Pirelli has taken the C2, C3 and C4 compounds to the desert, which are one step softer than last year's choice. Yesterday in qualifying, it soon became clear that the soft tyre is only good for one lap, and many teams chose to try the medium tyre. Everyone who went on to Q3 did so on the medium compound, so that's also the rubber on which the entire top ten will start.
Pirelli's data indicate that a two-stop will be fastest in this race. This means that the drivers will drive around 21 laps on the medium, after which they will have to drive 18 laps x2 on the soft tyre. However, a one-stopper is also possible, but then the teams will have to switch to the hard tyre after the mediums. Maybe this is the key to success for Max Verstappen?
Mario Isola, head of Pirelli, saw that the strategy for the race already started in Q2. "Because the top ten all start on the mediums, they have options for their second stint. We saw in qualifying that there is not much difference between the soft and the medium band. Lewis Hamilton even managed to improve the track record on two different compounds, which proves that the sport is indeed getting faster and faster," he says to MotorsportWeek.