Why Monaco Grand Prix was more like a cycle race than an F1 race
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Posted By: James Allen  |  28 May 2013   |  3:25 pm GMT  |  204 comments

The Monaco Grand Prix was similar in many ways to last year’s event; a race of managed pace, but this year with interesting consequences.

It showed a wider strategy on the part of the championship contenders in particular. If you analyse the way they conducted their races, it appears that they were focussed on the championship rather than on challenging for the race victory.

Nico Rosberg was the dominant figure in Monaco across practice and qualifying, but he wasn’t well placed in the championship going into the event and he wasn’t challenged in the race as he might have expected to be, particularly given that his strategy was to slow the pace down from the outset, which meant that his rivals were never far behind.

Because he – and later Sebastian Vettel – backed the field up, there were plenty of passes and attempted passes and this led to a number of incidents. So it was a race punctuated by two safety cars and a red flag stoppage. The stoppage on lap 46 of 78 gave all the teams a chance to fit a new set of tyres before the restart and meant that no-one struggled for tyre life.


Pre-race expectations

In their strategy briefings before the Grand Prix, teams were confident that a one-stop race was possible. Two stops was shown as being 15 seconds faster than one stop but it was considered risky because of slow traffic and the high chance of a safety car (80%), which could negate the advantage accrued from running at a higher pace.

It was expected that Mercedes, given its tyre management problems in the previous races, would control the pace, but in the end it was slower than any of the strategists had imagined.


Controlled pace
Mercedes strategy was to control the pace and drive to a target lap time. Red Bull did a similar thing with Mark Webber the year before.

They did this in order to ensure that the tyres would reach at last lap 30, which was the window for a one-stop race. Although two stops was theoretically faster, they decided that attempting two stops might make them vulnerable to a one stopping Red Bull or Lotus, particularly if a safety car intervened.

The pace in the first stint was extremely slow – ten seconds a lap slower than qualifying. The degree to which the pace was controlled is demonstrated by several things; Sebastian Vettel set the fastest lap near the end in a moment of exuberance, some two seconds faster than the next fastest lap!

Meanwhile Nico Rosberg’s pace on new soft tyres after the restart from the first safety car was five seconds slower than it had been on used supersofts when he pushed hard immediately before his pit stop under the safety car ten laps earlier.

This had two effects; first it stopped any of Rosberg’s rivals attempting to undercut him – ie making a stop a lap before and trying to pass when the Mercedes pitted afterwards – because there were few gaps without traffic to drop back into.

Secondly it meant that the field was bunched up and this led to drivers overtaking or attempting to overtake and colliding. The result was two safety cars and a red flag.


Safety car changes the game for Hamilton

The unintended consequence of this is that the first safety car spoiled the race of Rosberg’s team mate Lewis Hamilton and cost the team a 1-2 finish, although it was more the driver’s fault than the strategists’.

Hamilton was running second in the opening stint, but then the first safety car was deployed for Massa’s heavy accident which was always likely to trigger a safety car, but Mercedes were slow to react. Their cars were three corners away from the end of the lap when it happened.

But the Mercedes pair had crossed the line to start a new lap when the safety car was deployed.

So they had to drive around the lap at the approved speed (around 40% slower than normal), while the Red Bull drivers had pitted immediately. In itself this is not a problem, because everyone has to drive to a prescribed speed and in any case the Red Bull cars were picked up by the safety car. The problem was that Hamilton lost an additional eight seconds on his in-lap to the pits.

If he had maintained the same speed as Rosberg, a 1min 54s lap he would have arrived in the pits three seconds behind the German, as he had been the previous lap. The mechanics were ready with a second set of tyres for Hamilton long before he arrived in his pit box and when he went back out he had fallen behind the two Red Bulls.


Title contenders – trying to win?

In Tour de France cycling, when there is a breakaway of riders who are not in contention for the Yellow Jersey, the race leaders don’t generally react.

It was a bit like this with the Monaco Grand Prix. With Rosberg ninth in the table on just 22 points, it seemed that the title contenders were more focussed on getting points and moving on to the next race, rather than challenge him.

With Vettel now in second place, after Hamilton’s safety car error, with 47 laps to go and the Mercedes likely to be marginal on tyres in the closing stages if pushed hard, the surprising thing was that he did not seem to make any attempt to challenge Rosberg for the win. Like several of the championship contenders he was thinking of the points, rather than the glory. By staying in second he would extend his points lead over Raikkonen and Alonso and Rosberg would still be 62 points behind him.

Alonso too demonstrated risk-aversion all afternoon. Having started from an unpromising sixth on the grid, he yielded a place having tried to avoid an accident with Sergio Perez, then was caught napping by Adrian Sutil and by Jenson Button. The Ferrari looked better on the soft tyre than the supersoft, but they chose to put him on the latter for the final stint after the red flag, which was surprising; that is when he was caught by Sutil and Button. In mitigation, his car did pick up some debris, but it was still a below par performance.

Kimi Raikkonen had made an early stop for tyres on lap 26 hoping it would cause some of his rivals to react and cover him, thereby taking the risk of running out of tyres with a 50 lap second stint. No-one reacted and they all got a free pit stop under the safety car instead. Raikkonen had settled for fifth place until Perez forced the issue and Raikkonen resisted, damaging both cars. Raikkonen ended up 10th.


Force India surprise

As surpising as the poor performance of Ferrari was the strong result for Force India. Adrian Sutil finished fifth (thanks to the collision between Perez and Raikkonen) but had a very strong afternoon despite racing with a broken front wing for the first 45 laps. It was changed when the race was red flagged and he was able to make passes on Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. Force India are battling McLaren at the moment and the silver cars were a shade faster in Monaco, but Force India came away with 12 points to McLaren’s 8.

This was also partly due to Paul di Resta’s result. After a disaster on Saturday where he and the team got the tyre choice wrong at a critical moment and he qualified only 17th, he went for a different strategy by pitting early on lap 9. The team took advantage of the fact that the pace was being managed, to run as much as possible in clear air. At this point the team was playing it by ear, but well placed should there be a safety car or red flag. As it transpired we got both and di Resta gained significantly, moving from 17th to 9th at the flag.


The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists, from Pirelli and from JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan.

RACE HISTORY GRAPH
Courtesy Williams F1 Team

The extent to which the pace was managed is very clear from the race history graph. In the first stint Mercedes controls it, in the second stint and third stint it is Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel.

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204 Comments
  1. mjsib says:

    This excellent report just shows what a pathetic grand prix Monaco is. Nobody was pushing or racing so what is the point? Its the most boring race every year!

    1. AndyFov says:

      You say that, but I enjoyed it more than most.

      There were events, and the passes that happened were plucky opportunism rather than DRS induced foregone conclusions.

      1. JackL says:

        +1 Well said, the passes certainly were better than many of the others we’ve seen this year.

        James, would you be able to get complete team radio transcripts like this after every race? If so, that would be epic and provide some real insight.
        http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/05/29/2013-monaco-grand-prix-team-radio/

    2. I did mention this point earlier. And someone suggested that I must watch football instead. But really…what is F1 still doing in Monaco? I was happy with Alonso finishing 5th, then move on to the next circuit. That was the case until that incident with Perez…followed by two passes. Risks in Monaco are far too great…to even bother pushing the car to the limit.

      DS

    3. McLaren78 says:

      F1 is pathetic as a whole right now.

      I’ve said it so many times. Cut down on aerodynamics and then you’ll have real racing again. No need for silly toys like DRS, KERS and playing with the tyres.
      (Although I’d still keep KERS as it looks to be transferrable to the automotive industry in any case.)

      1. docjkm says:

        Very succinct, and I could not agree more.

        The “uber aero” era has lasted so long, everyone takes it for granted. Teams live and die with the qualit y of their wind tunnels (and correct calibration), and it’s widely quoted that 90% of a car’s development is via aero. Aero has limited applicability to the auto industry (even ‘supercars’).

        Uber Aero limits passing, fact, and is the direct cause of gimmickry (DRS, KERS, quack tires) to foster the passing aero limits. [Plus the tires shed overly, which in turn...limits passing!]

        All this could (should) be addressed by limiting aero to levels enhancing grip without significantly effecting a following car’s grip. All the fakery just disappears, and races need no longer rely on video game style ‘enhancements ‘ to foster RACING.

        THEN enhancements might become the kind of advances driving the auto industry, and F1 might. Reattain the ‘Pinnacle of Motorsport’

      2. mrstone says:

        Agree fully. With limited aero not only we would get more excited racing, but also more relevant innovation. Otherwise nowadays these levels of downforce are so specific to F1, they don’t benefit any other industry

        Now, if we could have a rule, by which cars were not allowed to create any downforce or were limited to how much air they can disturb behind them, it would lead to cars that are as sleek and streamlined as possible, making overtaking easier, improving fuel economy and generating ideas that are easily transferable to the automotive and aviation industries

      3. Jim:) says:

        I agree aero to this extream ruins the sport, aero should be heavily restricted almost to a spec level, and the rest of the car opened up

      4. Tom says:

        Couldn’t agree more. Aero has got some part in F1 but at the moment it is completely ruining the sport and I feel like it is the underlying reason for the sports decline.

