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Pirelli’s ultrasoft tire returns en masse for Monaco GP

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The Spanish Grand Prix saw Pirelli’s three hardest tire compounds on offer, with the soft, medium and hard compounds available for selection.

However next week at Monaco, it’s back to Pirelli’s three softest compounds, with the ultrasoft, supersoft and soft tires available to be utilized.

And as team selections for Pirelli at Monaco have been revealed, most drivers are going heavy on the ultrasoft tire, Pirelli’s softest overall compound.

Only two teams – Mercedes and Toro Rosso – are opting to select nine sets of the ultrasofts of the available 13 sets. All other teams have gone for at least 10, and some with 11, of the 13 sets for ultrasofts.

Meanwhile on the polar end of the spectrum only one driver, the returning Jenson Button at McLaren, has opted to select two sets of the soft compound tires. The other 19 drivers have gone for only one set of softs apiece.

The remaining variance comes in the supersofts, the middle compound. Mercedes and Toro Rosso again lead the way here with three sets selected for all four of their drivers, while the rest have only selected two or one set apiece.

The full breakdown is here.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.