2015 Monaco Grand Prix – Qualifying

LEWIS HAMILTON CLAIMS HIS FIRST EVER POLE POSITION IN MONACO,
USING NEW PIRELLI SUPERSOFT TYRE

ONE STOP RACE EXPECTED FOR TOMORROW,
DUE TO LOW WEAR AND DEGRADATION

ALL SETS OF SUPERSOFT TYRES USED IN QUALIFYING: NO NEW SUPERSOFT
TYRES FOR THE TOP 10

Monaco, May 23, 2015 – Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has claimed his first pole position in Monaco. Hamilton went fastest around the streets of the Principality in qualifying using Pirelli’s new P Zero Red supersoft, which is about a second per lap faster than the P Zero Yellow soft that is also nominated this weekend.

The supersoft tyre has a new compound and construction this year, designed to offer even greater resistance to graining and blistering, while benefitting overall performance. Monaco is one of the most important qualifying sessions of the year, as there is little opportunity for overtaking over the course of the tight and twisty grand prix.

Conditions were cool and overcast as qualifying started in Monaco, with track temperatures dropping during each session and a few rain drops falling in the paddock at the very start of Q3. As a result, tyre warm-up became particularly important to extract the best performance.

Only Mercedes and Ferrari were able to get through Q1 using the soft tyres only, with all the drivers using the supersoft from Q2 onwards. With low wear and degradation, drivers completed multiple-lap runs during qualifying, with no drop in speed. Hamilton claimed pole with his final run, having previously been the only person to win in Monaco starting outside of pole position (in 2008) since Juan Pablo Montoya in 2003. Every win since has been taken from pole.

The final free practice session this morning was particularly important as the drivers (with the exception of Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado) had no previous experience of running the supersoft, due to rain in FP2. As a result, all the key race and qualifying simulations were concentrated into one hour this morning in conditions that were not particularly representative. Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel, who will line up third on the grid tomorrow, was fastest on the supersoft in FP3.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Qualifying in Monaco is probably the most important session of the year, and we were pleased with the way that our new supersoft tyre performed during the tight battle for supremacy. We would expect a one-stop strategy for most competitors tomorrow, unless something unusual happens with the weather – which we saw a hint of today.”

The Pirelli strategy predictor:
Monaco is one of the more straightforward race strategies of the year, as wear and degradation is so low. However, there is a possibility of rain showers – with a similar forecast to today – and historically there is a high incidence of safety cars in Monaco as well. For the 78-lap race (the highest number of laps of the season) the theoretically ideal strategy is: start on the supersoft, change to the soft around lap 27, then run to the finish.

Fastest compounds in FP3:
1  Vettel  1m16.143s  Supersoft new
2  Rosberg  1m16.361s  Supersoft new
3  Hamilton  1m16.705s  Supersoft new
Top 10 tyre use:
 Hamilton  1m15.098s  Supersoft new
 Rosberg  1m15.440s  Supersoft new
 Vettel  1m15.849s  Supersoft new
 Ricciardo  1m16.041s  Supersoft new
 Kvyat  1m16.182s  Supersoft new
 Raikkonen  1m16.427s  Supersoft new
 Perez  1m16.808s  Supersoft new
 Sainz  1m16.931s  Supersoft new
 Maldonado  1m16.946s  Supersoft new
 Verstappen  1m34.957s  Supersoft new