Max Verstappen kicked off his title defence by taking pole position for the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix, but strategy could prove to be a crucial factor in his chances of claiming victory.
Pirelli have outlined the range of strategy options available to the teams and drivers ahead of the event, with the expectation being that the race will be a two-stop event.
According to the tyre manufacturer, the fastest option is to start the race on the Soft tyre before switching to the Hard.
The final stint could then be completed on either the Soft or the Hard, depending on which tyres the driver has available, though the Soft is theoretically faster overall.
Another possible strategy is to run a Soft-Medium-Soft or Soft-Hard-Medium plan for those wanting to use the Medium compound. However, both of these options are slower.
A one-stop strategy would be incredibly challenging given the high levels of tyre degradation at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Viewed by others:
Isola reflects on qualifying for Bahrain GP
After Saturday's qualifying, Pirelli boss Mario Isola suggested that the new Hard compound could be particularly important in Sunday's race.
"As we fully expected, the majority of teams used the Soft tyre in FP3 to prepare for qualifying," Isola explained.
"Red Bull was the only team to use the Hard as well, without compromising the availability of this compound for
the race – as each driver has two sets available.
"The new Hard is sure
to be a key to the race tomorrow. Qualifying was run entirely on the Soft, given the performance gaps between the compounds, with Verstappen
beating last year's pole time from Charles Leclerc.
"The fact that this year's pole was around eight-tenths faster, in similar conditions, underlines the increased performance of the 2023 car-tyre package."
Revealed: 2023 F1 driver salaries
How much money will F1's class of 2023 take home with them? It's easy to assume that the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc are the sport's biggest earners, find out which F1 stars take home the biggest pay cheques:
Check out the video below: