Monaco GP fuel loads give no comfort to Button’s rivals – especially Vettel

With pole position and a decent fuel load, Jenson Button will be hard to catch

With pole position and a decent fuel load, Jenson Button will be hard to catch

As claimed by Ross Brawn, Jenson Button is indeed carrying more than 20 laps’ worth of fuel going into the Monaco Grand Prix.

The championship leader starts with 23 laps’ worth of fuel on board – two more than Kimi Raikkonen, who starts alongside him. And, crucially, he has 16kg more fuel on board than fourth-placed Sebastian Vettel.

Grid Qualifying Name Weight Fuel (kg) First stint (laps)
1 1 Jenson Button 647.5 42.5 23
2 2 Kimi Raikkonen 644 39 21
3 3 Rubens Barrichello 648 43 23
4 4 Sebastian Vettel 631.5 26.5 14
5 5 Felipe Massa 643.5 38.5 21
6 6 Nico Rosberg 642 37 20
7 7 Heikki Kovalainen 644 39 21
8 8 Mark Webber 646.5 41.5 23
9 9 Fernando Alonso 654 49 27
10 10 Kazuki Nakajima 668 63 35
11 11 Sebastien Buemi 670 65 36
12 12 Nelson Piquet Jnr 673.1 68.1 38
13 13 Giancarlo Fisichella 693 88 50
14 14 Sebastien Bourdais 699.5 94.5 53
15 15 Adrian Sutil 670 65 36
16 17 Nick Heidfeld 680 75 42
17 18 Robert Kubica 696 91 51
18 19 Timo Glock 700.8 95.8 54
19 20 Jarno Trulli 688.3 83.3 47
20 16 Lewis Hamilton 645.5 40.5 22

Fuel weights source: FIA. Fuel use per lap: 1.723kg – source: Williams

Other points to note:

  • The Red Bull duo are on completely different strategies, with Mark Webber carrying a similar load of fuel to the Button, but down in eighth. It seems Red Bull are just off the pace at Monaco.
  • Lewis Hamilton is much lighter on fuel than the cars immediately in front of him – if anyone’s going to be doing some overtaking in the opening stages, it has to be him.
  • Glock is brimmed full, his starting weight over 700kg. A couple of safety cars would suit him nicely.
Monaco Grand Prix pit stop projections (click to enlarge)

Monaco Grand Prix pit stop projections (click to enlarge)

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68 comments on Monaco GP fuel loads give no comfort to Button’s rivals – especially Vettel

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  1. Bourdais would be my man to watch tomorrow. With 53 laps and starting from 14th, if he gets lucky as those in front of him retire he could quite easily score some points.

  2. Surprisingly Alonso has 10Kg more than anyone else in the top 10. Could it be that he wanted to have the chance to change strategy during the race? (going for one stop less than the rivals?

  3. Navs said on 23rd May 2009, 17:49

    Whoa, Vettel should have been the man on pole. Guess that traffic really cost him. Well, at least he can hope to get a better start than Massa with the lighter Red Bull and hold off the KERS button on the Ferrari.

    Webber can only hope for a points finish unless the race goes topsy-turvy with a safety car or something. Weird that he couldn’t get more from the car, he’s only fueled as much as the guys up front, not more at all. Not sure why he’s calling it a good strategy.

    Button is clearly able to extract more from the car when it counts than Barrichello. When Barrichello is running around claiming he was “stunned” (on ITV website) with Button’s pole lap – I don’t think we need to start digging up team orders to explain results anymore.

    I must say Buemi continues to impress. However, we would have a better idea of his skill if Bourdais was able to adapt his driving style to F1. Then Buemi would have a worthy competitor. Let’s hope neither get into an accident again.

    • KERS can only be pressed when the engine is on 3rd gear after the start. Otherwise the wheels just lose all grip. Not a point for Massa until after the first turn. Vettel should be able to make progress for sure!

    • Navs said on 23rd May 2009, 18:18

      Hi ihr,

      Where can I read about these details about KERS?

      I keep hearing that KERS can only kick in after a speed of around 100kph, and now about the 3rd gear. I would have thought it is highly track-specific since grip and downforce levels all impact when there is enough traction for KERS to be safely deployed without wheel spin.

      Any info would be great. Thanks.

    • Patrickl said on 23rd May 2009, 19:01

      Navs,

      Maybe it’s not so much a rule, but more that the tyres just cannot provide enough grip to put all the power down.

      If they put the pedal to the metal off the start line, all they get is a big cloud of tyre smoke. Adding 80bhp won’t help.

