Skip to main content

Vettel: Monaco no place for 'sissies'

May 24, 2012 -- Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT)
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is the youngest double world champion in Formula One history.
Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is the youngest double world champion in Formula One history.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sebastian Vettel says the Monaco Grand Prix is "no place for sissies"
  • The Red Bull driver will take to the track for the historic race on Sunday
  • The two-time world champion 10th fastest in practice ahead of the grand prix
  • McLaren's 2009 world champion Jenson Button sets the pace on Thursday

(CNN) -- Double Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel has described the Monaco Grand Prix as "no place for sissies" ahead of the marquee race in the principality this weekend.

The Red Bull driver knows what it takes to succeed at the legendary circuit having taken the checkered flag in last year's grand prix and he said no error goes unpunished around Monte Carlo's narrow streets.

"Any mistake is coming back with a vengeance and still you have to beat the car around the corners without mercy," the 24-year-old told the sport's official website.

"This is no place for sissies and Sunday drivers. Cruising will not do here -- you have to go to the limit every single lap. That is what makes Monaco so special in the car. The atmosphere and flair of the city is just an extra."

Should Formula One be so unpredictable?

Pastor Maldonado's tour of Monaco
Force India travel to Monaco
The magic of the Monaco Grand Prix
F1 legends describe challenges of Monaco

The layout of the Monaco circuit sets it apart from other venues in the elite division of motorsport and the track includes a number of iconic corners and bends.

When asked which corner he finds most challenging, Vettel replied: "Casino. You arrive there at more than 250km/h in seventh gear and have to hang on to that in some sort of blind flying until you are over the camber and go into turns three and four.

"It is there where you really have to go to the limit. What you don't see on television is how much it goes up and down there -- that requires a strong stomach! You don't have too much time to reflect -- it is more gut reaction."

Vettel romped to world championship glory in 2011, winning 11 of 19 races, but it has been a different story so far this season.

The opening five grands prix of 2012 have had five different winners, with Vettel currently sharing the lead in the drivers' standings with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso after a disappointing sixth-place finish in Spain earlier this month.

"This is a completely different game," said Vettel on the prospect of a better result in Sunday's race. "We are heading into this weekend very open minded. We will see how the car likes to be shaken -- and not stirred."

Vettel outlined the importance of concentration to achieving a positive result at Monaco and he explained how he breaks up the race weekend in his mind.

"First you have to separate that one, single, fast lap to the race," said the former Toro Rosso driver. "That one qualifying lap has to be perfect. Period. You put all your heart and soul into that single lap.

"In the race you subdivide your concentration by focusing on your car, your tires, your mind and the strategy. You have to get all these points across the finish line. Nothing else will do.

"Your concentration has to be exactly where your car is -- hanging on to the last corner or focusing on the next one too soon is a sure way to botch your race."

Despite his optimism, Vettel was off the pace during Thursday's rain-hit practice sessions.

McLaren's 2009 champion Jenson Button set the fastest time of the day, with a lap of one minute 15.746 seconds before the heavens opened.

Vettel was over a second off the pace after registering the 10th-fastest time, while Lotus' impressive start to the season continued as Romain Grosjean clocked the second-fastest lap.

The Ferrari duo of Felipe Massa, who has come under pressure after a string of indifferent performances, and joint championship leader Alonso were third and fourth respectively.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Track the buzz of the 2014 Formula One season, race by race, with all the latest social reaction from motorsport experts.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
Formula One is not likely to go hungry in Hungary as master chefs cater in volume for drivers, teams and VIP guests.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
It's the elephant in the room of Formula One. What's the prognosis legendary driver Michael Schumacher?
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
It stimulates all five senses, creating an unparalleled experience for drivers and fans alike. Take a tour of Monaco with Mark Webber.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
To be a champion you must win a title -- but to become an F1 legend you must win races at Monaco, the calendar's most testing circuit.
May 21, 2014 -- Updated 1459 GMT (2259 HKT)
Caterham F1 reserve driver Alexander Rossi takes you on a tour of the Monaco racing circuit.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1238 GMT (2038 HKT)
The Formula One driver transcended his sport and even 20 years after his death, Ayrton Senna commands the adoration of fans worldwide.
May 1, 2014 -- Updated 1500 GMT (2300 HKT)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY IN ARABIC BY SUHEIL HOWAYEK: (FILES) Brazilian F1 driver Ayrton Senna adjusts his rear view mirror in the pits 01 May 1994 before the start of the San Marino Grand Prix. Senna died after crashing in the seventh lap. Some 45 drivers, including Senna and Canadian Gilles Villeneuve, have been killed during Formula One races whose tracks are dubbed by some as the 'circuits of death.' AFP PHOTO/JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU (Photo credit should read JEAN-LOUP GAUTREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
F1's greatest racer was killed during the San Marino Grand Prix on May 1 1994. The sport hasn't been the same since.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1516 GMT (2316 HKT)
Just four F1 drivers turned up to Roland Ratzenberger's funeral after his death during qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix on April 30 1994.
April 25, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
For a championship with a distinctly Iberian streak, it is no surprise that South America should be high on MotoGP's list of territories to conquer.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Susie Wolff, pictured, will become the Formula One's first female competitor in 20 years when she takes part in the first practice sessions at the British and German grands prix in July.
Too weak. Can't handle the pressure. Susie Wolff has heard it all -- but she is determined to become the first female F1 driver in 20 years.
CNN's Amanda Davies visits the headquarters of Mercedes, the dominant team in Formula One this season.
ADVERTISEMENT