Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018

Mercedes and Ferrari make similar French GP tyre selections

2018 French Grand Prix

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Mercedes and Ferrari will go into the French Grand Prix weekend with similar tyre choices for their two drivers.

All four drivers will have nine sets of the softest available compound, the ultra-soft. Championships leaders Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton will each have three sets of super-softs to their team mates’ two.

Red Bull have made a slightly more conservative selection, opting for seven sets of ultra-softs, the fewest of any team.

Williams, which struggled to extra performance from the softest available tyres last weekend, has picked the most ultra-softs for Paul Ricard.

2018 French Grand Prix tyre selections

DriverTeamTyres
Lewis HamiltonMercedesSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Valtteri BottasMercedesSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Sebastian VettelFerrariSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Kimi RaikkonenFerrariSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Daniel RicciardoRed BullSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Max VerstappenRed BullSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Sergio PerezForce IndiaSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Esteban OconForce IndiaSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Lance StrollWilliamsSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Sergey SirotkinWilliamsSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Carlos Sainz JnrRenaultSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Nico HulkenbergRenaultSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Pierre GaslyToro RossoSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Brendon HartleyToro RossoSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Romain GrosjeanHaasSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Kevin MagnussenHaasSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Fernando AlonsoMcLarenSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Marcus EricssonSauberSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre
Charles LeclercSauberSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyreUltra soft tyre

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 21 comments on “Mercedes and Ferrari make similar French GP tyre selections”

    1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
      12th June 2018, 16:33

      I wonder if the decision of only having one soft tyre set for Hamilton and Vettel will backfire

      1. Nah Kimi and Bottas have that extra set for testing.

      2. I wonder if the decision of only having one soft tyre set for Hamilton and Vettel will backfire

        That is precisely what I was thinking about. Bottas in particular seems rather good with firmer tyre compounds and doing longer stints with them. This might mean an advantage over both his teammate and Vettel.

        Having said that, it is a leap into the unknown for everyone on a track that has not been used for a F1 race for 28 years. Paul Ricard is supposed to be very flat with very little elevation anywhere and I wonder how that will impact on tyre wear.

        1. @loup-garou, in the past, tyre wear used to be relatively low around Paul Ricard – the recent resurfacing is also expected to mean that tyre wear is comparatively low.

          1. In that case, aren’t RBR putting themselves at a disadvantage in having 2 fewer sets of US tyres compared with Mercedes and Ferrari?

    2. Aren’t Red Bull usually better on the softer tyres? Odd that they would choose the hardest selection then.

      1. @patrickl Perhaps they’re working on the assumption that they’re not going to qualify in the front two rows but will be far enough ahead of the midfield that they can qualify on the harder tyre, so they’re taking more to run them more in practice.

        1. I doubt they’ll qualify on the S, @keithcollantine.
          Maybe the SS, but they have the same amount of those as HamVet.

        2. Perhaps they’re working on the assumption that they’re not going to qualify in the front two rows but will be far enough ahead of the midfield that they can qualify on the harder tyre, so they’re taking more to run them more in practice.

          But two whole sets less of the US tyres than their 2 main rivals? Will that not limit RBR’s flexibility if the cars’ performance turns out to be rather different than what they expected?

    3. I think Red Bull (fair disclosure, I’m a Merc fan) have a good chance at the French GP. The twisty sections just before the DRS zone will play to their strengths, and put them in position to use the DRS to pass, and when in front, they can get thru those twisties, perhaps, faster than Merc or Ferrari. But, hey, this year, could be very interesting.

      1. To me the circuit looks a lot like Montreal.
        Hopefully, close between the top 3 teams.

        1. Yes, I think the same. Strangely, they’re quite similar to each other: two long straights linked by a fast chicane (wall of champions in Montreal) on one side and a tortuous section on the other.
          The big difference is that in Canada the start-finish line lies in this second straight.

    4. From reading yesterday’s round up I get the impression that the amount of tires the team get for the weekend compounds the problem of overtaking.

      So let me explain my proposal. We ought to acknowledge first that one of the main reasons why F1 has become so boring is because there’s massive amounts of information the teams have access to and thus they can mitigate uncertainty in such a way that they’re almost never caught by surprise. Certainly not the big teams with the statistics/simulation teams. I think that the amount of sets of tires they are allocated per GP weekend should be reduced in such a way that teams have to make strategic decisions for practice, qualifying and race sessions. I think we ought to understand that under the current format, whatever the tire supplier is providing them with is easily figured by the teams. So the game should not be to keep them guessing on the performance of a tire compound but rather provide them with a workhorse compound for the weekend and 2 faster compounds to give them tactical options for the race.

      How I see it. Give them a base compound that can last for 1.3x to 1.6x race distances at 85% the recommended pressures. Give them an intermediate compound that can go between 60% and 80% of a race distance, again assume that low pressure trickery will be employed by the teams. And then the gofast compound should last between 25% to 40% of a race distance. Make a range of 6 or 7 rubber compounds per year, and for each GP allocate them in a way that the softest compound is 3 steps softer than the hardest and have the medium compound 1-step either way.

      Now, they are being given 13 sets for the weekend, cut that to 9. They can setup their cars with the harder compound, let them find their braking points, their clutch bite points, their suspension values on that. Sure they could practice on their nice rubber, but then they won’t have as many for qualifying or the race. You ate up your tires? tough luck mate, oh wait, here, have an extra set of the harder compound, it’s only going to cost you two grid spots. You need a medium compound for the race, you say? here it is, it’s going to be 4 spots for you! And so on.

      That way we can get rid of the stupid “start on your Q2 tires” rule or mandatory pit stops. As most teams would try to go the distance on the mediums and nobody would know for sure which compound they’d start on, it’d open up strategic choices for those teams that reserved an extra set of gummies for the race. Hey, Williams or Sauber could allow themselves to lose a couple of grid positions if it helped them on sunday. Imagine what Red Bull could try and do.

      1. Hmm, and then we would complain because there is nothing to be seen during practice sessions. For me, this is a: no way!

    5. Tyres apart, how will various top teams fare on this track? Paul Ricard has 3 long straights with DRS zones in 2 of them. That would give advantage to Merc and Ferrari over Red Bull but rest of the track, with its multiple curves, is more RBR territory. It should be interesting.

    6. Will Mercedes bring their engine upgrade, if not they will DNF all the way along no matter what tyres they use.

      1. From what I heard that engine upgrade is not without its own problems.

      2. How come?! It’s the 8th GP, so they’ll equip the cars with new current-spec engines, no?? Or you imply that they have a plan, to use old engines for 1 more race and come with an upgraded engine for the 9th race?

    7. This to me translates to Merc changing their approach and joining Ferrari. Seems to me a sign of pressure on the current champions.

      1. @makana – not quite, these tyre allocations are made months in advance.

        No less than nine weeks before the start of each event in Europe, and 15 weeks before the start of each event held outside Europe, Pirelli (in consultation with the FIA) will inform the team which three compounds can be used at each race.

        The teams must inform the FIA of their nominations no less than eight weeks before the start of each European race and fourteen weeks before the start of each event held outside Europe, meaning they effectively have a week in which to decide on their allocation after hearing which compounds will be made available at each race.

        So, these tyre choices were made in late April. Also, tyre choices are not revealed until now (days before the event) so no team knows what the other has chosen.

        If anything, the broad similarity just goes to show how teams converge on very similar approaches to tyre selection (within the group of competing teams), and it is a rare event when there is a significantly different selection.

    8. Intrigued by Sirotkin’s selection of just 1 SS & 10 US.
      Perhaps he is taking a penalty.

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