(Pirelli Motorsport Media)
The on track action for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix got underway at the Sepang circuit on Friday with Pirelli bringing the Medium and Hard compound tyre’s for the second race of the season. The Mercedes duo of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton setting the pace.
In the morning session Nico Rosberg set the benchmark time of 1m 40.124s on a set of used Hard tyres. In fact the top three this morning all used the a set of used Hard tyres with Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel ending the session as best of the rest behind Mercedes.
In the afternoon session, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton set the fastest time of 1m 39.790s on a brand new set of the Medium compound tyres while Kimi Raikkonen set the second fastest time of 1m 40.163s on a set of used Medium compound tyres.
Pirelli said that they expect the performance gap between the Medium and Hard compounds to be between 0.9 and 1s. Speaking following today’s action Pirelli Motorsport Director Paul Hembery stated:
'If these conditions persist until Sunday, we’ll be racing in what will almost certainly be the hottest conditions that we experience all year, which obviously provide a proper work-out for the tyres. The medium compound is suffering a bit more than the hard tyre here, which is what we expected, with the front-left being the most critical tyre for drivers to watch. Despite that, we’ve got no blistering so far and a gap of 0.9 to 1.0 seconds between the two compounds so far, which should open up a few strategy options. However, the unique weather means that Malaysia is one of the hardest races to predict all year, so there’s plenty more action to come.'
Over the course of Friday’s action 57 sets of the Hard compound tyre were used while just 19 sets of the Medium compound were used. Ironically the highest number of consecutive laps was the same for both the Hard and the Medium tyre at 21 lap’s each.
© Ben Johnston 2015