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Brazil GP: Qualifying team notes - Pirelli

NEWS STORY
12/11/2021

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix, which determines the grid for Sprint Qualifying tomorrow. However, Hamilton faces a five-place grid penalty for the race on Sunday following an engine change. The Englishman also went fastest in FP1 earlier today - as he did in every qualifying session - on the P Zero Red soft tyre.

As per the Sprint Qualifying regulations, all the drivers had to use the soft compound from start to finish during Friday's qualifying session. For the 24-lap Sprint Qualifying race tomorrow they can use whichever compound they prefer, and they are also allowed to start Sunday's grand prix on any of the three compounds nominated this weekend.

For being the fastest qualifier, Hamilton received the Pirelli Speed King award, which replaces the Pirelli Pole Position Award at races with Sprint Qualifying.

Conditions remained mild but dry during the crucial hour-long session, although there were some drops of rain between FP1 and qualifying. The latter session got underway in temperatures of 16 degrees ambient and 24 degrees on track: nearly 10 degrees cooler than the track temperature seen in FP1 earlier.

Today the P Zero White hard tyres and P Zero Yellow mediums could only be used during FP1, while just the soft was run in qualifying. The high degree of track evolution made it a bit harder than usual to accurately assess the performance gaps between the compounds. So far there's an estimated gap of around 0.4 seconds between the hard and P Zero Yellow medium, and 0.3 seconds between the medium and soft. These will need to be confirmed tomorrow, as today suggests that these gaps could alter.

Mario Isola: "We saw a lot of track evolution throughout FP1 and also qualifying today. The quite cool conditions on a slippery track also led to a bit of sliding and consequent light abrasion, especially in free practice. Compared to qualifying at previous Brazilian grands prix, today was a different strategic challenge, with all the drivers having to run the soft tyre from start to finish under the sprint qualifying rules, which also use a different tyre allocation compared to conventional weekends. As is often the case, the weather looks set to remain somewhat unpredictable at Interlagos for the rest of the weekend, which will be a decisive factor when the teams come to consider which tyres they will run in Sprint Qualifying and the race. Tomorrow's final free practice session will provide yet more valuable information on tyres ahead of the racing action, before the teams finalise the strategy - which seems likely to revolve around the medium and the hard."

Check out our Friday gallery from Interlagos, here.

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