Mark Webber has called the decision to qualify on the prime tire “something a little bit different” as he bids for his first win of the season in what will be his final visit to India as an F1 driver ahead of his retirement next month.
The tire allocation brought to India by Pirelli created the possibility to qualify on the medium compound tire in Q3 in order to go further into the race before stopping without finishing too far down the grid, and Webber utilized this perfectly to finish fourth on Saturday. As a result, he appears to be the best-placed driver to challenge teammate Sebastian Vettel for victory on Sunday.
“We thought it was worth trying something a little bit different with the strategy today, so that’s why we ran the primes in Q3,” Webber explained. “We thought we would probably be a bit further back than the second row to be honest, so it turned out to be a good session for us. It’s not easy to manage the primes when you just get a look at them in Q3, but I think we did a good job and we didn’t leave too much out there.”
The Australian driver feels that he could challenge Vettel for the win thanks to this strategy, with the German driver’s relentless pace making him look unbeatable barring an alternative strategy, such as the one Webber and Fernando Alonso have opted for.
“We’re in a good position to capitalise on a different approach tomorrow,” Webber added. “The option tire shouldn’t last too long and we’ll be on a different strategy. That said, I’ll still have to use the softer tire in the race at some point, so let’s see.”
Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).
However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.
However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.
Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.
In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth.
On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).
Check out the above video.
Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.
Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).