Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2020

Will softer rubber make a thrilling race – or 52 laps of tyre management?

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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The second race at Silverstone has produced only a minor change on the front row of the grid.

There are still two Mercedes at the sharp end, but this time it’s Valtteri Bottas on pole position. After his misfortune at the end of last week’s race – both Mercedes drivers suffered tyre failures, but while Bottas lost all his points, Hamilton won – he badly needs to take this opportunity to cut Hamilton’s lead.

Can he do it? Last year he took pole position and led the early stages of the race. He had Hamilton all over him, however, and it’s likely he wouldn’t have won even if the Safety Car hadn’t swung things his team mate’s way.

This will be a very different Silverstone race to last week’s and one the before due to the much softer tyres Pirelli have brought. It poses two major questions, the first of which is how the softer tyre compounds will affect the racing.

They might lead to a more varied, unpredictable race. We’ve already seen Max Verstappen qualify fourth on the grid on a hard tyre – a very unusual development.

Alternatively it could lead to a return of 2018-style high tyre management. That’s possible – after all the teams have a lot of knowledge of these tyres already, having raced them last year. They might stretch the medium tyres out for a long first stint and try to go to the flag on a set of hards.

But Silverstone is such a tough track for tyres, the rate at which they degrade is likely to rule that out. The pace advantage of switching to fresh tyres will be significant.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2020
Hamilton doubts anyone will one-stop
“I was already managing last weekend and the tyre didn’t make it to the end,” said Lewis Hamilton. “It’s highly unlikely I think many people will do a one-stop tomorrow.”

As was the case last weekend, the Safety Car will play a crucial role. Verstappen in particular will be hoping one doesn’t arrive at the same time as the second one did last week, as that would take away his advantage of staring on the hard tyres.

While Mercedes had a significant pace advantage in qualifying as usual, their advantage in the race is much less great. It may not be enough to bring their rivals within range in an ordinary race, but if the softer tyres produce the kind of unpredictable race they’re supposed to, an opportunity for an unexpected outcome might just appear.

Then there’s the second key question, which is also related to tyres: Has Pirelli done enough to ensure there are no repeats of last weeks failures?

It’s surely significant that both Mercedes fell victim to them last week, but only one of the other 18 cars, most of which ran the same strategy. The W11’s performance is that much greater than its rivals, it may put the tyres under more strain, forcing their drivers to back off more.

While it remains to be seen what kind of race we get at Silverstone on Sunday, it’s clear the performance of the tyres will be crucial to the outcome.

