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Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix 2024

Hamilton at Spanish GP disadvantage to Norris and Verstappen

The Mercedes driver is on the back foot compared to his two front-row rivals in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Norris Hamilton Verstappen Qualifying Spain
To news overview © XPBimages

Lewis Hamilton will start the Spanish Grand Prix at a potential disadvantage to Lando Norris and Max Verstappen, if Pirelli's strategy forecast is to be believed.

Norris will start on pole with Verstappen alongside, but Hamilton was buoyed by third on the grid, with team-mate George Russell fourth, leading to the seven-time champion to hope Mercedes could play strategy games with the sole leading McLaren and Red Bull. 

However, Hamilton and Russell do not have a fresh, new set of soft tyres available, something Pirelli believes could be crucial in the race.

A two-stopper is predicted for the 66 tours of the 2.894 mile circuit with stints on the soft tyres sandwiching a run on the medium or hard rubber. 

The entire field has a brand-new set of the medium and hard tyres available, with Aston Martin pair Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll appearing to be the exception.

However, Aston usually do a single out-lap on their hard tyres to give them a heat cycle without any meaningful running, so although the tyres are marked as 'used' by Pirelli, they are still fresh.

See below for the complete overview of who has which tyres available. The article continues afterwards.

Possible strategies

According to Pirelli, the ideal way to run the Spanish GP is to start on the soft C3 tyres. 

Drivers attempting this can then run to Laps 15-21 before switching to the yellow-marked C2 rubber until Laps 41-47. 

A final stint back on another set of the red-walled softs is then forecast, with the alternate of going to Laps 13-19 before changing to the white-walled C1 hard tyre possible.

Drivers on this strategy will then pit around Laps 42-48 for the final change to softs, with soft-hard-medium also possible. 

A three-stop strategy, negating the need for tyre management, would see a driver go soft until Laps 12-18, before a short stint on the mediums pitting around Laps 29-35, and then stopping again around Laps 46-52 to exchange one set of softs for another.

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