2023 Bahrain Grand Prix - Sunday
“The race strategies played out largely as expected at the first grand prix of the new season. All the teams stopped at least twice, but we saw a number of different choices for the second and third stints. The key compound today was the new P Zero White hard C1, which we introduced for this year. It worked exactly as anticipated, with performance in line with the data gathered over the last few days as well as during pre-season testing. The P Zero Red soft C3 instead showed less degradation than indicated by the previous data; probably influenced by track evolution as well. Congratulations to Red Bull for choosing a unique alternative strategy that helped them to seal a one-two, as well as to Aston Martin; also on the podium.”
THE RACE FROM A TYRE POINT OF VIEW
- Red Bull brought home a one-two at the opening race of the 2023 season. The Bahrain Grand Prix was won by Max Verstappen, who crossed the finish line on the hard tyres. His team mate Sergio Perez and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso were also on the podium, using the hard for the final stint as well.
- Race conditions today were very similar to those seen in qualifying on Saturday, with 30°C of track temperature and almost no wind.
- All the teams stopped at least twice. Tyre choices varied for the central stints, but the majority of drivers finished the race on the hard compound. Four teams took advantage of a Virtual Safety Car to make a third pit stop for the soft tyre. Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was the only one of them to score points, ending up ninth.
- Red Bull and Ferrari, fighting for the top positions for a large part of the race, opted for different strategies. Both teams started on the soft, but Red Bull chose the soft tyres again for the second stint, while Ferrari went for the hard. Both teams then chose the hard for the final stint, with Ferrari stopping slightly earlier than its rivals.
- Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou set the fastest lap of the race (1m33.996s) on the soft tyre but didn’t score an extra championship point as he was running outside the top 10. The fastest lap set on the new hard tyre was from Alonso, who did a 1m36.156s.
BEST OF THE REST: THE ALTERNATIVE STRATEGY
The only driver not to take the soft tyre for the start was Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, who chose a new set of hards instead. The first driver to stop was Pierre Gasly (Alpine) who took on hard tyres on laps nine and 25.
Red Bull was the only team to complete a soft-soft-hard strategy, with Williams doing something similar before making an extra stop for softs on lap 40. Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and both Haas cars also pitted under the Virtual Safety Car, caused by a stoppage for Charles Leclerc (Ferrari).
Aston Martin ran the same strategy as the Ferrari drivers for Alonso: going from soft to hard on lap 14, and then completing the race on hard after a second stop. McLaren’s Lando Norris was the sole driver to use the P Zero Yellow medium C2.
The next race will be the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from 17-19 March, with the drivers covering 50 laps of the 6.174-kilometre Jeddah street circuit, inaugurated in 2021, from 8pm. Before then, Pirelli will undertake a development test at Sakhir next Tuesday and Wednesday (7-8 March) with Ferrari running for one day and Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri running on both days.