Mercedes reckons F1 drivers will pit by lap five in Chinese GP

Mercedes executive technical director Paddy Lowe feels Formula 1 drivers will be forced to pit inside the opening five laps in this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix

Mercedes reckons F1 drivers will pit by lap five in Chinese GP

Tyre supplier Pirelli has retained its choice of medium, soft and super-soft compounds for China, the same as it offered in Australia and Bahrain.

Lowe feels the nature of the track means the super-soft is unlikely to last as long as it did at Melbourne's Albert Park or Sakhir.

"The Shanghai circuit places an entirely different duty on tyres relative to Melbourne and Bahrain," said Lowe.

"However, we have the same three compounds available, so it will be interesting to see how the competitive order plays out.

"It's the first time we'll see the super-soft compound used at this track, thanks to the new regulations, and that will likely create a more extreme example of what we saw in Bahrain, where the best qualifying tyre is unlikely to be a great race tyre.

"Every team is bound to want to qualify on the super-soft, but if it grains in the race, we could see cars stopping in the first five laps."

Lowe's analysis highlights one of the reasons why Mercedes has opted for fewer sets of the super-softs on this occasion, compared to its rivals.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, although on different tyre strategies in terms of the number of sets of medium and softs they have apiece, have just five sets of super-softs each - only the Sauber and Manor drivers have less.

Lowe added: "There will be plenty of analysis to do on Friday and we could see some interesting calls on qualifying and race strategy.

"What makes this all the more difficult for the teams is the unpredictability of the conditions.

"It can be quite warm in Shanghai, but it can also be as cool as Belgium.

"That variability can make life tricky in terms of both set-up and strategy work, so it's always a challenging weekend."

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