GP MONACO: race analysis

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Who
could have
forecasted, after the Spanish GP, this outstanding one
two of Ferrari in

MonteCarlo?
We could have expected a SF70H in
good shape in the tight streets of Monaco but what we saw on track in the last weekend
has been
a dominant car. The
one two on Saturday
(quali) and on
Sunday
(race) are only
consequences of what stated above
. Going straight to conclusions, we
are afraid for Raikkonen who
, after the pole position and the 1st
position out of turn 1
,
surely was quite confident of
having the win in his hands
. A better strategy was sufficient to ensure him
the win
. It
is for this reason that
at the end of the race he was everything but happy notwithstanding the 2nd
position and the points gained on Mercedes (now Ferrari is ahead also in the
constructors’ standing).

With a quite stable weather
it was pretty obvious that the weekend would have not been a surprising one
considering
also the difficulty of these cars in the overtakes
. The
mechanical grip on the rear and mostly the reduced braking areas
have
unabled the attacks at the
Nouvelle Chicane and at the Saint DevoteWe
consequently witnessed a boring grand prix with few things to analyze but the strategic choices of the teams and
especially those of
Ferrari
and RedBull that
have definitely advantaged
Vettel and Ricciardo.
MONACO GP: Hamilton went on a conservative strategy
In the hours before the race in Monaco there were two main discussions in the paddock: will Ferrari favor
Vettel in the case in which the German driver hadn’t gained the position at the
start?
And
what will be the strategy devised by
Mercedes in order to be sure that Hamilton recovers
as much positions as possible?


If we already knew the answer
of the first question
,
so that many inside the paddock were sure that Vettel was
already the virtual winner of the Gran Prix, the second question was not so
obvious
. There
were
two possible strategies for Lewis Hamilton: start on SuperSofts, pit in the
first two laps
,
and then
hoping
for a
Safety Car in
the first 15 laps
. This
strategy could have helped
Hamilton in getting in the first five positions; conversely, if it
wouldn’t have worked

(
so without SC at the start) it could
have ruined Hamilton’s race leaving him outside the points.
The
second strategy
, the
one chosen by

Mercedes,
was instead moreconservativebecause it
would have guaranteed the 7th position even in the worst case
. Hamilton can so be satisfied after the terrible qualifying on Saturday.
MONACO GP: the 2 vs 1 of RedBull against
Mercedes has been decisive for the 3rd step of the podium
Let’s
now focus on the fight for the
3rd step of the
podium

between RedBull (Ricciardo and Verstappen) and Mercedes (Valtteri Bottas).


It’s been a very
good
RB13
the one of Monaco that, due to a lack of engine power
with respect to Ferrari and Mercedes during Quali
(-40 CV) when Ferrari and Mercedes unleash
their aggressive mapping
,
hasn’t been able to get the first three positions even by being quite
close to the best car of the weekend (Ferrari)
. The 4th and 5th
position at the start
(Ricciardo has been penalized by the traffic during his warm up lap) hadn’t allowed to the Austrian team to show its real race pace during
the
Grand
Prix
since
it’s been impossible for them to pass the W08 of Bottas who in the two main
straights was always gaining few meters even if his car was then slipping out
of corners. The real advantage of the RedBulls was given by the fact that they
had 2 cars against 1 that were fighting for the podium, thing that turned out
to be critical when coming to talk about strategies.
Max Verstappen has
been for sure penalized by the strategy
(remaining
anyway competitive). His strategy provided for an anticipated
pit stop at lap 32 to try the
undercut
on Bottas, who stopped during the following lap
knowing that it was impossible to keep the position on both RedBulls. An
Undercut that in
this season,

with the
Pirelli 2017,
is less effective than it was in 2016 and the
reason is clear
: the
new tires need, mainly in tracks were the tarmac is not so aggressive (for
instance Sochi and Monaco), more laps to warm up and unleash all their
potential.

