2021 Portuguese Grand Prix Tyre Performance Analysis
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton won the Portuguese Grand Prix by half a minute with a one-stop strategy from second on the grid, moving from the P Zero Yellow medium to the P Zero White hard tyre on lap 37.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who finished second and third respectively, intended to run the same strategy but then stopped right at the end to put on the P Zero Red soft tyre and fight for the extra championship point for fastest lap – with Bottas coming out on top after Verstappen’s final lap was deleted for a track limits infringement.
Only one other competitor stopped twice: Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, who also used all three compounds.
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, who started and finished fourth, ran an unusual strategy by going from the medium to the P Zero Red soft with just 15 laps to go.
The highest-placed finisher to start on the soft tyre was McLaren’s Lando Norris, who finished fifth with a soft-medium strategy after starting seventh on the grid.
Temperatures were warmer than they had been on previous days, peaking at 22 degrees ambient and 40 degrees of track temperature.
How Each Tyre Performed
- HARD C1: This was one of the keys to success at the race, used by the majority of the drivers for the second stint. As the weather got warmer, it provided perfect resistance to the demands of the track, without affecting speed.
- MEDIUM C2: Used by most drivers to start the race, including all the podium finishers. This showed excellent speed alongside durability, with Hamilton still setting fastest laps on this compound shortly before his pit stop. McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo completed a long initial stint on this compound to finish in the points after starting the race from 16th on the grid, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez went even longer on his starting set of mediums to lead the race up to lap 51. The medium tyres he used had also completed an extra six laps in qualifying.
- SOFT C3: Used by seven drivers to start the race, including five in the top 10 of the grid. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll ran them for nearly two-thirds of the race, despite the higher temperatures today favouring the harder compounds. As the fastest tyre available, it was used to set the best lap of the race by Bottas at the end.
Mario Isola: Pirelli Head of F1 and Motorsport
“The warmer weather led to increased wear on the softer compounds compared to previous days, which meant that drivers had to manage their tyres more. This additionally shifted the emphasis towards the hard compound, also because of track evolution providing a bit more grip than before. All three tyres stood out for different reasons. The hard tyre was key here this afternoon in these conditions, which is why it was used by most drivers for the final stint, including Lewis Hamilton, who drove a perfect race. The soft, although used least in the race – and mainly for short opening stints as expected – was also run for nearly 40 laps by Lance Stroll, while Sergio Perez completed a mammoth stint on the mediums for the bulk of the race as part of an unusual yet effective strategy”.