• Monaco Grand Prix

Mercedes will leave drivers alone as much as possible

ESPN Staff
May 25, 2013 « Webber surprised by qualifying gaps | Renault confirms 2014 engine deal with Toro Rosso »
Nico Rosberg will start from pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix © Sutton Images
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Mercedes is not planning on using Lewis Hamilton as a 'rear-gunner' at Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix and intends to leave its drivers to race as much as it can.

Mercedes locked out the front row in qualifying on Saturday, with Nico Rosberg starting from pole position and Lewis Hamilton lining up just behind in second. The lack of overtaking opportunities at Monaco means it could be Mercedes' best shot at a victory this year as its drivers will be able to look after their rear tyres better.

But Brawn said using Hamilton as a buffer to create a big gap between Rosberg and the rest of the field was not something the team is planning on.

"The tortoise and hare strategy is one that people speculate on but I don't think either of our drivers are tortoises," he said. "We'll let the race run and see what develops. Our ambition would be to get a one-two and we will do what is sensible to try and achieve that and we'll see what happens. I think it's impossible to speculate on if we can achieve that and how we might achieve that.

"If you're thinking along those lines, you need to have said that before practice and we've not done it. We'll let the race develop and as always we'll do what's right for the team while leaving the drivers alone as possible to race each other."

Brawn explained that the tyres could only be pushed so far before they started degrading rapidly.

"The tyres have certain characteristics and if you exceed the capacity of the tyre it can deteriorate very quickly," he said. "If you don't, if you manage it through the driver or the car, you can get a lot more life out of it. It's not linear, so if you go 5% over the limit you halve the life of the tyre. So you don't need to improve by a huge margin to get the tyre back into a good area.

"We've been in a good place with the tyres a few times this year and we've been in a bad place a few times this year. It is very difficult to predict what you are going to see on a Sunday. We made some progress from what I could judge on Thursday and I think the car was better over a long run, but whether it's good enough we won't know until we're faced with a race and race conditions and the drivers racing each other nose-to-tail. That will be the measure."

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