F1: Red Bull used a tire strategy in Bahrain that Pirelli never anticipated

by Mark Cipolloni

Pirelli published the following preferred tire race strategies for the Bahrain GP

Instead, Red Bull and other used entirely different tire strategies.

• Red Bull brought home a one-two at the opening race of the 2023 season. The Bahrain Grand Prix was won by Max Verstappen, who crossed the finish line on the hard tires. His team mate Sergio Perez and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso were also on the podium, using the hard for the final stint as well.
• Race conditions today were very similar to those seen in qualifying on Saturday, with 30°C of track temperature and almost no wind.
• All the teams stopped at least twice. Tire choices varied for the central stints, but the majority of drivers finished the race on the hard compound. Four teams took advantage of a Virtual Safety Car to make a third pit stop for the soft tire. Alpine’s Pierre Gasly was the only one of them to score points, ending up ninth.
• Red Bull and Ferrari, fighting for the top positions for a large part of the race, opted for different strategies. Both teams started on the soft, but Red Bull chose the soft tires again for the second stint, while Ferrari went for the hard. Both teams then chose the hard for the final stint, with Ferrari stopping slightly earlier than its rivals.
• Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou set the fastest lap of the race (1m33.996s) on the soft tire but didn’t score an extra championship point as he was running outside the top 10. The fastest lap set on the new hard tire was from Alonso, who did a 1m36.156s.


The only driver not to take the soft tire for the start was Haas’s Kevin Magnussen, who chose a new set of hards instead. The first driver to stop was Pierre Gasly (Alpine) who took on hard tires on laps nine and 25.
Red Bull was the only team to complete a soft-soft-hard strategy, with Williams doing something similar before making an extra stop for softs on lap 40. Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) and both Haas cars also pitted under the Virtual Safety Car, caused by a stoppage for Charles Leclerc (Ferrari).
Aston Martin ran the same strategy as the Ferrari drivers for Alonso: going from soft to hard on lap 14, and then completing the race on hard after a second stop. McLaren’s Lando Norris was the sole driver to use the P Zero Yellow medium C2.