Pirelli is expecting there to be no concerns over tyre availability for the Canadian Grand Prix after predicting a dry race to follow on from two days of mixed conditions.
Although, for the second consecutive race weekend, qualifying was held in largely wet weather, unlike Monaco, none of the drivers were able to use slicks, meaning that the intermediates were used almost exclusively from start to finish. Some drivers attempted a lap on the supersoft at the very start of Q1 but returned hastily to the pits once it was clear that the track was too wet for them.
With both Friday practice sessions featured wet conditions at some point, and FP3 on Saturday morning also being run in the rain, there were concerns that the number of intermediate sets used in qualifying may leave the teams without fresh rubber for the 70-lap grand prix, but Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery is confident that the weather gods will smile on Sunday.
“As has so often been the case in the past in Canada, today was all about rain: which is frequently what makes this such an exciting and unpredictable race,” he intoned, “The key to a quick time here today was getting the speed out of the intermediates, but the timing of each qualifying lap was crucial as well, with Valtteri Bottas and Williams in particular doing a brilliant job.
“As tomorrow now looks set to be dry, it will be interesting to see how the different strategies play out, with most drivers still having plenty of new tyres available, thanks to the mainly wet conditions up until now. In addition, the teams did not have much opportunity to run on the slick tyres so far this weekend, so they don't have a lot of fresh data at their disposal.
“If it's dry, as most people expect, the drivers can start on whichever compound they choose and this opens up the possibilities of different strategies even further.”
If it does indeed stay dry, the fastest strategy for the 70-lap race is a two-stopper. Degradation and wear is expected to be low at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which will allow the drivers to push to the maximum from start to finish. The ideal strategy, according to Pirelli, would be to start on the supersoft, change to supersoft again on lap 20 and then finally to the medium on lap 40.