    • @Navs, It is like Patrickl describes, and changes from car to car and circuit to circuit. AFAIK, the KERS can be configured to offer 80hp during 6.5 seonds or 40 hp during 13 seconds or 20 hp during 26 seconds etc… at least this is how Renault implemented it. The source of my information (which is your question) is the FIA rules documentation the buttons in the steering whell of Renault and the use of KERS that Massa did during the startup of the Spanish GP (on TV). He pressed KERS button very near turn 1 (in Spain) and turn 1 is closer in Monaco than in Spain.

  4. ceedas said on 23rd May 2009, 17:51

    TMC has been forecasting a bit of rain in Monaco tomorrow, which is odd as no internet forecast I can find agrees. But if the weather does turn then all of those with more fuel will be handed an advantage.

    • Mark Hitchcock said on 23rd May 2009, 18:15

      There are some storms to the West of Monaco I think (I had only just woken up this morning when the forecast came on so I may be wrong!) so perhaps that’s where the risk of rain comes from.
      The BBC forecast predicted a sunny and dry race though.

  5. Navs said on 23rd May 2009, 17:53

    Is this also the first time Button has someone from the old guard next to him on the grid?

  6. John H said on 23rd May 2009, 17:54

    Hamilton can’t be liking those Fisi & Bourdais loads! Still, it should make for some decent entertainment in the first stint.

  7. Prateek said on 23rd May 2009, 17:55

    It would be useful to know the total race distance in laps. Keith?

  8. Chris said on 23rd May 2009, 17:58

    You have to feel for Hamilton he seems to be plegaged this year.

  9. Mark Hitchcock said on 23rd May 2009, 18:16

    I don’t understand Hamilton’s strategy. He’s unlikely to be able to make up enough places before his first stop to make it work.

    Maybe they weighed the car with its wheel off and he’s actually got more fuel that we think ;)

    • pSynrg said on 23rd May 2009, 18:37

      I know what you mean – this is Monaco after all. But I like the attitude this implies. Is he just gonna give it go anyway. It will either be thrilling to watch (as ever) or it will all end in tears…

    • Patrickl said on 23rd May 2009, 19:19

      Several “racers” have shown that it actually is possible to overtake at Monaco.

      Besides it’s Hamilton’s only chance since all the backmarkers usually go for the “fill er up and hope for a lucky safety car/weather change” strategy.

    • Mark Hitchcock said on 23rd May 2009, 19:52

      Yeah, it is encouraging that he wants to get out there and race. If he can pull off a few moves on the heavier cars (and Hamilton is one of the guys you’d expect to be able to) then it’ll be exciting. But I just don’t think he’ll be able to make enough progress to make it the best strategy.

    • dill said on 23rd May 2009, 20:02

      Bit like schumacher in 2006, started from the pitlane, there were very few retirements, and ended up 5th

      but im not saying hamiltons any kind of schumacher here

    • Patrickl said on 23rd May 2009, 22:17

      No, hamilton is no Schumacher. Hamilton would try to overtake cars.

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 24th May 2009, 2:25

      I’d say he wants to come in early and get out of the traffic long enough to really open the throttle a little and circulate in the clean air enough to pass everyone else during their stops.

  10. Spud said on 23rd May 2009, 18:29

    Good to see the Force India’s NOT at the back of the grid for a change.

  11. persempre said on 23rd May 2009, 18:30

    A bit of a stange brew in places.
    Do you think there`s more than a few banking on Safety Cars, Keith?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd May 2009, 22:06

      I think Red Bull are definitely hedging their bets. But the problem with not having both cars on the optimal strategy is you’re almost certain to put one car in a position of disadvantage (hence the uproar over the Brawn cars strategies at Spain).

  12. Chaz said on 23rd May 2009, 18:35

    Wow, those Brawn cars just keep getting better…

    • Chaz said on 23rd May 2009, 18:43

      I just hope Jenson can keep his place off the start as his starts have not been to good of late…

  13. pSynrg said on 23rd May 2009, 18:40

    A 700kg F1 package from Glock. Is that a first?

  14. Damon said on 23rd May 2009, 18:43

    Wow, we may actually see a Ferrari in the lead tomorrow :) They’ve made a fantastic job this season.

  15. Bigbadderboom said on 23rd May 2009, 18:50

    Well done Jenson, life will be difficult for Kimi on the dirty line, all he needs do is keep inside.

    Unlucky Lewis but at least he’s going to have a go in the race.

    And despite repeatedly having a dig at him, well done Nelson!, actually showing some good pace with that fuel load.

    It’s gonna be a good one!!

    • Nelson qualified on a low fuel load — he did not make Q3, so his declared fuel load has nothing to do with his qualifying times.

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