Monaco GP fuel loads give no comfort to Button’s rivals – especially Vettel

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With pole position and a decent fuel load, Jenson Button will be hard to catch

As claimed by Ross Brawn, Jenson Button is indeed carrying more than 20 laps’ worth of fuel going into the Monaco Grand Prix.

The championship leader starts with 23 laps’ worth of fuel on board – two more than Kimi Raikkonen, who starts alongside him. And, crucially, he has 16kg more fuel on board than fourth-placed Sebastian Vettel.

GridQualifyingNameWeightFuel (kg)First stint (laps)
11Jenson Button647.542.523
22Kimi Raikkonen6443921
33Rubens Barrichello6484323
44Sebastian Vettel631.526.514
55Felipe Massa643.538.521
66Nico Rosberg6423720
77Heikki Kovalainen6443921
88Mark Webber646.541.523
99Fernando Alonso6544927
1010Kazuki Nakajima6686335
1111Sebastien Buemi6706536
1212Nelson Piquet Jnr673.168.138
1313Giancarlo Fisichella6938850
1414Sebastien Bourdais699.594.553
1515Adrian Sutil6706536
1617Nick Heidfeld6807542
1718Robert Kubica6969151
1819Timo Glock700.895.854
1920Jarno Trulli688.383.347
2016Lewis Hamilton645.540.522

Fuel weights source: FIA. Fuel use per lap: 1.723kg – source: Williams

Other points to note:

  • The Red Bull duo are on completely different strategies, with Mark Webber carrying a similar load of fuel to the Button, but down in eighth. It seems Red Bull are just off the pace at Monaco.
  • Lewis Hamilton is much lighter on fuel than the cars immediately in front of him – if anyone’s going to be doing some overtaking in the opening stages, it has to be him.
  • Glock is brimmed full, his starting weight over 700kg. A couple of safety cars would suit him nicely.
Monaco Grand Prix pit stop projections (click to enlarge)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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68 comments on “Monaco GP fuel loads give no comfort to Button’s rivals – especially Vettel”

  1. Bourdais would be my man to watch tomorrow. With 53 laps and starting from 14th, if he gets lucky as those in front of him retire he could quite easily score some points.

    1. Actually of the long-stoppers I think Fisichella’s in a really good position.

    2. Reckon it might be worth a punt backing either to score some points tomorrow. Some good odds to be found.

  2. Surprisingly Alonso has 10Kg more than anyone else in the top 10. Could it be that he wanted to have the chance to change strategy during the race? (going for one stop less than the rivals?

  3. Whoa, Vettel should have been the man on pole. Guess that traffic really cost him. Well, at least he can hope to get a better start than Massa with the lighter Red Bull and hold off the KERS button on the Ferrari.

    Webber can only hope for a points finish unless the race goes topsy-turvy with a safety car or something. Weird that he couldn’t get more from the car, he’s only fueled as much as the guys up front, not more at all. Not sure why he’s calling it a good strategy.

    Button is clearly able to extract more from the car when it counts than Barrichello. When Barrichello is running around claiming he was “stunned” (on ITV website) with Button’s pole lap – I don’t think we need to start digging up team orders to explain results anymore.

    I must say Buemi continues to impress. However, we would have a better idea of his skill if Bourdais was able to adapt his driving style to F1. Then Buemi would have a worthy competitor. Let’s hope neither get into an accident again.

    1. KERS can only be pressed when the engine is on 3rd gear after the start. Otherwise the wheels just lose all grip. Not a point for Massa until after the first turn. Vettel should be able to make progress for sure!

    2. Hi ihr,

      Where can I read about these details about KERS?

      I keep hearing that KERS can only kick in after a speed of around 100kph, and now about the 3rd gear. I would have thought it is highly track-specific since grip and downforce levels all impact when there is enough traction for KERS to be safely deployed without wheel spin.

      Any info would be great. Thanks.

    3. Navs,

      Maybe it’s not so much a rule, but more that the tyres just cannot provide enough grip to put all the power down.

      If they put the pedal to the metal off the start line, all they get is a big cloud of tyre smoke. Adding 80bhp won’t help.

    4. @Navs, It is like Patrickl describes, and changes from car to car and circuit to circuit. AFAIK, the KERS can be configured to offer 80hp during 6.5 seonds or 40 hp during 13 seconds or 20 hp during 26 seconds etc… at least this is how Renault implemented it. The source of my information (which is your question) is the FIA rules documentation the buttons in the steering whell of Renault and the use of KERS that Massa did during the startup of the Spanish GP (on TV). He pressed KERS button very near turn 1 (in Spain) and turn 1 is closer in Monaco than in Spain.

