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Pirelli: Quickest theoretical strategy is a two-stopper

Nico Rosberg fastest in Montreal qualifying
Nico Rosberg fastest in Montreal Qualifying

In qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg has claimed his seventh career pole position, using the P Zero Red Super-soft tyres to set a time of 1:14.874s in hot conditions that peaked at an ambient temperature of 27 degrees centigrade and track temperature in excess of 40 degrees.

Once more, pole position was fought mostly between Rosberg and team mate Lewis Hamilton, with the Englishman lining up second on the grid.

The Mercedes, Red Bull and Williams drivers all got through Q1 without using the Super-soft tyres, which were then seen on all the cars in Q2 and Q3. Those three teams, plus the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, left themselves two new sets of Super-softs for the final top 10 shoot-out.

Hamilton was quickest in the final free practice session this morning, ahead of the Williams of Felipe Massa. Hamilton used the Soft tyre to set his fastest time while Massa used the Super-soft.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “The significantly higher temperatures we experienced during Qualifying today will have altered tyre behaviour compared to Free Practice yesterday, when the teams did their set-up work, and in turn this will also have an effect on the tyre strategy. However, we’re only expecting one or two stops for most drivers, depending on the car. That’s a sign of how low wear and degradation has been, with very little drop-off in pace even on the softest tyre, in warm temperatures with heavy traction demands. We already saw plenty of strategy [used] in Qualifying, with the Soft tyres seemingly suiting some cars more than the faster Super-soft. As a result of that, the times were very closely matched, with every indication that this will be the case for the race tomorrow as well.”

The Pirelli strategy predictor:

  • The Canadian Grand Prix is 70 laps long, with between one and two stops expected – although this could change if temperatures continue to rise.
  • The quickest theoretical strategy is actually a two-stopper: start on Super-soft, change to Soft on lap 13, Soft again on lap 41 then run to the finish.
  • A one-stop strategy would be: start on Super-soft, change to Soft on lap 26, and run to the finish.