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Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Valtteri Bottas27.334 (2)34.470 (1)23.350 (2)
Lewis Hamilton27.294 (1)34.548 (2)23.335 (1)
Nico Hulkenberg27.356 (3)34.887 (3)23.714 (7)
Max Verstappen27.440 (4)35.021 (4)23.657 (5)
Daniel Ricciardo27.515 (6)35.134 (7)23.527 (3)
Lance Stroll27.560 (7)35.068 (5)23.787 (10)
Pierre Gasly27.643 (8)35.103 (6)23.630 (4)
Charles Leclerc27.487 (5)35.163 (8)23.918 (13)
Alexander Albon27.694 (9)35.184 (9)23.683 (6)
Lando Norris27.711 (10)35.310 (11)23.731 (8)
Sebastian Vettel27.728 (11)35.424 (13)23.926 (14)
Carlos Sainz Jnr27.789 (12)35.430 (14)23.864 (12)
Romain Grosjean27.852 (13)35.551 (16)23.851 (11)
Esteban Ocon27.919 (15)35.282 (10)23.783 (9)
George Russell27.938 (16)35.502 (15)24.015 (16)
Daniil Kvyat27.902 (14)35.374 (12)23.987 (15)
Kevin Magnussen28.027 (17)36.020 (20)24.157 (17)
Nicholas Latifi28.227 (19)35.917 (18)24.286 (18)
Antonio Giovinazzi28.203 (18)35.808 (17)24.411 (20)
Kimi Raikkonen28.258 (20)35.949 (19)24.286 (18)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarEngineSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Daniil KvyatToro RossoHonda334.2 (207.7)
2Pierre GaslyToro RossoHonda334.2 (207.7)-0.0
3Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes333.7 (207.4)-0.5
4Daniel RicciardoRenaultRenault332.9 (206.9)-1.3
5Valtteri BottasMercedesMercedes332.1 (206.4)-2.1
6Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari331.6 (206.0)-2.6
7Nico HulkenbergRacing PointMercedes331.1 (205.7)-3.1
8Lance StrollRacing PointMercedes331.1 (205.7)-3.1
9Charles LeclercFerrariFerrari330.9 (205.6)-3.3
10Esteban OconRenaultRenault330.6 (205.4)-3.6
11Kimi RaikkonenAlfa RomeoFerrari330.3 (205.2)-3.9
12Antonio GiovinazziAlfa RomeoFerrari330.1 (205.1)-4.1
13Max VerstappenRed BullHonda329.6 (204.8)-4.6
14Romain GrosjeanHaasFerrari329.4 (204.7)-4.8
15Alexander AlbonRed BullHonda328.6 (204.2)-5.6
16Lando NorrisMcLarenRenault328.3 (204.0)-5.9
17Kevin MagnussenHaasFerrari328.2 (203.9)-6.0
18Carlos Sainz JnrMcLarenRenault328.0 (203.8)-6.2
19George RussellWilliamsMercedes326.9 (203.1)-7.3
20Nicholas LatifiWilliamsMercedes324.1 (201.4)-10.1

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Over to you

Will anyone dare to make a one-stop strategy work? Will Valtteri Bottas take his opportunity to cut into Lewis Hamilton’s points lead?

Share your views on the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix in the comments.

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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65 comments on “Will softer rubber make a thrilling race – or 52 laps of tyre management?”

  1. I think we’re about to see a 2013-esque race when the pre-race discussion was “will the drivers have to pit as early as lap 2-3 or will they make it to lap 4-5?”.
    Nevertheless the uncertainty of the high deg of these tyres will make the race more unpredictable and certainly more exciting than the 50/52 laps we endured last week in Silverstone.
    My guess is that Mercedes will split their strategies and if they make a mistake with the timing/number of the pit stops, it’s Red Bull’s best chance since Austria to capitalize that and fight for the win.

    1. @black That would be the case if drivers were starting on softs, but I’m certain almost everybody will start on mediums/hard, which will last at least 15-20 laps if necessary. So I doubt we’d see a 2013-esque race where the leaders pit after 4 laps.

  2. We have “glorious” Pirelli!
    Of course we will have tyre management.

    Let’s start petition and trending tag #F1DitchPirelli

    1. It’s the teams, though, that ditched the 2020 tyres, and the FIA asking them degrading tyres since the start.

      1. @spoutnik From what I read, they ditched the 2020 tyres because they were worse in many ways.

        1. They were slower, but they dont spontaneously explode, and according to Lewis that makes a worse tyre, when it is….
          It is so dumb on so many levels.

          1. SadF1fan, they were also worse according to Grosjean, when speaking in his capacity as head of the GPDA, and also worse according to Vettel too. Similarly, we also had Binotto state in public that “The [2020] tyre is not faster and not better on the wear side” when his drivers tested the prototypes in late 2019.

          2. Who cares if they’re worse tires. The only time we get good racing is when teams lack data on multiple and important variables. Their careful tire management strategies go out the window and suddenly it’s up to the drivers. It’s so simple I want to cry.

      2. The problem is not (just) the tire degradation; the extremely small temperature window in which these tires work well results in drivers having to focus on keeping the tire at a certain temperature at the expense of racing. As far as I know FIA didn’t demand a tire that only works if it is kept at a specific temperature.

