Super-soft tyres cause lap times lottery (Canadian GP Practice 2 interactive data)

Alonso was fractionally quicker than Vettel on combined sector times

Alonso was fractionally quicker than Vettel on combined sector times

Why did so many drivers struggle with the super soft tyres in second practice? Take a closer look at the times from second practice in Canada with the interactive chart below:

You need to upgrade your Flash Player

View interactive chart full screen

Tick/untick drivers? names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom

Why were the teams struggling so badly with the super-soft tyres? Bridgestone’s director of motorsport tyre development Hirohide Hamashima explains:

The dirty track surface here and the cooler than usual temperatures meant that graining was today?s talking point. The tyres were not able to work to their full potential due to not reaching their best operating temperature. This meant the tyres were sliding, causing transverse graining on front tyres from braking and transverse graining on the rears from traction demands.

We expect that the track surface will continue to improve with more rubber laid, and the graining will diminish. Weather forecasts also predict warmer temperatures which will be beneficial too. However, there is rain included in these forecasts so there is potential for this to be a very interesting weekend in terms of maximising tyre performance potential.
Hirohide Hamashima

As Hamashima points out, what the weather does next could be crucial. If it rains before the next session and the rubber built up over three hours of running is washed away the teams could find themselves back at square one.

But, as Fernando Alonso points out, if the weekend remains dry it should become less of a worry:

The soft tyre degrades very easily, but today is only Friday and the track conditions will change a lot between now and Sunday. In Bahrain, after the first day, we were all concerned, but then we all pitted around lap 20 without having any problems.
Fernando Alonso

There is a threat of showers through the weekend and Renault are expecting rain during the race. That would be a different matter, of course, as the teams would have to use their rain tyres.

The unpredictable conditions and lack of grip is giving the teams some serious headaches when it comes to setting up their cars. From radio conversations heard during second practice it’s clear Renault were tweaking their downforce levels and it seems Sauber are doing the same:

The conditions were very difficult to start with this morning. It was a case of running the car in the medium-downforce configuration. Kamui had to learn the circuit today, and for Pedro it was about getting a feeling for the car with the lower downforce level.
James Key

Renault, interestingly, had the fastest cars in a straight line in both practice sessions. That position was expected to be taken by McLaren, but even so Jenson Button think the car might be better suited to an even higher downforce configuration they are already using:

We?re possibly a little bit too quick along the straights, too. Maybe we?re not running enough downforce, but we?ll look at that.
Jenson Button

Red Bull have no shortage of downforce, of course. Sebastian Vettel was fastest in the session despite only having the 19th highest speed through the speed trap – 310.1kph versus Vitaly Petrov’s 319.8kph.

Vettel’s ‘ultimate lap’ – his best three sector times combined – was the second best, one thousandth of a second shy of Alonso’s 1’16.828, with Webber two tenths of a second behind.

While Vettel and Alonso set their best times on the super-soft tyres Nico Rosberg, third fastest, did his quickest lap on the medium compound.

At this stage it looks like being an unpredictable weekend where climatic conditions and difficult decisions about set-up will play a significant role.

All of which makes life even more difficult for the eight drivers who are new to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. But at least one of them is relishing the challenge of the Montreal track:

The circuit here is so narrow compared to places like Turkey. It?s great and much more exciting to race close to the wall as opposed to 200 metres away.
Nico H???lkenberg

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Lap At time Laps
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’16.877 20 57 32
2 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’16.963 0.086 23 65 35
3 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’17.151 0.274 8 35 34
4 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’17.273 0.396 21 64 33
5 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’17.401 0.524 22 63 33
6 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’17.415 0.538 20 64 28
7 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’17.522 0.645 7 15 29
8 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’17.529 0.652 24 66 36
9 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’17.688 0.811 13 46 34
10 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’17.903 1.026 8 18 35
11 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’17.961 1.084 5 12 33
12 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’18.385 1.508 25 60 27
13 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’18.447 1.570 21 55 41
14 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’18.582 1.705 12 29 40
15 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’18.658 1.781 21 63 34
16 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’18.795 1.918 12 33 38
17 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’19.168 2.291 19 53 32
18 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’19.274 2.397 10 29 41
19 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’19.969 3.092 20 50 35
20 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1’20.879 4.002 17 58 29
21 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’21.097 4.220 21 59 31
22 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’21.346 4.469 5 81 11
23 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’21.488 4.611 5 18 25
24 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’21.577 4.700 26 81 30

