Tyre strategy was at the forefront of the action at the Monaco Grand Prix, with a three-way fight between Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Jenson Button (McLaren), who were separated by less than a second with only 15 laps to go. Such was the pace of the leading trio that they pulled away from the fourth-placed man by nearly a minute.
As the race entered its final 10 laps, the leading trio was still very close in a thrilling fight for supremacy, before an accident caused a safety car period followed by a red flag with just six laps left to go. As the rules allow teams to work on the cars during a suspended race, the drivers were allowed to change tyres before the race resumed in a final sprint to the finish.
The top three all chose Pirelli’s PZero Red supersoft tyres for the run to the flag, which ended with Vettel’s first win in Monaco. It was Pirelli’s first victory in Monaco since the 1957 race, which was won by Juan Manuel Fangio and Maserati.
“We were privileged to see one of the closest ever battles for victory in Monaco – said Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery – the most prestigious race of the year. The top three used completely different tyre strategies but came out more or less together, which is exactly what we were aiming for at the start of the year. It’s great to see the tyre strategy forming such a prominent part of the action; giving us a fascinating battle for the lead where any of the top three drivers would have been very deserving winners. Had it not been for the red flag in the closing stages, I’m sure that their fight would have continued all the way to the very end. It was also great to see some of the other drivers scoring points such as Kobayashi, Sutil, Buemi and Barrichello. With the fastest-ever qualifying lap of Monaco yesterday and some drivers going for more than 50 laps on the PZero Yellow today, Pirelli has supplied both performance and adaptability with this year’s Formula One tyres.”