Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2018

“Big advantage” for anyone who qualifies on ultra-softs

2018 Monaco Grand Prix Thursday practice analysis

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F1’s front-running teams could gain a “big advantage” if they successfully gamble on starting the Monaco Grand Prix on ultra-soft tyres.

Higher than expected levels of degradation on the hyper-soft tyre could play a significant role in qualifying tomorrow, which is a particularly important session due to the extreme difficulty of overtaking in Monaco.

“[The] hyper-soft seems quite aggressive,” said Force India’s technical director Andrew Green. “It’s almost a proper qualifying tyre. It should be good for the show I think.”

“Everyone’s going to try to do one-stop. Some of the bigger teams are obviously looking to try and qualify on something other than the hyper which maybe they’ve got the margin to do. It’s a risky strategy around here, obviously.

“The hyper-soft is around one second per lap quicker than the ultra-soft. Thursday’s running shows Red Bull should have that margin in hand over the midfield, opening up the possibility for them to run the ultra-softs in Q2 and start the race on them.”

It is less clear whether Ferrari and Red Bull, who tend to find a greater performance gain when they turn their engines up on Saturdays, will be able to use the same tactics.

The challenges of qualifying in Monaco make it a risky gambit. Anyone running the ultra-soft will need to work it harder to get it into the optimum temperature window, a task made more difficult by the high levels of traffic around the street circuit. If they discover their lap time isn’t quick enough, they will have to start a run on hyper-soft tyres early enough to get those up to temperature too.

But anyone who successfully gets into Q3 on ultra-softs will have a “big advantage” for the race, Green reckons.

Green estimated the life of the hyper-soft tyre on Thursday was around 15 laps. But with no rain forecast over the next two days the track surface should be much better by the race. More rubber will go down, much of it coming from new tyres, which accelerates how quickly the track ‘rubbers in’.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monaco, 2011
Extreme tyre management helped Vettel to victory in 2011
This will help prolong tyre life. Drivers can also manage their tyres to an extreme extent in Monaco with little threat of being overtaken – as Sebastian Vettel demonstrated in 2011, the first season with Pirelli’s high-degradation tyres.

“I think there’s going to be a lot of tyre management going on in the race,” said Green. “It looks like the ultra-soft throws out quite a few marbles as well. So I think as the race goes on it’s going to be really tricky off-line. Traditionally we see a Safety Car. Anything can happen, that’s the beauty of this place. It’s very difficult to predict.”

The Red Bull drivers expected to be pole position contenders this weekend and Thursday raised the prospect of an extremely close fight between the two. Daniel Ricciardo may have lapped almost two-tenths quicker than his team mate, but taking their fastest sector times into consideration he had just three hundredths of a second in hand.

Behind the big three Renault and their engine customer McLaren look set to fight for ‘best of the rest’ honours. Nico Hulkenberg ran Renault’s upgrades on Thursday so Carlos Sainz Jnr should be able to close the gap when he gets them on Saturday.

Similarly at Toro Rosso only Pierre Gasly ran their revised floor and brake ducts. Brendon Hartley, who was just two-hundredths of a second away from a place in the top 10, may have a chance to reach Q3 when he gets the upgrade too.

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Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint. Very slow laps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan, right-click to reset:

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’13.2001’11.84137
2Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’12.0711’12.03549
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’13.1801’12.41350
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’13.7201’12.53643
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’13.7691’12.54345
6Valtteri BottasMercedes1’13.2661’12.64246
7Nico HulkenbergRenault1’14.2581’13.04739
8Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’14.7121’13.07750
9Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’14.1811’13.11554
10Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’14.2951’13.20046
11Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’13.3941’13.22259
12Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’14.5101’13.37048
13Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’14.5531’13.38259
14Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’13.4101’13.41044
15Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’14.4001’13.54755
16Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’15.5061’13.57254
17Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’14.5691’13.57556
18Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’14.6611’13.76347
19Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes1’14.6301’14.01139
20Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’15.1861’14.17357

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Quotes: Dieter Rencken

2018 Monaco Grand Prix

Browse all 2018 Monaco Grand Prix articles

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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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43 comments on ““Big advantage” for anyone who qualifies on ultra-softs”

  1. It is less clear whether Ferrari and Red Bull, who tend to find a greater performance gain when they turn their engines up on Saturdays, will be able to use the same tactics.

    I think you mean Mercedes here.

