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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Rosberg and Mercedes rule the streets, but Lotus, Ferrari and Red Bull close
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Posted By: Matt Meadows  |  23 May 2013   |  5:04 pm GMT  |  105 comments

Nico Rosberg underlined Mercedes’ claim as pole position favourites for this weekend’s Grand Prix by topping both practice sessions on an eventful Thursday in Monaco. In the faster second session he was the only man to break under the 1m 15s barrier, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

But it looks very close at the front with Ferrari, Lotus and Red Bull all competitive in different ways. The Lotus has exceptional speed at the end of long runs, the Ferrari looks good in all conditions and might challenge the Mercedes for pole, while the Red Bull also looked pretty competitive in low fuel and race conditions.

With Free Practice taking place traditionally on Thursday in Monaco the worries of rain never materialised, with the weather in fact remaining glorious throughout the whole day. The day was short of drama, with only Romain Grosjean’s crash in the second session and a brief red flag stoppage, which marshals used to remove a piece of metal sticking up from the kerb at the Swimming Pool.

Rosberg took the top spot in both sessions, but it does by no means look like a dominant position for the Mercedes team. Both Ferrari and Lotus also look in the hunt for the race, thanks to strong race pace on the long runs. Both had their qualifying simulation runs ruined in dramatically different ways; slightly flattering Mercedes’ pace.

Alonso was the pace setter during the early prime tyre runs in FP2, heading the field by 4/10ths of a second at this stage. Splitting Alonso and Rosberg in third was Romain Grosjean who was looking to have another strong day around the street circuit.

And as quickly as it seemed that Grosjean could be releasing himself out of the shadows of his high flying team mate, he promptly found himself scampering for cover when he stuck his Lotus in to the barrier at St. Devote on the first lap of his option tyre run. The car sustained substantial damage on its left-hand side and the incident put the Frenchman out of the session with an hour still to run. Felipe Massa was on his fast lap when this happened, which spoiled his chances.

Grosjean had been flying prior to his accident, “It was the first flying lap on supersofts and I thought the grip would be better than what it was,” said the Frenchman. “Never mind, the car is good and it gives me the confidence to push. I’ll have to buy the mechanics a beer on Sunday and apologise, but it’s okay.”


Following a short red-flag delay to fix the kerbing there was a flurry of cars taking to the track to set their option tyre time before switching attention to longer runs in the second half of the session. Alonso was amongst these cars and having seen the Mercedes pair jump to the top of the times he set about reclaiming his previous position.

But as is the way with Monaco an unpredictable set of slow-moving mobile chicanes halted his chances of threatening Rosberg. He did manage to set a competitive lap time a later lap, but with past-perfect tyres he completed the day 4/10ths of a second behind Rosberg.

The Mercedes pair had a relatively trouble free day as the two Monaco residents Rosberg and Hamilton aim to put themselves in the best position for a Grand Prix victory this season.

After the embarrassing slump from pole position in the race in Barcelona, there should be fewer problems for the Mercedes drivers in the race here, as Monaco is relatively easy on the tyres, with a smooth surface and no sustained high energy corners pushing the Pirelli rubber to its limit.

“We completed a lot of laps and I feel comfortable in the car,” said Rosberg. “It seems that we are quick again on one lap but we have been working hard again to make improvements to our race pace.”

And in race simulation mode the time drop-off gave some encouragement to Mercedes where they were able to put the super-soft compound through its paces over a stint similar in length to what we can expect on Sunday, of around twenty-five laps, with minimal degradation showing.

That said they are still likely to need to make two stops on Sunday, where Lotus can definitely do one and probably Ferrari as well. This could prove decisive provided that the one stoppers are able to qualify at or near the front.

The Ferrari looks the most benign car here. It continued to show strong pace during a race stint as both Alonso and Felipe Massa, in fourth place, lapped consistently as the afternoon drew to a close. All day it seemed that the Ferrari drivers were able to do the lap time with less obvious effort going on in the cockpit compared to the Mercedes. But the Mercedes definitely has the one lap pace advantage.

