On the menu of this gallery: the new dynamic between Red Bull and Ferrari, soon-to-be-banned tricks and convergence in development. All in pictures!
A GUM STORY
With pole position and the sprint victory of Max Verstappen, we expected a clear victory on Sunday for the Red Bull n°1. favorable to the RB18, whose flat bottom entry had been modified this weekend (see the image 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 this track, with a track that was cooler than on Saturday, washed out by rain on Sunday morning, the single-seater hit by the winged Bull degraded its rear tires faster than expected. More than during the sprint race, where Leclerc had not exerted the same pressure on Verstappen.
“Saturday during the sprint, we pushed hard at the start and then eased off at the end, and our degradation was identical to that of Ferrari, analyzes Christian Horner. 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 degradation was significantly worse than Charles and Carlos’, especially on the first stint. When we understood what was happening, we immediately switched to a two-stop strategy. But Ferrari had enough speed to respond.
Equipped with the more efficient rear wing introduced in Canada, the Ferrari was as quick as the Red Bull on the straights. It just lost a few km/h at the end of the straight due to a different electrical deployment (Maranello favors acceleration at the start of the straight, where the Red Bull relies on its smaller turbo):
“We had a disadvantage compared to the Red Bull in top speed, which was mainly due to the effectiveness of their DRS, analyzes Mattia Binotto. We responded with a new rear wing, which reduced our straight-line speed deficit. Now their advantage is only minimal.”
The dynamic between Maranello and Milton Keynes has therefore evolved compared to the start of the season. We had already seen a glimpse of this in Barcelona, where the F1-75 used its tires more evenly than the RB18. Perhaps the Italian engineers have favored the qualifying race in their settings (thus allowing Verstappen to sign his first pole in the dry)?
On other rear-limited tracks, such as Bahrain or Monaco, the Ferrari was also the fastest. Here, with no deficit on the straight, it was as fast as the Red Bull but without degrading its rear tires as much. Admittedly, Leclerc and Sainz also observed two pit stops, but more spaced out.