Webber fastest in Nurburgring practice
All the teams had two sets of a new version of the P Zero Yellow soft tire at their disposal for today only, which Fernando Alonso used to set a time of 1m31.894s in the opening session this morning: already beating Mark Webber’s pole time from 2009 (the last time that the German Grand Prix was held at the Nurburgring) of 1m32.230s. In the afternoon, Webber went quickest for Red Bull Racing with a time of 1m31.711s, using the current version of the P Zero Yellow soft tire.
The experimental P Zero Yellow tires are designed to offer greater durability and less degradation than the current version, but lap times should remain about the same: which was shown to be the case during the two free practice sessions today. The new version of the soft tire was also capable of multiple-lap runs, getting quicker on each occasion, to underline its increased durability. Just like the current P Zero Yellow compound, the experimental tire was branded with yellow stripes on the sidewalls. All the teams used it in the morning session, before running both types of tire in the afternoon.
Weather conditions were cool and overcast, with ambient temperatures in the region of 14 degrees centigrade and a threat of rain that did not quite materialize. As well as both versions of the soft tire, the drivers also used the P Zero White medium compound tire today: the other nomination for the race. The difference in pace between the medium and the soft tire was around nine-tenths of a second, as expected, providing plenty of scope for strategy.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery commented: “We’ve been pleased with what we can see so far of the performance from our experimental P Zero Yellow tires, although we will have to wait to hear the detailed feedback from the teams before we draw too many conclusions. However, we’ve seen that the performance from these new tires is similar to the pace from the current soft tire, but with added durability. So one option could be to use it as a medium tire next year. The cool conditions today meant that the rapid warm-up time of the soft tire was an important factor in performance, and we expect that to remain the case for the rest of the weekend.”