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The big question regarding this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix:

“How important is pole position?”

Traditionally pole position was crucial as there was very little passing in the principality but this year’s Pirelli compounds have shown themselves to be more aggressive and could require more than a one-stop strategy. Pirelli is estimating a two-stop strategy will most likely be the option most teams take but could a team that currently enjoys a car that is easier on their tires actually pull off a one-stop strategy and make it work?

If history is to retain its hold on Monaco, then pole position is still critical for a chance of winning. Our own Paul Charsley and Grace have tipped Mercedes to do well given they have had the pole position in the last three grands prix. They are in good company as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel said via Sky Sports F1:

“I can understand why people say that Mercedes are the favourites,” Vettel said.

“They had very impressive qualifying speed in the last couple of races and as we know Monaco is very important to qualify at the front. It’s a bit difficult and unknown at this stage to know how the tyres will be, and especially how long they last. If they last well then it will be very important. If people are running in trouble then it could be that pole is probably not everything, but for sure it’s not a secret that around here you need clear laps, no traffic because overtaking is quite difficult.

“I still think that everyone is shooting for pole and, as I said, the last couple races Mercedes have been very strong but I think if we can get into the groove nicely and find the rhythm – which is very important around here – then I’m sure we should have a chance. How good our chances are right now I can’t say – I need to get in the car tomorrow and have a first view.”

Tipping Mercedes is not just for Vettel alone, even Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso feels they could have a leg up this weekend as AUTOSPORT shared:

“Mercedes will be strong,” said Alonso.

“They have been on pole position for the last three grands prix so we expect them to be very strong again.

“They were on pole position last year with Michael [Schumacher] before he got the [grid] penalty.

“We know how difficult it is to overtake, if they are on pole position they are favourites.”

It seems logical but then degrading tires could cause some upset in pit strategies and times. Tire wear will still play a vital role on who will emerge victorious and while many are suggesting Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton thinks he can keep all those cars behind him if he was to claim pole position for the German team. AUTOSPORT had to story:

“You don’t have the high-speed corners which put a huge amount of effort into the tyres,” he said.

“So we can definitely go longer on the tyres.”

What do you think? Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso have been easy on the tires and could go deeper into a stint than others. Will this work in Monaco? Will Mercedes show their qualifying pace and be able to hang on for the win? Red Bull’s Mark Webber joins his teammate in giving the nod to Mercedes if the tires last:

“They certainly have some Saturday form which is not a bad card to play at this venue. Again, let’s see how the tyres pan out on Sunday – if they’re quite calm and they, Mercedes, still have their qualy pace it could be quite nice for them,” the Australian added.

“Our goal is still to outqualify them of course and aim for pole position and be in a position where we’re in charge and not trying to deal with them in race.”

Tell us how you score this race. Who do you think will win and will it boil down to being on pole or will the tires play a bigger role int eh outcome?

 

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Race will be determined by who can have the longest first stint. While the Merc may have the advantage in qualifying, anyone in the top 5 could still win it with a great first stint.

  • JTW

    And the safety car will throw a gigantic wrench into the works ….

    • Brian

      Or a spanner…

  • The drivers seat

    I think the first to undercut the merc may have the best shot , but if course you can’t go too early or you’ll just get held up by the back of the field. Very tricky

  • David

    I’m reading lots of excellent commentary on the upcoming race. All the usual sites have great coverage…. Except NBCSports. SpeedTV no longer shows the race, but it has great reporting and even timing and scoring.
    UK fans get radio, TV and great BBC web coverage.( the live blog of testing and quali is super)
    WE get nothing from NBCS. Perhaps I’m not looking in the right places. Has anyone found anything other than NBC pass through of the AP reports?

    • The drivers seat

      Don’t get Todd started on this!
      It’s a big disappointment so far

      • Rapierman

        I don’t even get to see it from my cable provider, because that channel’s never shown. I’m stuck with streaming, and it gets interrupted with all these pop-up ads and cut-offs for copyright issues and such, and I have to go hunt down other feeds just to have some back-up. It’s a serious pain in the butt. >:-(

      • tomfirth

        Isn’t the race on NBC itself this weekend or something did I read ?
        That’s gotta mean something right having it live on the main network instead of the obscure NBC SN

        • cconf1

          The race is on NBC proper. The pre- and post-race shows are on NBCS.

          • the drivers seat

            Whoa! thanks for the reminder, got to get that DVR set

    • pm

      No. It will be determined by a longer second stint. Teams like lotus can pit early, undercut the others and go till the end.