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
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021