2024 Miami Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis

2024 Miami Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis - Max Verstappen
2024 Miami Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis - Max Verstappen

2024 Miami Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis – Max Verstappen will start the Miami Sprint Race from pole position tomorrow at midday. So far in 2024, the Dutchman has been quickest in all grid-deciding contests with the one exception of the wet session for the first Sprint Qualifying of the year, when Lando Norris conquered the rain in Shanghai. Actually, Verstappen has been quickest when it counted, even if Norris set the fastest time of the day, but only in Q2, taking his McLaren round in 1’27”597. The rules required the Medium tyre to be used for the first two sessions, but the switch to the Softs in the final one did not see times fall as expected: Verstappen’s pole time of 1’27”641 was slower than Norris’ best, if only by 44 thousandths and five of the final ten drivers did not improve their times.

Joining Verstappen on the front row of the grid will be the blue-tinged Ferrari of Charles Leclerc (1’27”749), the Monegasque having played virtually no part in free practice as he spun and was unable to resume, bringing out the only red flag of the day.

The only free practice session of the weekend initially saw the two hardest compounds chosen for this event much in evidence, the C3 (Medium) and C2 (Hard). Red Bull and Mercedes and Zhou in the Sauber focused on the yellow-banded tyre while nearly all the other teams went for the white-banded one: the only exceptions were Sargeant (Williams) and the Racing Bulls drivers, who went for quite long runs on both the Hard and Medium tyres. Towards the end of the session, almost all the drivers also opted to assess the C4’s behaviour, with only Alonso, Sargeant, Ricciardo and Tsunoda not going down this route.

Max Verstappen was presented with the Pirelli Sprint Qualifying Award by James White, a lucky American fan chosen by the Miami Grand Prix promoter, for this amazing experience. 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 Miami International Autodrome 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

“The Friday of a Sprint weekend is really busy and it was even more so here in Miami, where the very hot conditions, with track temperature exceeding 55 °C, made life tough for the drivers, the cars and the tyres. Very predictably, marked track evolution was a feature of the start of the day, with lap times coming down very quickly. This also affected the long runs because, generally, the times improved despite the thermal degradation being quite significant. From what we could see looking at the sets that had done the most laps, there were no signs of graining.

Sprint Qualifying proved to be rather unusual. While the track continued to evolve significantly for the first half, as from the end of SQ2, it was clear the times were not coming down or were even getting slower. This phenomenon became even more marked in SQ3 when the usual improvement going from the Medium to Soft was negligible or at least not significant, while usually the step in terms of lap time is usually quite marked. We will have to study the data carefully over the next few hours to try and understand why.

“As for tomorrow’s Sprint Race, clearly the Medium is the most suitable tyre to complete the 19 laps. However, I don’t feel able to rule out the Soft completely, as it could provide a significant grip advantage in the first few laps. However, with such a competitive field, maybe those starting further back might try to go this route especially to check its performance with an eye on its potential use in the first part of Sunday’s race. It could be a way of making up places off the line, before then managing the situation, perhaps holding position if a train of cars develops.”

2024 Miami Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis

2024 Miami Grand Prix: Sprint Qualifying Tyre Analysis Graphic

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