  2. Ferrari will be treating those Ultras with kid gloves methinks…..

  3. Since you couldn’t pass a car with only three wheels at Monaco, qualifying on the fastest possible tire is no-brainer here. Everyone has to stop, per the rules. You could face an under-cut if your tires are totally busted, but better to start up front and deal with that later than give away spots in qualifying.

    1. They’re talking about using the harder tyre in Q2, not Q3. Q3 will be run with the softest tyre but the car will start the race on the tyres used to get through Q2.

      1. Oh yeah. I forgot about that rule. But qualifying is so dicey in Monaco, with traffic, red flags, your own inevitable errors, that trying to get by with a harder tire in Q2 seems greedy.

      2. Red Bull have only 1 set of ultra and 1 set of super for the entire event. They have no real choice to run all stages of qualifying on anything other than hypers.

        1. @sihrtogg they can use the 1 set of ultras for Q2 alone. They then start the race on that set, and have a long enough first stint to allow them to stop for hypers with a big enough margin for the midfield.

          1. I guess the risk is that the ultras are not up to a one lap sprint. If everyone else is on the hypers, and RB try to use the ultras only to fail, they have a worn set for the race.

  4. Nobody is going to use the Supersoft is my guess. If you have to use the HyperSoft anyway, why not start on it? If you start on UltraSoft you’d fall behind the teams that started on the HyperSoft after everyone has pitted.

    1. In Monaco, you never know, could be a good strategy for a Williams or Sauber to pit on lap 1 for a set of SuperSoft and go to the end. You never know what is going to happen.

      1. @jeanrien
        I don’t think so. That might work if you’re in a top car, starting out of position for some reason. In that case, such a strategy might work, but only because your car is fast enough to enable you to overtake a few cars on the track.
        If you’re in a Sauber or Williams, and you pit on lap 1, you gain absolutely nothing. You may be able to lap a bit faster in the first few laps, as the back of the pack gets delayed in the inevitable traffic jam. But once the field is spread out enough, you’ll start losing time on the hardes tyre again, and nothing can happen to help you. Even if you’re a bit faster than the cars ahead of you, you won’t be able to overtake them. They’ll have to pit eventually, but you wouldn’t gain too many places that way, as the chances of having many cars in the 20 second window ahead of you are pretty slim. If you’re unlucky, you’ll run into the Stroll-Ericsson train, which is over 20 seconds behind the next cars on the track. When they pit, you’ll be 18th instead of 20th, and on a much slower tyre than anyone else from that point onwards.
        And that’s even going to get worse if there is a Safety car, because that’d reduce the pit stop window to 10-12 seconds, so any car that’s further ahead than that will stay ahead of you.

        Pitting for Supersoft on the first lap is a strict lose-lose strategy for anyone but a Ferrari/Mercedes/Red Bull driver who crashes in qualifying.

        1. Yes, and even then it’s not a given that a front running team would be able to overtake a lot of cars on track, hamilton only managed 13th-7th last year, and bottas in australia only managed 15th-8th, this track must be even worse than australia for overtaking.

          1. @esploratore

            this track must be even worse than australia for overtaking.

            Yes, in the same way the sun is hotter than a steaming cup of tea. ;-)

        2. Last year Wehrlein pitted at the end of lap 1. It may have been a good strategy, but he was so slow that he never gained places when the other back-markers pitted. Poor old Jenson Button went for the same strategy and was stuck behind the mobile chicane for pretty much the entire race. Pitting late was a more reliable strategy to gain places, so possibly in the midfield some drivers might even start on the hardest tires available to go for the overcut. The leaders will do a run on the middle compound in Q2 and then go out on the softest compound just in case. If they have to start on the softest tires, the race will be pretty much like the 2013 event, when the leaders were driving incredibly slowly to preserve their tires. It will be a weird but interesting race.

    2. @ Bart

      If you have to use the HyperSoft anyway, why not start on it?

      Because it might force you to pit uncomfortably early in the race, i.e. before there is enough of a gap to emerge ahead of the midfield runners who started on Ultrasoft tyres. If that happens, you might end up studying their rear wings for the next 30-40 laps, before they finally have to pit as well.

      If you start on UltraSoft you’d fall behind the teams that started on the HyperSoft after everyone has pitted.

