Engine rules tweak can’t keep Red Bull off front row

2011 European GP qualifying analysis

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2011
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2011

Changes to the rules on engine mappings for the European Grand Prix did not keep Red Bull from locking out the front row.

Sebastian Vettel took his seventh pole position out of eight races.

Here’s all the data from qualifying in Valencia.

Qualifying times in full

  • The engine mapping restriction may not have stopped Red Bull from locking out the front row, but their advantage over their rivals was not as great as it has been. Perhaps more significantly, they did not find as much time between Q2 and Q3 as they often have done this year.
  • Nick Heidfeld saved tyres by not doing a lap in Q3: “When I went out in Q3, we saw that Sutil was not going to do a lap time so we quite rightly came back in because the cars ahead had posted times that were considerably quicker.”
  • Adrian Sutil didn’t do a lap because the team didn’t think they could improve on tenth place: “We didn?t go out in Q3 because we felt it was better to save another set of soft tyres for the race. Also, we saw in Q2 that Heidfeld was three tenths away and that it would be difficult to improve on P10.”

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’39.1161’37.305 (-1.811)1’36.975 (-0.330)
2Mark WebberRed Bull1’39.9561’38.058 (-1.898)1’37.163 (-0.895)
3Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1’39.2441’37.727 (-1.517)1’37.380 (-0.347)
4Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’39.7251’37.930 (-1.795)1’37.454 (-0.476)
5Felipe MassaFerrari1’38.4131’38.566 (+0.153)1’37.535 (-1.031)
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’39.4531’37.749 (-1.704)1’37.645 (-0.104)
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’39.2661’38.373 (-0.893)1’38.231 (-0.142)
8Michael SchumacherMercedes1’39.1981’38.365 (-0.833)1’38.240 (-0.125)
9Nick HeidfeldRenault1’39.8771’38.781 (-1.096)
10Adrian SutilForce India1’39.3291’39.034 (-0.295)
11Vitaly PetrovRenault1’39.6901’39.068 (-0.622)
12Paul di RestaForce India1’39.8521’39.422 (-0.430)
13Rubens BarrichelloWilliams1’39.6021’39.489 (-0.113)
14Kamui KobayashiSauber1’40.1311’39.525 (-0.606)
15Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’39.6901’39.645 (-0.045)
16Sergio PerezSauber1’39.4941’39.657 (+0.163)
17Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso1’39.6791’39.711 (+0.032)
18Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso1’40.232
19Heikki KovalainenLotus1’41.664
20Jarno TrulliLotus1’42.234
21Timo GlockVirgin1’42.553
22Vitantonio LiuzziHRT1’43.584
23Jerome D’AmbrosioVirgin1’43.735
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT1’44.363

Team mate comparisons

Compare the best times of each team’s drivers in the last part of qualifying in which they both set a time.

  • Michael Schumacher was just nine-thousandths of a second slower than his team mate. He said: “I might have improved by one place but in the penultimate slow corner, I attacked a bit too early, got oversteer and had to lift for a moment which cost me the place to Nico.”
  • Fernando Alonso remains undefeated by Felipe Massa in qualifying this year, but once again the gap was small.
TeamDriverLap timeGapLap timeDriverRound
Red BullSebastian Vettel1’36.975-0.1881’37.163Mark WebberQ3
McLarenLewis Hamilton1’37.380-0.2651’37.645Jenson ButtonQ3
FerrariFernando Alonso1’37.454-0.0811’37.535Felipe MassaQ3
MercedesMichael Schumacher1’38.240+0.0091’38.231Nico RosbergQ3
RenaultNick Heidfeld1’38.781-0.2871’39.068Vitaly PetrovQ2
WilliamsRubens Barrichello1’39.489-0.1561’39.645Pastor MaldonadoQ2
Force IndiaAdrian Sutil1’39.034-0.3881’39.422Paul di RestaQ2
SauberKamui Kobayashi1’39.525-0.1321’39.657Sergio PerezQ2
Toro RossoSebastien Buemi1’39.679-0.5531’40.232Jaime AlguersuariQ1
LotusHeikki Kovalainen1’41.664-0.5701’42.234Jarno TrulliQ1
HRTNarain Karthikeyan1’44.363+0.7791’43.584Vitantonio LiuzziQ1
VirginTimo Glock1’42.553-1.1821’43.735Jerome D’AmbrosioQ1

Sector times

Here are the drivers? best times in each sector.