        1. That’s just a cherry on top. They’ve had time to correct this years long problem which means one of three things: a) they haven’t been allowed to make to changes to it b) they don’t think it’s worth wasting money on to correct or c) they can’t figure it out (I’m guessing a or b)

    2. All teams are managing their PUs as well during the race. They can use full power only during short stints, and need approval from the pit wall first.
      #F1DitchMercedesFerrariRenaultHondaPU

    3. Pirelli produced extremely durable F1 tires years ago. They’re not as advanced as Michelin or Bridgestone in their technology, but they could easily give us what we need, which is a durable tire that lets drivers push extremely hard. However, engineers are very fussy and they don’t want a major change that will upset hundreds of thousands of miles of data. It’s not about the show, you see. It’s about the exciting spirit of F1 engineering.

      1. They’re not as advanced as Michelin or Bridgestone in their technology,

        of course they are. Pirelli is one of the founding fathers of modern tire development. Thats not the problem.
        Is fia who dictates the tire wear and its Pirelli who takes the blame for it.

        1. I believe I already said they are easily capable of building whatever F1 needs, but they don’t have the financial resources of Michelin and Bridgestone and hence at the pinnacle of Motorsport in full out tire development wars they were routinely beaten by them as well as Good Year when they were competing in earnest.

  3. Its going to be another extreme tyre management dullfest.

    At least with better tyres we would have a fantastic spectacle of the best drivers pushing the fastest cars to the limit.

    Extreme tyre management ‘races’ are just so dull to watch as drives are well below limits & are not challenged at all which also means less chance of mistakes.

    What an awful state F1 is in with these artificial gimmicks :(

    1. Luckily there is FormulaE, MotoGP, GT Sprint Series, WorldSBK all on Sunday.
      Exercise your thumb on the TV remote control.

      1. Also there is F2 sprint race(though it conflicts with Moto3). Also its Brno GP which usually is a dullfest and given Marquez is not on track it surely will end up being a dullfest.

        1. On the contrary, Marquez ends up making it a dullfest by being too dominant. Really excited with the grid and looking forward to Zarco and the Espargaro brothers mixing in with the Yamahas.

          Ironically, the F2 sprint races are usually a borefest unless they are forced to change tyres. F1 would be much more awful with non-degarding tyres as there would be even lesse variation in strategies. It makes no difference watching drviers push on TV and I would rather have some entertainment in terms of racing.

          1. 2nd race in Jerez was a dullfest with Fabio running away while in 1st race it was Marquez who provided all the entertainment. Generally in BRNO one of the rider manages to get away in front and creates quite boring races. Who knows how long Zarco and the Espargaro will manage to mix in with front runners. Generally speaking Moto3 is very unpredictable while Moto2 and MotoGP settle into an order after handful of laps which stays as is till end of race.
            If the temps are hot for Silverstone as predicted then for F2 sprint race today we might see some drivers risking stopping for fresh tyres as yesterday the hard tyres did go off towards the end.

  4. It will be an interesting race, but what about the tires the drivers have left for the race?
    I read somewhere that the top drivers have two sets of each compound left, is that true? The soft tire of course is useless, so then they (only) have four decent sets of tires for the race. In this case, both medium-medium-hard and medium-hard-hard are possible. The main advantage of Verstappen’s strategy is that he should be able to run longer, so he might benefit from a conveniently-timed caution. He might be vulnerable later in the race when he has to switch to the mediums, though.

    1. @f1infigures Pirelli Motorsport Twitter account will post a tweet at some point this morning (before the race anyway) that shows how many sets and how many unused/used of each compound each driver has left for the race. They’ve done this for a while already, and I’ve checked it regularly from 2016 onwards.

        1. Thanks @jerejj for the comment and link.

          1. Thanks @jerejj!
            So basically everyone has 2 sets of hards and 2 sets of mediums. The Renault drivers only have one set of hards, which may be a disadvantage, while the Ferrari drivers only have one set of mediums.

  5. “We’ve already seen Max Verstappen qualify fourth on the grid on a hard tyre – a very unusual development.”
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the first time a driver uses the hardest tyre available to get into Q3 when three tyre choices are available.

