The Key Strategic Moment of the Monaco Grand Prix was the decision by Red Bull Racing to pit Daniel Ricciardo for intermediate tires on lap 23. He had a large gap to second placed Lewis Hamilton, meaning he had no pressure to stop. This stop put him behind Hamilton, who could then hold out until the track was dry enough to go directly onto slick tires. That and a slow second stop cost Ricciardo the victory.
James Allen on F1, UBS F1 Expert
Threat to pole from Red Bull? What is Red Bull Racing’s winning strategy for Monaco?
A nimble chassis and better engine drivability means that Red Bull could challenge for its first Monaco pole since 2012, which might prove crucial as the race has been won by the pole sitter in eight of the last ten years. Strategy-wise, it’s a one-stop race with stops expected around Laps 32-37. Red Bull tends to be aggressive on strategy, so a late second stop onto ultrasofts should not be ruled out if overtaking is needed, which Daniel Ricciardo proved is possible when passing Kimi Rӓikkӧnen last year.
A missed opportunity – How did Red Bull perform on the streets of Monaco?
We picked Red Bull Racing as the team to watch at the Monaco Grand Prix, after a strong performance in Spain and an engine upgrade for Daniel Ricciardo. He was leading the race from pole position until his team mixed up the tires at his second stop, which subsequently lost him nine seconds and the lead to Lewis Hamilton, who went on to win the race. Max Verstappen, who started from the pit lane, made an early switch to intermediates and was running ninth when he crashed out.
Race Strategy Briefing
A real one-off
Monaco is unique in layout and strategy, as track position is everything, even if the pace is slow.
The ultrasoft tire’s debut
The first appearance of the ultrasoft tire in F1. It’s likely everyone will use it for qualifying and then do a one-stop race strategy, with a second stint on supersofts.
Safety car spells upheaval
Last year’s race turned on a Safety Car and with an 80% statistical likelihood, these decisions and various scenarios need to be carefully considered in advance.
Tricky to overtake
Monaco is exceptionally hard to overtake on, but it is possible with a large offset in tire life. There were 13 overtakes in the 2013 race, for example.
Track improves over weekend
A low grip surface means tire wear is low, but the lap times drop significantly over the weekend as more rubber goes down.
Monaco, Monte Carlo
May 29 | 14:00 local time, 14:00 CET
The Monaco Grand Prix needs little introduction - the jewel in the crown, of the FIA Formula One World Championship™. It has been on the schedule since 1950 with a four-year break from 1951 to 54, with only a few changes to the course layout down the years and continues to create an atmosphere like no other when the month of May comes around. Home to many of the F1 drivers, Monaco is a tight twisty circuit where overtaking is extremely difficult. Every year here provides a memorable story, but Ayrton Senna’s spectacular exit from the 1988 running as he led comfortably remains a classic. Of the current drivers, Nico Rosberg won three times. Fernando Alonso won twice, while Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Kimi Räikkönen have all won once. The race’s iconic podium on the main straight sees the victor handed his trophy - one of the most sought after pieces of silverware in world sport - by the Prince.
Circuit length 3.337 km
Race distance 260.286 km
2015 race winner Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
Pirelli allocation ultrasoft, supersoft, soft
Monaco has the lowest average lap speed of the season at 160 km/h, but it is never short of excitement. As it is so hard to overtake, qualifying is critically important to establish a slot at the front of the grid. The track layout is tight, with no high-speed corners and two short straights. Monaco requires a particular technique of driving close to the barriers and this is a venue where a driver can make a real difference. Most drivers do a similar one-stop strategy, usually pitting between laps 27 and 30. With barriers waiting to punish a driving error, there is a very high (80%) chance of a safety car, which can turn a race on its head and hand the advantage to a rival.
In collaboration with James Allen