R ed Bull was in with a good feeling gone through Bahrain qualifying. The long runs in the second practice gave the drivers confidence that they could fight for victory with Ferrari and Mercedes. In the fight for the best starting positions, despite the lack of qualification mode, they wanted to be closer than usual.
In the end, they succeeded. Daniel Ricciardo was “only” four and a half tenths short of the fastest time on the power track in the desert. “I made a little mistake in the middle sector. Without that it would have been a tenth faster. But because I wouldn't have won a position with that, I can live with the performance, ”explained Daniel Ricciardo, who will start the race from fourth place on the grid because of Lewis Hamilton's transmission penalty.
Verstappen problem with accelerator pedal -Mapping
With Max Verstappen the mood looked much more gloomy. For the Dutchman, qualifying was over after just a few meters. At the exit of turn 2, the Red Bull with starting number 33 suddenly lost grip on the rear axle. Verstappen turned left at a right angle and hit the gang. The left suspension buckled. Fortunately, the pilot survived the impact unscathed.
Only the mood got a crack. What initially looked like a driving error turned out to be a technical problem on closer inspection of the data. “I looked at the telemetry again. This clearly shows that with the same accelerator pedal position, 150 hp more was suddenly sent to the rear wheels. That made the tires spin ”, the pilot defended himself.
The unexpected performance boost happened on the dumbest possiblePlace: “The curve goes almost at full throttle. Due to the extra power, the rear simply turned away. No chance to catch the car, ”the youngster shook his head. “Every now and then there are small leaps in performance. But I've never experienced anything like it. ”
Verstappen on the way to the front row?
Red Bull had problems with drivability all weekend. That is why Verstappen's engineer had instructed his protégé to do a second fast lap, although he had already set a good time. 'We wanted to calibrate the system for the next runs,' said Verstappen, explaining the technical background.
While the 20-year-old did not want to speculate where it would have gone without the crash, the team management did not hold back. According to consultant Helmut Marko, there was even a starting position in the front row. Now Verstappen has to roll up the field from behind from position 15. “We saw what was possible in Austin last year. I made it to the podium before it was denied me again, 'growled Verstappen.
The Dutchman hopes that with a clever strategy, low tire wear and a good race pace, he will come a long way. “We saw that there was a gap behind the first 5 cars in terms of pace. It should go until then. ”The two Toro Rosso cars are in the way of Verstappen. Verstappen doesn't expect much resistance: “We Red Bull drivers have a lot of respect for one another. That shouldn't be a problem. ”
While Verstappen is concerned with damage limitation, Ricciardo is hoping for at least a podium in the sister car. “The others don't have their qualifying mode in the race. Therefore it should be much tighter. Unfortunately we are missing the top speed a bit. I will probably have to brake particularly late again. I've shown that before. And then maybe something can be done about strategy. The undercut is particularly effective here. A fresh tire is a big advantage, ”says Ricciardo.