Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil giving team mates a hard time in qualifying

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Adrian Sutil has been almost half a second quicker than Vitantonio Liuzzi
Adrian Sutil has been almost half a second quicker than Vitantonio Liuzzi

Six races into 2010 we’ve got a reasonably clear picture of which drivers are doing the best job of the all-important qualifying sessions.

So far two drivers in particular stand out for bring significantly faster than their team mates over a single lap: Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil.

Team mates in qualifying

Thanks to the refuelling ban and the dropping of ‘race fuel’ qualifying, for the first time since 2002 we can see how team mates compare against each other on Saturdays without resorting to speculative ‘fuel-corrected’ calculations.

The graph below shows the average gap between each driver and his team mate in dry qualifying sessions this year*:

Team mates' qualifying performances compared
Team mates' qualifying performances compared (click to enlarge)

Robert Kubica clearly has a significant advantage over rookie team mate Vitaly Petrov – almost one second per lap faster than the Russian on average in qualifying. That’s almost twice the advantage of any other driver.

While the gaps between some of the new teams’ drivers can partly be explained by variations in the quality of machinery on offer to their drivers, the gulf between the Force India drivers is striking.

Adrian Sutil’s advantage of almost half a second over Vitantonio Liuzzi is the largest gap between two non-rookie team mates. Liuzzi has only out-qualified once, and that was partly thanks to Petrov’s crash in Q2 in Monaco.

Of the new-for-2010 drivers, Nico H???lkenberg has been closest to his team mate’s pace in qualifying so far (ignoring HRT’s all-rookie line-up).

But don’t overlook Kamui Kobayashi, who’s only made two more starts than H???lkenberg, and has been slightly quicker than Pedro de la Rosa on average so far.

The McLaren and Lotus drivers are very closely matched. Not only is the average gap between their two drivers less than a tenth of a second, but each has out-qualified the other the same number of times:

PosDriverTimes out-qualified team mate
1Robert Kubica6
1Timo Glock6
3Nico Rosberg5
3Adrian Sutil5
3Sebastien Buemi5
6Fernando Alonso4
6Rubens Barrichello4
6Bruno Senna4
9Jenson Button3
9Lewis Hamilton3
9Sebastian Vettel3
9Mark Webber3
9Jarno Trulli3
9Heikki Kovalainen3
9Pedro de la Rosa3
9Kamui Kobayashi3
17Felipe Massa2
17Nico H???lkenberg2
17Karun Chandhok2
20Michael Schumacher1
20Vitantonio Liuzzi1
20Jaime Alguersuari1
23Vitaly Petrov0
23Lucas di Grassi0

Average starting grid

If you take an average of all the drivers’ grid positions so far, Red Bull unsurprisingly fill the top two positions.

Nico Rosberg and Kubica in third and fourth places are somewhat more of a surprise. Yes, it’s partly thanks to them not getting caught out in Malaysia, but it also reflect consistently strong performances by both of them so far this year.

Although Vettel has the best average qualifying position so far this year, Webber has beaten him to pole position in the last two races. Although Vettel has an average advantage of 0.2 seconds per lap, much of that can be explained by a single, costly mistake of Webber’s in qualifying at Bahrain.

PosDriverAverage starting position
1Sebastian Vettel1.8
2Mark Webber2.2
3Nico Rosberg5.2
4Robert Kubica6.8
5Michael Schumacher7.3
6Jenson Button7.8
7Felipe Massa8.0
8Lewis Hamilton8.2
9Fernando Alonso9.3
10Adrian Sutil9.5
11Rubens Barrichello10.5
12Nico H???lkenberg12.2
13Vitantonio Liuzzi13.2
14Sebastien Buemi13.3
15Kamui Kobayashi13.7
16Pedro de la Rosa14.0
17Vitaly Petrov15.5
18Jaime Alguersuari15.5
19Heikki Kovalainen19.0
20Jarno Trulli19.2
21Timo Glock19.5
22Lucas di Grassi22.3
23Bruno Senna22.5
24Karun Chandhok23.5

Who’s impressed you most in qualifying this year? Have your say in the comments.

*For each qualifying session the drivers’ lap times were compared in the final phase of qualifying where both cars competed. For example to compare the times for the McLaren drivers at Australia the Q2 times are used, as Lewis Hamilton did not reach Q3. In circumstances where a driver did not set a time, no comparison has been made.

Image (C) Force India F1 Team

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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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136 comments on “Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil giving team mates a hard time in qualifying”

  1. Bigbadderboom
    22nd May 2010, 12:00

    Be interesting to have this analysis at the end of the season with more data. However it does highlight some real gaps in what can only be described as talent! I think Schumacher was always going to be down on Nico for the first half of the season as he losses the “Ring Rust”, but the closeness of the two McLaren drivers may suprise some people who think Lewis has more genuine pace, the two driving styles show that there is more than one way to skin a cat!!

  2. Kubica is just awesome, no doubts about that.

    He has got a better average start position compared to both the Ferrari and McLaren cars!!!

    1. That is mainly part down to Malaysia, but still i’m not taking anything from Kubica. He is awesome!

      1. Second in Monaco is also big part of this.

    2. Kubica is decidedly not ‘awesome’. He was outscored by then teammate ‘Quick Nick’ Heidfeld, who’s now unemployed, in three of their four year partnership at BMW. How this can happen and yet some continue to rank Kubica as one of the best drivers in F1 is nothing short of incredible.

      Many persons who watch F1 often forget (or don’t realise) that the car is so hugely important; consequently, the only genuine benchmark that a driver has is his teammate. And having a bad teammate can make you look good. After the reigning double-world champion, Alonso, was beaten by some rookie from GP2, Hamilton, Alonso returned to Renault to partner a bad driver with the sole function of making Alonso look good: his services even extended to crashing into a wall to help Alonso. Piquet duly delivered. Similarly, Kubica only looks good (‘looks’ being the operative word) because young Petrov is nothing at all special; and he is a rookie, to boot. Given that Kubica was beaten by Heidfeld, imagine how much more badly Kubica would be beaten by one of the top drivers: Button, Alonso, and Hamilton.

