Bahrain FP3: some more clues
The third free practice session for the 2023 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix has also concluded and the values seen on the track only increase the feeling that we are going to have a thrilling qualifying session. Fernando Alonso also set the best time in the third free practice session, just 5 thousandths ahead of World Champion Max Verstappen, with Charles Leclerc a little further behind at almost 3 tenths. However, the data collected on the track is interesting and suggests a potentially very interesting qualifying.
Mercedes only one with full power
First of all, let’s start by saying that we have not included the comparison with Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes because we had the perception directly from the numbers that he carried out his simulation with a much more advanced mapping than the competition, taking into consideration the high top speeds and even higher references in terms of traction. This analysis from Federico Albano for formulapassion.it therefore compared those who seem to have been roughly equal in terms of engine power namely Fernando Alonso, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.
Aston Martin excellent in terms of aerodynamics, a little less on the mechanical side
From the graph we notice some interesting things. On the main straight the Aston Martin continues to suffer a bit in terms of top speed. In very slow and tight-radius corners, where mechanical grip in the most important, the AM23 seems to show a sign of weakness, but Fernando Alonso makes up for it abundantly in turns 4, 11, and at 14 and 15, all points where a lot of downforce is needed and a very solid rear, which is Aston Martin’s great strength for now, enhanced by the Sakhir track.
Fernando Alonso is also the fastest in turn 8, with a very aggressive line and continues to approach the change of direction in turn 6-7 in a different way from the others, slower in terms of entry speed, but with a different line that allows him not to lose time.
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Red Bull excellent, but not perfect
Max Verstappen shows a good balance throughout the lap, especially in the central sector, where he takes advantage of the greater overall potential of the RB19 in the direction changes of the “mini-snake”, from turn 5 to turn 8. The Red Bull, however, did not appear as perfect as in the testing session, with some balancing and management problems both at the rear in some sections and at the front in others with a little understeer that tends to re-emerge every now and then.
Ferrari close except in the last corner
Charles Leclerc’s overall performance is also solid. On the straights, the SF-23 shows marked clipping, which was often noticed during the Ferrari qualifying simulations which, however, leaves some question marks regarding the true potential that the Maranello Power Unit will be able to express in qualifying later today.
In general, the data shows a good set-up, probably the result of a great deal of optimization work after the first two free practice sessions on Friday, with a good balance along the entire circuit both in the slow and medium-speed corners. The only section where Charles Leclerc had more difficulties was that of the last corner, between a conspicuously early braking and a front at that point very “lazy” to get in, which overall made him lose more than 2 tenths from Fernando Alonso, the best in that section. The ability to adapt and find the right balance for Charles Leclerc does not seem to be replicated by Carlos Sainz for now, who was in difficulty and did not have the confidence at a time when it was necessary to push a little more. The power level in qualifying and the much cooler temperatures could tip the lap times significantly in qualifying, especially for those who have suffered from tire temperature problems even on the flying lap. All that remains is to wait and enjoy the first qualifying of the season, which looks like a potentially very interesting show.