Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the first-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where Pirelli believe that many unknown factors could influence drivers strategy at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
The race looks set to be a one-stopper, with the optional strategy being to start on the yellow-banded medium compound tyre, which nine of the top ten will do, and then switch to the white-banded hard compound. Lando Norris is the only driver in the top ten who will start the race on the red-banded soft compound, he will most likely have more tyre management problems than the rest of the front-runners.
Even though a one-stopper is the recommended strategy, many unknown factors remain especially as it’s the first-ever Formula One race at the brand-new circuit. Factors such as safety cars and VSC could open the door to alternative strategies.
Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola, is excited to see how Norris gets on in the race, with the British driver starting on the softs.
“With this being the second-longest lap of the season, the teams and drivers had a relatively limited window of opportunity to get it right, in terms of preparing for a flying lap. The medium tyre was favoured by nearly everyone in Q2, with Lando Norris being the only driver to start on the soft in the top 10. It’s going to be fascinating to see what he can do, surrounded by so many cars starting on mediums.
“The two fastest strategies on paper are medium to hard or soft to hard, but the latter needs a bit more careful management. So we expect the majority of drivers to target a one-stopper but there are many unknown elements that could influence the strategy.” Despite the length of the lap the margins were incredibly close, with 10 drivers covered by just a few tenths of a second on this brand new circuit.”