For the first time in the 2022 F1 season, there will be an all-Mercedes front row at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with George Russell lining up in pole position ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton. Russell surged to victory in Saturday's Sprint race at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, while Hamilton came home in third but is promoted to second on the grid after a penalty pushed second-placed Carlos Sainz down to seventh. Elsewhere, Max Verstappen slipped back to fourth in the Sprint. The Dutchman – who was one of only two drivers in the field to run the Medium tyre – held the lead earlier on, but lost his advantage as the 24-lap event progressed. Mercedes are looking for their first victory of the campaign at Interlagos on Sunday, but can they finally break their duck, or will Verstappen and Red Bull be back in the fight? Strategy could prove crucial in deciding the answers, and Pirelli have given an insight into what could be the most effective strategies for the race.
Pirelli outline best strategy options in Brazil
According to Pirelli, there are four possible strategy options available to the teams and drivers for the Brazilian Grand Prix. Two of these plans are two-stoppers, with the effectiveness of both thought to be very close. The first consists of starting on the Soft tyre before two stints on the Medium, while the second would also begin with the Soft compound and involve a second stint on the Medium before switching back to the Soft. The alternative options are to go for a one-stopper, either by starting on the Soft or Medium and then using the Hard for a longer final stint. As with the two-stop strategies, each of these plans are said to be similar, but using the Soft for the first stint could offer an edge in order to benefit from its performance in the early stages of the race. Ultimately, the strength of any of these strategies depends on various factors, particularly in terms of track temperatures and conditions. With mixed weather so far during the weekend, this will definitely be something for the teams to keep an eye on. The risk of traffic – as well as the possibility of a Safety Car – is also influential in strategy success.
Pirelli boss looking forward to 'great show'
After an eventful Sprint race on Saturday, Pirelli's Motorsport Director, Mario Isola, is looking forward to Sunday's main event. "It was an action-packed Sprint, especially with all the overtaking that took place throughout the race," Isola said. "The excellent performance of the P Zero Red Soft in free practice prompted the teams to select this compound for [the Sprint] race, with a total of 18 cars choosing the Soft, which showed plenty of pace here in Brazil. "The battle between Max Verstappen and George Russell, on different compounds, was one of the highlights. [Saturday's] short race means that it wasn’t possible to evaluate the performance of the Medium tyre, which nonetheless seems very close to the Soft. "As a result, there’s a wide variety of strategies possible for [Sunday's race], which should lead to a great show."