The Championship leader, Sebastian Vettel, had a quiet day in ninth position and spent the majority of the day on the soft compound completing heavier fuel runs, despite a KERS problem. The sister Red Bull of Mark Webber followed a similar route but was able to take fifth position, as the Australian seemed to have the edge over his team mate here.

Fortunately for the triple World Champion his closest title challenger also had a difficult day. Kimi Raikkonen didn’t suffer any serious issues but the Finn was overshadowed by Grosjean. Although Lotus will take pleasure in their long run pace with both of their drivers setting very fast laps deep in to long runs on the super soft tyre.

Strategy will be key; a one-stop race looks possible for some but not others. Today’s times leave us with the clear impression that we are in for a mighty scrap among the top four teams for both pole position and the race victory.

It will also be very close in Q2 for the final two places in the top ten Q3 shootout, with McLaren and Force India in the mix.

MONACO GRAND PRIX, Free Practice 2
1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m14.759s 45
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m15.077s + 0.318s 50
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m15.196s + 0.437s 37
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m15.278s + 0.519s 38
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m15.404s + 0.645s 41
6. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1m15.511s + 0.752s 38
7. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m15.718s + 0.959s 10
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m15.959s + 1.200s 39
9. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m16.014s + 1.255s 32
10. Paul di Resta Force India 1m16.046s + 1.287s 42
11. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m16.349s + 1.590s 43
12. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m16.434s + 1.675s 40
13. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m16.823s + 2.064s 42
14. Pastor Maldonado Williams 1m16.857s + 2.098s 40
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m16.935s + 2.176s 44
16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m17.145s + 2.386s 37
17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m17.184s + 2.425s 42
18. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m17.264s + 2.505s 46
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m17.892s + 3.133s 40
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m18.212s + 3.453s 43
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1m18.784s + 4.025s 40
22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m19.031s + 4.272s 30

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105 Comments
  1. Sebee says:

    My wish will come true! Mercedes lockout, and right behind them – pile of frustration. I love it. It’s going to be a pressure cooker in Monaco!

    If Nico scores pole, will Hamilton let him build 2 second buffer ahead so they can work together to secure a win for Mercedes and not lose out in pits?

    1. Richard says:

      That is not a very unlikely scenario. Though if Ferrari do the one stop, and Merc will do two, it might prove pointless.

      1. Sebee says:

        No one will 1 stop. That’s my bet.

      2. Spyros says:

        If there is one track in the whole calendar where it pays to do one stop less, it is Monaco. I’d be amazed if Lotus doesn’t go for it.

      3. Tom says:

        For the first time I am with you on this :) I can’t see anyone doing a 1 stop. RAI is the only one that MIGHT do it.

      4. Sebee says:

        30+ laps on soft?

      5. Doobs says:

        Lotus will.

      6. David C says:

        If Merc do lock out the front row and keep the pace slow that could help the Ferrari and Lotus trye conservation and get them over the line to a one stop.

      7. Timmay says:

        More than one team definitely will – think Lotus, McLaren, Sauber an even Ferrari might.

      8. Fireman says:

        Zero stops for Grosjean.

      9. Tim says:

        @Fireman
        Zero stops for Grosjean…

        He will stop once – when he swipes his suspension off on the barriers.

      10. Multi 21 says:

        Mercedes will try for 1 stop.

        It’s a track where passing will be near impossible and they will likely start from the front.

        They will hold the advantage. By stopping twice, you are going for a riskier strategy and handing the advantage to those with better tyre preservation characteristics.

      11. Christos Pallis says:

        100% agree with your analysis. 2 stopping will hand the advantage to the cars that can do 1 stop more effectively. Merc will have to suffer a 1 stop and hope they dont completely go over the cliff by the race end!