  4. TMC has been forecasting a bit of rain in Monaco tomorrow, which is odd as no internet forecast I can find agrees. But if the weather does turn then all of those with more fuel will be handed an advantage.

    1. Mark Hitchcock
      23rd May 2009, 18:15

      There are some storms to the West of Monaco I think (I had only just woken up this morning when the forecast came on so I may be wrong!) so perhaps that’s where the risk of rain comes from.
      The BBC forecast predicted a sunny and dry race though.

  5. Is this also the first time Button has someone from the old guard next to him on the grid?

  6. Hamilton can’t be liking those Fisi & Bourdais loads! Still, it should make for some decent entertainment in the first stint.

  7. It would be useful to know the total race distance in laps. Keith?

  8. You have to feel for Hamilton he seems to be plegaged this year.

    1. yes, my heart is shattered

    2. kovi has been the plagued one, hamiltons wounds are self inflicted.

  9. Mark Hitchcock
    23rd May 2009, 18:16

    I don’t understand Hamilton’s strategy. He’s unlikely to be able to make up enough places before his first stop to make it work.

    Maybe they weighed the car with its wheel off and he’s actually got more fuel that we think ;)

    1. I know what you mean – this is Monaco after all. But I like the attitude this implies. Is he just gonna give it go anyway. It will either be thrilling to watch (as ever) or it will all end in tears…

    2. Several “racers” have shown that it actually is possible to overtake at Monaco.

      Besides it’s Hamilton’s only chance since all the backmarkers usually go for the “fill er up and hope for a lucky safety car/weather change” strategy.

    3. Mark Hitchcock
      23rd May 2009, 19:52

      Yeah, it is encouraging that he wants to get out there and race. If he can pull off a few moves on the heavier cars (and Hamilton is one of the guys you’d expect to be able to) then it’ll be exciting. But I just don’t think he’ll be able to make enough progress to make it the best strategy.

    4. Bit like schumacher in 2006, started from the pitlane, there were very few retirements, and ended up 5th

      but im not saying hamiltons any kind of schumacher here

    5. No, hamilton is no Schumacher. Hamilton would try to overtake cars.

    6. Prisoner Monkeys
      24th May 2009, 2:25

      I’d say he wants to come in early and get out of the traffic long enough to really open the throttle a little and circulate in the clean air enough to pass everyone else during their stops.

  10. Good to see the Force India’s NOT at the back of the grid for a change.

  11. A bit of a stange brew in places.
    Do you think there`s more than a few banking on Safety Cars, Keith?

    1. I think Red Bull are definitely hedging their bets. But the problem with not having both cars on the optimal strategy is you’re almost certain to put one car in a position of disadvantage (hence the uproar over the Brawn cars strategies at Spain).

  12. Wow, those Brawn cars just keep getting better…

    1. I just hope Jenson can keep his place off the start as his starts have not been to good of late…

  13. A 700kg F1 package from Glock. Is that a first?

    1. it’s surely at the upper limits of fuel capacity. i’m surprised the tires would last that long.

    2. Yeah I’m surprised they’ve got a fuel tank with a 95kg-plus capacity.

  14. Wow, we may actually see a Ferrari in the lead tomorrow :) They’ve made a fantastic job this season.

  15. Bigbadderboom
    23rd May 2009, 18:50

    Well done Jenson, life will be difficult for Kimi on the dirty line, all he needs do is keep inside.

    Unlucky Lewis but at least he’s going to have a go in the race.

    And despite repeatedly having a dig at him, well done Nelson!, actually showing some good pace with that fuel load.

    It’s gonna be a good one!!

    1. Nelson qualified on a low fuel load — he did not make Q3, so his declared fuel load has nothing to do with his qualifying times.

  16. Slightly, off topic here – But please spare a thought for Mr. Mallya

    On one hand, he’s got both his cars in the top 15 for tomorrow’s race. It’s more than possible that one of them (Fisichella looks good) could score points. Their FIRST ever points.

    Meanwhile, in South Africa, his “Royal Challengers Bangalore” team have made it through to the finals of the IPL T20 League 2009.

    He was in Monaco on Thursday. He’s in South Africa at the moment

    Both events take place within an hour of each-other. So he clearly can’t attend both.

    Any bets on where he’ll choose to be tomorrow?

