Analysis: Tense Monaco duel proves Pirelli can reinvigorate F1

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What the Monaco Grand Prix lacks in action it makes up for in tension, and that proved very accurate during Sunday's race.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen ran nose-to-tail for 70 laps with everyone watching on knowing that, at some point, the Dutchman would have to risk it all.

Eventually, he did, with a half-hearted lunge at the chicane that was more of an acknowledgement from Max that he wasn't going to pass the Mercedes, but at least he could say he tried.

After that, it was upto the world champion to complete a masterful drive to clinch his third win in the principality, one he would call his "hardest" ever.

Some critics will point to the largely processional race in which the major positions were decided in the pit-lane, and it's true that watching a faster car have no opportunity to pass was frustrating.

But what the battle did show is that F1 can increase the action and bring back the unpredictability simply by tweaking the tyres.

From 2011-2016, Pirelli had a high-degradation philosophy which teams absolutely hated because, no matter what they tried, they couldn't be tamed.

As a result, every little drama from punctures to four-stop race strategies led to an outcry which saw the compounds gradually get harder and harder each year.

When the cars changed in 2017, the approach was abandoned altogether as Pirelli played it safe not knowing exactly what the stresses and strains of the faster cars would be.

And since then, the argument has switched from degradation to temperature ranges because once again some teams are unhappy they can't conquer one of motorsport's dark arts.

This year, ultra-conservative, thinner-treaded compounds are being used after complaints last year about blistering, which only occurred at some circuits.

The result has been mostly dull one-stop races with predominantly the same outcome.

During the high-degradation years, the biggest moaners were typically Mercedes, as their tyre management was horrible in the Pirelli/V8 era.

Sure, they had a quick car at times, but try and show that pace over full race stint and they couldn't.

The V6 era changed all that, yet even then they would struggle with the softer compounds more than most, particularly at circuits where the engine couldn't always save them like Monaco and Singapore.

Of course, Mercedes weren't alone in their criticism, but the constant bowing to pressure by Pirelli is largely responsible for the domination we have seen this season.

You could argue that now it's Red Bull and Ferrari in Mercedes' previous position of displeasure, but that's par for the course in F1 because you'll never please everyone.

Even the drivers complain that they want to push, but if every car went flat-out every lap, more often than not, they'd finish in the order that they started.

As a result, the Italian supplier should be encouraged to create more scenarios like Monaco and pre-2017 when even the top teams falter for getting decisions wrong.

Because make no mistake, if Sunday's race had been in Montreal, Hamilton would have stopped again, dropped down to fifth and then F1 would have been treated to watching him recover back up the order.

It isn't just the racing that tyres can solve either, last weekend only one driver crashed into the barriers around the streets of Monte Carlo across three days.

You could say that's a testament to the skill of the drivers but, actually, it isn't. What it proves how today's F1 cars have way, way too much grip.

The action in Baku furthers back this up as downforce has to be taken off for the long straights. But rather than call for less aero, why not make the current grip level harder to achieve.

This can be done through narrowing the rear tyres and putting more emphasis on the driver control his throttle inputs and also narrowing the operating window by which the optimum grip level is achieved.

Of course, the tyre sensors teams run would have to be banned as well, but this is all about creating variables that put the drivers to the test.

Make them have to discover the peak performance level rather than have it engineered in, and also make the cars more challenging to drive when they're not perfect.

Some will say that such changes would hurt the team that has the best car.

But based on the reaction to five one-twos and a one-three for Mercedes this season, it seems that approach isn't popular either.

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