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F1 Monaco preview: Are Mercedes favorites?

Published by on May 23, 2013 in Motorsport Leave a comment

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With the three pole-positions won by Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in China, Bahrain and Spain, Mercedes managed quite an impressive performance in the beginning of this season. However, the German team didn’t “convert” this pole-positions into victories, having a hard time with the tires supplied by Pirelli.

But the situation might change at the Monaco Grand Prix, where having the pole-position is extremely important, since it’s so hard to overtake on the narrow streets of Monte Carlo. Also, another known fact about this Grand Prix is that it’s not to demanding on the tires, so they shouldn’t play a role as important as in other races. And that’s why most experts agree that Monaco is the best opportunity for Mercedes drivers to get the first victory this season, but that doesn’t mean Red Bull, Lotus or Ferrari drivers aren’t in the books for a win.

Circuit de Monaco

The Monte Carlo race is probably the most special one in the entire calendar and features a layout that immediately punishes even the slightest mistake. First of all there are the narrow street but, probably more important, are the metal railings which in most cases turn each impact into an abandon. Drivers will only get one DRS zone, on the main straight. Not having any straight lines means that Monaco is the first Grand Prix this season that doesn’t have two DRS zones, like the previous three races.

And here’s a lap of Circuit de Monaco:

Tire strategy

Since this race isn’t too demanding on the tires, Pirelli will supply teams with supersoft and soft tires, the softest models in the Italian company’s lineup. Pirelli also anticipates that most teams will go for a strategy that involves two stops. This is quite important, because since overtakes are so hard to perform, pit stop strategies will play a vital role and could even decide the winner.

Weather

Chances the weather will play an important role this weekend are low, since according to forecasts the weather will be sunny on all three days, with temperature estimated between 64 and 66 F (18-19 Celsius).

Previous results

The last three races were all won by Red Bull, Mark Webber twice and Vettel once.

Statistics about the Monaco Grand Prix

– 8 out of the last 12 races were won by the driver who started in pole-position;
– 52 out of all 62 races were won by a driver who started in first, second or third position;
– in 1996, Olivier Panis won the race after starting from 14th position;
– Ferrari hasn’t won in Monaco since 2001, but they have eight victories in the last 29 years;
– Fernando Alonso can become the first driver to win the Monaco GP with three different teams (previous wins were with Renault and McLaren).

Schedule

Traditionally, the first free training sessions take place on Thursday and not on Friday. One of the reasons is that local authorities prefer the streets to be available to public use on Friday. Here’s the complete schedule for this year’s race:

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