(© Ben Johnston 2014)
The Mercedes AMG Formula One team head to next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix as the team to beat as Lewis Hamilton took another victory last weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix at the Barcelona Circuit de Catalunya. The result was the Brackley based outfit's fourth one - two finish of the 2014 season and also saw Lewis Hamilton take his fourth win in a row for the first time in his Formula One career.
The 2008 world champion now leads team mate Nico Rosberg by three point's in the race for the title. Rosberg will be hoping that he can take victory next weekend as the German won there last season. Speaking to the official Mercedes AMG F1 website Lewis Hamilton said:
'It's been a very busy few weeks for me, both on track and away from it, but I'm pleased to be getting back to racing next weekend. And what a place to get back to it! Monaco is just incredible to drive and any driver will tell you that's the race they want to win. So many great names become legends around this circuit. It's an honour to fight for your place amongst them and a real test of your skills behind the wheel.
The last few races have been just incredible. I honestly never expected I'd win four consecutive and Prix in my career and I'd love to continue that run here. I've had some work to do in terms of getting the car exactly as I want it after the weekend in Spain. It was so close between our cars at the end and I need to keep pushing to find any extra edge I can. The car has been strong at every race so far and I'm sure it'll be the same in Monaco, so we should be set for an entertaining weekend.'
Lewis Hamilton, like Nico Rosberg has one victory around the streets of Monte Carlo when he won the race in his championship year in 2008 when he was racing for McLaren Mercedes. In 2013, Nico Rosberg took Mercedes first win since their return to Formula One as a 'works' team in Monaco, taking victory by 3.8 seconds from Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel having started the race from pole position. Rosberg, who grew up in Monte Carlo and still lives there now is looking forward to the race.
'Monaco, my hometown! Obviously, I associate many wonderful memories with this place. It's where I grew up and where I now live as an adult. But in sporting terms too, I have had some great moments there. In particular last year when I won there for the first time in my Formula One career. That was and absolutely incredible feeling.
Driving a Formula One car there is simply fantastic and it's an event that every driver looks forward to each year. Overall I was quiet pleased with the last race in Barcelona. Disappointed, of course, not to have taken the win but happy that the team achieved another one - two finish. The championship battle is very close and to re-gain the advantage at my home race would be fantastic, so I'll be pushing harder than ever to make that happen. I had a productive day of testing in Barcelona where we made good progress with braking and starts.
Two area's that I feel are costing me time at the moment. Hopefully that will give me the extra edge next weekend. It should be an exciting weekend and I can't wait to get started.'
Mercedes completed 176 lap's over the course of the two day in season test in Barcelona earlier this week and the team will be hoping that this will enable them to continue their current form at the next race in Monaco. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has stated however, that the fact the Brackley based outfit won in the Principality last season counts for nothing.
'We came away from Barcelona with plenty of positive points and the most encouraging was that our development package worked, which allowed us to maintain a healthy gap on our rivals at that circuit. But Monaco is a different story every year. It's a place that rewards driveability, confidence and a strong qualifying performance.
Most of all, though, it's about avoiding mistakes. The drivers have no room for error and neither does the team. We have been pushing hard since the last race and nobody will be backing off in our teams at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart.
We are heading to Monaco with our feet on the ground because it is a place that can bite you if you get over confident. We have a quick Silver Arrow and Lewis and Nico are specialists around the streets. But we need to bring every piece of the puzzle together if we want to maintain our run of success next weekend'.
Regardless of the outcome of the Monaco Grand Prix next weekend either Hamilton or Rosberg will head to the following race in Canada leading the championship and Mercedes will remain in the lead in the Constructors championship.
©Ben Johnston 2014