Spanish Grand Prix – Pirelli’s Mario Isola says that they were surprised when Mercedes didn’t attempt to get through Q2 on the Medium tyre compound.
Mercedes’ huge pace advantage in qualifying on Saturday could have resulted in an even greater advantage for the Grand Prix, had they employed different tactics in Q2. The rules are that the top ten drivers in qualifying must start the race on the tyres they used for their fastest lap in Q2. Mercedes used the Soft tyre, like everyone else, and thus will start on those.
However, they could have used the Medium tyre and made it through into Q3 but opted against taking any risks with their strategy.
Speaking afterwards to FormulaSpy, Pirelli’s Mario Isola said that this was surprising to them as Mercedes could have gained quite a large advantage had they made use of their superior pace.
“I was very surprised, honestly. If we look at the potential strategies for tomorrow and the weather conditions, the Medium and Hard is a strategy that is safer and is not slower than the strategy of starting on the Soft tyre and swap to the Hard. But this strategy is right on the limit for one stop because you need a longer first stint on the used Softs and heavy cars.”
“So I was surprised that they, or nobody, tried to get through on the Mediums. I don’t know why they didn’t.”
Mercedes went through Q2 with their two drivers in P1 & P2, more than half a second clear of the next nearest car, the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel.