Max Verstappen’s chance to score a stunning victory in the Spanish Grand Prix became real when Red Bull switched his race-leading team mate to a three-stop strategy.
After the race said team mate was unimpressed. “We threw the win away” lamented Daniel Ricciardo following his mid-race tactical switch.
Did Red Bull make a tactical mistake?
Red Bull facing a Ferrari threat
On lap 16 at the Circuit de Catalunya Red Bull’s cars were running first and second but it was clear the chasing Ferraris had the potential to beat them. Before the race Christian Horner had said he was surprised his team had out-qualified the red cars, who lost their way with set-up in qualifying, but that Friday had shown Ferrari’s race pace was at least as good as Mercedes’.
Sure enough, after Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen emerged from behind Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Toro Rosso, Red Bull’s lead was eroded. Vettel had cut Ricciardo’s six second lead to two, and the pair had Verstappen between them. Vettel was clearly the greater threat as Raikkonen was around three seconds further behind.
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By lap 27 fifth-placed Valtteri Bottas was far enough behind that Red Bull could bring either of its drivers in without them getting stuck in traffic. Both Red Bull and Ferrari could afford to try a three-stop strategy. Whoever pitted first and gained the benefit of the undercut – being first to run on fresher, faster tyres – would be at a clear advantage.
For Ferrari the decision to do this was a no-brainer. And therefore the decision for Red Bull to do the same, and to do it with Ricciardo, was also a no-brainer. Here’s why.
Why Red Bull pit Ricciardo on a three-stop strategy
Ricciardo’s slim lead over his two pursuers was compressed to just two seconds over the course of laps 24 and 25. This was because Rio Haryanto came out of the pits in front of him and stayed there for two laps – this made possible by him having fresh tyres, the best engine in F1, and yellow flags in the final sector for Nico Hulkenberg’s stationary Force India preventing the Manor from being passed there.
When Haryanto did get out of the way he let all three by at once. Red Bull were now on red alert: with the trio covered by two seconds Vettel could potentially pass either or both their cars if he pitted right away and switched to a two-stop strategy.
As Lewis Hamilton had demonstrated last year, converting to a three-stop strategy could give a faster car such as Vettel’s the means of getting ahead of a Red Bull potentially without even needing to make a pass on the track. If he did have to overtake Ricciardo or Bottas he would be much more likely to do so with fresh tyres in addition to the Ferrari’s horsepower advantage.
But of course if Ferrari could figure all this out, so could Red Bull. If Vettel converted to a three-stop strategy they could be certain he would be waved past Raikkonen and then he would be in a position to attack both of their cars with fresher rubber.
The only way Red Bull could protect themselves against this possible move by Ferrari was to guarantee it, by bringing one of their cars in early to take advantage of the same ‘undercut’ Vettel might exploit. With Ricciardo holding the biggest lead over Vettel at this point, he was the driver best-placed to succeed. His lap 28 pit stop for soft tyres – which would certainly not last the remaining 38 laps – was the moment they committed.
2016 Spanish Grand Prix race chart: Red Bull and Ferrari
The gaps between the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers on every lap compared to the leader. Very large gaps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:
Why Red Bull kept Verstappen on a two-stop strategy
Once Ricciardo pitted, Ferrari followed suit with Vettel. So why didn’t Red Bull then put Verstappen on the same strategy as his team mate? After all had they brought Verstappen in on the same lap Vettel pitted he would have been guaranteed to stay ahead unless Red Bull slipped up in the pits.
However Red Bull also needed to cover off the threat from Raikkonen. This was not an immediate concern: the number seven Ferrari was 4.1 seconds behind when Verstappen inherited the lead. Red Bull didn’t need to bring Verstappen in immediately.
By the time Raikkonen closed anywhere near to striking range – 2.1 seconds – Verstappen was on lap 34 – half distance. Crucially, this gave Red Bull the opportunity to make Verstappen’s final pit stop his last. Nico Rosberg had covered 30 laps on a set of medium tyres the year before so Verstappen’s best chance of victory was to stick with a two-stopper and eke a set of mediums out for the remaining 32 laps. He did, and Raikkonen followed suit on the next lap.
