Bridgestone's super soft tyre proved to be the fastest rubber on track in Sakhir for the first day of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg's AT&T Williams set the day's fastest lap time in the afternoon practice session held in hot and sunny weather conditions. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton used the medium compound to go fastest in the similar conditions of the morning session.
The 5.41 km Bahrain International Circuit was quite slippery for the first session of the weekend due to sand on the track, as was expected due to the circuit's desert-based location. Today was the first time that a Bridgestone's super soft compound tyre has been used at a grand prix meeting in Bahrain, although three teams have tested with this tyre here in the pre-season testing.
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development
What was significant about today's running?
"Today we saw very close lap times in the afternoon, with the top thirteen cars separated by a second. The track was very sandy at first this morning and this limits the amount of grip from the circuit. The hot conditions meant the air was not as dense as in pre-season testing here so there was less downforce from the cars. Because of these factors we did see drivers struggle with braking and there were many flat spots on the tyres. However, once the track improved we saw some good evaluation work from the teams and very close lap times set. Both tyres appear to work well and we expect the track to improve further tomorrow."
How do you expect this allocation to work here over the weekend?
"We have good data from our time here in the pre-season testing. We expect that the super soft tyre will be more durable than we have seen previously, whilst providing good lap times too. The medium tyre will take longer to provide its best lap time, but will be very durable. Today the super soft tyre gave its best lap time from its first flying lap and the medium tyre gave its best from its third or fourth flying lap. I think there will be many strategy options for this weekend's race."