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Why peaky F1 tyres precipitated ‘acts of desperation’ in Miami GP qualifying

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McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell accomplished Q3 on the theoretically slower medium as groups battle to mitigate overheating points on Pirelli’s softer C4 compound.

Even polesitter Max Verstappen mentioned he struggled, with Crimson Bull advisor Helmut Marko commenting to ORF that the “incalculable” tyre traits imply “no person had it below management”, labelling Mercedes’ transfer to mediums an “act of desperation”.

Norris almost crashed on a number of consecutive corners in Friday’s dash qualifying and felt even much less assured on the compound on Saturday, additionally opting to show to the mediums to seek out extra confidence.

“Most individuals have been complaining about it,” Norris mentioned. “It is simply really easy to overdo it like, you push one per cent an excessive amount of and it is form of recreation over.

“I by no means felt pretty much as good as I did yesterday, so I wished to place the medium on to get some good confidence once more. It simply reveals there wasn’t a lot distinction between the comfortable and medium.”

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Pirelli trackside engineer Simone Berra confirmed that the distinction between the comfortable and medium compound was smaller than ordinary for the specifics of Miami’s floor, which has turn into rougher because of ageing.

Due to how simple it was to overheat the softs, Berra defined that drivers who pushed an excessive amount of in Miami’s demanding first sector would pay the worth afterward within the lap.

Yuki Tsunoda, RB F1 Crew VCARB 01

Picture by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

That additionally helped clarify feedback from Williams man Alex Albon, who mentioned his tyres had been destroyed after simply six corners.

“The step in grip with a comfortable will not be as anticipated,” Berra defined. “We anticipated round six or seven tenths and we have seen simply a few tenths of distinction.

“The issue is that the [soft] C4 may be very peaky, so once you overheat the C4 and also you exceed the goal temperature, you begin to slide rather a lot.

“You need to handle somewhat bit and to not be too aggressive within the first sector with extended corners, the place you lean rather a lot on the tyres.”

Smooth tyre an choice for straight-forward one-stopper

The small distinction between the comfortable and medium tyres additionally has implications on the race, as demonstrated by RB driver Yuki Tsunoda efficiently utilizing the softer rubber to maneuver up into the factors in Saturday’s 19-lap dash.

So long as overheating is stored below management in race trim, the tyre degradation in Miami is pretty restricted, opening up an easy one-stop race utilizing both comfortable or medium tyres along with a really lengthy stint on hards.

“In our opinion, it will likely be a medium-hard [one-stop], as a result of now we have no graining and degradation was fairly low,” Berra mentioned.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-24

Picture by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“However we predict the comfortable may very well be a raceable tyre. You possibly can attempt to achieve positions, cease early and go along with the C2 in free air to the tip of the race.”

The jury continues to be out on how highly effective the undercut shall be, however due to the restricted tyre drop-off, Pirelli is not anticipating that pitting one lap earlier than the automobile forward goes to be as robust a tactic because it normally is.

“It is not likely highly effective like in different circuits, as a result of degradation is fairly low,” Berra added.

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“For the laborious compound, you want round half a lap for the tyres to be in a working window, so in the event you pit one lap later than the automobile which was in entrance, you do not lose an excessive amount of [by staying out].

“The undercut is highly effective when degradation is sort of excessive and having a brand new tyre offers you an enormous tempo [advantage].”



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