Why Ferrari made Vettel’s final pit stop early
When Raikkonen rejoined the track on lap 36 all the top four drivers had made two pit stops. But only Ricciardo and Vettel, running first and second, would need to stop again. For these three-stoppers their best chance of attacking for the lead would be to run their strategy as conventionally as possible to get the best life out of their current and final sets of tyres. That meant making a third pit stop around lap 41, as other three-stoppers such as Felipe Massa and Marcus Ericsson did.
Ferrari, however, again had the option of bringing Vettel in early and using the undercut to jump him ahead of Ricciardo. The downside of doing that would be that he would have to run his final set of tyres for longer, negating the benefit of running a three-stop strategy to begin with, and reducing his chances of catching and passing the leaders.
Would Ferrari stick for a safe third for Vettel with the remote possibility the leaders would wreck their tyres and hand him the win? Or would they shadow Ricciardo again and leave Vettel fought, but potentially much quicker at the end and able to chase the leaders down? They quickly opted for the former.
Ricciardo’s loss, Verstappen’s gain
Vettel made his third pit stop on lap 37. This was just two laps after Raikkonen had made his second pit stop, which explains why Vettel had so little success chasing down the leaders. However it did ensure he would gain a place for Ricciardo when the Red Bull made his third and final pit stop.
Ricciardo came in on lap 43, giving him tyres which were nine laps fresher than his race-leading team mate’s. His initial lap times were around a second quicker, and until he drew close to Vettel on lap 53 he was often seven or eight-tenths quicker. But with Vettel able to lap almost as quick as him, Ricciardo’s hope of catching the leaders was ruined.
Ferrari’s decision to make Vettel’s third pit stop early proved a spoiler for the final laps of the race. Had they let Vettel run his third stint for as long as Ricciardo did, making his final pit stop one lap after the Red Bull, the final laps of the race would have seen Verstappen protecting his lead from Raikkonen while a flying Ricciardo and Vettel bore down on the pair of them.
But Ferrari valued a certain gain of one position over a potential gain for more positions, and it’s hard to argue with that. While Ricciardo was vexed about why he was put on a three-stop strategy in the first place, he should perhaps instead ask why he wasn’t brought in early to cover off that potential move from Vettel.
In the final reckoning, Red Bull had two cars ahead of two faster Ferraris at the beginning of the race. Given Ferraris pace its doubtful there was a strategy which would have ensured Red Bull a one-two finish.
By splitting strategies they successfully covered off the Ferrari threat so that one of their cars was in a position to come home first. It was Ricciardo’s misfortune that it happened not to be the car which was leading to begin with.
2016 Spanish Grand Prix
- 2016 Monaco and Spanish Grands Prix team radio transcripts
- Vettel’s strategy “screwed” my race in Spain – Ricciardo
- Ricciardo still coming to terms with losing Spain win
- F1 Fanatic presents new podcast Motorsport Extra
- Landslide Driver of the Weekend win for Verstappen
54 comments on “Why Red Bull’s strategy was a success – but not for Ricciardo”
18th May 2016, 12:14
Verstappen himself said Ricciardo wasn’t making the tyres last long enough to allow for a two stop of the sort he was on, and a different, more symmetrical two stop wouldn’t have given Ricciardo much in terms of track position. So he wasn’t unlucky, just not good enough.
18th May 2016, 12:14
With the caveat that we need to believe Verstappen in that case ;-)
19th May 2016, 12:26
Ricciardo has always had excellent tyre management – Verstappen is just talking himself up there.
20th May 2016, 4:16
You must be joking Ricciardo not ggod enough, PLEASE!!!!!
