Pirelli has been official tyre supplier to GP3 since the series began in 2010, and at the Spanish Grand Prix the series appeared for the first time in 2018, alongside Formula 2. During a weekend with Formula 1, Formula 2 and GP3, Pirelli brings around 3000 tyres to each race. The tyres available for Formula 2 in Spain were medium and soft, while GP3 used medium only.
Feature Race, the winner: ART Grand Prix driver George Russell chose to start on the mediums before stopping to switch to the soft tyre on lap 25: a similar strategy to most of the frontrunners. He stopped on exactly the same lap as Prema’s Nyck de Vries, who finished second. The race was affected by four virtual safety cars.
George Russell: “With this new surface at Barcelona nobody really knew what the tyre degradation was going to be like. On top of that, at the start of the race, it was spitting with rain, which was making it very difficult for us at the front. All in all, a great race though.”
Feature Race, alternative strategy: Carlin’s Lando Norris used the opposite strategy, starting on the soft and pitting early for the mediums. Despite being on the slower tyre for much of the race he showed great pace to finish third.
Sprint Race, the winner: In drying conditions, ART’s Jack Aitken made an excellent start from the second row of the grid to take the lead on the first lap, which he never lost. All the drivers used the medium tyres from start to finish, again with two virtual safety cars.
Feature Race, the winner: Managing tyre degradation was key to the 22-lap feature race, with Nikita Mazepin (who will test with Force India this week) leading an ART one-two-three. The medium tyre was nominated last weekend, with the drivers able to use their experience of Barcelona from pre-season testing. Antoine Hubert, in second, managed his tyres particularly well by conserving them at the start of the race for a late charge.
Sprint Race, the winner: Sunday’s race was held in damp conditions, with all the drivers using the wet tyre apart from MP Motorsport’s Will Palmer on slicks. Ferrari junior Giuliano Alesi won from pole for Trident, while another intelligent race and second place from Hubert gave him the GP3 points lead.
Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola: “We saw a very mixed weekend in terms of strategy and weather at Barcelona, which again led to unpredictable and exciting races both in Formula 2 and GP3. The track surface in Barcelona has changed considerably after being re-asphalted, but the drivers soon understood the challenge and were able to adapt their use of the tyres to the varied conditions. This was especially the case in Sunday’s GP3 race, when Giuliano Alesi did a particularly good job in driving on a drying track.”
Formula 2 is back at the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks, alongside Formula 1, whereas GP3 returns at the French Grand Prix from June 22-24.
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