Rob Smedley suggests Red Bull wouldn't have won with different strategy

13-05-2021 08:41 | Updated: 13-05-2021 09:04
F1 News
Rob Smedley suggests Red Bull wouldn't have won with different strategy

Max Verstappen seemed to be on his way to victory in Spain for a long time but was beaten in the end by Lewis Hamilton. Many people pointed to Red Bull Racing's strategy, but Rob Smedley believes Mercedes were simply too fast.

In qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, it was extremely close. Where Max Verstappen had to leave a gap of seven-tenths in 2020, he was now within one-tenth of Hamilton. With the data from Formula 1, former engineer Rob Smedley looks at the differences, but there are hardly any.

Red Bull versus Mercedes

"What we learn from qualifying is that it's very close, there's hardly anything between the two. In Turn 1 and 2 you see that's advantage Lewis with him being a bit quicker. Max was told to take it easy in the right-hand corners by his engineers so you can see in turn three and nine the speed is down a little bit. The delta time just ebbs and flows, there is never one point where it was advantage Mercedes or Red Bull. There's hardly anything in it at the end," Smedley told F1 TV.

"So qualifying was very close, but it was a slightly different story on Sunday. We know Lewis set the car up for the race, but he also just really had a clear advantage in terms of pace. When Verstappen goes into the pits, he (Lewis) is suddenly much faster in free air. Red Bull suffered from more degradation, but Mercedes also had about two to three tenths extra natural pace."

Extra pit stop for Verstappen

After the race, everyone wondered if Red Bull could have chosen a better strategy. Mercedes had planned the entire weekend in such a way that it could go to the race with an extra medium tyre, where Red Bull only had one set of mediums. With an extra set of the medium, could Verstappen have done the two-stop himself?

''We tried to model that. What we did is keep Lewis on the medium tyre, and Max to a two-stop on the medium. So this wasn't possible because Verstappen didn't have that other set of medium tyres, but you can see that even in the best-case scenario where we can't factor in blue flags or being stuck behind Valtteri Bottas, he doesn't catch up with Hamilton until the end of the race. That overtaking move is then very difficult to make. It was just Mercedes' day," concluded the former race engineer of Felipe Massa.

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