Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher used the Pirelli P Zero Yellow soft tire, which has beennominated together with the P Zero White medium tire, to set the fastest time of the day during the second free practice session on Friday in China.

Schumacher’s fastest time of 1m35.973s was set on his first flying lap, underlining the rapid warm-up of the soft compound. The majority of the drivers chose to use the medium compound at the start of the second session, before progressively moving onto the soft tire. Only the Red Bull pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, along with Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg finished the second session on the P Zero White medium.

Schumacher’s lap was significantly quicker than last year’s free practice two benchmark of 1m37.688s – which was set on the 2011-specification soft tire.

The first free practice session was held in variable conditions at the Shanghai circuit, meaning that the drivers ran mainly on the Cinturato Green intermediates while they carried out set-up work, with only Caterham using the Cinturato Blue wet at the start of the session. The teams then moved onto the slick compounds as the track dried out during the last 10 minutes of the hour and a half session. McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton went fastest on the P Zero White medium tire,setting a time of 1m37.106s in the closing minutes of free practice one.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “The rain-affected first session was mainly used by the teams to establish crossover points between the intermediate and the slick tires, which could be of use if we see more rain over the weekend. We then had a very busy second session, as the teams all tried to make up for the dry running that they had lost in the morning, particularly when it came to testing some newparts and evolutions. As a result of that, we’ve got plenty of data to analyze now in order to establish the level of degradation. From what we can see sofar, we’re expecting the difference between the soft and the medium tire to be in the region of 0.6 seconds per lap, and we would anticipate between two and three pit stops per car in the normal course of events.”

Tomorrow (Saturday) Paul Hembery will be taking part in a live online chat from the Chinese Grand Prix at 6.00pm local time (+6 hours from Italy). To join in and stream on your own website please visit: http://streamingf1.pirelli.com/share/. To watch, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/Pirelli/app_371372936221033.

PIRELLI NUMBERS OF THE DAY:

Sets used overall:

Medium 53

Soft 24

Intermediates 22

Wet 2

Highest number of laps per compound:

Medium 14

Soft 14

Intermediate 8

Wet 2

PIRELLI FACT OF THE DAY:

While today’s P Zero Formula One tires in China are expected to last for approximately 100 kilometers, one of the four Pirelli tires fitted to the Itala that won the 1907 Peking to Paris race covered the entire 14,994 kilometer race distance without needing to be changed – and was then driven back to Milan afterwards. This tire is still displayed in the Pirelli Foundation building today.