Pirelli’s Mario Isola: Leclerc “executed the theoretically fastest tyre strategy perfectly”

by Paul Hensby

Mario Isola said Charles Leclerc was a deserving winner of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix after a strong performance throughout the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, on what was an extremely difficult Sunday for everyone following the tragic loss the day before of FIA Formula 2 racer Anthoine Hubert.

Leclerc started from pole position for the third time in his career, and aside from a couple of laps behind team-mate Sebastian Vettel, led the majority of the forty-four-lap race, taking his maiden Grand Prix triumph despite late pressure from reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton.

Isola, the Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Motorsport, said Leclerc did a great job on what appeared to be the optimum strategy at Spa-Francorchamps, with the Scuderia Ferrari driver taking the win by managing his tyres superbly, particularly over the closing laps with Hamilton approaching.

“Congratulations to Ferrari and Charles Leclerc for his well-deserved first victory, after what has been an extremely difficult weekend for the whole motorsport community with the loss of Anthoine Hubert,” said Isola.

“Charles executed the theoretically fastest tyre strategy perfectly, managing his final set of mediums very well under a lot of pressure from Lewis Hamilton at the end.”

Isola said the change in atmospheric conditions on Sunday compared to the rest of the weekend made it difficult for teams up and down the paddock to adapt the tyres to the track, with wear and degradation rates different to what they were experiencing during the free practice sessions.

“One of the big challenges for all the drivers was adapting to very different weather conditions to what we had seen previously this weekend, which made wear and degradation rates quite tricky to anticipate,” admitted Isola.

Only the soft and medium compounds were used throughout the race on Sunday – the hard compound was nowhere to be seen – with Kevin Magnussen running the longest stint on the softest compound – twenty-five laps – while Daniel Ricciardo made a set of medium tyres last right from the end of lap one until the chequered flag. 

Vettel used the soft tyre to good effect after his second pit stop to take his second fastest lap of the season and the bonus point to go with it.

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