      12. AlexD says:

        Remember Monaco 2006 where Schumi started from pit lane? I do not think it is impossible to overtake there

      13. Quade says:

        Mercedes, one stop? That might be the stop on lap 11 when the tyres melt. Merc loves ‘em cooked. :)

      14. Elie says:

        I doubt anyone will do 1 stop. Lotus can do 30 + laps on Softs at Monaco but reality is they need to to do 40laps on them because super softs will have to do at least 20laps – which is unlikely. That said Kimi was doing 1.18 on his 3rd stint in FP2 with used softs that had done 30 laps- quite remarkable.

    2. MelB says:

      My uneducated guess is – no, he won’t. I can’t see Lewis starting to play second fiddle to Nico this early in the season. However, Nico would probably submit to doing it if Lewis claims pole.

      1. Spyros says:

        Why would Nico submit? He has outqualified Lewis, plus he already feels the team owes him something this year…

      2. Tim says:

        Polite correction, Lewis is ahead 3/2 in qualification, Nico has a greater number of poles though.

      3. puffing says:

        @Sebee. Nice link, thanks.

      4. Spyros says:

        @Tim: oops! Thanks, I sit corrected.

      5. Multi 21 says:

        Lewis DOES owe Nico one for Sepang.

        This weekend would be the best time to call that favour in.

      6. Equin0x says:

        You really think Hamilton would help Nico when push comes to shove? Unless its a direct order from Ross I doubt Hamilton would help Nico.

    3. Yak says:

      Team orders to race side by side for the whole race to block the track at whatever pace they want, and then whichever one of them wins the drag race in the final sprint down the straight to the flag gets to stand on the top step!

      On a more serious note, I don’t imagine trying to race ahead would be the way. If they try that and the guys behind can keep up AND manage the tyres better, it could be a problem. Adding an extra stop in Monaco is bad news, with the impossibility of overtaking there. I imagine it’ll basically be a cruise from the start, and if someone tries an undercut, the guy in front basically slaughters the tyres trying to manage the fastest in-lap possible to hopefully negate the undercut. And if the other guy and his team get the undercut wrong and end up stuck behind another car on the out-lap… it’s back to follow the leader once everyone has travelled the pit lane. Obviously those aren’t the only possible situations, but it’s 4a, so I should probably go to bed… so I can get up for work in… 3 hours. *sigh*

      Mercedes were rubbish on tyres last year too, but Rosberg still managed to hold his position to the end. Of course that was a bit of a weird race, staying out in case of weather and all that, but the Merc still held on.

      1. Quade says:

        Lewis spent the whole day testing a new suspension (nico ran the old spec).

        If the new suspension pays off, Merc might be better on their tyres this weekend and waltz off into the distance.

      2. KRB says:

        Where are you getting this info from? I don’t think anyone’s waltzing away with this one. Ferrari’s Spain sector 3 race pace advantage was showing today. I think they’re the favourite.

      3. Joel says:

        KRB, it is true that Lewis ran with an IR cameras on his front wing and some revised suspension. While Rosberg’s car din’t have the IR camers, I’m not sure about the suspension.
        Hamilton sounded more confident after the FPs while Rosberg was more reserved.

    4. KRB says:

      There was talk in the Monaco race primer thread that the Merc drivers should make a pre-race agreement in the event of a front row lockout, that 2nd would help 1st build a lead.

      Now, if you’re Brawn and you’d rather Lewis be that lead driver, you first would need Rosberg to commit fully to such an agreement. Would it be easier to get that agreement if Nico thinks he’s got a good shot at pole, or if he goes in thinking he’s outclassed? The former of course. So having him lead both sessions is the best way to get his agreement.

      Who knows, this might just be some elaborate scenario. We’ll find out. I think pole, if it stays dry, will be very close to 1:14.000, either side of it.

      At the moment, looks like it could be a wet quali session.

      1. Sebee says:

        Quali rain the word?

        Amazing.

        If I would have known that all my wishes would be anwered, I would have not made so many for this just one race, as to not use up my wishes quota for the season. :-)

    5. Schnell! schnell! says:

      Hamilton may well leave a 2 second gap to keep out of dirty air and preserve his tyres.