    1. In this case they are referring to what can “lead to a more varied, unpredictable race.”
      Many things (leading to an unpredictable race) can happen and one thing already happened.
      @paeschli

    2. In reality though it was last week’s medium which was the tyre they qualified on so no different really

  6. I even can imagine Verstappen using all kinds of componunds Sunday, as he starts on hard, and he quite often tries to have a shot for the fastest lap at the end on softs, why not to have a hard-medium-soft in this order, that would go well for the fastest lap effort at the end, and with almost no fuel the softs might help him for some laps in other kinds of efforts.
    These hards will maybe good for 25 laps on average if used from the start with high fuel load, so it not sounds that bad. Or a medium-medium-something can be popular.
    I don’t know how much softer compounds prone to this separation of tread and sidewall, but maybe not much more than the harder ones. So tread wear will hopefully save them from punctures like that, as they will pit sooner.

    I don’t know what Vettel did at Q2, on the softs, he might only heated the tyres a bit, to make them a bit more durable for the race (sometimes I hear credible opinons about this kind of preparation of tyres, not for the first time, at the Hungarian commentary from guys like Michelisz, Weber, and their companions like Daniel Nagy all with significant results in WTCC, ETCC, and successor series).
    So maybe he accepted that he won’t make it to Q3, and he prepared a set of softs?
    And Hamilton done so too at the end of Q2? But with 2 purple sectors, and coasting at the end? That seems harsh, he not toyed around with that heating job. Maybe those softs are not that bad :P (and of course Mercedes’ options are not that bad too). Or he just tested what to expect at Q3 from another set.
    Anyway many entrants likely used up their softs, to save the harder ones, so maybe only some will have a chance to use softs at the race.

    1. Anyway I hope it will not be a medium and then hard one stop strategy for most. I often hoped for someone finally putting on those softs for 15 good laps at many GP’s at the end in the recent few seasons, but those not really happened.

      1. You’ll be mightily disappointed even if they don’t go with the projected strategy. When the teams have this much testing time, they are going to follow a carefully modeled tire management strategy. Too much data = yawn, yawn, yawn. But we’ll get a safety car for a tear off “dangerously located” in a run off area and they’ll have to switch to “strat plan 7W.” At which point we’ll be amazed by how loud what’s his face gets as he screams “this is certainly going to shake things up!”

        1. Well, last year everyone thought a 1-stop strategy wasn’t possible, but Hamilton proved them wrong. It turned out the hard tire was much better than expected and no-one had bothered to test it in free practice to gather some useful information. So, the tires remain an unpredictable factor.

          1. But was it an exciting race? I can’t remember. It validates my point that a lack of data is good for unpredictability. However, it probably failed to in the whole as it takes more than a gamble by one dominant team to make a lack of data interesting. I’d love for Mugello’s Friday practice to get washed out or have it rain on Saturday and/or Sunday making their test data useless. We’ll see some fireworks if that happens.

        2. Actually I know how much it’s about collected data, I think it’s far more about collected data and data engineering then common sense end the driver’s ability to make an own plan. They are reading telemetry screens and printouts decades ago, and it’s just the next level. Although this next level combined with AI is often above many’s cognitive capabilities or atleast most of the people’s computational power so I completeley understand why many of the drivers react with some whining (like tyres won’t last to the end, there are not much grip left) when they hear the strategy plan on the fly midrace.

          Also I don’t really like safety cars, because that takes away the possibility to see how that few distinct from the other strategies work out, and takes away the advantages of those few who rightfully built an advantage. So sometimes it brings some nice chaos, the restart is sometimes amazing, but often it not makes up for me for loosing the original dynamic, because they can kill the race with that huge amount of data and “invisible” strategies after the restart aswell.