      Quite the opposite. Let’s assume you’re a Red Bull driver, and you’ve qualified on Ultrasoft (even though your team selected only one set of these tyres for the entire weekend, so you better make your Q2 attempt stick …). Your initial pace might not be the fastest, but that doesn’t really matter, as long as your start is decent, and you manage to stay ahead. The Ferrari and Mercedes drivers behind you, if they can’t afford to qualify on the Ultrasoft, may be on the faster tyre, but it will degrade much faster than the Ultrasoft. And they won’t be able to use their pace to create a gap to the cars behind them, which they need to make a pit stop while maintaining their track position after the dust has settled. After 20 laps, the Hypersoft starts to hurt. If you haven’t managed to pull a gap of at least 20 seconds over the Ultrasoft runners in the midfield (which is to be expected if we look at the practice times: Renault, McLaren, Force India, Toro Rosso – all lapping comfortably within a second of Vettel’s fastest lap time), you’re in trouble. You won’t be able to delay your pit stop indefinitely, as your lap times will eventually be slower than the midfield, and your gap will start to crumble. Sooner or later, you will need to pit, and you are very likely to drop back into the midfield, stuck behind Ultrasoft runners who are in no hurry to make a pit stop. Meanwhile, at the front, the Red Bulls are continuing to lap faster than the midfield runners on the same tyre, steadily increasing their gaps, until they either reach lap 45-50, or a Safety Car is deployed, then making their sole pit stops of the day, emerging very comfortably ahead of the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers. The latter will finally be set free due to the midfield Ultrasoft runners pit stops, but it will be too late, and the race will be lost, maybe even the final spot on the podium.

      The only vulnerability for Ultrasoft runners would be a Safety Car deployment around the middle of the race, i.e. more than 30 laps from the end, as that’d be too early to switch to Hypersoft tyres. In that case, they might need to fit the Supersoft tyres, and hope they’ll find a way to get some temperature into them.

      1. This makes sense. I would say though that the leading cars basically have the choice to pit whenever they want. The Hypersofts will last as long as they need to because the leader can go as slow as he wants. The real issue is the risk of an SC/VSC and getting undercut on your mandatory stop that way. I would say that even the undercut is not a biggie because you can save up enough tire to uncork a fast lap after the cars behind pit. In fact, you can manage your pace to jam the undercut by backing your pursuers into the pit window of some slow cars behind that will be trying to stay out indefinitely hoping for an SC/VSC.

        1. @dmw

          I would say though that the leading cars basically have the choice to pit whenever they want. The Hypersofts will last as long as they need to because the leader can go as slow as he wants.

          Yes, theoretically. But there’s no point in making the Hypersoft last too long, as that would make you lose time to the midfielders eventually. If you drop back behind too many midfielders after your pit stop, you’ll end up losing even more time, as they won’t need to pit for dozens of laps to come.
          Therefore, you can’t really chose to pit whenever you want. You have to try and build a gap of 20 (maybe just 18) seconds over the midfielders, and that might be hard to do, as the lap times tend to be rather close in Monaco, and the Hypersoft may run out of tyre life before you’ve had the chance to build that gap. If you’re unlucky, your gap will peak at 15 seconds, and start to shrink again after that. If there’s a train of 5 Ultrasoft-shod cars 15 seconds behind you (which would be a relatively normal scenario for Monaco), you’re in big trouble.
          Additionally, you might not be able to drive as fast as you want if the Red Bulls do start on Ultrasoft. In that case, they would have little to no interest in flooring it right away. They could take it easy, and slow down the anxious Hypersoft runners behind them. They only need to pick up the pace after the pit stops of the Hypersoft runners, and every variable would be working in their favour at that stage.

          The real issue is the risk of an SC/VSC and getting undercut on your mandatory stop that way. I would say that even the undercut is not a biggie because you can save up enough tire to uncork a fast lap after the cars behind pit.

          Again, I have to disagree. The undercut is very difficult, if not nigh impossible, in Monaco. The reason for that is the smooth asphalt and the short, slow corners, which make it very difficult to warm up the tyres. For this reason, the first few laps out of the pits are usually slower than the laps after that, which is why the overcut is more likely to happen.
          This effect isn’t countered by the risk of a Safety Car deployment – quite the opposite:
          If you’re able to stay out longer than another driver in your proximity, this hands you the freedom of choosing when you want to pit. Your gap is going to increase slightly in the first laps after your opponent made his pit stop (due to the aforementioned difficulty of warming the tyres up), and if a SC does get deployed while you’re staying out on the track, you pit stop will even be ‘cheapened’, as you’ll lose less time.

