Pirelli Soft and Medium compounds under the lights of Abu Dhabi

With sunset coming around half an hour into the second free practice session at Abu Dhabi, the teams had experience of driving both in daylight during the first session, with high ambient temperatures, and also in the cooler conditions of the evening. The fastest time of the day was set by Red Bull’s newly-crowned champion Sebastian Vettel, who established a benchmark of 1m41.335s on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre halfway through FP2. The other compound that has been nominated for Abu Dhabi is the P Zero White medium, meaning that the teams are working with the same selection as they had for India. Nonetheless, even at this early stage in the weekend, there is much less wear and degradation on the soft tyre in particular.

In the morning, when track temperatures peaked at 45 degrees centigrade, Lotus driver Romain Grosjean went quickest on the medium tyre. This was the only compound the teams used in FP1, before moving onto the soft tyre in the afternoon. Force India’s Paul di Resta had a braking issue that damaged the wheel rim, with no other tyre-related incidents throughout both sessions.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Friday in Abu Dhabi is unique as there is a marked contrast between the conditions in the two sessions. With FP2 more representative of qualifying and the race, this obviously limits the usefulness of FP1 here, as tyre wear and degradation at that time is not typical. But any time running the car is useful when it comes to evaluating set-up for this race, where the emphasis is on traction, which has a direct correlation to rear tyre life. In the morning, it was quite slippery as usual due to dust on the track, which is what caused the graining that some teams experienced. From what we can see so far there is approximately 1.5 seconds between the two compounds: enough of a difference to make strategy a key consideration. We’d expect the top 10 to qualify on the soft tyres tomorrow, which of course potentially hands an opportunity to those from P11 downwards who can start on the tyre of their choice. We still have plenty of data to analyse but as it stands we would predict between one to two pit stops for the race, with the teams perhaps having the possibility of a longer final stint than usual because of the cooling track temperatures.”

FP1: FP2:
1.Grosjean 1m44.241s Medium Used 1.Vettel 1m41.335s Soft New
2.Hamilton 1m44.433s Medium Used 2.Webber 1m41.490s Soft New
3.Vettel 1m44.499s Medium Used 3.Hamilton 1m41.690s Soft New

Tyre statistics of the day:

Soft Medium Intermediate Wet
kms driven * 1,827 4,892 N/A N/A
sets used overall ** 22 45 N/A N/A
highest number of laps ** 24 30 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): -4.75 @ T8
-Max. g-force cornering (lateral force): 4.3 @ T3

Pirelli facts of the day:

Having already become the youngest-ever four-time world champion, Sebastian Vettel can equal the achievement of his countryman Michael Schumacher if he triumphs on Sunday by claiming seven successive wins in one season. But that’s not the all-time record for consecutive wins: Alberto Ascari won the last six grands prix of 1952 and the first three of 1953 – nine in total, all on Pirelli tyres.