Oct.16 (GMM/Inautonews.com) The smartest team and driver is likely to win Sunday’s Korean grand prix.
McLaren’s gloomy-looking Lewis Hamilton will start the Yeongam race from pole, but world champion Sebastian Vettel is also on the front row and with plenty of ‘prime’ tyres in the bank.
Red Bull clearly believes that the soft tyre will be better for the race than the quicker but heavily-degrading super-soft.
“Sunday is hotter,” Dr Helmut Marko told Auto Motor und Sport. “We have three fresh sets of the tyre that lasts longer and our car is extremely good on it.
“The plan is to push McLaren into problems; the tyres wearing out, or the fuel getting low,” said the team advisor.
In reality, however, how the Pirellis will behave on Sunday is a mystery.
“We haven’t had much practice so it’s a question mark,” agreed Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber. “It may be that the super-soft is an excellent race tyre.”
Fernando Alonso, however, thinks Red Bull’s ‘prime’ tyre conservation is “a very good idea. Very clever.”
So why didn’t Ferrari do that?: “Too risky,” he answered.
His teammate Felipe Massa explains: “The super soft tyres could last longer in the race than many think they will, so then it would not make sense to spend most of the race on the others.”
McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa agrees that Red Bull has taken a risk by gambling on the primes.
“No one knows how they are going to behave tomorrow. The more rubber that goes down on the track, the better it will be for the super soft tyres.”
And the Spaniard pointed a finger at the man on the third row.
“Don’t forget Jenson Button,” said de la Rosa, “and how he looks after his tyres. He showed everyone at Suzuka.”