Insight: How two highly improbable events swung the outcome of the F1 Monaco GP
Monaco 2016
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 May 2016   |  6:36 pm GMT  |  277 comments

The Monaco Grand Prix always triggers plenty of debate and this year’s race is likely to be one of those famous races that people talk about in years to come.

It was a race that hinged on two highly improbable scenarios. It was a race which Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull Racing should have won. Instead it was Lewis Hamilton who triumphed entirely due to strategic decision-making and pit stop execution; both his and Mercedes’ as well as Red Bull’s.

Looking at the bigger picture, on a wet/dry day this was one of those races where virtually all of the race outcomes for drivers were decided by strategy decisions. There were many decisions to take; the three podium finishers all chose a different dry weather tyre compound once the track was ready for slicks.

So let’s take a deep dive into why people’s races turned out as they did and how hard it was at various junctions to make the right decision.

Monaco 2016
Pre-Race Considerations

After a sunny weekend, it rained on race day. This was the first proper chance for teams to race the Pirelli wet tyres, but without the teams having any real data about them, least of all how they might perform on the low-grip Monaco circuit or how long they might last on a drying track.

Meanwhile Pirelli had brought along the Ultra Soft tyre for the first time to a Grand Prix, a tyre that was designed to be around half a second per lap faster than the Super Soft, less durable but likely to get up to temperature more quickly than the Supersoft and Soft tyres. Or so it was thought..

Lewis Hamilton
How two highly improbable scenarios swung the outcome of the race

In Spain two weeks earlier Mercedes gifted the race victory to Red Bull when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg took each other out on the opening lap.

In Monaco Red Bull returned the favour, making a mess of Daniel Ricciardo’s strategy and pit stop execution when he had the race under control with a 13 second lead.

But the most remarkable thing about the race was the probability of two very unusual things happening in succession that decided it.

Lewis Hamilton had an unusually slow out lap from his pit stop – seven seconds off the pace – which looked to have gifted the race back to Ricciardo. But then Red Bull didn’t have the tyres ready for Ricciardo at his stop a lap later, so the win swung back to Hamilton.

Hamilton had lost time in the wet tyre conditions at the start behind his teammate Rosberg, until the German let him through on Lap 16.

At this point he was 13.4 seconds behind Ricciardo and of the front-runners behind them, Vettel, Alonso and Hulkenberg had already stopped for Intermediate tyres.

Monaco 2016
Over the next five laps, the gap from Ricciardo back to Rosberg grew by five seconds, before he pitted for Intermediates, indicating that one Mercedes at least was not thriving on the wet tyres on a drying track.

This stop left a gap back from Ricciardo to third place Rosberg of 43 seconds. So there was no pressure on Ricciardo from behind Hamilton to make a stop. The pace of the leading intermediate runners, Perez and Vettel was the same as Ricciardo’s, so there was no evidence that at this point the intermediate tyre was faster.

It was now just about Ricciardo’s pace relative to Hamilton on similar wet tyres and protecting a lead. Hamilton had closed initially when he cleared Rosberg, but Ricciardo was able to then hold him at 12 seconds.

The golden rule of race strategists in a situation like this is “mirror the car behind”, in other words, you have track position, so don’t be the first one to make a move; instead mirror whatever move the ‘hunter’ behind you makes and you have him covered.

However, once Rosberg stopped, Red Bull decided that this was the moment to pit Ricciardo for intermediates. Bear in mind that, although no one knew it yet, we were still six laps away from the first drivers making the move onto slicks, which were Ericsson and Magnussen.

After the race Ricciardo correctly argued that there was no hurry to pit him for intermediates, as it put him ‘in a race with Hamilton we didn’t need to be in’.

More importantly it gave up the most precious thing of all at Monaco, which is track position.

The key to the decision was the lack of knowledge about the new wet tyres from Pirelli. With so little knowledge, it was considered a risk to keep running on them. But when Ricciardo was ahead, he was able to monitor the gap to Hamilton and there was no need to be the first to move.

Hamilton would have had to be at least nine seconds closer than he was to be able to jump Ricciardo by stopping first and the chasing pack were over 40 seconds behind.

