Can Perez help Verstappen contain the Mercedes threat again? · RaceFans


Max Verstappen has taken pole on the French Grand Prix, establishing a contest between Mercedes and Pink Bull which is prone to come all the way down to pit cease methods and downforce choices.

Tyre selections (or lack thereof)

With Sergio Perez fourth and the 2 Mercedes drivers separating the Pink Bull drivers, the entrance two rows resemble an costly Battenberg of bodywork. For each pit cease one crew makes, the opposite has a driver readily available to cowl it off. The groups due to this fact can due to this fact match one another punch for punch.

The beginning of the race will probably be an space of concern for Mercedes. It’s a reasonably long term to the primary nook, and if Perez can go both of the W12s then Pink Bull’s state of affairs will immediately develop into stronger. He performed this function to perfection in Baku, which is why he was readily available to gather the victory spoils when Verstappen’s luck abandoned him.

All 10 drivers who reached Q3 did so on medium tyres, which comes as little shock – eight of the automobiles that began within the high 10 in 2019 did the identical factor. Count on single-stop methods to be the order of the day.

Count on a routine one-stopper as drivers dodge the tender rubber

Pierre Gasly, who certified sixth, expects “a extra commonplace race monitor with the tyre administration, tyre overheating and the whole lot” in comparison with the final two encounters on the streets of Monaco and Baku.

For the drivers beginning within the backside half of the sector, what kind of benefit will having a free alternative of tyres confer? Antonio Giovinazzi, who certified thirteenth, stated Alfa Romeo had been aiming for the right, candy spot simply in need of Q3.

“Our goal was P11, to be near the highest 10 however not fairly in it,” he stated, “as we knew the tender tyres wouldn’t be a great compound for the race.

“Selecting our beginning tyre will enable us to maximise our technique: if we’ve got a great begin and a clear first lap, we are able to make up some locations and make our manner into the factors. Our race tempo wasn’t dangerous so we might be assured.”

Race tempo evaluation

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Paul Ricard, 2021
Mercedes’ race tempo is a major query mark

Changeable situations at Paul Ricard, in addition to some disruption to classes to date, imply getting a transparent concept of how automobiles will carry out within the race could be very tough. Made extra so by the actual fact situations are set to alter once more tomorrow, although the prospect of rain stays low.

Hamilton’s long term on the finish of second apply gave little away about his potential tempo. He hovered round a 1’38 lap for the quick simulation stint he did, which seems to be unpromising, however as he identified later he’s made a number of adjustments to his automotive since then. “On long term tempo I feel the Pink Bulls had been a tenth or two faster than us in FP2 however my automotive is in a a lot completely different place now,” he noticed.

Sergio Perez was working round a 1’38.6, fairly a bit slower, although it was at this level Verstappen’s race engineer identified his crew mate was utilizing a unique engine mode. Verstappen averaged round a 1’37.7 lap – extra encouraging for Pink Bull followers, besides that Bottas’ equal stint was round a 1’37.4.

Additional again within the high ten, Pierre Gasly’s tempo was round a 1’38.8 whereas Fernando Alonso’s was a 1’38.4. Alonso’s crew mate Esteban Ocon, was nearer to Gasly’s tempo and, having certified eleventh, he’s free to start out on arduous tyres tomorrow, which the Alpine automobiles regarded rather more aggressive on

Carlos Sainz Jnr has been cautious about Ferrari’s race tempo relative to their qualifying efficiency however they take a look at least comfortably midfield with a 1’38.3 for a medium stint.

The skies

Regardless of gray skies, race day is prone to stay dry

On the time of writing, the FIA’s climate forecast signifies a 20% likelihood of rain from the race begin time. There’s a increased likelihood of rain earlier within the day, which may diminish the rubber build-up on monitor which might doubtless have a unfavorable impact on how nicely the tyres final.

Rain seldom performs a job at this venue, however wind does. A headwind within the straights will harm excessive downforce automobiles, a tailwind may make low downforce automobiles arduous to manage into the corners.

A crosswind may simply make life pretty tough for everybody, on a circuit as uncovered as Paul Ricard. All three managed to occur over the course of qualifying, so it’s most likely finest to think about the climate as possibilities to be taken once they’re there.

Pink Bull trimmed out their automobiles forward of qualifying. Will the discount in downforce make it more durable for them to take care of their tyres? Sergio Perez stated after qualifying he believes their rubber will maintain up. However the surprising developments of the final race gained’t be removed from their minds, and it stays to be seen what impact Pirelli’s new restrictions on tyre use can have on Sunday.

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Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Qualifying instances in full

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Over to you

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