Mercedes Dialled Out Qualifying Pace To Boost F1 Race Chances


Mercedes entered the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend with high expectations, especially after Lewis Hamilton and George Russell showcased strong single-lap pace during Thursday’s practice sessions. However, the team made a strategic decision to shift its focus away from qualifying setup in favor of enhancing race performance. This adjustment, though intended to boost their chances during Saturday’s race, potentially cost them the opportunity to challenge Max Verstappen for pole position. Despite Russell’s impressive third-place qualification, trailing Verstappen by three tenths, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted that they may have “dialled out too much single-lap” performance in pursuit of better race pace. This compromise reflects the team’s prioritization of long-term success over short-term gains.

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The team’s conscious decision to alter the car’s balance overnight aimed to mitigate tire wear and ensure competitive race pace, a strategy driven by lessons learned from past experiences. Mercedes remained cautious, lifting the car slightly to avoid potential disqualification due to ride height issues, as witnessed in the previous year’s United States Grand Prix. While Russell seemed to adapt well to the revised setup, Hamilton, who qualified ninth, expressed a more significant departure from Thursday’s setup in hopes of optimizing his race pace. As they head into the race, Mercedes remains optimistic that these adjustments will pay dividends, recognizing that securing a strong race position is paramount in a sport where every position counts.

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