Baku, Azerbaijan – Pirelli has reported on the performance of the different tire compounds used during the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which saw Sergio Perez emerge as winner:
Red Bull’s Perez won with two stops, going from a soft tire rubber to a hard compound, then back to softer rubber again.
The race was red flagged with just three laps to go following an accident for race leader Max Verstappen in the other Red Bull.
Under the red flag regulations, the drivers were allowed to change tires, which they all did before the final sprint.
Most drivers selected a soft to hard strategy before the red flag period, with all of them then selecting the soft tire until the finish.
There was a safety car period just over halfway through the race, when Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll crashed close to the entrance of the pit lane, following a deflation of the rear-left tire.
When the pit lane re-opened, five drivers chose to make a second stop, fitting either the hard or the soft tire.
Initial observations have already been made as to what could have caused these incidents affecting the rear-left tire.
None of the other tires in the race of a similar (or older) age showed any signs of excessive wear, there was evidence of a cut found on another rear-left tire fitted to Lewis Hamilton's car during the same stint, there was no warning or vibration detected prior to either incident, and the rear-left tire is actually not the most stressed on this circuit.
All of these considerations could point to an external factor.
Temperatures were somewhat cooler than they had been over the previous two days, with 26 degrees of ambient temperature and 39 degrees of track temperature when the race began.
How each tire performed:
Hard C3: The key compound in Azerbaijan, which was used for a long second stint by the majority of competitors.
Medium C4: Used by just three drivers to start the race, with the soft and the hard predominantly run instead.
Soft C5: The majority of drivers, including all the top 10, started on this compound with Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel (who eventually finished second) using it for 18 laps to move into the lead of the race during the early stages.
Vettel was the only driver at the front to have a new set of softs for the final sprint.