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
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again Prime

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021