Nico Rosberg wins Monaco Grand Prix with one-stop strategy
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has won the Monaco Grand Prix using a one-stop strategy, starting on the P Zero Red supersoft tyre and then switching to the P Zero Yellow soft.
The German now becomes only the fourth driver in history to win the Monaco Grand Prix for three consecutive years, after claiming his second consecutive victory of the 2015 season to close up the fight for the championship.
The race was turned on its head by a safety car period close to the finish, during which Lewis Hamilton lost the lead that he had held from pole position, after making an extra pit stop to change to the supersoft. The majority of drivers stopped just once after starting on the supersoft tyre, although Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg, McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, Williams driver Valtteri Bottas and both Manors started on the soft tyre.
Temperatures were generally cool throughout practice and qualifying but warmed up during race day, peaking at 42 degrees centigrade on track, which improved the grip from both compounds. As usual, wear and degradation was minimal on the least abrasive and slowest circuit of the year. This made maintaining tyre temperature crucial after five laps of the safety car.
A particularly impressive drive came from the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz, which started from last place following a penalty post-qualifying. The Spaniard got up to a points-scoring 10th on his Monaco debut, using a one-stop strategy. Crucial to his strategy was a 66-lap stint on the soft tyre at the end of the race.
Rosberg set his fastest lap of the race just two laps from the finish, when his final set of soft tyres were already 39 laps old.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “I was as surprised as everyone else to see the final pit stop that decided the outcome of the race. But that shouldn’t take anything away from the great job that Lewis Hamilton did throughout the entire weekend. It just goes to show that it’s never over until the checkered flag falls in Formula One: a fact that Nico Rosberg clearly appreciated today! The long safety car period at the end of the race obviously made maintaining tyre temperatures important at the re-start. In the end, we saw a spectacular finish, with the one-stop strategy that we predicted for the race used by the vast majority of competitors.”