18th May 2016, 12:22
I do wonder what would have happend had Ferrari, on Vettel his car (or Red Bull with Ricciardo) committed to a three stop much sooner. Vettel drove many laps behind the Red Bull cars without even using DRS on the straight. It looked like he had plenty more pace at that time but couldn’t overtake Verstappen. Had they chose to bring him in earlier then, he would’ve surely been ahead right away of both cars and the chances of winning the race might have been higher. Of course, that is with hindsight in mind.
18th May 2016, 15:55
You don’t need hindsight @xtwl RedBull just did another Abu Dhabi 2010. RB are always on the money. It’s pretty simple really, They goaded Vettel and they used the crucial undercut, it’s all about the undercut. I can’t understand Ferrari, if they had a pace advantage it shouldn’t be a problem to pit early and do more laps on the tyres later.
18th May 2016, 12:46
Max was faster than Ricciardo on the mediums. Plus he could manage the tyres better. I think that is why they chose Max to do the 2 stop strategy.
Srdjan Mandic (@srga91)
18th May 2016, 12:56
Max also had better straightline-speed than Ricciardo, he was about 6 kph faster through the speedtrap in qualy.
This meant he was harder to overtake and therefore the better 2-stop-option.
18th May 2016, 12:51
I think it should be:
“It was Ricciardo’s misfortune that it happened TO BE the car which was leading to begin with.”
18th May 2016, 13:17
No because Ricciardo was leading to begin with.
18th May 2016, 13:22
It was Ricciardo’s misfortune that he is in the team that is run on marketing values, rather than sports….
19th May 2016, 12:00
the Colgate kid was screwed by the red bullies much faster than Webber was.
20th May 2016, 4:52
you the same sunny from CRASH?
19th May 2016, 20:28
second stint verstappen was catching ricciardo. maybe Ricciardo was unlucky with the tyres he got. but wouldnt have been wise to leave him on 2 stop and pit the at that time faster verstappen.
18th May 2016, 13:01
Compliments for the author. A good analysis. I was getting fed-up with all the conspiracy-theories from blind Ricciardo-fans. Daniel lost to Seb within the same strategy (s-m-s-m). So why should he have done any better with a 2-stopper? Max won on tyre management. The various strategies made for fascinating viewing. It was a GREAT race, and not only because Max won it.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
18th May 2016, 22:35
Great to see so much positive feedback, thanks everyone (also @girts, @palle, @coldfly and others below).
1st June 2016, 14:37
Well Jan, looks to me you’re a blind Verstappen fan. The author tried to explain how RB had DR switch to a 3-stopper to cope with the Vettel threat, all with the race win in mind. The article doesn’t say anything about differences between drivers regarding tyre management at all.
18th May 2016, 13:52
I know people are going to shrug this off, or think it’s conspiracy talk… But there’s a difference between a conspiracy and F1 politics. Anyone who thinks politics doesn’t play a part in F1 really is fooling themselves.
The media frenzy, and spotlight Max winning his first ever race for Red Bull has shone on not only the sport but the team easily justifies the strategy “error”. The words Red Bull covered the back page of a good portion of news paper in the World I reckon. You simply can’t buy that publicity, and all it cost them was a few handfuls of points.
The result was too valuable to be considered a coincidence in my opinion.
18th May 2016, 14:13
Yes, that’s conspiracy talk. And I’ve seen more inspired examples of that. I would award a 5/10 for rhetorics in the first paragraph. However, “I have an idea” -> “my idea is not a conspiracy theory, it’s about politics” -> “if you contradict me, you’re denying the existence of politics” -> “therefore you are fooling yourselves” is an overused pattern, and it fails to mask the stretches between each argument.
Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar (eat that, Sigmund). And sometimes, teams split their strategies because they simply don’t know which one will be better. And I think that’s a more than satisfactory answer, because I refuse to believe that this sport is run by comic book villains with an IQ of 200, who are unfallibly able to shape reality with their schemes to achieve goals that lie beyond the mere pursuit of success.
18th May 2016, 14:28
Like I said, I expected people to think it was, and I’m fine with that. I actually appreciate your post, as it highlights quite well the exact opposite of conspiracy talk.
Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
18th May 2016, 14:32
But I agree, a team who were hoping for a podium ended up with a chance of win and they tried 2 different strategies because there’s no way of knowing which would have been successful and there even less chance of second guessing Ferrari’s strategy. If Ricciardo had won then the conspiracy theory would be that he was “number 1 driver” and already ahead in the championship points race and therefore given the more favourable strategy.
Max won, he got great headlines and it was indeed a great victory – but I don’t think it was orchestrated, it was just one of several possible outcomes, neither of which could have been planned to happen precisely that way.
And that is what made it such a great race – and I’m saying that as a Hamilton fan!
By the way, I’m not knocking Tristan – F1 is a sport which has seen obvious manipulation to get a result (Barrichello practically slipping into reverse before the finish line to let Schumacher through!) so it wouldn’t surprise me if in Christian Horner’s memoirs he tells how they managed to nobble the finish to get uber-headlines!
19th May 2016, 4:55
It’s not unusual for Redbull to split strategies. IMO it’s also not unusual for them to direct the worst strategy to the driver not beginning with VE. Let’s see who they compromise when they’re running the same tyre sequence and it looks like they’re going to race.
18th May 2016, 14:02
I suspect had Vettel and Ricciardo not lost time fighting each other the two of them could have closed in on Verstappen and Raikkonen. Vettel with fresher tyres and let’s be honest more ability than Raikkonen would have had more of a chance to win the race.
And looking how close Ricciardo came to passing Vettel I suspect he would have made a move stick on Raikkonen as well. The bittersweet is that in fighting for third place Ricciardo protected his team mate and probably lost his best chance of actually gaining third place.
18th May 2016, 14:05
Vettel was only gaining on RAI by .2 seconds a lap. there was still a 5 second gap when RIC started “fighting” VET with only 8 laps to go. There was never any chance of VET catching RAI.
18th May 2016, 15:13
Vettel goes from doing mid 1:29 lap times to lap times in the 1:30+ region at lap 59, from there to lap 65 when Ricciardo suffered a puncture I make it that he loses about 6 seconds from his ideal pace and he obviously coasts his final lap time giving away another couple of seconds.
Add that if he had caught Raikkonen and Verstappen he would have gained DRS and without battling Ricciardo he’d have been in with a chance.
It’s a narrow margin but it’s easy to see why the strategists calculated it was the faster strategy rather than it being an obviously deliberate ploy to scupper Ricciardo and gift Max a win.
Arnoud van Houwelingen
19th May 2016, 14:15
It would have been impossible for Vettel to pass Verstappen even if he would have catched up to Raikkonen and Verstappen. There was simply to little laps to go and more importantly the Red Bull has a much better exit from the last chicane into the last corner to the straight (due to better mechanical grip). Every round Verstappen stretched the gap to Raikkonen to more then 0,6 sec on the finish line. The Ferrari needed at least be within 0,5 sec to overtake the Red Bull wit DRS in the first corner.
18th May 2016, 14:07
Putting Ric on a 3 stop, and making the last stint shorter (Vettels 3-stopper had pretty much a last stint that was 2-stop-alike) was obviously a mistake in hindsight. However, at the moment of choice, I don´t think they knew whether the mediums would make such a long last stint, or fall away at the end. When a team splits strategy, it doesn´t know which strategy will turn out better, otherwise they´ll have both drivers on the better strategy. However, splitting also means you are not going wrong with both drivers (it did look like a 3-stop for Max as well at the beginning, they just converted that to a 2-stop later. At the moment they did that conversion, it probably did feel like a gamble to them). So yes, Ric draw the short stick on this one, but Red Bull as a whole will be rather satisfied.
18th May 2016, 14:20
I can see how RIC would feel aggrieved, and it certainly seems concievable that RBR would sacrifice him to get the publicity of a Verstappen win…but I think this shows that he was genuinely put on the faster strategy, and just had the misfortune to come out behind a slower than expected Vettel who nevertheless defended well. Considering RAI was ~0.2s a lap slower than Vettel (although stuck behind VES) I think it’s possible that RIC could have got past him, but obviously it never got to that. The cards fell badly for mister fourth place.
