From a quick glance at the results in Germany, one would have to say that yes, Bridgestone have an advantage but not a huge one. Closer inspection reveals that Michelin have big problems when the weather is hot. All their teams suffered from graining on the tires and their races suffered as a result.
The list of fastest race laps shows this quite clearly. The sole Michelin interloper in the top seven cars was Raikkonen’s McLaren and his time was set in the first stint when the car was seriously light on fuel. Otherwise, it was Bridgestone all the way. Such was the superiority of Ferrari that they could go on cruise control for the majority of the race. And Toyota and Williams also showed how much the Bridgestone tires were helping.
The real surprise was Button’s performance in the Honda, however. Honda made much better use of the Michelins than did Renault and it took the brilliance of Raikkonen to keep Jenson off the podium. On this showing, Renault have cause to be worried, especially as Michelin are unlikely to come up with any miracles until after the Turkish GP.
So tires are the deciding factor in F1 yet again. I, for one, will not be sorry when there is only one tire manufacturer in the sport and everyone competes on a level playing field. There is a fine balance in F1 between the importance of the driver and the car – that is why there are two championships, the driver’s and the constructor’s. Competing tire companies interfere with that balance and skew results, often unfairly.