Ferrari appear to have the edge over arch rivals Mercedes when it comes to long run pace at the Shanghai International Circuit, venue for this week’s Chinese Grand Prix.
While all four drivers completed long(ish) stints on supersoft tyres, both Ferrari and Mercedes chose to split their running on medium and soft compound.
At Ferrari, Raikkonen did a long stint on soft tyres, with Vettel testing the durability of the medium compound. Likewise, Mercedes chose Rosberg to gather data on the soft tyre, with Hamilton spending the second half of the session running the medium rubber.
Nico Rosberg was the quickest driver on the supersoft tyre, with an average lap time of 1:42.590. Despite heavy fuel load, the German started his stint with a blistering lap time of 1:40.909, before dipping into 1:42s.
Hamilton was about two tenths slower, with Vettel a further tenth adrift. While Raikkonen was slowest of the lot, his stint was considerably longer, suggesting Ferrari were trying to find out how many times they can eke out of the red-striped tyre.
With all four drivers expected to reach Q3, all of them are likely to complete their first race stint on a set of used supersoft compound.
Rosberg - 1:42.590
Hamilton - 1:42.824
Vettel - 1:42.940
Raikkonen 1:43.392 - longer stint
On the soft tyre, Raikkonen was two tenths clear of Rosberg, with the two drivers completing similar number of laps. Both drivers started in low 1:43s but by the end of their respective stints, 1:45s became the norm.
Ferrari enjoyed a significant advantage on the medium compound, with Vettel’s average time of 1:43.559 over four tenths quicker than Hamilton’s average.
Interestingly, over the long run, there was not much difference between the soft and the medium compound.
Vettel - 1:43.559
As always, the figures above only give an indication of how the race might pan out. They do not take into account different engine maps, change in weather and track conditions etc.
by Rachit Thukral