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But expectations fell away amid the crashes and the chaos of Monaco _ where six drivers failed to finish a manic race that was stopped three times on arguably the most difficult and volatile track on the F1 calendar.

“Now it is important for us to understand why we were not as competitive as we were in previous races and try to react right away in Canada,” Domenicali said. “Our aim is still to improve our qualifying, and try to get back to the pace we had seen to date.”

Two-time former champion Alonso has not given up hope of catching Vettel.

He knows how quickly the leadership can change hands. He was 43 points ahead of Vettel after the summer break last year, only to lose the F1 title to the German on the last day by a mere three points: 281-278.

“(The) outcome doesn’t bother me in terms of the next round in Canada, because we have to consider Monaco a law unto itself,” the Spaniard said. “We know there is still much to do to improve, but we are looking ahead with confidence.”

Although Red Bull and Ferrari are fierce rivals, they did at least unite in one way in Monaco.

Both teams lodged a protest against Mercedes for conducting in-season testing in accordance with Pirelli straight after the Spanish GP. Motor sport’s governing body is reviewing the case, which could end up before a FIA tribunal.

Mercedes and Pirelli are under pressure to answer questions over why Mercedes was allowed to conduct such testing, in a case that is set to rumble on in the days leading up to the Canadian GP, and could even end up impacting Mercedes’ whole season.

“You might expect a sporting penalty. But because it is not really clear what could be the effect on the race weekend, it may be bigger than that,” Domenicali said. “Because there is no precedent, I have no idea what should happen.”