The teams will see the Ultrasofts, Supersofts and Softs at Montreal, the same compounds they
had in 2016. Those who love to get their hands dirty with tyre strategy will remember that Hamilton won last year starting on the Ultras, running 24 laps, then stopping only once, where he put on Softs and ran them 46 laps to the end. Bottas finished third with a similar strategy. The other top runners stopped twice, going Ultra, Soft, Soft or Ultra, Supersoft, Soft.
With the compounds even more robust this year, look for a one stop strategy to be strongly considered. The Ultras held up well in Monaco and they can run more than 24 laps this year. As always, the regulations require that the teams use either of the two hardest compounds (the Supersoft or Soft compounds here) for at least one lap in the race. So possibly the Ultras go 30 laps and the Supersofts go on for the last 40.
The drivers’ compound selections, however, lead one to believe they may have a multiple stop strategy in mind, rather than an Ultra, Super or Ultra, Soft one-stopper. The teams have absolutely loaded up on the Ultrasofts, with McLaren taking 10 sets and Ferrari right behind them with nine sets. We know that you can’t race exclusively on Ultras, so these selections may be an early indication that at least a few drivers intend to stop twice and go Ultra, Ultra, Super. While the extra stop does cost 20+ seconds, passing is reasonably possible in Montreal so drivers should be able to take advantage of their fresh rubber.
BREAKING NEWS: This is all complicated by the fact that, as of this writing, it is forecast to rain during the race. If it does rain, and teams use one of the wet weather compounds, the requirement that they use the Soft or Supersoft compound during the race is eliminated. Let’s hope that it does rain in Montreal because that always makes for exciting racing. Will Mad Max have his way in the wet? We’ll see when the lights go out.