      1. So you’re saying the Renault is a better car than the Ferrari & McLaren & 1 Red Bull driven by Vettel, good luck with that argument. You may have a little more credability if you were not referencing performance to what a driver did 2 or 3 yrs ago in a different team with questionable cars. Drivers evolve & hone their craft with time & experience just like a good “Office Jockey” everyday Joe. Live in the present Luke & may the force be with you

        1. ‘So you’re saying the Renault is a better car than the Ferrari & McLaren & 1 Red Bull driven by Vettel, good luck with that argument.’

          What I’m saying is that the Renault was better than the McLaren at Monaco; the McLaren is better than the Renault on power circuits; and Jenson, Alonso, and Lewis are better than Kubica, all other things being equal, at every circuit.

          ‘You may have a little more credability if you were not referencing performance to what a driver did 2 or 3 yrs ago in a different team with questionable cars. Drivers evolve & hone their craft with time & experience’

          In three of the four years that ‘Quick Nick’ partnered Kubica – including LAST year – ‘Quick Nick’ scored more points over the season. Kubica’s history in F1, including his recent history, is not, therefore, particularly impressive. Nick consistently beat Kubica; yet Kubica is highly regarded by many; and Nick is apparently only good enough to be a test driver, even when several new teams enter F1!

          1. First of all Heidfeld is a very solid driver that could probably deliver a Championship in a Top rated car with a weaker driver partner. Maybe people in F1 Team management circles know something you do not. Why do you think Renault did not pursue Heidfeld and made Kubica an offer? What specifically are Kubicas weaknesses that you in particular seem to be aware of?

          2. leave him alone
            he’s knowledge came only from point tables
            let him be

          3. To Andrew:

            ‘First of all Heidfeld is a very solid driver’

            And this statement is intended party as a defence of Kubica!? If Heidfeld is just a ‘very solid driver’, what does that say about Kubica, when this ‘very solid driver’ scored more points over the course of a season for three of the four seasons that they were teammates – including last season? I emphasis this fact because performance over the course of a season, given the length of F1 seasons and the number of races therein, is a comprehensive barometer of performance. Accordingly, it’s difficult to argue that a driver was unlucky, over the entire season, relative to his own teammate – such that the unlucky driver scored more points than the lucky driver. It’s incredible to suggest that a driver was unlucky over the course of THREE entire seasons relative to his own teammate: the ‘lucky’ driver must, then, be seen as the ‘better’ driver.

            ‘[…] Heidfeld […]could probably deliver a Championship in a Top rated car with a weaker driver partner.’

            Such is the dependency of the man on the machine in F1, if the car is sufficiently good, all but one driver in F1 could win the Championship with a weaker teammate: if Ralf Schumacher had driven the Ferrari in the 2004 WDC and if Pizzonia had been his teammate there, Ralf would have won the Championship. In fact, he would have likely dominated it more than his brother actually did: the gulf in talent between Ralf and Pizzonia is greater than that between Schumi and Rubens.

            ‘What specifically are Kubicas weaknesses that you in particular seem to be aware of?’

            I have answered this, in detail, in a separate post.

          4. To eldens:

            My knowledge comes from almost thirty years of watching F1 rather closely. Given that I don’t know anything about your relationship to F1, I won’t make such a derisory comment about you. We can disagree, certainly. But, equally, we can also surely be civil and respectful. Ad hominem arguments are the last resort of a beaten opponent.

          5. “and Jenson, Alonso, and Lewis are better than Kubica, all other things being equal, at every circuit.”

            How do you know?

            ” yet Kubica is highly regarded by many; and Nick is apparently only good enough to be a test driver, even when several new teams enter F1!”

            This should tell you something, shouldn’t it? perhaps F1 people know something about Kubica’s pace that you don’t know.

          6. @”Jenson, Alonso, and Lewis are better than Kubica, all other things being equal, at every circui”

            One of your statements I can agree with. Alonso and Lewis are certainly the best drivers on the grid at the moment, and probably better then kubica (Jenson – arguably).

            But if they are the only three drivers you can name as better then Kubica, then he certainly isn’t a bad driver, is he? What’s the point on whole argument then?

      2. Alistair from reading that miserable rant anyone would think you don’t even enjoy f1. Kubica is clearly quite awesome and I think he’s doing a all he can at the minute and a great job.

        1. ‘Alistair from reading that miserable rant anyone would think you don’t even enjoy f1.’

          Well, every race this year that’s been run in the dry has been nothing about which to write home. Lewis’s scything his way through the field has been the only real entertainment, sadly. So much for banning refueling: the consequence is that strategy is dead, since all the front drivers start on the same tyres; pit on nigh identical laps; and the fastest package wins the race.

          ‘Kubica is clearly quite awesome’

          I’ve been watching F1 for about thirty years; also, I’m not American. So I don’t describe just any driver as ‘awesome’: not even when prefaced by ‘quite’. Kubica’s record against ‘Quick Nick’ (including LAST year) is enough to instantly dismiss any serious talk of him being ‘awesome’ or one of the very best drivers in F1: if Kubica is awesome, we must, therefore, think of an even greater superlative to describe ‘Quick Nick’! Moreover, Kubica has shown himself to be quite ordinary in the wet, has displayed little ability to overtake and defend his position, and has been involved in several, silly, race-ending shunts. He also lambastes his team, which can’t do much for morale. Until this changes, Kubica cannot be ‘awesome’. Senna, on the other hand, was indeed awesome.

