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'We know Mercedes will be strong' - Alonso
If Mercedes are as dominant in qualifying at the Monaco Grand Prix as they have been at recent races, Fernando Alonso says he will shift his focus to beating Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in Sunday's race.
Mercedes has secured pole position at all of the last three races and is expected to have its best opportunity yet of converting a pole into a victory on the twisty streets of Monaco. Alonso said Ferrari is hoping to win in the principality, but admitted that if Mercedes is quick again over one lap he would settle for beating his championship rivals Vettel and Raikkonen.
"We know that we have a competitive package with both cars on the podium in Barcelona and we know that Monaco is a very unique track and you need a good set-up and confidence to drive here," he said. "But we also know Mercedes will be strong, they have been on pole position for the last three grands prix, so we have to expect them to be very strong here again.
"They were on pole here last year with Michael [Schumacher] but had a penalty. We know how difficult it is to overtake and if they are on pole position maybe they are favourites here, but we must not forget our main target is the championship and Vettel and Raikkonen are ahead of us. If Mercedes has to win one race then this is the one and we will just concentrate on finishing in front of the others."
Ahead of next weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, Pirelli is planning to tweak the tyres to return to its target of two to three pit stops per race. Red Bull has been the most vocal team to oppose the original 2013 specification tyres, arguing that it has to tell its drivers to race at 80% in order to protect the tyres. But Alonso is not convinced by his rival's protestations.
"We know that Barcelona was a good race for us and not so good for some of our competitors," he said. "Some of those competitors claim to have a super car but the last three pole positions were for another car. Sometimes when you win too easily for so many years it is difficult to lose some races."