Paul Hembery – Pirelli motorsport director: “Two key factors shaped the strategy during qualifying: the big lap time difference between the two compounds and the high degree of track evolution, which meant that the fastest times were usually set at the end of each session once the most rubber had been laid down on the surface. As an extra factor, track temperature was consistently falling with the sun going down during qualifying, which adds another challenge from a tyre engineering perspective.
“We’re expecting a one-stop race tomorrow for most drivers, but some may try something different. With the wear and degradation rates that we can see so far, the options are open. While the soft tyre has a significant performance advantage, it’s also capable of consistent performance over a longer run. We’ve got the same tyre nomination as India but the situation at this race is a lot less clear-cut, which means that strategy can make a real difference tomorrow.”