Bridgestones soft tyre allowed Jenson Button to set an exciting pole lap of 1min 35.181secs at Sepang for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Button took pole by just over nine hundredths from Panasonic Toyota Racings Jarno Trulli. Track conditions were improved from Friday, with more rubber down, but teams and drivers still struggled to find the best compromises with the exciting new cars and Bridgestones slick tyres.
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima – Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development
What was significant about todays running?
Today showed us that the cars are very close to each other on lap times. For example, in FP3 the top thirteen cars were covered by a second. In terms of tyre performance, the soft tyre has an advantage of about around 1.01.3 seconds over its best lap. The soft is able to deliver its best lap time generally on its first flying lap and the performance drop-off does not appear to be as extreme as we saw with the super soft tyre in Australia. The hard gives its best lap time after around 3-4 laps and we have seen very durable performance from it, so it should be the better race tyre.
How have track conditions evolved since Friday, and what are your predictions for the race?
Sepang is an interesting circuit as the track surface improves a lot over the course of the race weekend. This is because the high temperatures mean that the rubber laid melts into the track surface allowing very good surface from a grip point of view. Race strategy should be interesting here, as the difference between the tyres in terms of performance drop-off is not as great as in
Australia, so there could be more strategy options.
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