It was Bridgestone’s soft tyre compounds that Lewis Hamilton used when setting the fastest lap of the day in this afternoon’s practice session.
Hirohide Hamashima, the Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development explained what was significant about today’s running. “Today was interesting as we saw some very fast lap times and there were many laps from drivers so there is a lot of data to analyse. It was also interesting as we had a heavy rain shower shortly after the second session, which reinforces the variability of the weather here in Malaysia.
“The track conditions seem good here today for the first day of running. Drivers were pushing hard, as shown bythe lap times, and we did see understeer progressing to oversteer as a general trend. Graining was experienced on both front and rear tyres so there are many factors of tyre management to be considered.”
Hamashima expects their to be more of a difference in longevity of the two tyre compounds this weekend than we have seen previously this season. He also says that rain could well play a part on race day. “The hot temperatures should mean that there is a clear difference in durability between the two compounds, however the best lap times should be quite close because the heat assists the warm-up of the higher temperature range hard tyre. This will make strategy considerations interesting, and we could see some variety in the tyre used by the Q3 runners tomorrow.
“The weather, of course, cannot be underestimated, and the soft tyre is a good option if the track is dry, but it looks like rain is not far off. We saw the performance of the intermediate tyre in Melbourne, however the rain here is frequently very severe so the wet tyre could be used. As we saw last year, there can even be too much rain for the race to run, so we will all be looking closely at the skies.”