Managing soft tyres will be key – Bridgestone

Bridgestone’s Hirohide Hamashima has said that controlling graining of the soft tyre will be a big challenge for the teams this weekend in Barcelona.

Speaking after Friday practice, where Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time using the option tyre, the Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development said he expected some fast times this weekend, especially if the sun comes out in Spain. “Today was rather cold for Barcelona in May, and it did take slightly longer for our tyres to warm-up than we would see in hotter conditions. In fact, today's weather was quite similar in some respects to that seen at the test here in February, so there were not many surprises.

“The track temperature was warmer in the afternoon and we did see a good improvement in grip from the track surface. Lap times were quick, with Vettel's time faster than the overall lap record for pole, so we can expect some fast times if it remains dry this weekend.

Hamashima expects that the teams will find the hard tyre will be the best for the race, as the soft compound will grain if pushed too hard. “We evaluated the hard compound after the first practice session and there was graining on this tyre, and in particular on the front left. This was the same for the soft tyre in the afternoon session, especially when it was used with heavy fuel loads. “The graining on the hard tyre was far less in the afternoon, thanks to the improved track surface.

“Controlling the graining on the soft tyre will be the challenge for all competitors this weekend. Of course, as we have seen many times so far this season, the weather and potential for rain is also a factor.”