          In fact, you can manage your pace to jam the undercut by backing your pursuers into the pit window of some slow cars behind that will be trying to stay out indefinitely hoping for an SC/VSC.

          This is true, however less so for Hypersoft runners. You may still be able to damage another driver’s race by backing him up into the Ultrasoft runners’ pit window, but chances are they’ll swallow you as well. As I said, if you start on Hypersoft, you’re on a mission. You absolutely have to eke out enough of a gap to avoid spending a large portion of the race being held up by cars on a different strategy. From experience, we can tell that this will be very difficult to achieve if the track doesn’t rubber in significantly (which it usually does, but the teams are of course already taking this into account, and so far it’s still not looking good), so trolling your opponents will be one of your last concerns.
          These considerations are the reason why everyone is looking to qualify on Ultrasoft tyres now, while being fully aware that this could get them stuck in Q2.
          Ferrari and Mercedes will be anxious to find another half-second, because right now they’re facing the choice between two potentially catastrophic scenarios.

          It is without irony that I can say: Well done, Pirelli.

          1. Top quality commenting! <3

        2. @dmw, @nase, Wow! excellent, you both manage to make tyre tactics exciting, no need for an actual race, could be a great board-game.

          1. @hohum
            hhaahahahhaah

      2. Some good analysis here, but I also reckon that the weight of the car (fuel load) plays a part in managing the tyres. I suppose it is different trying to make the hypers last 20 or more laps with a full tank, or with a car with less than half tank of fuel…

        1. @bakano

          the weight of the car (fuel load) plays a part in managing the tyres. I suppose it is different trying to make the hypers last 20 or more laps with a full tank, or with a car with less than half tank of fuel…

          Yes, of course. The first pit stops from HS to US will probably come significantly closer to the start of the race than the first pit stops onto the HS tyres will be to the end of the race.
          I realise that’s incomprehensible. In other words: The typical stint length on Hypersoft tyres will be much shorter if they’re used at the start of the race. The fuel load will play a major role in that, but also the grip level of the track, which will increase massively during the race, when a full grid accumulates up to 3000 kms/h (similar but not identical to kph), far more than during any other session by any other series over the entire 4-day weekend.

          The thing is: This doesn’t contradict my analysis in any way. It simply means that HS starters won’t be able to make their tyres last very long in the opening stint, so they will be in great danger of getting swallowed by the midfielders, only to be spewed out when the race is already done and dusted. Meanwhile, the US starters (I’d put my money on the Red Bulls if I were a betting person) will have a far more flexible pit stop window later in the race, as the fuel load and track evolution theoretically enables them to run a relatively long stint on Hypersoft. And, as I said, even if an ill-timed Safety Car comes to spoil their plans, they could still opt for the Supersoft tyres, which effectively hands them a strategic alternative that isn’t really available to HS starters.

          1. Actually a heavy car corners more slowly and brakes and accelerates less hard. It has more weight but less downforce, because the speeds are lower.
            So contradictory to what you’d expect tire wear can be (and often is) less at the start of the race than at the end.
            Lookup the Pirelli tire graphs after the races, you’ll find that the longest stints on any tire are often in the early part of the race instead of at the end.

          2. @ Bart

            Actually a heavy car corners more slowly and brakes and accelerates less hard. It has more weight but less downforce, because the speeds are lower.
            So contradictory to what you’d expect tire wear can be (and often is) less at the start of the race than at the end.

            Erm, excuse me, but that is simply factually wrong.

            Yes, the speeds are slower, but the aerodynamic loads are very low regardless of the fuel load. Most corners are so slow that they rely much more on the mechanical grip. And that mechanical grip is put to the test in a much larger extent in a car that’s fuelled for a whole race distance (even if ift’s less than the usual fuel loads due to the short race distance and low fuel consumption). Heavier cars slide more, especially since the track evolution means that the grip level is very low at the start and improves dramatically over the race. A sliding car is the last thing you need if you want your tyres to live long and prosper. Sliding overheats the tread but doesn’t put the same amount of heat into the deeper layers of the rubber, which leads to grainng, which begets more sliding, and we have a perfect vicious circle.
            Therefore, I have to flatly contradict your conclusion: Under the current formula and barring exceptional circumstances, tyre wear always decreases over the race, never the other way around.

            Lookup the Pirelli tire graphs after the races, you’ll find that the longest stints on any tire are often in the early part of the race instead of at the end.