      5. Mark V says:

        An ok suggestion in theory, but if you remove the aero you instantly remove F1′s title as the “pinnacle of motorsport”. They can’t go backwards there because there are too many competing series that also use aero. Beside that, advancements in aero does play a significant part in the auto industry. Fuel economy is one reason, but many road cars do generate quite a bit of downforce, not from F1 style wings but by the shape of the underside and the rear diffuser (which by the way is where most of an F1 car’s downforce comes from also).

      6. Mack says:

        And throw in a fully manual gearbox – just for good measure!

      7. mario says:

        +1

        very well said

      8. Horoldo says:

        Reattain the ‘Pinnacle of Motorsport’ from which category? Who do you consider higher than F1 right now?

      9. Grayzee (Australia) says:

        Ahhhhh…..well said! But then, you would get Formula Ford racing…..or, beter still, lets stick ‘em all in a go kart!:)
        Seriously though, there has to be a balance between “go kart” and “uber areo “. The 80′s turbo cars had it……….massive power, no grip, but they were bloody dangerous things…….however, with the advancments in safety since then, the concept might just work!

      10. Quercus says:

        And I agree, too, and have been saying so for a long time. Lose the stupidly big front wings (replace them with smaller ones), that are forever being knocked off, and shorten the nose. Then they’d have to reduce the size of the rear wing too. An excess of power over aerodynamic down force — together with slightly harder tyres — and we’d once again see the cars drifting round corners like they did in the heyday of the 80s.

        T’would more highlight the skills of the drivers again too.

      11. Danny Almonte says:

        Even NASCAR and INDY cars limit the amount of wing allowed based on the speed of the track. Wings should be severely restricted to a neutral or low down force configuration for Monaco. The sponsors need that advertising space but the drivers should be able to manage having less grip. I’m sure the teams could slap together chassis that is drivable without a diffuser and wings.

      12. Agreed.

        Single element wings, front and rear – this would reduce downforce, increase drag (eliminating the need for DRS) and even increase sponsor visibility. Win-win-win!

        Pre-1993 tire sizes and wheel-tracks – This would increase mechanical grip (allowing the cars to run closer), and increase the drag (now we really don’t need DRS).

        Allow more underbody downforce – This is less affected by proximity to other cars, and therefore allows for closer racing as the downforce relies on the mostly on the underbody and less on the wings.

        Give the cars more power – Making it difficult to lay down the power will make the cars more entertaining to watch, and the drivers will be more prone to making mistakes. This is what makes a battle interesting, whereas opening your wing and driving by the sitting duck in front of you does not. Aim for 900+ bhp.

        Make KERS/ERS a full-time part of the drivetrain – this push-to-pass gimmick should go. Make the system full-time, and it will gain relevance. 600 bhp engine + 300 bhp worth of electric motors.

        THIS would be an amazing series. Powerful cars, wide tires, wide wheel-tracks, interesting technology… Oh, and add a tire war so the cars are pushed to their limit rather than tires that fall apart after 6 laps. ;-)

      13. Spectreman says:

        + a zillion

    4. dimitris says:

      The slow pace strategy by the frontrunners and the safety cars contributed greatly to the boredom since no mid-race alterantive strategy became possible. The only real racing was by Kimi at the end of the race, showing that with a fresh set of tyres and a lot of determination overtaking and real racing can indeed happen in Monaco. The great Senna had done it.

    5. Marc says:

      Fully agree. Monaco is just kept for glamour and prestige. Why dordn’t the FIA make it a day of vintage f1 cars racing in a ROC kind of way. A bit like a fun break for drivers and fans. No points go to the WDC. Any win/prize goes to some charity or FIA road safety programme.

    6. Richard says:

      Well I think Monaco race is of a type, but is actually quite demanding of the drivers. The difference is all about tyres, and that the fastest team (Mercedes) needed to conserve them more than perhaps the other leading teams, hence a slow race.

    7. JCA says:

      I have a great half-baked and gimmicky suggestion, we all know F1 is about gimmicks now.

      Lets make it a time trial/rally. Everybody loves qualifying there, so make it three one hour sessions, one Saturday, two Sunday. Average time of your best 10 flying laps in every session, with time penalties for all the naughty boys out there, determine the winner.

      I mean, everybody apparently love this new gimmicky F1 (tyres, DRS, etc.)

      1. JCA says:

        Sorry, James, that came out more sarcastic and bitter than originally intended.

    8. Andy says:

      Monaco is just a playground for the teams, sponsors and media.
      Whilst it is very demanding of the drivers, qualify on pole and it’s your race to lose.
      Indycar has the same problem with street circuits, no where to overtake, too many collisions and too many safety cars.
      With all of the new circuits being offered to Bernie, Monaco should be the first to make way from a racing point of view.
      I don’t think Rosberg had the genuine race pace to win that race, Vettel looked at where Fernando and Kimi were and settled for a very easy second.

    9. Bruno Menilli says:

      Monaco should be made to alter the course [ by reclaiming land from the sea ?] to make it a proper GP circuit and not just a PR exercise, or face it being removed from the calender.

      It’s a great ‘event’ but nearly always a rubbish race.

    10. Andrew M says:

      The last two years have been terrible because of the tyres. Because it’s so hard to overtake at Monaco, it suffers more than any other track – there’s no point in going fast because no-one can overtake, so you can just cruise around to a ridiculously low lap time. Because of traffic you can’t even undercut the cars in front.

    11. cubby says:

      I agree wholeheartedly. The crappiest race of the year for the real F1 fans, yet the one that is least likely to ever go away

  2. Ron Colverson says:

    This was an economy trial; an F1 race in name only. I agree with David Coultard – it was rubbish. The only racing was in qualifying and on that basis, Nico deserved the win. I can’t wait for next season.

    1. Mark V says:

      I don’t think anyone should be surprised Monaco was a rubbish race because it almost always is a processional affair. Regardless of whether the cars can go full out or not, the simple fact is that Monaco has been an archaic track too slow and narrow for modern auto racing for 40 years already.

      1. OldIron says:

        I’m thinking that last year (the first time the race has been run deliberately slowly – AFAIK, anyway) should have been seen as the final coffin-nail in Monaco as an actual race.

        Merc this year just polished the approach a bit. Keep the speed right down so that no-one can use strategy against you, also keeping tyre life in hand ready for you own stopping point.

    2. AJ says:

      F1 in Monaco is track limited FIRST. Is it time to get over the nostalgia and realise nothing works here to everyone’s satisfaction?

      2 red flags in 3 years? It’s a lottery.

      Let’s have 2 qualifying shootouts and a couple of sprint races both on Saturday and Sunday, with points awarded for each of the 4 events – which add up in total to a GP win.

      This recognises Monaco’s limitations, but preserves the weekend on the calendar.

  3. Brace says:

    I still can’t understand why are they allowed to change anything under the red flag.

    1. James Allen says:

      Because cars can be broken at that point – damaged in the accident that triggered the red flag for example. So they have to be permitted to be repaired.

      1. CarlH says:

        I can see why repairs can be made but being allowed to change tyres (a completely free pit-stop) just ruins the rest of the race.

        Two years out of the last three we’ve been set up for an exciting finish at Monaco only for the leader to be allowed to change tyres under the red flag (Vettel in 2011 and Rosberg this year).

        I don’t see why an official can’t assess the tyres on each car (they’ve got plenty of time under a red flag) and permit a tyre change if they are found to be excessively damaged.

        Isn’t a similar solution used if a driver damages his tyres in qualifying? For example, if he has a horrendous flat spot from Q3 the tyres can be changed before the start of the race?

      2. Rich B says:

        if the driver with the damaged tyre is allowed a new set it gives him a massive advantage, like kimi had when he raced back to 10th. that wouldn’t be fair.

      3. JCA says:

        But the entire field would probably have passed a zone of carbon fibre shards at least once.

      4. Steve says:

        I don’t know, this changing tyres under a red flag led to one of the few interesting moments of the race, where the RB’s jumped Hamilton when he made a mistake. So I don’t see that it deprived the audience of anything. If things were as you propose then the front four would have maintained their order from start to finish. How is that better, to a neutral fan?

      5. CarlH says:

        @Steve

        The Red Bulls jumped Hamilton under the safety car – it had nothing to do with changing tyres under a red flag. The change in positions happened way before the red flag even came out.

