Analysis longruns: Verstappen nearly half a second slower than Mercedes

24-09-2021 18:20 | Updated: 24-09-2021 20:14
Analysis longruns: Verstappen nearly half a second slower than Mercedes

Mercedes was too fast for Max Verstappen in the first and second free practice, so the decision was made to take a grid penalty and install a completely new Honda engine. Also when we look at the long runs of Verstappen, it seems to have been the best choice. In terms of race pace, the German racing team has the upper hand on the Sochi circuit.

Bottas fastest on mediums

Bottas was able to achieve an average time of 1:39.767 with one set of mediums over nine laps (spread out in runs of four and five laps due to the red flag caused by Antonio Giovinazzi), according to Auto Motor und Sport. With that, he was four-tenths faster than Verstappen. The Dutch driver drove ten laps and averaged a time of 1:40.140. If we calculate those four-tenths over 53 laps, the 23-year-old Limburger would finish more than twenty seconds behind Mercedes on Sunday.

The Ferrari of Carlos Sainz also seems to be doing well in third place with an average of 1:40.286, but according to the aforementioned German medium, that is just an illusion. The Spaniard drove these times at the end of the session, so there was much less fuel in the tank at that time. Moreover, he only completed four laps. Lewis Hamilton drove eight laps on the yellow compound and registered an average time of 1:40.308.

Few simulations on soft and hard tyres

Sainz was the only driver to do a serious long run on the soft tyres, while Mercedes and Red Bull also missed out on a long run on the hard tyres. On the white tyres, Sebastian Vettel was relatively the fastest with a 1:40.514 after nine laps. The Russian Grand Prix is basically always a one-stop and so we're bound to see the hard tyre unless it rains and the intermediates or full wets are needed.

Verstappen looking to set-up for Sunday

Qualifying is not important for Verstappen due to the fact that he will have to start from the back anyway due to grid penalties. The Dutchman drove to the perfect race set-up with lots of downforce, while teammate Sergio Perez drove runs with very little wing. Verstappen was too slow on the straights compared to the competition, but Perez lost too much time in the corners. The set-up for the race will therefore be somewhere in the middle.

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