Japanese Grand Prix fastest laps analysis

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Fastest laps by driver

RankDriverFastest lapDeficit to fastest lapLaps within 1% of personal best
1Mark Webber92.56902
2Sebastian Vettel92.5720.00324
3Kimi Raikkonen92.9990.4310
4Jarno Trulli93.1520.58329
5Jenson Button93.2510.68212
6Lewis Hamilton93.2590.6928
7Robert Kubica93.3340.76517
8Giancarlo Fisichella93.4790.9113
9Nico Rosberg93.5951.02619
10Nick Heidfeld93.61.03130
11Adrian Sutil93.6681.09917
12Heikki Kovalainen93.8011.23220
13Rubens Barrichello93.911.34131
14Fernando Alonso93.9461.37721
15Jaime Alguersuari94.0491.4817
16Vitantonio Liuzzi94.2941.72520
17Romain Grosjean94.6432.07415
18Kazuki Nakajima94.7832.21430
19Sebastien Buemi95.3922.8236
No timeTimo GlockNo timeNo timeNo time

Top 50 fastest laps

RankDriverLap timeLap

Mark Webber92.56950

Sebastian Vettel92.57243

Kimi Raikkonen92.99933

Sebastian Vettel93.05230

Sebastian Vettel93.0638

Sebastian Vettel93.12317

Kimi Raikkonen93.12732

Sebastian Vettel93.14432

Jarno Trulli93.15238

Sebastian Vettel93.17237

Sebastian Vettel93.18242

Sebastian Vettel93.1839

Jarno Trulli93.22234

Sebastian Vettel93.2367

Jenson Button93.25142

Lewis Hamilton93.25913

Lewis Hamilton93.27414

Sebastian Vettel93.2865

Sebastian Vettel93.29139

Sebastian Vettel93.29434

Sebastian Vettel93.2976

Sebastian Vettel93.352

Jenson Button93.30443

Sebastian Vettel93.30831

Sebastian Vettel93.31114

Sebastian Vettel93.31412

Lewis Hamilton93.31532

Sebastian Vettel93.31835

Robert Kubica93.33444

Mark Webber93.33848

Sebastian Vettel93.34610

Sebastian Vettel93.34736

Jarno Trulli93.3537

Robert Kubica93.35443

Sebastian Vettel93.38929

Sebastian Vettel93.40411

Kimi Raikkonen93.41734

Sebastian Vettel93.43516

Lewis Hamilton93.4526

Jarno Trulli93.45211

Lewis Hamilton93.45433

Lewis Hamilton93.4558

Kimi Raikkonen93.45731

Sebastian Vettel93.45938

Giancarlo Fisichella93.47933

Lewis Hamilton93.49331

Kimi Raikkonen93.49529

Sebastian Vettel93.515

Jarno Trulli93.50633

Lewis Hamilton93.50836

Japanese Grand Prix

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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29 comments on “Japanese Grand Prix fastest laps analysis”

  1. Surprised Webber had a chance to do that with the amount of times he was in the pit. Fisi didn’t do too badly, surprised Kovy was so far off Hamilton, but he did have Sutil stalking him for quite a while.
    Thanks for these Keith

    1. He did it just after he had pitted the last time and had the new nose fitted. Testing a new part?

      1. Thanks Chris forgot about that!

  2. Again, love this chart, thanks Keith!

    Usual suspects – with the exception of Trulli – banging them in lap after lap. Hamilton all the more surprising with his apparent KERS failure. Indeed a surprise to see him pull away from Kimi at the restart.
    I thought Vettel would have been more consistent after watching his performance but his PB was probably a ‘bit too fast’…

  3. Rubens 13th fastest. Did he have problems??

  4. Interesting results.
    It really shows how close the teams are as well. 3 tenths off your teammate and you are 5 positions behind in many cases.

  5. On a completely unrelated note, I just noticed the new mobile website on my iPhone. Thanks, Keith!

  6. Further enlarges the fact that Webber stole Vettel’s Grand Slam! By a mere, 3 thousandths of a second even. Darn it.

    Also, RBR’s closest challenger is 0.4s behind. Isn’t that massive relative to this season? Teams bring whole new updates for that 0.4s.

    1. Yup, no driver in the current field has done a Grand Slam (or Grand Chelem) and only 20 drivers have ever done it in history. Poor Vettel.

      1. Not quite as bad as Hungary 2007. Hamilton would have got the Grand Chelem there, but Raikkonen set the fastest lap on the last lap of the race. As per usual for Kimi.

      2. Kimi Räikkönen has done it in the Australian GP, 2007

        1. No he didn’t. The Grand Chelem is pole, fastest lap, race victory and leading every lap of the race. In Australia 2007, both Alonso and Hamilton led portions of the race.