        If they had been forced to keep the same tyres on for the rest of the race who’s to say Rosberg wouldn’t have had warm-up problems on the prime tyre (as Kimi did)? It would’ve given the Red Bulls a chance to attack, instead of pretty much guaranteeing that they could go to the end without another pitstop.

      6. Steve says:

        I doubt it, CarlH. The Red Bull’s were harder on their tyres than the Mercs in this race, in the first stint at least.

        “The Red Bulls jumped Hamilton under the safety car – it had nothing to do with changing tyres under a red flag.”

        Yes, it had a lot to do with it. If Hamilton had not boxed for new tyres under the red flag he would never have ended up behind Vettel and Webber.

        There seems to be a pattern here that whenever some neutral rule causes Hamilton to lose out, a lot of people want it changed. Same thing with the gearbox changes – that’s been a rule for years without any real complaint but after Lewis got a 5 place grid drop in Bahrain there was a swell of opposition to it.

        Allowing tyre changes under red flags adds an interesting element of strategy to races. Overall it’s “fair” – the same rules apply to everyone. In any particular instance there will be some winners and some losers, but that’s racing. That’s life.

      7. CarlH says:

        @Steve

        How did Hamilton box under a red flag? They change tyres on the grid and he was already behind the Red Bulls when the race was stopped. I think you’re getting confused between changing tyres under a safety car and changing tyres under a red flag.

        My opinion has absolutely nothing to do with Hamiltion losing out because I’m not a Hamilton fan so I couldn’t care less what happens to him.

      8. Miguel says:

        But I agree with Brace. Why to they allow changes to the cars under red flag? If the car is damaged by the accident, just retire…

      9. Carlos says:

        Punctures are probably common after an accident bad enough to cause a red flag. But yeah, I get what you’re saying. It bothered me too.

      10. Horoldo says:

        Not a good solution for the sponsors who pay good money to see their billboards (I mean cars) get airtime.

      11. Robin Venables says:

        James, mostly this is not the case; if there is something that NEEDS replacing, prove that it was caused by the incident in question and get authorisation to change it. If not, or it’s too badly damaged, then take the hit of going into the pits I believe the red flag SHOULD be viewed a pause (as in freeze-frame) in the racing and nothing should happen to the cars in that period.

      12. Horoldo says:

        This would surely increase the red flag period. If the stewards cannot rule on most incidents until after the race as it is, then delaying a red flag period would have to shorten the race. They would be dealing with protests and petitions for penalties etc. I imagine, they would have to change quite a few processes/procedures.

      13. OldIron says:

        To be far, that is just the way the rules have been written. They could just as easily say if your car is too badly damaged, tough – your race is over.

        That would exactly reflect the situation if the race hadn’t been red flagged and you have damage (for whatever reason).

        The rules could also allow a compromise approach – eg, if you want to change anything, you go to the back of the pack. You’d still be in the race, and probably make good progress thanks to the fresh tyres you’d certainly put on the car. But you’d have to think about if it was worth it.

      14. Ian says:

        Why not have a rule that any repairs drops you to the back of the grid, then?

      15. Doobs says:

        No work to the cars should be allowed under red flag imo.

      16. DB says:

        I think cars that need to be repaired or wish to change tyres should be taken to the pit lane and rejoin the race at the back of the field at the restart. Even if all of them go in, it’s ok, because the restart is under SC anyway.

        If you don’t need repairs, you stay where you are, how you are.

      17. AJ says:

        IMHO there is a simple answer to that. Change the red flag rule. Cars damaged can’t continue. No tyre change allowed either.

      18. petreous for president says:

        i am not buying it. Not everything can be put aside in the name of safety. F1 it’s too safe in my opinion already.
        if they really cared about the show, they would check the cars to see if something was wrong, and send them out as they were before the accident. And forget a restart behind the safety car. We the fans, want the real deal. we want a second standing start.
        I went to barcelona, and watched a so so pretty average race, but if i would have been at monaco after paying 800 euros i would feel robbed. After the monaco borefest i made up my mind, no traveling to watch f1 for a few years. go to moto gp instead.

      19. Rudy says:

        I understand the safety reasons but managed differently. If any car should need repair or tyre change then it would have to go to pitbox and restart the race from pitlane, exactly as it happens in the start. What we have seen in Monaco in recent years is a lottery. Those who manage strategy, tyres and brakes doesn’t necessarily get the usual reward as this is a track so different from anything else in the calendar. Monaco is different even from the fact it starts from a Thursday. Then it would be reasonable to twitch a little bit the rules ONLY for this event.

      20. petreous for president says:

        james it’s upsetting that an experienced journalist like you, considered the change of tires normal, and don’t think the rule it’s ruining the sport.We the fans need to bring that to your attention!!!
        not all the rules are good, and it’s the best journalists responsability to make that public so they can be improved.
        And let’s stop using safety as an excuse to stand still. the sport needs to move forward. Today’s f1 is safe. Last ten year statistics confirm that.

      21. Agreed; however, just like in any other series, if you work on your car, you should restart at the back.

        Working on your car during a red flag is ridiculous.

  4. CarlH says:

    RE: Monaco being like a cycle race – it would be cool if we could have one endurance race each year to count towards the championship.

    It would really separate the men from the boys, especially as the performance of the cars changed along with the temperature etc.

    Of course, if such a race were to be contested this year they would need a pile of tyres the size of Mount Fuji… so maybe not.

    1. MISTER says:

      :))) I love the last paragraph

    2. Robin Venables says:

      Some might say F1 is a bit like endurance racing this year, the way they’re watching their fuel and tyres…

      1. iGOR BdA says:

        Nonsense…

      2. Horoldo says:

        Exactly, enduro’s don’t push 10/10th’s. They drive to a delta/game plan like le mans or Bathurst. Except F1 is only 2 hours. So lets look at it as a mini enduro?

      3. Audi and Toyota push harder over 24 hours at Le Mans than Red Bull and Ferrari do in two hours in F1.

    3. Arion says:

      There are many reasons why we’ll never see it, but I often wonder how they’d get on in a point to point race, or IoM TT style event. Fast car required. Fastest driver wins.

  5. Alfonso de Portago says:

    I think there’s a little irony in the result of the Monaco Grand Prix, and in the fact that the Pirelli tyres could last the race distance with only one pit-stop. The Pirelli haters have been out in force so far this season, claiming that the tyres are too soft. Ironically had the tyres in Monaco been even softer and forced two stops then we’d have had a race and not a procession.

    Ultimately I think it’s clear that, in an era with such mechanical reliability and safety, if you take away the variables provided by pit-stops (i.e. re-fuelling or changing tyres), or the weather, then you’re left up with processional racing.

    I’m not saying that the Pirelli tyres are creating the perfect formula to race in this year, but yesterday’s procession would not have happened had the Mercedes cars been forced to pit earlier in the race because of tyre wear.

    I’m so looking forward to Montreal which is always amazing because of the state of the track. Perhaps Tilke should be commissioned to build all future F1 tracks with soft crumbling tarmac on areas known to be inhabited by (presumably deaf) and adventurous groundhogs…

    1. Mitchel says:

      Great post, agree about the irony!

    2. Kbdavies says:

      The tyres last because they are driving so slow; and Monaco is such a short lap with no high speed turns. If we had 2 stops, it will simply be a 2 stop procession. Remember we had a 4 stop procession in Barcelona.
      If they all drove slow enough, they could have had a 1 stop strategy in Barcelona as well.

    3. John M says:

      It’s not irony at all. The only reason they were able to run a one-stop race is because they nursed the tires and went so slowly, as described in the article. This worked at Monaco, but wouldn’t work anywhere else where overtaking is possible.

    4. Jodum5 says:

      I got the impression from the report that the tires only lasted thanks to the slow pace set by Mercedes. No one bothered challenging or pushing him thanks to the high risks associated with overtaking in Monaco (as proven by Perez).

      I’m happy to have Monaco being on the calendar it’s never been a “proper” racing track and sets F1 apart from other forms of motorsport (like it or not, you lose Monaco and F1 will lose a certain luster”). As it is 1 of 19/20 races on the calendar, it’s good to have it around (especially with soulless parking lots like Bahrain and Shanghai).

    5. Afonso Ronda says:

      I believe that you missed the point! The fact that Pirelli’s are fast degrading, combined with the fact that Monaco is the easiest track for tyres and that it is virtually impossible to overtake in Monaco, allowed that Rosberg and Vettel could drive to lap times, 10 (ten) seconds slower than qualifying times, thus bunching up the field (creating no space for alternative strategies due to traffic). It was in no way that Pirelli tyres were more durable. It was a combination of the facts listed above.

      In 2010, Fernando did 77 laps on a set of bridgestone tyres there!!

