Pirelli report from the Austrian Grand Prix, Round 1 of the 2020 Formula 1 World Championship at Red Bull Ring.
Mercedes driver Bottas was able to take advantage of the first safety car period to switch from soft to hard tyres, maintaining the lead from start to finish with just one pit stop, which was the fastest predicted theoretical strategy. He was the only podium finisher to stop just once.
Another, much longer, safety car period prompted another round of pit stops, prior to the final few racing laps but Bottas (as well as his teammate Lewis Hamilton) stayed out – unlike many of their rivals who stopped again.
The first safety car was the strategic turning point, with all the drivers swapping to hard tyres for the second stint. The only exception was
Racing Point’s Sergio Perez, who completed the final stint on the medium tyre to finish sixth.
The second and third-place finishers, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and McLaren’s Lando Norris, used all three compounds available this weekend.
How Each Tyre Performed
HARD C2: Used by all the drivers apart from Perez, as a key ingredient to what was planned as a long second stint. Haas driver Romain Grosjean was the first to switch to the hard following a spin early in the race.
MEDIUM C3: Used by all the drivers outside the top 10 of the grid to start the race and a key ingredient of the reverse strategy planned by Verstappen, who was running second. McLaren’s Lando Norris used this compound to set fastest lap close to the end of the race.
SOFT C4: Seen in the first stint of the race, with the tyre change window falling conveniently in the first safety car period, and also in the last stint – with some drivers trying to take advantage of their extra speed for a final sprint following the last safety car.
Mario Isola, Head of F1: “The race strategy was very much dictated by safety cars, with all the teams reacting to rapidly changing circumstances. This also turned what was expected to be one-stop race into a two-stopper for some drivers.
“There was plenty of action both on and off the track, with all three compounds performing in line with our expectations and an unexpectedly wide variety of strategies.
“Congratulations also to McLaren’s Lando Norris for scoring his first podium in Formula 1, as well as fastest lap. It’s been a very difficult start to the season for everyone with the Covid-19 pandemic but we’ve certainly got off to an exciting beginning now – and we get to do it all over again in a week’s time.”