit spot cost him two years ago.
Romain Grosjean will be out to erase the memories of taking out Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg after losing in control in Barcelona, following a smash in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 95
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 78 (-17)
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 58 (-37)
4. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 48 (-47)
5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 47 (-48)
1. Mercedes 153
2. Ferrari 126 (-27)
3. Red Bull 80 (-73)
4. Renault 41 (-112)
5. McLaren 40 (-113)
RACEWEEK SCHEDULE (all times local)
Only three drivers finished the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix, the fewest ever in a single Formula 1 race (Olivier Panis, David Coulthard, and Johnny Herbert).
2017: Sebastian Vettel
2016: Lewis Hamilton
2015: Nico Rosberg