British GP: Qualifying team notes – Pirelli

Many of the drivers started Q2 on the medium tyre, with both Mercedes drivers, Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Lance Stroll (Racing Point) setting their best times on this compound. As a result, they will start the race on the yellow tyre tomorrow.

Today’s temperatures were cooler than the extreme heat of yesterday, with track temperatures of around 40 degrees in qualifying. Tomorrow’s conditions should be similar to today.

The cars were affected by gusting winds throughout qualifying, which influenced aerodynamic grip.

The track record was already broken by Valtteri Bottas in the early stages of qualifying, before being lowered again twice in Q3 by Hamilton. This year’s pole was 1.2 seconds faster than the 2019 pole, on the same tyres.

Racing Point‘s Lance Stroll and Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly set exactly the same time in Q2 (albeit on different tyres), but only Stroll went through to Q3 as he set the time first.

The theoretically quickest strategy for the 52-lap British Grand Prix is a one-stopper, assuming that temperatures remain similar to today. The fastest way is to start on the soft tyre for 18 to 22 laps and then move onto the hard until the end.

Second-fastest is a two-stopper, also starting on the soft. After 16 to 18 laps switch to the soft again for another 16 to 18 lap stint, before going onto the medium until the end. The hard tyre can be used as an alternative to the medium: either for the middle or the final stint.

Third-quickest is a different one-stopper: starting on the medium for 21 to 24 laps, then hard to the end. It’s not advisable to do a soft-medium one-stopper, as tyre wear then becomes too marginal.

Mario Isola: “With temperatures being quite a lot cooler than they were yesterday, the teams needed to confirm the data collected so far ahead of qualifying, which made FP3 in the morning particularly important. The key point of qualifying was the medium tyre, used by half the top 10 to get through Q2. The top four starters will begin the race on this compound, which isn’t the fastest way on paper, but does offer more options and a longer first stint on a circuit that’s renowned for taking a lot out of the tyres. The circuit got progressively faster throughout the qualifying session, with a new track record set twice in Q3”.