F1: Monaco Grand Prix Preview
This weekend brings us the jewel in the F1 crown – The Monaco Grand Prix. it’s the one Grand prix that everyone talks about. It may not be the easiest to overtake, but it always provides excitement and intrigue. Read on for a roundup of the Spanish Grand Prix, the raging tyre debate and a look forward to this weekend’s race.
Spain F1 Recap
It all kicked into action in Barcelona during qualifying. Mercedes had been concentrating on race pace during all the practice sessions and hadn’t really made much of an impression on the time sheets. Before qualifying, no-one had really mentioned either Mercedes driver when talking about pole position but after Lewis Hamilton lead the way in both Q1 and Q2, Nico Rosberg made it three pole positions for Mercedes in three races and Hamilton locked out the front row.
Having predicted only a fifth place finish for Lewis and outside the top five for Nico, my chances for success looked pretty poor but there was still a huge question that needed answering on Sunday; had Mercedes improved their tyre wear significantly under high fuel loads? Unfortunately the Mercedes effectively went backwards during the race with Rosberg dropping to sixth place and Hamilton all the way out of the points to twelfth.
There were a huge number of pit stops in the race with the majority of drivers having to stop four times. With this many stops, it is hard to keep track of where everyone is and who is actually racing who for positions. The Ferrari’s were mighty, Alonso was able to control the race from the front from Kimi Raikkonen and Massa moved up from ninth on the grid to round out an impressive podium.
With Red Bull and Mercedes unable to use their great pace over race distances due to tyre management, Ferrari and Lotus both seem to have a good handle on them which is causing a great debate at the moment. There have been calls to go back to the 2012 tyres and Pirelli have made a statement saying they will be making changes, but as pointed out by Gary Anderson in one of his informative BBC columns, there were only a couple more pit stops in 2013 than there were in 2012 so are the tyres really that bad?
Monaco Grand Prix Preview
The celebrities will be out in force this weekend for the Monaco Grand Prix, it is the event of the calendar and the race which every driver wants to win at least once in their career. Interestingly enough, the BBC haven’t picked Monaco as one of their live races and if you think about it, that is a good decision. If you can only show a limited number of races live, you want to pick the ones with the best chance of an interesting race; that could be because it’s a track which always thrills or its position on the calendar and the likelihood that the championship could be decided. Monaco is all glitz and glamour but it’s generally won from pole position with limited overtaking and can be a dull race.
Check out the perfect Monaco lap with Suremen, Lotus F1 Team and Kimi Raikonnen:
The tyre wear problems which have been huge news over the previous races could actually be nullified a little in Monaco. With overtaking very difficult, a car could in theory drive around very conservatively to preserve the tyres but still keeping competitors behind them. This is definitely the best chance Mercedes have had this season to capture a win. Last year, Schumacher took pole position and Rosberg third. Combine the fact the car was quick around Monaco last year with their phenomenal qualifying pace this season and it’s hard to look past the Mercedes for pole position and inevitably the race win. Mercedes have also shown good pace in first two free practice sessions which is encouraging.
Red Bull are also a decent bet for the race, I get the feeling they have perhaps held back a little in qualifying over the last few races to try and give themselves fresher tyres for Sunday. If they can find a little extra they may be able to pip Mercedes, whereas Ferrari and Lotus will be hoping that their superior tyre wear will allow them to gain places during the race.
- Lewis Hamilton
- Mark Webber
- Sebastian Vettel
- Fernando Alonso
- Nico Rosberg
I am going for a Mercedes and Red Bull dominated prediction with the always exceptional Fernando Alonso popping his head in as well. There is a big question mark over the Mercedes’ tyre wear but I think they may just be able to manage it enough in Monaco to hold out for the win.
The Monaco Grand Prix is live on Sky with highlights being shown on the BBC, here are the times:
Qualifying – Green light – 13:00
Sky F1 – 12:00 – 15:05
BBC 1 – 17:35 – 18:50 (highlights)
Race – Lights out – 13:00
Sky F1 – 11:30 – 16:00
BBC 1 – 17:35 – 19:05 (highlights)
Agree, don’t agree? Let me know below!