      Talk of Mercedes tag teaming their pit stops to sacrifice constructors championship points for one car is, at best, fatuous.

  2. Andrew C says:

    If Hamilton could just stop messing around making music records, water skiing with his dog and blinging it up around the paddock then he might actually come close to emulating his supposed hero Senna or at least staying close to Rosbergs pace. I don’t ever recall Senna living it up large celeb style the way Hamilton is. It’s surely got to be affecting his focus on the driving. In parallel, Rosberg is keeping his head down and starting to get the better of Hamilton. I’m a Hamilton fan too so it irritates the life out of me to see him sauntering around with his new ‘free’ lifestyle and appearing to lose touch with his own team mate.
    Anyone else have the same thoughts?

  3. Sven says:

    Rosberg will likely win the race.
    I’m not sure why Kimi was not so convincing today, but Vet’s time was set on softs when he had KERS problems, so obviously that is not the matter of him under-performing. I’m sure he can go much faster; it’s Kimi I’m worried about. He might be able to pull off 1 stop, but what if he can’t or SC ruins his strategy? Qualifying well is crucial here.

  4. Irish con says:

    Fernando did a 15.5 on softs so I think he can at least do that time of rosbergs if not beat it considering his first laps was spoiled by the yellow flags. Still expect nico to be on pole and joined by Fernando probably. After that will depend on how many stops the mercs make

    1. Tealeaf says:

      But then Vettel did 16.0 on softs and heavy fuel with no KERS and even then he said the car doesn’t feel good enough yet, plenty of action left this weekend.

      1. H.Guderian says:

        OMG!!!
        Seems VET may have a “brain fade” this weekend… 8-)

    2. Elie says:

      Most Noteably he was flying -purple sector 1 when he caught the Marussia- I think he would have come close to Rosbergs time – he was def on it. !

  5. AlexD says:

    So far everything is very predictable. Kimi believes they can match Mercedes and I am sure that Red Bull will be right there in Q3. We shall see. Still not convinced mercedes have it covered.

    1. Spyros says:

      Me neither. people were keen to emphasize Merc’s pace in Barcelona too. This track definitely hurts them less, but what’s the point if Lotus can do one stop less?

    2. Tealeaf says:

      Mercedes don’t have it covered Rosberg does. As for the race well if they’re going by last year then Merc’s won’t hold up, Fernando should take the win with Kimi somewhere on the podium and another salvage operation for Vettel.

  6. mhilgtx says:

    From the comments of Will Buxton on the tires it is pretty obvious that even if Merc gets the pole they will stop more than Lotus and Force India. After Lotus and FI long runs he said the tires look as good as new.

    I don’t think he mentioned what Ferrari and RBr’s tires looked like. Although I think he might have said something about rear tire wear on RBR.

    If that is the case then I fear RBR and Merc could be sunk. We shale see.

  7. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Don’t know about the fuel loads, but the Lotus was impressive during the race simulation. Grosjean might just take his first gp win, but the guy seems prone to errors. Mercedes favorite for pole with consistent times on the long runs, but still slowest of the top 4. Sunday’s race is going to be a nailbiter and Lotus tyre advantage (1 stop) might just as well dissapear due to a safety car.

    1. Phil Glass says:

      Looked to me like Grosjean was doing v well till Kimi posted 1.15.5. He was pushing too hard to chase that when he lost it. So this talk of him “overshadowing” Raikkonen……well, not that I’ve heard!

      Alonso looks v v strong, and is set for another podium at least. We’ll see what Vettel can really do in Q3 saturday. May just surprise a few folk who are writing off RB.

      1. Doobs says:

        Webber has been lacklustre at some races this year but he’s no slouch round Monaco, so I’m guessing his time is indicative of the RB’s pace, so far.

  8. goferet says:

    Strong form by the Mercedes team once again and the fact that the team has decided to go for headline times shows they aren’t too worried about the tyres unlike Barcelona where the team was mainly focusing on long runs (also recall Mercedes were the last to stop with the supersofts in Melbourne)

    But as there is a chance of rain come qualifying, Mercedes may just find themselves at the end of a cruel joke, so lets wait and see.

