Pirelli’s Friday Free Practice Review:
- Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was fastest in both sessions with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen second in FP1 and third in FP2 after Lewis Hamilton and with a gap of just over 0.2 seconds – indicating that we are likely to see a closely-fought qualifying session and race.
- So far we noted a slightly bigger gap (0.9 seconds) between Yellow medium and Red soft than expected and a gap of 0.7 seconds between medium and White hard.
- The teams and drivers all had their first taste of Mugello in two free practice sessions today, with running to acquaint themselves with the high-speed demands of the Tuscan track, in warm temperatures that exceeded 30 degrees ambient and 40 degrees on track.
- Teams sampled all three of the Pirelli compounds available (C1, C2, and C3: the three hardest in the range) with many splitting their strategies in order to accumulate as much information about the tyres as possible, using different fuel loads. This is normal for Friday free practice, but becomes particularly important at a demanding new venue with abrasive asphalt.
- As expected, the soft tyre was fastest – but many drivers reported that its optimal qualifying performance was delivered over just one lap, which means that some drivers may choose to start the race on the medium tyre.
- The considerable challenge of the up-and-down track layout, allied with the warm temperatures seen today, meant that there was a relatively high degree of tyre wear and degradation seen – particularly on the long runs – which should be the case for the race as well.
- Run plans were disrupted by two red flags during the afternoon session and this prevented to collect the usual amount of data.
Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello
• Italy has hosted the most Grands Prix in Formula 1 history with three races based in the country this year.
• The last circuit to make its debut on the F1 calendar was the Azerbaijan street circuit in Baku during the 2016 season. It was also the team’s first year back in the sport as a works team.
• Andrea Dovizioso recorded the highest speed ever at the Mugello circuit when he reached 356km/h during a MotoGP Free Practice session in 2019.
• In comparison, this weekend, Formula 1 cars are projected to reach top speeds of 325 km/h around the 5.245km circuit.
• Last year in Mugello, the fastest qualifying lap in MotoGP was a 1:45.519 set by Marc Marquez. On Saturday, it’s predicted that we will see qualifying lap times around the region of 1min 17seconds.