Leclerc’s Performance Edge had ended Mercedes’ Undercut Hopes – Pirelli

by Paul Hensby
Charles Leclerc - Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow - Sakhir International Circuit

Mario Isola felt Charles Leclerc’s pace during the Bahrain Grand Prix nullified the possibility of him being undercut during the pit stop sequences, although he ultimately faded to third in the closing stages due to an engine issue on his Scuderia Ferrari SF90.

Lewis Hamilton ultimately claimed his first victory of the season in a Mercedes-AMG Motorsport one-two, but Pirelli Motorsport boss Isola praised Leclerc for the pace shown that meant that he was comfortably able to leave the pits still in the lead on laps thirteen and thirty-six.

“As Lewis Hamilton said, Charles Leclerc deserved to win today and his problems were part of a truly dramatic and unpredictable grand prix, in which tyre strategy played a key part,” said Isola.

“Both Ferrari and Mercedes timed their stops to try and undercut each other, but Leclerc’s performance advantage meant that he was able to make his second stop without losing the lead.”

As suggested by Isola ahead of the weekend, a number of different strategies did come into play, with only two teams running the same strategies for their two drivers. Only one driver – Carlos Sainz Jr. from the McLaren F1 Team – used the hard compound throughout the race, while one other – Robert Kubica of Williams Racing – began on the medium as opposed to the soft.

“There was an ample range of strategies: in fact, only two teams ran exactly the same strategies for both their drivers,” said Isola.  “Outside the immediate frontrunners there were also some stand-out performances from drivers such as Lando Norris, who scored his first points for McLaren.”

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