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Monaco GP: Qualifying notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
28/05/2016

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo has claimed his debut pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix, using the all-new P Zero Purple ultrasoft compound, which has proved to be over half a second per lap faster than the P Zero Red supersoft. This made it the main choice for qualifying, used by all the drivers from start to finish: with the exception of Force India, which used the supersoft in Q1 and Q3, and Ricciardo, who scored his Q2 best time on supersoft, and so will start the race on this compound.

The Australian's pole time of 1m13.622s was nearly a second and a half faster than pole position last year, and also beats the race lap record.
With the circuit open to normal traffic following yesterday's GP2 race and free practice on Thursday, the usual pattern of track evolution over a grand prix weekend is never followed in Monaco. As a result, the final free practice session this morning was of maximum importance to gauge grip levels prior to qualifying. Track temperatures reached 48 degrees centigrade during qualifying: the highest seen all weekend so far.

As is often the case in Monaco, there were stoppages due to incidents during qualifying: any safety cars tomorrow will have a big influence on the race strategy and outcome.

Paul Hembery: "Monaco provided the usual exciting qualifying session, enhanced by the fact that everyone knows just how important it is, given the difficulty of overtaking. Monaco has traditionally been a one-stop race. However, theoretically a two-stop strategy is faster now that we have introduced the ultrasoft. Theory and practice are often quite different though, so it's going to be very interesting to see the strategic choices made tomorrow. Wear and degradation was low during Thursday, even on the ultrasoft, but with more running on this compound today the teams have learned ways to reduce it still further."

How the tyres behaved today

Soft: Not seen in qualifying.

Supersoft: Used by Force India in Q1 and Q3 as well as Ricciardo in Q2. Could be a factor in an alternative strategy, with those starting on it running longer for the first stint.

Ultrasoft: Used a lot so far, offering some of the best performance ever seen in Monaco.

Race strategy

A two-stopper is actually theoretically fastest in Monaco, but this doesn't take into account the problems of traffic and overtaking: two of the biggest challenges in the principality. So in actual fact, a one-stopper could be more likely for the race. The ideal one-stopper is: start on ultrasoft, change to soft on lap 18. The fastest two-stopper is: start on ultrasoft, change to ultrasoft again on lap 14, then soft on lap 28.

Check out our Saturday gallery, here.

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