          ‘and I think he’s doing a all he can at the minute and a great job.’

          Kubica might well be doing all that he can. If Jenson, Alonso, or Lewis were put into the Renault, however, you would no doubt find that there was more performance in the car.

          1. So what exactly is your grudge with Kubica? His team director can’t say enough about his talent and his commitment to development while Nick Heidfeld is a reserve driver. You must be in on some serious insider knowledge to which not even F1 teams are privy.

            « Kubica has shown himself to be quite ordinary in the wet, has displayed little ability to overtake and defend his position »

            I’m infinitely curious to know how you’ve come by these conclusions.

          2. “Kubica might well be doing all that he can. If Jenson, Alonso, or Lewis were put into the Renault, however, you would no doubt find that there was more performance in the car.”

            ah good, more untestable balderdash.

          3. Alistair, one simple question for you: What make you think that you know more about drivers than engineers and team bosses? They have access to tones of data, telemetry etc. and you have only your TV. What makes you so clever? If they want him that means something and you are expressing just your likes and dislikes.

          4. Fair enough, but I wasn’t looking for an English lesson on what ‘awesome’ means. It wasn’t some grand, absolute comment using the word, I simply just think he’s doing pretty good and shouldn’t be knocked.

      3. This is only about Quali…

        Average starting grid…

        2006: RK – 8,83 NH – 10,17 JV – 12,75
        2007: RK – 5,41 NH – 6,88
        2008: RK – 5,83 NH – 9,00
        2009: RK – 10,71 NH – 11,50

        Advantage between RK NH was about 0,249 to 0,500 second for faster driver in The Actual Grand Prix ;))

        and we also know how it was in BMW Sauber F1 Team (who destroyed & devatstated whos chances) This is not the issue !!!

        For last:
        where is this ‘superb’ Nick… in the prezent sezon ;p

      4. Alistair, you’ve clearly forgotten that Kubica had a significant disadvantage to Heidfled – he was a lot heavier and taller. With the 705kg weight limit he usually was not able to balance the car properly, whereas Nick could play with balance as much as he wanted.

        But, as shown by Petron@s in his great post, Kubica outqualified Heideld in the 4 seasons they drove together. Enough said.

        Oh, and another fact is that Kubica had plenty of technical failures in his BMW time, with Nick having almost none (that’s why the most-consecutive-races-finished record).

        1. To Damon:

          ‘Alistair, you’ve clearly forgotten that Kubica had a significant disadvantage to Heidfled – he was a lot heavier and taller. With the 705kg weight limit he usually was not able to balance the car properly, whereas Nick could play with balance as much as he wanted’.

          That Kubica was taller and heavier than Nick was only brought up as a disadvantage in relation to KERS, given that, ordinarily, an F1 car is very much underweight and is made to comply with the rules by adding ballast. But the fatal flaw of this argument is that BMW only used KERS in the first four races of the 2009 season.

          ‘But, as shown by Petron@s in his great post, Kubica outqualified Heidfeld in the 4 seasons they drove together. Enough said.’

          Drivers do not win points, races, or championships in qualifying sessions. The race is what matters. But to indulge you: Kubica out-qualified Heidfeld 29 times; Heidfeld outqualified Kubica 27 times. So it appears very close, actually. Of course, a full analysis would take into account fuel loads used in qualifying. But someone else can spend the time calculating that!

          ‘Oh, and another fact is that Kubica had plenty of technical failures in his BMW time, with Nick having almost none (that’s why the most-consecutive-races-finished record).’

          I’d forgotten about Heidfeld’s record of most consecutive races finished! This is something else that distinguishes him from Kubica. Regarding retirements, during the races in which they were paired, Kubica retired from 8 races; Heidfeld, four races (sometimes driver error from either side of the garage). Of course, these retirements are spread out over the four seasons in which they were teammates.

          1. ‘massive’ outscored by HEI…

            2006: 10 to 6 [Monza podium for KUB] (1 point KUB lost by incompetence of BMW mechanics in Hungary – nose to ligt)
            2007 – 22 ahead with major ‘help’ from pit: tires, refueling, rubbish strategy
            2009: 19 to 17 (KUB second in Brasil)

            2008: 20 point more for KUB in the half of the sezon, chance for The Sezon podium (maybe even WDC) [victory in Canada backed by the pace and stupidity of HAM not T.O. ]and than babysitting for Nick to overcame points diference… they did this to 15 for the end of the sezon !!!!

            World Championship for that to BMW management :( This Ridicolous !!!

          2. Jesus, there goes your Saturday/Sunday Alistair. You’re getting worked up about a whole lot of nothing. One thing I’ve observed about internet arguments/conversations – there is no winner.

          3. “Drivers do not win points, races, or championships in qualifying sessions. The race is what matters.”

            The blog post we are commenting on is about Qualifying performance compared to teammates. Nothing more needs to be said.

      5. “Kubica would be beaten by one of the top drivers: Button, Alonso, and Hamilton.”
        – Hahaha.
        Beaten by Hamilton? You need to learn some facts.

        2004 Formula 3 Euroseries Macau GP – Kubica got the Pole Position (with a new lap record). Who was second fastest? Lewis Hamilton.

        Kubica has beaten Hamilton in gokarts so many times that Hamilton almost developed an inferiority complex.

