Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez are unconcerned by Charles Leclerc having new mushy tyres for the beginning of Formula 1’s 2023 Bahrain race as a consequence of their very own qualifying tyre techniques.
Ferrari driver Leclerc seemed to have the potential to beat Perez and probably even threaten eventual pole winner Verstappen for the highest spot, however surprisingly climbed out of his SF-23 forward of the second and remaining runs.
This, he and Ferrari claimed, was a tactic to avoid wasting a set of brand-new mushy tyres to make use of firstly of Sunday’s race which they hope will present extra grip off the road after which even have higher tyre degradation throughout the opening stint, an element Ferrari struggled with in 2022.
When requested by Motorsport.com to make clear simply how a lot profit Ferrari felt its Q3 techniques would offer, Leclerc stated it will be “a bit extra grip. That’s [it]”.
“I do not know if it will likely be a game-changer,” he continued.
Sitting alongside Leclerc in the identical post-qualifying press convention, Verstappen responded to the subject by explaining, “I’ve one set with solely an out-lap [completed], so it ought to be OK”, with Perez nodding his settlement to the Dutchman’s proper.
In qualifying’s opening phase, the Red Bull drivers progressed with only a single timed lap, set after two items of Leclerc’s left-front wheel cowl fairing fell off as he started an preliminary run on the medium Pirelli rubber and induced a short pink flag stoppage.
But Verstappen and Perez did later emerge for a second time in Q1, popping out proper on the finish of the phase and finishing an out-in cycle, which suggests the evenly cured rubber ought to nonetheless final for a very long time firstly of the race.
Red Bull might choose to make use of one other compound in any case, however the optimum race technique is considered a two-stopper beginning on the softs and switching to the hards, given the Bahrain observe’s abrasive floor.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19
Photo by: Erik Junius
Leclerc was additionally requested if the information Ferrari had logged in testing and Friday’s FP2 session in Bahrain had offered any tangible encouragement concerning enchancment on the tyre degradation weak point it typically confirmed in comparison with Red Bull in 2022.
He stated: “I believe we improved our strategy of all through the race making an attempt to care for these tyres extra” however feels “if I look in FP2 we’re nonetheless fairly a bit slower than Red Bull by way of tempo and tyre degradation”.
“So, we nonetheless must see tomorrow and see the place are precisely,” he added. “But if we concentrate on ourselves, sure, I really feel like we have now performed a step forwards. But I’m unsure it is sufficient.”
In Friday’s FP2 session, Ferrari was tracked averaging over half a second slower every time than Red Bull throughout a race-like stint on the softs, with Aston Martin additionally forward of the pink staff on this space too in FP2.
This led Leclerc to conclude Ferrari must “be life like” about its possibilities of beating Red Bull to the Bahrain victory, regardless of getting nearer than many – together with Leclerc himself – had anticipated in qualifying for the season opener.
“Those guys and in addition Aston Martin appears to be actually, actually fast within the race, which is why I believe we made that selection in Q3 to be prepared to lose one or two positions firstly however having new tyres to place all the probabilities on our facet,” Leclerc defined.
“Which I’m certain is the best selection, however let’s examine tomorrow.”