    Rosberg too showing devastating speed once again but one can’t help thinking that he’s peaking too soon and may just burn out come qualifying more so after Lewis promised to go hard on Saturday.

    As for Ferrari, it appears their free practice form tends to deceive for come qualifying, it turns out they are not as fast e.g. In 2012 Alonso was fastest in FP1 and in FP2 Massa 3rd and Alonso 4th… only for Alonso to qualify 6th and Massa 7th.

    Red Bull sure do lack that one lap pace as noted by their drivers and it seems Webber likes this track better than Vettel.

    Same thing with Grosjean and Kimi e.g. Grosjean qualified P5 in 2012 whilst Kimi was down in P8.

    And oh, seeing as Grosjean has already had his shunt, he may have got his bad luck out of the way for the rest of the weekend more so seeing as he did DNF in 2012.

    From today’s times, it appears Mclaren have made a small step up the grid having displaced Force India.

    Now regards strategy, Lotus look favourites for the win for less pitstops at Monaco is always a sure winner e.g. Vettel in 2011 and Senna in 1992.

    1. hero_was_senna says:

      feret, if Mansell hadn’t suffered an unexpected punture or loose wheel nut, he would not have pitted for new tyres and would have finished ahead of Senna.

      Senna drove a brilliant defensive race for the last few laps to keep Mansell behind.

      1. Tim says:

        I remember it well, Mansell’s Williams had a stone trapped between the brake calliper and the wheel . It machined the wheel causing the tyre to deflate. Otherwise Senna wouldn’t have had a chance in that race.

      2. justafan says:

        POOR NIGEL, HE ALWAYS SEEMED TO SUFFER SOME KIND OF BAD LUCK. I STILL REMEMBER HIS DRAMATIC ADELAIDE TYRE FAILURE THAT COST HIM HIS FIRST TITLE LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY.

      3. KRB says:

        @justafan, true about Big Nige. 3x he ended up with the most wins in a season, but only in the walkover year did he win the title. Of course Prost (the beneficiary of Mansell’s tire blowout in ’86) also had had his share of bad luck in championships before his first in ’85.

  9. Rui Queirós says:

    No doubt Lotus will go for one stop, maybe Ferrari also. Kimi did a 1m17,8 on lap 30 of supersoft. I don´t think that the undercut will prevail in this Grand Prix because if you get behing a car with older tyres you wont be able to pass.
    In my opinion the team or driver that can do more competitive laps on those set o tyres will have he advantage.

    I would put my money on Ferrari or Lotus if they can qualify on the first 3 rows

    1. Phil Glass says:

      @Rui Q
      1.17.8 after 30 laps for Kimi: do you by any chance know how many laps Rosberg did in the 1.18s on his long run?

      1. KRB says:

        Lap times for both sessions are on FIA.com.

    2. KRB says:

      Kimi didn’t do 30 laps on SS, and his only times in the 17′s were flying laps, not race sims.

      http://184.106.145.74/f1-championship/f1-2013/f1-2013-06/Second%20Practice%20Session%20Lap%20Times.pdf

      1. Rui Queirós says:

        I was following the FP2 with the F1 2013 official aplicattion for androi, wich gives you the cuurent and number of laps of each sets of tyre, and with the information they were giving, Kimi was doing 1,18.0, 1,18.2 and 1,18.8 on the 27, 28 and 29 lap on a set a Super_softs tyres. (my mistake adding the times on the 3 sectors 1,17.8 on my first comment)
        Usually the information they gives regarding the tyres is always correct

    3. Elie says:

      I doubt anyone including Lotus will do less than 2 stops.Unless track temp is below 30deg. But they were seeing 40+ yest so I think most will do 2 and some will do 3.