      6. Your beaten and outscored by Nick arguments are soooo POOOOR :) He was outscored – true. But he was a Pole in German team, with lots of car failures and a team that supported poor Nick when Kubica could fight for WC :) If you dont see this then you know nothing about f1. Take a cloder look behind the scenes, and rethink it again :)

      7. I think that you should not compare 2006&7 Kubi to Nick as is the case with Kubi & Petrov – Kubi was a rookie then. Furthermore, he replaced Jacques in the middle of the season so he missed many chances to get points in 2006. Last, he was a new guy to German Team with experienced German driver. This was visible when BMW decided to help Nick to regain form instead of supporting Kubica’s chances for championship. Also Kubi has had much more problems with car reliability – not with tyres (which would be indicating that he’s too aggresive) but with engine

      8. You seriously think Kubica was beaten by Heidfeld in 2006? Kubica was a rookie and only drove few races. In 2007 he really was slower, but Heidfeld was way more experienced. In 2008, when they had very fast car, Kubica was faster. In 2009, they were very close. Heidfeld was 2 points ahead, but it’s really hard to compare as Heidfeld was 2nd in the crazy Malaysian race, and Kubica was 2nd in Brazil.

        Overall – Heidfeld scored more points in 3 of 4 seasons, but they were actually very close. And I think Kubica was a bit better in those 4 seasons.

  3. Interestingly Vettels chassis was damaged in Monaco and Barcelona. That’s the probable cause why he kept complaining about the handling of the car since Catalunya. They found the damage when it was back in factory this week. So with a new chassis for Istanbul, Vettel is back on top, of everybody!

    1. They said that it got damaged during the Monaco weekend

      1. Does anyone knows exactly what was the problem with Vettel’s chassis after all?
        Now it is not even known *when* it got damaged, not to mention the real extent of the problem. Did he suffered a bad crash and I missed it? Or driving a car so low and so close to the floor was the cause? I have been trying to discover more details but no avail. And now this explanation is enough to say that Webber is just rubbish and Vettel will smash him to death and all others with the new chassis.
        Well, the thing is he has been having problems since the start of the season, but in Monaco he certainly didn’t look as someone fighting with the car. Not even in Barcelona, if you ask me.
        No question the folk is fast, but the whole “damaged chassis” story still doesn’t sound that solid to me as to explain everything including the future.

        1. I utterly agree with you Horacio. Upstaged by the older and quicker (on this occasion) Webber makes me think RB are trying to reinstall some trust and faith into their vettel to secure him for another year. Im a massive Webber fan, so im a little byast i guess, but Vettel clearly wasnt up to it in Barcelona and Monaco as you stated. Funny that Webbers car was ok….

  4. I wonder if Quick Nick’s stock is going up with Kubica’s, or if he’s just being forgotten about AGAIN.

    1. oh, forgotten for sure :)

    2. Well Kubica is now 1st driver at Renault.
      In BMW he was second, Nick was no1.
      And like we all saw it’s not easy situation for the corporate team when no2 is way better then their joker and has a chance to achieve something that they are not prepare for.
      Nick is a past. That is sad when You see drivers like Petrov and Liuzzi in F1 but he chose to be 3rd at Merc.
      He will retire after this season.
      At least he should.

      1. Nick beat Kubica as often as Kubica beat nick, It’s just Kubica beat nick when the car was good, similar to Coulthard and Hakkinen.

        Nick Heidfeld is very far from being past it, he is one of the better drivers in the filed, maybe Rosberg and Kubica’s stock has risen recently, but Heidfeld more than deserves a top car.

        1. O yes in your dreams, hi should’t be even named as “quick Nick” because hi never win single race and hi was always second.

          1. Prove he was always second, Demonstrate how to be a good driver you must have a race win, and stop invading into my dreams.

            I’m not a Heidfeld fanatic by any means, I just don’t think he deserves this bashing he gets.

          2. If you think that Nick is a bad driver, think about Jenson and his years in bad cars. Both drivers are similar with their super smooth driving style. I remember Nick as driver performing few excellent double overtakes in 2008. I think it is a real shame that he didn’t get a racing seat this season.

    3. Who’s quick Nick?

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        22nd May 2010, 15:34

        A washed-up has been who couldn’t win a race if his life depended on it. He’s since been doomed to obscurity as a Mercedes test and reserve driver.

        For some reason, people are under the mistaken impression that spendig ten years trudling around in the midfield qualifies as a sign of a good driver.

        1. Yeah, cause every driver who’s not a top 3 driver is just a waste of space …

        2. Washed up? When he was in the midfield so was Kubica! You do not have the 35th most points in F1 without the talent to get there!

          The only year where Kubica outperformed Heidfeld has been 2008, and that’s the only time in Heidfeld career where he was soundly beaten.

          1. And that’s the only time in his career he had a very fast car.

          2. Some cars suit some drivers more than others, Yes it was an opportunity lost, but his inability to perform in 2008 doesn’t detract from what he achieved in the other years.

        3. Nick hasn’t always had a car capeable of winning races and he pushed Kubica for msot of their time together. Most drivers spend their time of the grid trying to crack a race win in midfield cars or worse -look at Webber or even Button before Brawn- but few rarely get the chance for things to swing their way enough to challenge for wins.

          Washed up? I’m not so sure. He still had some fighting spirit and in particular always ended up in a scrap with Alo

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ho4y6NDE8g

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCnB20TeSxU

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hU4yCPtcMIg

          he made good gambles when he needed and had strong pace; Spa 08, Silverstone 08 and Malaysia 09 and where was Kubica then?

          I do think he is sitting out right now because of a gamble on the Merc seat that didn’t pay off. He spent his career in midfield cars so I can’t blame him for holding out for a seat that looked like it could deliver wins but he was responsible for sitting out this season.

          1. anakincarlos
            23rd May 2010, 7:28

            I have not paid much attention to Nick, but in those youtube clips he is absolutely brilliant.

        4. “For some reason, people are under the mistaken impression that spendig ten years trudling around in the midfield qualifies as a sign of a good driver.”

          Webber and Button would be deemed by most to be good drivers.