18th May 2016, 14:24
Think both Ricciardo and Vettel were put on ‘fast racing’ strategies by their respective teams as this was expected to have been the fastest way to complete the race. For various reasons it didn’t go well for both of these drivers, as they were not able to profit from their newer/faster tires as expected. Therefore their respective team mates on the more conservative strategy ended the race ahead of them. It was always going to be a gamble also for the drivers on the conservative strategy, as tyre wear could have deteriorated their lap times and thereby loosing it all on the last couple of laps. Now they didn’t and we got a new young talent on top of the podium!
18th May 2016, 14:32
A great analysis as always. However, I still do not see why Red Bull did not choose to put Verstappen on a three-stop strategy instead of Ricciardo. Also, Ferrari did not have the same pace advantage over Red Bull that Mercedes had over its rivals a year ago so it was not so obvious if a 3-stop strategy would work for Vettel.
While it might have made sense to split strategies, I think it is possible that Red Bull simply tricked Ferrari into a false strategy. They probably decided that Vettel was the biggest threat so they pitted Ricciardo anticipating that Vettel would cover him and Verstappen would then be fighting against the weaker Ferrari driver. The fact that it was the best possible presentation of RBR’s new superstar probably made the decision easier.
18th May 2016, 15:46
“I still do not see why Red Bull did not choose to put Verstappen on a three-stop strategy instead of Ricciardo”
Max in his interview on dutch TV said that Riciardo was not doing as good with his tires as he did. I do not know if he was talking about the situation before the 3-stop/2-stop choise, but if Riciardo was not managing his tires as good as Max it’s logic to put Max on 2-stop and not Riciardo.
Max also said that Daniel was holding him up. So giving them different tyre strategies would have been logic too.
We think the 3-stop was the worst choice, but I think the 2-stop was the most difficult choice to execute. So they didn’t do Max a favour by giving him 2-stop, but he pulled off a miracle for Red Bull.
18th May 2016, 16:52
Its only Max who claimed that Ricciardo was struggling for speed & tire wear, a statement contradicted by Horner immediately after the race when he said both their tires were in good condition & at the proper temperature. I’m seeing Max’s assertions repeated as fact all over the internet, when as yet they have not been confirmed by anyone else & its in his interests to present himself as the better driver.
The decision to switch Ricciardo was based on Red Bull’s belief that Vettel saw him as the main threat & would pit in response which is indeed what happened. If Verstappen had gone onto the 3 stop, Vettel might well have ignored him, stuck to the 2 stop and tried to undercut Ricciardo for the lead. In fact that’s what Ferrari should have done – kept Vettel out there & undercut Verstappen, which would have almost certainly given them victory, and put Raikkonen on a 3 stop to shadow Ricciardo.
18th May 2016, 19:18
Agreed on your points regarding which drivers from the two teams got onto the 2- or 3-stop strategy based on their tire preservation abilities. Kimi has also shown over the years to be very good in this area. Can’t blame either the teams to run split strategies between their drivers, to cover all options. Bad luck of course for Ricciardo that he ended up being 4th this time around.
1st June 2016, 14:52
Cyber, Andy made a case to put Rai on a 3-stopper, not a 2-stopper.
20th May 2016, 12:49
Max wouldn’t have known if DanRic had tyre wear issues , this is information that can’t be given out via radio ,
18th May 2016, 15:17
Great article, Keith, spot on. A good analysis also consistent with our experience with RBR always preferring the Team over the individual driver. Their actions – both RBR and Ferrari – were a consequence of stringent analysis of how to maximize the outcome and use the fact of having 2 cars to cover for what might happen. In the end both Max and Kimi were also a little lucky that their tyres didn’t let them down, even if they did a good job taking care of them.
ColdFly F1 (@)
18th May 2016, 15:23
Agree, @palle. I absolutely love this article. Thanks @keithcollantine
18th May 2016, 15:39
“Crucially, this gave Red Bull the opportunity to make Verstappen’s final pit stop his last.”
