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TYRE STRATEGY THE KEY TO AN ACTION-PACKED CHINESE GRAND PRIX

Nico Rosberg completed a perfect weekend for Mercedes, during which both the German driver and his ‘Silver Arrows’ team managed their allocation of the P Zero White medium tyre and P Zero Yellow soft tyre perfectly. Having claimed a dominant pole position by half a second, Rosberg took his debut victory and the first win for Mercedes since the 1955 Italian Grand Prix, using a two-stop strategy. Rosberg’s pace at the beginning of the race was enough to ensure that he was able to complete his first pit stop without losing the lead and from there on he was able to control his advantage, completing the race on the medium tyres.

Tyre choices and pit stop strategy set up a duel in the closing stages of the race, as McLaren’s Jenson Button on a fresh set of P Zero White medium tyres attempted to chase down the leader, on an older set of the medium tyres. Although Button – who stopped three times – was delayed by a problem during his final pit stop, he was just one of many drivers to mount a spectacular charge during the final stint in Shanghai. With four laps to go, Button passed Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel to claim the runner-up spot.

Vettel chose a two-stop strategy, but was forced to defend from the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton, who claimed the final podium place on the penultimate lap, despite making one more pit stop than the reigning world champion. Hamilton now leads the drivers’ championship, with McLaren having adopted a different strategy to most of their rivals. The Englishman was one of the few drivers to stick with the soft tyre during his second stint, while the majority of other drivers went to the harder tyre on their first stops.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery commented: “Many congratulations to Nico and to Mercedes for this thoroughly well-deserved victory, during which they exhibited a perfect understanding of how to get the most out of both compounds in challenging circumstances and keep the tyres within the optimal performance window. As expected, we saw a high degree of tyre degradation in the tough conditions of China, with the front-left tyre in particular coming under particular stress. This gave the opportunity for the teams to try out a wide variety of different strategies, which resulted in spectacular yet clean wheel-to-wheel racing that if anything surpassed even last year’s Chinese Grand Prix. I’d also like to congratulate our former test driver Romain Grosjean, who claimed his best-ever finish with sixth overall for Lotus.”


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VETTEL CLAIMS FIRST VICTORY IN SINGAPORE WITH PIRELLI

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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BUTTON TAKES SECOND WIN ON PIRELLI P ZERO

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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