    2. This would have been the first since 2004, only 4 thousandths made the difference

  7. Keith,

    Isn’t this analysis a bit “unfair” for people with a long strategy?

    Every lap of fuel extra costs about a tenth per lap on the laptime. So a stint longer than 9 laps means that every lap longer than that will be outside of 1% (0.9s in this case) of the fastest lap. Even if the driver is absolutely on the limit of the car with that fuel load!

    So per stint drivers would be in at best 10 laps on par with their fastest lap of the stint. A 20 lap stint would then give a 50% consistency score. Yet if he does a one stop race he get only 10 laps “on par” per 30 laps and thus only a 33% consistency score.

    In both cases the driver may in fact be 100% consistent with the fuel corrected time table.

    I’m afraid that without fuel correction this table doesn’t really say all that much.

    1. the chart is absolute, not relative. if you correct for fuel, why not include traffic and tire type?

      1. It’s relative against the fastest lap …

        Sure you should account for traffic too. That’s pretty much impossible though.

        Tyre type should be taken into account too yes.

    2. I tried to figure something that would reduce the problems I addressed above.

      I think the best way would be to look at the lap time difference between two laps. It then doesn’t really matter much if the laptimes go down slowly due to fuel usage or what tyres the drivers are on. It would simply show how consistent their times are.

      For instance in the table Raikkonen and Button are shwo with pretty poor consistency numbers while these are obviously drivers who are very consistent. Their consistency is ruined by the fact that they were pushing at some time and set a very fast lap.

    3. Point well made

  8. I hope the table below comes out sort of readable. I added an average laptime for the top 5 fastest laps (“Top5”) and a median laptime (middle time of laptimes minus “outliers” due to pitstops and safety cars)

    The 0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 columns show how many laps were within 0.1s, 0.2s and 0.3s of each other.

    Not sure which column would be best to look at. 0.3s is obviously too loose. Virtually all normal laps fall within this range (I was left with about 36 regular laps per driver after removing, start laps, pit stops and safety car laps).

    I’d say 0.1s is too narrow. 0.2s seems a pretty good compromise. It shows consistency without being overly strict and then depending on “luck” .

    Fastest Top5 Median 0.1 0.2 0.3
    VET 92,572 92,991 93,346 13 20 29
    TRU 93,152 93,336 93,763 14 22 31
    HAM 93,259 93,351 93,788 19 26 32
    HEI 93,600 93,709 94,176 17 25 27
    RAI 92,999 93,299 94,273 19 27 32
    KUB 93,334 93,544 94,352 14 21 23
    BAR 93,910 94,087 94,370 19 20 31
    BUT 93,251 93,490 94,386 14 22 31
    ROS 93,595 93,928 94,501 22 30 34
    SUT 93,668 93,809 94,636 9 20 24
    FIS 93,479 93,717 94,680 13 20 23
    KOV 93,801 93,893 94,686 8 14 20
    ALO 93,946 94,365 94,811 14 24 28
    ALG 94,049 94,200 94,939 14 21 26
    LIU 94,294 94,355 94,990 9 19 22
    WEB 92,569 93,812 95,172 13 17 20
    NAK 94,783 94,918 95,450 16 18 23
    GRO 94,643 94,847 95,862 8 13 18
    BUE 95,392 95,735 95,888 2 3 5

    Seperately a list of drivers with the number of laps that had a laptime within 0.2s of the previous lap:
    ROS 30
    RAI 27
    HAM 26
    HEI 25
    ALO 24
    TRU 22
    BUT 22
    KUB 21
    ALG 21
    VET 20
    BAR 20
    SUT 20
    FIS 20
    LIU 19
    NAK 18
    WEB 17
    KOV 14
    GRO 13
    BUE 3

    That list looks much more like what you would expect. With the smooth drivers up top and the rookies at the bottom.

    1. Um, Barrichello, Fisichella, Webber – rookies?

      Raikkonen, Hamilton, Alonso – smooth?

      It’s an interesting list for sure but it doesn’t seem to add up…

      1. I say that the rookies are at the bottom. That doesn’t mean that everyone at the bottom IS a rookie.

        On the other hand, Fisichella probably drives like a rookie in that Ferrari. He’s obviously not comfortable in the car. Webber was busy with his test session. He might simply have had less laps counted (something to add. maybe even a ratio of “laps within 0.2s” divide by “normal”)

        Barrichello isn’t even at the bottom. Funny thing with Barrichello though since he’s doing pretty well if you look at the laptimes within 0.1s or 0.3s, then he’s much higher up the list. Guess his case is an anomaly.

        Also funny is that Alguersuari is the first rookie on the list and in his port race statement he says:

        I was pushing every lap and running consistently, in terms of my lap times being almost always within the same tenth.

        So, it is something the drivers themselves look at too.

