Pirelli F1 explained how Michael Schumacher was able to set the fastest time in the wet on a weekend when his result is all the more meaningful. “Michael Schumacher set the fastest time for Mercedes in the opening session, with a time of 1:54.355, having managed to post a benchmark on the P Zero White medium tyres before the rain fell.”
Following this stint of rain the drivers were then given “the chance to accumulate plenty of information about the P Zero Orange wet tyre and the P Zero Blue intermediate tyre, which are likely to see lots of action over the rest of the weekend.” Whilst the weather was annoying for the teams’ updates, it was needed for knowledge of what to do on Sunday if in the event of probable rain.
“The rain held off at the start of the afternoon session but the standing water that remained meant that all the drivers started off with intermediate tyres. Once the crossover point had been reached – the time at which it becomes quicker to use slick tyres rather than intermediates – Fernando Alonso set the pace on the P Zero Yellow soft tyres, before being beaten by Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber on the same tyres, who posted a time of 1:50.321.”
When the heavens opened once more the teams chose not to run anymore with the odd exception of Timo Glock. Pirelli explained: “With the teams now allocated four sets of intermediate tyres and three sets of wet tyres for the weekend, and a high likelihood of further bad weather, the emphasis was on conserving the tyres for the remaining days – although one set of the intermediate tyres has to be returned at the end of Friday.”
Pirelli's Motorsport Director and Twitter fanatic Paul Hembery commented: “First of all, it's great to be back on track again after the summer break, and there are few more spectacular places to return to action than Spa. Conditions were extremely variable, with differing amounts of water in different places on the track. This gave the teams the opportunity to assess both the slick, wet and intermediate tyres over a wide window of parameters and conditions.”
“Being the longest lap of the year, tyre strategy will be more important than ever this weekend, with a difference of about 1.2 seconds per lap predicted between the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyre – in dry conditions. But the weather here is incredibly hard to predict, which means that all the data accumulated on the wet and intermediate tyres this weekend is sure to be very useful as well.”