Hungaroring – All the teams have driven Pirelli’s newest Formula One tyres during free practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix, in temperatures that were among the highest seen all season.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing RB9

Photo by: XPB Images

Temperatures rose to 33 degrees centigrade ambient and 46 degrees on the track today and are expected to be even higher for qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday.

Just like last year, the P Zero White medium and P Zero Yellow soft tyres have been nominated for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel was quickest in both free practice sessions, using the medium tyre in the morning and then the soft tyre in the afternoon to set his quickest time of 1m21.264s – more than half a second faster than the equivalent fastest FP2 time last year.

Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “The track was extremely ‘green’ and slippery this morning with very little grip, as is often the case first thing on Friday. There was more grip in the afternoon, but with temperatures that were even higher: on Sunday we’re likely to see what could be the hottest grand prix of the year so far.

Despite these extreme conditions, both the performance and durability of our new tyres are in line with our expectations, with very little sign of any graining or blistering. The feedback from the drivers and teams so far has been very positive. The performance gap between the two compounds today was around 1.5 seconds and we are likely to see between two and three pit stops during the race, with the majority of the field qualifying on the soft tyre.

We have a new pit lane speed limit from this grand prix onwards of 80 kilometres per hour, which puts around four seconds on the total pit stop time. This too is likely to have a big effect on the strategy, which makes the work carried out today all the more important when it comes to planning team tactics – particularly as it’s hard to gain track position at the Hungaroring through overtaking alone.”

Pirelli Motorsport