Ultrasofts can last entire Monaco GP


While the softest compounds rarely make an appearance until the mid to latter stages of FP2, yesterday it was the soft and supersofts that were conspicuous by their absence in the opening session.

While Jenson Button spent all of FP1 on the softs and the Toro Rosso dup opted for supersofts, rivals spent much of the morning, and quite a bit of the afternoon on the softest compound.

Furthermore, such is the lack of degradation, Pirelli's Mario Isola claims a set of the purple-banded rubber is capable of lasting the entire race on Sunday, which throws up an interesting scenario in terms of strategy.

With drivers compelled to use the supersofts also over the course of the race, Isola believes that those starting outside the top ten could well opt to start the race on supersofts and then switch to the ultras as soon as possible, perhaps even as early as the first lap should the Safety Car make an appearance.

At the same time, those starting on the purple-banded tyres could opt to run them until the very final laps before switching to supersofts.

"We had zero degradation, more or less," said Isola, according to Motorsport.com. "In the second session race simulations were very consistent. This was expected. We have a delta lap time between the ultrasoft and the supersoft which is around 0.7s. Probably during the race this number is going to be smaller, but this is normal.

"I suppose everybody is looking at a long stint on the ultrasoft," he continued. "We will see, because here the safety car chance is quite high. Maybe somebody is starting on the supersoft, and if we have a safety car, it is possible to change, put an ultrasoft, and run all the race.

"Wear is not an issue, degradation is not an issue.," he insisted. "Looking at the tyres today they were perfect, no blisters, no graining, nothing.

"They have different strategic options basically because they can change when they want, depending on the race conditions. If the safety car is not at the beginning, we can also have a different situation.

"At the beginning in the traffic, it is something that is not going to penalise you. If you stay on the pace, you're not losing position, and you keep the contact with the car in front of you, with the supersoft it's possible to do that. We know that in the race they keep a race pace that is not like in qualy. In this case when you have a safety car you stop and finish on the ultrasoft."

However, the Italian believes it would be risky for drivers to attempt to rely on the supersofts in Q2.

"To go through Q2 with the supersoft, I personally believe is a risk," he said, "because if you look at the first 10 cars they are not too far. And if you have 0.7s - that is the delta - it's quite risky to try to go through Q2 with the supersoft.

"If you make a mistake, or find traffic that in Monaco is always possible, there is a big risk that you don't go in Q3, and then you start 11th, 12th, 13th. Overtaking is so difficult here that it is probably a big disadvantage."

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Published: 26/05/2017
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