2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis

2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis - Lando Norris
2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis - Lando Norris

2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis – The first day of the Chinese Grand Prix was action-packed with plenty of surprises, especially in the final part of Sprint Qualifying. After a few drops of rain began to fall towards the end of Q2, the final part was run on a completely wet track with a very slippery surface. That produced eight spectacular and exciting minutes, with off-track excursions, big corrections on the steering wheels, great car control, all ending with a very unusual grid order.

Lando Norris will start the Sprint Race from pole in his McLaren, with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton alongside him. The second row sees Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) with Max Verstappen (Red Bull) for company, while Carlos Sainz ensured that the top five featured five different marques. Much to the delight of the crowd, which had packed out the main grandstand at the Shanghai International Circuit, China’s first ever Formula 1 driver, Guanyu Zhou, made it to Q3 and will line up tenth on the grid.

The one and only free practice session of the weekend saw a fairly even use of all three dry compounds chosen by Pirelli for this event. The most used was the C4 Soft, completing 169 of the total 453 laps (37.3%), followed by the C2 Hard (158 laps, 34.9%) and the C3 Medium (126 laps, 27.8%). The first two parts of Sprint Qualifying were run in the dry and, as per the regulations, only the Medium could be used, while in the third, which the FIA officially declared as wet, thus allowing a free choice of tyre, all ten drivers opted for the Intermediate tyre. It’s worth noting that, as per the Sporting Regulations, those who make it to Q3 can take a new set of Intermediates after giving back a used one.

Lando Norris received the Pirelli Sprint Qualifying Award from Qiu Xin, a lucky Chinese fan, chosen through a competition run over the past few weeks on Weibo. Handmade in Italy, the trophy consists of a square of FSC™certified natural rubber, enclosed between two pieces of glass on which is etched the layout of the Shanghai International Circuit and the FSC™ logo, a stylised tree. The same rubber is part of the raw materials used in the manufacture of all the Pirelli P Zero Formula 1 tyres, complying with the environmental and social sustainability criteria defined by the forestry management non-governmental organisation.

Simone Berra – Pirelli Chief Engineer

“It was a very interesting day for the spectators as well as for everyone working in the sport. With the weather changing considerably over the course of the day, we saw four of the five types of tyre available to the teams this weekend coming into play. With regard to the slicks, an initial analysis suggests that all three compounds could play their part over the rest of the weekend. The Medium is clearly destined to be used in both tomorrow morning’s Sprint Race and Sunday’s Grand Prix, with the Soft possibly a valid option for the Sprint, especially if it is held in cooler conditions than this morning’s free practice and logically, the Hard is more likely to see use in Sunday’s race.

“In general, track conditions changed very quickly over the course of the day. Contrary to expectations, we did not see any graining today, while with the dry compounds we saw quite significant degradation, but it is too early to have a clear idea regarding strategies. The Sprint Race will be a great test session to check tyre behaviour over a long stint.

“The rain in Q3 meant we were able to see what the Intermediate could do in a very closely contested scenario and it behaved pretty well despite the unusual Shanghai asphalt. In fact, the additional layer of bitumen put down in recent months has rendered the track even more slippery in wet conditions, putting the drivers’ skills to the test. The result was a truly spectacular session which I think everyone found entertaining, including the drivers themselves!”

2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis

2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis Graphic

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