W he only reads the bare lap times of the eight days of testing in Barcelona, the must come to the conclusion: Ferrari is the clear favorite. Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen were clearly ahead of the rest of the field with their low 1.17 times. Fernando Alonso came closest to them with 1.17.784 minutes. Red Bull was 8 tenths short, Mercedes 1.2 seconds. That already shows that a look at the lap time alone does not reveal much. In order to be able to evaluate them, one should be able to answer the following questions:
- How much gasoline was in the tank?
- Which tires were on the car? Were they new or started?
- At what time of day and at what temperature of the asphalt was the lap done?
- What was the best time possible? Was it an isolated fast lap, or was it part of a longer stint?
- Was the fast lap driven right at the beginning or at the end of the stint? How many comparably fast laps were there around it?
- Was the DRS open or closed?
- In which output configuration was the car on the road?
- Which engine program was in use ?
- How far was the sum of the sector times from the ideal time?
- Was the car trimmed for top speed on this lap?
We have tried to answer most of the questions. auto motor und sport got the complete set of lap times, top speeds and sector values from the second week of testing. These figures do not answer all questions either. For example, whether the set of tires was old or new. Which engine program or which output level has just been used. The DRS position can somehow be derived from the top speed and the delta to the speed on the finish line. Read our conclusions.
How did the best times come about?
First, we looked at when the best times were set, how warm it was that day and what was going on on each fastest lap happened. The best times of the 21 drivers were achieved over three days. Three on Wednesday (day 6), nine on Thursday (day 7) and nine on Friday (day 8). We read the following values from Renault's temperature record:
Wednesday: air from 9 to 16 degrees, asphalt from 10 to 30 degrees
Thursday: air from 6 to 15 degrees, asphalt from 14 to 30 degrees
Friday: air from 8 to 21 degrees, asphalt from 9 to 28Degrees
The highest temperature values were achieved between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. They were just as bad for a top time as the lowest temperatures in the first hour of the morning. Between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and in the last hour before the waving at 6 p.m., the conditions were ideal. Any time that was achieved outside of this window must be weighted with a correction factor. Romain Grosjean, Valtteri Bottas and Sergey Sirotkin drove their fastest laps at unfavorable times of the day.
The majority of the rest can therefore be compared in terms of temperatures. There was no big disadvantage or advantage. Hypersoft prevailed among the tires. 13 riders opted for Pirelli's softest rubber compound. The Mercedes drivers and Grosjean chose the Ultrasoft tires, Kevin Magnussen and Robert Kubica the Supersoft brand, and Max Verstappen and the Williams youngsters the soft rubber was good enough.
According to Pirelli's calculation, the Hypersoft was separated from the Ultrasoft by 0.7 seconds. Then, depending on the track temperature, it continued in steps of two to five tenths. So one can safely assume that Magnussen lost a good second on his 1.18.360 minute lap on Thursday on Supersofts against Vettel, who was also on Hypersoft tires. And with that he would have been almost as fast. When both cars had an identical amount of fuel in the tank. We hear that there was no major difference.
More interesting is the context in which the respective best times came about. Daniel Ricciardo, for example, drove it on the fourth lap of a 13-lap turn. So there was at least 30 liters of fuel (23 kg) on board when he set off. That is certainly more impressive than Max Verstappen's four-lap stint. But the Dutchman has other reasons why he only ranks 21st. Its soft tires cost between 1.7 and 2.1 seconds on the hypersofts. Whether one can convert that to Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin in the same way is questionable. You had such big problems with thatVehicle balance, so that it seemed more important to Williams to give them the same conditions as possible over all stints on soft tires.
The Ferrari drivers drove 6 and 7 laps at a time. At Vettel, the fastest time came just before the turn into the pit lane. At Raikkonen in the first attempt after the warm-up lap. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas each marked their personal fastest lap in relatively short stints in their second attempt. With a tire handicap of 7 tenths. That alone would give Hamilton a time of 1.17.7 minutes. But the defending champion stubbornly refused to take part in the time hunt at all. Team boss Toto Wolff explains why: “The qualification was only a problem for us in Monte Carlo last year. We preferred to concentrate on where we had problems last season. '
The number of laps in the respective phases of speeding also gives an indication of how easy or difficult it was for the driver. to produce the lap time. Kimi Raikkonen punched three 1.17 times in his 7-round turn in the new asphalt of Barcelona. 1,17.221 min - 1,17.293 min - 1,17.584 min. With a cooling phase in between. The Ferrari obviously handles the tires nicely if it is able to elicit a 1.17 time from the hypersoft rubber even with the third forceful kick.
With Daniel Ricciardo you can almost get a little one Talking longrun as he set his personal best. In the first four laps there were two laps with 1.18.466 and 1.18.047 minutes, then a 1.19 lap and then many, many 1.20 times. Brendon Hartley only managed a time of 1.18.949 minutes in his 10-lap stint. In contrast, Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson was three times around his fastest time in his fastest stint on Thursday. Lance Stroll was clearly struggling to find confidence in his car. The Canadian had to give everything to be the last driver to break the 1.20 mark. It ended at 1,19,954 minutes.
