Pirelli Motorsport experienced no issues with their tyres during the two free practice sessions at the Red Bull Ring on Friday, despite some of the hottest temperatures they’ve faced in their time in Formula 1.
Temperatures at the Austrian track peaked at fifty-five degrees centigrade, but Mario Isola, the Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli, revealed that there were no problems faced by any of the teams on the grid with regards to the tyres.
“Today we had some of the hottest track temperatures we’ve experienced in Formula 1, peaking at 55 degrees centigrade, with similar weather expected for the remainder of the weekend,” said Isola.
“Despite these very punishing conditions, the tyres experienced no issues.”
Isola says the disruptions during both sessions will mean a busy final practice session on Saturday morning, and the closeness of the field mean even a small advantage in set-up and strategy could define a driver’s starting position on Sunday.
Lewis Hamilton topped the morning session for Mercedes AMG Motorsport with a time of 1:04.838, while a lap of 1:05.086 was enough to see Charles Leclerc lead the way for Scuderia Ferrari in the afternoon session as both Red Bull Racing‘s Max Verstappen and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas crashed to cause red flags.
The morning session had been red-flagged with three minutes left on the clock thanks to Renault F1 Team‘s Nico Hülkenberg running wide at the final corner and covering the track with debris as he re-joined.
“It was a tricky day driving-wise with changing winds in FP2, and both FP1 and FP2 being interrupted by red flags,” said Isola. “This underlines the usual difficulty of this circuit, enhanced by the closeness of the competition here, making every small advantage in terms of set-up and strategy crucial.
“The teams will be looking to make up for lost time during FP3 tomorrow, before heading into what is likely to be an extremely close qualifying session in the afternoon.”