Pirelli dares to doubt that very much. Of all the logical strategies, the Italian tire manufacturer designates a start on the medium tires as the slowest route to the finish. Switching to soft tires is not an option at all. The tire wear would no longer be verifiable. A start on the yellow tires is therefore followed by a second stint on the hard tires, it is argued.
A start on the soft tires can lead to a faster sprint to the finish, Pirelli says. The drivers also have the choice of finishing a one-stopper (from softs to hard tires) or a two-stopper (soft-medium-soft). The first one-stopper is in theory the fastest.
However, the entire top five starts on medium tires today, so those teams will know something Pirelli has overlooked. At Ferrari, which surprisingly saw Charles Leclerc drive to fourth place, it spoke emphatically of the medium compound as ‘the best tire’.
Right or not, that may not really matter to Verstappen. Everyone around him starts on the yellow tires, the first drivers who start on the soft rubber do not normally play a role in the battle for the places in the front. The absence of rain also means that strategically less is possible in the hunt for a first victory of the season.