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Austrian GP: Practice team notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
02/07/2021

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton went fastest in free practice, setting the quickest time of the day in FP2, while Red Bull's Max Verstappen was fastest in FP1. On both occasions, the P Zero Red soft tyre was used to set the fastest time. But unlike last weekend, this time the red soft tyre was the C5: one step softer than the soft nomination one week ago. The C3 and C4, used as the medium and soft last weekend, are now back in action at the Austrian Grand Prix as the hard and medium respectively.

Compared to last weekend, conditions were cooler: with a few light drops of rain in the afternoon. At the beginning of the FP2 session, which should be representative of qualifying and race conditions, ambient temperatures registered 22 degrees and track temperatures were 31 degrees, more than 10 degrees less than last week.

Even though the circuit was used last weekend, some recent rain made conditions similar to free practice one week ago and there was quite a good track evolution during the day. Nonetheless the drivers and the teams were extremely familiar with it, helping to make both sessions a little faster than last week.

Each driver also had two sets of a new prototype tyre, with no markings, to test during Friday free practice. This prototype tyre, in C4 compound, features a new rear construction that is being assessed for introduction from the British Grand Prix onwards, incorporating elements of the 2022 18-inch tyres. Verstappen set the fastest time on the prototype tyre (1m05.558s) during FP2.

There's an estimated gap of about 0.7s between soft and medium, while the gap between medium and hard is about 0.5s (based on last weekend's race).

Mario Isola: "There were two main priorities for the teams today: assessing the soft compound in C5 version, which has never been to Austria before, and trying out the new prototype tyre, in medium C4 compound, in the most representative conditions for the teams. We are gathering all the information we need on this new rear tyre, which features a more robust construction, and we'll analyse the data with a view to using it from Silverstone onwards. The feedback we've had from the drivers so far is generally positive and indicates that it feels quite similar to the existing tyre that was exactly our target: keep the same level of performance with an increase of the robustness. As expected with the softer compounds, we had some graining on the soft tyre in particular, which suggests that we might see some quite different strategies compared to last weekend: the whole idea behind changing the nomination for the second race weekend here."

Check out our Friday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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