The Red Bull teammates, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, obtained the best times on Friday practice using the Supersoft New tire.
Melbourne – Finally the waiting is over, with the teams getting to sample Pirelli’s new 2013-specification compounds for the first time in competition during the opening two free practice sessions in Melbourne.
The P Zero White medium and P Zero Red supersoft tyres are nominated this weekend, with all the compounds softer and faster than their 2012 equivalents.
Ambient temperatures peaked at 28 degrees centigrade (during the first session) with Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel setting fastest time of the day towards the end of free practice two on the supersoft compound.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “The teams were able to try out our tyres within their proper working range for the first time, so as usual they made the most of the opportunity to assess the behaviour of their cars in representative conditions on different fuel loads.
The medium tyre showed plenty of consistency, just as we expected, while the drivers also benefited from the rapid warm-up of the supersoft.
With Albert Park not being a permanent facility, the track started off ‘green’ but lap times rapidly improved as more rubber was laid down.
From what we can see of the degradation so far, we’d expect the majority of the teams to stop twice during the race, with some of the faster cars maybe trying three stops.
As anticipated, we saw a performance gap of around a second between the two compounds here, which leaves the door open for plenty of strategy.”
Fastest tyre of the day:
1. S. Vettel 1.25.908 Supersoft New
2. M. Webber 1.26.172 Supersoft New
3. N. Rosberg 1.26.322 Supersoft New
Pirelli fact of the day: Melbourne has the shortest pit lane of the year at 280 metres, but the layout of it means that it isn’t the shortest time loss in the pits. Instead, it ranks seventh, with a 21-second time loss compared to a normal lap. When it comes to the race, the durability of the supersoft compounds should be between 10 and 12 laps on average, while the medium tyres should last between 22 and 24 laps.