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British GP: Practice notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
03/07/2015

Silverstone is well known as one of the fastest circuits on the calendar, but the pace has got even quicker today - with the fastest time in FP1 from Nico Rosberg already beating the fastest lap of the whole weekend in 2014.

Rosberg went even faster in FP2, eventually setting a benchmark of 1m34.155s on the medium tyre - which is currently around 0.8-0.9 seconds faster than the hard tyre that is also nominated this weekend. This is a slightly smaller gap than originally anticipated, in track temperatures that peaked at 43 degrees centigrade. These conditions enable the P Zero Orange hard (which is a high working range compound) to work at its best.

The overall lap record for the current Silverstone configuration is 1m33.401s from 2013, set during the former engine regulations. There could now be a chance that this will be beaten during qualifying and the race, using the latest generation of Pirelli tyres.

As usual, the teams used free practice to assess tyre behaviour and degradation rates with different fuel loads. One particularly crucial factor will be track and air temperature, with the United Kingdom having recently experienced the hottest day ever in July. Track temperatures during the race are expected to be around 10 degrees cooler than they were today, which will obviously have a substantial effect on wear and degradation.

Silverstone's weather is however notoriously unpredictable: yesterday there were some drops of rain in the afternoon - and further rain is expected tonight, with a chance that there could be showers on race day too. Cooler temperatures might tip the number of stops towards just one - especially as the pit stop time loss in quite high in Silverstone - but there is still plenty of data to analyse before FP3 gets underway tomorrow.

Paul Hembery: "These are the hottest track temperatures we have seen at a Silverstone GP weekend during the last five years, and it was that possibility which prompted our decision to bring the hardest tyres in the range to the track. Silverstone is among the top three most demanding circuits we visit all year in terms of lateral energy, so this obviously adds to the workload too.

"The tyres have performed just as we expected them to so far, but it's still not entirely clear whether or not we will be looking at one or two stops for most competitors on Sunday and the weather seems typically changeable, which will have a big effect on track evolution. Wear should not be an issue, but we are expecting some degree of degradation, which should encourage different strategies and also provide more overtaking opportunities."

Check out our Friday gallery, here.

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