Grand Prix 2013 Monaco Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

After the excitement of Spain the GP circus moves on to the glamour of Monaco, the longest serving race on the F1 calendar. Monaco, I'm sure, is probably the most testing circuit of the season for the drivers. Hurtling millimetres from unforgiving armco barriers at speeds of up to 180 mph, trying to wrestle 700 plus horsepower engines through tight and twisty corners with no hint of a run off area and having to cope with going from broad daylight into a tunnel with your foot planted hard to the floor before bursting back into the sunlight metres from probably the tightest chicane on any track, anywhere.

It is, almost certainly, the most marmite race on the season. Many love the glamour, the history and the challenge for the drivers. Others feel it is an anachronism in 21st century sport, that it is dangerous and doesn't show F1 at it's best with virtually no opportunity to overtake anywhere on the circuit. Whatever your feelings toward Monaco it isn't going anywhere soon and, I believe, is the only race which can thumb it's nose at FOM when they come along asking for money to allow the race to run. As important to Formula One as Ferrari apparently.

The battle at the top of the WDC leader board has closed up post Spain. Fernando Alonso & Ferrari were outstanding in the Catalan race and the team chose exactly the right tactics to help him win on home ground. Red Bull looked out of sorts, third best behind the Ferrari's and the Lotus Renaults (in Kimi Raikkonen's hands at least).

The tyres should probably not have quite so much of an influence on the racing in Monaco as they have in other races so far this season and Pirelli are planning changes to the rubber to give a maximum of 3 pit stops. Maybe this will help Mercedes, who appear to suffer most of the top teams with decaying rubber. Either that or Ross Brawn should remove the cheese graters Adrian Newey screwed on next to the tyres on the Merc when no one was looking.

If Mercedes manage to show the one lap pace they have elsewhere this season this could be their best chance for a win as they can lead a train around the track. However, it's hard to see past Alonso and, without some mistakes and mechanical failures, you can imagine he would have a VERY healthy lead in the drivers race by now. Perhaps the better driveability of the Renault engines will allow Lotus and Red Bull to mount a more serious challenge to Ferrari. Could someone like Force India spring a surprise, or McLaren? Sorry Macca fans, a little joke there. I shouldn't get your hopes up.

Meanwhile, down at the back. Aww, who cares as long as they get out of the way when being lapped, or get in the way depending on which driver arrives behind them. No safety cars so far this year, some how I'll be shocked if Monaco doesn't give Bert Mylander his first outing.

So Monaco, remember FP1 and 2 are on the Thursday as Friday is a religious holiday for Monegasques. Who'd have thought all those millionaires were so religious. Hope you all enjoy the race, or doing the ironing or gardening if it get's too dull/exciting (delete as appropriate).
If I were a race driver I'd be very different from the others in my helmet design, my helmet would be plain black nothing else just plain black.....

It would stand out head and shoulders amongst all these poncy designs they have these days.
Well I have been through this whole thread and believe I should win the prize for being the first to spot this thread is not about the Monaco Grand Prix but about the Monaco Grand Practice. At least thats what the title says. :snigger: :whistle:
should be an interesting race

It could be a train of cars led by Mercedes up until the first pitstop

Then from there I assume that teams will use the pitstops to jump the Mercedes

If it is raining on race day that could mix things up a little
After practices 1 and 2, Mercedes clearly the fastest, Ferrari up next and then Red Bull and Lotus. Could Rosberg or Hamilton pull off a Villeneuve-style train?

In modern F1, I can't see a train being successful, unless you have manipulation from both drivers within the team.

Why not? Suppose that the Mercs suffer extreme tyre degradation again; then their cars will be slower than the ones behind, and so will end up with a train behind them. It is highly likely that because of the degradation, unless the cars behind pit first, then when the Mercs pit, they will end up in traffic, who are almost certainly slower than the cars at the head of the queue... Hence Mercedes will lose time, and the cars who were behind the Mercs end up overtaking....

So what if the cars behind pit first? Well, then, there may be a case of an undercut, if they manage to find some clear track....

There are only 2 possibilities to pull off this strategy.

1. Be the first to pit of the queue, and come out in clean air.
2. Employ blocking tactics from the second driver to allow the first driver to get 25+ seconds down the road.....
There is always a third option - get your team mate to crash and cause a safety car.

Although in all seriousness, as you say, I can't see an absolute train leading to a Mercedes win. However, if the difference is less and even with tyre deg the Mercedes are faster than the majority of cars then it could happen - especially if they Mercedes can take it slowly early on to keep their tyres in better shape. I still suspect we'll see a couple of barmy overtake attempts if the mercs do get 1 and 2 and then get away in formation.
If there is a Merc train then there is a possibility that any cars behind pitting early will get caught in traffic and the undercut wont work.
If the Mercs aren't going very fast out in front then there may not be a gap to the slower cars.
Just watched 2011 and the Merc's tyres were going off rapidly with Schumi being passed by Lewis and Rubens while Nico was passed by Massa, Maldonado, Petrov and Hamilton so the Merc boys may not be safe
It's to tell how relevant the time were to the race on Sunday but it appeared that Rosberg was able to stay consistent over a longer stint today. Perhaps the issues with degradation will not be as big of a deal as in the previous races. Having said that, I still do not see either Mercedes being able to stay out in front for the entire race.
I have to say, one thing that I find baffling about today is that McLaren sent both Button and Perez out on their first supersoft tyre runs with lots of fuel, and plenty of laps to do; Button set his fastest lap on his 6th lap, whilst Perez set his fastest lap on his 8th lap - whilst other teams are setting their fastest laps on their 3rd or 4th laps, and then coming in. Something slightly odd going on there!
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