2023 United States Grand Prix: Sunday Tyre Analysis – Max Verstappen secured his fifteenth win of the season, thus equalling the record he set last year. It was also the three times world champion’s fiftieth career win and today he really had to extend himself to fight his way to the front from sixth on the grid. Once in the lead after passing Lando Norris, Max had to fend off Lewis Hamilton who, in his final stint used his tyre compound advantage to close on the leader, although he never got the chance to attempt a passing move. The podium therefore featured two Englishmen, the Mercedes driver ahead of McLaren’s.
The vast majority of drivers preferred to start on the Medium tyres, the only exceptions being Lance Stroll and Nico Hulkenberg, who started on Hard from pit lane alongside their respective team-mates Fernando Alonso and Kevin Magnussen. As expected, the quickest strategy was a two stop, running Medium and Hard. Two drivers tried to run the whole race making just a single pit stop: Charles Leclerc, who extended his first stint to lap 23 before running the remaining 33 laps on a set of Hards, and Daniel Ricciardo who, on lap 47, probably aborted his attempt to get to the chequered flag on the Hards, switching to Softs for the final laps. His AlphaTauri team-mate, Yuki Tsunoda did the same, making a third stop on the penultimate lap, attempting and succeeding in taking the additional point on offer for setting the fastest race lap as he rounded off the top ten.
Mario Isola – Pirelli Motorsport Director
“On one of the most probing tracks of the season, we witnessed a very closely contested race, with exciting duels both on track and between the strategists. On the topic of strategy, the way the race played out confirmed that a two-stop was the quickest option, especially because the one-stop alternative would require very careful tyre management thus making it difficult for a driver to push hard for many laps, while those on two stops were able to do so. That was the case with Leclerc who, although he did not see a drop in performance towards the end due to degradation, found his pace was not strong enough to defend from several drivers who chose to pit twice.
Looking at tyre performance in general, the Medium proved to be the most suitable compound, because it offered more grip than the Hard, but its degradation did not result in much slower lap times. The Soft was hardly used – only by AlphaTauri in the closing stages – and looking at Tsunoda’s performance it showed it was a great tyre over a single flying lap, but not really an option over a long distance on this Austin track with today’s temperatures. Finally, it’s worth noting that even in the race there was no graining.”
2023 United States Grand Prix: Sunday Tyre Analysis