Kimi Raikkonen expects Ferrari to be very competitive at the Monaco Grand Prix, as he reckons the Italian squad have taken a step forward at slow tracks.
Last year, the Maranello squad were unable to match the pace of rivals McLaren at Monte Carlo, where Ferrari have not won since the 2001 season with Michael Schumacher.
But following last week's test at Paul Ricard, Raikkonen believes his team have made progress on tracks like Monte Carlo and he is expecting Ferrari to be very strong this time out.
"It (the test) went very well," said Raikkonen, who arrived in Monaco in the lead of the championship, seven points ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa.
"We tried a few new components and improved the set-up. The car is stronger at this type of circuit - slow and bendy - compared to last year. I think that Ferrari has made a big step forward in the areas where we weren't strong last year.
"It's difficult to say how it will go in the end. Ferrari will be very competitive, but there's also McLaren and BMW. Having said that Monaco, can always be good for a surprise; it's the most open of all the races this year.
"Last year we only got one point here in Monaco. I wasn't happy that day. But in the end it was a very precious point for me," added the Finn, who won the title by one point last year.
The Ferrari driver insisted it will be crucial to avoid trouble during Friday's practice in order to have a competitive weekend.
"In Turkey we missed the most important practice session," he said. "This time we hope that we can work without any problems. Especially with everybody being so close, and especially in qualifying is very important to set a fast lap.
"Overtaking is almost impossible, so the car has to be set up really well. It feels great to do a fast lap here in Monaco, but to do that you need to be in the front. It's important to qualify well.
"In Monaco this is a priority. I always try to get pole, because this is the best option for the fight to win the race."