Pirelli P Zero Silver overcomes challenging conditions in Malaysia
For the first time this year, Pirelli’s new P Zero Silver hard tyre was seen in action: ideal for the hot and humid conditions of Sepang, where the track temperature peaked at 47 degrees centigrade today. McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton went quickest during the first free practice session this morning, thanks to a time of 1m38.021s using the P Zero Silver hard tyre. With the weather forecast uncertain, many of the drivers took the opportunity to carry out longer runs on the hard tyre during the first practice session. Only the Caterham duo of Vitaly Petrov and Heikki Kovalainen ran on the P Zero White medium during the first practice session for nine laps and three laps respectively.Conditions remained dry during the second practice session, with the drivers using both the hard and the medium tyres from the beginning of the session. Hamilton was also fastest in the second session with a time of 1m38.172s, this time on the P Zero White medium tyres.Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery 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.”Tomorrow (Saturday) Paul Hembery will be taking part in a live online chat from the Malaysian Grand Prix at 7.30pm local time (+7 hours from Italy). To join in and stream on your own website please visit: http://streamingf1.pirelli.com/share/Pirelli numbers of the day:Sets used overall:Hard 53Medium 25Intermediates 0Wet 0Highest number of laps per compound:Hard 15Medium 15Intermediate 0Wet 0Pirelli fact of the day:This indicates the relative softness of each tyre: with the supersoft tyre as a reference of 100% (unaltered from 2011), the soft tyre is 10% harder, the medium is 25% harder and the hard is 31% harder. Last year, the soft tyre was 25% harder than the supersoft while the hard tyre was 70% harder. This illustrates how much the compounds have been closed up in order to enhance strategy opportunities.