Mercedes has set the pace on both Pirelli compounds during the opening two free practice sessions of the Italian Grand Prix – where the cars can exceed 360kph on the straights – using the P Zero White medium in the morning and the P Zero Yellow soft in the afternoon.
The fastest time of the day, set by championship leader Lewis Hamilton on the soft tyre in the afternoon, was 1m24.279s: considerably faster than Friday’s quickest time last year of 1m26.187s (again set by Hamilton but on the medium tyre).
Currently the performance gap between the two compounds is in the region of 1.2 seconds, but this is expected to come down over the course of the weekend as more rubber gets laid down and average speeds become even higher.
To cope with these increased loadings compared to last year – which is a natural consequence of the cars becoming faster – the camber and tyre pressure limits have been slightly altered by Pirelli for the Italian Grand Prix, as per a technical note communicated to the teams yesterday. These limits are established on a race-by-race basis, depending on data supplied from the teams as well as existing information.
As usual, the teams used the Friday free practice sessions to assess performance on both compounds with different fuel loads. The information gathered forms an important part of the strategy calculations, which also take into account other factors such as likely weather conditions over the weekend (warm, but with a risk of rain), safety car probability (low) and time lost in the pits (quite high). With pole position statistically more key to race victory in Monza than Monaco, the teams spent a lot of time concentrating on qualifying set-up in particular, using the soft compound.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: “Today was a routine free practice day in Italy, with the teams gathering as much data as possible to use not only in the race, but in the all-important qualifying session tomorrow: which is always absolutely crucial at Monza. This could well be a far from straightforward race though: weather forecasts indicate a risk of rain tomorrow then a dry race, which could certainly mix things up a bit. For this race, we’ve altered our pressure and camber limits compared to what was previously prescribed: with the cars getting faster and faster – especially as development accelerates during the second half of the season – these new parameters should allow the drivers to extract the maximum performance and durability from the tyres. Once again, we’re privileged to be in front of our fantastic home crowd, whose support today has been tremendous. Their dedication looks set to be rewarded with the prospect of a fantastic race weekend ahead.”
Pirelli facts of the day:
This year, Pirelli celebrates the 90th anniversary of its first grand prix title, won by Gastone Brilli Peri in 1925 at the wheel of an Alfa Romeo. The Formula One World Championship as we know it did not begin until 1950, but in 1925 the first World Championship for Manufacturers was held – and Pirelli played a leading role in it. Brilli Peri clinched the title for Alfa at Monza, naturally…
|1.Hamilton||1m24.670s||Medium used||1.Hamilton||1m24.279s||Soft new|
|2.Rosberg||1m25.133s||Medium used||2.Rosberg||1m24.300s||Soft new|
|3.Vettel||1m26.258s||Medium used||3.Vettel||1m25.038s||Soft new|
Tyre statistics of the day:
|kms driven *||4060||2154||0||0|
|sets used overall **||64||21||0||0|
|highest number of laps **||29||27||0||0|