Formula One official tyre supplier Pirelli confirmed that it expects a two-stop strategy to be the preferred approach by drivers at the Bahrain Grand Prix this evening. Pirelli’s compounds have moved a step softer than in 2017, when there was a spate of one-stop strategies, off the back of the introduction of wider tyres to compensate for faster cars.
Last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix was won by Sebastian Vettel using a two-stop strategy and Pirelli expects that approach to prevail on Sunday. Pirelli’s believes a 15-lap stint on Supersofts – on which nine of the top 10 drivers will start – followed by two 21-lap stints on Softs to be the best way of dealing with the 57-lap Grand Prix. Its theoretical second-quickest strategy is split between either a two-stopper involving two stints on Supersofts, of duration 17 laps, and one on Softs, or a one-stop strategy running 24 laps on the red-banded compound before going to the end on Softs.
However, it stressed that the latter option involves ‘very long’ stints on both compounds. Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton is the only driver inside the top 10 who will start on Soft tyres after Mercedes opted to undertake a different strategy, as a result of his gearbox-inflicted grid penalty.
Pirelli reckons one strategy involves a long first stint for Lewis Hamilton on Softs, before running the rest of the race on Mediums, but acknowledges there are several potential permutations: “After an action-packed qualifying, there will be a few drivers starting out of their usual positions, which should make for an entertaining race,” said Pirelli F1 chief Mario Isola. We have already seen some interesting strategies in view of the race. We can expect two pit stops for most of the cars, but there are a number of different potential combinations that could work, depending on the speed of each car and the individual race circumstances.” – Pirelli Sporting Director Mario Isola concluded, as reported by the Italian media.