2010 Canadian Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Canadian Grand Prix articles

Advert | Go Ad-free

30 comments on Super-soft tyres cause lap times lottery (Canadian GP Practice 2 interactive data)

  1. Ral said on 12th June 2010, 0:03

    It’s awesome that Rosberg set his time on the hard tyres. Perhaps finally someone from up front will take the risk and qualify on hard tyres. If Rosberg can get away with that, and run a much longer first stint, he might be able to win this race.

    But I’ve betted on Alonso’s Ferrari dealing with its tyres better and suffering less degradation and therefore being able to stay out long enough to jump some people doing their pitstops. Or something :)

    • Adam said on 12th June 2010, 11:16

      Why would be want to run a long first stint anyway?

      Since they got rid of refueling, there is no trade-off on strategy, it’s a 1 way bet to try and pit as soon as you can, with the only constraint being nursing your tyres home.

      • Cacarella said on 12th June 2010, 13:43

        If the track stays dry, he`d get the advantage of using the soft compound tires at the later stages of the race when the track is rubbered in. This would probably increase thier efficiency.

      • Nick F said on 12th June 2010, 14:11

        The advantage would be to use your soft tyres at the point when the track has the most rubber on it in the weekend. You would then suffer less degradation. Also as the softs go off after the first number of laps you would be in a good position to pick up places.

  2. VXR said on 12th June 2010, 0:42

    At last! Bridgestone have finally brought some tyres to a race that may actually lose grip at some point.

    Not the ‘wimpy’ driver version of having lost grip, but the ‘Full-on’: ‘Christ, I think it’s raining, but it’s not’ type of grip.

    • S Hughes said on 12th June 2010, 13:17

      I just wish they would bring some indestructible tyres to each race so that the drivers can flat out race and not have to worry about graining, etc. I want to see who is the fastest driver, not who can conserve fuel and tyres. Don’t understand the appeal of that and never will.

      • but that would make it even worse. Tyres that don’t go off, producing few marbles, stuck behind cars due to the aero. Bad tyres also make it easier for drivers to get it wrong, and get punished by being passed.

        I understand the concept of what you are saying, but that would make it much, much worse imo. In fact, if we only want to see the best drivers etc, why not make it a standardized series?

  3. Zahir (@zahir) said on 12th June 2010, 0:43

    This is shaping up to be such a good grand prix, im afraid i may get my hopes too high. Constant weather threat and tyre managment with very little grip on an amazing circuit. Plus all the top runners look close.

    About all the ingredients to a good F1 race right?

  4. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 12th June 2010, 1:19

    At this stage it looks like being an unpredictable weekend where climactic conditions and difficult decisions about set-up will play a significant role.

    Isn’t it “climatic”?

  5. M0tion said on 12th June 2010, 2:10

    A big pleasant surprise for RBR, they seem to be getting out of the corners and handling the turn ins to the chicanes far better than anyone and it is showing off in less tyre drop off. RBR will be happy if it stays slippery. Webber just banged out 15 consecutive laps after his installs in slippery P1 and the times were great for what was happening around him and if you guess at the relative fuel. I haven’t ever seen a Friday where I didn’t think RBR haven’t had the revs turned down so while they are way down on top speed I think they will bring that gap in a bit.

    Sutil too, mr slippery with what looks like a working fduct is good it seems and they look like they are right on Renault and might even get on McLaren.

    Renaults look like they are driving out of corner well – might be Renault’s engine power delivery? But not good braking and turning into the chicanes if you watch Petrov straight lining them.

    McLaren are the exact opposite, they lack mechanical grip and Button’s idea of adding wing is not going to add enough. Hamilton sounds shattered and against his teammate if they are graining he is going to struggle.

    Massa and Webber looked like similar programmes in P2 and Ferrari have a shot even if their tyre drop off is an issue. Mercedes look to be at their best in 3rd and maybe better. McLaren need a miracle, but they might get a single lap for qualifying.

    For mine, unless the rain stays away and the track starts dialing the full order is more predictable than most races where Friday isn’t any indication.

  6. wasiF1 said on 12th June 2010, 2:43

    I want the cars to go flat-out so no rain.

  7. Todfod said on 12th June 2010, 7:17

    Good to see Fernando back around the top of the time sheets.

    I think McLaren were confident of destroying the competition this weekend, instead, its pretty wide open right now. I’m predicting 4 different cars in the top four positions at the end of the race.

    • BBT said on 12th June 2010, 8:50

      I’m not so sure, we need to wait and see. Both Mclarens set their fastest time in the first 15 min whereas Alonso, Vettel, Webber and Massa where around the 60min mark when the track was surely quicker.
      I’ll reserve judgment but was surprised by Ferrari pace, although they appeared closer to the limit than the RBR and VMM.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th June 2010, 12:16

        I had the same thoughts. I find it strange, that McLaren is not at the front in the speed traps, if they use their F-duct thing it should be them right up there.

        So did they have the engine turned down a little of just not use the F-ducts to its full potential?
        If that’s the case they will fly, but it reminds me a little bit of earlier races where they thought they would be right there and were not.

  8. BBT said on 12th June 2010, 8:52

    PS, Mclaren had heavy tanks on the super softs….

    • Todfod said on 12th June 2010, 10:41

      Lewis didn’t seem all that happy today. He was expecting more from Mclaren here. I stil think Lewis will take pole, but Vettel and Alonso will split the Mclarens.

  9. JohnBt said on 12th June 2010, 9:53

    Red Bull will be on pole again. Check mate! I HOPE NOT. Ferrari, McLaren, Merc, Renault should be in the mix for pole too. Other than that anything can change on raceday.

  10. Tiomkin said on 12th June 2010, 10:09

    Keith, Please will you add a button to your charts that allow you to select NONE. That way I don’t have to do a pigeon impression of stabbing at 20 tiny grains to make a two driver comparison.

    Sadly I now just ignore your charts. Too infuriating.

  11. Westy said on 12th June 2010, 10:26

    With Mclaren tipped to win this race plus their initial fast times on the green track in FP1 I wonder if they were sandbagging in FP2. The ammount of rear wing is a major factor in straight line speed particulaly on this track and I wonder if Mclaren were disguising their advantage so the other teams may carry more wing in quali.

  12. hollus said on 12th June 2010, 11:36

    Regarding the charts. I can zoom in to a certain number of laps, but can’t find out how to zoom in to a certain lap time segment. I would rather expand the chart in the vertical direction and discard anything that is 10 seconds of the pace, or, for other days, 5 seconds off the pace, but I cannot find how to do that.
    Am I missing how, or does the feature not exist?

  13. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th June 2010, 11:48

    There’s been a little rain at the track this morning, a heavier band just missed it. You can see it in the weather radar:

    http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/maps/qc_montreal/caqc0363?ref=qlink_obs_radar

  14. BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th June 2010, 12:51

    After looking at the pictures, i spotted, that Sutil is running with their SWR device, while Liuzzi runs without it.
    Are they just comparing, or did Liuzzi dump it after not being satisfied in Turkey.

    • M0tion said on 12th June 2010, 13:30

      They say it is because they switched Liuzzi back to his old early season chassis but it wouldn’t surprise me if they had only the 1 full unit prepared.

  15. matty55 said on 12th June 2010, 13:03

    Does anyone remember the last time there was a wet Canadian Grand Prix??

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.