Red Bull Racing managed to win the Bahrain Grand Prix even more easily thanks to a different strategy. Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez drove two stints on the softs, while other teams did not see this as an option. Red Bull’s strategy then clearly shows the advantage of the Austrian team in terms of tire management. Despite this, Red Bull stayed away from the mediums, despite the fact that they could have easily switched to the yellow-cheeked tyre.
After the race, Red Bull is mainly praised for its low tire wear, which puts the team ahead of the competition. This also allowed the Austrian racing team to use a unique strategy. “Red Bull could easily have won the race with three sets of mediums used,” writes Auto, Motor und Sport. “The RB19 was the only car in the field on which Pirelli’s softest compound was fast enough during the two stints that there was only one change to the hard tire later on.”
The course of the race was therefore a great disappointment for the competition. After the first 11-lap stint, Verstappen’s lead over Ferrari was 11 seconds and after another 22-lap stint, the lead had already risen to 18 seconds. There was surprise at both Ferrari and Mercedes. “That strategy was impossible for us,” reported Frédéric Vasseur. “For us, the soft-hard-hard strategy was the only option from the start,” said a Mercedes engineer.
Why did F1 teams avoid the mediums?
Despite the fact that Red Bull could also have finished the race on a set of mediums, the team decided not to touch the yellow-cheeked tyre. Only because of a desperate attempt did McLaren pull the mediums out of the closet. There is an explanation why the mediums were not touched further. “The hard tire was the C1. This is the new compound that Pirelli has developed. This one is much closer to the C2 in terms of grip than the old C1. The tire is not slower, but it is more durable. So the hards were clearly better than the mediums,” concludes a Mercedes engineer.