F1: Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) Makes Aggressive Tire Selection for Japan GP + Russia GP
Pirelli arrives at the Suzuka circuit with these tires on offer: supersoft, soft and medium.
Ferrari keeps true to form going with an aggressive tyire selection for the upcoming Japanese Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen both chose 10 sets of the red tires, 2 sets of softs and 1 set of the medium.
Title rivals MercedesAMG, who lead both championships, have gone with 7 reds, 4 softs and 2 medium.
The most conservative choice belongs to McLaren with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne opting for just 4 sets of the supersofts , 2 sets of softs and 4 sets of mediums.
At Sochi this weekend
MercedesAMG are not taking any comfort in the points advantages they hold at the Top of the drivers’ and constructors’ standings ahead of the Russian Grand Prix this weekend
Lewis Hamilton made it 4 wins from 5 in Singapore last time out and his lead at the top grew to 40 points with Max Verstappen beating Sebastian Vettel to 2nd.
Despite Valtteri Bottas sitting behind Messrs Vettel and Raikkonen at Ferrari in the drivers’ list this season, MercedesAMG also hold a 37-point lead over Ferrari in the constructors’ rankings.
However, with 6 races still to go, Silver Arrows chief Toto Wolff knows they cannot become complacent as the season enters the final stretch.
“It’s obviously better to have a lead than to not have it, but there are six races remaining and plenty of points to score, so it doesn’t give us any comfort,” said Mr. Wolff.
“We will continue to concentrate on every single session, trying to optimize the car in every possible area, and we will go for the race win.
“There is no naive optimism about our situation within the team: our mind-set is very positive, we are energized, the factories are buzzing and we’re excited for the fight that we will certainly have in the next 6 races.”
MercedesAMG have triumphed in each of the 4 Grands Prix in Russia since it returned to the schedule, but the fact it is taking place in November having been moved from October to May in 2016 adds an element of the unknown for the whole grid.
Mr. Wolff said: “We do not have any data from the current regulation cars in those [October] conditions in Sochi, so this adds another challenge to the race.”
Daniel Ricciardo will leave Red Bull Racing for Renault in Y 2019, but he still thinks he is driving well.
Mr. Ricciardo said: “After Monaco, I was thinking that the season looked very promising, and that we might even be in with an outside chance of fighting for the title. I still feel I’m driving well and applying myself properly but for all sorts of reasons it hasn’t really worked out since then.”
Sauber will be racing with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi, and Marcus Ericsson plans to explore opportunities away from F1 after losing his seat.
Mr. Giovinazzi joining Sauber takes another potential position away from Esteban Ocon next season.
1. Lewis Hamilton (MercedesAMG) 281
2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 241 (-40)
3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 174 (-107)
4. Valtteri Bottas (MercedesAMG) 171 (-110)
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 148 (-133)
1. MercedesAMG 452
2. Ferrari 415 (-37)
3. Red Bull 274 (-178)
4. Renault 91 (-361)
5. Haas 76 (-376)
RACE WEEK SCHEDULE (all times local)
Ferrari have reached the podium in each of the last 10 races, their best run since 11 consecutive races in Y 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.
2017: Valtteri Bottas
2016: Nico Rosberg
2015: Lewis Hamilton
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