          1. And Button wasn’t even in the midfield for a while!

        5. *Groan*

          Let it go, man. Button spent 10 years trundling around the midfield and then became world champion, so maybe they’re not so mistaken after all :-P

          1. Man who was no1 in BMW and was ahead in points in 2009 only because of pure luck, yet still people count that year like his win lol.
            So many years of driving and when the good car came he (no1 of the team) was nowhere close to he’s younger team mate.
            Then BMW focused to solve his problems what was equal to kill he’s fellow chances (I was pleased to watch their following fall because this)
            He has marvellous skills but he’s missing one crucial thing- speed!
            He’s nickname came from rhymes not from realitty. Nothing more.
            3rd driver is his sad end.

          2. You sound like you are Polish?

          3. Using luck in any Formaula one discussion is somewhat silly, For example, You could argue Schumacher only got his championships by luck! or argue that with more luck he would have got ten! …

            Certain cars suit certain drivers, Massa is getting thrashed by Alonso so far, but he was quicker than Raikkonen, many of you would argue that Raikkonen is on Alonso’s level, or close to it, ergo things just aren’t adding up.

        6. @”A washed-up has been who couldn’t win a race if his life depended on it.”

          Think Jenson before 2009. One lucky win and years of crap races.

    4. After all the talk this year about how important qualifying is and how difficult it is to overtake, it’s interesting to compare the average starting grid positions with standings in the WDC.

      RBR obviously score a “one-two” in both lists, although in reverse order.

      The big losers appear to be Mercedes – Rosberg slides from 3rd to 8th, and Schumacher from 5th to 9th. McLaren gain a little, with Button going from 6th to 4th and Hamilton from 8th to 7th. A mixed bag for Renault, Kubica loses a little while Petrov gains a little.

      But Ferrari are the clear gainers – Massa from 7th to 5th and Alonso from 9th to 3rd (although, to be fair, if you do not count “no qualifying at all” in Monaco, Alonso would have been 4th on the average grid position list.)

      Conclusions? Reliability, in very general terms, seems to even out over the top five teams. Ferrari needs to improve qualifying capability while Mercedes need to improve race performance. In terms of “driver excitement” Alonso appears to best at making up lost ground, while (rather to my surprise) Rosberg seems to fall back worse than others. It’s also a bit surprising to see that Hamilton shows “unexcitingly” near the bottom of the “top” teams.

      Let’s see if the rest of the season can bring big changes to these statistics.

      1. Alonso is low on average qualifying due to the Ferrari/McLaren mistake in Malaysia AND his crash in Monaco. If you remove those two resulsts, he’s grid positions have been 3, 3, 3, and 4 so far this year. Massa was also caught out in the rain in Malaysia. If you remove that result, his grid positions so far have been 2, 5, 7, 9, and 4. He’s a bit more all over the map, whereas Alonso has been right behind the Red Bulls on a normal weekend. If anyone can take the fight to the Red Bulls for the championship, I think it’s going to be Alonso, and the championship standings also confirm that at the moment.

        Too bad Kubica and Rosberg don’t currently have cars to compete on race pace…

        1. Kubica DID have a car to compete in Monaco.

          1. “Kubica DID have a car to compete in Monaco.”

            And he did compete, didn’t he?

    5. So where do we think Heidfeld would be in the championship if he was Kubica’s team mate this year?

      1. Somwhere between 5:th and 8:th is my guess.

      2. I think he’d be around Rosberg, maybe a place higher or lower.

        1. What’s with all the Heidfeld negativity everyone??

      3. Nowhere near.

      4. Ahead of Kubica, in all probability. But, seemingly, very few persons would realise; and Kubica’s stock would continue to risk unabated.

        1. ahead of kubica, you are so confident! youre funny :)

      5. I’d guess behind Kubica, Things have gone very well for Kubica this year, And I doubt many drivers could have done a better job so far. I think Heidfeld would be pulling his weight though. Maybe just ahead of Schumacher.

      6. 7-10th i guess. no chance to beat kubica.

    6. Good comment, Nothing wrong with Heidfeld as a driver, but We at home experts must give Team Management a little credibility as they do not simply pick drivers because they are nice Guys.

      1. Would Renault be ahead of Mercedes in the WCC? That’s another question.

        1. im quite sure it would be!!!

  5. Yeah, would’ve been interesting to see how things would be if Beard was with Kubica at Renault or something. Man, that’s all that was needed this season for one of the ultimate driver lineups. To have Beard and Kimi racing too

    1. Depending upon if Petrov, Luizzi or Schumi lose their drives next year, I think Heidfeld should jump into any of those cars for a last drive in 2011.

      1. Schumi won’t, he too much of an advertisement to drop, that and he’s picking up the pace.

        If Petrov is dropped, it will be, like Grosjean, unfair, rookies need time to get up to speed.

        Liuzzi must improve, Sutil isn’t rated as a top driver and is still soundly outperforming him. I think Massa also needs to watch his seat, not because he’s doing badly, as clearly the car doesn’t suit him. But Ferrari tends to be fickle, mainly because they can be. So he must watch out.

        1. Agreed. Liuzzi and Massa are probably the two drivers in faster cars who need to worry.

  6. The graph below shows the average gap between each driver and his team mate in dry qualifying sessions this yea

    Nico Rosberg and Kubica in third and fourth places are somewhat more of a surprise. Yes, it’s partly thanks to them not getting caught out in Malaysia, but it also reflect consistently strong performances by both of them so far this year.

    Why did you use only dry for one and all of them for the other? I mean, yes wet qualifying messes up the time differences, but given that the weather is such a lottery, with a track losing many tenths in just a few minutes (like we saw at Monza in 2008, for example, when Hamilton started his run on wets in Q2 too late because of his gamble on intermediates), doesn’t it also mess up the average grid positions? Theoretically it does show who did the better qualifying in the wet, negotiating the conditions, but because of the lottery timing could have been more important?

