Mercedes have never liked the Pirelli Ultrasoft tyres, during preseason testing in Barcelona they never used the pink banded tyres and at the time when selecting quotas, for the Canadian Grand Prix, they opted for only five sets of the fastest rubber for their drivers while rivals have the luxury of eight sets.
Valtteri Bottas finished FP2 with the sixth best lap time using the Hypersofts, which was eight tenths slower than Max Verstappen’s benchmark time of 1:12.328 in the Hypersoft shod Red Bull.
Like his teammate Lewis Hamilton, Bottas will only bolt on the fastest rubber in FP3 for the first time this weekend to evaluate exactly where they are with the tyre.
Bottas summed up his Friday, “It was a good day here in Montreal even though it may not look that strong on the timesheets for us. Ferrari and Red Bull were running the Hypersoft tyres which we will only start using [Saturday] so that’s why our times didn’t look that good.”
“We should be there or thereabouts. Of course, our competitors have a bit of an advantage with the new engines, but I think it will be a close qualifying. The track was very dirty, as soon as you go off the line you lose a lot of grip for the next half a lap or so.”
“We need to be very precise when we drive around the track, especially through the chicanes. I think we’ve learned a thing or two from Monaco about the Hypersofts, so hopefully, we can make them work.”
“The balance of the car was really good from the start, so we only had to do some fine-tuning. The car felt good straight out of the garage. [In qualifying] we will find out how good it is,” added Bottas who finished second behind race winner Hamilton for a Mercedes one-two in Canada last year.
Big Question: Were Mercedes too conservative when choosing too few Hypersoft tyres for Montreal?