Despite the softer compounds at Silverstone, the teams all went with a one-stop strategy. It worked for almost all of them but there was some tyre drama in the closing laps that cost both Scuderia Ferraris valuable places. Vettel’s front left went down with a “slow leak” and necessitated replacement with only 1 or 2 laps to go. Ditto for Raikkonen, except Pirelli claims his front left failure was caused by contact with some external object on the track. Let me translate that from Italian for you: “Not our fault” — Pirelli.
Last year was a two stopper in Hungary. Drivers started on the Supersofts and ran that those about 15 laps. They switched to the Softs for the latter two stints, running those about 25 laps per stint.
As we know, the tyres are more robust this year, plus track has been newly surfaced and is considered pretty smooth (like the Red Bull Ring). So I see the strategy going two ways this weekend.
One option would be to carry on with the two stop strategy but spend two stints on the Supersofts and one short stint on the Softs just to conform to the regulations (which require that you use one of the two harder compounds).
A second plausible option would be to turn this into a one stop race – qualifying on Supersofts and starting on those, running them 25 or 30 laps and then switching to Softs for the final 35 or 40 laps.
Teams will see how the tyre degradation goes on Friday in practice. We know that the teams expect to feature the Supersofts in their strategies because they have absolutely loaded up on them. As is the new normal, almost no one has taken any of the hardest compound beyond the minimum one set. There isn’t much variation out there, however, as nearly everyone has 9 or 10 sets of the Supersofts and 2 or 3 sets of the Softs.
We’ll see what the winning strategy is when the lights go out.