Pirelli announces tire allocation for Russian GP

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Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli has confirmed the three compounds that will be available to teams for the Russian Grand Prix on May 1.

Following a change in the regualations concerning tires for the 2016 season, teams will now have a choice of three compounds across the course of a weekend, rising from two in 2015.

Teams are required to use the softest compound tire in Q3, and must use two pre-defined compounds during the race.

For the Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom, teams will have a pick of the super-soft, soft and medium tires, reflecting the low-grip nature of the technical circuit.

All drivers entering Q3 will be required to complete the session on super-soft tires, while the soft and medium compounds must be used during the race.

Pirelli has so far confirmed its compounds for the first four grands prix in 2016, using the super-soft/soft/medium selection for Australia, Bahrain, China and Russia.

This year’s Russian Grand Prix has moved to a much earlier slot, having taken place in October for its first two runnings as a world championship event.

Valtteri Bottas on Silverstone pole; Nico Hulkenberg a surprising third

F1 Bottas Hamilton Silverstone
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Valtteri Bottas nipped Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone qualifying Saturday to maintain the team’s hammerlock on F1 results this season while Nico Hulkenberg was a surprise in third.

Hulkenberg is filling in for Sergio Perez for the second consecutive race while the Racing Point driver recovers from coronavirus.

It’s the best F1 start since 2016 for Hulkenberg, who was left without a full-time ride after the 2019 season. He finished 20th at Silverstone last week when an engine problem on the grid prevented him ftaking the green.

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“The last seven to eight days have been crazy,” Hulkenberg said after qualifying. “This weekend I felt much better prepared. Q3 was just head down, full beans, and give it whatever I had.

“I’m a bit surprised to be standing here, but there’s a big smile on my face.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen qualified fourth and will be among the field trying to derail the Mercedes duo that has won the first four races of an F1 season delayed because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Feels good,” Bottas said after nipping Hamilton by a few hundredths of a second on his final lap for his 13th career pole position. ” I just love qualifying especially, when it goes well. Proud to drive this car. The race pace is there, so our first job is to get a good start off the line tomorrow and go from there.”

The impressive lap came two days after Bottas, who won the season opener in Austria, announced a one-year contract extension with the team.

Mercedes also is set to begin negotiating a new deal with Hamilton, who has won the past three races in F1 but was disappointed Saturday.

“Valtteri did a great job, but for me, it wasn’t a perfect last lap,” he said. “I don’t think many teams will be doing a one-stop race tomorrow so let’s wait and see how things turn out.”