Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel secured pole position using P Zero Yellow soft tyres, putting him in the best position to clinch his second F1 championship title at the Japanese Grand Prix tomorrow.
However, several drivers wanted to preserve their tyres so they didn’t even bother going out to set a qualifying time at Suzuka.
Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher, together with the Lotus Renault duo of Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov, did not record a time either. Consequently all four drivers will have the possibility to start either on the soft or the hard tyres tomorrow.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director, said: “It was a very fast qualifying and the tyres stood up well to the high-speed demands of Suzuka circuit, with no wear or degradation beyond the usual parameters.
“However, it now seems to become a trend that some cars qualifying in Q3 do not set a time in order to save tyres, so we will be working with the teams and the FIA to find a solution that is acceptable to everybody to avoid this kind of scenario in the future, as it is not fair on the spectators.
“Today showed that this remains a problem, which we would like to solve. Looking ahead to the race, with quite a significant lap time difference between the soft and the hard tyres, the possibilities for interesting strategies are wide open this weekend.
“The trade-off for this extra performance of the soft tyre is the fact that the crossover point, where the medium tyre becomes quicker, might come after only five or six laps. So it’s going to be interesting to see what the teams all opt for.”
Alex Kapadia, Operations Team