D he drivers are happy. Pirelli's new hypersoft tire gives you plenty of extra grip. The course record fell in the first training session. On Thursday afternoon, Daniel Ricciardo improved in 1: 11.841 minutes. For the first time, Formula 1 cracked the 1:12 minute mark on the 3.337 kilometer-long track layout in the Principality. Compared to the second practice session in 2017, the lap time has fallen by almost a second. Compared to Kimi Räikkönen's pole time by over three tenths of a second.
No warm-up problems with Hypersoft
Therefore, Hypersoft was by far the most frequently used of the three types of rubber in training. The Ultrasoft was less used, the Supersoft only occasionally. Pirelli makes a difference of just over a second on a lap between Hypersoft and Ultrasoft. It's the biggest jump between any mixes. 'A tenth more than we expected,' reveals Pirelli's sports director Mario Isola. 'Between Ultrasoft and Supersoft are four to five tenths.'
The softest mixture on the Pirelli shelf allows an attack from the first second. There are no problems driving the Hypersofts into the magic work window. That helps teams like Red Bull, who have a tire-friendly car but a gradual warm-up process in qualifying costs performance. But Pirelli and the ten teams noticed a different phenomenon. The hypersofts can be used during the long runs. In technical jargon, rubbing the tire surface is called graining. “It affects all four tires. The left front wheel is the strongest, ”reports Isola.
Two stops probably too dangerous
The increased graining on the front axle increases the understeer. At the same time, tire degradation increases. In Thursday training it was higher than Pirelli had previously suspected. Renault Technical Director Nick Chester explains the problem the teams are facing. “You lose grip on the front axle through graining. The tires at the rear degrade because there is a lot of acceleration out of slow corners in Monaco. You have to take that into account when setting up to bring the axles in line. ”Despite the increased tire degradation, Chester firmly expects a one-stop race. “We'll keep the Hypersofts going long enough before we can strap on the Ultrasoft.”
Pirelli also expects a visit to the pit lane. “The track will develop through the framework races. And the teams are good at dealing with problemsTo alleviate graining through the setup and to protect the front tires. ”For example through the tire fall and tire pressures. If you stop twice, you may benefit from fresher tires. But you risk falling into traffic. Or to sour behind the direct competitor after catching up with him. In Monte Carlo, overtaking is known to be an impossibility. Even with a speed delta of two seconds. So the tires shouldn't be a stumbling block for Red Bull. Especially since Helmut Marko found out during training. 'With us the graining is much less pronounced than, for example, with Mercedes.'
All that remains is the undercut or overcut. In the previous year, changing tires later was the better choice. That could be different in 2018. As long as the grainy tires continue to have a strong impact on performance. Pirellis Mario Isola warns. “The drivers have to be careful in qualifying. Of course, graining with little gasoline isn't such a big issue. But once it appears, it puts a strain on the tire. ”And that has a negative effect on the first part of the race.