            Believe me, I do that regularly. I doubt you could show me more than a handful of occasions when that has happened, and even in that case, there are probably explanations for that that have nothing to do with increasing tyre wear. Because that is simply as far off the truth as suggesting that Monza requires a maximum downforce setup, or Monaco a setup that minimises drag. We’re talking about the very basics of racing here.

            I can give you a very representative counter-example: Chinese GP 2018. Tyre selection: Ultrasoft, Soft, Medium. Ultrasoft runners in the first stint: 7, stint lengths between 12 and 17 laps -> average stint length less than 14 laps.
            Ultrasoft runners in later stints: 3 (all in the final stint). Stint lengths: twice 25 laps, once 10 laps (Grosjean after a late unscheduled pit stop due to a car problem). Average stint length (even if reduced by Grosjean): 20 laps.

          3. @nase: I still stand by my conclusion. A Formula 1 car at speed generates several times its own weight in downforce. Even if the corner is slow, the initial braking before it occurs at high speed; the later in the race, the higher that speed is.

            As for the Pirelli graphs. In China race strategy determined when to pit. It was obvious the undercut would work after a certain amount of laps, so the teams pitted while the tires could have lasted longer. Then at the end drivers will extend their stints even though the tires are truly past their range, as a pit stop would still cost more time than struggling on for a few laps more.
            You have to read the race to determine whether the stint length projects the life in the tires or something else. Check out some more, you’ll find examples of both late and early long runs.

          4. @ Bart

            I still stand by my conclusion.

            You’re free to do that. However, I reiterate:

            that is simply as far off the truth as suggesting that Monza requires a maximum downforce setup, or Monaco a setup that minimises drag. We’re talking about the very basics of racing here.

      3. A problem with not starting on the HyperSoft is lack of heat in the tires. One might easily drop a place or two in the short run to the first corner. The Hypers just are easier to get to full grip.

        Then, if you’re not ahead at the start you have a problem, as the cars ahead will probably not run to the true pace of the tires but try to stretch their life as long as possible, bunching up those behind.
        We’ve seen last year that the undercut does not work well in Monaco. The tires are much softer this year but yet they seem to last relatively well.

        Then the Red Bulls seem to make them last too: 25 to 30 laps seems possible. Over a second a lap faster than the midfield, they’d be safe to pit.

        Of course the safety car can destroy any strategy. But Red Bull seems to have the best hand, so they wouldn’t bet on a strategy that needs the safety car to make it work. Hypers are their best chance.

        I don’t know about Ferrari. They’ve been comparing their different front suspensions of the last few races, as they weren’t happy how it performed in Spain. If they can’t solve the high deg they might be forced to skip the Hypers.
        But we’ll see soon enough ;)

        1. @ Bart

          A problem with not starting on the HyperSoft is lack of heat in the tires. One might easily drop a place or two in the short run to the first corner

          Disagree. The run to turn one is extremely short (just over 200 metres) and narrow, position changes on the front row are exceedingly rare. To lose a car lenght on that short run, you’d have to have a catastrophic start of the sort that would result in a massive loss of places on a track with a longer acceleration to the first corner.

          Then the Red Bulls seem to make them last too: 25 to 30 laps seems possible. Over a second a lap faster than the midfield, they’d be safe to pit.

          Yeah, but the devil is in the details. If 25 to 30 laps are indeed possible (which sounds like the upper boundary of the predictions), that’s the one thing. And keeping that pace advantage over the midfield would be a completely different thing. Right now, the Red Bulls seem to have a pace advantage of a second over Renault and McLaren and anyone behind them. But if anyone in the midfield starts the race on a different tyre (expect everyone from P11 onwards to do that), they’ll experience much less tyre degradation, and they’ll lose less time with every lap. Red Bull might be able to do 25 laps, but they might start losing the ability to go a second quicker by lap 10, and stop gaining time altogether by lap 20.
          And we’re only looking at the midfield in that scenario, but what if the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers make it through to Q3 on the Ultrasoft? In that case, Red Bull would be in serious trouble, as there’s no way they’re going to drive away into the distance and emerge comfortably ahead after their pit stops. They might end up stuck behind the slowest Ferrari or Mercedes, who won’t pit for many laps to come, and that could spell the end of Red Bull’s shot at victory. Bad idea.

          Of course the safety car can destroy any strategy. But Red Bull seems to have the best hand, so they wouldn’t bet on a strategy that needs the safety car to make it work. Hypers are their best chance.

