Monaco Grand Prix strategy guide
MONTE CARLO, Monaco -- Sunday's race is expected to be a one-stop strategy with teams looking to jettison the hyper-soft tyre once its performance starts to degrade. Knowing when that point will come is harder to predict, with Pirelli suggesting it will be as early as lap 14 but some suggestions they could go as far as lap 24.
Fastest strategy over a 78-lap race
With the amount of tyre degradation that we expect for the race, the thoretical quickest pit-stop strategies predicted by Pirelli are as follows:
ONE-STOPPER: One stint on hyper-soft for 14 laps + one stint on super-soft to the flag
ONE-STOPPER: One stint on ultra-soft for 25 laps + one stint on super-soft to the flag
During Thursday practice the teams were experiencing graining on the front tyres but that is expected to be mitigated now that the track has more rubber down. If the graining can be avoided, it then comes down to looking after the rear tyres, which have traditionally been the limiting factor around the streets of Monte Carlo. Whoever is leading after the first lap is likely to control the pace of the field in order to protect his tyres, comfortable in the knowledge that overtaking is nearly impossible without a mistake from the car in front.
Although it will only be a one-stop race, that single tyre change could still swing the result of the race. Sebastian Vettel proved last year that the overcut is possible after teammate Kimi Raikkonen was filtered into traffic after making his single pit stop midway through the race. Therefore, a driver in second or third who can look after their tyres will have an ace up their sleeve when the lead driver pits and they finally find themselves in clear air.
Pirelli is expecting a one-stop strategy in Monaco. Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Equally if a gap appears in the traffic behind, teams may try the undercut the car in front by making a stop for fresh tyres and filtering their driver into clear air for a qualifying-style blast between the barriers before their rival reacts with a pit stop the next lap.
But even the best laid plans could be derailed by a Safety Car or two, especially if the timing catches the lead drivers just as they've passed the pit lane entrance or just after they've made a stop at full racing speed.
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