Analysis of the strategies used during the opening round of the F1 season reads well for Pirelli despite reservations going into the Australian Grand Prix about the impact that the new-for-2011 tyres would have on the sport.
Pre-season testing had suggested that drivers could be forced into multiple stops to counter against the degradation seen during the four sessions held in Spain, where drivers complained that their tyres were going off after only completing a short run on track.
Although that was always the plan for Pirelli, which was attempting to spice up the racing, analysis carried out by GP Update
has now suggested that the impact wasn't as great as initially expected.
While five drivers did make three pit-stops during the race – Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, Felipe Massa, Jaime Alguersuari and Timo Glock – the vast majority were able to complete the race using a two-stop strategy while Sergio Perez only needed to pit once.
Those drivers who did stop three times in Australia tended to be those most affected by degradation, including fifth-placed Webber [See separate story HERE
Perez's longest stint came on the option tyre, which was a move followed by the majority of the field, although the Mexican completed his stint on the option at the end of the race – a move followed only by Webber, Massa and Jarno Trulli of those to complete the race.
Of those drivers to run both stints during the race, only Perez, Webber, Massa and Jarno Trulli set their best time on the softer option tyre with the rest setting their time on the harder prime rubber, although it should be noted that that was down to strategy more than anything as the fastest laps throughout the field were set in the final stint with lower levels of fuel onboard.
Long stints were seen on both the option and prime tyres although it will be interesting to now see how the performance of the tyres will be affected by the warmer weather conditions expected in Malaysia for the second race of the season.
At Sepang, and in China the following week, team's will be given a choice of the same soft and hard tyres during the race weekend.