Mercedes believe the Japanese Grand prix showed the tyre degradation advantage they once enjoyed has been eroded by their rivals.
Red Bull were quicker than they expected in the race but Max Verstappen was compromised by the timing of the Safety Car period.
Once Carlos Sainz Jnr lost the lead on the 15th lap of the Italian Grand Prix, it was always unlikely Ferrari were going to be able to get it back.
Sergio Perez made a superb strategy call on the first lap of the Dutch Grand Prix but didn’t have the pace to convert it into victory.
Pitting for soft tyres when the rain fell allowed Lando Norris to climb 12 places from last to salvage a surprise points finish
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George Russell surprised Mercedes’ rivals by starting the British Grand Prix on soft tyres – a call which shaped the race.
Ferrari’s decision not to pit during the Safety Car period early in the Canadian Grand Prix looked like an error but turned out to be the making of their race.
Red Bull were the only team to start from the grid on anything other than the soft tyres but team principal Christian Horner said it was a “conservative” decision.
While Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso missed their chance to pull off the ideal strategy in Monaco, six other drivers got the call right.
Max Verstappen lapped faster in traffic than his team mate did at the front of the field, which hurt Sergio Perez’s hopes of winning in Miami.
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For a single lap during the Australian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen was 1.1 seconds quicker than every other driver. Was this another glimpse of Red Bull’s real pace?
The race data from Jeddah shows Red Bull would have scored a one-two even if the Safety Car hadn’t been deployed, thanks to their enormous pace advantage.
Red Bull were untouchable in the opening race of the 2023 season, not least because they were able to run a more aggressive tyre strategy than their rivals.
One-stop strategies paid off for Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, but Sebastian Vettel suspected his cost Aston Martin sixth place in the championship.
The Safety Car period towards the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix meant the final result didn’t reflect a striking development: Mercedes’ unexpected turn of speed.
Red Bull and Ferrari said Mercedes cost themselves a potential victory for a second race in a row by switching to the hard tyre.
While a two-stop strategy was standard for almost everyone, a single driver took the bold decision to pit once, which paid off.
There was little room for strategic manoeuvring in the shortened Japanese Grand Prix, but a handful of drivers made gains with smart tactics.