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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Crimson Bull’s higher tyre choices quash F1 rivals’ hopes additional for Bahrain GP

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The tempo of the RB20 on this planet champion’s fingers all through follow and qualifying has additional highlighted the benefit he has over the opposition proper now.

However regardless of a reasonably shut battle for the highest grid spots – the place Charles Leclerc’s greatest Q2 lap would even have been ok for pole place – few are anticipating a lot hope of holding a candle to him round Sakhir on Saturday.

As Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz mentioned concerning the deficit to Crimson Bull in qualifying showing nearer than final 12 months: “Let’s wait till the race.

“I feel that is the place they immediately degree it up and that is the place they handle to have degradation that nobody can have, and a race tempo that nobody can have.

“I feel final 12 months, for those who take a look at the final eight races: in quali we had been at all times there, inside attain of them, and this 12 months we felt once more inside attain in quali [pace]. Within the race? We’ll see.”

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But when the efficiency deficit to Verstappen has left rivals feeling their chances are high minimal, there may be additional dangerous information for them – as a result of Crimson Bull additionally enjoys a tyre technique benefit heading into the grand prix.

Nearly slipping underneath the radar, Crimson Bull elected to keep away from an early smooth tyre run in closing free follow and opted to make use of a tough tyre as an alternative.

Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing RB20

Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Meaning for the race, Crimson Bull duo Verstappen and Sergio Perez have a brand new smooth accessible, whereas all its essential opposition solely have used ones.

Here’s a run-down of the tyre units accessible:


For a excessive degradation observe like Bahrain, it could appear counter intuitive to really feel that further softs are a profit, however issues fall that manner right here as a result of the medium shouldn’t be an particularly good tyre for the race.

As Pirelli’s Mario Isola defined: “The medium may be very shut by way of delta lap time with the exhausting, however with greater degradation. That signifies that there is no such thing as a actual benefit with it.”

The medium’s traits subsequently push the frontrunners to the smooth – particularly for the beginning and opening stint.

Isola added: “I imagine the bulk, or a minimum of the automobiles in entrance, will begin with the smooth as a result of in any other case they lose too many tracks positions.

“The lap time delta between the smooth and exhausting is large. The smooth/medium is 1.2s, and the medium/exhausting is 0.3-0.4s, so it means that you’ve got 1.5 seconds between the exhausting and smooth. That may be a lot.

“So for those who begin with the exhausting, and you’re in entrance, with some prospects for overtaking, then you definitely begin to lose observe positions.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, receives his Pirelli Pole Position Award from DJ Zedd

Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing, receives his Pirelli Pole Place Award from DJ Zedd

Photograph by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

The technique pointing to smooth being the tyre of alternative for the primary stint, with further grip away from the road – allied to the additional tyre life it presents – offers Crimson Bull a fairly respectable cushion in comparison with the others.

Sainz estimated that the benefit for Crimson Bull was within the area of two or three seconds over that first stint.

Plus, it additionally factors to Crimson Bull opting for a similar soft-hard-soft technique that it put to good use to dominate final 12 months. Others which have two hards accessible could go for the extra conservative route.

Crimson Bull’s automotive design, its long-run kind and the tyre technique selections all culminate in leaving the remainder of the sector accepting that there’s one clear favorite the primary F1 race of 2024.

George Russell, who will begin the race from third place, mentioned: “The hole in qualifying was most likely barely nearer to Max than all of us anticipated, however I feel race tempo is the vital one. We’re anticipating most likely a half second deficit. That is what we thought after testing.”

Requested by Autosport/Motorsport.com if he had seen something on the information over this weekend to provide hope of somebody taking the battle to Verstappen, Isola was fast to answer.

“Max may be very robust, I can’t inform any lie,” he smiled. “You may see that from the lap occasions, each through the check and in addition yesterday. I hope that the others are shut however I imagine he nonetheless has a bonus.”

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