  10. cometeF1 says:

    Very much as one could have expected things to stand so far. Mercs fast over a lap. ferrari fast and consistent. Lotus good on their tires. RB possibly not as fast as Ferrari in race simulation.

    Plenty of time now for all of us to analyze the datas before P3. Marc

  11. Mitchel says:

    Hopefully, things will turn out very differently for Mercedes this time out..

    I’m a slight contrarian, not liking Monaco all that much (beyond Saturday that is). But since KERS was introduced, it’s been a lot better.

    Now: with a team which has great one lap pace, a team which has great long run pace, and two all round good teams, can anyone possibly complain about the prospects for this weekend?

    People will look back on this as a golden era, no doubt!

    1. Quade says:

      The thing I wonder is why Lewis alone tested their new suspension. Lets hope it goes well for them.
      sadly, McLaren have not yet made a step forward.

      1. glennb says:

        It makes sense that 1 driver tests the new bits while the other is used as a comparison. Merc are fortunate that both drivers are ext’ quick and reliable enough to do this.

      2. Poyta says:

        No point both drivers testing it – better to run both to determine which is better. Common process, lots of teams do it.

      3. Aon12 says:

        Apparently the new suspension is easier on the rear tyres but as a result the car may be slower in qualifying which is why I think Nico will be on pole but Hamilton will win from P2.

  12. Oz Geezza says:

    Mr Allen,your introduction to the posibilities
    after Friday practice is simply superb,thank you. I do at times like to put a wager on
    when a gut feeling is right. which brings me
    to Alonso,watching him via RTL,TV Germany in
    pactice he was the fastest of them all in the
    first sector at any given time,add to that he
    done 30 add laps on super soft which suggest
    a one stop strategy, on the other hand the
    Merc had rear tyers heating after 11 laps and
    were told to ease off.

  13. kfzmeister says:

    Hamilton not exactly the kind that likes running behind his teammate in Monaco!!!!

  14. Hah says:

    Mention that Vettel had no KERS and his suspension was being altered, missing out lots of time in practice while Webber was out all the time with working KERS…then say Webber had the edge over Vettel.

    Ok, lol.

    1. Poyta says:

      Well traditionally webber has been better at Monaco than Vettel but agree its too early to tell from a “practice” session if one had an edge over the other – just like one can’t say that Roseberg has an edge over Hamilton. Saturday is when it counts.

    2. Doobs says:

      Webber isn’t slow round here. I guess he will beat Vettel.

      1. David C says:

        If Mark can get off the line without ending up halfway down the field

    3. Sven says:

      Yes, very odd, considering that on softs Mark was only 0,05s faster than Vettel whose KERS wasn’t working.

    4. Elie says:

      People , People it was only Thursday we still have 1 full free practise and qualifying and 100 +min of racing . The way you guys talk its like the race is over with 3 weeks ago comeon !!– I will just remind you race is still another 2 days away and anyone “racing” their team mate on Thursday would be stupid – why do the initial Rg spring to mind !

  15. Richard says:

    I think Mercedes are slowing starting to understand the tyre issues, but it seems to be a slow business. It makes one wonder if the teams that are good on tyres have had a degree of luck in finding a good solution reasonably quickly. Interesting that Rosberg seems to be faster than Hamilton most of the time, but I expect it has something to do with familarity. It looks likely that Rosberg will get pole, but if Hamilton get his car balance and set up right it could be either of them.

  16. Alberto Martínez says:

    James,

    What about Button´s long run? It was quite impressive! I was absolutely surprised when I saw that in average he was faster than Vettel, Alonso and even Raikkonen?

    Do you have an answer to this because nobody is talking about this matter?

    1. Peter C says:

      Sounds impressive, but we’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out if McL can reach Q3. If not, starting in 10th or so will not auger well for the race even if they can do minimal stops.

      You may not hear much positive stuff from posters on here – most enjoy rubbishing JB.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        To be fair Peter, many posters on here, I include myself, honestly thought Button would be destroyed by Lewis.
        On pure speed he was, but on occasions he out qualified Lewis too.
        I’m happy enough to admit I got him wrong.