  • Fernando Alonso was second-fastest in the first two sectors but a slow third sector – two-tenths slower than his team mate – left him fourth on the grid
  • Rubens Barrichello locked his brakes in the last corner in his best lap in Q2 – without that he could have made it into the final ten.
  • Paul di Resta also rued an error in Q2: “On my final flying lap in Q2 I was on the edge and simply made a small mistake at turn 17 ?ǣ I missed a downshift and ran wide. That meant I lost the advantage I?d made at the start of the lap.”
DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel25.590 (1)43.981 (1)27.400 (2)
Mark Webber25.716 (4)44.127 (3)27.320 (1)
Lewis Hamilton25.776 (5)44.170 (4)27.428 (4)
Fernando Alonso25.614 (2)43.983 (2)27.706 (6)
Felipe Massa25.715 (3)44.227 (5)27.504 (5)
Jenson Button25.806 (6)44.351 (7)27.405 (3)
Nico Rosberg26.050 (8)44.237 (6)27.894 (7)
Michael Schumacher25.839 (7)44.367 (8)27.922 (8)
Nick Heidfeld26.141 (11)44.605 (9)28.035 (13)
Adrian Sutil26.095 (9)44.963 (13)27.973 (10)
Vitaly Petrov26.118 (10)44.883 (11)27.932 (9)
Paul di Resta26.237 (13)44.865 (10)28.106 (15)
Rubens Barrichello26.221 (12)44.963 (13)28.130 (16)
Kamui Kobayashi26.384 (16)44.946 (12)28.138 (17)
Pastor Maldonado26.344 (15)45.181 (17)28.072 (14)
Sergio Perez26.398 (17)45.021 (15)27.992 (11)
Sebastien Buemi26.311 (14)45.099 (16)28.026 (12)
Jaime Alguersuari26.676 (18)45.266 (18)28.199 (18)
Heikki Kovalainen26.940 (20)45.874 (19)28.789 (19)
Jarno Trulli26.910 (19)46.138 (20)29.077 (21)
Timo Glock27.325 (22)46.324 (21)28.904 (20)
Vitantonio Liuzzi27.292 (21)46.936 (22)29.250 (23)
Jerome D’Ambrosio27.539 (23)46.957 (23)29.198 (22)
Narain Karthikeyan27.567 (24)47.115 (24)29.681 (24)

Speed trap

Here are the drivers? maximum speeds.

PosDriverCarSpeed (kph)Gap
1Nico RosbergMercedes317.5
2Rubens BarrichelloWilliams317.5-0.0
3Michael SchumacherMercedes316.6-0.9
4Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso316.4-1.1
5Kamui KobayashiSauber316.3-1.2
6Vitantonio LiuzziHRT316.2-1.3
7Jenson ButtonMcLaren315.7-1.8
8Adrian SutilForce India315.6-1.9
9Nick HeidfeldRenault315.5-2.0
10Vitaly PetrovRenault315.5-2.0
11Paul di RestaForce India315.4-2.1
12Narain KarthikeyanHRT315.4-2.1
13Lewis HamiltonMcLaren314.6-2.9
14Sergio PerezSauber314.4-3.1
15Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso313.4-4.1
16Fernando AlonsoFerrari313.4-4.1
17Felipe MassaFerrari313.0-4.5
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams312.6-4.9
19Sebastian VettelRed Bull312.3-5.2
20Mark WebberRed Bull312.1-5.4
21Jerome D’AmbrosioVirgin310.7-6.8
22Timo GlockVirgin309.1-8.4
23Heikki KovalainenLotus307.6-9.9
24Jarno TrulliLotus307.1-10.4

2011 European Grand Prix

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    Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

    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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    40 comments on “Engine rules tweak can’t keep Red Bull off front row”

    1. Pretty much as was expected. Massive props for doing the numbers as ever!

      1. This. Thanks Keith for all this number crunching. You must have some statistics-trained monkeys hidden in the basement to do all of this and so quickly.

