2011 German Grand Prix analysis

2011 German Grand Prix

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Nurburgring, 2011

All the lap times, tyre strategies and more data from the German Grand Prix.

Pit stops

Strategies were very uniform, with all the teams opting to start on softs and run the medium tyres at the end of the race.

The only difference was in how many pit stops each driver did. McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull, and Mercedes went for three, as did Karun Chandhok:

Race progress

The leading trio were in close company for much of the race, until Lewis Hamilton took the lead after the second round of pit stops.

These charts show the gaps between the drivers at all stages during the race:

Lap one position change

Webber made another sluggish start – on average he’s lost a place at the start of every race this year.

Lap chart

Having only been behind Mark Webber for six laps before this race, Sebastian Vettel spent almost the entire race behind his team mate at the Nurburgring:

All lap times

Hamilton claimed the tenth fastest lap of his career. Despite finishing second Alonso only had the fifth-fastest race lap:

2011 German Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    17 comments on “2011 German Grand Prix analysis”

    1. If you choose Hamilton, Alonso, Webber on the average chart…WOW!

      1. Nope I just switched to that this weekend.

      2. I have no idea what the average chart is supposed to be plotting.

        It says “drivers’ gap to the winner’s average lap time”, but all except one data point are shown as slower than average, which is clearly impossible, the only point at zero is the winner on the last lap, so whatever the calculation employed it’s obviously not supposed to be a simple mean.

        And in the first stint, as lap-times were falling, they are plotted as moving away from the average.

        Anyone got any insight, or care to speculate, as to what the chart is actually describing?

        1. At each point it is the drivers’ average lap time to that lap.

          Lap times decreas as the race goes on because of more rubber being laid down, and decreasing fuel loads. If it had rained with 5 laps to go there would be a lot of points below zero. The graph for the leader (Hamilton) keeps dipping at the end because his lap times are all quicker than his average up till that point.

          Webber is almost at zero before his last stop, but then when the stop is included in his average lap time the following lap he’s more positive again.

          1. Yes, I a know that times drop as fuel burns and track evolves, my point was:

            Take Hamilton as an example, in the first half dozen laps, each lap was a coupla tenths faster than the previous, yet here that is instead plotted cumulatively moving away from the origin.

            Lap 6 and 7 he did identical lap times, to the exact thousandth, and the next to the odd hundredth, nicely consistent, but this stacked “gap to race average” algorithm insists on plotting those laps as the gap still steadily increasing.

            His final lap was slower than the four previous, yet here the plot snaps down to the zero line.

            While arithmetically the chart may of course be correct, I don’t understand what it is supposed to be revealing to us in terms of how the race actually unfolded.

            1. I’m confused by it too. If Hamilton’s average lap time is the constant, then how come all of his own line is above the average? Surely for it to be an average it needs to have his line partly above and partly below 0.

            2. Is the first lap shorter than all the others? If so that would explain it.

            3. I get it now. It shows the gap that would exist between each driver and Hamilton if he were running the race at his average lap time for the full 60 laps- imagine a ghost car breezing along putting in the same lap time all race. At first the gradient is positive (although it flattens as fuel goes down, then increases when tyres begin to go before a stop) as their lap times are slower than the average and they are therefore losing time to the ghost car. When their lap times are better than average, the gradient becomes negative as they pull back the deficit, until the winners line eventually hits 0. The only way a drivers line would go below 0 is if a safety car or rain affects the end of the race- the last few laps would be slower than average and be positive, meaning to finish at 0 (for the winner) it must have briefly been below 0.

            4. As matt90 concluded, it is the average of all the leaders laptimes, including pitstop-laps; equal to his total race time divided by the number of laps.

              Had me confused the first time I saw it too. That’s because we tend to think of those pitstop-laps as the annoying spikes that obscure our view of how fast the driver is going, rather than a set of laps that have a slower piece of pitlane, 18s of stoppage and getting the tyres up to temperature all included.

    2. In the stops and tyre use overview, I saw Chandhok did not get to using the medium tyres. How can they get away with that, is it because he was 4 laps down, or didn’t he get to the finish line in the end?

      Although even getting a penalty wouldn’t really have mattered, given he was dead last anyway.

      1. Ah, it was only a glitch in the tables.

    3. Once again another abysmal strategy call by Mercedes for Schumacher. If instead of bringing him in 3 laps from the end, they’d brought him in on the last lap he wouldn’t have been lapped by the leaders until that pit stop, would have gotten an extra lap, and beaten Rosberg.

      1. Please dude, stop blaming Mercedes strategists for Schumacher not finishing in front of his teammate. Schumacher screwed his own chances up by losing it under braking and sliding off.

        Its always easy to say what strategy is right and wrong after the race is over. Hindsight is always in 20-20 vision.

        1. Dude. I agree that MSC didn’t do himself any favours by spinning. However, with 3 laps to go, I was thinking his tyres are still good, he’ll pit on the last lap to stay ahead of the leader, and beat Rosberg. So, it wasn’t hindsight, I saw it unfolding and Mercedes didn’t.

          1. Look at the gap, he was too far behind Rosberg, and faster, but not fast enough on the soft tyres than Rosberg on hards. Those last few laps, as Schumacher did his pitstop, Rosberg stopped pushing.

            I wonder, if he had done a very long stint on the hard tyres, maybe he wouldn’t have lost so very much time – if his own pace in those last laps is an indication, he might have done about the same time as on softs with the extra pitstop.

            Which brings me to their problem: compare the relative gap from leader between Mercedes and Sutil in the 2nd stint. Sutil losing about .5s/lap on the leader, both Merc. cars really evenly matched but start almost 2s, reducing to half a second at the end, slower. And Sutil couls make that stint last a Saubery long distance, at that race-average-laptime speed.

            Never minds Renault, they need to worry about both FI cars getting a good weekend and trouncing them.

          2. But this season, Mercedes have been really conservative, and scared, with strategy. They go for the larger number of pitstops, but aren’t always fast enough to make that work.

            In recent races the lack of success of Renault has masked it a bit, but for several races this year, Renault, Sauber, and now FI, have matched them on race pace or outfoxed them with adequate pace and better tyre preservation.

            1. Remember Monaco? Mercedes has tyre wear issues.

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