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Italian GP: Qualifying notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
05/09/2015

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has set pole for the Italian Grand Prix, using Pirelli's P Zero Yellow soft tyres to set a time of 1m23.397s in qualifying this afternoon: considerably quicker than his pole time last year of 1m24.109s. Hamilton dominated the action both in free practice and qualifying, setting fastest time in every session at Monza this weekend.

Along with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, he was the only driver in the top 10 of the grid to use just three sets of new soft tyres during qualifying. All the others used four sets, with Hamilton claiming his 11th pole position of the season.

Qualifying at Monza was run in completely dry conditions following some rain in the morning, with ambient temperatures in the region of 26 degrees centigrade and track temperatures peaking at 41 degrees. Mercedes and Ferrari were the only teams to get through Q1 using the medium tyres only, which in free practice were around 1.2 seconds per lap slower than the soft compound around Monza: the fastest track of the year.

From Q2 onwards, all the teams stuck with the soft compound – which the majority of competitors will start the race on tomorrow. A one-stop strategy is expected for most drivers, although a two-stopper is possible as well. With quite a long time loss in the pit lane at Monza, a multiple-stop strategy would favour only the fastest cars, which are able to make up for lost track position by overtaking. However, with the reduced downforce at Monza minimising the effect of the DRS system, overtaking is not necessarily straightforward.

As a result of the earlier rain, the final free practice session this morning featured installation laps on the Cinturato Green intermediate, before the slicks came out with half an hour remaining.

Paul Hembery: "As usual, we saw an extremely tight qualifying session at Monza, with much of the field very closely matched. Qualifying is statistically very important at Monza when it comes to securing a race victory, so the strategy starts here. We're expecting a one-stopper for the majority of runners, although two stops will be possible as well: the teams will no doubt be keeping an open mind on strategy, enabling them to maximise every opportunity that comes along. A damp start to the day meant that we saw the Cinturato intermediates in the morning, although these are not expected to be seen again for the rest of the weekend. With overtaking being far from the easy at Monza, strategy is sure to play a key role in the race tomorrow."

The strategy predictor

The quickest strategy for the 53-lap race is theoretically a one-stopper, although the teams are likely to take a flexible approach, depending on individual tyre degradation and race circumstances (but the safety car probability is historically low).

The ideal one-stop strategy is: start on soft tyre, switch to medium on lap 21. A two-stop strategy is theoretically just 1.63 seconds slower.

The best two-stopper is: start on soft, soft again on lap 19, medium on lap 36. There is also a different one-stop possible: start on medium and pit for soft at lap 24.

Check out our Saturday gallery, here.

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1. Posted by wmcot54, 05/09/2015 20:53

"Did anybody ask Hembrey which lap we could expect to see the tires expolde on?"

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