DAY OF CONTRASTS, WITH TRACK TEMPERATURES IN EXCESS OF 50
DEGREES IN FP3 TO TORRENTIAL RAIN IN QUALIFYING

DELAYED START TO QUALIFYING AND MULTIPLE RED FLAGS:
WET, INTERMEDIATE AND SLICK TYRES USED

IF CONDITIONS ARE DRY FOR THE RACE,
TWO PIT STOPS IS THE MOST LIKELY STRATEGY


Hungaroring, July 23, 2016 – A day of extreme contrasts in Hungary meant that conditions ranged from track temperatures of 51 degrees in FP3 – just one degree less than the hottest session recorded so far this year (52 degrees in Baku) – to torrential rain just before the start of qualifying.

As a result, qualifying was delayed for 20 minutes, and then a number of red flags delayed the session further, which began on Cinturato Blue full wet tyres. By the time Q1 resumed for the final time, more than an hour after it had been scheduled to start, nearly all the drivers went out on Cinturato intermediate tyres, with track temperatures climbing again.

From Q2 onwards, all the drivers used the intermediate tyre, but with the track drying so rapidly they all moved to the supersoft by the end of the session, which ran without interruptions. All the drivers used just one set of supersoft in Q2, with the exception of Williams driver Valtteri Bottas, who used two. According to the rules, this is the compound that the top 10 will start with tomorrow (assuming it’s a dry race).

Q3 was the only session to be run entirely on slick tyres, despite some patches of water remaining and very slippery kerbs, with Nico Rosberg’s pole time of 1m19.965s solidly beating the pole time from last year for Mercedes.

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If conditions do indeed remain dry tomorrow, as is expected, two stops is likely to form the optimal race strategy, irrespective of whether or not drivers start on the soft or the supersoft tyre.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “In a sport that’s thrown up some crazy situations in the past, this was one of the most mixed-up days that we’ve witnessed – but the end result was still a Mercedes one-two. The teams certainly got to try a wide range of our tyres today, and the mixed conditions means that they have a good allocation of unused slicks to choose from tomorrow, which will probably be a two-stop race.”

How the tyres behaved today:
Medium: Used minimally in practice but not in qualifying, unlikely to be seen in the race.
Soft: Not seen at all in qualifying but will figure prominently in the race strategy.
Supersoft: The teams switched straight to this tyre once the track dried up.
Intermediate: Used from Q2 onwards, despite the standing water.
Full wet: With the circuit waterlogged during Q1, the automatic choice for this session.

Possible race strategies and maximum laps*:

Pirelli recommends that the following numbers of laps are not exceeded on each compound:
Soft = 29 laps
Supersoft = 14 laps

On this basis, the optimal pit-stop strategies predicted by Pirelli are as follows:

QUICKEST
Two-stopper: two stints on soft of 29 laps each + one 12-lap stint on supersoft
SECOND-QUICKEST
Three-stopper: three stints on supersoft of 14 laps each + one 28-lap stint on soft
SLOWEST
Three-stopper: two stints on soft of 24 laps each + two 11-lap stints on supersoft

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Different permutations of compound usage within each strategy are possible.

*This information is provided just as an indication for media, based on Pirelli data. It doesn’t form any type of guarantee for the teams, as each team is obviously responsible for choosing its own race strategy based on its own wear data.

 

 

Free practice 3 – top three times

Rosberg 1m20.261s Supersoft new
Verstappen 1m20.263s Supersoft new
Ricciardo 1m20.726s Supersoft new

Qualifying top 10

Rosberg 1m19.965s Supersoft new
Hamilton 1m20.108s Supersoft new
Ricciardo 1m20.280s Supersoft new
Verstappen 1m20.557s Supersoft new
Vettel 1m20.874s Supersoft new
Sainz 1m21.131s Supersoft new
Alonso 1m21.211s Supersoft new
Button 1m21.597s Supersoft new
Hulkenberg 1m21.823s Supersoft new
Bottas 1m22.182s Supersoft new

Most laps by compound so far

SOFT Raikkonen 31 laps
SUPERSOFT Vettel 23
MEDIUM Hulkenberg 14
MEDIUM Perez 14
WET Magnussen 7
INTERMEDIATE Sauber 6

Best time by compound so far

SOFT Hamilton 1m21.960s
MEDIUM Perez 1m23.893s
SUPERSOFT Rosberg 1m19.965s
WET Nasr 1m39.500s
INTERMEDIATE Hamilton 1m31.571s
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