Monaco is traditionally a one-stop race using the softest tyre compound. If the weather is dry, expect the teams to start on the Ultrasoft tyre that they qualified on, make one stop to use the mandatory Supersoft, and finish on those. Passing is always difficult on this twisty street circuit but it’s expected to be even tougher this year because the cars are wider. So track position will be at an absolute premium. Expect gaps in the traffic to dictate when drivers come in to switch tyres rather than any substantial degradation in the Ultrasofts. Drivers outside of the top 10 do not have to start on their Q2 tyres, so they could flip the script and go from Supersofts to Ultrasofts.
This is the first race of the season where the drivers got to choose how their 13 sets of tyres are allocated. They have to have 1 set of each. Let’s see what else they chose.
Causal viewers and pundits alike have no idea what Button and McLaren are doing with two sets of the Soft tyre, which isn’t likely to see the light of day all weekend.
But other than Button, the choices are understandable. The teams have loaded up on the Ultrasofts to dial in their cars during practice for the uber important qualifying runs (also using Ultras). The Ultrasofts will also be used in the race. So it makes sense to have a lot of them. Some teams, such as Red Bull and Williams, think the Ultrasofts are so important that they are not taking more than the minimum of the Supersofts, even though they have to race on that.
Mercedes is also a bit unorthodox with 3 sets of the Supersoft. They were not as fast on the Supersofts in pre-season testing, so perhaps they want to get in extra laps in practice to see if they can correct that issue for Monaco and beyond.
How will this all play out? We’ll see when the lights go out!