There is something magical about Monaco. The most densely populated country on the planet invites the Formula 1 circus to put on a showpiece event every year – a 78 lap blast around a location entirely unsuitable for hosting a grand prix.
Nelson Piquet Jr famously described the challenge as like riding a bicycle around your living room. Simply lapping the circuit at the limit of adhesion alone is enough of a trial – overtaking on Monaco’s impossibly narrow streets is the work of a moment of magic.
It may be a procession on Sunday. It may be a winner from pole position and a one-stop strategy. Regardless, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about F1’s blue ribbon event.
Monaco marked the first appearance of the purple marked ultrasoft Pirelli tyre at a race weekend. Introduced at the start of this season and initially billed as a qualifying tyre, the compound seems decidedly similar to a supersoft in both pace and longevity. An assertion supported by Haas and Renault’s decision to take just soft and ultrasoft tyres to the Canadian Grand Prix, avoiding the supersoft completely.
The second day in Barcelona was largely a case of status quo at the top of the timesheet. Sebastian Vettel made it a brace of table topping days for Ferrari, with a run on the brand new ultra-soft tyre. Mercedes, however, were once again supreme in the mileage stakes, with a record 172 laps and finishing fourth on the timesheet after a run on the medium compound.
Here are five things we learnt on day two of winter testing…
As Pirelli and Michelin prepare to do battle to become F1’s tyre supplier for 2017 and beyond, after submitting their respective tender’s, FIA President Jean Todt has acknowledged that two and three stop races, promoting dynamic strategy and adding an element of unpredictability to races, are essential as F1 looks to regain the element of blockbuster entertainment.