The Bahrain Grand Prix is one of the most strategic events on the Formula 1 calendar. Pirelli predicts the most drivers will be on a two-stop strategy. This is due to the abrasiveness of the track which wears out the tyres quicker.
Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly will all be starting in the medium compound after setting their fastest Q2 time on the tyre. This is the more favoured tyre to start on, giving the top three drivers and advantage and the possibility of being able to stretch out the race to just a one-stop strategy. The rest of the top ten will be starting on the red-banded soft.
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Motorsport, thinks the different between the day and night sessions have made it hard for teams to work out set-up calculations.
“Once more there was a big difference between the day and night sessions, which made the strategy and set-up calculations more complicated. There are a number of possible race strategies, depending also on the tyres each driver has available,” said Isola.
“Nonetheless, there were several teams that felt the medium tyre was the best option to start the race on tomorrow: four of the top 10 will start the race on the yellow medium C3 compound, including the top three, and this will give them more strategic options.
“However, there are a number of options and the cooler temperatures expected tomorrow might mix up the strategies even more. The new Formula 2 format, with two races today, were also interesting.
“There were some impressive runs on the soft tyre in the second race especially, as part of an alternative strategy that helped some drivers make big gains from the back of the field – influenced also by the safety car.”