On this gallery’s list: the new dynamic between Red Bull and Ferrari, the soon-to-be-banned tricks and the convergence of development. All in pictures!
chewing gum story
With a first-place finish and a sprint victory for Max Verstappen, we expected a clear victory on Sunday for Red Bull No. 1. Favorable for the RB18, whose flat-bottom entry was adjusted this weekend (see photo above).
Except that the Red Bull Ring is a circuit where the limiting factor is the rear tire (what we call a ‘rear limited’ circuit*). And on that track, with the track that was much cooler than Saturday, and soaked in rain on Sunday morning, the single-seater hit by the winged bull caused its rear tires to deteriorate faster than expected. More than during the sprint race, where Leclerc didn’t put the same pressure on Verstappen.
“On Saturday during the race we pushed really hard at first and then loosened at the end, our degradation was identical to that of Ferrari, Christian Horner analyzes. The only things that changed during the night were the rain, the temperatures and the amount of fuel on board. We need to understand why Max’s decline was so much worse than that of Charles and Carlos, especially in the first period. When we understood what was happening, we immediately switched to the stop strategy. But Ferrari had enough speed to respond.
Equipped with a more efficient rear wing that was introduced in Canada, Ferrari was as fast as Red Bull on the straights. I just lost a few kilometers per hour at the end of the straight due to a different electric spread (Maranello prefers acceleration at the start of the straight, as Red Bull relies on a smaller turbo):
“We had a disadvantage compared to Red Bull in top speed, which was mainly due to the effectiveness of the DRS, analyzes Mattia Binotto. We responded with a new rear wing, which reduced the straight-line speed deficit. Now their advantage is minimal.”
So the dynamic has developed between Maranello and Milton Keynes compared to the start of the season. We already saw a glimpse of this in Barcelona, where the F1-75 used its tires more evenly than the RB18. Perhaps the Italian engineers preferred the qualifying race in their settings (allowing Verstappen to sign his first pole in the drought)?
On other limited rear tracks, such as Bahrain or Monaco, Ferrari was also the fastest. Here, with no straight-line deficit, it was as fast as Red Bull but without damaging the rear tires as much. Admittedly, Leclerc and Sainz also note two pit stops, but they are far apart.