D a the drivers will be at the end of the last race of the Complain again year. The season finale in Abu Dhabi threatens to become a decal of the GP Mexico. Who drives slowly wins. Everything on Sunday will revolve around getting the tire grains under control.
The problem areas are on the front right and rear right. At the moment everything speaks for Red Bull in the long runs. Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo lost the least amount of time in the endurance runs on hypersoft tires over the distance.
Ferrari still has to do homework. On Pirelli's softest mix, the drop in lap times was massive. Mercedes is in better shape, but not at Red Bull level. The harder the mixes get, the more the long runs are similar. So the race may be decided in the first 15 laps and then a procession. As is so often the case in Abu Dhabi.
Overtaking maneuvers will therefore be a rarity on Sunday. The delta to drive past the vehicle in front is well over a second. And according to the findings of the Friday training, this delta will at best be big enough on the hypersoft tires.
Six things you need to know after the training:
Why is Ferrari so slow at the hypersoft long runs?
The long run timesheet is deceptive. Ferrari is in the lead but had big problems with the hypersoft tires. For a better understanding of the discrepancy: The strategy programs calculate every slow lap out of the long runs because they are normally clouded by traffic or are deliberately inserted to cool the tires. Including them would falsify the picture.
In the case of the Hypersoft tires in Abu Dhabi, an extremely strong breakdown of the tires by graining defrauded the algorithm. The lap times were sometimes so slow that the software considered them to be irrelevant and did not use them as an average. Sebastian Vettel's lap times on Pirelli's softest mixture dropped by up to 4 seconds after 5 laps. Same picture at Kimi Raikkonen.
Lewis Hamilton lost over a period of time of 7 rounds 2.5 seconds. The Englishman also had a cooling lap in between, which clearly helped the tires. With Max Verstappen, the timeline is comparatively straight. The eighth lap on the Hypersoft rubbers is only 1.4 seconds slower than the first. No car ran as well as the Red Bull on the hypersoft rubbers in endurance. Regarding his problems, the Ferrari driver said self-critically: “Maybe I tackled the first laps too quickly.” Similar to the Ferrari, Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc's hypersoft long runs should be treated with caution.
On the other hand, both Ferraris were on the supersoft soles with the music. Vettel put 17 extremely constant laps on the track. Räikkönen set his fastest super soft time on lap 17 of 19. The comparison with Lewis Hamilton is somewhat flawed. Hamilton interrupted his supersoft racing simulation after 7 laps with a pit pass to avoid traffic on the track. The world champion covered the first 7 laps with an average of 1.43.084 minutes, the second with an average of 1.42.736 minutes.
Can Red Bull surprise like in the last three races?
Tires will play less of a role in Abu Dhabi than in previous races. “Hardly anyone will have to deal with blisters on their tires in the evenings,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. Conclusion: “That helps the others.” And bitter realization: “We would probably have won a race that started at 2pm.”
Nevertheless, Motorsport Director Helmut Marko says: “We are always to be expected lately. We are the best aerodynamically and mechanically. No car brakes as well, and none has such good traction. We are extremely satisfied with the long runs. Both the lap times and the amount of grain, which we have the best of all under control. ”
Precisely this grain became a problem for the competition on Friday. Will it be the same on Sunday? Yes, but with less impact. Firstly, more and more rubber is coming onto the track, secondly, the teams have learned from the mistakes made on Friday and thirdly, it should be a little warmer on Sunday.
Max Verstappen shortened his training time with a wild ride over the curb between curves 20 and 21. The Red Bull with starting number 33 stood in the garage for 18 minutes to check the underbody. Nevertheless, the Dutchman was the fastest man on the track in the long runs with hypersoft and ultrasoft tires. Although Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo are often stuck in traffic with their Ultrasoft soles.
Red Bull kept its hands off the Supersoft rubbers, which suggests that they want to race with the softer compounds . Red Bull's biggest concern is the overtaking problem. “If we have to start from our usual 5th and 6th places, it will be difficult. We have already tried it. Even if you drive a second faster, you won't come over. We can only rely on the overtaking factor of our drivers. ”
Who is the fastest in the corners?
GPS measurements confirm Vettel's thesis that the Red Bulls produce the most downforce. Verstappen and Ricciardo win half a second on the Mercedes in the slow corners. But they lose it again on the straights. This loss will be greater in qualifying with more power at Ferrari and Mercedes.
Ferrari loses 4 tenths to Mercedes and 9 tenths to Red Bull in the slow corners. The lead on the straights is smaller than usual. Two tenths of a second on Mercedes, 0.7 seconds on the Red Bull. Ferrari faces a problem similar to that in Mexico. Where maximum downforce is required, the red cars pay for resorting to an aerodynamic specification from the summer.
Is Renault number 4?
Yes on paper. In reality, Esteban Ocon is what worries Renault strategists most. “He's really fast.” Sergio Perez is still lagging behind his team-mate. “In the morning we had a problem with the car. We lost a lot of downforce and then rebuilt it. In the secondTraining went better. But I still wasn't happy with the balance. The car oversteers at the entrance to the curve. “
The HaasF1 can be beaten, says Renault operations manager Alan Permane. Like all teams, Renault had its problems with the graining of the front tires on the Hypersoft compound. Nico Hülkenberg more than Carlos Sainz. 'The front tires literally fell apart,' wondered Hülkenberg. Permane said: 'Now our drivers know what they are not allowed to do on Sunday.' He predicts a race like in Mexico: 'Everyone will just roll around to delay the grain.'
It can open itself up catch the supersoft tire, as Carlos Sainz found out. The Spaniard had an extremely constant endurance run on the hardest mix. Until he met a Williams and had to overtake. 'At the slightest overload, grains appear at the front.' Permane explains what the problem is. 'If you are too aggressive in the fast corners 3 and 4, the rubber will peel off the tread.
What could you learn in the first training?
Actually nothing. In the first training session, which was held from 1 p.m. to 2.30 p.m., the asphalt temperatures were close to 50 degrees. In the evening they dropped to almost 30 degrees. That's why many teams used the first training session for test drives for 2019. Ferrari tried a front wing without a vertical flow straightener, as is required in 2019. A large flow grille was attached behind the front wheels. The sub-floor with the vertical fins was also used again. It was swapped for the old version for the fourth time.
Mercedes left its car untouched, but with a view to 2019 tried different variants of aerodynamic settings to test the effects on the balance. In addition, the rims with the holes were used again, which should provide more cooling. One no longer fears a Ferrari protest in the last race, where the World Cup has already been decided. Red Bull had already carried out its aero tests for the coming season a few races earlier.
Is it possible to start an ultrasoft?risk it?
If the tire picture remains as it was on Friday, then not. The Hypersoft tire allows lap times that are 1.3 seconds faster than the Ultrasoft records. On the other hand, there is only two to three tenths between Ultrasoft and Supersoft. Helmut Marko concludes: 'With the big delta, nobody will risk getting into ultra softs through Q2.'
That would be good for Red Bull: 'Then we can use our hypersoft advantage in the first stint. “But Red Bull probably only has the first stint. Those who make it to lap 15 come with a stop over the distance. Whether with Ultrasoft or Supersoft.
In the gallery we show again the best pictures from training Friday.