Bridgestones soft tyre carried Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull Racing) to his fourth pole position of the season for tomorrows Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
Vettel set a time of 1min 32.160secs in a qualifying session which was red flagged three times. Panasonic Toyota Racing Driver Jarno Trulli set the fastest time in the morning practice session, also using the soft Bridgestone Potenza.
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima – Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development
What was significant about todays running?
Today was a big challenge for all drivers. The weather was dry, meaning that yesterdays information from a wet track was not much use. This meant that teams only had the one hour of FP3 to accumulate the same data they would usually gain over four hours of practice. The track improved, as we would expect with the first dry running of the weekend, but this made set-up a challenge and we saw an interesting order at the end of FP3. The difficulty continued in qualifying, with two red flag periods in Q2 and one in Q3. It seemed that the older surface of the west track gave less grip for braking which may have caught out some drivers. Sebastian Vettel did well to get pole today and we hope that Timo Glock was not badly hurt in his accident.
What are the tyre strategy considerations for tomorrows race?
Obviously we do not have as much data as we would have if Friday had been dry, but this is one of the challenges of motor racing. The soft tyre is definitely the quicker tyre, and it does not appear to have too bad degradation levels, meaning that it could be the preferred race tyre. The hard tyre takes longer to warm up than the soft, but we do not have sufficient data to know exactly the lap time difference between the two tyres. That said, Im sure we will see an exciting race here at Suzuka.
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