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Catch Up on Friday in Vegas

An intriguing night of action in the desert

Qualifying…on Race Day!

One of the quirks of the Las Vegas Grand Prix schedule is that we will have both Qualifying and the Grand Prix on the very same day. As the clock struck midnight and Friday turned into Saturday, the green light signalled the opening of the pit lane for the grid-setting session. The chequered flag flew at 0100 local time, and we will be back later on today, 2200 in Vegas to be precise, for lights out in the Grand Prix!

Confused? Head to our race page for the full schedule and the race start time wherever you are in the world.

Different Tyre Warm-Up Strategies

The cold ambient and track temperatures have been a major topic this weekend. Whilst there has been a focus on graining, today showed the challenges in getting the Soft tyre in its operating window. Throughout FP3, teams were experimenting with different warm-up options. Deciding whether to have a hard out-lap, use a second ‘build’ lap, or run multiple push laps would be key in determining success in Qualifying.

Ultimately, we decided that we were best off using a build lap, before running several fast laps on the same tyre with multiple cool down laps thrown in. That led to a slightly unusual scenario in that we used just one set of tyres in each segment of Qualifying. Others opted for differing strategies, including a more traditional method of bolting on new sets after two push laps.

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A Mixed Up Top-10

Nearly every team, bar Ferrari and Williams, had mixed results in Qualifying. That highlighted how difficult it was to get the tyres in their optimum window and at the right time as the track evolved. Toto described getting the tyres in that window as “a little bit of a mystery” after the session. The session was so mixed up and competitive that we had eight different teams within the top-10 shootout.

Track Ramp

Perhaps expected, but this newly laid 6.201 km circuit saw plenty of track evolution throughout the day. Returning for FP3, both Lewis and George reported very poor grip and that the circuit had ‘reset’ since they’d last run on it at 4am earlier that day. As the cars continued to circulate and lay down more rubber, it was clear that the final lap in each segment of Qualifying was going to be the one that mattered. Which brings us to…

An Incredibly Tight Elimination

Sadly, Lewis was not able to improve on his final effort in Q2. He was a few degrees lower on tyre temperature than the team was aiming for and that proved fateful. He gave it his best but couldn’t find the required time and was left watching on as others improved. Ultimately, he would be knocked out of the top-10 shootout by former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, and with a margin of just 0.028s.

WhatsApp Everyone!

Before the track action began, we had an excitement announcement to make. With the help of a group chat, we announced that WhatsApp will become the team’s Official Messaging Partner.