The first experiment of sprint qualification ended, giving pole for race a Max Verstappen and giving us a advance extremely concrete of those that may be the values on the track during the actual Grand Prix. Beyond the considerations on the format, which we refer to in a few days with a cooler mind, the short race was still pleasant, animated by some overtaking and some surprises. He wins and takes the pole Verstappen then, stealing Hamilton’s time in departure with a 0-100 in 2,349 seconds against the 2,489 to Hamilton. Valtteri too Bottas with soft rubber he had found a great starting point with a 0-100 in solos 2,326 seconds, but once the teammate is in front of him, he has raised the foot to let go of your captain. From here on between the first two and pace challenge, with Verstappen succeeding in stretch slowly on Lewis Hamilton and to move to 2 seconds of advantage, but with absolutely minimal difference. If we look at the average lap times (excluding the first) we see that Hamilton is a only 18 thousandths from Verstappen from the point of view of the passage, practically identical.
There Red Bull it’s still a lot rapid, and the blow inflicted by Verstappen to the morale of the seven-time world champion and landlord is certainly significant. The blister evident at the front that he slowed down the Dutchman in the final part of the race, however, he is a alarm bell important. The setting ad high load of Red Bull for this weekend almost seems to have gone further, with a lot of power unloaded entirely on the front tires which seems to be also more than optimal and it can become a problem for the race, especially because the first part of the race will be racing with loads of gasoline and then with a mass of the car, much higher than seen during the sprint qualifying. For its part Hamilton it seemed to give everything but having a hard time keeping up with Verstappen. For the race the fundamental factors will remain there departure and the tire management by the two cars. Behind the two treads a good one Bottas with soft rubber and a grandiose Leclerc, who, having emerged unscathed from the problems of the first lap, put himself at a visual distance from Bottas and remained at contact, only losing 1 tenth and a half per turn of media from Finnish. Ferrari that with little petrol demonstrates a really good pace, also considering the Sainz’s furious comeback, which pays for an unfavorable chain of events, but compensated in part by a capital performance of the Spaniard and the SF21, with a good pace and without particular problems of rubber degradation, also at the front, the weak point of the redhead.
We will have to see in the first part of the Grand Prix, with high petrol loads, if the two cars of Leclerc and Sainz confirm the good impressions seen today, or if they will initially be forced to play defense, waiting for a potentially crescendo ending.
It is then difficult to say whether in terms of pace McLaren was inferior or superior to Ferrari. From the graph of the relative gaps it is evident that Norris first and Ricciardo then remain completely blocked by Alonso for several laps. Once he overtook the Spaniard, both Norris and Ricciardo lowered their pace by over half a second, settling at about 2 tenths per lap from Leclerc. But both were in total solitude on the track, unable to reach Leclerc in front and not threatened from behind, so the pace expressed is poorly assessed. Good race this time of Ricciardo, close to Norris in terms of position and performance and still lion’s performance Fernando Alonso, however, forced to a real bolt (forgive the term football) with a Alpine it seems far from ambitions praised by the Asturian before and during the season. Terrible instead on Saturday of Perez, which after having found a couple of good races, is running into disastrous weekends that are likely to weigh so much in a championship perspective, considering that tomorrow Verstappen will be alone against the two Mercedes there in front.
There race it really looks like Interesting, both for the beautiful track, surrounded by public of great occasions, both because it seems absolutely legitimate to expect one very tight battle for the primacy between Verstappen and Hamilton and for the positions immediately behind, with Bottas keeping Leclerc behind and the McLarens ready to do battle with the Monegasque. For SF21 number 16 the podium it still looks like a forbidden dream. The decay shown in the second free sessions with a full tank of fuel is worrying and unless you make contact or retire, the 3 in front will hardly be overtaken. Bad strategic variables and the Leclerc’s speed on this track however, they leave some hope for the fans of the red.