    1. The first is a reflection of relative performance, the second is a reflection of what’s actually been achieved.

      1. Thanks for clearing that up.

  7. Gees those average starting positions sums up Red Bulls qualifying superiority.

  8. I think there is a good chance that Scotland could have another F1 driver by the end of the year! :)

    1. And of course a third Brit on the grid too. :D

      1. Depends. Only if he’s up there with Hamilton and Button, will we have three Brits in F1 :P

        1. The Rusedski paradox?!

          1. Yes, if you want to call it that :P

  9. I was thinking Lewis would smash the worldchampion Jenson Button into pieces and that he would have no chance against Lewis. And here we are after six races… Jenson even scored more points!

    1. No recent World Champion would ‘smash’ another. Jenson has more points; but Lewis has been far more impressive in every race. Had Lewis not had that tyre problem in Spain, he would have many more points. Likewise, he was unfortunate to make (or have the team make) the wrong call in both of the rain-affected races. By the end of the season, when it matters, I have no doubt that Lewis will have more points than Jenson.

      1. Interesting that when rating Hamilton you take intangible ‘hads’ and ‘woulds’ into the equation, but you only see that as obfuscation in Kubica’s case.

      2. I think Alistair is Heidfield. LOL

  10. Keith, the data you get and they way you display it is great! I would say on this occasion though it may be wise to use the mean rather than average. There will be times (like Malaysia) when the grid position is not really representative, maybe traffic etc or some issue with timing/leaving pits etc. For example, the average puts Button (7.8) just ahead of Hamilton (8.2) in qualifying positions. The mean (by my basic maths!) puts them the other way around with Hamilton achieving 5.5 and Button 6.5 – both higher than the average also. Haven’t had time to do the others yet but will have a look another day when the weather is not so nice outside!

    1. You mean median, rather than mean?

      1. Yeah I probably do, I did say ‘my basic maths’!
        I mean which ever one takes into account the extremes to a lesser extent.

  11. Mr Zing Zang
    22nd May 2010, 17:52

    THe Hamilton Button results are not accurate though. Hamilton screwed up in Australia and Malaysia that’s why Button is so close. The wiser fans know that a “non-screwing up” Hamilton has at least 2 to 4 tenths on Button at any given qualifying, and that is what we will see regularly as things return to normal.

  12. Part of the game is to not screw up.

  13. Hi guys, just wanted to share another view of each driver’s performance in qually and race not only compared to their teammates, but also the whole grid! Any comments are welcomed.

  14. Is it possible to compare the percentage of the lap time that one team mate is behind/ahead and then find the average for all the races? A driver being 0.5 seconds behind at spa is perhaps not as bad as being 0.5 seconds behind elsewhere.

    1. Basically, I take their best time from both and add them during the entire season. I think it’s an interesting perspective. Everybody’s talking about Kubica and their right! In my stats he’s 3rd fastest overall in qually, and 6th in the race, not bad at all in a Renault. Just click on my name and enter.

    2. Plus, a team mate being half a second slower is obviously more significant if both are Ferrari drivers than if both are driving HRTs — having the figures in percentage would make comparisons much more meaningful

  15. Petrov is not bad for a rookie but comparing him to Kubica is just unfair.

    No one in this season squeezing more from the car than RK, (just look at his insane onboard drive from Monaco).

    1. I agree. Taking his best race moments into account, he’s gotta be one of the best rookies.

      I’d say be the end of the season, if his one lap pace is still off, then there’s reason to question his abilities.

      1. I’m not so sure about Petrov, in battles he is impressive, but I think it’s too early to say how well he is doing, I suspect that in the same car, Hulkenburg would have the edge.

  16. I agree with alistair kubika got a bad partner.alonsos equal is lewis on performance.hw can a rookie beat a double world champion?no matter what the excuses on the yrack they raced to win.webber is a button very good drivers in great cars.but as time will tel and it will…lewis will out shine button alonso will dominate ferrari.but I’m not sure bout vettel..very fast in the front but when tasked with a duel he does get shaky.

    1. You can only match team mates… becuse of the same car and team

      The GAP beteen them is significant !!!! It matter how they landed
      in Formula ONE… becuse of what (talent, money, connections. etc)
      Are they have skills to be fast on the endge, How they working with
      engeneers to improve the car. Mental Strongness or Weakness…

      Vitaly Petrov and Robert Kubica are in the same age (25 y.o.)
      but not on the same level of racing !!!!
      But The RF1 must establish value of the PET looking on his gap to
      his team mate KUB like other teams with their racers too ;)

      AVERAGE STARTING GRID:

      2005: [REN] ALO – 3,59 FIs – 5,74 [MCL] RAI – 5,68 MON – 7,53
      2006: [REN] ALO – 4,28 FIS – 5,61 [MCL] RAI – 5,83 MON – 7,20 DLR – 8,88
      2007: [MCL] ALO – 3,18 HAM – 2,59 [REN] FIs – 10,81 KOV – 10,72
      2008: [MCL] KOV – 4,39 HAM – 3,89 [REN] ALO – 6,89 PIQ – 13,44
      2009: [MCL] KOV – 11,00 HAM – 9,29 [REN] ALO – 8,88 PIQ – 14,00 GRO – 16,00

      nothing presonal yust business :)

      1. mismatch… fast on the edge :)

    2. Good man! Vettel is the new Schumi. Lewis is the old Schumi.

      1. There are so many Schumi’s now I don’t think Schumacher qualifies any more!

      2. Indeed Alistair you have got your own F1 league and we were watching completly different races. Your only argument that HEI is much better than KUB is “more points” . That argument is in favour Kubica which in much failure car was able to match HEI points. Please count Kubicas DNF`s (car failure) in 2007,2008,2009. Take your time – you need it to count it !!! While KUB had consistently problem with the car, HEI made an record in terms of ended race !! Just in Singapore in 2009 he was hit by the Force India car. Please count how many point KUB lost by that including possible victory in China in 2007. Another argument that KUB is better is qualifaying pace. KUB was much faster and without KERS !!

