• Spanish Grand Prix

Hard tyre 'fantastic' - Hembrey

ESPNF1 Staff
May 23, 2011 « Indian GP could be postponed to accommodate Bahrain | »
The hard compound lasted much longer but proved to be a lot slower than the soft © Sutton Images

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembrey said that the new hard compound was "fantastic" in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Drivers were complaining about a lack of grip and pace on the hard tyre after Friday practice, as it proved to be around 2 seconds per lap slower than the soft compound. Fernando Alonso suffered during the race, while Jenson Button chose a three-stop strategy to spend as little time on the hard tyre as possible. Hembrey, however, said that the degradation levels were much lower.

"It was fantastic," Hembrey told Auto Motor und Sport. "There was zero wear, but of course you had to make it work. We did not want to see four pit stops, but you have to look at the leaders, who lapped the entire field. It is difficult for us to develop a tyre strategy that covers everybody."

Hembrey pointed to the length of the close fight between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton as proof that the tyre added to the spectacle.

"It was certainly a dramatic finish to the race, with the battle between Vettel and Hamilton going down to the final lap once again, using our new PZero Silver tyres. Both of them drove magnificently, treating us all to a fantastic spectacle, and it was thrilling to see such an amazing start to the race from Fernando Alonso and Ferrari as well."

Hembrey did admit, however, that the difference in performance between the two tyres was too great, and would need to be lessened if Pirelli wants to achieve its three-stop average - despite that being the choice for the majority of the field.

"While it was a great race, we're still not happy with the idea of having four pit stops as three is our target. This was caused by the performance differential between the hard and the soft tyres, which prompted the teams to opt for a sprint strategy, as can be seen from the sheer pace of this grand prix - although it's interesting to note that the fastest lap was actually set on the new hard tyre. We'll be looking at that again in future."