          I think having 2 stop strategies would be more exciting than 1 stop strategies what we have most of the times. Although if I should name an upside of Pirellis, then it’s the durability of hard tires, I don’t think the would be that inconsistent for most of the competitors durability wise, they can push, and they last long. And the downside is, they can fail silently, and they can have a puncture instead of loosing all grip but still running, so safety is quite bad.

          1. It’s above my head too most likely. I wouldn’t discount the whining drivers completely. I haven’t paid attention to deltas recently, but there have been many cases when getting drivers on a new set of tires they were comfortable with would have made up for the time lost pitting provided they came out in clean air. However, I doubt the deltas have been that big. It was really common to see during the grooved tire generation though. The models were less reliable than what the driver and stop watch were telling the stubborn engineers. But I’m sure the computational gap between 2007 and 2017 just to establish a baseline is even bigger than it would be from 1997 to 2007. That processing gains rule and all…it is funny when Lewis always thinks he knows more than his team of engineers simply because he’s not enjoying the feel of his tires.

          2. I find Lewis’ radio messages funny about strategy decisions too, but you are right, many of thee drivers would find out quite good strategies if this informed decision making would not be available. Or they would setup the car by themselves, or read the tyres conditions much better than outsiders, so of course if someone is this good at something, then he or she has many good abilities or at least is a real specialist.

            Yes, at the grooved tires, so at about around the Schumacher era there were usually more than 1 pitstops per race. And as I remember there were only 1 kind of dry compound, so no soft or medium, or hard for most of those seasons. If we consider the time loss of pitting 20 seconds of as a rough estimation, the more pitstops there are, the loss is proportionally lower. So at 1stop vs 2stop 20seconds vs 40seconds, thats 2x. 2stop vs 3stop is 40secs vs 60secs, thats 1.5x. At a lof of stops the time loss proportion of n-stop vs (n+1)-stop converges to 1. But the time gain is always there on the fresh rubber.

            By that time Schumacher (often) had also a dominant machinery, like this Mercedes, stopping more times of course requires a dominant driver and macinery to some extent, because to do stretegies like pitting more times than the opponents need to be able to do some really hot laps around pitstops sometimes. So I think strats like this are not available for anyone on a general basis.
            On the other hand as I remember at those times 2 stops was the standard, and Scumacher sometimes did 3, while the emerging of Force India and the tyre saving master Perez, and other smooth drivers like Button introduced, or at least reintroduced 1stop strategy, and they were quite succesful with that (in their own dimensions, because Force India was a midfield team most of the times).

            Probably the lack of multiple kind of dry compounds also contributed to the success off having more stops.
            And yes, I think so that nowadays they not only gather the data, but continousuly run simulations and predictions, taking into accound the opponents’ decision history, pit windows and anything they can, and then they choose something from the generated strategies. As these hards are consistently durable in their own way, they are suitable for 1 stop strategies, what is killing off the 2stops without high preformance reserves, due to the high proportion of time spent in pits at 1stop vs 2stops and the very informed strategy decisions.

            As I heard from some quite clever guy, amateur chess players might often consider quite a lot of steps to continue with, but world class ones consider only 2 on average (the actual number is a bit less than two, because one of the options is only used as balancing, and surprise). I guess, they are modeling the races so well, that as an outcome they don’t have more options, especially due to the dominant nature of 1stop strategy with which these quite hard compounds going well. Especially when supported by the high performance reserves of Mercedes, or nice tyre management of RB.

            Yes, the rebirth of AI was due to the increasing computational power, because nice algorithms that are still functioning astonishingly well in small projects were already present in the seventies or even before, but many of them were not viable due to their hardware requirement by that time.

            If compounds should be softened a bit to have more strategy variation, I don’t know what to do with the barely used soft ones. Soften the hards a bit, keep the medium, and harden the softs a bit?

            I don’t think 2 stops is much more about managing than 1 stop, as many says. This is already very much about managing, and factoring out everything they can.

