Windsor sees Red Bull falling short on a usually strong point: ‘Seemed like they didn’t control that’

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Windsor sees Red Bull falling short on a usually strong point: 'Seemed like they didn't control that'

The drivers of Ferrari and McLaren completed impressive race simulations on Friday in Australia, while Red Bull Racing, which normally always excels with a lot of fuel on board, seems to fall short. However, Peter Windsor expects that Max Verstappen and the Austrian team will be there again on Saturday.

After the first practice sessions of a Grand Prix weekend, almost everyone usually talks about how consistent and fast Verstappen’s lap times are. In Australia, Ferrari, but actually also McLaren, stole the show. Although Ferrari’s race pace was impressive, as Helmut Marko also thought after FP2, Red Bull had to make do with Sergio Pérez’s data. And they were anything but special. The Mexican’s decline seemed to be quite significant towards the end of his run, with Ferrari and McLaren remaining fairly consistent.

“If we look at Leclerc’s lap times with a lot of fuel on board, it was really impressive,” Windsor analyzes the lap times of the various drivers in a video on his YouTube channel. ‘Sainz also impressed, but also look at Piastri’s long run. He runs 22.8, 22.3, 22.4, 22.8, 22.6 and 22.7. Then compare that 22.7 with what Max (Verstappen, ed.) drove. He never drove under 23.0,” says Windsor, who realizes that the Dutchman only completed four laps. Pérez, on the other hand, is a better benchmark. ‘Sergio (Pérez, ed.) drove a 22.7, but after that the tires seemed to wear out. “So it looked like Red Bull was not in control of the tires at this point on Friday,” Windsor said.

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Windsor sees Red Bull falling short on a usually strong point: 'Seemed like they didn't control that'
For Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez, the race pace was not great in the long runs during FP2.

Did Ferrari drive with less wing?

So, as mentioned, Ferrari performed excellently in the second practice session. Windsor thinks he has found the reason for this. “Look at the top speed of the Ferraris in FP1,” Windsor refers to the lower top speed of 317 kilometers of both Ferrari drivers. Also in FP2 both drivers were substantially slower than the rest. And Windsor immediately notices something else. ‘Leclerc was the fastest driver over one lap, but he has the lowest top speed. Has Ferrari put less wing on it?’ he wonders out loud.

Windsor is curious about the reaction of the other teams. ‘It’s very interesting to see how other teams react to this in FP3. The problem on Saturday is of course that the circuit will evolve, so that must also be taken into account. But if in theory there is more grip, everyone should use less wing. So it will be interesting,” says Windsor, who expects a stronger Red Bull on Saturday. ‘Red Bull will certainly be there again on Saturday. But McLaren and Mercedes also look strong.’

But Leclerc could be the favorite for pole position on Saturday. “It could be a great day for Leclerc and Ferrari. Let’s see if he can carry that momentum into qualifying and the race. He looks very strong with the car, both over one lap and in the race simulation. But Max had a difficult day,” Windsor puts Friday’s results into perspective. “Let’s see what happens on Saturday,” the British journalist concludes.

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