Head of Pirelli Motorsport in Formula 1 and car racing Mario Isola does not believe the track conditions of qualifying to be “completely representative” for the race.
Qualifying began nearly two hours later on the Saturday than what it will be for the race. In the end, Valtteri Bottas’s pole position time of 1:32.029 is a new track record. The Finn was presented with the pole award by the 1978 F1 World Champion and home-hero Mario Andretti.
Isola expects a tactical battle between Mercedes-AMG Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing, considering the changes of elevation throughout the Circuit of the Americas.
“Unusually, conditions in qualifying are unlikely to be completely representative of the race, as the grand prix takes place three hours earlier,” Isola quoted.
“Today’s warmer conditions suited the tyre range better: the result being a new track record. With more rubber being laid down, we also saw a high degree of track evolution. The tactical battle has already begun with Mercedes, Ferrari and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen choosing to start the race on the medium tyre, ahead of those on the faster soft, which should make the first few laps interesting tomorrow.”
As far as the race is concerned, a one-stop strategy is predicted to be the quickest, particularly for those starting on the soft compound before changing onto the medium tyres in between laps twenty-two and twenty-five.
Isola expects some drivers though, will opt to go for different strategies.
“Theoretically, the quickest race strategy is a one-stop using soft and medium, but there’s really not much in it. Finally, it was a huge honour for us to have Mario Andretti present the pole award here in America today: a genuine legend of our sport.,” Isola added.