When everyone expected a silver car to grab the pole position in Bahrain, it was very surprising to see Sebastian Vettel beat the four silver cars and pounce forward to first place. His first pole of the season is hundredth of a second faster than Hamilton and two-hundredth of a second faster than his teammate Mark Webber, who qualified third.
So what has made the Red Bulls charging?
At Chinese grand prix last weekend, as the paddock was busy appreciating the efforts of Nico Rosberg and the Mercedes Team, many weren’t too enthusiastic about the new exhaust configuration introduced by Red Bull and when Vettel decided to stick with the old configuration, they believed this was just an another ordinary update. But mind you, never underestimate their updates; they have always got it right.
This update might well turn their fortunes to a championship winning car.
So what exactly did they do in the last race?
They introduced a new exhaust layout and tested it in the practice sessions and at the end of practice, Webber decided to use it for the qualifying and race. But Vettel on the other hand said he was uncomfortable with it and decided to revert to the old specs.
The Result: Mark Webber qualified in a better position than Vettel and also finished ahead of his teammate.
So why didn’t Vettel use the update? They just had few hours of practice sessions to test their new update and hence could not adapt completely to the new package. So he decided to wait till he found the perfect setup to support it.
After the race, Redbull obtained all the data to deduce a perfect comparison between the new package and the old one. Observing the differences and discussing it with their drivers and engineers, they found the areas to change the settings.
In the practice sessions at Bahrain on Friday, they knew the exact areas to work on and found the answers they were looking for.
The answer actually roots back to the exhaust design introduced by Redbull at the last phase of Pre-Season testing.
They needed long stints of practice to utilize 100% of its capability and it seems that have done it. Their new package has improved their compatibility with the new Pirelli tires. Soon, other teams will start pondering over their design.
Just as Mercedes found their answers last week, Redbull has done it this week. But can they repeat what Mercedes did last week? A victory, perhaps?
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Published with permission from Myf1eye.