 In addition to this we have to
consider the fact that the decay is minimal also on the softest compound even
after
many laps.
These two factors are useful to
understand why in Monaco an overcut has been more effective
than an undercut.
MONACO GP: Vettel wins thanks also to a better strategy than his
Raikkonen
Let’s go in more in depth now in what probably
has been the most interesting part of the Grand Prix, the strategies of
Ferrari.
We
can definitely see, by analyzing the race pace, that
Kimi Raikkonen pushed very hard in the first part of the race in
order to create a gap between him and his teammate and to manage in the best
way possible the race and the strategy.
This
advantage however, has never exceeded the 2 seconds-2.5 seconds
, thanks
also to a very good pace of
Sebastian Vettel.


The gap between Raikkonen and
Vettel
has gradually decreased in the following laps, due to
some lapped drivers
which favored the cars that were chasing
them, particularly Bottas and the two RedBulls. The Finnish driver of
Ferrari didn’t
manage correctly the tires in these laps and so his rhythm, even after he
passed Button and Wehrlein, has not been good.


Notwithstanding this, talking
about Raikkonen struggling on tires is exaggerated
given that
the tires could have performed well again in a few laps, as also explained by
Sebastian Vettel at the end of the race:
In the phase
in which we found ourselves stuck behind some lapped drivers the front tires were
losing temperature
, worsening my
performance
. But after few
laps I started to feel my car better and I improved again my lap times
.
But the Italian team decided to pit Raikkonen in any case, (not upon his explicit request), opening in
this way for
Vettel the
window to try the
overcut on his teammate, who came
back to the track in the middle of the traffic
; these overtakes resulted in a loss
of more or less 1.5 seconds
, thing that will turn out to be fundamental for the
overtake of Vettel.
Was that pit useful to
protect him from Verstappen and Bottas
? Analyzing
the lap times
, the two
drivers were slower than the two Ferraris
, and so the pit stop had no sense
yet for the two Men in red
.
It’s important to point out
that
Vettel
did three very important laps with clean air, also
thanks to the famous surplus of power
(there is a very clear Team Radio in
these regards between

Vettel
and his engineer) used during the race also by the
Italian Team. The following graph is quite eloquent.


With a Raikkonen who
progressively picked up his pace
(substiantally quicker than Vettel during
his first laps on SuperSofts
), the German driver gained in the lap before the pit
only 3 tenths
. What
does this mean
? This
means that if Kimi Raikkonen had not found himself stuck in the traffic
, and that
if he didn’t lose those two seconds
, gaining the position would have
turned out to be much more difficult for
Vettel. In this case, 5 more “super” laps
would have been needed to get ahead of him after the pit stop.
Once Vettel took the leadership, the race virtually
finished
,
with Raikkonen who
worsened his times of more than 2 seconds per lap
, sign that
the Finnish driver wasn’t so happy about the decision of his team. This has
been quite evident after the race
.
Could Ferrari have decided to pit
Vettel
the lap after Raikkonen? If they wanted to equate the
strategies, yes; but there was a problem: Daniel Ricciardo only 5 seconds
behind Vettel.

He would have gained the leadership and he could have exploited a VSC (hypotetically) to gain 6-7 seconds on
Vettel and enter the fight for the 1st position.
Concluding this analysis of the Monaco GP, we
can say that

Ferrari
didn’t do nothing wrong by giving the
best strategy to its first driver
Sebastian Vettel; it’s something
pretty logical given that he’s the leader of the drivers’ championship
. It is as
logical as the fact that Mercedes used Bottas to block Vettel in Spain.
And
here comes the crucial point
: the consistency of the fans. This means avoiding
to insult Mercedes when they use Bottas for these kinds of things, whilst
claiming that what Ferrari did was all normal.
This
because
Ferrari deprived
Raikkonen of
a potential win in

Montecarlo
while Mercedes sacrificed a 2nd position for Bottas in Bahrain. The
decision of
Ferrari, is part of a sport that is
much more complex than it seems.
Now the red Team has only
to hope that
Raikkonen
won’t feel bad for this decision in the future because
with this
SF70H the
two championships could be decided also by his performances
. And if they will
lack for what happened in Monaco
(Kimi hasn’t a strong character), how much
will the 7 additional points count for
Vettel if Raikkonen will allow both Mercedes to gain
more in the next races
?
 
Written
by

@Smilextech e @Spontonc (ORIGINAL)- 
Translated
by Federico Marchi

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