Ricciardo, Hamilton

Once Red Bull blinked, Mercedes were presented with an opportunity to miss out the intermediate tyre stage and hold out to move directly onto the slicks. But it was risky, due to the lack of knowledge about the wet tyres.

On Lap 24 the intermediate runners began to find more pace; the lap times came down by three to four seconds per lap. But as Hamilton had half a minute advantage over third place, he had nothing to lose by staying out.

Ricciardo easily caught Hamilton. At this stage the race was still likely to be Ricciardo’s as the Australian had fresh intermediates on which to attack once Hamilton pitted for slicks, which he did on Lap 31.

This decision was triggered by Sergio Perez’ pace, which was matching the intermediate tyre runners. That is what a strategist is looking for in the crossover from inters to slicks.

As for the decision to put Hamilton onto UltraSofts, that was all about the speed of the tyre warm-up. Having got himself into a position where he was ahead of Ricciardo, Mercedes knew that Ricciardo would be able to attack on the next lap and then pit, so they needed the tyre that was going to be there for Hamilton straight away on his out lap and especially to race Ricciardo when he went into St Devote as the Australian came out of the pits.

But Hamilton left the door wide open for Ricciardo with a slow out lap, seven seconds off the pace! So Red Bull just needed a conservative pit stop to regain the lead.

There was a choice of three dry compounds to fit to the car. They had seen Mercedes fit Ultrasofts for Hamilton, which was ambitious with 47 laps to go, double the length of any stint managed in practice.

But Mercedes was prepared to take that risk; all the emphasis in the tyre decision was on that first lap out of the pits for Hamilton. At the back of their minds was the likelihood of more Safety Car and Virtual Safety Car laps to give the tyres a rest.

Crucially, Red Bull pitted a hard charging Max Verstappen on the same lap as Hamilton. He was put onto the Soft tyre.

This meant that the team was resetting from that stop when the call was made to bring Ricciardo in. There are two tyre sets ready for each driver on a rack in the garage at any given time in the race.

The problem was that, because the pit wall in Monaco is above the garage, rather than looking into it, the strategy team missed a simple step in the process, which is to confirm that the tyre set they wanted – a new Supersoft – was actually in the garage. It was in fact around the back.

Daniel Ricciardo

This caused the 10 second delay, which cost Ricciardo the race. He rejoined just behind Hamilton, despite a 35 second stop, where 25 seconds was the norm.

Why the change of plan to go to the Supersoft? Mercedes had surprised Red Bull by taking the UltraSoft. The decision not to put Ricciardo on Softs like his team mate, but to go SuperSoft was a compromise between the better tyre warm up of the Supersoft, for what was going to be a close call into Turn 1 with Hamilton, against lasting 46 laps to the finish, which Red Bull was not confident of doing on UltraSofts.

Sergio Perez
Perez and Force India win the strategy game

If ever there was a race result, which was down to strategy, it was Force India’s fantastic podium with Sergio Perez, who had started the race in seventh place on the grid.

Because of the decision to start the race behind the Safety Car, there was no scope to make up places at the start. The Mexican held seventh for the opening stint, until Ferrari pitted Vettel from fourth place for intermediate tyres on Lap 13. He was the first of the front-runners to do so. Button had pitted in Lap 8 but his pace was still well short of the leading cars by the time the decision was taken at Ferrari.

Ferrari’s motive for the stop was clear; Vettel had Rosberg and Hamilton just ahead of him, with Rosberg clearly off the pace – so there was an opportunity to jump them by stopping first. Their calculation foundered on the fact that Felipe Massa in the Williams had no incentive to make a stop to intermediates and so Vettel came out behind him and stayed there for six laps. Massa pitted on the same lap as Rosberg, so the Mercedes stayed ahead, but then Sergio Perez came out between them, having delayed his stop to intermediates. He also jumped Hulkenberg by doing this.

At the second stop to slicks, he did the opposite and pitted early, undercutting Rosberg. Force India put him on the Soft tyre, which turned out to be the best one to be on.

Vettel stopped a lap later to cover Perez, but to everyone’s astonishment, the soft tyre on Perez’ car had great warm up and he retained his position over Vettel, who took the same tyre. As there was no pace offset from the tyres, Vettel was stuck behind Perez for the rest of the race.

