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Spanish GP: Pirelli Qualifying Review


By Courtesy of Pirelli
May 12 2019

 
 Pirelli Spanish GP Qualifying Review
 
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Valtteri Bottas headed up a Mercedes one-two in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, also setting a new track record. From start to finish of the session, the P Zero Red soft tyre was used by all the drivers. Bottas was given his Pirelli Pole Position Award prize (for the third consecutive time this year) by WWE Wrestling Superstar Cesaro: one of the biggest names in American wrestling.

POSSIBLE RACE STRATEGIES
The quickest strategy on paper for the 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix is a two-stopper. The strategy goes like this: start on the soft tyre for 22 laps, do another soft stint for 23 laps, then medium to the end.

However, as is often the case, the teams will probably aim for a one-stopper: especially as it’s quite hard to overtake in Barcelona. In which case, the theoretically fastest one-stopper would be to start on the soft tyre for 27 laps – managing it carefully – and then switch to the hard until the finish.

A less marginal strategy – which is quite close anyway on overall race time – is to start on the medium for 30 laps, then switch to the hard for the final 36 laps. However, nobody in the top 10 of the grid will be able to try this.

As always, a lot of this will be dependent on race day track temperatures, which will have a direct impact on wear and degradation on the soft tyre in particular.

 
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KEEP AN EYE ON
- Temperatures. Conditions were cool and cloudy for FP3 and then warmed up for qualifying – but were still lower than Friday. Weather seems changeable.
- Strategies. Nobody in the top 10 has opted to start the race on the medium tyre, which might mean that a two-stopper is maybe being considered.
- The front-left tyre is normally the limiting factor in Barcelona but managing the degradation on the rear tyres is also going to be critical.
- Haas. Both cars were in the top 10 and have shown strong pace all weekend.
- Lando Norris: the McLaren driver, in 11th, is the first person to have a free choice of starting tyre tomorrow so could opt to begin on the medium tyre.

MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
“Like we thought, this was an extremely rapid qualifying session, with Bottas lowering the pole benchmark from last year by more than half a second and setting another circuit record. We thought that some drivers might attempt to get through Q2 on the medium tyre but this turned out not to be the case, which means that they are either targeting a two-stopper or they feel confident that a soft-hard strategy would work tomorrow. It's going to be interesting to see which option they choose, and whether or not an alternative strategy from outside the top 10 could challenge their thinking. Weather conditions have varied a bit today, and this could be another factor influencing tyre performance tomorrow.”
 
FREE PRACTICE 3 – TOP 3 TIMES
DRIVER		TIME		COMPOUND
Hamilton	1m16.568s	SOFT C3 NEW
Leclerc		1m17.099s	SOFT C3 NEW
Bottas		1m17.123s	SOFT C3 NEW

QUALIFYING TOP 10
DRIVER		TIME		COMPOUND
Bottas		1m15.406s	SOFT C3 NEW
Hamilton	1m16.040s	SOFT C3 NEW
Vettel		1m16.272s	SOFT C3 NEW
Verstappen	1m16.357s	SOFT C3 NEW
Leclerc		1m16.613s	SOFT C3 NEW
Gasly		1m16.708s	SOFT C3 NEW
Grosjean	1m16.911s	SOFT C3 USED
Magnussen	1m16.922s	SOFT C3 NEW
Kvyat		1m17.573s	SOFT C3 NEW
Ricciardo	1m18.106s	SOFT C3 USED

MOST LAPS BY COMPOUND SO FAR
COMPOUND	DRIVER		LAPS
HARD C1		Albon		27
MEDIUM C2	Ricciardo	25
SOFT C3		Leclerc, Sainz	24

BEST TIME BY COMPOUND SO FAR
COMPOUND	DRIVER		TIME
HARD C1		Hamilton	1m18.647s
MEDIUM C2	Hamilton	1m17.655s
SOFT C3		Bottas		1m15.406s
 
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