Three of Pirelli’s compounds were in action during free practice at the Monaco Grand Prix, held on Thursday for the only time of the year in accordance with the Principality’s traditions.
A rainstorm before FP2 left the circuit wet and slippery, with most teams unwilling to take the risk of running in the early part of the session. With the weather for the rest of the weekend expected to be dry, there was little opportunity for in-depth learning. The Cinturato Green intermediate tires, which proved to be versatile enough to continue performing effectively even when the track was rapidly drying, were used for the majority of laps.
In the last 10 minutes of the session the teams moved onto slick tires, with most drivers going straight onto the supersoft. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso set quickest time in FP2 on the supersoft, while Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton had been slightly quicker in the dry conditions of FP1 on the soft tire.
Both times were the quickest-ever turbocharged laps of Monte Carlo, with turbo Formula One cars last seen on the track in 1988. The Monaco Grand Prix in that year was acknowledged as being Ayrton Senna’s greatest qualifying performance, when the Brazilian claimed pole position by 1.4 seconds from his team mate
Paul Hembery: “As usual the track was extremely ‘green’ and slippery, with the rubber laid down in FP1 washed away by intense rain before FP2, making the tricky conditions even more complex. As a result, there has been little running on the supersoft tire, which is what we would expect drivers to use in qualifying: one of the most important parts of the whole Monaco weekend. It also means there is a lot of work for FP3 on Saturday morning, when the teams collect data for both different compounds on varying fuel loads to calculate their race strategies. However, tire wear and degradation is less of a factor in Monaco than it is in other places, especially this year with all our compounds being slightly harder than last season. We’ve seen the versatility of the intermediate tires once again, delivering solid lap times even when the surface was reasonably dry. Compared to all the other races, the teams have an extra day to look at the data, so there is plenty of opportunity to think about potential strategies. ”