This cannot be overstated. Almost every race hinges on a team’s ability to pull this off, but it’s so seldom discussed. :)
Man United_Vettel (@siegfreyco)
18th May 2016, 16:15
You see. This is why the Mercedes always put their drivers on identical strategies because different strategies would always lead to arguments and conspiracies.
ColdFly F1 (@)
18th May 2016, 16:52
@siegfreyco, that might work when you’re only competing against your teammate. But when fighting with another team it’s better to ‘divide your eggs over 2 baskets’.
Man United_Vettel (@siegfreyco)
19th May 2016, 12:04
@coldfly I meant this for the fans because they were complaining a lot last year that the Mercedes are not being flexible enough in the strategy of their drivers
18th May 2016, 17:50
The 2 strategies just created a very exiting race. It pushed all involved drivers to the limit. That’s what we want to see.
Mercedes cruising to victory and Rosberg collecting his easy world championship is boring.
But that’s how Mercedes wants it.
18th May 2016, 17:59
Sadly I think this is over-analysed and the truth is much simpler.
Ricciardo was running out of tyres (being gained on by both Max and VET, even without the Haryanto incident) and Red Bull opted to go to the three stop strategy as soon as they realised he was not going to be able to complete the race competitively on two.
Ferrari shadowed RIC to cover him off which was a valid decision at the time (valid in the sense that Alonso shadowing Webber was back in 2010), however VET probably could have completed the race on two stops easily if he needed to as he had stayed out longer on the first stint than the other leaders.
RIC then did sensible stints for the remaining part of the race. Ferrari meanwhile completely wasted their middle stint, I suspect they pulled VET in as soon as they were confident he could make it to the end on the final set of mediums, and this guaranteed track position over RIC, but it wasted the tyre advantage and left them well out of touch of Max and RAI, who had enough of a time advantage to nurse their cars to the end.
Not so much a tactical decision by Red Bull as a decision driven out of necessity. And a rash response by Ferrari, who could have won this race with Vettel if they had stayed out.
18th May 2016, 19:53
People have a hard time accepting that maybe Verstappen drove better on the day regardless of tactics. He managed his tyres to the extent that a two stop was possible: Ricciardo seemingly couldn’t.
19th May 2016, 5:02
Horner said after the race that at the time they decided to switch Ricciardo to a 3 stop, both his drivers had their tyres in good condition and at optimal temperature. Even Max says he was offered the choice of doing a 3 stop. So your “truth” that Ricciardo was burning through his tyres is nothing more than misinformed internet speculation.
18th May 2016, 20:24
Great analysis, I agree with your reasoning. I keep wondering a few things though:
– what happened to Vettel at the start, sure Verstappen’s overtake was nice but Vettel dropped like a brick it seemed, footage from above is around where this is shown nicely, i can’t seem to find it now :(
– how would it have unfolded had Sainz not had his superb start which created a nice little gap between rb and ferrari
– did ricciardo blow his chances when he was stuck behind palmer for 2 laps or so i think about 2/3 into the race
18th May 2016, 22:03
Also Max was gaining on Daniel really quick and maybe Daniel was called in to avoid an overtake by Max.
19th May 2016, 5:04
In the second stint, Max started 2.4 seconds behind Ricciardo. 14 laps later when Ricciardo was called in, Max was 1.1 seconds behind. That’s not “closing in really quick”.
ColdFly F1 (@)
19th May 2016, 7:14
Andy, you forget that by the end Verstappen was already ‘stuck’ behind Ricciardo.
It took him 9 laps (16-25) to go from 2.4s to 0.7s.
You can argue if this was ‘really quick’, but it surely was a really consistent 0.2s/lap.
And furthermore, from lap 19 VET 1s behind VES, which makes you look in the mirror more often and drive a bit more defensively.
