Lance Stroll, Max Verstappen, Mugello, 2020

Tuscan GP ‘the best chance of a two-stopper in a while’

2020 Tuscan GP pre-race analysis

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For the first time since the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix two months ago Mercedes and Red Bull have swept the front two rows on the grid for this weekend’s race.

Mercedes claimed the front row, to no one’s real surprise. But Red Bull are closer than everMax Verstappen was just three-tenths of a second slower.

Previously we’ve seen Red Bull close the gap to Mercedes on race day. Whether that’s still going to happen in the ‘post-quali-mode-ban’ era is something we should begin to discover tomorrow.

Red Bull may be relieved to have a Ferrari immediately behind them on the grid for once. Leclerc is the third-slowest car in the speed trap, so shouldn’t be too great a threat to them, and puts one more car between them and the Racing Points, which have made very rapid starts so far this year.

All the drivers in the top 10 will start the race on the soft tyres. Pole winner Lewis Hamilton said this was due to concerns over being beaten on the long run to San Donato, the wide, looping right-hander which opens a lap of Mugello.

Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Mugello, 2020
Red Bull swept row two and are poised to attack Mercedes
“I wanted to use the medium tyre but there is a loss at the start,” said Hamilton. “We have a very long run uphill to turn one. Whilst in the first stint a medium tyre would perhaps be better in terms of pace and length, you lose metres just from the compound into turn one so we didn’t want to take that risk.”

On this punishing circuit, the soft tyre is unlikely to get them very far. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the likes of Lando Norris and Daniil Kvyat on row six, the first drivers who are allowed to start on new tyres, to opt for mediums, if they have them.

Being able to run longer in the first stint on mediums could made the difference between running a one or two-stop strategy. Some drivers suspect those starting on softs will have no choice but to opt for a two-stop strategy.

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“This could still be a one stop, but it’s probably the best chance of a two-stop that we’ve had for a long time,” said Kevin Magnussen.

If that’s the case, the teams who could gain the most from it will be those who commit to it early. With tyres likely to drop off quickly, the ‘undercut’ effect should prove powerful, meaning drivers can gain significant a performance advantage by getting onto new tyres before their rivals.

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Mugello, 2020
Passing is likely to prove tricky around much of the 15-turn track
Running a two-stop strategy means the risk of encountering more traffic, which is why teams generally try to avoid it. So how hard will overtaking be in F1 at Mugello?

There was a fair amount of passing in the single, long DRS zone in the Formula 2 and Formula 3 races. Magnussen expects “it’s going to be way harder in F1”, but potentially not as difficult as drivers expected when they arrived at the circuit.

“The DRS zone is really long,” he said, contradicting Antonio Giovinazzi’s observation yesterday, “and given we are on pretty high downforce for this track the DRS gain will be pretty big as well.

“So we’ve got a big DRS gain and a very long zone. So who knows, no one’s no one’s tried it before. So we’ll see tomorrow.”

Mugello’s extensive gravel traps and tight confines may also increase the likelihood of a Safety Car period. One was triggered in today’s Formula 2 race after Giuliano Alesi pulled over by a marshal post but found there wasn’t enough room for them to get his car behind the barrier – much as what happened with Magnussen’s car at Monza last week.

Will this be enough to tempt Red Bull, whose car is fairly quick on the straights this weekend, into attacking the Mercedes by committing early to a two-stop strategy? With Alexander Albon finally backing Verstappen up where he needs to be on the grid, they are at least in position to consider it.

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Quotes: Dieter Rencken

Qualifying times in full

DriverCarQ1

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’15.7781’15.309 (-0.469)1’15.144 (-0.165)
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’15.7491’15.322 (-0.427)1’15.203 (-0.119)
3Max VerstappenRed Bull1’16.3351’15.471 (-0.864)1’15.509 (+0.038)
4Alexander AlbonRed Bull1’16.5271’15.914 (-0.613)1’15.954 (+0.040)
5Charles LeclercFerrari1’16.6981’16.324 (-0.374)1’16.270 (-0.054)
6Lance StrollRacing Point1’16.7011’16.271 (-0.430)1’16.356 (+0.085)
7Sergio PerezRacing Point1’16.5961’16.489 (-0.107)1’16.311 (-0.178)
8Daniel RicciardoRenault1’16.9811’16.243 (-0.738)1’16.543 (+0.300)
9Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren1’16.9931’16.522 (-0.471)1’17.870 (+1.348)
10Esteban OconRenault1’16.8251’16.297 (-0.528)
11Lando NorrisMcLaren1’16.8951’16.640 (-0.255)
12Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1’16.9281’16.854 (-0.074)
13Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo1’17.0591’16.854 (-0.205)
14Sebastian VettelFerrari1’17.0721’16.858 (-0.214)
15Romain GrosjeanHaas1’17.0691’17.254 (+0.185)
16Pierre GaslyToro Rosso1’17.125
17Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo1’17.220
18George RussellWilliams1’17.232
19Nicholas LatifiWilliams1’17.320
20Kevin MagnussenHaas1’17.348

