Pirelli Motorsport boss Mario Isola said that the data gathered by intermediate tyre usage at the German Grand Prix will aid Pirelli for the rest of the 2019 Formula 1 season.
Sunday’s chaotic race at Hockenheim was the first wet race of the year and the changeable conditions ensured that strategy became a crucial element for the teams to get right, with 78 pitstops made through the field.
Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen won the race with a five-stop strategy, using the extreme wet, intermediate, used medium and fresh soft compounds over the course of the 64-lap race.
Second-placed Sebastian Vettel and fourth-placed Lance Stroll also used a five-stop race to help elevate them from lowly starting positions.
Stroll and third-placed man Daniil Kvyat took a gamble on slick tyres on laps 44 and 45, with the decision helping Stroll to lead the race for a brief moment – before falling to fourth in the final classification.
“For the strategists this was one of the hardest races of the year to call,” said Isola.
“They had to constantly anticipate and react to rapidly changing circumstances, both when it came to judging the grip and maximising the opportunities presented by all the safety cars.
“On top of that, the conditions changed a lot from sector to sector.
“As a result though, strategy made a real difference this weekend, especially when it came to working out when to make the final move to slick tyres for the last stint.
“The three drivers on the podium in particular took full advantage of the capabilities of the soft tyre on a drying track at the end of a thrilling and unpredictable race.”
Some drivers, including the Williams Racing pair and Carlos Sainz Jr., did not use any form of dry tyre until the obvious switch-over point (around lap 46), but many ran slick tyres for a few laps in the mid-part of the race as the initial rain cleared.
Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton and Stroll were just a few of the drivers to suffer spins or offs on dry tyres in that middle stage – Leclerc and Hamilton even hit the wall after skating on the drag strip at the exit of Turn 16; with Leclerc retiring as a result.
Isola noted that through the uncertain track conditions, the 2019 intermediate compound showed its “versatility” – a previous unknown due to the lack of wet running so far this season.
“When it was wet, the intermediate tyres proved their versatility in a wide range of conditions, which was crucial as none of the drivers had experienced any proper running on the wet-weather tyres, so there was no real basis on which to judge the crossover points,” he added.
“Now we have collected a lot of data on the intermediate.
“Congratulations to all the podium finishers, and also to Racing Point and Lance Stroll who led the race close to the end thanks to their strategy call.”