2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice analysis

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Abu Dhabi, 2011

Data from the first two practice sessions for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Longest stint comparison – second session

  • Sebastian Vettel’s crash interrupted his long run so we only have his team mate’s effort to judge the Red Bull’s race stint performance from. Webber has tended to be harder on his tyres than Vettel: “I think I was too wide and too far on to the kerb, so I lost the rear and couldn’t catch the car any more,” he said.
  • Lewis Hamilton did a 12-lap run with little drop-off in lap time.
  • This is consistent with Pirelli’s expectation of two or three pit stops during the race, with drivers tending to follow the usual pattern of running the soft tyre early on before switching to the medium.
  • The Mercedes drivers ran long stints, with Nico Rosberg managing 14 laps before his tyres appeared to begin dropping off in performance.

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:


Sebastian Vettel107.156106.219111.938106.886142.09
Mark Webber107.473105.246104.852105.387105.559105.538104.741106.157106.137
Lewis Hamilton108.158106.483106.119106.003106.275106.474106.461106.403106.028105.919106.902105.962129.896
Jenson Button112.157106.839106.861106.407106.751106.264106.488105.806105.677105.863107.957106.49125.668
Fernando Alonso103.265102.725106.717102.476
Felipe Massa105.583105.816105.825106.467105.707105.751105.861106.235107.036124.698
Michael Schumacher107.545107.341107.635107.176108.792108.22107.373107.644107.627107.553115.013107.338107.614108.138
Nico Rosberg107.349106.983112.54107.112107.476107.009118.54106.806113.752106.463106.837107.427110.106107.378107.698
Bruno Senna109.08109.639109.08108.561109.273108.281111.315108.789109.713125.007
Vitaly Petrov108.267108.657109.596108.029108.271107.787109.672136.36
Rubens Barrichello109.269109.419109.56108.375111.789108.162133.374
Pastor Maldonado108.165107.499108.464107.797108.05108.267108.113107.497107.576109.126134.682
Adrian Sutil109.858107.62107.808108.614111.252107.07107.238106.975106.912106.326
Paul di Resta107.105107.116106.869107.035107.033107.03112.327106.657106.716131.311
Kamui Kobayashi107.232107.254107.172107.254107.311111.731106.805125.771
Sergio Perez108.778108.103111.193107.436107.559107.093107.291108.152136.07
Sebastien Buemi111.196108.852111.874108.469108.864109.186109.082143.135
Jaime Alguersuari109.656110.169107.959108.395107.75108.088107.748108.488108.215109.079107.842107.769107.982139.748
Heikki Kovalainen108.904108.496108.42108.427115.104108.241108.353108.443117.244108.119131.954
Jarno Trulli110.105109.917109.777109.789109.349109.171112.09108.658110.511108.225154.53
Daniel Ricciardo110.677109.97109.854109.779109.809110.07110.251109.567112.201109.759126.631
Vitantonio Liuzzi109.882106.249113.145107.165122.541
Timo Glock110.442109.99110.074110.092110.894110.089110.168110.959117.043139.853
Jerome d’Ambrosio111.828111.671111.622111.878114.409114.773111.502111.395

Complete practice times – first session

CarDriverCarBest lapGapStint lapAt timeLaps
14Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’40.2633/56721
22Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’40.3890.1264/69126
33Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’40.4030.1401/26827
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’40.7550.4927/76827
55Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’40.8010.5384/59225
66Felipe MassaFerrari1’41.2600.9971/39017
714Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’41.3401.0775/69223
88Nico RosbergMercedes1’42.1301.8676/64926
915Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’42.1511.8887/99028
1019Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’42.3772.1143/68926
1118Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’42.6332.3704/69126
129Romain GrosjeanRenault1’42.6852.4222/66829
1310Vitaly PetrovRenault1’43.1182.8553/48513
1412Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’43.2552.9927/74229
157Michael SchumacherMercedes1’43.3893.1266/64324
1617Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’44.4124.1495/64628
1716Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’44.4844.2217/77218
1820Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’44.5654.3025/66927
1921Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’44.8984.6357/86925
2023Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth1’46.3856.1228/99328
2122Daniel RicciardoHRT-Cosworth1’46.5326.2691/88127
2224Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’48.0247.7616/66720
2325Robert WickensVirgin-Cosworth1’48.5518.2884/69123
2411Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1