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several of the leading F1 teams’ strategists and from Pirelli.

Report Sm Rect bann

RACE HISTORY & TYRE USAGE GRAPH, Kindly Supplied by Williams Martini Racing – Click to Enlarge

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Why Hulkemberg didn’t get penalty for crossing the pit exit line during his second pit stop. He actually crossed the line twice on the same exit.
This might even impact the championship, since he finished ahead of Rosberg. Maybe you can ask Charlie, or someone in the know in Canada next week?

I thought stewards are giving the drive through penalty to everyone who even touches the line, let alone drives all over it…twice.
Please check this video on 1:06:43.


I understand the notion of RedBull gifting the race to Mercedes, but I also think that Mercedes’ early race tactics in not forcing Rosberg to cede earlier, might well have gifted the race to RBR. Had the move been encouraged after the second lap of Rosberg losing 3 seconds a lap and Hamilton being within a second of him, and given Hamilton’s sold reeling in of Ricciardo, we could have had a very close race on our hands – one that probably would have hinged directly on in/out laps and laps chosen to pit. As it was, the RBR debacle of a stop nullified the mistakes Merc had made at the start. Yes, Ricciardo would have been fancied to win without the poor stop, but I don’t necessarily think it’s as clear cut as is being made out.


I don’t buy the notion of Redbull gift the win to Mercedes. Mercedes putted too much pressure in Redbull. When Ham pitted Redbull found an unique opportunity to jump Hamilton as it’s pretty complicated to overtake a car in monaco. So Redbull hurried their pit stop. I think we should give more credits to both mercedes and hamilton. Pits errors can happen, and both mercedes and hamilton force that to produced. Say that Hamilton is lucky is a misunderstanding of basics concept of motorsport.
An other factor responsible of that is the shut down communication between teams and drivers. So rival teams have less information to spy their concurrent.
Be able to keep a well balance redbull car in quicker and suited tires is definitely not lucky. that just show the 3 times world champion class of Lewis Hamilton.


James, I have two questions for you.

Is there any further explaination to Rosbergs woeful pace? To come seventh in the race winning car seems pretty awful. Are we all very willing to put it down to the drivers lack of feel..?

Secondly Ferrari. Do you think there’s a chance they’ve slipped back to the ‘Alonso era’ of erroneous aero development? They seem to be having the most underwhelming season considering expectations.


Rosberg pace is a strange one – certainly brakes were blamed as an issue, tyres cooled and he didn’t have the feel

Psychological side can’t be counted out after Spain collision. He wasn’t on his A game all weekend

Ferrari seems to have problems with traction which meant they weren’t in it at Monaco

Remember that in Spain the Ferrari was faster than Red Bull but they didn’t play s good hand on strategy

Development has moved them forward but Merc and Red Bull have too and RENAULT step moves them ahead of Ferrari


Thanks for the reply. I would have expected Rosberg to feel he did the right thing in shutting the door in Spain, despite the double dnf. Fascinating to think that Red Bull may have jumped Ferrari…


James I think its early days to make such conclusion about Rosbgers psychological side. The upcomming races will be decisive mainly after Hamilton cut his points gad at almost half. It something that should hurt him somewhere. Because now the game is changing, he can’t afford bad result like Monaco, therefore Rosberg will take more risks. Risks will increase pressure and erros can be right at the turn. With Redbull in great shape, things couldn’t be worst for Rosberg championship win. He will face more challenges and more battlesd. He have no more guarantee that in bad days he will still be the number 2 driver in both qualifying and race result. Other conclusion is that Hamilton will make less GP to close the gap as Rosberg expected before. Defintely the game has changer. It’s like a new championship. Rosberg can fall dramatically like in 2014 after spa.


James, waaaay of topic….But here it goes.
Why is it that I get the emails notifications when someone replies to one of my comments but when I cut and paste the link into my browser the reply isnt there?
And also, with the new layout, which I love, the website doesnt remember my name or email anymore.


The system send you an email when you get a reply, but moderators read the comments first and if they approve they appear on here

Carlos Marques

So in other words, Max managed to take another win away from Ricciardo. Nice.


