Friday, 11 June 2010

Drivers fight against the grain

The opening 2 practice sessions in Montreal were a sluggish affair with a track lacking grip and hurting tyres meant that the running order was difficult to assess. Sebastian Vettel ended the day on top of the timesheets but the main talking point was the graining suffered by the teams, especially with the rear tyres. Lewis Hamilton described conditions like driving on an ice rink, Karun Chandhok said it was slippier than Monaco and Heikki Kovalainen compared the circuit to a rally stage in his native Finland. Graining is when the small bits of rubber and marbles build up on the surface of the tyre. This means less mechancial grip and more sliding.

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The issue was especially apparent on the softer tyres and this is probably going to be the best tyre for qualifying so the top ten have the problem of coping on these tyres in the early stages of the race. McLaren looked the best of the pack despite only coming 7th and 11th in the final standings. They seemed to run more wing than other teams and this meant more downforce in the corners while their F-Duct kept them on par in the straight line speed stakes. This could be a vital factor if it is wet on Sunday. Setup compromise's could be needed between a potentially dry qualifying and wet race.

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Many drivers had off's, especially taking a trip across the grass at turn 8 but nobody hit any walls, though Hamilton and Vettel gave them a close run. Saturday and Sunday shouuld be fascinating dry or wet, there are so many challenges facing the teams and pulling a win off here will be a major coup for one driver. Ferrari could be back in with their ability to look after the tyres but with the cool temperatures in Montreal it may be hard to get working for the one lap blast of tomorrow. Strategy will be key with the potential of people going for a 2 stopper or trying to run as little as possible on the soft tyre. Tomorrow however, the big issue is getting the lap that will give you the best chance of victory. Final practice is at 3pm BST with qualifying starting at 6pm with coverage in Britain on BBC2 and BBCi. It is currently an unclear picture, we await clearer signs tomorrow.

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