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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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Tyre strategy was at the forefront of the action at the Monaco Grand Prix, with a three-way fight between Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing), Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) and Jenson Button (McLaren), who were separated by less than a second with only 15 laps to go. Such was the pace of the leading trio that they pulled away from the fourth-placed man by nearly a minute.

As the race entered its final 10 laps, the leading trio was still very close in a thrilling fight for supremacy, before an accident caused a safety car period followed by a red flag with just six laps left to go. As the rules allow teams to work on the cars during a suspended race, the drivers were allowed to change tyres before the race resumed in a final sprint to the finish.

The top three all chose Pirelli’s PZero Red supersoft tyres for the run to the flag, which ended with Vettel’s first win in Monaco. It was Pirelli’s first victory in Monaco since the 1957 race, which was won by Juan Manuel Fangio and Maserati.

 “We were privileged to see one of the closest ever battles for victory in Monaco – said Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery – the most prestigious race of the year. The top three used completely different tyre strategies but came out more or less together, which is exactly what we were aiming for at the start of the year. It’s great to see the tyre strategy forming such a prominent part of the action; giving us a fascinating battle for the lead where any of the top three drivers would have been very deserving winners. Had it not been for the red flag in the closing stages, I’m sure that their fight would have continued all the way to the very end. It was also great to see some of the other drivers scoring points such as Kobayashi, Sutil, Buemi and Barrichello. With the fastest-ever qualifying lap of Monaco yesterday and some drivers going for more than 50 laps on the PZero Yellow today, Pirelli has supplied both performance and adaptability with this year’s Formula One tyres.”

Categories: Formula 1 Pirelli

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