    6. Alex says:

      If you find it “ironic” that the Pirelli tyres could “last” the race distance with only one pitstop by driving 8 seconds off the pace then you have a strange definition of “ironic”

      I am sure if the did 3 minute laps they could have run the whole race with 0 pitstops. But that’s not the point in F1 is it?

      Monaco was a procession precisely because the track allowed Rosberg to run 8 seconds off the pace and still remain in the lead. If you tried this at most other tracks you ‘d be P12 in 3 laps. It had nothing to do with how “good” Pirelli is at giving a show.

    7. Chad says:

      This is hilarious. Not sure anyone other than Mitchel got the point.

      Bravo!

    8. Disagree. Much needs to be changed. The tires don’t need to fall off and die for exciting racing to happen.

      The FIA seems to think that if some is good, way too much is better. Want more passing? Make it a foregone conclusion with DRS. Want more pitstops? Make the tires destroy themselves.

      What is needed is a balance. A balance where overtaking is possible, yet still a challenge. 1998-2010 was almost impossible to pass, but 2011-present is far too easy with DRS. A balance is needed.

      What Pirelli needs to do is provide a sticky tire that doesn’t degrade thermally, but is wear-limited somewhere around 3/4 to 7/8 distance, and then provide a second compound that allows the drivers to go for a sprint at the end. Do you nurse your older harder tires to the end? Or gamble on pitting for soft tires? Or just run on stops and pit twice? Open up the strategy so they can run whatever compound whenever, and not have to start on their qualifying tires.

      I think it is the thermal degradation that hurts the racing, whereas tire wear allows for a more gradual loss of performance and brings strategy into play more effectively.

  6. Irish con says:

    What Pirelli need to do but I don’t think is possible is to make a tyre that no matter how slow or hard you push it means you still stop on the same lap.. If everyone is flat out and makes 2-3 pit stops then I don’t think anyone will complain. The problem is there going slow and still doing plenty of stops and this was proved by van der garde being the fastest on track after his early pit stop. But I don’t think you can make a tyre like that.

  7. Fazly says:

    Mercedes can replicate their winning strategy at monaco into valencia and singapore.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Pity Valencia isn’t run any more…or they might stand a chance.

      1. Anne says:

        It is not clear yet. There is a possibility that Valencia may altenate with Barcelona for the Spanish GP. Something similar to what we have in Germany.

      2. The Catman says:

        …and it wouldn’t work at Valencia anyway due to the long back straight allowing DRS passes

        TC

  8. Jonathan says:

    Couldn’t the Monaco GP just be made a mandatory non-championship race? The drivers still get their opportunity to win Monaco, the rich folk still get to do glitzy stuff yet. However as the end result doesn’t affect the championship, it doesn’t so much matter that qualifying and safety-car-resulting-crashes doesn’t effectively determine the output. Unless you just barge in like Perez and hope the car in front moves out of the way, which at least makes the race a little more entertaining.

    1. JCA says:

      Or you could make the teams use the same front and rear wings at Monaco and Monza. More guys would run wide at places like the hairpin.

    2. Basil says:

      I don’t get all the Monaco hate from those so-called F1 fans; Monaco and F1 belong together, they are a match made in heaven.

  9. Elie says:

    Like I said in a previous post Mercedes strategy to slow everyone down early had a two fold effect – it protected their tyres and gave them options , whilst causing kaos and temperature management problems for engines and tyres on cars behind.

    Just one thing James the 2nd fastest lap was .8 sec off Sebastian’s . 1.17.3 for kimi to 1.16.5 . Admittedly this was only because Kimi was fighting back to 10th from16th. Everyone else was in 1.18s! Cheers

  10. goferet says:

    Well, I was under the impression that strategy was going to settle this race with the one stoppers having the advantage but it turned out that the safety car had the final say.

    One thing the race confirmed to me is the Mercedes likes the supersoft tyres and rejects the rest.

    Yes, not only were Mercedes the last top 10 team to pit with supersofts on in Melbourne but they did it again in Monaco.

    As for the drivers not doing enough to challenge e.g. Vettel on Rosberg, I don’t think he was of the view that I won’t push him because he’s far back in the standings but rather the drivers must have been thinking along the lines… ”There’s no where to overtake, why risk the car besides I need to make these tyres last”

    Regards Lewis’ mistake concerning the safety car, I have been requesting him on Twitter to leave the dog home perhaps it somewhat affects his focus e.g. took Roscoe to Barcelona and had set up issues >>> yes animals shouldn’t be in the work place and that’s why they’re called pets.

    Sutil’s Force India did well taking into account after the first couple of laps, he was behind the two Mclarens and yes Sutil looks like the most likely to get the team’s first podium especially if we happen to have a wet race.

    All in all, I think Brawn got the tactics just about right for the race for Monaco irrespective if you go fast or slow it always has the same end result i.e. the pole sitter has the upper hand.

    1. James Allen says:

      Credit to James Vowles who is chief strategist

      1. goferet says:

        @ James Allen

        Hmm… James Vowles

        Never heard of him.

        But oh well, credit where it’s due.

    2. JCA says:

      And imo having dogs that close to F1 cars is cruel.

    3. Jodum5 says:

      Wow, you must think little of these drivers to think a dog at a race track will suddenly hurt Hamilton’s focus. With that logic do you mind explaining how having his girlfriend or family around (that can actually express opinions) wouldn’t be a distraction? Last I checked most offices don’t allow family and friends to mill about…

      1. goferet says:

        @ Jodum5

        Actually the family and friends at race weekends act as moral support to a driver whereas animals are a distraction because they need to be fed, walked and cleaned after, all of which are a distraction to a driver’s preparation.

      2. Jodum5 says:

        As far as I know it takes about 30 minutes a day to walk and feed a dog. Hardly, a taxing responsibility.

    4. pooloophole says:

      It’s time people leave Lewis alone! You don’t like what he does just skip it! What has done Roscoe in the paddock to people and to say he’s a distraction?
      This is ridiculous! Guy can never catch a break! Let him be! Oh God, this is like those bullies at school who go after you just because it’s fun to do and get full of themselves! It’s really annoying and pathetic this constant ‘pointing’ out whatever he does or not!
      Mercedes said they are happy with him and fine with that! Can’t we just focus on racing?

    5. On the flip side, perhaps having his pet there allows him to relax more, and the lower stress helps improve his performance.

      Since none of us are in the paddock with him, I suggest we leave it up to Hamilton and Brawn, with some colour commentary from Lauda.

  11. Tshifaro says:

    James
    I think pit to driver radios should be banned going into the 2014 season they are becoming more and more irrelevant. Drivers should not have to be told what target lap to run, they can see the gap to their competitors and they know enough about the tyres from FP1,2 and 3. It

    1. James Allen says:

      No chance!

      They are now a fundamental part of the TV coverage

      1. AuraF1 says:

        And be denied the Kimi comedy comments section?

      2. So keep the radios, and get rid of the mirrors! (hat tip to Jacques for that idea)

      3. JCA says:

        James, I thought everyone went for the supersofts after the red flag because the soft tyres cooled off too much during the safety car periods, wich was still likely, thus making the first corner dangerous at the restart.

      4. James Allen says:

        Kimi went for softs and the Lotus is slowest to warm up tyres..

      5. Jodum5 says:

        Not to mention, the teams would find ways using pit boards/flags/flares/morse code (I’m not being cute, they’d find a way) to give instructions to drivers

    2. dzolve says:

      I agree with you. I think it would be great if all the decision making and racing strategy was back in the hands of the drivers, at the moment F1 is like some kind of video game with the cars being controlled remotely by the teams!

      By the way, it would be brilliant to see a cycle race around Monaco – genius idea James!!

  12. All revved-up says:

    The race was such a procession, Alonso got bored and his concentration slipped.

    Canada offers no hiding space for those weak on their tyres. It’ll be fascinating to see what Canada reveals. Can’t wait!

    1. KRB says:

      The great thing about Canada is that the loss time for a pit stop is the lowest of the season. So teams should be able to push more than normal, but stop more times also.

      I think Merc might do ok there as well.

      1. All revved-up says:

        Good point about the short pitstop in Canada. I guess that means Lotus’ one less tyre stop advantage is reduced.

        That long slightly curved straight leading to the hairpin – should provide cars stronger on tyres lots of overtaking opportunities.

        Wonder if we are looking at a 4 stop race!

  13. mhilgtx says:

    Well congratulations to Nico Roseberg. He needs to kiss Hamilton on lips for slowing up the RBR cars. Had he not I am not sure he would have won. By the RBR’s being slowed up they were gathered up by safety car or maybe it was the medical car, because they were then released and would have been in front of Nico after the pit stops.

    Force India was really good during the race, glad to see them continue to do so well.

