Date:Friday May 24 2013
Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton dominated Thursday's practice sessions ahead of this weekends Monaco Grand Prix.
The Mercedes has proven itself this season as the fastest on the grid, taking pole position at all of the last three Grand Prix's.
Lewis Hamilton started the Chinese Grand Prix on pole, while Nico Rosberg started both the Bahrain and the Spanish Grand Prix's at the front of the grid.
The problem for Mercedes has been its race pace, keeping the tyres at their optimum performance level on the longer lap runs.
This has meant that two third place finishes for Lewis Hamilton has been the best that Mercedes can muster. Simply because the likes of Ferrari and Lotus are far better at performing on a Sunday afternoon when it really matters.
But around the tight twisty streets of Monaco, tyre performance is less of an issue and Mercedes have been tipped to do very well this weekend.
If Mercedes can qualify at the front end of the grid they should be able to control the race from the front, even if there are cars that are quicker at different periods of the race the Monte Carlo track is famous for being difficult to overtake on, handing the advantage to whoever can qualify well on a Saturday.
With that in mind, Lewis Hamilton is looking to improve on his one-lap pace as he was beaten by team-mate Nico Rosberg during both sessions on Thursday.
'I've just got to improve my one-lap pace - a bit from me and a bit from the balance of the car - and after that I think we're good, I'm not the quickest; Nico is. But it's not looking bad at the moment.' he told the BBC.
Discussing the fight for pole position Hamilton refused to suggest that it was all done to the two Mercedes team-mates.
'I dunno. Some of the others are looking pretty quick, so I really couldn't tell you. We have good pace, Nico is obviously pretty quick this weekend, so it's looking good.'
But while Hamilton remained upbeat, Rosberg played down the expectations on the Mercedes team to perform well in Monaco.
'You need the race pace. It won't be enough just to be somewhere in the front in qualifying, we need to be cautiously optimistic, but in Barcelona in the last race we were 70 seconds away and it is going to be difficult to make that up.
'For sure we're in the hunt, but I don't know whether it's going to be enough or not.'
We'll just have to wait to see on Sunday if Mercedes do have enough race pace.
Date:Friday May 24 2013
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