The top three all employed completely different race strategies: Vettel stopped once, moving from the P Zero Red supersofts to the P Zero Yellow softs on lap 16 and making his final set of soft tires last for 56 laps. Alonso chose a two-stop strategy, starting on the supersoft before moving onto two sets of soft tires, with his last stop on lap 34.
Button, meanwhile, went for a sprint strategy by taking three stops. While there was a wide diversity of strategies, the top three remained in close contact at a race where Pirelli’s supersoft was making its competition debut.
As the race entered its final 10 laps, the leading trio was still very close in a thrilling fight for supremacy, before an accident caused a safety car period followed by a red flag with just six laps left to go. As the rules allow teams to work on the cars during a suspended race, the drivers were allowed to change tires before the race resumed in a final sprint to the finish. This ended the tire strategy suspense and determined the outcome of the race.
The top three all chose Pirelli’s P Zero Red supersoft tires for the run to the flag, which ended with Vettel’s first win in Monaco. It was Pirelli’s first victory in Monaco since the 1957 race, which was won by Juan Manuel Fangio and Maserati.
“We were privileged to see one of the closest ever battles for victory in Monaco: the most prestigious race of the year,” Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery said. “The top three used completely different tire strategies but came out more or less together, which is exactly what we were aiming for at the start of the year. It’s great to see the tire strategy forming such a prominent part of the action; giving us a fascinating battle for the lead where any of the top three drivers would have been very deserving winners. Had it not been for the red flag in the closing stages, I’m sure that their fight would have continued all the way to the very end. It was also great to see some of the other drivers scoring points such as Kobayashi, Sutil, Buemi and Barrichello. With the fastest-ever qualifying lap of Monaco yesterday and some drivers going for more than 50 laps on the P Zero Yellow today, Pirelli has supplied both performance and adaptability with this year’s Formula One tires.”