Super-Softs: Bad For Mercedes / Good For Sauber in Canada, Valencia

Did you notice how quickly the two Mercedes drivers stopped at Monaco?

I'm sure everyone here remembers Schumacher getting out-gunned by Hamilton into Ste Devote. Quickly degrading Super-Softs in relation to Hamilton's harder Softs helped Lewis' effort.

Shortly there after, Schumacher pitted for new tyres.

In fact, Schumacher was the FIRST driver to pit during the Monaco Grand Prix. On Lap 12.


On Lap 15, Rosberg came in, the THIRD driver to pit in the race (Button came in just ahead on Lap 15 too.)

Basically, the Mercedes cars were in tyre trouble early. Ross Brawn admitted so after the race, saying they had work to do on why the Super-Softs were degrading so badly on their cars.

By contrast, Kobayashi - Sauber's only driver in the event - did a VERY LONG first stint and was the LAST to stop.

Sauber planned to only 1-Stop and Kobayashi did the first 34 Laps of the race on Softs, saying that he could have gone even longer!

Koba then planned to run the rest of the 44 Laps on the Super-Softs...and would have finished 4th if not for the Red Flag!

That is incredible!

Perez 1-Stopped Australia so we knew that Sauber was capable of doing Monaco on 1 Stop...but in the case of Australia it was Hard/Soft, not Soft/Super-Soft!

In my mind, Kobayashi going for 44 laps on Super-Softs is almost as impressive as Vettel trying to do the final 60-odd Laps on the the harder Softs, possibly even more impressive!

Kamui's reward: 5th in the Grand Prix, just ahead of Hamilton's McLaren, a car that had race-winning pace. And, as mentioned, Koba-san could have been 4th had Webber not gotten a reprieve on the 'Red Flag Grid'.

Those Saubers, as a result, should be looking good for some more decent points in Montreal where the track surface is similar to Australia and where they're taking the same compounds as they brought to Monaco. Same applies to Valencia.

Mercedes, however, will have their hands full at the next Grand Prix.
Interesting point. Button's pitstop on lap 15 was when a yellow flag was on the top of the screen. I think McLaren are a little obsessed with Safety Cars at times.

If the tyres degrade at the same rate as last year, then we're in for a confusing race, and Sauber are well placed to take advantage.
Good point. I heard Schumacher radio in that the rear tyres were graining in that first stint.

Of more relevance to the front of the field, it seemed that McLaren were able to keep their tyres alive for longer at Barcelona than Red Bull could. Obviously Vettel did a very long stint at Monaco, so how relevant that will be to the upcoming races is hard to judge.

Also, if anyone out there knows or can work it out, is having more downforce conclusively better for preserving tyres, or worse?

Argument for: if the car has more overall grip (as in weight bearing down on the contact patch), then tyres are less likely to slide across the track or wheelspin, so surface wear should be reduced.

Argument against: higher cornering speeds mean more energy & more heat going into the tyre.

I think I've heard both arguments put forward over the years. Is it a case of 'it depends'?
@ FB - I think one of the problems Schumacher may have had in the last race as the Merc was lighting it's rears up out of the last corner before the pit straight - admittedly most of the cars were wheel-spinning there as well but from the onboard microphones you could hear the Merc screaming.
I suspect schumacher's tires degraded quicker than rosberg's by 3 laps because of the front wing damage. Still from both merc's those tires went away quickly, a (trulli) train had formed behind both cars.
I think the front wing damage is a Red Herring. As you can see from this link, Ross Brawn said "the core issue was the inability to make the first set of tyres last more than ten or twelve laps."

The reason why Hamilton over-took Schumacher into Ste Devote is because Schumacher's Super-Softs were getting fried in relation to Hamilton's harder Softs. The tangle caused the damage...but the tyres were done BEFORE the tangle. Cheers.
front wing was damaged on the first lap, anyway I'm not disagreeing, hence why I brought in rosberg to the argument that the maximum those tires could have gone is 15 laps which is pretty bad. Rosberg was also having to defend hard as well as shumacher.
Surely the hot exhaust must hurt but might this also be to do with the really short wheelbase of the Merc? Didn't they have the oppositive problem last year?
Schumacher did a few laps on the super softs might explain why his tyres degraded quicker. They do have serious problems, hopefully they will be solved :)
Schumacher did a few laps on the super softs might explain why his tyres degraded quicker. They do have serious problems, hopefully they will be solved :)

You are right mate, they did have to burn them in Q1 didn't they...
Well they had to do something, back in the refuelling era everyone outside the top 10 could choose their fuel loads, now they get to choose what tyres they what to use at the start.

Maybe they should change the rules for the top 10, make it what tyre compound you qualified on, will be the compound you will use at the start.

Meaning, let's say I qualified on softs, on race day I will have to start on softs, they can either be new or old, but I get to choose.
Cost cutting....

Although I do find the rule of only 4 wet weather and intermediates for an entire weekend stupid...what if it was wet for the whole weekend??? There would only be one fresh set left for the race, maybe not even one...

They could increase the options and primes to 7 sets allowed in a weekend, rather than 6
In the case of a wet weekend, Friday would be practically non existent as no-one would want to go out on track.
Perhaps going a bit off topic, apologies for which...!

I think having (only) 3 sets of options for the race is correct or you would have 5 stops every race. There is no good reason though to starve them of tyres in qualifying that I can think of, although I think it would be more interesting if the top ten had to start on the opposite tyre to the one they qualified on.
Paul Hembrey of Pireli confirming that tyre degredation will be higher in Montreal than in it was at Monaco:

So, most likely, in order to keep stops to a minimum, Mercedes - and perhaps the others - might do only 1 Stint on the Super-Softs?

An 8 or 9 lap first stint on Qually 3 Super-Softs with the fuel load heaviest? Followed by two stints on Softs given that Vettel made his singular set last 56 laps and - according to data - could have gone 62 laps at Monaco.
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