• IN WORDS: Lewis and Valtteri Talk Monaco

Lewis and Valtteri throw forward to this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, as the 2018 battle takes to the tight and twisty streets of Monte Carlo...

'We're confident with our preparations'

The team had a difficult race in Monaco last year and are expecting this weekend to be a challenging one too. But Lewis is up for the fight and believes anything is possible.

"I think we learned a lot from last year," he explained. "We're confident with our preparations. It's definitely been better than ever before.

"We came from the last race knowing that this is going to be one of the tougher events for us. If you look at the last race, testing in February and even in the tests the other day, the Red Bulls were particularly quick in the last sector. That's where they're always very, very strong, so you can imagine that they will be incredibly quick here this weekend.

"Ferrari were very strong here last year and for whatever reason Red Bull didn't get it together. But maybe this weekend they will. I do anticipate it's going to be a difficult weekend. Not one that's impossible but a lot closer and we may not have the pace of the others.

"We will find out tomorrow the true pace. I'm excited for that challenge either way. If you look at last year there were overcuts and undercuts, so everything is possible."

'Big things will come'

Valtteri heads to Monaco after three runner-up finishes in four races. While he's still chasing his first win of 2018, he is pleased with his performances so far. 

"I've been able to continue where I left last year in terms of my performance," the Finn said. "I've been performing pace-wise each weekend on the level that I need to. Of course, I always want to perform better result-wise. But there have been some strange races.

"I have not been the luckiest one. But if I keep improving very big things will come. I will just keep doing what I am doing.

"If I would have to choose one race to win this season it would be here [Monaco]. I have lived here now for the last five years. I know the streets by heart.

"It would be amazing but that is something I have to put out of my mind. It's a normal race weekend with the same amount of points. We are here to fight for the win as in every race."

'The most mentally challenging circuit'

Ask any F1 driver about the toughest track in F1 and it's highly likely they'll say it's the Circuit de Monaco. But what is it like to power around the streets of Monte Carlo?

"It's very intense," Lewis admits. "You have to be more diligent than you perhaps have to be anywhere else.

"It's the most technical and mentally challenging circuit of the whole season. There's also the heightened aspect of just wanting to shine at a track like this."

Valtteri adds: "It's so difficult. F1 cars are not really made for this kind of narrow track with so many walls, bumps and tight corners.

"You can't make any mistakes. If you go a little bit wide in a corner you end up in the wall. Finding a good rhythm, flow and being able to be on the limit kissing the walls are the most important things.

"When you find them, it feels rewarding."