        Maybe the term “smooth” is the wrong word. I’m Dutch so you’ll have to forgive me for lack of finesse in the use of the language.

        The point I was trying to make is that Hamilton, Raikkonen and Alonso are drivers who are able to execute strategies to perfection. They will drive to the limit of the car lap after lap. That’s what scores high in this kind of consistency analysis. Their laptimes look like a “smooth” curve.

    2. Interesting method.

      But I am more interested in the “Top5” and “Median” columns since IMO, they showcase the real consistency.

      A large gap between “Top5” and “Median” indicates that the driver has good speed for 5 of the laps set on fresh tyres / light fuel but suffers quite a lot when on worn tyres / heavy fuel.

      For instance, Raikkonen with the 2nd best “Median” time still finishes 5th. Button and Barrichello also outscore Rosberg inspite of slower “Top5”.

      Infact, from your list I would conclude that Barrichello has probably driven the best. He has kept plenty of quick drivers behind him without having done a blindingly quick lap.

      Keith is trying to find out the number of laps done by a driver closest to the potential of the driver/car combination. It works best when compared between 2 drivers on similar strategy, and not on drivers with different strategies. You on the other hand are only looking at relative gaps between 2 consecutive laps without considering the actual lap times. (If someone had done all his laps in exactly 100 seconds, he would have been top-ranked in your list!!!)

      Kimi and Rosberg may have half their laps within 0.2 seconds of each other, but in all probability all these “consistent” laps are significantly slower than what could have been achieved.

      And surely, you cannot argue that Rosberg and Raikkonnen were in traffic for half of the race distance!!!

      1. A large gap between “Top5″ and “Median” indicates that the driver has good speed for 5 of the laps set on fresh tyres / light fuel but suffers quite a lot when on worn tyres / heavy fuel.

        Those two situations don’t occur though.

        They ten to set the fastest times on light/fuel worn tyres just before their pitstop

        If you look at a race chart based on average lap times (when there is no safety car period), then you usually see the lap times curve down. They go down fastest just before the pit stop.

        You on the other hand are only looking at relative gaps between 2 consecutive laps without considering the actual lap times.

        Well, the list is ordered by “median laptime”, but you could order it by fastest lap or top5 too of course.

        I felt that fastest lap time distorts too much. Sometimes a driver pushes to get ahead after a pitstop (ie Raikkonen and Button).

        (If someone had done all his laps in exactly 100 seconds, he would have been top-ranked in your list!!!)

        No. The main list is ordered by median laptime. It’s quite similar to Keith’s

        So in fact even Keiths analysis doesn’t show how close they were to the car’s potential. Vettel probably could have set a faster lap if he had needed too. Then his laps within 1% would have dropped accordingly.

        Still, indeed my analysis shows only consistency. A driver like Barrichello who often has a poor middle stint could still look prefect in “consistency” even if his middle stint was a second per lap slower.

        With the different tyres, different strategies and different pressures to set fastest laps, I think looking at (and comparing to) fastest laps is a bad idea though.

    3. Nice analysis, Patrickl – definitely more sophisticated than mine. I’ll try to work in something similar for Interlagos.

      1. Thanks. I have an MsAccess app that reads in the lap times and then I can run different queries on it.

        My analysis is a slightly different viewpoint from your analysis, but I think we are trying to show the same thing, “consistency” coupled with speed.

        Although yours focusses more on numbers of fast laps and mine more on consistency.

        It’s instructive to look at the differences.

        My analysis puts Webber, Raikkonen, Rosberg and Button a lot higher on consistency. They each pushed at some point during the race, taking more risk and thus setting a few fast laps that were further outside their normal lap time range.

        On the other hand, Barrichello and Nakajima end up a lot lower. They drive laptimes that are often within close range of their fastest laptime, but they are driving a lot more “choppy” laptimes. Barrichello was complaining of poor handling (so he might have made many mistakes) and Nakajima doesn’t strike me as a model of consistency.

        Each analysis has it’s flaws. Looking at “1%” is hindered by strategies (both tyre strategy and fuel strategy) and by drivers taking extra risk pushing to get ahead after a pitstop. Looking at “laps within 0.2s” doesn’t show if a driver had a bad stint.

        I guess best would be to look at both. “Laps within 1% of fastest” shows if they are keeping up the pace through the whole race and “laps within 0.2s of each other” shows if they are driving a “smooth” race.

        The best would be to calculate how a perfectly executed strategy would look like and then calculate how far the drivers are off that strategy. I’d say that’s impossible to do though :)

  9. Kimi Räikkönen has done it in the Australian GP, 2007

  10. michael counsell
    6th October 2009, 19:24

    F1matrix.it is good for this sort of thing.

  11. Ham Shanghai 08, wasn’t that a grandslam?

  12. I’ve extended the analysis to include the top 50 fastest laps across all drivers.

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