Monaco Grand Prix: Practice Sessions
The new P Zero Purple ultrasoft tyre made its debut at the Monaco Grand Prix during free practice, setting the fastest time of the day thanks to a benchmark of 1m14.607s from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in FP2.
The Australian’s time was four tenths of a second faster than last year’s pole and brought him remarkably close to the all-time race lap record (1m14.439s) set by Michael Schumacher in 2004 with Ferrari.
With the track evolving rapidly, as is always the case in Monte Carlo, grip improved as both sessions went on despite several accidents that left debris on track. The Purple ultrasoft times recorded were up to a second faster than the Red supersoft times, with a trouble-free program completed.
All the drivers were able to assess all three compounds nominated – soft, supersoft and ultrasoft – with different fuel loads in the warm conditions of the afternoon (peaking at 44 degrees track temperature) in order to determine potential race strategies.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “We’ve had some good feedback from the ultrasoft tyre, which has delivered everything we wanted from it so far: extra performance and the potential to have an effect on strategy. From what we can see so far, we’d expect to get more than 15 laps out of this tyre before it’s necessary to come in and change: the interesting question will be whether or not this diverts any drivers away from the one-stop strategy, which has been the winning choice at the Monaco Grand Prix in four of the last six races. There will be a lot of data for everyone to look at tonight, in order to draw the final conclusions about strategy during free practice on Saturday morning – by which time, with the unusual day’s break between sessions here, the track might have quite a different feel to it.”