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Vettel: Monaco no place for 'sissies'

updated 12:19 PM EDT, Thu May 24, 2012
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."

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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.

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