James, would Hamilton still come out in front of Ricciardo if he didnt cut the final chicane in his outlap ? Compared to Ricciardo and Vettel, Hamilton has been pretty lucky so far this year. Only race he didnt finish was because of his collision with Rosberg. He was lucky in Australia when he was on course for a fourth place at best and then the Alonso-Guitirez crash gave him a free stop and a second place. Then he was lucky that he wasnt blamed on his crash with Bottas even though he cut in front of him from the left side ignoring there was place for 3 cars on his side. Then he got lucky for not getting a 10 place grid penalty after Spain and again he got lucky with Ricciardos botched pit stop in Monaco and that Rosberg followed team order because his contract isnt signed yet. Of course he is also lucky driving the most dominant car in F1. Alot of luck going his way yet the mantra is somehow that he is unlucky and winning against the odds ???


Blinkered. You may as well copy paste repeat, the theme doesn’t seem to change, I think everyone has got it by now.


You will get some abuse from Lewis fans.


Great insights. I would just like to say how much I enjoyed this race despite there being very little actual overtaking. The sense of drama and tension was palpable and it reminded me of what F1 used to be like in the ninties. Hit +1 if you agree.


This race, was the perfect example of why one of my cures for F1 is going there where weather is unpredictable. If it had been a dry sunny day at Monaco, the race would have been another bore-fest (or close to it). Now we have loads to talk about. Sprinklers might be controversial compared to other options, but I sure do believe that we all have to give that idea some SERIOUS concideration !! Only to be used if a race starts to turn out in a bore-fest, hit the panick-sprinkler button.




Thanks for your insight James, but I disagree with the statement “virtually all of the race outcomes for drivers were decided by strategy decisions”. Hamilton nearly lapping Rosberg, plenty of overtakes and many crashes are data points that strongly suggest that driver input has the most significant bearing on race outcomes for drivers, which is one reason that wet/dry races are typically considered more exciting than an all dry affair.


‘. . . the strategy team missed a simple step in the process . . .’

Sorry, this just doesn’t compute –
It implies that with all the technology available in F1, line-of-sight (or lack of it) overrules and negates all other options.


Crucially, Red Bull pitted a hard charging Max Verstappen on the same lap as Hamilton. He was put onto the Soft tyre.

This season reminds me of 2007 McLaren, especially if the Renault upgrade delivers in Canada. Red Bull seem to be caught in same “Rookie champion” heartwarming story that saw McLaren back Lewis over Alonso leading to a loss of the championship.
Phenomenal drives by both Ricciardo and Lewis in changing conditions. I feel for Ricciardo, though like Alonso in 2007 ( and till date) he must wonder which other team will give him a better chance.


Track position, track position, track position. Dan had it, two races in a row and someone in RBR chose to give that up. For no reason – particularly in Monaco. Dan had control of the race, was the fastest at the time so why put him into a race he didn’t need to be in. So, that person needs to go. The only thing RBR need to say is we have fixed the issue at the source – whoever in the strategy team has no bottle to roll the hard dice – changing agreed prerace strategy in Spain and then breaking the golden rule of Monaco – track position. If their resignation is not on the table then RBR aren’t serious about winning championships. Someone other than Dan has to grow some Balls in RBR and stop being overawed by the Max factor. If they had done a championship job there would be 20 more points on Dans championship points and Nico would be worrying about Dan stealing the title from him not Lewis crowing over being back thanks to the strategist.


Im absolutely stunned at the decisions taken in this race!.

1. Absolutely No reason for Red Bull to pit Dan when they did at the first stop!. If there was any doubt Any whatsoever about the full wets,Dan still had as James said 12sec to wat h Lewis and his times. ! Hamilton was the marker. A) “mirror the car behind”,
2. I do not for on second buy the argument that RBR responded to Perez – that is the stuff of complete insanity!- he was more than 40sec behind!!! Who reacts to that!.Besides as James said the golden rule is b) ““mirror the car behind”, – that was Lewis – not Perez, not Rosberg not Yogi Bear!
3. There is a clear problem with RBR if noone knows where the correct tyres are even before the race ! Let alone when a driver is winning a race and pulling into the box!- absurd!! if they werent sure they could’ve done another lap!. They had time!.