        Therefore please stop with argument than HEI is better than KUB. You are saying like HEI : “I defeated Massa,Raikonnen, Kubica and i am much better” . Massa is in Ferrari , Raikonenn is a World Champion but Kubica sooner or later will be Champion!!

  17. Kubica is so far 6th in 9th best car and it is not over. It is going to get better as Renault works hard to give him better car.

    Heidfeld won with Kubica 3 out of 4 seasons only because German corporation has made sure it has happened as they wonted Germen successor of Schumacher in BMW even at the cost of winning as 2008 has clearly showed.

    1. 9th best car?

      So apart from the top four, that’s behind the Force India, Williams, Torro Rosso and the BMW? surely not. The Renault would have to be there with the Force India, probably a bit ahead.

      No offence but the germane corporation bit is as dull, old and naive as all the other conspiracies. except for the Flavio ones they tend to end up true…..

      Has anyone considered that maybe they did try to win 2008? and couldn’t? how many times have we seen teams fail to improve their car, Like brawn half way through last year.

      1. Four top models, two “copies” each – that’s what Jack meant by “9th best car”… (I think.)

  18. Saying that Heidfeld won 3 seasons over Kubica is true only in terms of points taking from the race .But as trully fan knows in terms of pure speed in qualifying KUB in 90% was fastest than HEI . Season 2007 was all about car failure in KUBs car and strange tactics favouring HEI. Simply he was number 1 at that time. In season 2008 KUB destroyed HEI when it comes to quali pace and race pace, and even then team wanted rather help HEI match KUB pace than help KUB win the championship.In Season 2009 Heidfeld had again big problem to enter in top 10 and won in terms of points beceause one less DNF (car failure) and lucky in Malysia. So generally KUB was almost always faster than HEI. But i have to reckon that HEI would be much better points-scorer than Petrov

  19. why aren’t SEN and CHD mentioned? they’ve always had similar machinery right?

  20. Well, there are fantastic drivers like Sutil and Kubica that do better than their car seems to be able to do. However we must take a look at other details like difference between the cars. For example, Glock is a good driver of course, but his team mate Di Grassi doesn’t have the same car as Timo. Anyway, great drivers like Kubica don’t need awesome cars for doing an excellent job. Go go go, polish.

  21. Zarathustra
    23rd May 2010, 0:19

    I’m amused there are still people who think that Nick Heidfeld is better than Kubica…

    Opinions are opinions and Nick is solid driver but seriously.

    1. “I’m amused there are still people who think that Nick Heidfeld is better than Kubica…
      Opinions are opinions and Nick is solid driver but seriously.”

      Obviously results do not count – sure Robert is a better driver for a spectator point of view – in terms of outright race speed and consistency Nick is marginally faster period.

      The two are a good combination except Robert hates have a competitive team mate and his moaning painful (like Lewis).

      Since Adrian is becoming more consistent, to me this year he is the best driver accounting for their equipment.

  22. @alister.At the risk of sounding too offensive,i would like to say that your statements are quite hypocritical. U stated that hamilton beat alonso in his rookie year which he did in terms of pace,quali etc but not in terms of points(they were exactly equal). But you also stated in another post regarding Kub-Heid that the points that you collect during the race is the only thing that matters and hence Nick beat Robert.Double standards dont you think?? Perhaps the process of verdict changes with the name of driver in interest.

  23. Alistair,
    As others have said, the experts (i.e. those who GET PAID to make the decisions) think that Kubica is much better than Heidfeld (#1 driver at Renault vs. #3 at Merc, and only just #3). Most fans of F1 will back that. You are Obviously some kind of self-appointed expert… Personally, I think there are very few people on the planet with the skill, experience or the proper data to properly judge an F1 driver (and certainly not you).
    .
    Kubica is indeed awesome and punching far above the Renault’s weight — are you seriously suggesting it’s faster than the Ferrari or Merc? Some expert!
    .
    :D

  24. to Keith:
    kinda random but do you have a link to a bigger version of the Sutil picture as the banner for this post?
    I feel like it would make a very nice wallpaper

    1. The banner came from Force India, so you might want to try their home page at http://www.forceindiaf1.com – though I’ll admit I couldn’t find the image in the general area there myself. It’s possible it could be in the “media” area; I hear it’s one of the easier teams to get “media” access to but I’ve never attempted it myself.

  25. I think Kubica & Sutil are the dark horse in this year F1 championship they will pull out surprises when matters.

    1. i would like sutil to go 1 step ahead of G.fisi in spa……tough to happen…

  26. The whole Nick versus Robert issues resolves around driving style rather than outright who is a “better” driver. Robert’s style allows him to get more heat into the tyres and therefore is better in qualifying. Nick’s smooth driving allows him to post faster and rather more importantly consecutively consistent lap times during the race. This is shown by Nick having the fastest lap on two occasions compared to none for Robert.

    To say things do not go wrong for Nick – look at the final races last year – Nick had bizarre bad lack (team got the ballast wrong in Malaysia, Japan sticking wheel nut in his pitstop gifted positions to Kimi and Nico, and they got no fuel in on his pitstop at Brazil.

    Taken overall Nick is still likely to return more points than Robert given some very detail analyses that I have done. One aspect that repeatedly gets missed is Nick is a very good overtaker and in 2008 made the most number of overtaking manouvers including on top drivers like Fernando. Robert has more difficulty in overtaking, the result of which is more retirements or lose of racing position.

    Strategically Renault should have hired Nick to partner Robert this season – with that combination and this year’s rather good car they would be ahead of Mercedes. I know Petrov brought millions, but Nick would have brought millions in terms of revenue earned from points.