    1. I don’t know what that means :) So googled it – and it’s some kind of cricket?
      Of course cricket is bigger than F1 in India so I would expect him to be in SA.
      I know where I’d rather be – avoiding a coma inducing game of cricket…

    2. Mark Hitchcock
      23rd May 2009, 20:53

      Twenty20 is cricket for people who don’t like cricket. You might like it!

    3. Meanwhile, in South Africa, his “Royal Challengers Bangalore” team have made it through to the finals of the IPL T20 League 2009.

      Did someone just write about cricket on my precious F1 blog? Where’s that ‘ban’ button…

    4. Ok. I admit I’ve bowled a googly here. But I promise I’ll be consistent with my length from now on. (Stick to the topic in other words)

      Sorry Keith. Hope I didn’t diminish the preciousness of your blog! It’s a real nice one [:)]

  17. Hamilton has had a gearbox change. He now starts from the last slot

  18. StrFerrari4Ever
    23rd May 2009, 19:09

    Wow i’m shocked I think that time lost on thursday has really undone RedBull this weekend and Vettel should’ve been on pole maybe he was held up but still he should’ve been on pole. Some interesting fuel loads Bourdais could do something if the safety car comes out and Buemi might just show a super performance. Hamilton has a tough job ahead of him and the Toyota’s will probably get lapped quickly and if those slight chances of rain do come then this race could get very exciting

  19. …and he was in Monaco yesterday throwing a high profile party in his yatch. Boy, must be hard being a billionaire..

  20. HounslowBusGarage
    23rd May 2009, 19:49

    Hamilton will have to aim for P12 by the end of the first lap.
    Could be entertaining.

  21. Now Hamilton is starting from back of the grid even the most optomistic of fans can’t see even a points finish

  22. I believe by rule KERS cannot engage below 100kph. I don’t know that the gearing has anything to do with it. But, yes, traction would moot it below that speed anyway. Effectively, here you can only use it up to casino and in the tunnel. The first option is foolish. Ferrari/McLaren might be able to shock someone into turn one on a rolling restart though.

    1. They say that special observers have been positioned at Nouvelle & the Swimming Pool chicane entrance to check corners aren`t cut (as with GP2). Fisi has already fallen foul to this.
      While I know drivers should stick to the grey stuff, I really hope this doesn`t turn out the same way as the GP2 race. I wouldn`t really want to see a never ending succession of drive-throughs, either.

  23. We have seen before that fuel predictions for Renault engines are short. Usually they stop 2,3 even 4 laps after the prediction. In an short track, like Monaco, could be 5 or 6 more laps

    I dont think vettel is goin to stop on 14 (19 is more likely to me)

  24. Hi, nice posts there :-) thank’s for the interesting information

  25. I`m told the consumption for Monaco is 1.723 kgs per lap. No idea if that`s actually right but someone else can do the maths. That was my worst subject at school!

  26. I imagine Hamilton may end up starting from the pitlane.

  27. Poor s*d may as well start from Nice if there isn`t a wipe-out ;)

  28. @ persempre. I’m not saying that the maths were wrong, I only say that comsuption for each car are different, and looks like if Renault engines consumpts less than their rivals.

    Consumptions predictions for Alonso in last two GPs were

    Spain: prediction – 16; race – 18

    Bahrain: prediction – 12; race – 16

    Even being an accurate prediction for othres cars, Renault engine could drove further with the same load.

    1. Yeah I’ve been wondering about that – these fuel consumption figures are from Williams and there is likely to be variation between the different engines. I’ll try to do a proper analysis of it later.

    2. I didn`t think you were, frecon. No need to apologise to me. I was just giving a figure in case the less mathmatically-challenged among us wanted to do some calculations :)
      I`m just hoping the telemetry on Felipe`s car doesn`t tell porkies on the fuel level like it did at the last race!

    3. Horner claimed that Vettel could go very far on his fuel and easily save 2 laps worth during a stint. Probably because he was coasting behind a slower car though.

      If the cars go lean they might go further than they do at full speed.

  29. I imagine a lot of cars will go a fair bit further tomorrow, when they find themselves stuck in the snake at the end of Lap 1, everyone bar the light-fuel chargers (and those directly in front of them) will turn the mix right down.

  30. Colin Sanders
    23rd May 2009, 23:51

    did anyone else notice kimi ‘leaving the track’ through the second part of the swimming pool section on his final lap. looked the same as fisichella chicane cutting. mayb the colour of his car has something to do with it?!