            Mercedes looked like at their second stint that they might try to pull it off with 1 stop, because they slowed down a bit and probably waited to see what’s happening with Verstappen in the next few laps. I think if there is a team, who can excel with this “let’s get into Q3 on hards” strategy then they are. Also I’m a bit surprised, that they tried to beat Versteppen via pit strategy for the second time this season instead using their tremendous performance reserves (Bottas was not sent into on track battle against him for the second time). Although RB had a new engine installed, and their tyres were looking really good, and they had everything today they can have nowadays, including surprise.

          3. And I forgot some things why is 1stop better then 2nowadays, and less popular in the Schumacher era:
            – by that time aero was simpler, so cars had less problems following each other and going into battles, but they had no DRS, so something had to make the difference, and that was the fresh rubber
            – and now the better your car, the more DRS helps you retaking your position, although at equal, or similar machinery midfield entrants often fight much more to pull of an overtake even with DRS. But nothing really stops the overtaking effort aided by DRS if the driver to overtake has a slightly lesser machinery. So most often they try to avoid letting the opponent into the DRS window with the rythm of charging and using the energy recovery systems, and everything they can.

          4. …. if the driver to be overtaken ….

  7. Only way it’s a good race is if both Mercs wreck on turn 1, lap 1. If that happens, we might get a surprise result.

  8. Renault might try a one stop with one of their cars. The car is light on it’s tires.

    1. I actually think thy might try that with Esteban should there be a safety are. Too risky with Daniel an his grid position.

      1. Estebans tire management is not that great. So not an option there.

  9. isnt it always tyre management?

  10. Will anyone dare to make a one-stop strategy work? – No.
    Will Valtteri Bottas take his opportunity to cut into Lewis Hamilton’s points lead? – Hopefully.

  11. Wouldn’t mind seeing HamBott run into each other on the first corner of the first lap of the race. Not one would get hurt of course….

  12. Tyres have become a far too important factor currently.
    There’s more than a whiff of Nero fiddling while Rome burns.
    Pirelli themselves actually let the cat right out of the bag in another article on here.
    SHOW was the exact word used.
    HELLO? This is F1.
    Not Las Vegas. Not Hollywood.

  13. This may be a stupid question, and may well be the result of much heatwave assisted sleep deprivation… but what happened with tyre management in 2018? I can’t really remember that season as being dominated by tyre management, not to the extent of say 2013 or even 2016. So anyone who can enlighten me, please do.

    1. Pirelli changed their philosophy of producing fast degrading tires in 2017. So they build harder tires and from then onwards pretty much every race was a one stopper. That was by way the best season Pirelli had, but still the tires had questionable quality…
      In 2018 they went softer again so a lot of tire management was going on. I remember Mexico 2018 as one of the worst races regarding tires I have ever seen. Only Red Rull could make the tires work that day.
      The British GP 2018 was kind of exemplary for many races this season (see also China, Bahrain, Baku, Monza to an extend). We had a Ferrari leading from the start and pulling away for the first have of the first stint but due to better tire wear and race pace the chasing Mercedes closed in again.

  14. I can envisage there being a few failures resulting in multiple safety cars which will allow teams to cool and manage their rubber. It’s a Merc 1-2, which order I don’t particularly care, and then maybe a Red Bull or Renault depending on who can keep their tyres longest. It’ll be a 1-stop race for the Mercs, the Red Bulls, and perhaps maybe Racing Point and Danny Ric as they look to have a good pace advantage whilst the rest I think could attempt a 1-stop and then maybe swap over into a 2-stop for the last 5 laps or something to get the bonus point or to predict failures like last weekend.

  15. Maybe the Fia should try a different gimmick, you have to use all your tyres…

    1. Honestly, it would be great. Remember how exciting Alonso’s balls to the wall 3 (or 4?) stop Ferrari victory in Barcelona was? Alonso just ringing the crap out of the car while everyone else serenely cruised around looking like molasses on newly laid tar. And it’d be less gimmicky / artificial than tires designed to degrade quickly or DRS which they might as well rename push to pass.

