Pirelli have applauded Valtteri Bottas’ bravery after the Finn reached almost 200mph in wet conditions during Qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix.
Bottas peaked at 196 mph on the back straight of the Shanghai circuit, but incredibly Bottas was using the intermediate tyres which displace less water than the full wet compounds. At their best, the blue intermediate tyres will displace 100 litres collectively per second, while the full wets can displace a staggering 260 litres per second – that’s more than a bathtub of water.
“Seeing Bottas achieve those sorts of speeds, in the wet in China, was one of those moments that gave you goosebumps: which is what Formula One is meant to be all about,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said today.
“The Cinturato Green intermediate is in fact the only tyre in our range that is completely unaltered compared to 2013, but it was still able to provide complete control even under extremely marginal conditions. This performance underlines the sheer bravery and talent of today’s Formula One drivers – which is what everyone wants to see.”
The huge change to regulations ahead of this season reduced the downforce produced by cars, which in turn makes them faster in a straight line. This contributed to Bottas’ particularly fast speed on wet conditions, where aquaplaning is a real danger due to the width of the Formula One tyres.
Bottas qualified and finished seventh, despite making contact into the first corner of the race and briefly going off track, as well as driving the whole race without telemetry. The Finn, who is in his second season in F1, was pleased with the progress the team had made over the weekend and looked to Spain where he hopes to make further steps forward. However, Felipe Massa endured a horrible race in the other Williams following a botched pit stop which lost him over a minute. He finished the race in fifteenth. You can read my report of the race here.
Image courtesy Williams F1 Team.