German Grand Prix: Underlying Pace; the numbers

Posted on July 26, 2012


This is a pretty straightforward post. According to the intelligentF1 model, what was the underlying pace of each car? Who was fast and who was not? As always, not all is quite as it seems.

The baseline numbers (+0.0s) are for Alonso on the softs. All times quoted for all compounds are relative to this same baseline. The fastest on the mediums (Button, Alonso, Kobayashi) is +0.1s relative to the fastest soft tyre time.
Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull): Soft +0.1s, Medium +0.2s.

Mark Webber (Red Bull): Soft +0.6s, Medium +0.7s. Consistently a full half second slower than Vettel – with periods in the race when he wasn’t even that fast. Strange.

Jenson Button (McLaren): Soft +0.1s, Medium +0.1s. The pace of the McLaren was the most consistently fast.

Lewis Hamilton (McLaren): Soft +1.1s, Medium +0.5s. Sure he overtook Vettel, but this is deceptive (new tyres) as he was never on the pace – most likely damage related from the lap 2 puncture. Whatever the problem causing his third stop (he could have got to the end on the tyres he was on) shows up in his pace being another half second slower in that stint.

Fernando Alonso (Ferrari): Soft +0.0s, Medium +0.1s. The key to this is how Alonso used this pace. Always slower at the start of stints, he was able to get as much pace as anyone by mid stint, and then sustain it for longer. For the second two-thirds of each stint, he was as fast as anyone.

Felipe Massa (Ferrari): Soft +0.8s, Medium +0.6s. If he were as fast as Alonso, he would have recovered well into the points.

Michael Schumacher (Mercedes): Soft +0.5s, Medium +0.5s. I hear that Norbert Haug said Mercedes need to find half a second. I agree!

Nico Rosberg (Mercedes): Soft +0.6s, Medium +1.0s. I have no idea why Rosberg was slower on the medium tyres. One of the rare occurrences where he is the slower Mercedes driver.

Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus): Soft +0.3s, Medium +0.4s. Not as quick as you might have thought.

Romain Grosjean (Lotus): Soft +1.3s, Medium +0.9s. Similar to Hamilton, and probably a similar story…

Paul Di Resta (Force India): Soft +1.1s, Medium +1.0s. Not quick on the softs.

Nico Hulkenburg (Force India): Soft +0.4s, Medium +0.8s. There is usually very little between the Force India drivers. Hulkenburg was clearly faster here.

Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber): Soft +0.2s, Medium +0.1s. Genuine front running pace and faster than Perez for once.

Sergio Perez (Sauber): Soft +0.0s, Medium +0.3s. First stint on softs as fast as any in the race. Faded slightly on mediums, but still faster than Lotus and Mercedes. Fourth and sixth for Sauber here is good, but a missed opportunity.

Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso): Soft +0.6s, Medium +0.8s.

Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso): Soft +1.1s, Medium +0.9s. Usually marginally faster than Ricciardo in races. Not here.

Pastor Maldonado (Williams): Soft +1.1s, Medium +1.6s. Pace faded through race – but Williams were not that fast here.

Bruno Senna (Williams): Soft +1.1s, Medium +1.0s. Much faster than Maldonado (another change from usual) – still not point scoring pace though.

Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham): S0ft +1.6s, Medium +1.2s. Chronic tyre degradation, but the pace is getting there slowly.

Vitaly Petrov (Caterham): Soft +1.6s, Medium +1.4s. Another half second to find. Like Mercedes.

Pedro de la Rosa (HRT): Soft +3.3s, Medium +3.8s.

Narain Karthikeyan (HRT): Soft +3.4s, Medium +3.4s. Significantly quicker than de la Rosa on the mediums. Another surprise.

Timo Glock (Marussia): Soft +2.9s, Medium +3.3s.

Charles Pic (Marussia): Soft +1.8s, Medium +2.6s. Even with Glock’s car problems, Pic was seriously impressive here. About a second from the Caterhams, and way ahead of the battles behind. Comfortably his best F1 performance.

The guys at the back are making progress – the gap from first to last is coming down quite quickly.