Pirelli Motorsport boss Mario Isola has told of his excitement over the difference in strategies between the top teams for the start of the Canadian Grand Prix.
Whilst Aston Martin Red Bull Racing stayed with the softest compound, the hyper-soft, for yesterday’s second Qualifying session in Montréal, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport and Scuderia Ferrari successfully gambled with the ultra-soft tyre to see them into Q3 – ensuring that they start the race on the effective ‘medium’ compound.
“Qualifying went as we expected,” said Isola. “[It came] with an important strategic element as Mercedes and Ferrari chose the ultra-soft to set their fastest times in Q2 and therefore start the race.
“This has the advantage of a longer life than the hyper-soft, but it is theoretically slower off the line, so the start will be very interesting.”
Pirelli’s predictions suggest that a one-stop strategy starting on the hyper-soft before taking the super-soft – the hardest slick compound brought to the race weekend – is the superior strategy. With the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers starting on the ultra-softs, a change to the super-softs – projected to come around lap 25 – is set to be their best choice. It means that they bypass the hyper-soft compound altogether.
However, Isola warned against making concrete predictions due to the frequency of the Safety Car at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. If history is anything to go by, there is a 50% chance of a Safety Car in the race – which has a positive effect on tyre and fuel life. Strategists must bare this in mind when finalising their choices and be aware of the need to change their plans for different circumstances.
“With a wide mix of possible tactics and a historically high chance of a Safety Car, it’s particularly hard to make any predictions,” Isola added.
“This isn’t a race where qualifying has the biggest influence on final results, so the most important thing during the Grand Prix will be to react efficiently to circumstances and opportunities as they happen.”