Red Bull racing were gifted a race by Mercedes leaving Rosberg holding Hamilton up more than 10sec the RBR gave it back by not “mirror the car behind”, & noone else!- there were Never Ever racing anyone else.

At the end of the day (like him/ or loathe him).. Lewis made a bold but common sense decision to stay out on full wets – it was utterly totally visible that the dry line was only a few laps away. Lewis lap times on the wets were controlled and consistent. Yes ultimately the final RBR pit stop ended Dans chances. But lets not forget- they did not need that extra stop either. I cant help but agree with Ricciardo “We did not need to be in that race with Lewis”!! I was sat here screaming it out during that race.. Ive got it wrong before but this was certainly not one of them.

Finally Pirelli are controlling the racing by not allowing any flexibility in the tyre temps and pressures run by the teams. Evidenced by the fact last year you couldnt do 20laps on SS now tou can do 45 on US.


very interesting post ellie. it looks like it’s taken you four days to post this yet red bull only had less than an hour to make their decisions on the pit wall, some decisions were made in seconds so give them some credit.
how do you like this article?


Im not a WDC winning team am I ! & slowly accepting theres more to life than JAonF1. Besides posts dont show for a day or sometimes.

I liked Austin ’12 but because he thought hard to knock Seb off his perch but tbh I really like Spa 08 – even though he tech lost that to Kimi – I still think he won that. 2 best drivers Ive ever seen


You’ve been saying you’ll leave for years…..anyway, do u reckon Kimi can get a contract extension to thrill us for another season? Both of you have so much more to give….comedy wise……to us the fans of F1


Sorry Mr Taxi but I feel your just trying to take me for a ride


so hard to narrow it down to one. fuji 2007 silverstone 2008 monaco 2008 spa 08 as you said. so hard, spa probably is the best due to the battle at the end in the rain but it was taken away from him by the stewards..


Great read ????


Good article James. Personally, I don’t think RB panicked nor do I think Mercedes were inspired. RB just messed up and gifted the race to Hamilton. All they needed to do was bolt on the immediately available set of tyres to get Daniel to the end. Even assuming for a minute Hamilton had quicker tyres and/or a quicker car these factors would have been negated because Daniel would have had the skill to keep Hamilton behind him on the narrow streets of Monaco until the chequered flag. Although I have to say upon reflection and as an Aussie myself I was disappointed by his “screwed over again” comment during the post-race interview especially as it was made in front of the Monaco Royal Family and a world wide audience. I’m sure his mechanics are pretty disappointed too. He now needs to re-focus and be pleased that RB are seemingly ahead of Williams and can compete with Ferrari.


Not his mechanics that he felt screwed over by but strategists and Horner. There were decisions to pit and give up track position in the last two races that are… Dumb! Dumb decisions don’t win races or championships and ultimately that’s Horner’s responsibility- not the pit crew.


Fozxr6: Agreed! That’s why I said his mechanics would have be “disappointed” whereas Horner and the strategists should feel embarrassed. DR would have known that this disaster had been caused as a result of decisions on the Pit Wall, hence his statement “screwed over again”. To my knowledge the mechanics largely or only act on instructions from the Pit Wall.


This analysis off the the Grand Prix is spot on. But there are other things I deduced from the race and the chatter beforehand.
I’m afraid Kimi has lost it. He ought to realise himself that he’s lost that little bit that some do with age. It happened to Michael when he came back. The other elder statesmen, Alonso and Button got the best out of their car in the race. As experienced drivers should, they rarely make mistakes, The last couple of seasons Kimi has made them regularly and he has come out a poor second best to Vettel.
Using what Red Bull did to poor Kyvatt as a precedent, surely Max’s antics in Monaco should see him swapped with Carlos jnr for Canada?
On a lighter note we learned that there is a driver worse than Lewis in his inability to hide his feelings – Daniel Ricciardo. Poor Dan just could not raise a smile could he? If he possibly can, I think he will move on next year, although with the progress of the Renault unit it could be a big mistake.
Then looking at the cars I was surprised how quick the Force India was. It surely indicates a great chassis to do well in Monaco AND in wet conditions. Difficult to understand, with the Mercedes engine in the back, why they haven’t done better at more orthodox tracks. Canada should be interesting.
Williams, on the other hand, since the current regs started, continues to show poor downforce through corners. Whatever they do, they seem incapable of finding a solution. In fact, if anything it seems to be getting worse.
McLaren, once again, predicted great things for Monaco. As Alonso and Button have indicated, if it had been a dry race, they would have struggled to score any points. Eric ought to learn to keep it buttoned (no pun intended). But I see Ron is predicting great things again (next world champs after Merc). Someone should tell him to shut up until the cars do the business on the track. “Title sponsor within months” and “wins before the season ends” were two of his more memorable quotes at the beginning of last season. Now I see he predicts a wonderful future for Stoffel. Oh dear sorry Stoffel.
Anyway, back to my first point, any Kimi fans, tell me why I’m wrong about your man.


