Formula One: One stop strategy expected

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Lewis Hamilton set a commanding pole position ahead tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix early today. Commenting on the lap and fortunes for the race Lewis commented:

That’s not necessarily the way you want it to turn out, getting pole without a real battle on the final lap – but you take it whatever way it comes! I think there was more time to be found out there but I’m happy to have done enough on that first run. This always tends to be a good track for me. It’s all about braking and since I was a kid I’ve always been last of the late brakers, so I guess that’s why it’s always suited my style and why I’m strong in sector one in particular. It’s such a great track to drive – like a Formula One kart track, with the high speeds and the way you’re jumping over the kerbs.

It’s always special coming back here as it’s where I won my first Grand Prix – plus the fans are incredible. Every year, without fail, they turn up in their thousands and create a great atmosphere at the track and in the city itself. In terms of the race, it’s going to be tight. I need to study hard tonight to get myself back to where I was yesterday, as I didn’t actually feel quite as strong in the car today. I was killing it out there yesterday – but I lost a bit of feel with the setup changes I made for today. I wasn’t always able to put the car exactly where I wanted, which means you have to step back and not quite push to the limit. Ferrari look strong on the long runs so we’ll need to be on our toes.”

Reviewing tyre performance ahead of Race day Pirelli commented:

Soft: used in free practice but not qualifying. A mandatory set for the race (if it’s dry).
Supersoft: quite close to the ultrasoft here both in terms of wear and degradation.
Ultrasoft: the fastest tyre by 0.6s per lap, making it the default choice from Q2 onwards.

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director:

“With uncertain weather conditions both today and tomorrow, there were a number of question marks during qualifying that will be carried through to the race. Track temperature is clearly a key aspect to tyre behaviour here, but we won’t know exactly how that develops until just before the race: cool temperatures seem to be indicated, and there might even be some rain. With low wear and degradation, a one-stopper seems the most likely scenario. However, teams will have to keep an open mind on strategy and react to changing conditions as they happen: a traditional hallmark of this fantastic track. We’ve seen in the past that pole position is not necessarily the key to success here, so everything is still wide open.”

Race strategy: Track temperature will determine what the optimal strategy is for the 70-lap race tomorrow. If it’s cold, we’re looking at a one-stopper: starting on supersoft and then moving to soft on lap 26 is theoretically the fastest way. If starting on ultrasoft (which all the top 10 will do), the strategy is extremely similar, with the change to soft coming one lap earlier, on lap 25. Note, should the race take place under mixed conditions tomorrow, race strategy will look very different!

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