Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will start the United States Grand Prix from pole position: one of four drivers in the top 10 of the grid (along with his team mate Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo) who will begin the race on the supersoft tyre. Hamilton’s ninth pole of the season means that he will end the year with more poles than anyone else, claiming the overall 2018 Pirelli Pole Position Award.
The Pirelli Pole Position Award at the 2018 United States Grand Prix was presented by John Oates: one half of the famous American rock duo Hall and Oates, whose greatest hits have included ‘Maneater’, ‘Out of Touch’ and ‘I can’t go for that (no can do)’. Oates, a long-time car enthusiast and friend of Pirelli, was raised in Philadelphia and has Italian heritage, with his mother having emigrated from Southern Italy to the United States. Since 2014, he has been a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Today was the first day of dry running, which meant that teams had to concentrate their preparations for qualifying and the race into the hour-long FP3 session this morning. The teams are likely to align their race pace to a one-stopper tomorrow: however, without a full complement of dry running data, and much warmer conditions for the race, nobody knows for certain how exactly to run this strategy.
MARIO ISOLA – HEAD OF CAR RACING: “In the end today was completely dry, which meant that we saw quite a lot of track evolution in FP3, and the teams headed into qualifying with just one hour’s worth of slick tyre data after free practice this morning. The compounds here seem quite closely matched, with around half a second between each one in terms of lap time. However, with no real long runs completed, the full picture in terms of wear and degradation is yet to fully emerge, which keeps a few intriguing question marks for the race. We’ve already seen variations in strategy throughout qualifying, so it will be interesting to see how this pans out tomorrow. Starting on the supersoft might allow more strategic flexibility, but this also depends on track conditions. With supersoft and ultrasoft lining up alongside each other in P1 and P2 tomorrow, it’s going to be a fascinating start to the grand prix.”
POSSIBLE RACE STRATEGIES
With the amount of tyre degradation and the hotter temperatures expected for the race, the thoretical quickest pit-stop strategies predicted by Pirelli are as follows:
ONE-STOPPER: 1 stint on supersoft for 18-24 laps + 1 stint on soft to the flag
ONE-STOPPER: 1 stint on ultrasoft for 14-20 laps + 1 stint on soft to the flag
ONE-STOPPER: 1 stint on ultrasoft for 20-25 laps + 1 stint on supersoft to the flag