What clues of the Monaco GP can we get from the data of sector 3 in Spain


It requires maximum downforce, a well-manoeuvrable chassis, excellent traction and good brake control.

And, while on other tracks aerodynamic efficiency may be the name of the game as teams reduce downforce levels, in Monaco it doesn’t matter. Power is also not critical.

All of these factors mean that the competitive order can be very different in Monaco compared to other venues, which adds another layer of intrigue for the Blue Riband F1 event.

But every year a clue is offered as to how things will turn out.

This is the performance of the cars through Sector 3 on the Barcelona Circuit, as the low speed cornering sequence and tight chicane reflect the demands of the streets of Monaco quite well.

If you are fast in Sector 3 in Spain this is normally a pretty good sign.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

So how did things go during the recent Spanish GP? Here is the fastest sector 3 times for each car in qualifying.

1. Red Bull 26.295
2. Mercedes 26.400
3. Ferrari 26.580
4. Alpine 26.632
5. McLaren 26.782
6. AlphaTauri 26.827
7. Aston Martin 26.923
8. Williams 27,131
9. Alfa Romeo 27.164
10. Haas 27.311

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For Red Bull, after two races where it lost to Mercedes, the outlook is good with its fastest car via S3.

Sergio Perez is certainly optimistic about what could be on the cards for the RB16B on the streets of Monte Carlo.

“I’m looking forward to Monaco overwhelmingly, especially with this car,” said the Mexican. “I think we have a chance to win the race.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG W10

Photo by: Joe Portlock / Motorsport Images

Mercedes also believe things are tilted in Red Bull’s favor, especially given that rival Milton Keynes appears to have a downforce advantage.

Ground Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin said: “On paper I would probably say this would suit Red Bull more than us.

“We used our wing of maximum downforce and saw it on their car on Friday [in Spain] but they didn’t do it there, so they can put in a little more downforce. So on paper, it’s probably for them. “

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The fight behind the top two also seems intriguing, with McLaren, the “best of the rest” early-season contender, not appearing as comfortable in the low-speed sector as Ferrari and Alpine.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz believes it was definitely a good boost for the Maranello team that they looked so strong in S3.

“Obviously having good support in the last sector gives you a good feeling and it puts you in a good frame of mind to go to Monaco because, of course, you prefer to be fast in sector three in Barcelona”, said he declared.

“But at the same time, Monaco then has a lot of specificities with the car set-up and the preparation of the tires for qualifying. The cars are so different in Monaco that it could be a game-changer.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL34

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL34

Photo by: Joe Portlock / Motorsport Images

McLaren certainly thinks the picture is undefined and thinks it is possible that the picture of the competition will change once the downforce is hit this weekend.

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Lando Norris said: “The big difference between Monaco and the third sector in Spain is obviously that we have a very different setup in Spain.

“It’s a lot more concentrated on sector one and sector two, with the high-speed corners. And it’s quite the opposite in Monaco where there is a lot more low-speed. We also drive a lot more slowly throughout. the car because of the bumps and everything like that.

“I think the whole characteristic of the car is to change a lot. So it’s pretty uncharted territory for this car and so on.”

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The other ultimate truth of Monaco is that it is a weekend where error-free drivers, without hitting traffic in qualifying, a well-timed safety car and not being hit by bad luck can often be just as important in the fight for victories than having a good car.

As Shovlin says: “Even if you go there with the best car and have a great package, it’s still an extremely difficult race to win.”