Formula One’s sole tyre manufacturer Pirelli calculates that the one-stop strategy will be the fastest way to complete this afternoon’s Portuguese Grand Prix.
Based on the Friday and Saturday practice sessions, Pirelli expects that the one-stop strategy could become the fastest approach to this afternoon’s Portuguese Grand Prix. However, the lack of long runs on Friday means that it is „tricky to clearly identify the performance gaps between the tyres as well as wear and degradation levels, which in turn makes it hard to predict the optimal race strategies,” said Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car racing Mario Isola.
The most likely strategy for the 66-Portimao race is a one-stopper with the theoretically quickest way being to start on the P Zero Yellow medium, then on lap 32 switch to the P Zero White hard for 34 laps. With Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and the Mercedes duo of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton getting through into Q3 on the medium, they could attempt to stick to this strategy.
“There’s an interesting variation in terms of strategy, with both Mercedes in first and second, as well as the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in fourth, starting the race on the medium tyre: which also set pole. It's going to be fascinating to see which advantage the medium runners can take from this compound,” said Isola.
The second fastest way is another one-stopper: one 18-lap stint on the Red soft plus a 48-lap stint on the White hard tyre. As usual, this combination of compounds can be used in the opposite order.
Slower is a two-stopper: going from the Red soft to the Yellow medium on Lap 14 and a last 26-stint on another set of mediums. The Milan-based tyre supplier thinks that the two-stopper can emerge as a favoured option should the temperatures be lower than at previous parts of the weekend. In case of lower temperatures, Pirelli expects that drivers could suffer more from graining on the front tyres.
Isola stressed that the main task will be to keep the tyres in the right temperature window which was one of the most vital challenge at the previous Eifel Grand Prix.
"With the gusting winds and blind crests, Portimao is far from an easy circuit. So we could have an unpredictable race tomorrow, where managing the tyres – the three hardest in our range, which was the right choice as today’s action showed – and keeping them in the right temperature window will be essential in the relatively cool and low-grip conditions.”