Did Red Bull gift-wrap pole position for Lance Stroll?

Lance Stroll took the first pole position of his career during qualifying for the Turkish Grand Prix, but for the majority of the wet session it looked like Max Verstappen had the top spot wrapped up. Here’s what went wrong for the Dutchman…

Red Bull’s blunder

Max Verstappen finished the second session of qualifying 1.9s clear of the rest of the field. Mercedes was nowhere, his teammate Alex Albon was his closest competitor but showed no signs of challenging him and Lance Stroll was a massive three seconds off the pace in fourth position. As Q3 got underway, it seemed pole position was Verstappen’s for the taking.

So what went wrong?

Verstappen had found his advantage in Q1 and Q2 using the extreme wet tyres, but in Q3 the intermediates came into play. Parts of the track were starting to show signs of a drying line and that meant the larger contact patch of the intermediates was able to find grip on the track without aquaplaning.

But at the very start of Q3, it was still the crossover point between the extreme wets and the intermediates. Choosing the intermediates was still a big gamble and the only two drivers who tried it from the start were Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Renault’s Esteban Ocon. To underline what a marginal call it was, Perez set the fastest time with the help of the intermediates while Ocon initially set the slowest time and opted to switch back to the safety of the wets.

Max Verstappen was in a league of his own until the final moments of qualifying. Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Seeing his teammate 1.8s clear of him using the intermediates, Stroll radioed his pits to ask for the same tyres. Red Bull also saw the potential of the intermediates, but Verstappen was on a new fastest lap as he was approaching the pits — a lap capable of beating Perez’s existing fastest time on the inters — making the decision harder.

Red Bull pulled him into the pits regardless, and while that may have looked like a mistake as his sector times were the fastest at that moment, they would not have been competitive enough to compete with the eventual top four times. Bringing Verstappen in for intermediates was the right choice as things transpired, although the exact timing of when and where he rejoined did not help his situation.

As he returned to the track on intermediates, Verstappen rejoined behind Kimi Raikkonen’s slower Alfa Romeo, which meant he struggled to get the heat into the tyres that was so crucial to lap time. Nevertheless, the first sector of his fastest lap at the end of the session was a match for Stroll’s and it was only when had a snap of oversteer at Turn 7 that he started to fall back.

“We struggled to turn the inters on compared to the extreme and you can see that these tyres are pretty tricky,” team principal Christian Horner said

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Mechanical Bull Rodeo Style Safety Concept – Seat Sensor Shut Off Innovation

In retirement I've traveled to every single city in the United States with over a 10,000 population. Now, don't get me wrong I did not avoid the little cities, I went to so many I can't even count them, although I did not get to all of them, it took me seven years traveling by motorhome just to ensure that I got to every town of over 10,000 or more people. Two areas I really enjoyed were West Texas and South Texas. The people are very nice there, and cowboy-ism is alive and well. Perhaps the most fun place to visit is a Texas two-step bar and grill establishment, and there are quite a few.

That's where all the fun and action is, and as long as you are not trying to pretend to be something you aren't, or shooting your mouth off, you can have a lot of fun even as an outsider. One of the coolest things are the mechanical bull rides, and you might think they are safer than a regular bull, and maybe they are, but they aren't as safe, at least not all of them as you think they might be. Most of them have automatic shutoffs once the rider is dejected. But in some of the older bars, they have the older style mechanical bull rodeo style set up without the automatic shut off.

If you get thrown off of one of these you hope you get thrown off a decent distance because if you try to stand back up the thing is liable to come back and kick you in the butt, and knock you on your rear end. Not only is it embarrassing, but let me tell you; it hurts. Just because some of the locals can ride the mechanical bull on the higher setting, does not mean you'll be able too, and it might be fun for a few seconds, but often it ends with a hard landing even on the mats, and you had better get out of the way quick.

It seems that those with the automatic shut off are based on weight, and when there is no more weight on the mechanical bull the spring pops up and shuts it off. Still, on some it takes a little while for it to wind down and therefore perhaps these systems need a seat sensor shut off using a fiber-optic wire under the saddle. Immediately shutting off the power and completely stopping the system. This might add cost to the mechanical bull, but it might also help the bar and grill with their insurance policy, even though every rider signs a waiver to ride the bull at their own risk. Please consider all this and think on it.

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