    I still think the combination of Nico and Nick would have seen Mercedes much further up the score board – but it is business and Schumy brought huge sponsorship that cannot be ignored.

    Finally Nick definitely had a significant edge over Mark Webber when they were team mates, sadly he only competed in part of the season but two seconds and pole for a part season compared to Mark’s one third (where Nick was second) and no poles for an entire season best summarises it.

  27. “Strategically Renault should have hired Nick to partner Robert this season.”

    And maybe Heidfeld was afraid of driving together with Kubica this time on more equal terms?

    1. We do not know they were on un-equal terms at BMW Sauber. Robert complained the team tried to help Nick with his qualifying issues rather than give him number one status. He also said they stopped developing the car, which is not true but the team decided not to contest this as it could look bad in terms of publicity. It has been confirmed they did continue to develop the 08 car but it was not very successful. As I read it Nick was not offered the Renault drive, but was given initial consideration. Drivers are generally not frightened of testing themselves against other drivers and Nick has the knowledge of being in race pace faster and having overall scored more points than Robert.

  28. The reason for Mercedes to choose Schuey instead of Heidfeld can be something other than sponsorship money. Think about 1983 when Prost was sacked by Renault. McLaren dropped Watson, instead of Lauda, for Prost. But it was Wattie who scored more points and a victory in that year rather than Lauda. Yet, it was Lauda that was retained and won the championship the next year.
    Taking up a returning champion is always a gamble. In the short run, Heidfeld would most certainly do better than Schuey because he has been around last year. But, who knows, if Schuey is revitalised, he would be worth a bunch of Heidfelds!
    Renault and BMW lost the gamble on Villeneuve; McLaren lost the gamble on Mansell. You can argue that Lauda won his third grand prix on returning, but due to restrictions on testing, we need to give Schuey more time.

    1. The Petronas deal was almost certainly connected to employing Schuey. It provided massive publicity for the team over the off period. Long term is it a good idea? I am expecting Schuey to run similar times and success with Nico. Personally I think Schuey is revitalised, it is possible he will put in better results but that is due to other consideration like optimising the car and get most of the team around him. This will help maintain the sponsorship. The press has been to hard on Schuey of late but I suspect he was never really as good as the press and publicity have us believe.

      Back to Adrian and Robert – they are both good drivers, but since Adrian’s team mate is no slouch and with GP experience I think he is doing better than Robert who’s team mate is a rather second rate rookie that found himself in surprisingly good car this team.

      1. « since Adrian’s team mate is no slouch and with GP experience I think he is doing better than Robert »

        What does the one’s teammate have to do with the other’s performance? You’re more moderate than Alistair, but dude, you’re just scraping the bottom of the barrel here to find something indirectly negative to say about Kubica.

        1. haha, i think the same! sutil the crash man better than kub :) just lol.

  29. I miss Nick ….

  30. The most impressive of the qualifiers (compagin to their team mates ) are ALonso and Jenson.
    Massa is said to be a very good qualifier and Jenson was always supposed to be beaten by Ham. But here we get a new picture. Alonso isnt a great qualifier and he isnt that quick on a lap like Jarno is for ex. But he is beating Massa consistently. Same goes for Jenson. Ok he hasnt beaten Ham but they are equal. Please spare “would havs” and “could havs”. If a driver is having a problem with the car setup/ tyre warming up, it isnt the fualt of their teammates, isnt it ?

  31. Not only in Qualifying but I think that this year Robert Kubica is the driver that impressed me the most throughout! Watching him drive in Monaco was absolutely breathtaking! I can’t blame Petrov for not being able to keep up with Kubica after watching that. No big surprises really. Rosberg did pretty well, Alonso was expected to do better than Massa (even if he didn’t participate in one qualification he’s ahead 4-2) and Alonso and Hamilton are the most fun to watch in the race since they have to come from the back of the field a lot for some reason. Well the one thing that does surprise me is how close Button is to Lewis. Nice job there!

  32. Woah, all this Nick and Robert bashing and endless comparison is intense! Why can’t people agree that they are both good drivers? Yes Kubica has a win to his credit, but Ole’ Nick has eight 2nd places to his name, more than any other non -winning driver, and he achieved 4 of those in 2008 alone, when it was rare to see anyone but Massa or Hamilton winning. Nick could have easily inherited a win like Kubica did when Hamilton, Kimi and Massa were taken out of contention in Canada 08′ or like Heikki did in Hungary 08 when Massa retired while leading at the end. Luck just wasn’t on Nick’s side for this to happen. It doesn’t mean Kubica can’t be great, because he clearly has the potential, but it doesn’t mean Nick is a has been either. If I were running Renault I would have snapped them both up and continued their run as team mates, it was easily the most consistent, calm and one of the most capable driver pairings in recent seasons.

  33. In fact, I’d bet that if Heidfeld were partnering Kubica in the other Renault, he’d be consistently scoring points, unlike Petrov, no offense against the rookie of course, but with Nick and Robert I’d bet Renault would be ahead of Mercedes in the points standings by now.

  34. well, I am not sure why we are got excited by Alistair’s comments. He is just one of these Kubica’s haters. He belongs to a rare breed of F1 fans, but they do exist. Even if RK would be a 5 time F1 champ they would always find some arguments that this does not make him a good driver. So I suggest let us simply ignore him

    1. It’s worse than that – he’s just a **** disturber. He’s the same one who posted a while back arguing that Jerez ’97 was all Villeneuve’s fault. Funny thing that then, as now, once you start pointing out the gaping chasms of logic in his ‘arguments’ he’s nowhere to be seen.

      1. He’s probably cut off by the moderator, looking through the 180 degree looking glass at rebbutals & typing until his keyboard is smoking to no avail

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