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Bahrain Qualifying Analysis: what we learned about the cars from the first competitive session of the year

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Max Verstappen is on Pole Position for the first round of the season, Perez could only come close (+0.138s) despite a good session. Let's look at what this session told us about the general performances of the cars👇

Verstappen vs Perez First of all let's look at where Verstappen made the difference compared to his teammate. Perez was quite strong in slow speed corners, but Max built his gap especially in the medium and high speed sections. One corner that stands out is Turn 13 (penultimate corner) where both the RB19 and the AMR23 showed great balance and a good front end. Also the exit of the last corner was very positive from Verstappen, showing the improved traction of the RB19: most of the gap between n.1 and n.11 comes in the final sector!

Verstappen (1st Q3 Run) vs Leclerc After several months we finally saw Ferrari's HP in full force, and they could've made the difference. RB19 is much much more balanced in medium and low speed corners, Ferrari still need to find that balance with the setup and the scheduled upgrades. What's positive about this lap is the potential that can be seen in the SF-23: top speeds aren't a weakness anymore and in high speed corners the car shows great aerodynamic efficiency. Both Max and Charles put in some great laps and showed their cars' strengths today

Verstappen vs Alonso Aston Martin improved by 2.4s compared to Bahrain last year and finished just 0.6s from Pole Position: the AMR23 is very strong in low/medium speed corners, but tends to struggle more in aerodynamic efficiency: high speed and straights aren't strong aspects of the car.

Verstappen vs Russell Mercedes surely took some steps forwards compared to this time last year, but weaknesses can still be found in medium and high speed sections especially. Efficiency was improved over the winter (although still not a strength) and slow speed corners don't seem to be an issue for the W14, showing that the engineers found a good setup overnight to exploit the potential of this A-spec version. To be near Red Bull's level (or close to that) as I said many times, Mercedes will have to wait for their big upgrade package.

Throttle map analysis This is very useful method to analyse mechanical and aero grip for every car, comparing Verstappen with the others we can see how the RB19 takes very little time to go 100% throttle (green): the traction of the Red Bull is very very good, here it's crucial

Aerodynamic efficiency values Red Bull RB19 | 0.00% Ferrari SF-23 | -0.58% Aston Martin AMR23 | -2.50% Mercedes W14 | -2.73% Red Bull remains the most efficient car for now, but Ferrari isn't far considering their problems. AM and Merc still have more drag than the top two. Red Bull has lost their straight line speed advantage, over the four straights the SF23 was the fastest: Ferrari SF-23 | 311.7 kph Red Bull RB19 | 310.7 kph Mercedes W14 | 309.3 kph Aston Martin AMR23 | 306.7 kph

Red Bull dominates the slow and medium speed corners, as expected

Improvement compared to Bahrain 2022 Aston Martin -2.631% Alpine -1.389% Williams: -1.298% Red Bull: -1.073% Mercedes: -0.984% Haas: -0.713% McLaren: -0.681% Ferrari: -0.616% Alpha Tauri: -0.256% Alfa Romeo: -0.128% Aston Martin took a huge leap, Alpine and Williams good too

In the long runs Red Bull seems uncatchable, especially with Max, it seems like the drivers behind will fight for the last two podium places. McLaren, Alfa Romeo and Alpine should be in the fight for the final points paying positions.

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