BARCELONA, Spain — Sebastian Vettel suspects Mercedes’ spectacular tempo in qualifying on Pirelli’s softest compound is linked to modifications to the tyre’s tread depth for this weekend’s race.
Lewis Hamilton put an finish to Vettel’s run of consecutive pole positions on Saturday as Mercedes took its first entrance-row lockout since final 12 months’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The return to kind got here at one of the vital aero-delicate circuits on the calendar, but in addition after Pirelli diminished the thickness of the tread by zero.4mm on its tyres to fight overheating.
During pre-season testing on the Circuit de Catalunya, quite a few groups — most notably Mercedes — struggled with extreme overheating and blistering on the circuit’s newly-laid monitor floor. The new, smoother floor was leading to minimal put on, which in flip was inflicting the compound to overheat by the circuit’s excessive-velocity corners. In settlement with the FIA, a call was made to scale back the thickness of the tyres for the Spanish, French and British Grands Prix — a call that seems to be sparking some controversy after the primary use of the thinner tread tyres.
Asked why Mercedes, which up to now this season has struggled on Pirelli’s softest compounds, discovered extra efficiency than Ferrari on the tremendous-smooth, Vettel stated: “I believe it is fairly easy, the tyres are completely different. They’re completely different for everybody so everybody wants to deal with that.
“I believe it was distinctive that Mercedes was struggling within the final occasions as a lot as they have been however thinner thread, mainly the tyres are more durable so we nonetheless have the identical tyres for those who take a look at the colors however they’re more durable than they’re was. As I stated, it is the identical for all of us.”
After making a mistake within the first nook on his first Q3 run on the tremendous-smooth, Vettel switched to the smooth compound for his second run and improved his lap time with a a lot cleaner lap. Despite lacking out on pole place by zero.132s — a step in efficiency a clear lap on the tremendous-smooth ought to have supplied over the smooth — Vettel is assured he made the appropriate choice.
“In Q3, the primary run, I locked up just a little bit into Turn 1 so the primary sector was already sluggish and I attempted to get again and get better, however to essentially battle for pole it was not sufficient,” he said. “I did not get a fantastic feeling on that tyre so I made a decision to ask to return and I believe it was the appropriate name. We have been very fast.
“I believe total the tyres this weekend are completely different. Obviously we had the change for everybody however I believe they’re a bit more durable, so for me it was fairly easy as I stated as a result of I used to be happier with the automobile with that tyre.
“If it is inside one tenth, one tenth and a half you at all times suppose perhaps, however to be sincere I used to be very proud of the lap till the tip. We anticipated Mercedes to be very robust and they also have been. Hats off to them and tomorrow I believe it is going to be an in depth race, something can occur actually similar to the final couple.”