    I believe Caterham had their best showing of the year as well.

    1. KRB says:

      Van der Garde was running in 14th for awhile, but got passed by Chilton at the end, to finish 15th (last finisher).

  14. Anil says:

    James, do you feel as though the Monaco GP deserves to be on the calander? I’ve noticed that the large majority of fans do not like the track and the racing it provides. I love it for its history and the skill needed to win there but at times a race there seems so frustrating and pointless.

    1. James Allen says:

      Of course. It’s Monaco. Even if the race is dull, it’s still a race with more personality than half the other races put together

      And all the drivers want a win there on their CV

      1. AuraF1 says:

        It probably helps if you think of Monaco as the drivers against the circuit than even each other. It’s more like the old x-wings running down the trenches in Star Wars than a ‘real’ race. When even experienced drivers can put it into the walls or fly off a bump its still got a certain thrill to it. If you only count entertaining races as number of overtakes only then there are some skewed results. If every race was at an enormous flat desert circuit with acres of run off they might as well just stay in one place and race there week in and week out. It’d just be NASCAR essentially. F1 should have visually different tracks. Monaco, whether you like it or not, is instantly the most recognisable track.

      2. Anne says:

        I´m not so sure. Vettel said that drivers don´t like Monaco as much as they used to. The only reason I support Monaco is because I don´t want to lose another race in Europe

      3. Horoldo says:

        Imagine driving a Go-Cart (no bars around the wheels) track with all your crazy ass mates, but instead of tyres for walls, there is concrete everywhere.
        Winner gets free pizza and beer for 5 months (Paid by the losers).
        But to win you have to complete 90 laps without touching the wall!! How fast do you drive??

        Remember, if your at most other F1 tracks these day’s, there are run off area’s and minimal consequences! Mess up here, and your mates will name you Grosjean!

    2. ferggsa says:

      It might be boring to watch, but I am sure drivers enjoy it more than other tracks, even when saving tyres, it really requires skill and concentration
      Sutil must be feeling like God right now after managing to pass two World Champions at the Monaco hairpin, same passes with DRS at Bahrain would go unnoticed

    3. JohnBt says:

      Monaco will have to stay for the HISORY with the PRESTIGE & GLAMOUR. So be prepared to get bored. WE HAVE NO CHOICE.

      1. JCA says:

        Or, you know, just skip it next year, if it is that bad for you.

  15. James, you said no one really had tyre issues at the end, but what happened to Hulkenberg? Why was Kimi able to run him down and pass him so easily at the end? I know his tyres were newer after the Perez crash, but was Hulkenberg also having problems?

    1. James Allen says:

      He was the exception

      1. Surprising, too, since Hulkenberg was on the harder tyre. The Saubers were so gentle on their tyres last year…that has not been the case so far in 2013.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        James I think those cars let Raikkonen pass so easily as they thought they were being lapped and their teams had brain lapses.

      3. With all the cars bunched up after the safety car, I’m not sure they thought they were being lapped. Now that I’ve seen Nico’s comments, it’s pretty clear his tyres were gone. Maybe the new Canada tyres will suit the Saubers better :)

    2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Hulkenberg did nothing to defend his position… it’s disappointing.

    3. Afonso Ronda says:

      Sauber said that they had problems with tyres. And I feel sorry for them and Nico…

  16. F*ckYeah says:

    So, if they are tip toeing around 5 or 10 seconds slower than they can in Quali, why is it not possible to occasionally boot it and pass someone ?

    Was this effectively what Perez and occasionally, more intelligently, skilfully, Sutil did ?

    Being able to listen to all the radio transcripts would be priceless, comic and massively insightful. Can you please have a quick word in Bernie’s shell like and get that sorted in time for Canada James ?

    1. Multi 21 says:

      Because there are only 3 places where overtakes can be made (St. Devote, Lowes & Chicane).

      You need to have a significant run on the car in front (which is difficult given the length of track leading up to those turns) and make a kamikaze type dive to make it stick.

      Covering your line into these corners is also reasonably easy to do since the corner entries are narrow and bent/curved, as is covering a poor corner exit.

    2. Steve says:

      As Alonso said, it’s a lot easier to try a risky passing move when you have nothing to lose, which Sutil and Perez don’t, than when you are fighting for a championship. That’s true at every track but especially so at Monaco.

  17. Richard says:

    I haven’t heard a single person who said “Yes, what a fantastic race.” Why don’t they scrap it from the calendar?

  18. Rob Newman says:

    Mercedes wanted the win badly and they did a pretty good job. After they first couple of laps, Vettel settled for points. Hamilton was humble after the race and admitted he wasn’t good enough.

    I didn’t see Alonso demonstrating any risk aversion. He was chasing the car in front from the beginning and wasn’t simply letting anyone overtake him. He was even cutting the chicane to protect his position. But definitely he came out with a catalogue of excuses en the end. There wasn’t anything stuck in his car when two cars overtook him on track. Clearly Sutil and Button proved they were better in Monaco.

  19. Chris says:

    Been watching F1 since 1999, this was the most boring Monaco GP I’ve ever watched!!!

    1. Timmay says:

      Agree – same opinion here goin back to 1994 season.

      1. Andy says:

        I remember some pretty dull Monaco GPs, what about 2007 where Alonso won from Hamilton easily and both about 60s ahead of Massa.

        Or

        2003 when overtaking was so hard (I believe there wasn’t a single overtake on track).

        In comparison, I quite enjoyed this Monaco Grand Prix, it was tense, yeah it would have been better if the red flag period didn’t happen. There were some quality moves by the Force India boys who obviously forgot to read the section on the script about overtaking not being possible and some less good overtakes by Perez. What I liked about it was that Rosberg and Mercedes had come up with a strategy that could allow them to win and managed to pull it off.

  20. OldIron says:

    Something that puzzled me about Ham’s stop – he said the team asked him to drop back to 6s (and then had brain-fade and dropped back far too far).

    But, why ask for that? Its probably longer than necessary anyway, never mind leaving room for an error of judgement.

    He could have driven in at the regulated speed and stacked in the pits, which would guarantee being serviced as soon as possible.

    1. Kbdavies says:

      Why does a mistake have to be brain fade? Haven’t you ever made a mistake with time before? Are you aware how difficult it is to judge exactly 6 secs on a 2.076 mile lap in the searing heat wearing 3 layers of clothing and racing around at 100% of mental and physical capabilities?

      Ever wonder why drivers regularly speed in the pit lane? Or exceed delta times under waved Yellows, or exceed safety car speed limits?
      Give the guy a break. He made a mistake. And it wasn’t a stupid one. Simple.

      1. OldIron says:

        Brain fade is just a lapse of concentration (at least in the UK; apologies if thats not universal and its more derogatory elsewhere).

        That was my point though. Trying to hold a gap to 6s doesn’t sound that simple around a twisty circuit.

        Good points below, thanks. I’m just curious why, it adds extra ways for things to go wrong compared to the simplest approach.

      2. Kbdavies says:

        @OldIron –
        I do apologise as well. I thought the term “brain fade” indicated a stupid act, and not something as benign as a lapse in concentration. Incidentallly, i reside in the UK and english is my first language, so i do not know how i came by that definition. Well, as they say, you learn everyday! Thanks for the clarification.

    2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      Maybe it’s not allowed by regulations; maybe it is particularly Monaco with not enough physical space in the pits if it is allowed to stack there…
      It’s a good point for clarification.

    3. Moog says:

      I believe it was to avoid being stopped. It means another start for the clutch, lots of heat build up, possibility of the brakes flaming, etc.

      1. Horoldo says:

        I don’t think you can double stack in the pits anymore.
        So you have to back it up, due to blocking the exit of the pit area behind. I’m not sure if it’s all tracks or just some where pit space is at a premium.

    4. KRB says:

      Yes indeed. They really should’ve brought one of them in the lap before (end of lap 30), but under the SC, I would’ve said maintain the gap (was 3 sec’s, so for Hamilton keep it so that you can still see Rosberg up ahead), and then maybe lift more than usual around Rascasse, before entering the pits.

  21. Tommy says:

    It is quite apparent that the degradation “cliff-edge” for tyres is set at a level that best suits the circumspect driver, which is laudably welcoming to Nanny K and the eco-warriors. If however we want to see the true mettle of the Sennaesque racer, (of which there are a handful on the grid) taking the machines to the ragged edge, then Bernie and Pirelli will have to change the level to accommodate aggressive driving. Ferrari and Red Bull should retract their protest at Mercedes’ post Barca tyre test. It was carried out for the good of the sport. As true racers, Seb and Ferdi will benefit enormously from the changes.

  22. Anton says:

    Is there anyway the track can be modified (layout , route or otherwise) to improve the racing?

