Bridgestone believes tire strategy could create a dramatic German Grand Prix, despite the allocation of super-soft and hard-compound tires not leading to the hoped-for multi pit stop race.
Although the top 10 all qualified on the option tire, which was around seven-tenths of a second faster over a single lap, many of those outside the top 10, led by Mercedes driver Michael Schumacher, are likely to start on the prime tire in the hope of climbing the order. Depending on the track temperature in the race, this could allow those starting down the order to get ahead of some of the early stoppers.
"Michael will probably have the prime tire for the start," Bridgestone's head of motorsport tire development Hirohide Hamashima told AUTOSPORT. "If it is hot conditions for the race, I think there will be some good stories. If the drivers on the hard tires can build the tire temperature in the beginning of the race, it will be very interesting."
The track temperature with two hours to go before the race start is 79 degrees, and could climb above 86 by the time the race starts. Should this be the case, the drivers starting on the option tire might not be able to run for as long as they are hoping for, meaning that pitstops could take place within the first 12 laps.
"Here, we separated the tire allocation by two specifications, so the gap is big," said Hamashima. "In Canada, even the degradation on the prime tire was big at the start of the race, but at Hockenheim it will stay in good condition for much longer so it will be very interesting."
With degradation on the prime tires expected to be good even if the track temperature does climb further, this could lead to drivers such as Schumacher and Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, both of whom showed potential Q3 pace earlier in the weekend, lapping significantly faster than those who started on options in the closing stages of the race.