  16. 2 things can lead to a boring race at the front with a lot of tyre management:
    1) Hamilton overtaking Bottas at the start and leading from there.
    2) Verstappen not able to climb up to 3rd to keep the gap to the Mercedeses within 20s.

  17. Shame Perez won’t be able to show off his tire management skills and a further shame they don’t run durable rubber similar to that of the early to mid 90s when these guys could often drive on the limit for most of the race on a one stopper, which made it spectacular to watch Prost, Mansell, Senna, Schumi, Hakkinen, etc. going balls to the wall chasing each other. They also didn’t throw a safety car anytime a car had to pull off like they do now no matter how ludicrously off line.

  18. Teams prefer to manage tyres to the point of lapping ten second slower then take a risk of having to pit twice.

    Pirelli was requested to do tyres that degrade but not too much, while allowing close racing without degrading more and that are different between the compounds but at the same time similar. That’s not possible.
    The problem is on the teams mindset. They are completely focused in controlling everything. They prefer to put a safer a harder compound and finish last than put a softer one and try something different.

    1. @F1Recorder Yup. These guys are all supposed to be geniuses (and I’m sure they are), but they’re so focused on their simulations they often miss opportunities or make bizarre choices that any experienced F1 fan can see from a mile away. This is nothing new though. I recently binged the entire 2007 season in 3 days and they were making hilariously obvious mistakes (and per today’s norm particularly Ferrari with Brawn on a leave of absence), but there was one marked difference. The racing was insanely great up and down the field and the cars actually looked fast on screen.

  19. It will be particularly painful to watch a tire a management race here since somehow F1’s production crew is so epically bad they’ve removed all sense of speed by choosing all the worst filming angles, track + chassis mounting locations and shot choices (constant pan outs on long straights). And to top all that off, we’ve got zero suspension or tire movement (a great way to convey speed) with these billiard table smooth tracks and insanely stiff cars.

    I’m not being sarcastic when I say that it’s hard to differentiate between a VSC lap and a race lap on heavy fuel in tire management mode.

  20. I’m sure Max will at least try a one-stopper as that’s the only chance he has of coming anywhere near winning.

    I wonder if Hamilton might try the same?

    Probably be a boring tyre management session though.

  21. Whatever the tyres do we can expect the two Mercedes to run away at the front, if BOT can keep the lead from the start we should see Lewis make a decent challenge for the lead at some point.
    I still expect the mid field to be a good battle. The advantage of tyre management being important is that it does mean any car can probably go that much faster at any point, and the temptation is to enjoy the grip early and take positions, while paying the price later when they are reover-taken.
    I expect quite the same races for VER and LEC as last week, at least they might have to make a few overtakes to get the 3rd and 4th in the opening laps, but then they will just be running lonely races.

    1. And let’s hope Lewis has some bad luck to put Bottas back in the WDC running. It’d be a very happy and ironic twist if they took each other out and the Hulk’s first podium was also his first win! With F1’s you’re only as good as your last race attitude, if he walked off liked that he’d be basically guaranteed a future seat.

  22. Its going to be an ultra snoozefest! Two Mercedes disappearing into the distance to the tune of a minute, Hulkenberg’s car will fail, Verstappen will magnetise back into third and everyone else will stay virtually the same!

    Jinxed it.

  23. More punctures perhaps.

  24. While Mercedes had a significant pace advantage in qualifying as usual, their advantage in the race is much less great.

    Because they dont need push their cars at all during the race from how fast the car is. Theres no need for the added stress on the car, one lap with full power in quali is meagre compared to an all out race. hence the big gap in quali when the car is using its full speed.

  25. Why do I get the feeling that Red Bull are running last week’s hard tyre and not this week’s???

    1. Max’s initial tyres didn’t have any blistering. Very unusual compared to rest of the field. HAM thinks it was the tyre pressure.

      1. LEC also has a set of hard tyres that aren’t blistering. Did Pirelli screw up and mix last week’s tyres with this week’s tyres?

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