Did Sebastian Vettel win the Monaco Grand Prix by extracting two laps of superior pace on old tyres?
Or did Kimi Raikkonen lose the Monaco Grand Prix because his team brought him in too early for his first pit stop, leaving him in a position where his team mate would inevitably lap quicker than him despite having older tyres?
This isn’t just a question about how the Monaco Grand Prix was won or lost. It also asks a question about whether Ferrari are giving both their drivers an equal chance to win the championship, or discreetly giving preferential treatment to Vettel.
At the point the two Ferrari drivers pitted Vettel was able to lap quick enough on worn ultra-softs to beat Raikkonen’s pace on new super-softs. Raikkonen’s last lap before pitting was a 1’17.0. By the time Vettel pitted he’d reduced his lap times by a whopping 1.8 seconds.
Before Raikkonen pitted, Vettel was less than a second behind. It’s hard to avoid the impression Raikkonen was holding Vettel up. Nonetheless Ferrari gave him the priority on pitting first, which usually is an advantage.
On this occasion it didn’t work out for him. Raikkonen wasn’t the only driver to fall victim to this: Daniel Ricciardo also got ahead of his team mate by using the ‘overcut’.
Still, it would theoretically have been possible for Ferrari to leave their drivers out until the ultra-soft tyres degraded to the point that the new super-soft tyres would have been better. Is the reason they did that because they wanted to help Vettel get ahead? Or were they anxious about leaving both drivers vulnerable to a Safety Car deployment?
If they’d had to stack both drivers during a Safety Car period, they would probably have lost a one-two. That was most likely what pressed them into pitting when they did, which gave Vettel a window of opportunity he exploited brilliantly.
2017 Monaco Grand Prix lap times
All the lap times by the drivers (in seconds, very slow laps excluded). Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and toggle drivers using the control below:
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2017 Monaco Grand Prix fastest laps
Each driver’s fastest lap:
|Rank||Driver||Car||Fastest lap||Gap||On lap|
|1||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||1’14.820||76|
|4||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-TAG Heuer||1’15.756||0.936||51|
|8||Max Verstappen||Red Bull-TAG Heuer||1’16.329||1.509||56|
|10||Esteban Ocon||Force India-Mercedes||1’16.482||1.662||52|
|11||Daniil Kvyat||Toro Rosso-Renault||1’16.539||1.719||43|
|14||Carlos Sainz Jnr||Toro Rosso-Renault||1’16.649||1.829||39|
2017 Monaco Grand Prix
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