The data that excites Ferrari

The SF21 is the car that loses the least between the 2020 and 2021 Bahrain rankings. Alpine gives up top speed. Mercedes and Red Bull, on a par.


With the slight change in aerodynamic rules between 2020 and 2021, this season's cars are slightly slower than their predecessors. The comparisons no longer highlight the one who cuts the most, but who loses the least, and in that section the Ferrari becomes strong: between the 2020 Bahrain GP rankings (in November) and 2021 (two weeks ago), only left half a second. Alfa Romeo, Red Bull, Alpha Tauri and McLaren easily outperform the complete second; while Alpine, Williams or Mercedes are around two seconds.

The main cause is the new engine mounted by Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, a completely revised power unit that corrects the lack of performance of the previous one (significantly reduced by the FIA investigations at the end of 2019), although Mattia Binotto, chief Scuderia, insists on pointing out that aerodynamic modifications also play an important role in making the SF21 faster.In the top speed during this session, the most relevant in terms of pure performance, Leclerc and Sainz were rather behind (312 and 311 km / h, respectively, by the 323 km / h of Vettel), although it is more representative the first complete sector and there the Monegasque was third (28,419) to half a tenth of the fastest, Verstappen (28,349). Sainz made the eighth record (28,628), although the Madrilenian soon recognized that he erred prudently in Sakhir's first braking.

Renault gives up top speed

The numbers also reflect the step back of the Renault engine. Mercedes' lead was huge, but Honda and Ferrari have progressed this winter by rolling out new powertrains while the French opted to slightly evolve the 2020 unit and delay the new design to 2022.

The first consequences are visible: last year, Ricciardo and Ocon led the table of top speeds (328 and 326 km / h, respectively) and the two McLaren, which then mounted the same engine, were in the top-10. This year, Ocon and Alonso were 11th and 12th in that record with 315 km / h. As for the first sector, last year they were the third car after Mercedes and Red Bull, now McLaren, Ferrari, an Alpha Tauri and an Aston Martin are also sneaking ahead.The twisty sector, for Red Bull

Otherwise, the differences between the RB16B and the W12 are minimal: Verstappen and Hamilton traced the first and third sectors, full of straights and braking. If anything, the Dutchman reinforced his advantage to a lap in the second quarter of Bahrain, more twisty, with two tenths that go towards Mad Max. That may provide a clue for the Emilia Romagna GP to be held at Ímola next week: a circuit of fast corners and a lot of pace, without rest, which should assert Red Bull's advantage as the most complete car. They start as favorites, and that's news considering the supremacy of the Mercedes until last year.

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