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The new Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft compound seen in competition for the first time today will be combined with a new profile for 2012 to form the basis of next year’s medium tyres, now that the current season is over. All of the slick tyres apart from the supersoft compound will be brand new next year, making their debut at the first official test of 2012 next February in Spain.

With the anticipated threat of rain eventually holding off, Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber claimed his first win of a remarkable debut season for Pirelli at the final grand prix, using the new P Zero Yellow soft tyres and the P Zero White medium tyres.

Webber took the lead on lap 29, after his team mate Sebastian Vettel lost time with a gearbox problem, having led from pole. Webber adopted a three-stop strategy, using three sets of soft tyres and one set of medium tyres to win the race by 16.9 seconds from his team mate. It was Webber’s seventh career victory, securing him third place in the final championship standings.

A few isolated raindrops fell on the Interlagos paddock about an hour before the race started, but the grand prix got underway in dry conditions and temperatures of around 24 degrees. All 24 cars started on the P Zero Yellow soft tyres, giving them greater flexibility in their strategies in case of rain – which never materialised.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was the first driver to switch to the medium tyre on lap 31, using a different strategy to his team mate Lewis Hamilton. The top four runners all adopted a three-stop strategy, with Ferrari driver Felipe Massa the highest-placed two-stopper in fifth, having run two stints on the soft tyre and one final stint on the medium.

Button was the only driver to use the P Zero White medium for two stints, making his last stop on lap 52. The Englishman was able to push hard during his final stint, as he chased a top-three finish, which he claimed with nine laps to go: his eighth podium in nine races that cemented his runner-up place in the drivers’ championship.

The fastest lap of the race was also set on the P Zero White medium tyre, by Mark Webber on the very final lap. It was Webber’s eighth fastest lap this year on Pirelli tyres.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “This didn’t turn out to be the race that most people expected, with the predicted rain holding off. At the last race of the season there were a few mechanical issues for some cars, but our tyres were completely reliable – as they have been all year, with no structural failures – and we achieved our objective of having a performance gap of less than a second between the compounds, which should be the case next year as well. It’s been a season that has, if anything, exceeded our expectations – where we’ve seen the most overtaking in the history of the Formula One World Championship – and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our team in Milan, Didcot and Izmit for their extraordinary work this season. They should all be proud of their achievements. I’d also like to thank all the teams and drivers for their unstinting support, advice and partnership.”

Categories: Formula 1 Pirelli

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Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel has claimed his ninth victory of the year with Pirelli, but second place for McLaren’s Jenson Button, Vettel’s only potential challenger, means that the title fight will continue to the next round in Japan.

The Singapore Grand Prix – held at night with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees centigrade and humidity close to 80% – is one of the toughest races of the season, taking the longest time to complete and requiring the heaviest fuel load. This places huge demands on the tyres, particularly with constant impacts against the kerbing and 23 corners testing traction to the limit.

Vettel sealed his victory with a three-stop strategy, starting on the supersoft tyre before switching to the soft tyre twice for two longer stints in the middle of the race. The German, on course to become the youngest double world champion in Formula One history, ended the race on the supersoft tyre, managing his strategy perfectly to lead from start to finish.

Just after half-distance an accident brought out the safety car (which has appeared at every grand prix so far in Singapore) and eroded Vettel’s 22-second lead, delivering an extra aspect to the tyre strategy as most of the frontrunners pitted for fresh tyres.

The speed differential between the soft and the supersoft tyre, just over a second per lap, created plenty of overtaking opportunities throughout the race, with some spectacular moves from start to finish. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton dropped out of the lead battle following contact with Felipe Massa, but despite accident damage, a drive-through penalty and five visits to the pits, he used the speed of both the soft and the supersoft compounds to climb back up to fifth place at the finish.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “We’ve seen a truly spectacular race under the lights of Singapore, where tyre strategy was key. The heat, humidity and length of the race made it a tough event for our tyres, but both the compounds performed faultlessly over two hours. There were no particular issues and degradation was at a normal level given the characteristics of this race. This was one of the most complicated races strategy-wise of the entire year and we saw a wide variety of tactics being employed by all the teams. Once more we were treated to a grandstand finish, with Jenson Button chasing down Sebastian Vettel all the way to the chequered flag. The organisers have done another brilliant job here, making Singapore one of the highlights of the Formula One season.”

Categories: Formula 1 PZero Pirelli

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McLaren’s Jenson Button has taken his second victory in mixed conditions at the Hungaroring, following his win under similar circumstances in Canada earlier this year. The Englishman was assured of victory in Hungary Grand Prix after his team mate Lewis Hamilton changed onto P Zero Blue intermediate tyres in the closing stages of the race only to find that the conditions were not wet enough, forcing him to revert to slicks in his fifth pit stop of the afternoon.

Button and Hamilton fought closely for a victory that centred around tyre strategy, with Hamilton having saved an extra set of P Zero Red supersoft tyres for the race during qualifying.

On lap 46, with light rain falling once more, Hamilton spun – allowing his team mate pass.

Hamilton’s fightback on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre to fourth place in damp conditions was a highlight of the race, despite a drive-through penalty that meant he visited the pits six times in total. Like Button, Sebastian Vettel stopped three times and ran a final 29-lap stint on the soft tyre to claim the runner-up spot, 3.5 seconds behind the winner, while Fernando Alonso stopped four times in the Ferrari to take third.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “It’s been another fascinating race in mixed conditions which has allowed Jenson Button to demonstrate his skills of mastering changing weather and the capabilities of our P Zero tyres, which demonstrated both performance and durability throughout the grand prix. Even when rain was falling at the end of the race, Button managed to secure enough grip from the P Zero Yellow soft tyres to make sure of a well-deserved victory. I’m particularly pleased because the Hungaroring is a place that has not always been renowned for overtaking in the past, but today we saw plenty of it, in a race that contained more twists and turns than the circuit itself!”

Categories: Formula 1 Pirelli

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