Every race in 2018 is turning out to be a nail-biting one because of the unpredictability that has suddenly engulfed the top order of the sport.
Since last four years, Mercedes and Ferrari have been battling it out and the German outfit has been, predictably, coming out as the winner. Last year, Ferrari came closer than ever before in challenging the German outfit.
But this time, Red Bull has stepped up in a big way to challenge the top two teams. They have consistently shown the best long run pace in the last few races and seem to have a good handle on their tyre strategy. Daniel Ricciardo is turning out to be a strong and fast driver while Max Verstappen is having some challenge in staying ‘crash free’.
Mercedes Boss Toto Wolff suspects the Austrian outfit chose to slow down their cars (with a race trim) in the qualifying round to get a better race pace on Sunday. Speaking with motorsport-total, Wolff said: “If you would only adjust the car for a good qualification, you will experience some disadvantages in the race. That is mostly to do with a much higher tyre wear.”
With their drivers positioned in 4th and 5th place, and running on supersofts, there is little that will stop Ricciardo from giving us a few more memorable overtakes. Verstappen has to avoid another crash this time to ensure his new nickname ‘Crashstappen’ doesn’t get any more popular.
After the qualifying race, Mercedes drivers were seen peeking at their main rival – Ferrari’s car on the track. Maybe they were trying to figure out how the Italian outfit is getting such a big advantage from.
World champion Lewis Hamilton believes the Italian outfit’s DRS is partly responsible for their new straight line speed. Speaking with Racefans.net, he said: “They’ve shown they’ve been very quick on the straights,”
“They’ve got a very strong DRS in particular, quite efficient DRS as far as I’m aware.”
So the real fight is going to be between Red Bull and Ferrari, both of which have shown a very strong long run pace. According to an analysis by Auto Motor Und Sport, Ricciardo has the fastest pace on Ultrasofts and Verstappen gets the top spot on Supersofts.
This is going to be an exciting race to watch. Who would win and why? Tell us in comments.