Lap times much slower at Sepang this year

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix first practice analysis

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Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Sepang, 2011

The F1 teams lapped the Sepang International Circuit noticeably slower than they did last year.

The best time set by Mark Webber was 2.7 seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton’s time from the same session last year.

Whether this is a consequence of changes to the cars such as the Pirelli tyres, or simply that the track wasn’t in good enough condition this morning, remains to be seen.

The fastest lap of the track last year was a 1’33.542 by Mark Webber. The quickest ever lap of Sepang was Fernando Alonso’s 1’32.585 in 2005.

Longest stint comparison

  • There were few long stints in the first of the day’s practice sessions.
  • Drivers were able to run the experimental new Pirelli tyre which is designed to be more durable, but they will not be able to use it in the race.

This chart shows each driver’s lap time (in seconds) on each lap of their longest stint:

Sebastian Vettel104.004102.901102.368101.856102.12101.673
Mark Webber101.54599.8799.44898.952105.95998.483
Lewis Hamilton101.429101.756103.743101.175101.706
Jenson Button101.84102.557102.937
Fernando Alonso115.34106.541100.601107.088113.318
Felipe Massa100.453100.527108.948101.706
Michael Schumacher104.731101.163100.768100.729
Nico Rosberg100.663100.8101.155
Nick Heidfeld102.285100.823100.525
Vitaly Petrov107.932
Rubens Barrichello110.776105.671101.047101.371106.895101.395
Pastor Maldonado102.396100.822100.935110.566101.469103.166104.057105.257
Adrian Sutil102.263100.734104.833101.064108.339102.614
Nico Hulkenberg104.557102.475109.576105.325101.547101.096
Kamui Kobayashi100.926101.141111.242103.987100.872102.476101.167104.041
Sergio Perez102.878113.418101.73103.414104.263102.604
Daniel Ricciardo104.375106.669101.974102.599101.525101.689
Jaime Alguersuari100.779100.877100.883102.7101.717101.967
Davide Valsecchi105.36104.176104.089113.777105.782104.054
Jarno Trulli101.664101.62105.546103.403102.172
Narain Karthikeyan112.057112.207108.147106.763108.846106.267
Vitantonio Liuzzi111.638107.057106.446106.519105.959
Timo Glock102.458109.436102.154103.894106.491106.569
Jerome d’Ambrosio106.769104.65104.005103.472102.967102.613

Ultimate lap times

  • Sebastian Vettel has a lot of time in hand. He seemed to be running a very different programme to team mate Webber, who was 7.5kph faster on the straight.
  • Both HRTs were more than 7% slower than the fastest time (i.e. slower than 1’44.487). Liuzzi’s ultimate lap was still half a second off.
CarDriverCarUltimate lapGapDeficit to best
12Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’37.5830.068
23Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’39.2831.7000.033
37Michael SchumacherMercedes1’39.7912.2080.000
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’39.9642.3811.663
58Nico RosbergMercedes1’40.0912.5080.555
611Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’40.1442.5610.437
76Felipe MassaFerrari1’40.1912.6080.262
815Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’40.2882.7050.089
912Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’40.2982.7150.145
105Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’40.3692.7860.232
1119Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’40.4262.8430.344
129Nick HeidfeldRenault1’40.4882.9050.037
1318Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’40.6263.0430.122
1414Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’40.7343.1510.000
154Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’40.8143.2310.113
1616Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’40.8553.2720.017
1717Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’41.1063.5230.536
1821Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’41.4713.8880.149
1924Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’41.8974.3140.257
2025Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’42.4444.8610.096
2120Davide ValsecchiLotus-Renault1’43.9276.3440.127
2223Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth1’44.9027.3190.326
2322Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’46.2458.6620.022
2410Vitaly PetrovRenault1’46.7669.1831.166

Complete practice times

  • Lap times so far are much slower than last year. Mark Webber’s best in first practice was 2.7 seconds slower than the best time in the same session last year set by Lewis Hamilton.
  • The tight spread of times (0.6 seconds from fourth to 15th) indicates few drivers were pushing for fast laps.
#DriverCarBest lapGapStint lapAt timeLaps
12Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’37.6511/48322
23Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’39.3161.6652/24816
37Michael SchumacherMercedes1’39.7912.1401/38929
415Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’40.3772.7264/58823
512Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’40.4432.7927/85931
66Felipe MassaFerrari1’40.4532.8021/48622
79Nick HeidfeldRenault1’40.5252.8743/3276
811Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’40.5812.9304/47421
95Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’40.6012.9503/58123
108Nico RosbergMercedes1’40.6462.9951/16629
1114Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’40.7343.0832/68421
1218Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’40.7483.0972/58623
1319Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’40.7703.1193/53824
1416Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’40.8723.2215/88227
154Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’40.9273.2761/14316
1621Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’41.6203.9692/55821
171Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’41.6273.9762/57418
1817Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’41.6423.9911/17124
1924Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’42.1544.5033/68718
2025Jerome d’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’42.5404.8891/38319
2120Davide ValsecchiLotus-Renault1’44.0546.4036/66318
2223Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth1’45.2287.5772/27220
2120Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’46.2678.6186/710
2223Vitaly PetrovRenault1’47.93210.2811/14

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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    Image © Force India F1 Team

    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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    10 comments on “Lap times much slower at Sepang this year”

    1. I’m hoping we’ll see some surprise pace in qualifying similar to Australia.

    2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      8th April 2011, 6:41

      Minor correction Keith – 2005 time was 1:32.582
      With an best ultimate laptime of 1:32.382

      Last 3 years in general times were getting quicker in Malaysia with FP3 time last year 1:33.542 assuming that pole time would have been a bit quicker were it not for the rain.

    3. Great to see Mark Webber record the fastest time..!!!

    4. I don’t mind slower laptimes too much. It just means the race lasts longer!

    5. It looks like HRT are still barely outside of the 107% window. Bad news for them.

    6. Hm, interesting. After FP2 confirmed them still being about the same amount of time off last year, it looks like they are somewhat slower this time.

      I wonder how many tenths the RB cars especially were holding back. From recent experience it could be as much as a whole second.

    7. The commentators said at various points that all four of the top placed guys were running heavy fuel loads during their fastest laps.

    8. Not looking good for HRT is it? :/

      Still, practise is not THAT indicative I guess.

      Good comparison Keith, thanks.

    9. This is great information Keith. Is there a website that has all laptimes of drivers for one race ?

    Comments are closed.