The new 18-inch Pirelli tyres have proven tricky to manage so far this season, so Mick Schumacher says he was pleasantly surprised to see them “hold up,” in 30-degree heat, during Qualifying in Barcelona.
The PREMA driver posted his third top five Qualifying performance in the previous four rounds on Friday, handing him an excellent opportunity to score another strong finish and follow up his podium in the Sprint Race in Round 5.
“It was warm,” laughed the German. “It was a good session, and it was interesting to feel the tyres, especially the soft tyres, in such temperatures. The only temperatures we would normally get like that would be in Bahrain, where we haven’t been to in the season.
“It was interesting to see that they actually hold up pretty well. I am still trying to understand the difference to last year - the difference is obviously quite big. Nevertheless, I think it was quite positive.”
Having gotten a feel for the tyres, Schumacher and his team will now go away and attempt to decipher the data garnered and use it to decide on a strategy for the Feature Race later today.
“It definitely plays into the consideration of what we are going to do in the race, what is the right way,” he explained. “It is something that we don’t really know until we have driven it, and I think every team is now trying to analyse what is happening, from practice and qualifying.”
“In general, I think we were quite good with the tyres, in terms of their life, so that is something very positive and something to consider for the race. Tyre wear will be a consideration for the race, as it is quite abrasive here, especially on the front left.”
The Ferrari junior is amongst the drivers who appear to have really gotten to grips with the new tyres, and how to switch them on. Schumacher has already scored three podiums, and currently sits seventh in what is proving to be an incredibly tight Championship.
“I was always comfortable in the car,” he continued. “With it being my second season, it gives me a lot of understanding. The new tyres were the main focus point, as they are very different to last year - not comparable at all. For the race, we will have to see how it goes, but I am fairly confident.”