* Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took his 91st career win to equal Michael
Schumacherís record. Hamilton, locked in a close duel with Red Bullís Max
Verstappen, stopped twice, going from P Zero Red soft tyres to P Zero Yellow
medium, to soft tyres again for the final stint. Verstappen followed an
identical strategy, stopping on the same laps as Hamilton.
* The strategy was influenced by a virtual safety car and then a safety car.
At the virtual safety car, around quarter of the way into the race, a number
of drivers made their first stops: including the top three finishers. When
the safety car came out, several drivers made their second stops: again
including the podium finishers. There was then effectively a 10-lap sprint
race to the finish, with the frontrunners on soft tyres.
* Renaultís Daniel Ricciardo finished third, using a similar strategy to the
top three. In doing so, he sealed Renaultís first podium since 2011.
* Just one driver stopped only once: Haasís Romain Grosjean, who moved from
the medium to the P Zero White hard tyre on lap 28 and finished ninth from
16th on the grid.
* The highest climber was Racing Pointís Nico Hulkenberg, who started 20th
after being drafted in for qualifying, and finished eighth: having followed
the same tyre strategy as the top five (soft-medium-soft).
* Temperatures remained cold: just 11 degrees ambient at the end of the
race, with 19 degrees of track temperature. This made keeping the tyres in
the right temperature window particularly challenging: especially at the
safety car re-start.
HOW EACH TYRE PERFORMED
HARD C2: Only four drivers used the hard tyre during the race, with two of
them finishing in the top 10. The two AlphaTauri drivers (Pierre Gasly and
Daniil Kvyat) and Ferrariís Sebastian Vettel used the hard during the middle
stint. This was something of a surprise as it had not been run extensively
during the sole practice session, but indicated that the Teams were
nonetheless familiar with its characteristics.
MEDIUM C3: Used for the bulk of the race and by only four drivers at the
start: both AlphaTauri drivers, Ferrariís Sebastian Vettel, and Haas driver
Romain Grosjean. This performed well during medium to long stints, despite
the lack of pre-race data on long runs.
SOFT C4: Used by most drivers at the start, with some long stints at the
beginning of the race on this compound from the Racing Point duo of Sergio
Perez and Hulkenberg, as well as McLarenís Carlos Sainz: all of whom didnít
stop under the first virtual safety car. Even with the cars on full fuel,
the soft performed well and didnít display much degradation during the first
stint after the start. Verstappen also set the fastest lap on this compound
on the final lap..
MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
ďongratulations to Lewis Hamilton for equalling Michael Schumacherís record
of 91 wins, and also Kimi Raikkonen for racking up a new record of grand
prix starts. This was an extremely unusual race with the cold weather and
lack of running on Friday, All the preparation work was done in one session
on Saturday, but although there was no information about tyre wear, it
emerged that there was less graining than expected, which prompted some
teams to think about stopping only once. In the end, we some saw some light
graining on the soft compound, but this did not influence the race outcome.
The race strategy was largely influenced by the two safety cars Ė virtual
and real Ė which were perfectly timed for the frontrunners and gave us all
an exciting finale.Ē