Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso used the super-soft tyre compound to set times within 0.002 seconds as they battled for pole position in Hockenheim today, with Vettel just snatching pole at his home race.
However, Bridgestone suspect that changing weather conditions and the potential for graining on their super-soft compound could add more intrigue to the team’s tyre strategies in tomorrow’s race.
“Today we had a beautiful qualifying session,” said Hirohide Hamashima, the Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development. “The top two drivers used the potential of the super soft Bridgestone to the maximum and for two different drivers in different cars to qualify just 0.002 secs apart is incredible! If both cars started their quickest lap at the same time, Sebastian would have been just 15cm ahead of Fernando at the end of the 4.574 km lap. Remarkable!
“We also saw that if a driver pushed too hard with the super soft in the first sector of the lap, they could not set the times they wanted in the second two sectors.
“For the first time this season we have Fernando Alonso on the front row for a Grand Prix and I think this is just one aspect of many showing that we could have a very exciting race tomorrow.”
“There is still plenty of scope for the track surface to improve with more rubber laid, so the strategy if it stays dry will be interesting as teams react to the lap times and their track positions,” added Hamashima. “If any drivers in the top ten have graining on their qualifying set of tyres, they will have to pit earlier than if they did not, so this will be another good aspect of tyre focus.
“Interestingly, Michael Schumacher is the best placed of the drivers able to choose which tyres he will start the race with, so his tyre choice for his first stint tomorrow will be a good focal point too.
“We have seen a lot of rain over the weekend so far, and I think there is still potential for more too. Everything considered, I am very much looking forward to the race.”