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Lewis Hamilton26.881 (2)20.649 (1)27.605 (3)
Valtteri Bottas26.848 (1)20.724 (2)27.584 (2)
Max Verstappen27.037 (3)20.843 (3)27.562 (1)
Alexander Albon27.226 (4)20.958 (5)27.719 (6)
Charles Leclerc27.343 (6)20.931 (4)27.858 (8)
Lance Stroll27.384 (7)20.981 (8)27.718 (5)
Sergio Perez27.508 (11)20.971 (6)27.748 (7)
Daniel Ricciardo27.399 (8)21.103 (12)27.705 (4)
Carlos Sainz Jnr27.402 (9)21.001 (10)28.029 (11)
Esteban Ocon27.317 (5)20.994 (9)27.942 (9)
Lando Norris27.520 (12)20.974 (7)28.042 (12)
Daniil Kvyat27.544 (13)21.140 (13)28.069 (13)
Kimi Raikkonen27.450 (10)21.281 (17)28.075 (14)
Sebastian Vettel27.575 (14)21.083 (11)27.985 (10)
Romain Grosjean27.698 (17)21.269 (16)28.086 (15)
Pierre Gasly27.696 (16)21.203 (15)28.226 (19)
Antonio Giovinazzi27.729 (18)21.361 (19)28.112 (16)
George Russell27.591 (15)21.349 (18)28.192 (18)
Nicholas Latifi27.772 (19)21.150 (14)28.301 (20)
Kevin Magnussen27.797 (20)21.379 (20)28.172 (17)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarEngineSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes322.1 (200.1)
2Carlos Sainz JnrMcLarenRenault321.3 (199.6)-0.8
3Daniel RicciardoRenaultRenault317.7 (197.4)-4.4
4George RussellWilliamsMercedes317.4 (197.2)-4.7
5Daniil KvyatToro RossoHonda317.3 (197.2)-4.8
6Lance StrollRacing PointMercedes317.0 (197.0)-5.1
7Sergio PerezRacing PointMercedes316.4 (196.6)-5.7
8Kimi RaikkonenAlfa RomeoFerrari315.9 (196.3)-6.2
9Nicholas LatifiWilliamsMercedes315.1 (195.8)-7.0
10Lando NorrisMcLarenRenault314.7 (195.5)-7.4
11Esteban OconRenaultRenault314.4 (195.4)-7.7
12Max VerstappenRed BullHonda313.2 (194.6)-8.9
13Valtteri BottasMercedesMercedes313.1 (194.6)-9.0
14Alexander AlbonRed BullHonda311.9 (193.8)-10.2
15Pierre GaslyToro RossoHonda311.4 (193.5)-10.7
16Romain GrosjeanHaasFerrari311.0 (193.2)-11.1
17Antonio GiovinazziAlfa RomeoFerrari310.2 (192.7)-11.9
18Charles LeclercFerrariFerrari309.5 (192.3)-12.6
19Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari308.8 (191.9)-13.3
20Kevin MagnussenHaasFerrari306.9 (190.7)-15.2

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Over to you

Will we finally see a proper scrap between Mercedes and Red Bull on Sunday? And what can Leclerc do from fifth on the grid in Ferrari’s 1000th world championship race?

Share your views on the Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000 in the comments.

2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000

Browse all 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix Ferrari 1000 articles

Author information

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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10 comments on “Tuscan GP ‘the best chance of a two-stopper in a while’”

  1. How is Hamilton 9kph faster than Bottas? He must have gotten a huge slipstream sometime in qualifying. I also heard on youtube, that Bottas was given instructions to use Strat 2. Now, all of us know that this is Mercedes qualifying mode… I think we need more elaboration on engine modes… I find it odd Mercedes would use Strat 2, considering that in using that, it should be used throughout the whole race.

    1. @krichelle
      True, strat 2 is the QLF mode.
      Strat 1 Recharge

      Strat 2 Quali (0.11)

      Strat 3 Race Plus High SOC (0.00)

      Strat 4 Race Plus Low SOC (0.00)

      Strat 5 Race Plus Deploy SOC (0.04)

      Strat 6 Race High SOC (0.11)

      Strat 7 Race Low SOC (0.00)

      Strat 8 Race Deploy (0.00)

      Strat 9 Race Save High SOC (0.31)

      Strat 10 PSI ? (0.18)

      Strat 11 Race Save Deploy (0.29)

      Strat 12 Race Save 100 Deploy (0.18)

      https://www.reddit.com/r/formula1/comments/9a8ebv/explanation_behind_the_modes_of_the_mercedes/

      1. Imagine if they could take 1 minute to explain the public that the ICE modes are banned, but there is still a thing called ERS deployment profile that changes from Q to R, and through the race. Apparently lots of people think adjustments to the deployment strategy are banned, I don’t know why they think that.

    2. @krichelle He’s probably running less downforce, even though the sector times do not hint at a set-up difference. If I remember correctly I saw him do over 320 km/h on his own, so I don’t think his high top speed was due to some slipstream.

  2. Given how long safety car periods were for F2 race due to various stoppages it should be same with F1 race. These long safety car periods will help alliviate heat and tyre issues to a degree.

  3. Nice to see the Toro Rossos back, Keith :)

  4. Let’s hope something unexpected happens, instead of the usual Hamilton romping away and Bottas getting a poor start and being overtaken by Verstappen.

    1. Totally agree. So depressing when that’s the order after lap 1. Especially now football back on TV, will be easier to lose viewers….

      1. In India Cricket is also back on even more lose of viewership on table for F1.

  5. The safety car lights not goi big off until the last corner is the reason why drivers lives are being risked today. Same happened in F2 twice. I was waiting for it.

Comments are closed.