A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,
Hamilton blinks first before the Monaco shootout
As TJ13 revealed on the podcast recorded last Wednesday night, Lewis Hamilton is electing to leave the pits first during the qualifying runs in the upcoming Monaco GP weekend.
The Mercedes team flips a coin before the start of each season; this decides which driver gets to choose when they deliver their qualifying runs, relative to their team-mate.
Almost invariably, the driver with the choice will go last in Q3, even if just because they know what times they have to beat – and can chase the lap if need be – or take less risk if they have it in the bag.
Of course, impending rain can change this decision, as could a rapidly cooling track.
Last year in Monaco, it was Lewis choice. He elected to run last, only to be thwarted by Rosberg’s yellow flag. That said, the stewards decided from the timing information they had, GPS data and explanations from the team that Rosberg’s incident was inadvertent.
Lewis did not believe this to be the case and even following the stewards ruling which supported the team’s view, Hamilton questioned to the media whether all parties were telling the truth.
So it is interesting that going to a circuit where Nico has had both pole and the win in the past two seasons, Lewis is electing not to go last.
Traffic or a yellow flag could just as easily cause Lewis problem’s whether he runs before or after Nico, yet the British driver has given up the advantage of running last in qualifying.
Hamilton can’t seriously believe that Rosberg will crash again – before he can complete his final stint – and even if he did, the stewards would rule Nico was innocent? Yet he is giving up the natural advantage of running behind Nico in qualifying.
Lewis was negative going into the Spanish GP stating he had just one win in Barcelona; he has just one win in Monaco despite admitting he has had the car to win this race previously on five occasions.
Rosberg will take heart from what he will see as his adversary blinking first, where pole position means everything.
Mexican GP tickets trading at a massive premium
The return of the Mexican GP has created a stir in Formula One land. The tickets sold out in a matter of hours when they went on sale, though the success of the revived GP may eventually see the death knell of the race in Austin.
Mexico has hosted 16 F1 events, between 1962-70 and 1986-1992.
Unlike many of the European circuits, this years event is already a raging success with the spectators, and Motorsport-Total is reporting tickets trading hands on the black market for as much as $12,000.
Hermann Tilke has ‘modified’ the Hermanos Rodríguez circuit, so it waits to be seen whether the butcher of Olpe has delivered a Turkey or a Bahrain.
Monaco sees unveiling of Pirelli 2015 super soft compound
TJ13 has been a touch critical of Pirelli this year for being at times too conservative on their tyre selection. In Barcelona, the drivers were struggling for grip most of the weekend on the hard compound, or as Kimi described it, “sliding around all the time”.
The super soft tyre should offer the highest level of grip of Pirelli’s four dry weather tyres and this year Pirelli have altered the construction of their softest compound.
The main difference over its 2014 sibling, is the new super soft tyre should provide improved resistance to graining and blistering.
“We’re bringing our brand new super-soft tyre for the first time this year”, says Pirelli’s Paul Hembery. “Together with the soft, as has been the case since we started our current Formula 1 era in 2011.
“Monaco has often been described as a circuit where overtaking is impossible, but we have seen in the past there how tyre strategy and degradation has often led to positions changing, including on-track overtaking.
“In particular, the way that drivers use the new super-soft tyre, with its notable performance advantage, will be crucial.
“As is always the case, the right preparation and collection of tyre data during practice will put any driver in a strong position to maximise their potential in the race as well as the crucial qualifying session.”
This combination of tyres will be used in both Canada and Austria, so if Ferrari’s SF15-T is kinder on its tyres than Mercedes, these races could be key to Marenello’s next F1 win.