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2013 Indian Grand Prix – Practice Sessions

BETWEEN TWO AND THREE PIT STOPS EXPECTED IN THE HEAT OF INDIA

Delhi, October 25, 2013 – Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel went quickest in both free practice sessions today for the Indian Grand Prix, held in ambient temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade. Vettel set fastest time in the morning on the P Zero White medium tyre, before switching to the P Zero Yellow soft in the afternoon. These two tyres are a step softer than those nominated for India last year, when most drivers completed the race with just one pit stop. During the afternoon session, Vettel set a benchmark time of 1m25.722s: nearly a second faster than the time he had set in the morning. In both sessions today, his team mate Mark Webber was second-fastest.

There was a considerable degree of track evolution over the course of the day, with Vettel comfortably eclipsing his FP2 time from last year of 1m26.221s, also set on the soft tyre.

The warm weather is set to continue for the rest of the weekend, with two or three pit stops expected for most drivers on the challenging Indian circuit. If Vettel finishes the Indian Grand Prix fifth or higher, then he will claim his fourth drivers’ world title on Sunday: only the fourth man in history to do so after Juan Manuel Fangio, Alain Prost and Michael Schumacher.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Essentially we went for softer compounds this time as in 2012 the Indian Grand Prix was just a one-stop race, and the combination we brought this year allows for a two to three stop strategy. After what we have seen today, wear and degradation is generally in line with our expectations but there have been some issues with blistering on the soft compound while some drivers ran up to 24 laps on the medium tyre. The medium seems set to be the optimal race tyre, while the soft tyre should be the one to qualify on, as it has been about 0.8s to a second per lap faster up to now. Assessing the drop-off in performance will be the key to formulating the strategy and the timing of the first pit stop. Consequently, some teams will also be evaluating the potential benefits of starting on the medium. However, the track hasn’t finished evolving yet, so the final decisions won’t be taken until after free practice tomorrow.”

FP1: FP2:
1. Vettel  1m26.683s  Medium Used 1. Vettel  1m25.722s  Soft New
2. Webber  1m26.871s  Medium Used 2. Webber  1m26.011s  Soft New
3. Rosberg  1m26.899s  Medium Used 3. Grosjean  1m26.220s  Soft New

Tyre statistics of the day:

   Soft  Medium Intermediate Wet
kms driven *  1,279  4,910 N/A N/A
sets used overall **  22  46 N/A N/A
highest number of laps **  20  34 N/A N/A

* The above number gives the total amount of kilometres driven in FP1 and FP2 today, all drivers combined.
** Per compound, all drivers combined.

May the Force be with you:

What is popularly known as g-force is in fact acceleration. These are the maximum values while braking and cornering:

-Max. g-force braking (longitudinal force):  -4.45 @ Turn 4
-Max. g-force cornering (lateral force):   4.55 @ Turn 9 and Turn 14       

Pirelli facts of the day:

India has the longest pit lane of any circuit in Formula One, with 414 metres subject to the speed limiter. However, the design of it means that the time loss is only around 18 seconds – so this should not have a disproportionate effect on the strategy. Last year race winner Vettel stopped just once, on lap 33, and there were 28 pit stops in total.