Red Bull has impressed this season with its excellent stability through fast corners and high top speeds, but its RB19’s qualities will play less of a role through the principality’s twisty streets.
Amid suggestions that Monaco is the one track where its rivals have a shot at ending Red Bull’s clean sweep of 2023 race wins, Perez admitted he expects the Milton Keynes outfit to struggle more than usual.
“We certainly know that it’s not our strongest circuit,” Perez said. “We know that we will struggle a bit to show our strengths.
“I think come Saturday you really need that good warm-up on your tyre. That definitely is the key around here. Let’s say it’s not our strongest circuit, but we will see; it’s still Monaco and anything can happen.
“Certainly, I think Fernando [Alonso], the Ferraris, I do expect them to be quite strong as well – like they were in Baku – and also Mercedes can be in the mix.”
Red Bull Racing RB19 technical detail
Photo by: Uncredited
While Perez and team-mate Verstappen have won every race so far, they saw their qualifying streak broken by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who took pole for both the sprint race and grand prix in Azerbaijan.
Verstappen thinks Red Bull’s relative weakness over one lap could have a bigger impact on the race result, given that overtaking in Monaco is nearly impossible.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit more difficult and closer together, but we still have a good car, it’s just trying to extract the most out of it,” Verstappen said when quizzed by Autosport about the team’s prospects this weekend.
“We know that over one lap it’s normally not our strongest point, but nevertheless we still took quite a few pole positions this year, so it’s still all possible. But yeah, for sure, here in Monaco can always be quite a surprise.”
Verstappen says Red Bull’s lower expectations are down to Monaco’s specific track layout, which requires different behaviour from the car skewed towards low-speed corners. But he would be perfectly happy to sacrifice one weekend of a 22-race season if that means his RB19 is a better all-round car on more conventional tracks.
“It’s not only the car, it’s [also] the track layout,” Verstappen added. “The corners are so tight, so slow, that you sometimes require a lot of different behaviour of the car compared to normal tracks and also the way you have to drive it.
“Sometimes your car works perfectly for these kinds of conditions and sometimes it’s maybe not ideal.
“I prefer to have a quick car for most of the tracks. It’s not ideal for Monaco, but it’s OK. It’s only one race on the calendar, we just want to have a good result. I want to win, of course, but if that is not the case, I’ll just take the points.”