Verstappen: Red Bull lacked flexibility on tyres in Bahrain GP

Max Verstappen thinks Red Bull could have done a better job with its strategy for the Formula 1 Bahrain GP, after boxing itself in with its tyre usage in practice.

Verstappen: Red Bull lacked flexibility on tyres in Bahrain GP

The Dutchman had headed into the race as favourite for the victory after sweeping all three practice sessions and qualifying on pole by nearly 0.4 seconds, but lost out to rival Lewis Hamilton after the world champion's Mercedes team went aggressive with its strategy.

But Red Bull’s ability to respond was hampered by it not having just one set of the hard compound tyres available - having used an extra one in practice - while Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas both had two sets to make a two-stop strategy work best.

Reflecting on how the race panned out, Verstappen reckoned that Red Bull would have to scrutinise how it handled its tyre allocation throughout the weekend.

“I think, strategy-wise, we’ll have to analyse what we could have done better, maybe,” said Verstappen.

“But also, we didn’t have the tyres like they had. We didn’t really have a lot of flexibility in the strategy, so maybe also there we could have done better in choosing our tyres throughout the practice.”

PLUS: The calls that decided Hamilton and Verstappen's Bahrain battle 

However Red Bull boss Christian Horner doesn’t think that the Bahrain GP was lost on strategy, as he suggests Mercedes had a much quicker car in the race than in qualifying.

“Mercedes had very strong pace at the beginning of the race and we couldn't break [away], and create a gap to cover them,” he said. “Their degradation looked impressive.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

“So Max could never get more than two seconds clear of Lewis. They obviously pitted early for the undercut, we then conceded track position. And going into the race we very much fixed our strategy on a two stop.

“They obviously went early again on their last stop. We stayed out 10 laps longer, so we had a better tyre for the final stint, but, unfortunately, Lewis had just enough to be able to hold on.

“It’s obviously tough to lose a close race like that, but we have to take a lot of positives out of the weekend.”

Despite his frustration at missing out on back-to-back victories, having won the 2020 Abu Dhabi season finale, Verstappen said it was a good sign for Red Bull that it wasn’t happy with a result that would have been welcomed in a 2020 season where it was rarely capable of matching Mercedes.

PLUS: How Red Bull fell short of challenging for the 2020 title 

“Last year we would have been super-happy with this result and now we are disappointed,” he said.

“So we definitely made a good step forward and of course it is still a very long season.

"We just have to get on with it and try to do better.”

shares
comments
Podcast: Hamilton beats Verstappen in thrilling F1 2021 opener in Bahrain

Previous article

Podcast: Hamilton beats Verstappen in thrilling F1 2021 opener in Bahrain

Next article

How Perez salvaged his Red Bull F1 debut in Bahrain

How Perez salvaged his Red Bull F1 debut in Bahrain
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Bahrain GP
Drivers Max Verstappen
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Jonathan Noble
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021