Monza features the highest top speeds and lowest downforce settings of the year, but despite this challenging environment, just one pit stop is expected on Sunday for Pirelli’s home race.
Wear and degradation levels have been low on both compounds during the first two free practice sessions and are expected to get even lower as the weekend goes on and more rubber gets laid onto the track. Ambient temperatures in FP2 reached 28 degrees centigrade and 40 degrees on track, a bit higher than anticipated, and this is expected to remain the case for qualifying and the grand prix.
The time gap between the compounds is around 0.6 seconds for most competitors, which means that there could be a wide variety of strategies not just for the race but qualifying as well. One possibility, for instance, would be to qualify on the hard tyre and save the medium for the race. With the hard and medium tyres selected for Monza, this means that the two most durable compounds in Pirelli’s range have been nominated for the Italian Grand Prix weekend. Part of the work for teams in free practice is to establish how long it takes for the tyres to deliver peak performance, which is essential information for qualifying. The medium tyre, for example, seems to be able to deliver two fast laps. As usual, the teams also completed race simulations on different compounds and fuel loads, in order to capture data about tyre performance at every phase of the grand prix. This information is then used to formulate race strategy, which will revolve around the timing of pit stops.
Mercedes was on top in both free practice sessions, with Lewis Hamilton going fastest in the morning on the hard tyre and Nico Rosberg quickest in the afternoon on the medium, setting a benchmark of 1m26.225s.
Paul Hembery: “We’ve seen about 0.6 seconds difference between the two compounds in Monza so far, and we would expect that difference not to alter much for the rest of the weekend. Both compounds look to be very durable, with degradation also very low. As a result, we would expect to see one stop for most drivers on Sunday, as was the case last year. The drivers could qualify on the medium or the hard tyre, but we should see the medium compound used for the majority of the race. Like every year, we’ve had a wonderful welcome from all the Italian fans here, who are among the most passionate and enthusiastic supporters in the world, so it’s a real pleasure to be here.”
|1.Hamilton||1m26.187s||Hard Used||1.Rosberg||1m26.225s||Medium New|
|2.Button||1m26.810s||Hard Used||2.Hamilton||1m26.286s||Medium New|
|3.Rosberg||1m26.995s||Hard Used||3.Raikkonen||1m26.331s||Medium New|
Tyre statistics of the day:
|kms driven *||4,958||2,433||N/C||N/C|
|sets used overall **||67||22||N/C||N/C|
|highest number of laps **||26||30||N/C||N/C|
* The above number gives the total amount of kilometres driven in FP1 and FP2 today, all drivers combined.
** Per compound, all drivers combined.
Pirelli fact of the day:
With victory in 1925 at Monza, Gastone Brilli Peri won the first grand prix world championship for manufacturers, driving an Alfa Romeo P2 fitted with Pirelli’s Superflex Cord tyres. He too pitted only once, on lap 32 (of 80) and changed just the rear tyres, eventually winning the race with a total time of five hours and 14 minutes, having covered around 800 kilometres. His average speed was 152kph.