Canadian Grand Prix: Pirelli Report
Tire wear and degradation were extremely low at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada, enabling a one-stop strategy for the majority of competitors and long runs on both the soft and new supersoft compounds.
The performance difference between the two compounds was less than a second, meaning that a number of other strategies were also possible.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the race from pole ahead of his team mate Nico Rosberg, claiming his 37th career victory to extend his lead in the drivers’ championship to 17 points. The podium finishers – Hamilton, Rosberg and Bottas – all started the race on the supersoft tire, stopping within three laps of each other to change to the supersoft.
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, fourth, was the highest-placed driver to use a two-stop strategy, and the only driver to use the soft tire in the middle stint: starting and finishing the race on the supersoft, which enabled him to score some very impressive lap times.
A number of drivers started the grand prix in unusually low grid positions, including Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Williams driver Felipe Massa. They both used unusual strategies to boost their positions and finish in the points. Vettel was the earliest to pit, running the majority of the race on the soft tire. Massa was one of only five drivers to start the race on the soft tire, completing a long first stint to get past most of his competitors while they pitted, then running to the finish on the faster supersoft tire. His team mate, Valtteri Bottas, became the first non-Mercedes or Ferrari driver to finish on the podium this year.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “As we expected, given the specific characteristics of this circuit, tire wear and degradation was extremely low on both compounds today, with an extremely stable product. This can lead to some criticism, as the goal is to have more than one pit stop per race. With only four tire specifications available, sometimes it does become difficult to provide the perfect choice for every situation. Despite that, we did see some different thinking about strategy from many of the teams. In particular, the drivers who started further down the order were able to boost their prospects by doing something different to their direct rivals.”