19th May 2016, 12:40
With this era or tyre management & fuel limits, there’s no way to know whether Ricciardo was just doing what he needed to and staying in front of Max – he did trounce him in quali, 0.4 seconds is significant in identical cars. Often the lead driver is driving as slowly as possible to conserve tyres / save fuel for later in the race.
Max is the only one who has said Ricciardo was having trouble with tyres as pointed out, and Ricciardo has never had problems with tyre management previously (actually he’s well known for being good at managing his tyres).
18th May 2016, 23:48
I do wonder what dan and seb would have done on the sensible three stopper – soft, soft, soft, medium. But from whats been written elsewhere these strategys were ‘backed into’ – dan wasnt getting the life out of his tyres (if max is to be believed) and seb mirrored him. On the sensible strategy both seb and dan would have been on the faster tyre and dan wouldnt have had to pass anyone at that point though seb would have had to pass max on his 2 stop mediums.
On another note can we arrange another merc pile up for monaco??? Please!!!
19th May 2016, 11:34
Personally I think it is a fallacy to believe Ricciardo was doing anything other than managing his tyres during the first two stints to help him have some “ammo” if it became apparent Ferrari were going to try the undercut from third place. I also don’t think for one second that Red Bull believed that a three stopper was the most likely outcome for a Red Bull win, as that has two logical outcomes –
1. The three stopper IS the winning strategy (or overtaking is possible and likely or the two stoppers tyres will run out) but then there remove VES as the buffer to the undercut
2. It is NOT the winning strategy but worth a gamble then why gamble with your lead car? Surely VES should have gambled on this and it has the added advantages of putting more space between him and RAI (from a one lap under cut)
Either way I also don’t think this was deliberate to favour VES but I do think the Red Bull strategists had an (unusual for them) off day and got it blatantly (and to be honest obviously) wrong. Lucky for them, Ferrari were even worse so now we are arguing about if Red Bull favoured a particular driver rather than giving a way a win entirely.
19th May 2016, 13:17
Verstappen deserved the win. What we have to consider is VES is new to Redbull, just 2 days of practice and there he was upto speed with Ricciardo. He was closely following RIC in the 1st stint. We all know that to overtake in Spain, the car must be more than a second faster than the car ahead. Even Vettel closed the gap to the Redbull cars quickly, but wasn’t able to pass VES.
Ricciardo’s performance was as good as Verstappen’s, but the 3 stop strategy was clearly not the best strategy for Spain. His move against Vettel was suicidal. He didn’t come cleanly out of the turn and Vettel was lucky and brilliant to avoid a contact between the both. But as he said, he tried to pass Vettel, but didn’t succeed.
Vettel was not very impressive in Spain. He lost the battle to his teammate in qualifying which is not good news for a driver like Vettel who is well known for his qualifying performance. He got a better start than RAI, and was right there with the front runners. But the worrying factor is, after the 3rd stop, VET never closed the gap to VES & RAI. His tyres were 2 to 3 laps fresher than the front runners, still VET wasn’t able to catch them as we expected. Because RAI was loosing time behind VES in the majority of the last stint while VET had enough time to come closer to them.
Kimi’s performance was as good as Verstappen’s. The only mistake was the start, which he regained quickly except Vettel in the 1st stint. RAI performed better than VET in the final stint as he was closely chasing the lead car.
Redbull cars were fast in the last sector..
VES never gave a chance..
These 3 factors stood firmly in the middle of RAI and win.
2016 is going to be special with inter-team battles.
*Lewis will show his class in the coming races against a very fast Rosberg.
*Verstappen will start challenging Ricciardo soon and that’s the battle we all are waiting to see. That kid really has got some talent.
*Kimi is completely different than previous years at Ferrari. He reminds me of his Lotus days in this season. Still Vettel is a difficult teammate to compete with. But this time Kimi will definitely make Vettel work to overcome his points deficit.
Let’s hope for a thrilling season!!!!
19th May 2016, 13:35
“Vettel could potentially pass either or both their cars if he pitted right away and switched to a two-stop strategy.”
That’s a three-stop, right?
Comments are closed.