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Austrian GP: Practice notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
20/06/2014

Located in the Styrian mountains, the teams got a taste of the changeable weather that characterises the Red Bull Ring, with intermittent rain throughout the day. The second free practice session was dry, enabling Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton to set a time of 1m09.542s - the shortest lap time of the year - on the P Zero Red supersoft tyres, which have been nominated this weekend together with the P Zero Yellow soft.

Although the rain meant that the circuit was mostly 'green' - washed clean of any surface rubber, which provides more grip - this tyre combination seems well suited to the Red Bull Ring, which is new to the calendar this year. Wear and degradation is within the parameters expected at this stage of the weekend, with a small amount of graining experienced on the soft tyre in the slippery conditions, and a little more on the supersoft: especially at the rear. This should normalise itself as the weekend goes on.

The Red Bull Ring is short and generally low-speed, meaning that not a huge amount of energy is put through the tyres over one lap. As a result, the supersoft - which is so far around 0.6 seconds faster than the soft - could also be a strong race tyre, as well as providing extra speed in qualifying.

Two pit stops are expected for the race, subject to data analysis, as there is no relevant historical data to fall back on. Warmer weather is anticipated for the rest of the weekend, although the possibility of localised rain remains.

Paul Hembery: "We had a very green track today but despite that, wear and degradation has been low, particularly on the soft tyre. When it comes to the race, we'll probably end up in exactly the right place with the tyres: enough degradation to keep things interesting, but still with two pit stops for most drivers. So although it's effectively a new track, we believe the tyre choice here was very much the right one, similar to Canada. We've seen some notable differences in rear tyre usage between the teams, although we expect this to reduce tomorrow, once they have looked at the data from today. We too will be analysing the data tonight, in preparation for what should be a very close qualifying session given the shortness of the lap."

Facts of the day:

Pirelli tyres have never won a Formula One race in Austria. So far, the best Pirelli-equipped result in Austria comes from 1983: fifth place with Nigel Mansell in the Lotus, which was undergoing a transition year following the demise of the team's guru Colin Chapman and the adoption of Renault turbo engines. Pirelli's only other partner team that year was Toleman: the outfit with which Ayrton Senna would make his debut one year later.

The last Austrian Grand Prix took place in 2003: Ferrari is the only team with both drivers who have taken part in the race previously.

Check out our Friday gallery, here.

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