Monaco, May 25Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has set the fastest-ever lap of the Monte Carlo circuit on the C5 compound – the softest in the Formula 1 range – qualifying ahead of his team mate Valtteri Bottas, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen third. Hamilton was presented with the Pirelli Pole Position Award by Sir Jackie Stewart, the founder of the Race Against Dementia charity – which benefits from the auction of an identical Pirelli pole award tyre over the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

POSSIBLE RACE STRATEGIES

The theoretically fastest strategy for the 78-lap Monaco Grand Prix is a one-stopper: no surprises there. And there’s also a very wide pit stop window, due to the low tyre wear and degradation on this famously low-energy circuit. So, the quickest way is to start on the soft compound, then switch to the hard tyre at any point between laps 10 and 22, according to each team’s tactical needs. This wide window also means that teams could potentially take full advantage of a well-timed safety car period: a strong possibility in Monaco.

A slightly slower strategy is to start on the soft tyre and then switch to the medium at any point between laps 18 and 25. Obviously this requires a bit more tyre management, as it involves going further on a softer compound.

Finally, there’s a two-stopper – but this would only be relevant if degradation on the soft is higher than expected, maybe with higher temperatures. In which case, it would be two stints on the soft of 10 to 12 laps each, followed by a final stint on the hard tyre.

KEEP AN EYE ON

  • The start. As it’s very hard to overtake in Monaco, the race start is often the best opportunity. There’s a fast warm-up on the soft tyre, which should help.
  • Spread out pit stops. There’s a wide pit stop window so we might not see the cars coming in at the same time: they can time the stops to suit them best.
  • Safety cars. There’s an 80% historical chance of a safety car in Monaco, which could influence strategy and pit stops.
  • The P Zero Red soft tyre. All the top 10 will be starting on this compound, and there’s unlikely to be much of an advantage in starting on any other tyre.
  • The P Zero White hard tyre. The theoretically fastest strategy involves using it for the second stint – but there has been quite limited running on this tyre so far.

MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING

“The soft tyre was used from start to finish of qualifying – held in slightly warmer conditions compared to previous days – and we should see a one-stop race tomorrow unless something unexpected happens, or there is more degradation than anticipated on the soft tyre. Depending on which strategy the drivers choose, there might be some degree of tyre management: with a long opening stint on the soft, or a long second stint on the medium, for example. The strategy here is often influenced by the safety car, so as always this could turn out to be decisive”.

FREE PRACTICE 3 – TOP 3 TIMES

DRIVER TIME COMPOUND
Leclerc 1m11.265s SOFT C5 NEW
Bottas 1m11.318s SOFT C5 NEW
Hamilton 1m11.478s SOFT C5 NEW

QUALIFYING TOP 10

DRIVER TIME COMPOUND
Hamilton 1m10.166s SOFT C5 NEW
Bottas 1m10.252s SOFT C5 NEW
Verstappen 1m10.641s SOFT C5 NEW
Vettel 1m10.947s SOFT C5 NEW
Gasly 1m11.041s SOFT C5 NEW
Magnussen 1m11.109s SOFT C5 NEW
Ricciardo 1m11.218s SOFT C5 NEW
Kvyat 1m11.271s SOFT C5 NEW
Sainz 1m11.417s SOFT C5 NEW
Albon 1m11.653s SOFT C5 NEW

MOST LAPS BY COMPOUND SO FAR

COMPOUND DRIVER LAPS
HARD C3 Perez 24
MEDIUM C4 Giovinazzi 38
SOFT C5 Ricciardo 34

BEST TIME BY COMPOUND SO FAR

COMPOUND DRIVER TIME
HARD C3 Magnussen 1m13.985s
MEDIUM C4 Hamilton 1m11.926s
SOFT C5 Hamilton 1m10.166s

May 25, 2019