Sebastian Vettel says the new Pirelli tyres are holding up better than he expected.
The tyres lost performance very quickly in testing but Vettel was able to run a 20-lap stint without losing too much performance today.
Speaking in the FIA press conference he said: “I think we expected worse conditions here in terms of how long the tyres last. I think this morning and this afternoon was quite useful and helped us understand what to do in the race on Sunday. So far I think it is positive.
“Still we cannot race with one stop only. I think we have to come in a couple of times so ultimately we will find out on Sunday if the track improves or not as it is also something we have seen in the test.”
Nick Heidfeld added: “From testing in the winter we thought the soft tyres would only last one lap. I did my quickest lap here today on the second lap; the third lap wasn’t too bad either so this hopefully makes qualifying a bit less of a problem, because we will see more pit stops.”
Heidfeld said the need to keep sets of tyres for the race would make managing tyres in qualifying more challenging: “We see that the lap time difference between hard and soft tyres is quite big, huge – at least, compared to last year.
“That means that maybe only the very quick cars like the Red Bull may be able to use the hard tyres and save some soft tyres, but most other cars will already have to use soft tyres in Q1 to get through.
“That means that you only have two sets left for later on which you might also have to use in the race, so it makes things very different, quite interesting and complicated.”
2011 Australian Grand Prix
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