Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013

Drivers not expecting to miss Q3 to save tyres

2013 Australian Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013F1 drivers doubt there will be an advantage to be gained by deliberately avoiding the later stages of qualifying in order to save fresh sets of tyres.

Pirelli have supplied softer tyre compounds this year, leading to claims drivers might reduce their running in qualifying to gain an advantage for the race.

But Sebastian Vettel doubted it would prove beneficial: “I don?t think so. I think you always want to start from the front.”

“There?s the odd example here or there where people maybe had a bit of a benefit putting on that extra set at the end of the race but on average I think if you can chose, you go for the front.”

Daniel Ricciardo agreed: “Obviously if I was in the position to do that as well I would definitely go for starting at the front.”

“Starting in the mid-pack and taking that risk to save tyres is obviously putting yourself in a bit more of a tight situation potentially on the first lap with more cars around. The thing is, if you?re able to fight for the front row you go for it, that?s the logical one for me.”

Vettel said he hopes there won’t be a repeat of the severe levels of degradation seen during pre-season testing: “I think in winter testing we all suffered the same problem: the tyres didn?t last.”

“It was extremely difficult for us to do a lot of laps on the same set of tyres, to test certain things. We hope it gets better here. Otherwise it could be quite funny.”

Lewis Hamilton also played down the likely effect of the new tyre compounds: “The tyres are a little bit different, it?s not a big drama.”

“Everyone?s in the same boat so it?ll be interesting to see how long the super soft tyre lasts, if there?s a little more graining than there was last year. But again, everyone?s got the same tyre.”

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Sauber