Pedro de la Rosa, ambassador of the Aston Martin team, expects that Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing will also have the advantage in Las Vegas. The former Formula 1 driver sees that the Austrian racing team has the most complete package, which is why Verstappen was able to win again in Brazil. In addition, the Dutch driver also has an ace up his sleeve, allowing the three-time world champion to gain some tenths compared to the competition.
Much is still unclear about the upcoming Grand Prix of Las Vegas. Mario Isola, the CEO at Pirelli, compares the circuit with the Baku City Circuit, the place where Charles Leclerc took pole position this season. The circuit consists of seventeen corners, some of which are taken at very low speed, but at the same time the circuit also has a straight stretch of 1.9 kilometers. The teams therefore seem to have to find a compromise in the setup.
Then we quickly look at the characteristics of the circuit that goes along The Strip of Las Vegas. De la Rosa thinks that the teams should mainly look at the relationships at Interlagos. ‘When you go to a new track it’s always easy to look at which team is doing well in low-speed corners or high-speed corners. I look at the complete package and it is being tested in Brazil. Max and Red Bull were again the dominant force there,” the Spaniard said on the F1 Nation podcast.
‘I expect that the proportions of the previous race will also be reflected in Las Vegas, especially when you are almost at the end of the season. Teams are not going to introduce new things,” the former driver continues. Verstappen managed to win the race with an eight-second lead over Lando Norris. Despite the fact that Mercedes had a difficult weekend in Brazil, De la Rosa thinks that the German team will also make a bid for the podium again. ‘But I especially expect that Red Bull and McLaren will be very strong.’
Tire advantage for Red Bull and Verstappen?
In addition to the fact that the drivers have to deal with a new circuit, there will also be unique circumstances. Temperatures will be in the single digits every day. Without proper preparation this can cause graining to the tires. If the tires operate outside the ideal operating window, pieces of the rubber can tear off. This will cause the drivers to have less grip and the lap times will increase as a result.
Teams have to deal with this well, especially during qualifying. Also during the race, the drivers must of course ensure that the tires are always at the right temperature. However, De la Rosa expects few problems for Red Bull and Verstappen. ‘Of course you don’t know how teams, cars and drivers adapt. If a driver has a lot of time behind him, he can focus on the tires. That is what Max is doing very well at the moment. That gives him an extra two or three tenths.’
De la Rosa is looking forward to an exciting race
Due to the long straight in Las Vegas, De la Rosa still expects an exciting race, despite Verstappen’s advantage. The Spaniard hopes that the fighting at Interlagos will be repeated. ‘It will be very exciting anyway. It’s fantastic to see so many teams and drivers close together, except for Max. In Brazil you saw a nice race, where Alonso was able to fight with Pérez. I expect that such fights will arise again in Las Vegas,” De la Rosa said.