2016 Mexican Grand Prix – Pirelli Report
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has won the Mexican Grand Prix from pole, after starting on the soft tyre and then running a one-stop strategy by switching to the medium.
During the course of the race, Williams driver Valtteri Bottas clocked 372kph on the speed trap (running the medium tyres): quite close to the fastest speed ever seen in a Formula 1 race.
Most drivers started on the soft compound, including the two Mercedes on the front row of the grid. Directly behind them were two Red Bulls starting on the supersoft, which theoretically allowed them a faster start at the expense of a shorter first stint. However, Daniel Ricciardo changed to the medium tyre during a virtual safety car period on lap one, before completing a second stop to have a rapid final stint on the soft and finish fourth after using all three compounds.
All the drivers apart from Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat chose the medium tyre for the second stint, (with Sauber’s Felipe Nasr having started on mediums). Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel completed the longest first stint on softs, only swapping from the soft to the medium on lap 32. Nasr completed the longest first stint of the race, starting on medium and then switching to supersoft only on lap 49, demonstrating the consistency of all the compounds throughout the race. Renault’s Jolyon Palmer also ran the entire race bar one lap on the medium tyre.
Conditions were warmer than they were during free practice, with track temperatures remaining just below 40 degrees throughout the grand prix. A key part in today’s strategy calculations was the length of the pit lane: the longest of the season, which increases the time needed to make a pit stop.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Today’s race contained a strong strategic element, with the front row starting on the soft tyre, followed by the second row on the supersoft tyre. There were still a number of question marks about strategy heading into the race, with teams having to react to events as they happened and make the most of every opportunity that presented itself. As expected though, most drivers were able to complete the race with just one pit stop, extracting a low wear life from the tyres.”