Nico Rosberg used Pirelli’s ultrasoft tyre to set the fastest lap ever recorded around the Red Bull Ring, which has been resurfaced for this year and has already produced a notable upturn in speed compared to 2015.
The Mercedes driver clocked a best lap of 1m07.373s during FP1 before joining his fellow drivers in sitting out more than 30 minutes of FP2 as torrential rain coated the 4.326-kilometer circuit.
When the track began to dry out, the drivers had to run on intermediate tyre. It wasn’t until the final 20 minutes that teams were able to use dry-weather tyres once again with the popular choice ranging between the supersoft and ultrasoft.
Having used the ultrasoft in FP1, Mercedes driver Rosberg’s best lap in FP2 was recorded on the supersoft. Rosberg’s FP1 performance confirmed the Red Bull Ring will be the shortest lap of the year in terms of time and will make an optimal qualifying lap on Saturday even more crucial as a small gap or mistake could have a significant impact. Sofar, due to the heavy wash during FP2, there’s no real data available related to the time gap between the different compounds.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “The new smooth surface and the ultrasoft tyre combined to produce the fastest lap ever recorded at the Red Bull Ring this morning, which could mean that a sub-1m05 lap is possible in qualifying if it stays dry. With the heavy rain keeping the cars off the track for a large chunk of FP2, this didn’t provide a proper opportunity to gather representative running data on this track.”