Formula One tyre supplier Pirelli expects a two stop strategy to be the ideal solution to tackle today's Bahrain Grand Prix. However, it would not be impossible to do a single stopper, which might come in handy for some cars that are out of their expected positions.
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix, using the supersoft tyre. His best time in Q3 of 1m27.958s beats the previous all-time Bahrain lap record, set by Valtteri Bottas in qualifying last year. Following the session, Vettel collected the Pirelli Pole Position Award from Pirelli’s Head of Car Racing Mario Isola.
Vettel, his Ferrari team mate Kimi Raikkonen and the Mercedes of Bottas were the only cars to get through Q1 on the soft tyres only (around 0.6 seconds per lap slower than the supersoft) with track temperatures of nearly 40 degrees centigrade at the start of the evening session, which progressively cooled.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, facing a five-place grid penalty, will run an alternative strategy after setting his best time in Q2 on the soft tyre, meaning that this is the compound he will start the race on tomorrow evening. On top of that, the team appears to be struggling with overheating at the rear, an issue they struggled with during the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix weekend as well.
Similarly, Max Verstappen is also out of position and will start from 15th. He will have a free tyre choice but faces a fight up through the field.
“After an action-packed qualifying, there will be a few drivers starting out of their usual positions tomorrow, which should make for an entertaining race", said Mario Isola, Pirelli's head of car racing.
"We’ve already seen some interesting strategies in view of the race tomorrow. Lewis Hamilton beat last year’s supersoft pole time already in Q2 using the soft tyre, with which he will start the race, against the rest of the top 10 on supersoft. We can expect two pit stops for most of the cars tomorrow, but there are a number of different potential combinations that could work, depending on the speed of each car and the individual race circumstances.”