The fastest time was set by the soft tire, but the drivers also had the chance to try out the new evolution of hard tire.
In the morning, the intermediate and wet P Zero tires had their first proper outing during a grand prix weekend, throughout the rain-affected first free practice session.
Conditions were dry during the afternoon, with temperatures rising to 57 degrees Fahrenheit ambient and 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the track. McLaren’s Jenson Button set a best time of 1m26.456s on the soft tires, which have the benefit of additional yellow markings so that they can be distinguished more easily. This was just two-tenths of a second off last year’s pole position time of 1m26.295s, with one more free practice session and qualifying still to come tomorrow.
For most of the teams, this morning was a first taste of Pirelli rubber in wet conditions. Both the wet tires – denoted by orange markings – and the intermediate tires, marked in blue, were used, with a fastest time of 1m38.670s set by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso on the intermediates.
Pirelli’s Motorsport Director Paul Hembery commented: “We’ve been delighted to welcome Mr. Tronchetti to Istanbul, on what has been a historic day for Pirelli. We’ve seen our intermediate and wet tires take to the track for the first time, and as we confirmed when we tested in the wet at Istanbul Park last month, these tires are extremely effective even in the soaking conditions we saw today. The weather for the rest of the weekend looks like it is going to be brighter, but even if it continued to rain, our wet tires are designed to last for 30 laps or longer while the intermediates can run for about 20, so there are no concerns about supply. The teams also had the chance to try out the latest evolution of our hard tire, which we are assessing with a view to Barcelona. It’s not quite as fast as our original hard tire, but it does last a little longer with extra stability, so we will be very interested to hear the feedback from the teams.”