D this was another result that needs to be explained. In Melbourne, the Mercedes still set the pace. Ferrari was an average of 4 tenths behind. Only two weeks later the picture turned upside down. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen qualified their red cars for the front row.
Mercedes was only second winner. And that on a route where power counts. But that is no longer Ferrari's problem. When it comes to engine performance in one lap, Maranello has caught up with Brixworth. The race has to show whether this also applies to fuel consumption.
Ferrari turned the tide because the engineers successfully worked on the weak point that Vettel and Räikkönen still did during the test drives in Barcelona and at the season opener in Melbourne have braked. The red cars lost their time in the corners.
According to GPS measurements, it was mainly the slow and medium-fast corners. There was a reason for this: the cars suffered from severe understeer. 'You pushed forward like a cow,' explains Vettel with appropriate hand movements. “We just didn't manage to solve the problem during the test drives and in Melbourne.”
Before the GP Bahrain, the engineers took a retreat. Ferrari spent the first day of training trying out different setups and aero configurations. “The car stayed the same. The basis was always good. We just balanced it better. In Bahrain the feeling came back that I still missed in Melbourne, ”said Vettel happily.
The biggest competition in the race could come from your own stable. Raikkonen was after the tightTraining defeat by 0.143 seconds even more monosyllabic than usual: “Second place is a disappointment for me. I got stuck in traffic during the outlaps in Q3. As a result, the tires lost temperature. 'Raikkonen had the feeling that he could have beaten his team-mate this time.
Mercedes is overheating the rear tires
Ferrari drove into it on its own first row. While you solved your own problem, an old one returned at Mercedes. “It was already suggested for us during the test drives,” reveals chief engineer Andrew Shovlin. We remember the blisters on the rear tires after the racing simulations. The Mercedes overheated their rear tires in Bahrain too. The softer the mixture, the worse.
Lewis Hamilton was only two tenths faster on the supersoft tire than on the harder soft rubber. According to Pirelli, there is at least 6 tenths between the two types of tires. And why did the Silver Arrows get away with a black eye in Melbourne? Simple answer: Because the asphalt there is less aggressive than in Barcelona and Bahrain.
Mercedes tried to solve the entire training session with its tire problem. “We'll get the car into the curve well. But when you accelerate out, the rear tires slip too much, ”explained an engineer. The key was the first four turns. If the Mercedes drivers stepped on the gas too wildly there, they paid with overly hot tires in the last sector. On the other hand, they lost too much time in the first section. They couldn't catch up with them in the end.
Because of the worries about the rear tires, the defending champion had to make compromises when setting up the car. “We looked more at the race than at the qualification,” revealed a technician. Vettel therefore believes that you have to reckon with the Mercedes in the race: “They still have a super-fast car. Maybe the balance wasn't as good for them today as it was for us. But that can change quickly. '