Montreal, June 8, 2014 – High temperatures in Montreal, and a lengthy safety car period right at the beginning of the race, meant that tyre strategy formed a central part of a thrilling Canadian Grand Prix, with the teams having to assimilate to a new set of tyre characteristics compared to the cooler conditions of free practice and qualifying.
The race was won by Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, with the top five separated by just five seconds in the closing stages of the race. Tyre strategy was central, with drivers on younger and fresher tyres using them to gain an advantage as the grand prix drew to a close. Ricciardo took the lead with just two laps to go, from Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, while Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel completed the podium. All three adopted a two-stop strategy.
The highest-placed one-stopper was Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg in fifth, who started on the soft tyre and completed a 41-lap stint before his single stop from the soft to the supersoft.
His team mate Sergio Perez also stopped only once: switching from the supersoft to the soft on lap 35; exactly half-distance. An accident on the final lap between him and Williams driver Felipe Massa, while both were fighting for a possible podium, meant that neither could finish the race, which concluded behind the safety car. Nonetheless, both their strategies had launched them into podium contention, with Massa benefitting from the extra speed of tyres that were considerably younger than those of his rivals during the final stint.
Another safety car period, lasting eight laps right at the beginning of the race, altered the strategy, with tyre degradation at the most critical fuel-heavy period minimised. Wear on both compounds was generally low, despite track temperatures that exceeded 45 degrees centigrade and 30 degrees centigrade ambient.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Once again, Canada delivered a thrilling grand prix: this time in hot conditions, which led to plenty of interesting tyre strategies. With such an action-packed race, we saw plenty of improvisation from several drivers as they attempted to use tyre strategy to their best advantage. Congratulations to Daniel Ricciardo for his first win after a truly memorable race. Congratulations also to Force India, which has often taken a different approach to tyre strategy compared to their rivals in all the time we have been involved in Formula One. In Canada this led to a good result, which could have been even better had it not been for the accident right at the end, demonstrating again how tyre strategy can be used to boost final positions.”
Fastest times of the day by compound:
Supersoft Soft Intermediate Wet
First HUL 1m18.936s MAS 1m18.504s N/A N/A
Second ROS 1m19.840s RAI 1m18.529s N/A N/A
Third HAM 1m19.927s ALO 1m18.614s N/A N/A
Longest stint of the race:
Supersoft 34 laps S Perez
Soft 41 laps N Hulkenberg
Our prediction for the quickest strategy was a two-stopper: start on supersoft, then soft on lap 13 and soft again on lap 41. This was more or less correct: Ricciardo stopped on lap 14 for his first set of softs and then again on lap 38. The supersoft-soft-soft strategy was used by all the top 10 apart from Hulkenberg.
Ferrari Challenge: a long-standing relationship with Pirelli
Another highlight of the Canadian Grand Prix was the Ferrari Challenge, which has been supplied by Pirelli since 1993: one of the longest relationships between a tyre manufacturer and a championship that has ever existed. This championship uses specially-prepared Ferrari 458 race cars, which have undergone a further evolution this year. The championship visits some of the most prestigious circuits throughout North America, rejoining the Formula One calendar at Austin in November. Two 16-lap races were held, with Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery presented the prizes on the podium.
Pit stop summary – 2014 Canadian Grand Prix
Ricciardo: SSU SN (13) SU (37) 2
Rosberg: SSU SN (18) SN (44) 2
Vettel: SSU SN (15) SN (36) 2
Button: SSU SN (14) SN (38) 2
Hülkenberg: SN SSN (41) 1
Alonso: SSU SN (16) SN (44) 2
Bottas: SSU SN (14) SU (35) 2
Vergne: SSU SN (15) SN (39) 2
Magnussen: SSN SN (15) SN (45) 2
Raikkonen: SSU SN (17) SU (39) 2
Perez: SSN SN (34) 1
Massa: SSU SN (15) SU (48) 2
Sutil: SSN SN (15) SN (40) 2
Gutierrez: SN SSN (1) SN (2) SU (32) 3
Grosjean: SSN SN (11) SN (46) 2 NC
Kvyat: SN SSN (29) SN (46) 2 NC
Hamilton: SSU SN (19) SN (45) 2 NC
Kobayashi: SSN 0 NC
Maldonado: SN 0 NC
Ericsson: SN 0 NC
Chilton: SN 0 NC
Bianchi: SN 0 NC
The first column denotes the tyres the driver started the race on.
SS = Supersoft compound
S = Soft compound
N = New compound
U = Used compound
NC = Not classified
The last column gives the total amount of pit stops.