With the luck we\'re having so far in making these pre-race predictions, we should never, ever go gambling in Monaco. As it is, we would\'ve probably lost most of our money by now had there been actual betting involved. It\'s time to win some of it back, so let\'s get on with the guessing.
1. The safety car will finally get some laps in. Free practice one was remarkably incident-free, but the afternoon practice session saw Romain Grosjean thumping the Sainte Devote barriers. Because the safety car has a good track record of Monte Carlo appearances, it\'s more a question of when it will emerge than if it will ever come out at all. Otherwise, we might be in for another Monaco procession.
2. At least one big name won\'t make it to Q3. Let\'s define \"big name\" as a driver belonging to one of the top four teams in the constructors\' standings--Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes. We\'ll throw in Jenson Button, too. He\'s a champion and a previous winner here, and his McLaren isn\'t looking too shoddy this weekend.
As to the reason, it can be down to anything, really: the driver\'s own fault, some technical issue with his car, a yellow flag for a crash up ahead. That last one, in particular, has always caused problems in this venue.
3. Mercedes on pole, Alonso for the win. \"It\'s way too early to think about that,\" Thursday pacesetter Nico Rosberg said of Merc\'s chances of dominating the Saturday shootout. The German squad, however, is the top tip for pole position given its 2013 qualifying form.
That said, if Alonso qualifies right behind, it\'s hard to discount a third win for him this season. Ferrari\'s tactic of doing an undercut--pitting earlier than the leader to gain a time advantage on fresher rubber--might be a bigger gamble on the short Monaco circuit where traffic is always an issue. But then, Alonso has managed to pull off far more improbable feats before.
4. Rosberg will finally finish on the podium. This year, the German\'s best finish is fourth in Malaysia--you might remember that as the time he was ordered not to challenge his teammate for the final podium position. We\'re leaning more toward him than Hamilton to get pole for this race, and while we\'ve predicted for Alonso to win, we feel Rosberg will finally catch a break.
5. There will be a new championship leader by the end of 78 laps. The obvious choice is Kimi Raikkonen, who sits just four points behind defending champion Sebastian Vettel. Still, Alonso\'s 17-point deficit to his old rival can easily be wiped out if he wins and Sebastian continues to languish near the end of the top 10, as he did in practice.
And with that, the die is cast for this set of guesses. We can now only tune in to qualifying today, May 25th, at 8pm, Philippine time. The race tomorrow, May 26th, is also at 8pm.
Photo from Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
|MON||Free Practice One||Free Practice Two|
|Pos||Driver (Team)||Time, +Gap (Tire)||Driver (Team)||Time, +Gap (Tire)|
|1||N. Rosberg (Mercedes)||1:16.195 (S)||N. Rosberg (Mercedes)||1:14.759 (SS)|
|2||F. Alonso (Ferrari)||1:16.282, +0.087 (S)||L. Hamilton (Mercedes)||1:15.077, +0.318 (SS)|
|3||R. Grosjean (Lotus)||1:16.380, +0.185 (S)||F. Alonso (Ferrari)||1:15.196, +0.437 (SS)|
|4||F. Massa (Ferrari)||1:16.394, +0.199 (S)||F. Massa (Ferrari)||1:15.278, +0.519 (SS)|
|5||L. Hamilton (Mercedes)||1:16.469, +0.274 (S)||M. Webber (Red Bull)||1:15.404, +0.645 (SS)|
|6||P. Maldonado (Williams)||1:16.993, +0.798 (S)||K. Raikkonen (Lotus)||1:15.511, +0.752 (SS)|
|7||M. Webber (Red Bull)||1:17.020, +0.825 (S)||R. Grosjean (Lotus)||1:15.718, +0.959 (S)|
|8||J. Button (McLaren)||1:17.129, +0.934 (S)||J. Button (McLaren)||1:15.959, +1.200 (SS)|
|9||S. Perez (McLaren)||1:17.378, +1.183 (S)||S. Vettel (Red Bull)||1:16.014, +1.255 (S)|
|10||S. Vettel (Red Bull)||1:17.389, +1.185 (S)||P. di Resta (Force India)||1:16.046, +1.287 (SS)|
|11||K. Raikkonen (Lotus)||1:17.509, +1.314 (S)||A. Sutil (Force India)||1:16.349, +1.590 (SS)|
|12||P. di Resta (Force India)||1:17.548, +1.353 (S)||S. Perez (McLaren)||1:16.434, +1.675 (SS)|
|13||A. Sutil (Force India)||1:17.625, +1.430 (S)||N. Hulkenberg (Sauber)||1:16.823, +2.064 (SS)|
|14||N. Hulkenberg (Sauber)||1:18.193, +1.998 (S)||P. Maldonado (Williams)||1:16.857, +2.098 (SS)|
|15||J. Vergne (Toro Rosso)||1:18.454, +2.259 (S)||E. Gutierrez (Sauber)||1:16.935, +2.176 (SS)|
|16||E. Gutierrez (Sauber)||1:18.754, +2.559 (S)||D. Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)||1:17.145, +2.386 (SS)|
|17||V. Bottas (Williams)||1:18.830, +2.635 (S)||J. Vergne (Toro Rosso)||1:17.184, +2.425 (SS)|
|18||D. Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)||1:19.067, +2.872 (S)||V. Bottas (Williams)||1:17.264, +2.505 (SS)|
|19||G. van der Garde (Caterham)||1:19.203, +3.008 (S)||J. Bianchi (Marussia)||1:17.892, +3.133 (SS)|
|20||C. Pic (Caterham)||1:19.438, +3.243 (S)||C. Pic (Caterham)||1:18.212, +3.453 (SS)|
|21||J. Bianchi (Marussia)||1:19.773, +3.578 (S)||M. Chilton (Marussia)||1:18.784, +4.025 (SS)|
|22||M. Chilton (Marussia)||1:20.255, +4.030 (S)||G. van der Garde (Caterham)||1:19.031, +4.272 (S)|
Legend: S—soft compound; SS—supersoft compound