Monaco Grand Prix 2011 Practice 1

Photo courtesy of Nick J Webb

Just because this is Monaco doesn’t mean we should assume a predictable race with Webber winning from pole; first and foremost different teams may be better on the super soft or sot tyres and we shouldn’t expect everyone to make the same number of stops, we are likely to see at least three stops but some drivers may need four and a few could even try a two stop.

 

Though a two stop shouldn’t be the quickest way to complete the race if you can be slow but also hold up those behind you on fresh tyres then you might have a chance of getting into the points, this is certainly worth looking at for someone like Perez who is good on his tyres anyway and for the Toro Rossos

 

The other thing that should mean that this Monaco Grand Prix is unpredictable is the fact the first 16 cars finished Q2 within nine tenths of a second, some will undoutably have better race pace than qualifying pace and even at Monaco teh undercut is still a factor. Pitting early followed by a few quick laps can gain more places if anything at Monaco than elsewhere: if your closest competitors are stuck behind traffic. Traffic will indeed be one of the main forces behind deciding when people pit, both being stuck behind it as a reasion to pit and ensuring you won’t come out into it if you do.

 

It may be starting to sound then like Monaco will be down to luck with traffic but at the end of the day driver skill will still be the main factor and so Webber and Hamilton starting first and third must surely be the main protagnists having won here before. Rosberg though shouldn’t be discounted from 2nd nor should Grosjean who looked good in practice and  starts fourth, then there’s previous Monaco winner Alonso behind him and Schumacher who was fastest in Qualifying but starts 6th and has won Monaco 5 times before.

 

Then of course a first lap incident blocking the track could change everything, Caterham especially will be hoping for a high retirement rate, as Monaco is their best chance of points this season but even an 11th 12th, or 13th place would be welcome to take them above Marussia in the standings. Caterham crucially seem to have sufficient pace to keep on the back of the field and take advantage of any problems drivers have and we may well see a few nose changes today.