  17. Le mister says:

    What an amazing photo!

  18. Rod Aguirre says:

    I think the Mercedes will deflate again. I can’t see Nico beating Alonso or Hamilton this weekend. He’s fast but he never looks like a winner to me. My guess is we’ll see Vettel being in the fight as well. And let’s not forget Webber. He digs this track.

  19. DJ Illusive says:

    I forsee a Merc 1-2 in quali and most everyone doing 2 stops during the race if its somewhat warm. Ferrari and Lotus may try to do a 1 stopper if they fall too far behind the Mercs but it could very well be a Monaco train which would be quite boring. Pullin for Merc to finally get a victory this season. This is their best chance.

  20. All revved-up says:

    Monaco to me is a special race and have always enjoyed it. On TV more so than being there. As MW said, too many little dogs in handbag types – especially for a country folk at heart me.

    To me I’ve always enjoyed it despite the processional nature of the race. I think it’s got something to do with the fact that the drivers are centimeters from breaking their suspension. There is also the real chance of a following driver under cutting the driver in front who’s stuck in the procession.

    Guess not all processional races are boring.

  21. Jon says:

    My Tip for Podium
    ALO
    RAIK
    HAM
    These 3 know where its at. Feel the track on the Thursday, then go for broke on the Saturday. HAM for pole and AlO to sneak in 2nd

    1. David C says:

      That would really spice up the championship but i cant imagine a redbull free podium this weekend

      1. Spyros says:

        Me neither: substitute WEB for HAM.

  22. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Another strategy race, one or two stops, that’s the question, not necessary nice to watch, but we will see, hopefully.

    I cannot imagine HAMILTON being beat by ROSBERG in qualify, that would make Lewis look just ordinary… I believe Lewis will do anything for being ahead of Nico this time, and I really mean Anything!

    Anyway, nobody has expected Mercedes winning at the front, so for Monaco I expect Ferrari, Lotus and whatever happens from there.

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      *at the front this year

  23. Marcus in Canada says:

    Can I just say the 5Live commentary of Practice by James Allen/McNish/Anderson is superb!

    1. James Allen says:

      You can! Thanks for feedback

      1. marco says:

        i would love to be able to get the 5live comentary but alas im in South Africa .. James – anything on the cards to lets us listen in to you fella’s ?

        Cheers

      2. Brad says:

        We listen to them during Free practise Marco

  24. Kay says:

    Even if Rosberg does get P1 by the end of Q3, he’ll as usual still manage to find a gap to slip the back despite Monaco being a train track.

    Alonso, Hamilton, Kimi and probably Vettel as well will manage to find a gap through to the front instead.

  25. David C says:

    Durig Rosbergs longer run his lap times were dropping off but then he ran a very slow lap and his next laps were pretty much back were he had started, it was a pretty wired performance caractéristique and maybe if merc lock out the front row they could use it to keep the driver in P1 out longer, let him build a gap so he can back off and cool his tyres with protection. Id like to see mercs 1 and 2 into turn 1 just to see how they manage it.
    Anyway its the weekend so come on Leinster, Clermont and Mark Webber.
    Hey James what do you think of this tyre cooling to improve performance.

  26. Fireman says:

    Kimi had some problems with power steering on thursday. Why can’t Lotus engineer a proper power steering for Kimi? Or is it difficult to get that just right?

    1. Anne says:

      During testing it is not unusual that some problem may come up. Vettel had KERS problems. Engineers and mechanics have plenty of time to fix any problems today. Don´t worry about Kimi. He´ll be ready. Then during qualy and the race many things could happen to anyone

      1. Fireman says:

        Sure. I was just wondering why it’s power steering issue again.

  27. Neshaen says:

    Hi James,

    Quick question -
    Rumour has it that Williams are seeking to change engine suppliers for 2014. I believe they want to switch to Mercedes engines due to it being cheaper than the Renault power units.
    Any truth to this?

    Keep up the good work James.