    They moved a section of barriers after Sergio Perez had a huge accident before…?

    1. Anne says:

      You´re right about that changed they made after Perez accident a couple of years ago. But if you want much bigger changes I don´t think so. I went to Monaco once, not to the race just on vacations. I don´t think it is possible. Outside Montecarlo is all mountains. You have roads going up or down. I know in the mountains they have the WRC in January and it is more interesting. But those cars are very different that F1 cars

      1. rad_g says:

        What about an event similar to Goodwood hill run?

    2. JCA says:

      There was talk of another land reclamation on the Autocar website, so the track could flow into that and a straight and a overtaking-friendly corner added.

  23. Oly says:

    The most entertaining moment of the race was in the end when VET set (2s faster) fastest lap time and Hornes said something like “that was enough”..

    Of course this doesn’t fit in their “we cannot push / cheese tyres” propaganda so Horner must be really pissed. :)

    1. James says:

      The 77 laps of cruising by everyone on the grid proved RB’s point quite starkly as it has all season.

      Ps, it was Guillaume Rocquelin who spoke to Vettel, not Horner.

      1. Oly says:

        Even worse – they treat him like he is stupid !

      2. KRB says:

        One time it will backfire on him, and be the cause of a failure (or at least appear to be the cause of a failure), and then he will indeed look stupid. It’s unnecessary, but I guess it helps his Fastest Laps column, not that FL’s count for much these days, and haven’t for some time.

    2. JCA says:

      He really only pushed hard for a couple of laps once he knew his second place was safe, probably to show most, if not all, the drivers are frustrated, and require ‘satisfaction’.

    3. John M says:

      But that is exactly why Seb was able to do that lap…he had been nursing his tires the whole time.

    4. Afonso Ronda says:

      I think he was concerned in taking 2nd and 3rd spot more than any other thing (risk averse at that stage). Friday RBR were struggling and were only the 4th fastest car.

    5. Uh says:

      You missed the point completely, it actually proved that everyone is cruising to save cheese tyres and everyone could go 2-3 seconds a lap faster if the tyres would not need nursing.

      1. Oly says:

        Really ? In that case Horner would stay silenced, or you saying he thinks triple WDC can’t feel the car without his wise-assing ?
        The fact is, bad tyres would perform bad on ALL cars, not only on some. Horner was pissed because this showed the world that they could push a lot more.

  24. Alexander Supertramp says:

    That makes 6 excellent articles in just over 24hours? You don’t write them all by yourself, do you James :D?

    1. ferggsa says:

      It says so at the bottom of each article, Posted by: Allen, Editor, Meadows, etc.
      And that is on top of moderating all our never ending comments
      But in truth they are one bunch of guys just spoiling us pampered fans with so much great info

  25. Stuart Harrison says:

    I don’t think Hamilton could possibly have exited the pits ahead of the Red Bulls. I watched the replay and there are about 12-15 seconds between Vettel going past the pit exit and Hamilton reaching there. Even if he’d got there 8 seconds quicker, he’d still have been behind Webber.

    1. Anne says:

      And Hamilton said after the race those 12-15 seconds was his fault. The team told him to be only 6 seconds apart

    2. KRB says:

      I’ve watched the pit stops again, and the footage of the Red Bulls going past. There is no way he could’ve got out in front of Vettel, but he could’ve got out ahead of Webber. But with a 6-second gap even that would’ve been close.

  26. mgicn says:

    Hallo James. Do you know why Hamilton lost an additional eight seconds on his in-lap? Was it a driving error? I didn’t see an error on TV and was completely surprised when he re-entered the track on 4th position.

  27. John M says:

    Wow! That race history graph really tells the story.

    A lot of people are blaming the track and calling for it to be pulled from the calendar. I don’t buy it. To me, that graph starkly shows just how much the tires dicatated the race. Compare it to last years graph (http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/05/how-vettel-and-alonso-came-close-to-winning-in-monaco/) or the 2011 graph (http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2011/05/a-deep-dive-into-the-race-strategies-from-monaco-how-the-race-was-won/) and you can see that last year was more like a “normal” race. This year was all about milking the tires.

    The Monaco track will always have it’s issues. Which, parenthetically, I’m okay with…it’s an awesome track for displaying driver skill and somewhat neutralizing technological advantages. But, this year was not the fault of the track itself.

    1. Trent says:

      A good calendar needs diversity. Monaco must stay. I love Spa and Suzuka but would not want to see 20 tracks of this style each year.

  28. Jehu says:

    How about a Yellow card for time wasting when lap times of leaders fall below % of qual lap two cards and a drive through penalty

    1. Grant says:

      It’s not time wasting, it’s protecting the tyres.

    2. Basil says:

      Ridiculous idea!

  29. Luke Dalton says:

    As an avid follower of F1 for over 17 years, im sad to say i’ve reached a point where I will just check the results and feel glad that i’ve not wasted a few hours watching it. It has completely lost its soul (primarily down to Bernie’s utter greed).

    The “fake” racing with DRS, KERS and Pirelli has left a bitter taste in the mouth, only 4 engines which might as well all be the same? Boring tracks in far-off countries, even the FOM broadcasts lack any variety, the same onboard angles from the same cars.

    I actually rather watch full weekends from the past which were the opposite of the above!

    Nice one Bernie!!!

  30. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I love this analysis and I love the race in Monaco, just driving so close to the walls in every single lap is amazing! A unique test for drivers (that Grosjean did not pass with 4 crashes).

    It’s such a relieve not to talk about tyre degradation etc. just once in the year!

    The “BUS-DRIVER” (Rosberg) did such a good job with the silver bus in high speed near the walls all the weekend.

    JAMES, with hindsight did you think HAMILTON could have made a pit-stop earlier (reacting to Red Bull) to keep the P2 instead of staying out, without nothing to lose? It was so worrying watching both Mercedes still out there when everybody had made their pit-stops…

  31. greg says:

    This format of tire saving won’t last for many more races, the more they tune the chassis to cope with the rubber, we will see drivers going for the extra pit stop and down the faster route even though it means driving on the edge. Then they will be doing the reverse to the majority, it will be like the late 90′s when schumi would do an extra stop to win.
    I think if Mercedes had done this instead of playing it safe, they may well be leading the championship.
    I just think this year every team has gone down the sauber/lotus route of race planning and with everyone doing the same its got boring.

  32. GP says:

    Nelson Piquet Sr is still right. Driving an F1 car around Monaco is like riding a bicycle in your kitchen.

  33. unknown says:

    what is 0 on the graph?

  34. Glen says:

    Hi James ,

    In 2005, when they had to use one set of tyres per race; were the race times on average 10s slower than qualifying pace?

    I distinctively remember Kimi pushing like crazy at Nürburgring. I don’t know what to make of this years tyre rules.

  35. JohnBt says:

    Monaco is a star studded playground not so much as racing. The atmosphere is a more of a party crazy, while Singapore is a concert driven venue but the chances of overtaking allow drivers to push harder.

    If not for live timing to keep me occupied I’ll be snoozing halfway through the race.

    Alonso did badly on raceday which is unusual, something that’s mind boggling. Was it him or the car or both?.
    Guess it happens to all teams too at some point.

    But Vettel is driving well and much more calculative, a sign of maturity and he’s leading the championship. More of a thinking driver now, as the bulls are not the fastest car at the moment. He’s proving to the ney sayers after receiving so much negative flack for his three WDC. My respect for him grows with each race.

    Kimi was really unlucky with speedy gonzales, even one point matters. I’d love to see Kimi giving Perez a punch to spice things up, we need some of that for more entertainment. We all remember Shumi and Coultard don’t we.

    Rosberg beating Hamilton will make this year more interesting, but bearing in mind Lewis is driving a new car though.

    Only two races in Monaco are etched in my memory, Senna in the Toleman on a rainy day when race was red flag and Prost looked stunned, cause he knew why the race was stopped! And the most exciting of the all, Mansell hounding Senna for the win, both were shacked to the bones.

    For Canada, Mercedes will be in trouble if they do really well after the 1000km testing.

  36. Tom says:

    I agree with the above posters – Monaco is an extremely dull Grand Prix, but with all the prestige/history surrounding it I feel like it needs to stay.

    Monaco qualifying is awesome however, why not put more emphasis on this and have a glorified quali session in which points are awarded? Half for quali and half for the race? The trouble is that this idea would probably flow into other track which I don’t want to happen. (not that it ever will :P)

  37. what-a-joke says:

    The Monaco GP proved just how much of a joke these tyres are.

    Everyone is driving around to a pre-set lap time, in order to “protect” their precious tyres.

    F1 is meant to be the pinnacle of motorsport, lose the ridiculous aero packages on the current cars, bring back lower, wider cars with more mechanical grip, give them tyres that will last and LET THEM RACE!

