Such is the degradation of the softer ‘option’ Bridgestone compound tyre that drivers who run it will be forced to pit again for the harder ‘prime’ tyres after just a handful of laps, according to Mercedes competition boss Norbert Haug.
The newly resurfaced Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve has been found to be particularly abrasive, literally chewing up the softer-compound tyres in Friday practice. The lack of grip has been compounded by overnight rain on Friday night, which washed away the ‘marbles’ of discarded rubber from the worn tyres and returned the circuit grip to its default conditions.
With the top-ten qualifiers split between qualifying on the softer and harder compound tyres – and thereby forced to start the race on the tyre compound used to set their fastest qualifying lap – those on the softer tyres will be desperately hoping for an early Safety Car intervention to be able to switch to the harder tyres without too much of a penalty.
That is very much the hope for McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh, whose pole-sitting driver Lewis Hamilton is starting on the ‘option’ Bridgestone.
Speaking with the BBC after qualifying, he said: “It’s going to be an interesting race here – I expect we’ll see more stops than normally this year.
“There’s more chances of Safety Cars here, too, so we hope for an early Safety Car but either way I think this is the quickest way is to start, on Options. The likelihood of a lot of cars having to do a short stint on the softer tyres is very high.”
The Safety Car has made an appearance in each of the last four Canadian Grands Prix.
[Original image via AUTOSPORT]