    1. James Allen says:

      I have heard that and referenced it in recent articles, yes.

      Also Toro Rosso is moving to Renault, so they will have a full roster anyway

  28. Matt W says:

    At Monaco, track position more than anything is the key. If Merc get a 1-2 on the grid then it would be foolish to expect anything other than a Merc win.

    Alonso and Kimi need to ensure they get 2nd and 3rd if they want a realistic chance. If they disappoint in qualifying again, it wont be an easy salvage operation.

  29. Methusalem says:

    N. Rosberg has won a single GP, up until now, so, I can’t say much about his talent. But, I have never seen him make mistakes on the grid, right? He kind of reminds me of good-old Nick Heidfeld

    1. olivier says:

      He is certainly very fast on one lap. Beating Schumacher, and now Hamilton … wow, hats off for that!

    2. David C says:

      I think thats a little unfare on nico, he won his only GP2 season and with the exception of his first year (where he was against a very experienced 29 year old MW) he has always beaten his team mate including MS all be it a much past his prime MS. To me and most comentators he looks the equal of LH this year who is held in very high regard. NH I always saw assteady reliablebut i couldnt see him winning a WC if he had a the best package like this years ferrari, i think Rosberg would.

    3. madmax says:

      In the past 10 years or so if your not in a good car you don’t win no matter how good a driver you are.

      The cars nowadays are all aerodynamically so well balanced and easy to drive on the limit – the difference a driver can make compared to 10 or more years ago is minute.

      Looking at Hamilton and Rosberg in the same car now, how many races would both have won if Rosberg was in the McLaren this past 6 years and Hamilton in the Williams and Mercedes?

    4. justafan says:

      GOOD OLD NICK, LIKE ROSBERG HE SHOULD HAVE WON A RACE IN CANADA IF NOT FOR TEAM ORDERS.

    5. Spyros says:

      When Brawn surprised everyone (except JA!) by announcing Schumacher, everyone hinted at how annoyed Rosberg must have been, since he would obviously be relegated to No2, etc… he silenced everyone by beating good-old (literally) Schumi. For three seasons.

      With Lewis, it’s still early days for comparisons… but Lewis isn’t exactly having an easy time of it, is he?

      It makes you wonder: exactly how out-of-form was good-old Schumacher last year..?

  30. Elie says:

    That’s because it’s not true or you looked at a couple of laps in isolation. Also depends on the fuel load he ran and whether or not there was traffic etc. you must look at performance on the same rubber with more than 15 consistent laps on them and very few were near Lotus , Ferrari or Red Bull actually.

  31. Paul Watson says:

    With all the talk about Merc being 1 & 2 then just performing a double act, do any of the following considerations come into affect:

    1) With this being a racing track for 4 days a year, won’t the racing line have far better traction than normal?

    2) With that in mind, this is probably the shortest distance to the first corner. So P3 would have to have made a great start. And of course, P2 will be aiming inwards as well.

    Conclusion – lets hope GRO does not get P3, or even worse, P5 lol

  32. Elie says:

    James what’s with the “Finn being overshadowed by Grosjean” ? Seriously it’s getting silly that people are talking him up when he’s not in the same league as his team mate – you just keep putting pressure on the guy. Last year you were talking about his quali pace and at best it was 10/10 & this year he’s been beaten out if the ballpark in all 5 quails & races and he will probably be outgunned again on Sat. Yet you use “overshadowed” on a Thursday ?- is it your like if Grosjean or dislike of Raikkonen that’s driving this or perhaps its the professor Prost singing Viva Le France in everybody’s ear !,

  33. Dan says:

    2+ stops for all. Mercs maybe 3. Im betting the ferarri’s come on strong mid race. My bet is either a redbull or ferarri win. The mercs are just to hard on tyres.

  34. Martin says:

    I’ll add two slightly unusual points. Webber was fastest in the speed trap. The Lotus’ were at the bottom of a very narrow range. Monaco is different when it comes to tyre wear and degradation.

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