Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Monza, 2018

Ferrari more aggressive again with Japanese GP tyre picks

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen have again chosen more sets of the softest tyre available for next week’s Japanese Grand Prix than any of their rivals.

The Ferrari pair will have 10 sets of the super-soft tyres each, meaning the rest of their allocation will consist of two sets of softs and a single set of mediums per car. Williams is the only other team to have selected more than eight sets of super-softs for the Suzuka race: Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin have nine each.

Mercedes have been more conservative in their selection with two sets of mediums each for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and just seven of the super-softs.

However McLaren has gone to the extreme in this respect, selecting just four sets of the super-soft and the same number of mediums – twice as many as any other team.

2018 Japanese Grand Prix tyre selections

DriverTeamTyres
Lewis HamiltonMercedesMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Valtteri BottasMercedesMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Sebastian VettelFerrariMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Kimi RaikkonenFerrariMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Daniel RicciardoRed BullMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Max VerstappenRed BullMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Sergio PerezForce IndiaMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Esteban OconForce IndiaMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Lance StrollWilliamsMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Sergey SirotkinWilliamsMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Carlos Sainz JnrRenaultMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Nico HulkenbergRenaultMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Pierre GaslyToro RossoMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Brendon HartleyToro RossoMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Romain GrosjeanHaasMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Kevin MagnussenHaasMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Fernando AlonsoMcLarenMedium tyreMedium tyreMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenMedium tyreMedium tyreMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Marcus EricssonSauberMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyre
Charles LeclercSauberMedium tyreMedium tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSoft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper soft tyreSuper 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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  • 18 comments on “Ferrari more aggressive again with Japanese GP tyre picks”

    1. Is McLaren going to use the weekend as a 2019 preparation test?

    2. Sometimes, I don’t know what Ferrari is thinking. It’s absolutely unnecessary to have such an aggressive tyre selection. They have only one set of the mediums and only 2 sets of softs!

      It goes without saying they are not going to run the mediums on raceday, but they’ll have to run the softs on Sunday. They’ll run a set of softs for each driver on Friday. That means they’re left for only one set of softs for each driver on raceday. What if they have an unexpected puncture, flat spot or accident early in the weekend that makes one set of softs useless?? Or what if they encounter a problem on Sunday where they might need a spare set of softs? Why would a team put itself in such a risky position? It just doesn’t make sense to focus that much on qualifying… especially when they have a quicker car than Mercedes on Saturday anyways.

      McLaren on the other hand…. probably fired hired a drunk as their tyre selection guy.

      1. @todfod – I agree, but might go even further. It is probably right that they won’t need a medium for the race, but wouldn’t it be nice to know what it can do just in case they get a puncture on the first lap and have to fit a tire that needs to either take them deep or all the way to the end?

        In short, what you said.

      2. It looks increasingly like Ferrari will loose the Constructors’ Championship because poor strategy decisions hamstrung their cars in the races, while Mercedes good tyre choices were part of them winning it.
        I’m surprised at Williams’ choice of tyres, I think I’d have chosen more in line with what McLaren have because staying out longer is probably their best points scoring strategy option at the moment. I guess one could argue having lots of Super Soft tyres gives their drivers extra incentive to try for the Fastest Lap, not that I’m actually expecting either of them to get it, even for a few minutes.

      3. @todfod they want to maximize their qualifying laps as track position is absolutely crucial in Suzuka.

        Last year the race was super soft – soft and they say that tires are a step harder this year, so I am guessing supersoft until lap ~30 and then soft to the finish. In case they have a puncture they will just fit another set of supersofts that should take them to the end, so no issue there.

      4. Also you say that they “they have a quicker car than Mercedes on Saturday anyways” but the qualifying score so far is 8-6 for Mercedes.

        So either they don’t have the quicker car on Saturday, or if they do they have to do their homework (meaning more qualifying simulation) to extract that extra performance.

        1. @afonic

          they have a quicker car than Mercedes on Saturday anyways” but the qualifying score so far is 8-6 for Mercedes.

          That’s because the Ferrari drivers dropped the ball in quali at Hungary, spa and Singapore. It would have been 9 to 5 in Ferrari’s favour if they didn’t. They’re definitely have the quicker car in quali trim since the German gp this year.

          Although I agree that track position is key at Suzuka, the race is still won on Sunday. Having just one pair of softs is extremely risky. I’m sure they could still maximise their qualifying if they chose 6 supersofts instead of 7. The point being that they increased the risk of their race strategy just to get in an extra run on the supersofts in qualifying. Doesn’t seem worth it to me.

          1. @todfod I agree that they dropped the ball, even though in wet they seem to be lacking.

            However I still fail to find a scenario that having one soft only is a risk. Not only it isn’t bit they will have an extra fresh super soft set for the race, which in some cases, like a safety car (or a red flag) can be beneficial.

            1. @afonic

              It’s risky in a few ways – Firstly, they only have one long run with each driver on Friday to get all their data on the softs. In case there’s a puncture or flat spot or accident during the FP sessions, they’ve effectively lost their long run data on Friday. Secondly, on raceday what if there’s first lap contact and either Vettel or Raikonnen get a puncture. Can they manage the whole race on one set of softs? They can’t use the mediums either as they haven’t run it all weekend. They’ll have to factor in an extra pitstop for Super softs, and right now, we don’t know what the tyre life of the super soft will be.

            2. @todfod I agree about the chance of something going wrong in Friday, however I think that by this time of the season they have enough data for the tires, making long runs helpful, but not crucial.

              In case of a first lap incident they are looking for two stops, soft to supersoft probably.

              In their shoes, I’d take another soft. But getting 2 extra supersofts allows them a second run in Q2 if needed and gives them an extra option in the race, that of a fresh supersoft, that Mercedes won’t have. Certainly they have something in mind.

    3. Why not just pick em out a hat works for Mciaren.

      1. Maybe they forgot to pick their tyres and the default allocation was implemented.

    4. I’d be disappointed if McLaren spends more than 5 mins on Friday in the garage.

    5. McLaren FP1 – long run on Softs to see where they drop off, FP2 – long run on Mediums to test speed and where they drop off, FP3 – Quali laps then Long Run On Supersofts. They’ve split their Tyre choice to suite an option to do a very short stint (4 – 5 Laps) incase there’s a first lap SC / VSC while they’re in the top 10 then harder tyre to take them all the way. Second option would be to go extremely deep into the race with the medium (If it has the speed) or soft the pit 10 -15 laps remaining. Either way I think their Tyre selection allows for both. . .I don know. . .Good Luck

      1. Wel… turns out they missed the tyre choice deadline lol

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