The spotlights are all for Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, shining stars of this race for the world title and great contenders for success in tomorrow’s GP. Much of the chances of victory for Red Bull and Mercedes in the Paul Ricard race will also depend on the performance of the two respective ‘back-guards’ of the championship contenders: Valtteri Bottas is Sergio Perez. The gray starting tomorrow in France will in fact present a tasty cross already at the start. Bottas will start behind Verstappen, Perez behind Hamilton’s car. For both the main objective will be to create problems for the direct rival of their box mate.
Tires and weight: Hamilton has the solution
Even at the level of strategy, Bottas and Perez will have to be ready to play a crucial role. We are only in the seventh race, but after the twists and turns in Baku it is even clearer that every single point can become fundamental at the end of the championship. “It was a good weekend, definitely better than a couple of weeks ago – commented Bottas, third in qualifying, at the end of the day – I was hoping to fight for pole. The last lap in Q3 was good. But I think Red Bull had an advantage on the straight and that made the difference. We are definitely fighting for the win tomorrow – the Finn announced, already focusing on strategies – we are between the two Red Bulls, with two cars against one. We have to be smart about strategy to challenge them “.
The feeling actually, regardless of Bottas’ words, is that of a two against two. Also because, unlike Monte-Carlo and Baku, it is difficult to imagine drivers from other teams able to fight for the top-4. “The first row was possible. Unfortunately I made a mistake on my last lap in Q3 which cost me a lot of time – admitted Sergio Perez – we were heading in the right direction and I felt comfortable with the car, but I ran wide on the curbs at Turn 12 and the lap went. It is tomorrow that counts and we have a better race pace than in qualifying. My starts have been good then the plan is to gain a couple of positions at the start and manage the race from there to try to bring home a 1-2 for the team “ the Mexican announced warlike. “The race will come down to tire management – he concluded – so we hope to be able to overcome them in that area“.