Jolyon Palmer, former Formula 1 driver and now an expert on the championship’s official website, summed up the factors that allowed Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing to dominate so convincingly this season.
Jolyon Palmer: How did Red Bull Racing beat Ferrari? The Scuderia’s car was often the fastest, and if you analyze Charles Leclerc’s qualifying pace, it turns out he was the fastest driver.
Perhaps Charles is generally the best qualifier in the championship. He demonstrated this in 2019 in his first season with Ferrari. This year I was most impressed that he always managed to regain the correct time in the decisive attempt in the last session.
It often happened that he only showed the second or third result on the first attempts, but then still managed to drive a good lap. So how come Ferrari, with such a fast car, still finished behind Red Bull?
The main reason is that their race pace was not fast enough. On Sunday, Max Verstappen was fastest and showed great pace.
In fact, Ferrari was also good with the pace in the first races, but as the season progressed they fell back. By the way, according to this indicator, they were second on average to Verstappen, but surprisingly they were ahead of Sergio Perez. At the same time, Max is noticeably ahead of everyone else, and the point here is not only in pace, but also in the fact that he has reached a new level in working with rubber. The ability to maintain tire efficiency for a long time became his main weapon, which helped him win in Miami, for example.
This allowed him to win many other races, despite being inferior to Leclerc in qualifying, and sometimes Sainz. Verstappen performed very stable in general and he managed to win, even when he started from quite distant positions.
Another factor in his success is that he had no accident-related retirements at all. In Hungary he started tenth and won, in Belgium he started fourteenth and still won. Behind the wheel of the car, he simply behaved flawlessly. On the one hand, he was excellent at overtaking, on the other hand, at some critical moments, he was not often a participant. At the same time, almost all other racers had to retire due to some incidents.
But it cannot be said that Max has always acted perfectly. In Singapore, he made a brake error when, in an attempt to recoup, he overtook Lando Norris. By the way, even on the way to victories, he turned around a couple of times – this was the case in Barcelona and Budapest.
Talking about Leclerc, he flew off the track and crashed the car while leading the French Grand Prix over Paul Ricard, but also crashed into a bumpstop at Imola before continuing the race. It should be noted that Ferrari has a rather strong car, because even in Brazil, after contact with Norris’s McLaren and leaving the track, Charles was able to continue.
At the start of the season, Verstappen also retired a few times due to technical problems, but after that his car worked without any problems. So the Red Bull car was the fastest in the races, even if it was slightly less than the Ferrari in qualifying, and Verstappen had no accidents and he was almost never let down by technology.
In addition, Red Bull Racing had excellent pit stops: in fact, Sergio Perez’s mechanics worked the fastest, but Max is also in the top four in terms of pit stops.
But there is also such a thing as the tactics of the race, and here too Red Bull’s strategists were at their best. This team achieved many victories precisely because of tactics, while Ferrari made miscalculations, just think of Monaco. Overall, at least the Scuderia could have been much closer to Red Bull this season…”
Source: F1 News
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