Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development
What was significant about today's running?
"Today was very exciting as it was the first qualifying session with the latest rules and the first time we have been able to see all the cars against each other on low fuel loads at the same time. The super soft compound was the preferred compound today and it delivered a faster lap than the medium compound. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for the first pole of the year. Well done also to Karun Chandhok at the other end of the grid for the HRT F1 Team, as his first run in the car was in the qualifying session and he showed very good focus for the task."
What are the tyre strategy considerations for tomorrow's race?
"If the track continues to improve we are confident that the super soft should prove to be a good race tyre as well as a good qualifying tyre. Last year the circuit improved a lot in the race, but the strategists need to be wary of conditions in case there are any sand storms tonight. The medium compound gives good stable performance, but is not as fast over a single lap as the super soft. The difference between compounds for a race stint is not very clear cut so far, meaning we should see a variety of approaches. Strategy options are more limited for the top ten drivers as the rules dictate that they must start the race on the very same set of tyres which they set their fastest lap time.
"This means that all except Adrian Sutil will start on the super soft. For all drivers there is not the constraint of having to stop to refuel, so the pit stops can occur at any time in the race, so this aspect will be very interesting. Tomorrow will be the first time that these cars start a race with their heavy fuel loads. Even if the circuit conditions are good tomorrow, drivers will have to be very vigilant, especially on the first laps, when the cars are heaviest and the tyres at their coolest."