Mario Isola said the hard tyre was the key compound for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with the minimal degradation giving drivers confidence to attack throughout the race.
Both eventual race winner Max Verstappen (Oracle Red Bull Racing) and his main rival Charles Leclerc (Scuderia Ferrari) opted to start the race on the medium tyre and fought hard until the end for the victory, while third placed Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari) also opted for the same strategy.
The only drivers to differ on strategy were Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team’s Lewis Hamilton, and Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team’s Nico Hülkenberg, who all opted to start on the hard compound before switching to the mediums late on.
Isola, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director, was delighted to see the new aero and tyre regulations working well, enabling drivers to follow others closely, and they contributed to an ‘exciting race from start to finish’.
“Another good night, another good race!” said Isola. “Once more, in conditions that were completely different from Bahrain in terms of track layout and characteristics, we saw the latest cars able to follow and pass each other with some great on-track battles: which is down to the new tyres as well.
“The hard was the key compound to tonight’s race, with strong performance and almost zero degradation, as proved by Charles Leclerc’s fastest lap just two from the end on a well-used set. The medium also had quite low degradation, contributing to the one-stop strategy that we thought would be fastest and helping to deliver an exciting race from start to finish.”
Isola feels the new car is delivering everything everyone had hoped it would so far in 2022, and with lap times not far off what were seen last year, it is clear how strong the cars already are on track.
“The fastest race lap was also less than a second slower than the equivalent lap on the same compound last year,” he said. “So putting all this together, it’s clear to see how the new car and tyre package is so far delivering on all the hopes and expectations that we had for this year.
“Congratulations to Max Verstappen for the hearthbraking victory!”