Verstappen explains why he didn't try contra-tyre strategy

Max Verstappen opted against a contra strategy in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix as he feels the soft tyre will hold up fine for the opening race stint.

Verstappen explains why he didn't try contra-tyre strategy

Verstappen took a surprise victory last weekend at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas after perfecting his tyre strategy.

Verstappen qualified on the hard tyre and was able to push for a long first stint, while both Hamilton and Bottas struggled after starting on mediums, with their hard stints then being blighted by blistering.

Tyre management is expected to be important once again in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix due to high track temperatures, which neared 50ºC during qualifying.

But Red Bull opted to qualify Verstappen on the soft compound tyre, matching the Mercedes drivers' strategy as he took third place on the grid behind Hamilton and Bottas.

Asked by Motorsport.com why he opted against the contra strategy, Verstappen said the soft had been holding up well enough to complete the first stint of the race.

"I think the soft tyre is good enough to start the race on," Verstappen said. "Normally the softest compound is a bit more tricky, as it falls apart quite quickly.

"I think it's alright at the track here."

Read Also:

Verstappen joked after the session that it felt like he had a "subscription" to third place after struggling to fight with the Mercedes drivers right the way through the race weekend.

The Dutchman was more upbeat about his chances in the race, citing Red Bull's strong long run pace through Friday practice.

"I felt very happy in the long run yesterday, with the balance of the car and the rear, the tyres as well," Verstappen said.

"Tomorrow again is a new day. We'll have to try and show it again.

"Of course I hope that I can be close to them and put the pressure on."

Alexander Albon qualified sixth in the sister Red Bull car, and said that while the soft tyres were "not terrible" and showing no signs of blistering, he anticipated a slow start to the race as drivers tried to make a one-stop strategy work.

"In traffic at the start of the race, I think it's going to be pretty processional with guys trying to extend stints," Albon said.

"There's a good chance there's going to be split strategies tomorrow as well, one-stops and two-stops. I think it depends how good your tyres were on Friday as well. We'll have to see how it goes and adapt to everyone else.

"It's kind of just like in Silverstone, maybe where we missed out where we came out in traffic, you've got to find those spots to choose where you pit under.

"With these DRS trains, it's so hard to overtake once there's a group of cars in front."

 
shares
comments

Related video

Mercedes duo can't explain failure to improve in second Q3 run

Previous article

Mercedes duo can't explain failure to improve in second Q3 run

Next article

Wolff: Verstappen must be seen as favourite for race

Wolff: Verstappen must be seen as favourite for race
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Spanish GP
Drivers Max Verstappen
Teams Red Bull Racing
Author Luke Smith
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory Prime

The five key tests Hamilton passed to claim Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals Prime

Imola 1994: Memories from Ayrton Senna’s F1 rivals

The tragic events of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix changed Formula 1 forever. Here, 17 of the drivers who took part explain how they coped with the devastating deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy Prime

The data that leaves both Red Bull, Mercedes uncertain of supremacy

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying.

Formula 1
May 1, 2021