Bridgestone's super soft tyre provided the grip for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton to qualify on pole position with a time of 1min 39.498secs for tomorrow's European Grand Prix in Valencia.
Bridgestone's soft and super soft tyres coped well with track temperatures
of up to 45 degrees Celsius today, and the track surface improvement saw a corresponding tyre performance improvement, meaning lap times continued to fall.
Force India driver Adrian Sutil set the fastest time in the morning practice session, using the super soft tyre to set a time of 1min 39.143secs. Running was suspended for 25 minutes of the session whilst the circuit surface was treated after Vettel's car dropped fluid.
Q&A with Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development
What was significant about today's running? "Today we saw a further improvement from the track, even though we did lose almost half an hour of running in the morning practice session. There was a good improvement in tyre performance from both tyres related to the track improvement so we have good confidence for tomorrow. To see a KERS car on pole makes things interesting, as it is difficult to imagine a non-KERS car getting ahead at the start."
What are the tyre strategy considerations for tomorrow's race? "The super soft tyre is around 0.3-0.4 seconds faster than the soft tyre, however it is more susceptible to the transverse graining that we see here. The track improvement today however means that the super soft looks better than it did yesterday for its race duties, so actual strategy choices tomorrow will be interesting. To assist us with data we will analyse the strategies in today's GP2 Series race too. Looking at today's skies, I do not think we will have need of Bridgestone's intermediate and wet tyres for the race."
Ambient Track Weather
Practice AM 29C-30C 37C-41C Sunny
Qualifying PM 31C-32C 45C Sunny