Bridgestone are trying an interesting experiment this weekend, bringing their hard and super-soft dry tyres to Hockenheim for the German Grand Prix.
This is the first time that the Japanese tyre company has chosen compounds from either end of the range, and the team’s were expecting this move to provide them with an additional challenge.
However, it was Bridgestone’s wet and intermediate tyres that were first to hit the tarmac in a rain affected morning practice session, although the track had dried sufficiently after lunch to allow some dry running.
“Today was very challenging and interesting from a tyre perspective,” said Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development. “We had a very wet circuit in the morning, but one which was drying through the session.
“Teams were able to evaluate the performance of the wet and intermediate tyres in these conditions which gives us and them very useful data on the crossover point between the wet and intermediates.
“The afternoon started with a track which was completely dry in some areas, but still with puddles in others. Again a challenge, but we saw good running with both compounds of the dry Bridgestones in this session.”
Hamashima is interested to see how this gap in compounds affects the team’s strategies on race day, when it is expected to be dry. However, the rain is forecast to return for qualifying tomorrow, and the difference in a good grid slot and a rubbish grid slot could well come down to being on the right tyre at the right time.
“We have never used such a wide gap between compounds for our allocation for a race before so this is a learning process for everyone,” he said. “This afternoon we saw graining of all types on the super soft tyres, on the front and the rear.
“Interestingly, the front graining did not affect lap time so much today for some drivers. The hard tyre proved very durable, and warm-up was not as challenging as it could have been.
“Hopefully tomorrow we will be able to gain more data ahead of the race. However, we could have a wet circuit once more, and a wet qualifying session, so being on the right tyre at the right time through qualifying will be very important.”