          This made sense up to the conclusion. In fact, starting on Hypersoft is a strategy that works better if there is a Safety Car (not in all cases, a Safety Car between lap 5 and 15 would be highly unwelcome), as it reduces the time lost in a pit stop, thus reducing the gap needed to stay ahead of a group of midfield cars.
          The Ultrasoft doesn’t need the Safety Car, it is simply the superior strategy in virtually all scenarios. If there’s an early Safety Car, no problem. This will only make the Hypersoft users lose laps in which they can build a gap to stay ahead of the midfield. If there’s a Safety Car around the middle of the race, no problem. They can pit and put on Supersoft tyres, while comfortably staying ahead of the drivers who started on Hypersoft (this would already be the worst case scenario for them, as the Supersoft is basically considered a back-up tyre). And if there’s a late-ish Safety Car, no problem. They can pit and put on the Hypersoft tyre for a relatively short final stint, sticking to the theoretically fastest strategy Pirelli will most likely announce tomorrow.

    3. Guybrush Threepwood
      26th May 2018, 1:44

      3 reasons – starting on ultra soft gives you a better chance of an undercut when switching to the faster tyre.

      Also, if having to pit early on the hypersoft you could come out in traffic or you may be vulnerable to the undercut from someone else.

      3rd reason is that the Ultra gives you more strategy options in terms of waiting a longer time for a SC or VSC to occur and then pit.

  5. May the best driver get pole
    (of the top 6 drivers, obviously :p)

  6. Going on ultra’s in Q2 will get you out of the rhythm for pole position in the hypers. That’s a pretty big risk around here.

    1. Guybrush Threepwood
      26th May 2018, 1:46

      I’m tipping an early couple of flying laps on Ultras in Q2 and then a lap on Hypers at the end, slowing so the lap doesn’t count.

  7. i have a feeling there will be a safety car due to debris by lap 3, too many erratic drivers this season.

    1. Look for Grosjean to wreck half the field at St. Devote on lap one.

  8. I like Monaco because it stands against everything the modern F1 stands for. It keeps ignoring the obsession with overtaking, safety and purpose-built circuits. DRS is completely usesless, overtaking is still almost impossible, nothing Pirelli invents really works and there is not even enough space for a spare set of Ricciardo’s tyres on the first floor. The ‘engineered insanity’ should not be in Monaco, yet here it is again. The only thing this race still lacks is a complete blue flag ban.

    1. Yes Girts, just yes! 👍

    2. @girts

      nothing Pirelli invents really works

      I have to disagree. This very article proves that Pirelli have indeed managed to put a tyre selection together that makes the tyre strategy anything but straightforward. Even the frontrunners (with the probable exception of Red Bull) are facing a tough decision concerning the balance of qualifying and race strategy. Right now, Ferrari and Mercedes are under a huge amount of pressure to find more performance if they don’t want to swallow one of two bitter pills, namely: Risking Q2 elimination or starting the race on a compromised strategy that could get them stuck in traffic for much of the race.

      1. I was rather thinking about Pirelli’s admission that even the hyper-soft was durable enough to be a race tyre and will not make the race a two-stopper. But you are right, the tyre selection might still add extra unpredictability, let us hope it is the case!

        1. @girts

          I was rather thinking about Pirelli’s admission that even the hyper-soft was durable enough to be a race tyre and will not make the race a two-stopper.

          I think that’s one of the most-misunderstood statements statements so far this season. They did say the Hypersoft could theoretically last the entire race distance, however they did NOT say this would be a smart thing to try.
          However, you are absolutely right in saying that (they said that) a two-stopper is rather unlikely. Even if the Hypersoft should suffer during the race, the Ultrasoft’s durability is out of the question. That’s the same tyre that survived up to 25 laps through Shanghai’s endless, rubber-eating turns.

          But you are right, the tyre selection might still add extra unpredictability, let us hope it is the case!

          Seconded!

  9. I expect Red Bull to have their drivers on different tyres at the start of the race…..most accept that the RB is the better handling car, which in turn should translate to kinder on the tyres…but strategy has to be right…as overtaking at Monaco is not for the brave…just the foolish….
    I am looking forward to the race…

  10. Guybrush Threepwood
    26th May 2018, 1:48

    On another note, where are all these 2 stop races Pirelli promised us? It would be worth doing an article on.

  11. Given all the names of tyres… Pirelli should manufacture condoms according to your particular track. ;)

    1. What I mean is that I’m tired of hearing about the tires. Nothing but promo for Pirelli.

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