    There will be no need for this artificial rubbish like DRS and KERS, what we will see is pure driving skill and real overtaking.

    The drivers will enjoy it, and the fans will enjoy it even more.

    Everyone wins.

  38. KRB says:

    A question about the graph … it shows VET and WEB going ahead of HAM on lap 38, but it was actually lap 32 when they went ahead.

    Also, why are the finishing cars above the zero mark? I could see that they can go into negative territory during the race, but should always end up at the zero mark at the end, no?

  39. Richard C says:

    Hi James,

    Nice report as always. I am trying to understand this graph. Theorectically, shouldn’t Rosberg be at the “0″ point at the finish on the time axis? He is represented at -12 sec approximately. Maybe I’ve got it all about face.

  40. Nick says:

    Monaco is often a procession, but I usually enjoy it. Even with no, or minimal, overtaking there are still some great scraps, like Mansell trying to overtake Senna in 1992. But the difference was that drivers used to try to go as fast as they could. Mansell could go much faster than Senna and hound him to pass not because Senna was driving to a target lap time, but because Senna was driving flat out but his car was slower.

    This year Monaco just highlighted the ridiculous situation with the current tyres in F1. I didn’t mind it too much earlier in the season, but this was a farce. Vettel’s lap at the end may have been petulant, but it highlighted the problem perfectly.

  41. ashboy says:

    I think it was Prost who said “always win in the slowest time”. Most people will have saved a lot of engine/gearbox where for a more demanding track.

    I thought it was an excellent race with lots of sub plots, title contendors trying not to be taken out buy young guns. De-Reista carving through the feild into the points. Holding your breath as they all went through Lows wondering who was going to t-bone who.

    But i prefer Test cricket to the rubish that is T20 or the just barible ODI’s. If you want drivers to stick there foot to the floor and keep it there for the whole race go across the pond and watch the crap they have there. F1 is a championship made up of 19/20 race weekends with different tatics needed at each weekend, it is not 19/20 induvidual races. Some people can only see the end of there noses.

    1. Akira-Fan says:

      “If you want drivers to stick there foot to the floor and keep it there for the whole race go across the pond and watch the crap they have there.”

      If your referring to Indycar when you use the word “Crap” then you clearly have not watched an Indycar race the last 2 years.

      Indycar has been getting a ton of praise for consistently putting on brilliant races the last 2 seasons.
      With no silly tyres & no gimmicks like DRS or KERS its real racing where drivers push hard & where the overtaking is actually hard fought & exciting to watch (Instead of all the stupidly easy DRS highway passing we see in F1 now).

      I used to be a massive F1 fan & never paid Indycar or anything else much attention. However im losing interest in F1 due to all these silly gimmicks now & for me the racing in Indycar is way better than anything you see in F1.

      This is the sort of brilliant racing you get with proper tyres & no DRS-
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVl2PuojmJg

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-u0j6FB5aU

  42. “the surprising thing was that he did not seem to make any attempt to challenge Rosberg for the win. Like several of the championship contenders he was thinking of the points, rather than the glory.”

    James. Was this a Vettel decision or a team decision. I noticed further tensions in the radio conversations between Rocky and Vettel this race. I’m wondering if the strain is in relationship between driver and engineer or if it goes further than that. Has the golden child fallen out of favour somewhere down the line? We all talk about who might be replacing Webber if his seat becomes available, and the Vettel-to-Ferrari-for-2014 rumours have been very quiet lately. But the big cheese did say that contract or no contract, they couldn’t make Vettel stay if he didn’t want to. Could it be the triple world champion’s seat that ends up being up for grabs by the Torro Rosso boys or Raikonen?

    1. Steve says:

      “Was this a Vettel decision or a team decision.”

      Both, I’m sure. Vettel can, and has, ignored team decisions when he thought he had a win in his grasp. So if he had felt he could take Rosberg he’d have gone for it. But the smart thing was to take the 18 points with his two rivals struggling.

      Both he and Webber mentioned how boring they found the race.

  43. Adrian Morse says:

    James, regarding Mercedes’ reaction to the safety car, you say
    “Massa’s heavy accident which was always likely to trigger a safety car, but Mercedes were slow to react. Their cars were three corners away from the end of the lap when it happened.

    But the Mercedes pair had crossed the line to start a new lap when the safety car was deployed.”

    It actually took quite a lot time for the safety car to be deployed, and the Mercedes driver completed a whole lap while Massa was in the barriers (Hamilton did a 1m21.73 -backing off in the first sector – on lap 30). They should have pitted one, or both of their drivers on that lap (when Vettel also pitted).

    Instead, they elected to stay out, which was a huge risk. If the SC had been deployed just as they were coming on the start/finish straight, they would have been picked up by the safety car, the only drivers still on old tyres, and they would have plummeted down the field.

    As it was, they just cleared the safety car, and actually Vettel was briefly held up. It’s still a mystery to me why Rosberg and Hamilton both didn’t do their in-lap faster, as even if Hamilton had followed instructions he would probably still have come out behind Vettel.

  44. Matt W says:

    Risk aversion? Sounds like something Ferrari and Alonso would say to spin their collective poor performance this weekend.

  45. Paddock F1 says:

    Alonso caught napping? At first appearances it would appear so, however the team later confirmed Alonso had a steering problem. The line he took at Loew’s hairpin wasn’t exactly normal.

    1. VicWeir says:

      A steering problem? I hadn’t heard that. Interesting.
      It certainly would explain an uncharacteristic seeming lack of chutzpah.

      Monaco’s a spectacle – and fun to attend as such – but not a ‘race’ in the normal sense.
      They should just give a prize to the prettiest helmet and forget about the WDC or WCC.

      1. Paddock F1 says:

        As spotted by DC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/22678909

        lol on the prettiest helmet!

  46. NickS says:

    Monaco could be a showcase hill climb time trial event like the Goodwood Festival of Speed- flat out, best time (out of six consecutive laps each), slowest to fastest car based upon a Saturday qualy.
    Double WDC points for added incentive!

  47. John Turner says:

    Like many others have said, I always have found Monaco to be a Pretty Boring Grand Prix, it’s the one of the Season that I’m actually quite Happy to Miss. The Pace is controlled by the Front Runner and generally it is just a precession of Cars going round the Track for 2 hours.

    It bring a huge amount about Track Design into Question, a lot of the Herman Tiike Tracks now have large run off areas that don’t punish Drivers for Mistake, Monaco only punishes Drivers for Mistakes, and so as seen in Sunday’s Race, few take Chances.

    I think a lot of Herman Tiike Tracks are starting to look the same, and there is not enough variety in track design, but at least they allow overtaking, or for you to Push the Guy in Front. The Monaco Strategy seems to be get the Place in Qualifying, hold it in the Race.

    the Tyres have got a lot of Stick this season, but what they were trying to avoid was Precessional Races, however now after Monaco, everyone’s moaning about Processesional Races. The Tyres needs tweaking for next Season, but Monacomhas shown us why we don’t want to go back to 90s Races.

    1. Steve says:

      Ironically, in the case of Monaco the tyres actually contributed to the processional racing instead of averting it.

      That said, I feel that “processional racing” gets a bit of a bad rap. Most F1 races were “processional” for most of the sports history. The idea that it’s terrible if the driver on pole wins the race seems to be of very recent origin. Senna would have torn his hair out at the notion!

      1. GWD says:

        It’s almost like you have to think differently about the tyres at Monaco – like making 2 pitstops for tyres manditory, where the 2 manditory tyre changes have to be from one compound to the other and giving everyone the medium and hard compounds. Like it has to be a very specific all out race compared to the other races, due to the track’s unique configuration. Otherwise, there’s only the input of unreliability to rely on (lol) for interesting races at Monaco from next years V6 turbo races…

  48. Robert says:

    Make it a TT, anything to prevent me wasting time watching this rubbish. They could learn from Indycar who contrive to produce much more interesting and entertaining street races than F1. This years race in Sao Paolo was a cracker. I would get rid of the one move rule, no blocking whatsoever should be the rule here. We are supposed to buy into the glamour of the place but sorry, a lot of chavvy billionaires and ladies of dubious professions do not glamour make

  49. Mattij says:

    Thank you James for an enlightening report.

    Could you tell us some more about how exactly is it possible to go 10 seconds per lap slower than possible – without getting overtaken by the guys behind?

    I guess the fuel load is some of that, but still 10 seconds sounds massive! So where do they have the space to go that slow? Casino square corners, Rascasse?

  50. Carl says:

    Congratulations to Mercedes on a well controlled race and win. I can’t help but draw the parallels between a two-leg match match in football. Mercedes got a single goal at home in qualifying then followed it up with a super defensive “every man behind the ball” approach in the race on Sunday.