If Stoffel doesn’t get the drive next year, Ron has well and truly lost it.

With aero changes and more crucially behaviour of tyres set to change (with wider tyres), can’t think of better year to introduce a rookie.
There is no substitute to experience, but those changes should level the playing field a bit.


The lap times show that Hamilton’s wet to ultra softs “strategy” was in fact slower than Ricciardo’s wet to intermediates to super softs “strategy”. If Hamilton had mirrored Ricciardo’s strategy he would have been in front by an even greater margin after Ricciardo’s disastrously slow pit stop. My view is that it wasn’t all that great a strategy, if fact without Redbull’s horrendous pit stop it would have ended up as bad as it really was. At the checkered flag Ricciardo could have been around half a lap in front, if he wanted to drive it home.


@Gary. No. Hamilton was about 12 s behind Ricciardo when Ricciardo pitted for inters. Assuming Hamilton would have about the same pace as Ricciardo on intermediates, Hamilton would still be about 12 s behind Ricciardo when pitting for slicks on lap 32 (in case mirroring Ricciardo). With the wet to ultrasoft strategy, Hamilton was in fact in the lead when pitting for slicks. So Hamiltons strategy was faster.


The race should have been Daniel Ricciardo’s – he was on superb form all weekend – including a fantastic pole. Without that botched pitstop – initiated by panicking Red Bull to switch from softs to super-softs (firstly giving away (holy) track position (lap 23) and then seeing Hamilton on ultra-softs) – he would certainly have won the race.
But Lewis Hamilton is a deserving winner. He kept extracting more than decent lap times from ageing Wets triggering the bold strategy of staying out and then making the jump straight from wets to ultra-softs – and making them last for 47 laps. During the last 10 laps or so he had to push these old ultra-softs very hard to keep the temperatures up. No wonder he got applause from Paul Hembery and it was the right call from Mercedes to give him a chance to fight for the win.
Nico Rosberg definitely doesn’t excel in wet or changeable conditions but neither did Alain Prost (e.g. Imola 91, Donnington 93 etc.) a driver eligible for my all-time Top 10. Nico is no Alain, hence, don’t be too harsh. He had a day to forget – but he won’t. Team player Nico will now have his contract extended . Dieter Zetsche was in good spirits on Sunday – also as a result of a historic 1-2-3-4 sweep for Mercedes AMG at the Nürburgring 24h – and if I were Nico I wouldn’t wait too long to put my signature.
And the popular vote goes to …. Sergio Perez. I’m very happy for him with his 6th and well deserved podium. Drivers like him are never in the limelight and will never be WDC but don’t give them an opportunity! Force India experienced a great Monaco weekend.
Monaco has never been Ferrari territory (or Williams) and based on third sector performances in Barcelona I had anticipated Ferrari to do worse and McLaren to do better than their respective Saturday grid positions. As such, I think both can be more or less satisfied with the outcome of the race – exception applies to Raikkonen. But Ferrari needs a good result in Canada (Sergio Marchionne probably attending) or a crisis situation is inevitable.
So far this 2016 season is pretty enjoyable and Montreal usually doesn’t disappoint.

