The Mercedes Formula 1 team’s data showed it was just 0.1 seconds away from making its Monaco Grand Prix qualifying tyre gamble work, according to Valtteri Bottas

With Bottas and Lewis Hamilton both struggling to match the pace of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, Mercedes attempted an alternative strategy by using Ultrasoft tyres for their first runs in Q2 in a bid to try and gain strategic advantage for Sunday’s race.

But the gamble failed to pay off and with both drivers failing to set quick enough times to progress into Q3, Mercedes switched Bottas and Hamilton onto Hypersofts, meaning the top 10 will all start on Pirelli’s softest compound.

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“We tried to get through with the Ultra because if we had just enough pace maybe we could make it work well,” Bottas said. 

“It would have been quite nice to start with the Ultrasofts while the others would start with the Hyper, because we could do a much longer stint and that could create some opportunities, especially if we’re not starting from the front row. But it didn’t work out, we didn’t have enough pace in the car.

“In the end, from our calculations, we were one tenth away from making it work. But now everyone will be starting with the Hypersoft, so it should be interesting to see who grains them first and what happens then.” 

Despite Pirelli’s calculations that teams should be able to complete a comfortable one-stop strategy, Bottas - who will start fifth on the Monte Carlo grid with teammate Hamilton two positions higher - believes it could prove difficult.

“I think it is a decent race tyre and I thin we can do a relatively long stint with the Ultra Soft,” he explained. “There are small issues with graining, but nothing compared with what we have with the Hyper.

“We struggled quite a lot with the Hyper in practice and I honestly think that starting with the Hyper it’s going to be difficult to make it with one stop.”

Bottas added he thinks the Hypersoft’s drop-off in performance is so vast that it is possible to lose around one-to-two seconds per lap once it has started to degrade. 

“It’s quite a steep degradation once it starts. It’s a funny tyre, because when it happens, it happens and you lose so much tyre surface suddenly, within one lap. 

‘And on this track when it has been happening you lose very quickly half a second and then more than one second. Once it’s fully grained then the time loss is between one and two seconds.”

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