MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Red Bull's drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo believe their Renault engine's power deficit will be reduced to just 0.2s this weekend around the streets of Monte Carlo.
Despite showing promising race pace this season, Red Bull has been off the pace in qualifying -- a deficit the team puts down to a lack of a Q3 power mode compared to its rivals. The team estimated the power differential to be worth 0.5s per lap at the last round in Spain, but believes it could be as little as 0.2s on the Monaco street circuit, which features no long straights and lot of low speed corners.
"If we lost 0.5s in Barcelona maybe we lose 0.2s here," Daniel Ricciardo said. "But a bit of confidence and a good set up and 0.2s can come pretty quickly on a track like this. If we are dialled in we can still do it."
Ricciardo's teammate Max Verstappen agrees.
"Well it's never equal [on power]," Verstappen said. "I think we're still down on horsepower so that you will always see on every single track, plus they have the qualifying mode so it's just better for us, because it won't make as big of a difference. Normally it's let's say 0.4s or 0.5s, but maybe here 0.2s, and I think we can work with that."
After the RB14 showed impressive pace in the tight final sector at the Circuit de Catalunya two weeks ago, rival teams have talked up Red Bull's chances this year. Ricciardo believes the hype is partly gamesmanship but is still confident he will be in the running for pole position this weekend.
"I think so, they [the rival teams] are also just trying to take a little bit of pressure off them and put it on us," he said. "It is no secret that we are always pretty good around here. We weren't good enough last year but for sure previous years we have been.
"Everyone talked about the last sector in Barcelona. For sure we were pretty handy there, so we will be pretty decent. I'd be surprised if we weren't at least close. We should be less than 0.7s from pole -- put it that way!"