Mercedes with the most conservative tyre choice for the Belgian Grand Prix

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Reigning world champion team Mercedes opted for the most conservative tyre choice among the top teams for the forthcoming round of the 2019 Formula One Championship.

For the first race meeting after the summer break, the Belgian Grand Prix, Formula One’s sole tyre supplier will provide teams with the trio of C1, C2 and C3 compounds. The tyre selection for the Spa-Francorchamps race track is quite conservative considering the durability of the Milan-based company’s products over the last two seasons.

The longest track on the current Grand Prix calendar is one of the most iconic circuits of Formula One history, characterised by extreme demands. It is the track that puts the highest vertical load on the tyres during the season, for example, in the famous Eau Rouge to Radillon section. The undulating surface at Spa also means that the tyres work hard as part of the car’s suspension, placing heavy demands on the structure.

On top of the high loads on the tyres, weather can also play its part at Spa. As rain often makes appearance at least in one part of the race weekend, Pirelli’s new 2019 intermediate and full wet weather tyres can appear as well after they made their first official debut at the German Grand Prix.

Ferrari and Red Bull in the same boat

At the 13th round of the season, Mercedes drivers will have harder compounds at their disposal than their Ferrari and Red Bull rivals. The dominant force of the past seasons will only have eights sets of soft compound while Ferrari and Red Bull both selected ten sets of red-banded tyres.

The Anglo-German team’s choice is slowly becoming a trend as the picture was similar in the last races as well. However, the differing tyre selection usually does not have any significant effect on the pecking order or the outcome of the races as drivers’ allocations of tyres usually converge as they enter the qualifying session. At Spa, for example, Ferrari might use two sets of soft in both the first and third practice session and one set of medium and another set of soft in the second session while Mercedes could opt for a combination of soft and medium for all three session what would even out the different tyre allocations.

When it comes to Pirelli’s C1 rubber, the hardest compound available at Spa, it was George Russell who selected the most sets. While his rivals will all have one set of hard compound at their disposal, the Briton will have access to two sets. As tyres were quite durable over the past years, the reigning F2 champion might use his extra set in the opening session for various development work when performance runs are less due to the initial track conditions.