By Alex Kapadia
Data gathered at the practice session ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix will help Pirelli calculate how their tyres will perform during the race.
For the first time this year, the new P Zero Silver hard tyres were was seen in action where the teams put them through their paces in the hot and humid conditions of Sepang.
The track temperature peaked at 47 degrees centigrade and McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton clocked up the quickest ties in the morning and afternoon sessions on the hard and them the medium tyres.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s motorsport director, said: “Due to the weather conditions and the abrasive track surface, degradation here is a lot higher than it was in Melbourne.
“The hard tyre stood up very well during the long runs, but we will have to analyse all the data properly in order to have a better idea of exactly how many laps each tyre will last for and how many pit stops we are likely to see.
“Our first impression is that a three-stop strategy seems likely and so far there is a difference of around 0.5 seconds between the two compounds, but the track will still evolve considerably before the race.
“Today’s sessions were extremely important for the teams to carry out longer runs that will enable them to determine the crossover point between the different compounds, and which tyres they will race on.”