The first time the tyre graphic came onto our tv screens was at the Japanese Grand Prix.
The same graphic you will see when you are playing a computer game like Gran Turismo indicating the condition of your tyres and when possibly they may need changing. It works for a tv game, but not in real life as every driver drives differently and some will have huge differences in wear and tear.There was a prime example in yesterdays race when Ferrari gambled and lost. Hamilton's tyres would be showing that they had no life left yet he could have carried on for another 10 or 20 laps comfortably. I understand the FIA looking at bringing new things in, but make sure the things are accurate and add value at least. Pirelli who supply the tyres are not overjoyed by this new info bar as it isn't true.
Green and blue tyres weren't used as there was no rain. So it was predominantly the hard and medium tyres with a few using the soft. Other tracks you may see more soft tyres being used as they are normally offering more grip and are the quickest, but don't last as long.
The Mexican Grand Prix became the race all about the tyres. Those of you know who follow Formula One the tyres you qualify on in qualifying 3 are the tyres you start the race with and have more importance than what you might think. The graphic below shows what I am trying to say and explains exactly what happened. The teams have to use two of the 5 tyre types during a race and it is up to them how they use them as part of their strategy.
Pirelli recommends that the hard tyre has a lifespan of around 50 laps yet some drivers went very close or way beyond the recommended lifespan because they knew they could look after them better than others. It was still a gamble though as the heat and track temperature plays a role.
Hamilton pitted on lap 23 and there was still 48 laps to go for the hard tyre he had put on. Pirelli stated that 50 laps was the guide so maybe he was taking a gamble. Saying that he normally preserves his tyres better than anyone else on the circuit. Verstappen pitted on ap 5 and managed to take the hard tyres to the finish which is 66 laps and 30 percent over the guide. He had no choice as his race was done after needing some repairs early on and why they changed the tyres that early.
Ferrari gambled and it didn't pay off having two strategies one for each car. They were expecting the tyre performance to drop off on Hamiltons car as his tyres lose grip and traction. This was the total opposite of what Mercedes were saying as the chief engineer advising Hamilton spoke over the radio. He said it will lose some performance and then settle getting better as the race progresses.
Vettel who drives for Ferrari pitted on lap 37 giving him 34 laps on the hard tyre thinking they had the better grip to speed past Hamilton late on. Le Clerc in the other Ferrari were on a two stop race and pitted on lap 15 and 43 thinking that would be the fastest way around the circuit. This was obviously not the case even though they botched a pit stop and it cost him 4 seconds.
The FIA is trying to change how the cars perform on the track as they are all of a similar design and struggle to overtake under normal racing conditions. The down force generated by the car is impeded by the dirty air of the car in front and unless you get close enough for the use of DRS on a straight it is impossible to overtake.
Mercedes played this race perfectly undercutting Vettel with the tyre change early on and left them behind Hamilton knowing that overtaking wasn't going to be easy. The dirty air starts to effect the car as soon as you come into the 1.5 - 2 second range behind the car in front. There isn't much to choose between Mercedes and Ferrari on race day even though qualifying shows a different story. I believe it is all down to fuel loads and how the car reacts. That is the only change to qualifying as the cars don't use full tanks.
It will be interesting to see how the FIA overcome this as they want exciting racing without the dirty air which is currently preventing the overtaking.at the front of the race. The only way that is going to happen is if a mistake happens or the tyre wear has a huge drop off which it didn't yesterday and thus cost Ferrari any chance of winning. I love the different strategies in play as it seems Mercedes has won more by out smarting their opponents consistently. This is the one area that can be gamed as the top cars are very similar in performance.