Mercedes are the favorites to win next week’s prestigious Monaco Grand Prix according to Fernando Alonso.
“They will arrive as favorites. They’ve been on pole the last three races,” said the Spanish Grand Prix winner.
“It’s more difficult to overtake in Monaco so maybe they can keep good positions for longer.”
In addition to setting pole position in the last three races Mercedes have set the fastest single lap by a team in each of the last four Grand Prix weekends, underlining their status as the team to beat in qualifying.
That has previously been the key to winning in Monaco, where the narrow circuit makes overtaking virtually impossible.
But as this year’s tires wear out more quickly than last year’s, it may not be the case next weekend. Pirelli have allocated their softest tires for next week’s race – the soft and super-soft tires.
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton started first and second for Sunday’s race but slipped to sixth and twelfth respectively by the chequered flag.
Mercedes set the fastest time during qualifying for last year’s Monaco Grand Prix but Michael Schumacher was moved back to sixth on the grid for a penalty incurred in the previous race.
Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.
Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.
Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.
“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.
“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”
Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.
“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.
“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”