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      24th May 2009, 6:29

      Chalie Whiting gave a definition of cutting the kerbs: provided one of the outside wheels remains within the boundaries of the circuit, no action will be taken. So, since it’s the Swimming Pool in question, Raikkonen is in the clear if one of his right-hand tyres is on the circuit.

      It has nothing to do with his driving a Ferrari; hell, given their injuction and spear-heading the threat of wtihdrawal for next year, I’d say the FIA would have more cause to penalise Ferrari than to let thm get away with it. But I seriously doubt a man like Whiting would do that.

  31. If I understand Webber right he thinks graining and marbles will start making drivers running long on the super softs prone to banging into barriers right about the time he has just refueled and hence bringing the leaders at those stages back to him. I would expect him to start on the softs and then go to the super softs but that would switch around if he was to want to keep switching to a one stop as an option. His biggest problem would be Alonso doing something incredible with a heavy car off the line. The RBR must get better off the start line and it is a mapping problem for RBR that goes back all the way through 08 as well.

    Mark has saved his super soft tyres so he is way ahead of Vettel on both tyres and fuel and just needs to get through the 1st lap in position or better and cleanly.

  32. HounslowBusGarage
    24th May 2009, 8:59

    If Hamilton chooses to start from the pit lane, can he change his fuel strategy and fill up?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      24th May 2009, 9:35

      Nope. Trulli and GLock couldn’t do it in Melbourne, so why would Hamilton be allowed to?

  33. I just can’t get over what they were trying to do with Vettel. He hasn’t been impressive all weekend so why go light? He was not going to get pole anyway.

    With his luck he’s going to be stuck behind Fisichella for 30 laps or so (after Vettel’s first stop).

    They really seem to not have a clue about good strategy there.

    The only thing I can think of is that they are hoping for a safety car. Going out of sync and being first to stop gives them a 10 lap window were a safety car would be beneficial.

  34. WEbber might be in for a good running, as long as his car suits him today

  35. How can you say Vettel wouldn’t have got pole? He was fastest through the first two sectors, then came up behind Nakajima on a ‘fast’ lap that was an unbelievable 2 seconds slower than his team mate and nearly 3 seconds off pole. Right not to give a penalty, it wasn’t a block, but it did cost Vettel an easy pole.

  36. Comparing Predicted and Actual:

    Grid . . kg . .Est . Actual . . . . Fin
    .. . . . . . . . . T LL T LL T LL T 78L
    01  BUT  42.5  23  s -- - 17 m 51 m 01
    02k RAI  39.0  21  m -- - 16 m 53 s 03
    03  BAR  43.0  23  s -- - 17 m 51 - 02
    04  VET  26.5  14  s 11 m 17!  -- - STOP
    05k MAS  38.5  21  m -- - 20 m 57 s 04
    06  ROS  37.0  20  m -- - 18 m 66 s 06
    07k KOV  39.0  21  m -- - 21 m 53!  STOP
    08  WEB  41.5  23  s -- - 23 m 57 - 05
    09  ALO  49.0  27  s -- - 29 m 67 s 07
    10  NAK  63.0  35  - 36 - 72 - 78!  14
    11  BUE  65.0  36  - 11!  -- - -- - STOP
    12  PIQ  68.1  38  - 12r  -- - -- - RET
    13  FIS  88.0  50  - -- - 53 - -- - 09
    14  BOU  94.5  53  - -- - 51 - -- - 08
    15  SUT  65.0  36  - 12 - 51 - -- - 14
    16  HEI  75.0  42  m -- - 43 s -- - 11
    17  KUB  91.0  51  - 02?  30r  -- - RET
    18  TRU  83.3  47  - -- - 51 m 67 s 13
    19k HAM  40.5  22  s 11 m 55 m -- - 12
    20  GLO  95.8  54  - -- - 51 - 58 - 10

    k = KERS, m = soft tyres, s = super-soft tyres
    Good weather, no safety car

    Order at end of first lap:
    BUT, BAR(+1), RAI(-1), VET, MAS, ROS, KOV, WEB, ALO, NAK, PIQ(+1), BUE(-1), BOU(+1), SUT(+1), FIS(-2), HEI, KUB, HAM(+1), TRU(-1), GLO

    Unscheduled: Kubica (2) unknown, (30) retires; Hamilton (55) nose cone

    Crashes: “Young driver” Buemi (11) hits Piquet who retires (12); Vettel (17) hits wall at Ste Devote; Kovalainen (53) hits wall at swimming pool; Nakajima hits wall on last lap.

  37. How things have changed…Jenson is on his way to a well deserved world championship title

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