Analysis: tyre strategies at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Saudi Arabia, Jeddah Street Circuitsa

Although an incident caused an early interruption, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix saw the majority of the field run a single-stop strategy at Round 2 of the 2024 F1 season. F1Technical's senior writer Balázs Szabó delivers his strategy analysis for the Jeddah F1 race.

While Pirelli brought the harder compounds to the season-opener in Bahrain, the second race of the season saw drivers use the three compounds from the middle of Pirelli's range. It means that the C2 served as Hard, the C3 as Medium and the C4 as Soft on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

The Milan-based manufacturer had elected for relatively high minimum starting pressures, with 24.0 psi for the fronts and 21.0 psi for the rears. The camber limits were-3.25° for the front tyres and -1.75° for the rear tyres.


Ahead of the race, Pirelli predicted that drivers would prefer the one-stop strategy in the 50-lap Jeddah F1 race. That was motivated by the facts that overtaking is at a premium on the

On the starting grid, 18 of the 20 drivers opted to run the first stint on Medium tyres, the only exceptions being Oliver Bearman and Valtteri Bottas who preferred the Soft. The Safety Car came out on lap 7 after Lance Stroll hit the barriers, triggering a run of pit stops. Only four drivers – Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg and Zhou Guanyu – decided to stay out on the Medium, delaying their stop as much as possible.

As from lap 30, this quartet began to pit: Hulkenberg on lap 33, Hamilton on 36, Norris on 37, while Zhou went all the way to lap 41. The Haas driver was the only one to fit Hard tyres, with the other three going for Soft to try and make up some places, although they did not manage it.

Of the drivers who saw the chequered flag, only Bottas made two stops (Soft-Hard-Soft).

Speaking of the strategy, Pirelli's Head of Motorsport Mario Isola said: “It’s been a very straightforward race, both in terms of the final result, which was almost a carbon copy of Sakhir and when it comes to how the tyres performed.

"We knew this would be a race where the quickest strategy was a one-stop. Obviously, the Safety Car after seven laps brought forward the pit stop window."

Tyre compounds

As for the different compounds, each one made an appearance in Jeddah with all of them having performed as expected.

The Hard was the most preferred tyre in Jeddah with many drivers completing the majority of the race distance on the same set of the white-walled tyre following the safety car interruption. Alex Albon, Oliver Bearman, Charles Leclerc, George Russell, Oscar Piastri, Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso were all forced to complete a mammoth a 43-lap stint after the safety car lured him into the pits to carry out the tyre change in just 11s instead of 20s.

In fact, Esteban Ocon, Yuki Tsunoda, Daniel Ricciardo and Logan Sargeant completed almost the same distance on the hards, but as they were all lapped by race winner Verstappen, their race distance was a lap shorter.

The best lap was achieves by Charles Leclerc who went on to post a 1m31.632s on a set of 43-lap old hard tyres, securing the fastest lap of the grand prix.

The medium tyre was also a preferred compound in Jeddah with Stake Sauber driver Zhou Guanyu racking up a total of 41 laps on a set of the yellow-banded rubber. McLaren’s Lando Norris posted the quickest lap on the C3 compounds, registering a lap of 1m33.309s on Lap 32.

The soft compound turned out to become a less preferred compound during the 50-lap race. In total, six stints were completed on the C4 compound with Oliver Bearman and Valtteri Bottas electing to start the race on the red-walled compound. Lando Norris, Lewis Hamilton, Zhou Guanyu and Bottas ended the race on the softs.

The seven-time world champion registered the best lap on the C5 rubber, posting a time of 1m31.746s.

Expanding on the performance of the various compounds, Isola added: "The C2 proved to be very consistent, both in terms of performance and degradation, as can be seen from the fact that the fastest lap of the race came right at the end courtesy of Leclerc on a set that had done 43 laps.

"The C3 was also up to the task, because the four drivers who chose to stay out when the Safety Car appeared, were able to take it all the way to its wear limit while still running pretty competitively. Compared to Friday’s long runs, graining on this compound was minimal, which was down to the track gradually rubbering in more and more with use. Hamilton’s and Norris’ stints on the C4 also demonstrated that the softest compound we had here could be competitive even in the first part of the race, although only two drivers tried to exploit that.”