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TSUNODA/RICCIARDO, During the recent Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix, an internal team strategy at the Italian racing outfit involving drivers Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo created a notable stir. The team had premeditated that Ricciardo, on newer soft tyres towards the race’s end, would likely need to overtake Tsunoda, who was running on hard tyres. This situation led to a moment of tension when Tsunoda instructed to allow Ricciardo the opportunity to pass Kevin Magnussen, a directive that Tsunoda initially met with displeasure.

Despite the strategic move, further progress up the field limited for Ricciardo, culminating in finishes of 13th and 14th places, with Ricciardo ahead of Tsunoda. The team believed they had a chance at scoring points following a first-lap collision between Nico Hulkenberg and Lance Stroll, which had compromised Stroll’s position. According to Bayer, speaking to Motorsport.com, a more focused strategy on covering Stroll could have potentially led to a better outcome, avoiding the subsequent intra-team squabble and the battle with Magnussen.

Tsunoda/Ricciardo

The decision to swap positions between Tsunoda and Ricciardo pre-discussed within the team, with Tsunoda given a brief period to attempt an overtaking maneuver on Magnussen before being asked to switch positions. Bayer expressed understanding towards Tsunoda’s initial hesitation, attributing it to the emotional and competitive nature of racing, emphasizing the necessity of such decisions based on data analysis.

Post-race reflections reveal that despite optimistic projections after testing in Bahrain, where RB considered a top 10 contender, the team did not achieve expected results. However, Bayer indicated no major upgrades planned shortly, focusing instead on fine-tuning the car’s balance to suit both drivers’ preferences. Tsunoda has expressed satisfaction with the current setup, while Ricciardo has been seeking adjustments for better front-end performance, which the team has been able to address.

Looking ahead, Bayer remains hopeful about the competitiveness of the upcoming races, acknowledging the close margins separating the teams and drivers, suggesting an exciting season ahead if one disregards dominant performances by certain individuals.

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