Robert Kubica, Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg are well known for their love of a card game or two.

‘You’ve got to gamble’ as Andy Gray would say. Robert Kubica has certainly done that so far this weekend. Warm tyres and a driver on a hot streak saw him put his Renault in an unfamiliar grid position, upsetting a party that Red Bull had probably thought was their own.

I twittered on Thursday that Karun Chandock’s near kiss with the alcoves suggested how unforgiving Monaco can be. Fernando Alonso’s full embrace merely confirmed it.

Ridiculous talk of him having lost his nerve is akin to Fat Albert losing his appetite; it ain’t never gonna happen. Alonso’s charge from the back should make for an appetising prospect in itself. Especially for the TV director who seemed fascinated by the sight of him standing in the Ferrari garage during qualifying.

So why the card game reference you might ask. Well today’s pit stops look set to be less of straight strategy and more of the poker variety. Teams will be holding their cards close in the hope of gaining an advantage over the car in front. The drivers’ love of a quick hand could well come in useful.

Simply covering off a pit-stop move simply won’t be enough for those looking to get ahead, which is why I feel the soft tyre performance will be so crucial today; especially for those in top ten.

We know that a set of new boots generally means better performance, though given the time it is likely to take to get the harder prime tyre to work in the race, staying out a lap longer than the man in front could well reap it’s rewards.

Calling another teams pit-stop bluff is the key to success here. Expect to see crews on their marks, set, with no ‘go’ – for a few laps at least – as they try and goad the front-runners into earlier than planned stops.

The usual pit-lane flurry will be avoided, which would be just as well; Monaco boasts the tightest pit lane on the F1 calendar. Congestion there would mean less poker, more the roulette wheel of Lewis Hamilton’s special Monaco helmet.

Predictions are predictions mind. And let’s face it, what do I know; I’ve never really been a betting man.