    People keep complaining about the tires but the way the teams choose to use them is a large part of the problem. You can’t blame Merc for the way they ran the race, they played to their strengths and with the exception of Singapore this is unlikely to work for the rest of the season.

    Monaco might have been perceived as boring in some circles, but I think it is great to have such a big diversification in tracks and the opportunities that offers. It also helps to remind how successfully track design, DRS, KERS and Aero Regs over the last 10 years have given tracks where overtaking is possible!

  51. roberto marquez says:

    In my opinion cars should start in the same positions they were before a red flag. I am sure some drivers go much faster than others in this lap to the grid or pits that others who are more respectfull about security .For instance Vettel. And also the position relative to the pit entrance is completely ramdom ,so THEY SHOULD START IN THE SAME ORDER THEY WERE BEFORE THE FLAG. James Could you conment on this please. To me it is not fair that Lewis ,which kept Vettel from passing Nico in the first 40 – 50 laps only made 4 th place.Thanks in advance.

    1. JCA says:

      Vettel passed Hamilton during the first safety car period, not the red flag, when, I believe, the race is neutralized emidiatly.

  52. Dren says:

    The Mercedes controlled the race. They picked up pace when needed to cover those behind them. They ran just as fast as they needed while keeping the pack bunched up and protecting themselves from undercut. My suspicion is that Mercedes could have lapped at a quicker pace and still pulled off a one stopper, yet they chose to keep everyone bunched up for reasons James pointed out.

  53. Keith says:

    I can’t imagine why F1 still goes to Monaco other than the obligatory entertainment of sponsors, to conduct business deals and to put on a show for the rich and famous. There is the whole history and racing heritage of the place too, which back in the day when cars could actually overtake each other, provided challenging and entertaining racing. Now, as people have said, it’s just a procession. It’s BORING!

    F1 needs to be what it was like in the 90s and earlier. Do away with all this aero and rely more on mechanical grip. I know F1 is all about innovation, engineering excellence, pushing the boundaries etc, with a long term view that such innovations will trickle down to road cars. But seriously, is any road going car going to benefit from the extreme down force generated by an F1 car? Where in the world are you going to safely be able to take a corner on a public road at 160 mph? Pointless! Yes, it’s impressive and an awesome sight to see an F1 car take a corner at a seemingly impossible speed, but it doesn’t make good racing. At the end of the day, this is supposed to be racing; cars in close proximity, jostling for the same piece of tarmac. Current F1 cars don’t lend themselves to this. Wake up!

    1. hugy says:

      They have already! That’s why they are big regulation changes for 2014.

      A lot of people also forget that strategy plays a much bigger role in F1 than in other motosports, not only during the race but during the whole championship. There is already a series that has plenty of track action, GP2.

  54. JackL says:

    This is freaking hysterical. Why wasnt this broadcast??

    77 Guillaume Rocquelin Sebastian Vettel Vettel set the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap, a 1’16.577, which was over two seconds faster than any other lap he did during the race.
    OK two laps to go. Bring it home.
    77 Guillaume Rocquelin Sebastian Vettel Alonso P7, Raikkonen out of the points.
    77 Jonathan Eddolls Valtteri Bottas Raikkonen had to pit with a puncture with eight laps remaining. Lapping over four seconds quicker than those around him, he caught and passed Gutierrez, Bottas and Hulkenberg in the final two laps.
    Raikkonen just passed Gutierrez so look out for Raikkonen behind but push to get past Hulk.
    77 Guillaume Rocquelin Sebastian Vettel Sebastian you know the score, don’t take any risks.
    78 Guillaume Rocquelin Sebastian Vettel Alright, that’s enouogh. You’re not getting any more points for that.
    78 Sebastian Vettel Guillaume Rocquelin But satisfaction rather than going slow for 77 laps.
    78 Guillaume Rocquelin Sebastian Vettel There’s no satisfaction for us in that one though. You might enjoy yourself, we don’t like it.
    78 Sebastian Vettel Guillaume Rocquelin Let’s discuss this after the race.

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2013/05/29/2013-monaco-grand-prix-team-radio/

  55. Nas says:

    I for one, love the Monaco GP.

    Yes it can be a little boring, but it is also a glamorous, prestigious and historical race.It is in a beautiful location and some of the images and footage of the race are simply stunning!

    Perhaps they could make some “slight” mods to the layout so as to open up a passing opportunity? (Not really sure where, but since the cars have outgrown the circuit, perhaps a slight treak may help?)

    Also why didnt Vettel go for the win?

    After Malaysia he was talking about how he is “paid to win”, and its all about winning?

    Why didn’t he attempt to pass Nico Rosberg?
    If he is as good as he thinks he is, why didnt he at least try?

    Nas

  56. James,

    Any reason we keep seeing Sebastien Loeb at the races? Could he be thinking of a Red Bull drive next year or is he just enjoying the atmosphere?

    1. James Allen says:

      He’s moving into circuit racing and enjoying the Porsche experience. He’d be more likely to go WSC than single seaters

      1. Thanks. That sounds more right. He was saying that WTCC with Citroen was a chance next year on the Catalunya grid so I guess that shows where he is focusing

  57. F1 4 life says:

    Hi james, do you have any information on Lewis Hamilton situation with his car brakes, as he is quoted by the media of struggling with the brakes. I do know that he used Carbon Industries brakes as it suited his aggressive drivingv style i.e. late braking. He nearly did it with Webber at Ratcas corner (sorry for the spelling).

    Now James, will Mercedes be using the Brakes he used to use at Mclaren or any upgrades for Canada?.

    1. F1 4 life says:

      Thanks James

  58. F1 4 life says:

    James Will Mercedes do well at Canada? or will this be a Acid test of them solving their tyre woes?

    Mclaren seemed to be getting grips with their race pace only time will tell.

  59. Topa says:

    Hi James,

    I have been following your postings, comments and analysis from way before jamesallenonf1. IMHO, your work is excellent and definitely the best source on f1 anywhere. Congrats.

    I think it is time to stop bashing on Monaco. Monaco will not get out of the calendar. At least not in the near future. There are to many created interests behind.

    I agree with everybody here who has said that the race is just a procession and that year by year it is becoming more and more of a boring race.

    The point is that it will not change whatever tires are available at any time. The problem is that there are no overtaking opportunities, so we get drivers like Perez attempting maneuvers that in any other track no other driver would risk making when there are other places in the track that provide overtaking opportunities.

    So, I think that it is time to start thinking constructively and propose ideas on how to increase overtaking opportunities in Monaco. The track has changed a lot since 1955 and specially after 1973, when the construction of the pool after Tabac resulted in four additional corners. Obviously, that there is no way that such part of the circuit will come back to its original configuration of a long open left corner, but there are maybe other things that can be changed.

    For example, and I am no expert, but:

    1) Why don’t the Nouvelle Chicane goes back to its original configuration – fast left right – or, even better, just eliminate it and make that section coming out of the tunnel continue without interruptions until the Tabac corner. The Nouvelle Chicane was included in 1987 because of safety concerns by the drivers, but time has passed and I don’t think those concerns should be an issue now that cars are far more maneuverable and safer.

    2) If the above changes are made, what about making Tabac a flowing fast left corner – I think there is space for making the change – that will result in a long straight and fast corner going from the tunnel to the corner 13 (pool). If there were to be safety concerns, then just don’t make this change, but definitely eliminate the Nouvelle Chicane.

    3) What about changing the Anthony Noghes corner (keeping the run-off area) and create, as much as possible a fast right wide corner that would go from La Rascasse to Sainte Devote, resulting in a long run crossing the finish line that could maybe provide a real overtaking chance in S. Devote. A problem though of this idea is that it will probably result in some shortening of the pit lane and I don’t know if that is possible.

    Obviously, my thoughts are dependent on the existence of available land to make any changes, but the idea is to move the focus of the discussion and point towards how to create new overtaking opportunities in Monaco that will result in better racing and really showcase the abilities of the best, like in the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s.

    Sorry, for the long post, but, James, I would like to hear your opinion, and the ones from everybody here, on this matter.

    Cheers

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks. It’s tough to do much with the tight space there.

      1. Topa says:

        But wouldn’t it be possible to at least eliminate the Nouvelle Chicane and bring it back to its original design?
        More to the point, do you know if anybody involved – organizers, FIA, etc. – is concerned about how the Monaco GP has become a procession and are looking for ways to improve the racing or is it just not an issue?
        Thanks

    2. Robert N says:

      I agree that changes to the track would be desirable. Maybe the FIA or Bernie could open a design competition with big prize money for ideas on how to change the track.

  60. Danno76 says:

    Hmmm, torn on this one… On one hand it is a procession, but on the other hand if you watch the on-board cameras you can see what a test of skill it is

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