Bridgestone are analysing tyre data collected from the teams after Friday practice in Melbourne, but with mixed weather conditions in the afternoon session they still haven’t got a clear picture of tyre behaviour around Albert Park.
Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of the day, just ahead of teammate Jenson Button. Hamilton was on the soft Bridgestone tyre, while Button used the hard compound to set his personal best. After this the rain came, and the intermediate tyre was used for the first time this season at a race weekend.
Hirohide Hamashima, the Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development, explained what had happened tyre-wise throughout the day. “The day started with the expected dusty track so there was a lot of surface improvement through the first session. Everyone used the hard Potenza in FP1 for their set-up work but it was difficult to understand car potential without knowing the fuel loads in the cars. The second practice session had rain and we saw some good use of the intermediate tyre. This tyre worked well in damp and drying conditions so we are confident of its performance if rain returns.”
Asked how the teams will use the two compounds over the weekend, Hamashima said that teams were still trying to understand the behaviour of the dry tyres around this circuit. “This is a difficult question to answer due to the mixed weather conditions in FP2. The target of teams in this session is to compare the performance between the hard and soft compounds, but the Melbourne weather interrupted this. At the end of the session there were still small drops of rain falling from the sky, but there was still use of the soft compound. We saw expected levels of graining on this tyre for a 'green' track. The running we have had so far is insufficient for conclusions to be drawn, so tomorrow's practice will be very important.”