Charles Leclerc claimed the first pole position of his career to lead a Ferrari one-two, just ahead of both Mercedes drivers. The P Zero soft tyres were used from start to finish of qualifying in Bahrain, held under the floodlights as evening turned into night. Pirelli’s head of F1 and car racing Mario Isola presented the Pirelli Pole Position Award to Charles Leclerc, who becomes the second-youngest driver in Formula 1 history to claim pole position.
POSSIBLE RACE STRATEGIES
- The quickest strategy on paper is actually to start on the medium tyre for 20 laps, then finish the race on the hard tyre.
- As nobody in the top 10 will be starting on the medium, the second-quickest strategy is looking promising: start on the soft tyre for 15 laps, then hard to the end.
- There are a few two-stoppers that could also work. The most favourable two-stopper is: start on the soft tyre for 15 laps, then medium for 21 laps, then another set of mediums to the end.
KEEP AN EYE ON
- A wide variety of strategies, as was the case last year. As we have detailed above, there are many permutations that could work out quite well in the race.
- Rapid pace: Leclerc’s pole time was also the new lap record in Bahrain. Both of the Monegasque’s flying Q3 laps were good enough for pole.
- Rear tyres: this is a rear-limited race, so the drivers will have to look after them.
- Unexpected weather: the race should be dry, but there was heavy rain in Manama last night and even a few drops of rain this morning.
- McLaren: both cars are in the top 10 after a strong performance in Bahrain.
- Daniel Ricciardo: the Renault driver, in 11th, is the first person to have a free choice of starting tyre tomorrow so can follow the theoretically fastest strategy.
MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
“As usual, the drivers had to extract the most out of a circuit that was constantly changing with track temperatures dropping throughout qualifying. So the timing of the laps was critical. We saw only the soft tyre used throughout qualifying, which means that the top 10 on the grid will all start on this compound, but a number of different strategies are viable options for the race – with all three compounds. So this means that we can look forward to some intriguing action tomorrow. Congratulations to Charles Leclerc for his first pole position, having been quickest in every session throughout qualifying.”