Bridgestones super soft tyre allowed driver Sebastian Vettel to set his second pole position, and Red Bull Racings first ever, with a lap of 1min 36.184secs at Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix. Vettel took pole by just under two tenths from ING Renaults Fernando Alonso with Mark Webber (Red Bull Racing) in third, meaning the top three fastest cars were all Renault powered. Track conditions were improved from Friday, with more rubber down. AT&T Williams driver Nico Rosberg used the super soft tyre to go fastest in the morning practice session with a time of 1min 36.133secs.
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima – Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development What was significant about todays running? Today was very significant for Red Bull Racing scoring their first pole position so congratulations to them and Sebastian Vettel. Today we have seen that both tyres give good performance here in Shanghai. The difference in best lap time between the two tyres is not so big, at around 0.5 seconds. The super soft gives its best lap time on the first or second flying lap, whereas the medium takes longer to get into the best temperature operating range and delivers its best lap on its third or fourth flying lap. We are still seeing graining on the super soft tyre, however this is not matched by the same amount of tyre degradation that we saw in Australia so there should be more strategy options for tomorrows race.
The weather has been quite variable in China, how could this affect the race? Of course, this race is taking place at a different time of year from last season so we expected the weather to be different. It is also the first race of the season at the Shanghai International Circuit, so the track conditions are changed from those we saw last year too. Since we have been here the weather has been both quite cool and also quite warm, so it will be interesting to see what happens on Sunday. If it is cooler, the quicker warm-up of the super soft tyre should be useful, however if it is very cool we could see more graining. If it is hotter then the medium tyre will warm-up quicker. Of course, we have seen rain at Shanghai in the past, and we all know that makes for very interesting racing. Tomorrow we will keenly watch both strategy and the skies.