Pirelli says that wear and degradation of its tyres around Monaco was minimal throughout the weekend. Both the Soft and Super-Soft worked to allow drivers to do just one pitstop throughout the race, with some even completing the latter part of the race on the Super-Soft after pitting early on the Softs.
We heard Lewis Hamilton was complaining about his rear tyres around lap 18, however his team did notify him to say that the temperatures were “ok” and “on target.” Pirelli’s Paul Hembery pointed out something really interesting, saying that the tyre manufacturer found “the tyres on Grosjean’s car, still had 20% of their rubber left despite having completed more than 50 laps.”
“Although we’re running a more durable tyre this year, performance is not generally compromised,” he adds. This is something we saw in the race, with drivers like Nico Hulkenberg able to start on the Soft from 11th and move all the way up to 5th by passing cars and making key decisions strategy wise. That move on Magnussen into the tunnel will probably forever stick out as the best move of the race for me, despite many fabled attempts at the hairpin.
Williams’ Felipe Massa also looked to capitalise on tyre strategy after getting knocked out of Qualifying by Marcus Ericsson in the Caterham, employing what Pirelli described as a “innovative” strategy to run on the Super-Soft tyre for 45 laps, before switching to the Soft for the final stint. That allowed him to get from 16th to 7th. Grosjean also went on a similar strategy, ending up in 8th overall.
Mercedes it seems were reacting to an inevitable Safety Car period, as they knew they could run for the entire race without tyre problems. Of course it would be a case of who reacts first out of their drivers that sees which one out of Hamilton and Rosberg get track position. Hamilton thought he should’ve came in as soon as the incident happened to cover the Safety Car coming out, however he said after the race that the strategist they had at Mercedes only focuses on whats best for the team, which means he probably would’ve risked coming in and his crew not being ready for him.
Fuel management really proved to be the big factor for those two, with Rosberg using more in the middle part of the race than Hamilton, which forced him to back off in some key areas of the track. That ultimately allowed the battle to remain as close as it did throughout the race.
For Marussia meanwhile it seemed to be a luck of the draw. They were just in the right place at the right time, and that allowed them to clinch their first ever points in Formula 1 – a feat that is quite hard for a team in such a competitive sport. I think I join the entire F1 community in wishing them a congratulations.