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Bahrain GP: Qualifying notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
02/04/2016

Using Pirelli's 2016-specification P Zero Red supersoft tyre, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton set the fastest ever lap of Bahrain: 1m29.493s, eclipsing a record that stood since free practice in 2005. The supersoft was the default choice for all drivers in qualifying, which was a full second faster than the soft tyre and more than 2.5 seconds than the medium.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: "We experienced falling temperatures in Sakhir that made the circuit slightly faster at thwe end of each session. We're expecting two to three pit stops tomorrow. Most of the top drivers didn't save fresh sets of tyres for the race, which adds another interesting aspect. The top eight qualifiers will all start on used supersoft. From our initial calculations, we can see that there are a number of potentially different ways to approach the race, with no single strategy that stands out as being obviously quickest. There will be a lot of data analysis tonight, which should lead to a tactically intriguing race tomorrow with many different schools of thought."

How the tyres behaved today

Medium: Teams trying to reduce the number of pit stops will use this in the race.

Soft: Likely to be used for the second stint: a large number of this compound available.

Supersoft: About a second faster than the soft: but at the cost of a short opening stint.

Strategy

This is one of the most interesting races strategically, with the tactics depending of course on each driver's individual allocation. A three-stop strategy is theoretically quickest for the 57-lap race: start on supersoft, change to soft on lap 14, soft again on lap 29 and soft again on lap 43.

If a driver has enough new supersofts available (around a second per lap faster than the soft) another effective strategy would be: start on supersoft, then change to supersoft again on laps 12 and 27, then a final stint on soft from lap 42.

The fastest two-stopper would be start on supersoft, medium on lap 12, then soft from lap 37. However, this carries a significant pace disadvantage.

Check out our Saturday gallery, here.

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