Ricki Sanguinetti

Hamilton said after qualifying that the tires DR was on made no difference,nor an indication who would stop first.He said there was barely any difference as the US was as hard as the SS in Monaco.This is a clear indication Mercedes had done meticulous study of the tires before qualifying than Red Bull.
They took into effect the presence of the SC and VSC would have on the tires durations and made an inspired guess.
Whereas Red Bull, IMO ,due to lack of front running is dusty.Unless for intra team politics,they have made bad calls on two consecutive races.Or,as the “wise ones” say,they were reciprocating Mercs gift at Barcelona.
For Ferrari,it was since winter testing that l have maintained the car was not up there,as led to believe.As to when Ferrari fans will begin to call for the scalp of both pilots is a matter of time.But that will be stretching the top of an inherent issue.
We need more and more of such reporting,Thanks James.


IMO, Red Bull should have just put the softs on (the tires that were apparently already available in the garage) and sent RIC out ASAP. What is always paramount in Monaco, is to not lose track position. Had RIC come out in front of HAM, then regardless of the tire compound, RIC would have kept HAM behind him for the rest of the race. RIC was a mere 2 seconds away from coming out in the lead of the race.


Yep, that’s it Vivek. Crazy really.



Mercs choice of U Soft (because of desire for quick warm up) made them doubt. Fatal


How very true.


Perhaps next time they’ll wrap up in Koala Skin ????????????????
Well it seems to work for some Aussies in the Outback ????????????????


James- why did Red Bull fit used (4 lap old) super softs on Ricciardo’s car? Wouldn’t the age of the tyres affect their durability versus ultra softs and their performance versus softs? Was there a thought that used tyres would heat up faster? In the end, Ricciardo’s tyres went “off” way quicker than Hamilton’s tyres.


I guess the track layout of Monaco helped Lewis to preserve the full wets before his pitstop and extend his first stint to make the direct switch to ultrasofts possible. And still guessing that in a normal race track the blocks in the tread of the full wets would move around more, overheat the tyres and destroy them sooner or later.


Any of these models cannot factor out no. 1 treatment by their teams. No wonder then that most in the top 10 benefitted from no. 1 treatment at various times in their F1 careers (MSC, ALO, VET, JYS, SEN, etc.). Having a sustained lopsided partnership, as Schumacher had with Barichello, Alonso had with Massa and Fisichella, and Vettel had with Webber, results in higher standings in these models. It helps doubly because there’s a gap to the teammate, plus the no. 2 teammate brings down the perceived strength of the car to the model.

From the article: “The reason a driver has been elevated to exalted status in these rankings is to put it simply, due to consistent exceptional performances in cars and teams where others fared less well.”


Lewis and Heikki


Great article James. One thing that stands out for me and from other races like Spain, is the point of having so many dry tyre options that Pirelli clearly have not manufactured consistently between each.

Ultrasoft – 45 laps at Monaco. Lewis said they only really fell off the cliff in the final lap.
SuperSofts – Quicker to heat up than Ultra’s but go off quicker it seems than the Ultra’s.
Softs – Judging by Perez lap times was the quicker and more durable choice over the SuperSofts. Unless Force India have made major gains on performance for this race compared previously with RB and Mercs.
Mediums – at Spain, after an initial quick two laps they settled into a consistent time lap after lap without any evident fall off toward the end of the race.

Surely if Pirelli are going to the effort of making numerous tyre options, they should provide a linear performance/durability from one option to the next.

UlstraSofts you would think should be fastest, quickest to heat up and very short durability. 45 laps doesn’t make sense.
Why bother having Hard option when, I from memory Rosberg finished the race on Mediums after his first lap pitstop at Sochi in 2014?


Your analysis of the tyres seems to not take into account that different circuits and conditions work the tyres differently. eg in Sochi the surface is not very abrasive at all so does not wear the tyre out very quickly but Silverstone works the tyres much harder.

I assume that your analysis of SS is based on the fact that Ricciardo was able to switch the tyres on quickly at Monaco but they went off towards the end of the race. This was in a wet (drying) race (track temperature is low) on a track that does not work the tyres hard and when Ricciardo is following another car pushing to get past. Because he was pushing and following this meant the tyres wore out much quicker while Ham was trying to conserve his tyres to get to the end. In different conditions it would have been much different

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