* HS=Hypersoft, US=Ultrasoft, SS=Supersoft, S=Soft
** Number of laps within 0.5 s of the best time in this stint
Nobody managed the ideal time
Everyone still has air. No driver managed to put his best sectors in one lap. Max Verstappen was furthest away from his ideal time, which shows us that the three-time GP winner wasn't really out to break records. Those who give away 0.465 seconds have different priorities. Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin could also have placed better if they had been more consistent over a lap. That also applies to Kevin Magnussen with a delta of 0.246 seconds. The Dane wasted time not only because of his tire choice, but also because he did not drive all sectors optimally.
That brings us to the next point. How many of the three sectors in the fastestRound were the best personally at the end of the day? Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Romain Grosjean, Nico Hülkenberg, Brendon Hartley and Sergio Perez had two each. The absolute best time holder Vettel was only perfectly positioned in the second sector. With a perfect lap he could have set a time of 1.17.026 minutes. His delta in real time was thus significantly greater than that of Fernando Alonso, who left just 0.052 seconds in his super lap on late Friday afternoon.
Kevin Magnussen, Sergey Sirotkin and Max Verstappen couldn't set a single personal best time in their sector place the fastest lap. Which again shows that you have to trust the three even more than we have seen of them. Incidentally, the king of Sector 1 was Raikkonen with 21.758 seconds. Vettel dominated the second sector with 28.772 seconds. And also in the third section of the route, the vice world champion was the measure of all things. There he took Lewis Hamilton 0.450 seconds with 26.505 seconds. On the one hand because of the tire factor, on the other hand because of the suspected fuel bonus. And then Vettel approached his round a little smarter. He spared Pirelli's super glue in Sector 1 and then struck in the second part of the round. Hamilton drove his personal best sector value in the first 22 seconds of the lap.
* personally best sector that day
Raikkonen with 40.1 km /h gain in speed
The top speed and the difference to the measuring point on the finish line also reveal something about the condition of the car. Anyone who, like Kimi Räikkönen, wins 40.1 km /h over a distance of 600 meters is guaranteed to drive with an open DRS. If the difference is only 27.8 km /h, as with Sergio Perez, then the rear wing was closed. Even more so when Perez is only measured at 303.3 km /h on his fastest lap at the end of the home straight. The Mercedes engine can do more in a Force India if it is left off the chain. Perez proved it later in the day with a top speed of 330.2 km /h.
It is interesting that Vettel came out of the target curve 6.8 km /h faster than Raikkonen, but at top speed 3.8 km /h behind his teammate. This suggests a lower motor program or a DRS that was opened late. A lot can be concealed from the competition with the folding wing. Who notes when the driver presses the button in which lap at which point, which gives 15 km /h and more extra speed?
Another example: Vettel was up at 288.0 km /h measured on the target line. Max Verstappen only with 274.1 km /h. At the end of the home straight, Vettel was 318.5 km /h. Verstappen made a good 36.2 km /h and was better with Vettel with a top speed of 310.3 km /h than 600 meters before. It is difficult to assume that the Renault V6 turbo suddenly has so much more power than the Ferrari six-cylinder on the second part of the straightAt the other two measuring points, the highest speed was not measured simultaneously in every fast lap. Only Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll were faster at their best time at two out of four measuring points than on the rest of the day. Daniel Ricciardo, Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Valtteri Bottas, Esteban Ocon, Charles Leclerc, Sergey Sirotkin and Robert Kubica did not achieve a single top value at the speed measurement points. Do you notice something? Again both HaasF1 are among the candidates who obviously didn't show everything here. Magnussen stayed 10.4 km /h below his personal top speed record on his record lap.
* personal top value at the four measuring points in the fastest lap
** Delta finish line top -Speed in the fastest lap
*** Top speed on the day of the fastest time
Conclusion: HaasF1 wasted the most time
Ferrari drove the fastest lap times. There is no arguing about that. The question of all questions is: how much does Ferrari have up its sleeve? Low 1.17 times are certainly not enough for a pole position if everyone is serious. We estimate that you would have had to drive at least 1.16.5 minutes to gain undivided respect. Who can manage this time?
Let's assume that Mercedes is able to do it. There was too much self-confidence in the Silver Arrows. They didn't even flinch at the Ferrari show. Red Bull didn't seem shocked to us either. Motorsport boss Helmut Marko is convinced: 'We are number 2 at the moment. How close we are to Mercedes depends on the power we get.' the next. That already shows the huge difference between Ricciardo and Verstappen.
It is undisputed that the three top teams will be ahead again. But you must have noticed that we mentioned the name Magnussen too often in the text. We haven't joined the Dane's fan club now. It's just that, despite his already excellent lap of 1.18.360 minutes, Magnussen gave something away everywhere. With the tire mix, the top speed, the sector times, the length of the stint over 9 laps. Opponents' praise for the new HaasF1 VF-18 is no coincidence. The direct competitors Renault and McLaren currently see the US Ferrari at the top in the battle for fourth place.
It is comforting that McLaren has also regained speed. You have to drive Alonso's time first. If it was achieved under the same conditions as at Ferrari, then there is light at the end of the tunnel. The gap of 0.602 seconds to Vettel is not the end of the world. It is also gratifying that Honda has apparently made a giant leap. This Toro Rosso Honda could be the second surprise of the season alongside the HaasF1.