Bridgestones super soft tyre provided the grip for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton to qualify on pole position with a time of 1min 39.498secs for tomorrows European Grand Prix in Valencia.
Bridgestones soft and super soft tyres coped well with track temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius today, and the track surface improvement saw a corresponding tyre performance improvement, meaning lap times continued to fall.
Force India driver Adrian Sutil set the fastest time in the morning practice session, using the super soft tyre to set a time of 1min 39.143secs. Running was suspended for 25 minutes of the session whilst the circuit surface was treated after Vettels car dropped fluid.
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima – Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development
What was significant about todays running?
Today we saw a further improvement from the track, even though we did lose almost half an hour of running in the morning practice session. There was a good improvement in tyre performance from both tyres related to the track improvement so we have good confidence for tomorrow. To see a KERS car on pole makes things interesting, as it is difficult to imagine a non-KERS car getting ahead at the start.
What are the tyre strategy considerations for tomorrows race?
The super soft tyre is around 0.3-0.4 seconds faster than the soft tyre, however it is more susceptible to the transverse graining that we see here. The track improvement today however means that the super soft looks better than it did yesterday for its race duties, so actual strategy choices tomorrow will be interesting. To assist us with data we will analyse the strategies in todays GP2 Series race too. Looking at todays skies, I do not think we will have need of Bridgestones intermediate and wet tyres for the race.
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