Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli said that tyre strategy had been “integral” to Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s victory in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Starting from fourth on the grid, Verstappen was the only one of the top 10 to start on the hard tyre. He used their comparative durability to run a longer first stint, which allowed him to move into the lead and then defend his advantage. The P Zero White hard (C2) tyre was softer than the hardest designated tyre at the previous weekend’s British Grand Prix, won by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. While the Mercedes team was tougher on the tyres than most, with blistering a known issue, Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas were able to claim the second and third steps on the podium, with Hamilton using the P Zero White to set the fastest lap in the race to claim an extra championship point.
Yesterday’s Mexican Grand Prix delivered Lewis Hamilton his fourth drivers’ title, not to mention a moment of bated breath in the very first round as Hamilton’s Mercedes made contact with the Ferrari of closest title contender Sebastian Vettel. The collision, comments Pirelli, added an extra tactical element to the race, as both protagonists were forced to deviate from the expected one-stop strategy.
While all the frontrunners at the final Malaysian Grand Prix used a similar single-stop tyre strategy, changing from Pirelli P Zero Red supersoft to Yellow soft tyres, Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari reversed the order to support his bid for points from the back of the grid. The German chose to start the race on the soft tyres to try and gain track position, switching to the faster supersoft tyres on the same lap that Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pitted from the lead to change from supersoft to soft. Verstappen won the race from the second row of the grid.