        I love being able to compare the times between the drivers, between the races and between the seasons. Makes it so much more interesting and it’s a great help to see if a certain gap (*cough* Red Bull versus the rest of the pack *cough*) has indeed been closed down or if our imagination is playing tricks on us.

      2. Yep, glad I chose to skip this far an amazing movie about Lidice (backgroung here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lidice) instead.

        It was pretty emotional but a well made movie for sure. And we had seats with adaptable positioning and full service during the watching!

        1. Finally saw Sarah’s Key earlier this week, Bas, not sure I’m up for Lidice at the moment.
          But since everyone is raving about it, I am most certainly going to find some free time all by myself to see it in the next couple of weeks.
          For sure.

    2. An amazing stat is that over the past three races, if you take the aggregate of the fastest times in qualifying of the Mercedes drivers, they are equal, to three decimals!

      Monaco: Schumacher -0.059s (vs. Rosberg in Q2)
      Canada: Rosberg -0.050s
      Europe: Rosberg -0.009s

      At Monaco, Rosberg’s Q2 time was faster than his Q3 time.

      1. Must say, it is great to see Schumi back on it.

        I was hardly a fan during his prime, but I now cheer him on.

        1. Is he back? He is maybe as good as Nico Rosberg now….

      2. That is a fascinating stat ed24f1!

    3. Ralph Schumacher
      25th June 2011, 17:51

      True red bull is on the front row but i suspect the engine mode is still a bit higher that other teams’. The RB7 did seem to be spemding a bit too long on the red line, possibly we will see some reliability issues arise during the grand prix tomorrow?

      1. As all the off-throttle combustion occurs in the exhaust system it shouldn’t really affect the engine, especially at only 10% throttle opening. Also, current rev limits are far below capability. Don’t foresee any problem there but I do miss the days when one would sometimes go BOOM.

        1. It surely does. Off-throttle combustion/retarding the ignition can melt and destroy valves and exhaust headers, not to mention skyrocketing temps that can melt bodywork.

          1. Exhaust valves, specifically.

        2. Incorrect. All combustion starts at the point of ignition (spark plug) and close to the fuel injection point – both at the top of the cylinder. Engine mapping (ignition and valve timing) allow a decrease in piston pressure (less horse power to be absorbed by the brakes) with the practical result that more gasses are still being burnt after, or downstream of, the exhaust valve.

          As “cyanide” points out this can have adverse effects. However, most of these effects are due to extremely complex harmonics, not “skyrocketing temps”. The absolute temperatures of the burning gasses will not change although their distribution will move further downstream (i.e. into the exhaust system.) The harmonics of the back pressures are likely to be the killers of the exhaust valves.

    4. MVEilenstein
      25th June 2011, 17:54

      HRT 6th and 12th fastest in the speed traps is clearly a function of a strong engine but no downforce. Any time they make up on the straights is lost as soon as they lift.

      Still, they are beginning to close the gap on Virgin and Lotus. Good for them. Imagine what they could do with a little more money.

    5. I don’t like drivers not even trying to improve their position – sure, Sutil would have been 10th anyway, but F1’s spirit is to fight, never surrender.

      1. F1′s spirit is to fight, never surrender

        Felipe Massa would beg to differ.

        1. Example?

          1. I think he’s referring to Hockenheim.

            1. Letting Alo past is probably the only reason he is still driving for Ferrari today. He sure doesn’t have the speed to drive one of the red cars.

