In the run-up to this Formula 1 weekend, a lot of attention has been paid to Honda. In the layout chosen for the second race weekend on the Bahrain circuit, engine power is decisive. However, the Japanese were able to compete well with both Red Bull and AlphaTauri in free training sessions.
The differences between the drivers were minimal in training so it was an exciting qualifying session. Toyoharu Tanabe, the technical director of the Japanese, also noticed this. “As expected, the differences were very small. Max Verstappen lost pole position for Red Bull in just 0.05 seconds, so that is obviously disappointing.
On this track, qualifying in third place so close to the Mercedes is still a great achievement. “Apart from the disappointment we lost the pole position, this is also an excellent result for Verstappen, meaning we can count on a successful race on Sunday,” smiles the Honda rider.
The two AlphaTauri drivers also made a good impression and Albon disappointed with 12th place. Daniil Kvyat drove very well and qualified in sixth place, while Pierre Gasly finished ninth. He may have had some damage to the car, though, “Tanabe is protecting him.
“Albon just missed Q3 in a group of drivers who were very close together,” looks back, though the Japanese believes Albon has an advantage over the men in the top ten. “He has a free choice of tires so he can have a strategic advantage in the race.”
Overall, Honda is ready for the special race in Bahrain. “It will be the longest in terms of the number of rounds. 87 rounds, so it’s hard to say what to expect. In any case, we are well prepared for the various situations and strategies we may encounter. A bad start and managing it will be the biggest challenge for the teams on Sunday, ”said Tanabe.
Romain Grosjean survived the horror crash during the Bahrain GP. Max Verstappen was unimpressed by Alexander Albon and is putting pressure on Red Bull. This and more in the RacingNews365 F1 podcast featuring Tom Coronel, Ruud Dimmers and host Thomas van Groningen you can hear below.