It has to be said that the 2012 Formula 1 world championship has been the greatest season so far. There have been tons of overtaking, different race winners, and the most number of champions on the grid. There are a number of factors contributing to such a close season, but the biggest one is the official Pirelli tire.
In the third qualifying session (Q3), we often see drivers sit out the session just to save their tires for the race. At Spa, only McLaren's Jenson Button and Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen posted times with 3 minutes and 5 seconds left, with the other eight drivers doing only a single run.
The last 10 minutes should be intense, with all 10 drivers ideally battling for pole position. The solution is to give Q3 drivers an extra set of tires so that they don't sit out the session and rely on tire strategy. On race day, drivers race hard during the first stint, but as the race progresses, the performance of the tires drops depending on the compound, preventing them from continuing to race hard and leaving them no choice but to preserve their tires. The driver behind will eventually realize that the lead driver's tires are deteriorating. And so it becomes a game of strategy rather than good, hard racing.
The 2012 season has been exciting, and for sure it's not just because of the tires. But something needs to be done about drivers going easy during the third qualifying session in the name of tire preservation.