Hembery previously explained that Spa-Francorchamps is one of the biggest challenges of the season for the tyres due to the high loads put through them. While he predicted that a range of strategies would be used, the majority of the field went for a two-stop strategy including dominant race leader Sebastian Vettel – who Pirelli say really “maximised” strategy.
In fact, just two drivers pitted for fresh tyres just once. They were Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez although the latter made an additional visit through the pit lane for a drive-through.
Speaking about the race, Hembery said: “With qualifying yesterday finishing in wet conditions, the drivers were allowed to start the race on whichever compound they preferred, opening up the possibilities for different strategies still further. A number of drivers and teams maximised these opportunities to the utmost today, especially Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull, who controlled the race. But we also saw some very good strategy calls all the way down the grid, which enabled many drivers to improve on their start positions.”
He added that the race was relatively straightforward due to the expected rain holding off: “Following the uncertain weather earlier in the weekend, this was actually quite a straightforward Belgian Grand Prix, with dry conditions from start to finish and no safety car periods.”
With Spa proving to be the “ultimate test” for Formula 1 tyres, their predictions for tyre performance and durability proved to be as expected: “The performance and durability of our tyres after a hard-fought race on one of the most epic tracks in the world were very much in line with our expectations.”
Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest medium compound lap with Vettel taking the fastest overall lap on the hard compound rubber. In terms of longest stints, the two one-stoppers managed to eke out the life of their tyres with Grosjean completing 22 laps on the medium compound and Perez lasting 26 laps on the hard tyre.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic