Bridgestone predict that rear traction deterioration could be an issue for drivers using the soft compound during tomorrow’s race.
The company say that the condition of the rear tyres will be primary concern of team strategists as they consider their pitstop strategies.
Regulations dictate that, in a dry race, each driver must use both the hard and soft compounds during tomorrow’s race. Those qualifying in the top ten must start the race on the set of tyres used to set their qualifying time. All of the those making it into Q3, including pole sitter Mark Webber, used the soft tyre in today’s qualifying session.
Hirohide Hamashima, the Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Management, said that overnight rain had affected tyre performance for today’s sessions: “There was significant rain last night and also stronger wind today at the circuit so there wasn't as much improvement in lap times from yesterday as we would often see. The rain washed away a lot of the rubber laid on track and the wind affects the cars so it was a challenging day for teams and drivers in that respect.”
Asked about likely strategies for the race, Hamashima predicts that tyre management could be tricky for some drivers tomorrow: “Every driver in the top ten will start on the soft compound so managing this tyre with heavy fuel loads will be a challenge. Initially, drivers will have to be mindful of graining on the front left tyre, then as the race goes on they will have to be careful about rear traction.
“It will be rear tyre degradation which is the primary consideration for pit stop strategy so it will be interesting to see the different approaches to tomorrow's race. Even today some drivers were finding rear traction was deteriorating in the rear sector when they pushed too hard.”