            2. So, MVEilenstein, what would you have done in that situation? Refused and left F1?

            3. @Rob Then neither did Kimi.

            4. So that makes Raikkonen, Schumacher, Berger, Coutlhard, Moss, Peterson, G Villeneuve, Collins etc. non-fighters as well as they’ve sacrificed their own races to help their team-mates over the years…

              Not to mention drivers like Hill or Hamilton who have retired, or wanted to retire, a healthy car.

            5. Gotta agree with Rob. As harsh as it sounds, Massa is on the Red team just to help Alonso, and not because of his abilities.

              @ed24f1. I dont remember the time Hamilton wanted to retire a healthy car… when was this?

            6. @Todfod – Europe 2009, after his puncture on the first lap.

              It’s rubbish to suggest that Massa is only at Ferrari to help Alonso and not due to his ability – he helped them to 2 Constructors Championships, and has won 11 races for them so far.

              Only Schumacher, Lauda and Ascari have EVER won more races for Ferrari in the F1-era by my calculations.

      2. He didn’t surrender, it’s more like some sort of tactical retreat. By not running, he may have lost the chance for a better place in qualifying, but improved his chances for the battle that actually counts: the race.

      3. Hmm I disagree Fixy. You don’t get any points for qualifying. Play the long game and try to secure as many points for tomorrow as possible.

        That IS the best place for your fighting spirit.

      4. Sutil wants points.

      5. F1 is about using the rules to win the race. If you think your best chance of winning is to not run qualifying at all, then that’s what you do.

    6. It seems that only Rosberg, Petrov, Maldonado, Buemi, Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Hamilton saved 1 set of new softer tyres. Alguersuari has got 2.
      Petrov is the first driver in grid who can start on new soft tyres..

      waiting for keith’s analysis

      1. Adrian Morse
        25th June 2011, 19:15

        Vettel, Alonso, and Hamilton all went out for a second run and aborted half way, so they didn’t exactly save a set.

        1. Hamilton locked his front tyres up at turn one on his last flying lap. He aborted it shortly after.

          All the Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull drivers used their tyre allocation pretty much the same as each other.

          Not sure about the McLaren’s pace on the medium tyre. Should last well though. Two or three stops on the cards for most.

          1. All the Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull drivers used their tyre allocation pretty much the same as each other.

            don’t think so.. Button “stressed” all 3 new softer tyres with 3 flying laps. And probably Webber too, but i am not so sure. So little advantage for Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, even if none has a really new set.

      2. JamesAlrawazik
        25th June 2011, 22:02

        Lagavulin. I think I’m right in saying that it’s actually Heidfeld who’s the first driver on the grid who can start on new soft tyres, not Petrov??

    7. Wow, never noticed the HRT so high on the speed chart before, not bad!

      I think it was a wise decision by both Sutil and Heidfeld (or rather their respective teams) to not run in Q3. I would expect a good race from Heidfeld especially tomorrow. Would be difficult to justify anything less than what he qualified with.

    8. MVEilenstein
      25th June 2011, 23:00

      No idea what you’re talking about.

    9. Nice to see Schumi and Massa running their team mates so close. They both seemed to be on it in Canada and it will be great if they can keep that momentum going this weekend!

    10. The engine rule may not have done the job, but perhaps the blown exaust’s rule will. It is so shameful how the F1 big wigs go around managing the show. I, for one, believe Formula 1 is part of the entertainment industry (like any sporting event) but these guys should try to understand what entertains F1 fans – what they are doing is just irritating. And there is that underlying feeling that who they really want up front is a Ferrari.

    11. J Button Fan
      26th June 2011, 8:54

      change the damn regulations on tires! they are absurd and annoying. separate the qualifying tires and the race tires for starters. the damn FIA comes up with crazy rules sometimes!

    12. @JamesAlrawazik
      yeah it could be. we can’t know for sure if he used the same set in Q2, but in this case he has got a brand new set of softer tyres. Good

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