Mercedes got their tyres working so well compared to Red Bull! Let’s scrutinize the grounds why RB19 was not wonderfully balanced in Australia

Max Verstappen of Red Bull took another Red Bull pole position in the Australian Grand Prix qualifying, but his run was far from smooth. 

Red Bull

As a result of Albert Park’s four DRS zones and the lack of full running in FP1 and FP2, Red Bull’s underlying advantage was greatly reduced, even though he finished with a 0.236-second lead over Mercedes driver George Russell. With the track temperature at just 21 degrees when Q1 started, warming up the front tires was more of a challenge than usual. 

Tire mechanical grip was low due to low track temperatures and a lack of rubber buildup, making it difficult to get the tires to work in Turn 1. 

It was discussed in Q3 whether drivers should follow the standard fast-cool-fast strategy or instead do a warm-up lap and then a fast lap before pitting for new tires. The first approach was taken by Red Bull, while Mercedes opted for the second.

There were two ways in which the Red Bull strategy could go wrong: either the fronts would be damaged by going too fast or too slowly through the final two corners of the out-lap, or the tires wouldn’t be warm enough to turn by Turn 1. 

Doing it the other way gave you a less compressed time in which to fit in your second new tyre run and find a suitable gap in the traffic, but you lost out on the tyre’s peak grip. Verstappen went full attack on his first Q3 run, but his understeer through the final two corners was visible.

After a cool lap, he tried again on the same set, but it was still slower than he’d gone in Q2 and wouldn’t have been good enough for pole in hindsight. He went into the pits, got his new set fitted, and knew he could only do one push lap for his first flight. This was the pole lap, but it wasn’t a classic, comfortable Red Bull demonstration of superiority. 

“It was just very tough to get the tyres to work in Turn 1 and get that comfortable feeling into that corner,” said Verstappen. “That has been a bit the story behind the whole weekend and I think also it wouldn’t have mattered if we had full running in FP1 and FP2. It is just on a performance lap it seems very tricky with this new Tarmac around here since last year.”

Using the “tyre run” method, which requires less upkeep but results in reduced performance, likely allowed Mercedes to get the most out of its vehicle. “Tyres have been a big part of this weekend,” said Russell, “and our pace on the final lap was quite surprising.”

Red Bull

Both Mercedes drivers, George Russell, and Lewis Hamilton, got a pole finish in the qualifying. They were trailing Max Verstappen’s time of 1’16.732 by 0.236s and 0.372s, respectively.

Tanzeem Rahman

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Tanzeem Rahman is a soccer writer and an editor at SportsZion. Tanzeem's love for the sport began by watching and admiring Cristiano Ronaldo in his early Manchester United days. Having graduated from Germany as an Electrical Engineer, Tanzeem has watched multiple high-profile games throughout Europe from the gallery. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport, as well as sublime english proficiency has been an asset to SportsKnot. Outside of his duty, Tanzeem is a gamer, and loves to spend time watching Anime and reading Manga.


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