Paulo Hembery: "The track is going to keep on evolving as the weekend goes on, so we are still not seeing the full picture yet."
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen was quickest in Friday’s second free practice session at the Bahrain Grand Prix. The Finn set a time of 1m34.154s just over halfway through the session, using the P Zero White medium tyre.
This has been nominated together with the P Zero Orange hard tyre in Bahrain.
During the second session, all the teams sampled the medium tyre as well, in track temperatures that peaked at 42 degrees centigrade.
At the end of the second session, the teams concentrated on longer runs with heavy fuel, in order to simulate the demanding conditions that they will encounter during Sunday’s race.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “As expected, track evolution played a prominent role in today’s action, with many of the competitors not running until later in each session in order to take advantage of more rubber being laid onto the track.
The track is going to keep on evolving as the weekend goes on, so we are still not seeing the full picture yet. Wear and degradation is where we expect it to be at this point during the weekend, with the rear tyres worked particularly hard here, but when it comes to the race the cars will certainly be able to complete longer stints than we are seeing at the moment.
Already some drivers are completing more than 15 laps on the hard tyre, so we are certainly on track to see a three-stop strategy for the race, although it’s possible that some teams will attempt a two-stopper.
Once we’ve analysed the data from tonight and seen the times from tomorrow’s final free practice session, we should be able to have a clear idea of the optimal strategy.”