Complete practice times – second session

  • Pirelli expects the soft tyre to be around 1.2 seconds per lap quicker than the medium tyre.
  • Hamilton found two-tenths of a second over his closest rivals in the second and third sectors.
  • The quickest Red Bull was over a half a second down in the middle sector, which is dominated by two long straights.
  • Based on Hamilton’s lap time, the 107% time would be 1’46.557, which all cars are inside.
CarDriverCarBest lapGapStint lapAt timeLaps
13Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’39.5861/35131
24Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’39.7850.1993/35430
35Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’39.9710.3851/33919
46Felipe MassaFerrari1’39.9800.3943/36734
52Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’40.1040.5181/45235
61Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’40.1320.5462/25525
77Michael SchumacherMercedes1’40.5530.9673/34934
814Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’40.9511.3655/51534
915Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’41.0211.4355/56437
1016Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’41.4901.9041/44134
1117Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’41.5651.9793/44334
1218Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’41.6802.0944/43733
1310Vitaly PetrovRenault1’41.9472.3613/32631
1419Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’41.9832.3971/35034
159Bruno SennaRenault1’42.3692.7835/55136
1611Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’42.7983.2123/45335
1712Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Cosworth1’42.9103.3241/35434
1820Heikki KovalainenLotus-Renault1’43.5623.9767/76436
1921Jarno TrulliLotus-Renault1’44.0504.4646/66338
208Nico RosbergMercedes1’44.2654.67910/122941
2124Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’45.4865.9001/23833
2225Jerome D’AmbrosioVirgin-Cosworth1’46.1426.5561/49032
2323Vitantonio LiuzziHRT-Cosworth1’46.2496.6632/58821
2422Daniel RicciardoHRT-Cosworth1’46.3286.7422/35334

Speed trap – second session

  • As we have become used to seeing recently the Toro Rossos are the quickest cars in a straight line.
  • Jenson Button had one of the slowest cars through the speed trap and was pessimistic about his prospect of overtaking during the race: “I still reckon it’ll be difficult to overtake people in the DRS zones. So I think it’s going to be a bit of a struggle to make moves stick in the race – which means it’s going to be important to qualify up at the front.”
#DriverCarEngineMax speedGap
118Sebastien BuemiToro RossoFerrari323.4
219Jaime AlguersuariToro RossoFerrari323.10.3
317Sergio PerezSauberFerrari322.60.8
416Kamui KobayashiSauberFerrari319.83.6
510Vitaly PetrovRenaultRenault3194.4
69Bruno SennaRenaultRenault318.94.5
712Pastor MaldonadoWilliamsCosworth318.15.3
87Michael SchumacherMercedesMercedes317.36.1
911Rubens BarrichelloWilliamsCosworth316.66.8
1014Adrian SutilForce IndiaMercedes315.87.6
113Lewis HamiltonMcLarenMercedes315.77.7
1215Paul di RestaForce IndiaMercedes315.67.8
135Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari313.410
146Felipe MassaFerrariFerrari313.410
1522Daniel RicciardoHRTCosworth313.310.1
1625Jerome D’AmbrosioVirginCosworth313.210.2
1723Vitantonio LiuzziHRTCosworth313.110.3
182Mark WebberRed BullRenault313.110.3
1924Timo GlockVirginCosworth312.910.5
201Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault312.810.6
214Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes311.611.8
228Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes309.114.3
2320Heikki KovalainenLotusRenault307.915.5
2421Jarno TrulliLotusRenault307.915.5

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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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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    27 comments on “2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix practice analysis”

    1. How come all of the sudden Toro Rosso became the fastest team on the straights? That used to be Force India, didn’t it?

      1. Force India and Mercedes usually. I don’t know to be honest, unless STR are running a rear wing with less drag than before.

        1. The last few races Torro Rosso’s rear wing has been a visibly smaller angle than other teams

        2. they are also running a new front nose coon that is more flat like the mercedes one. this is giving them more airflow to the difusor. correct me if the terms are not written wel

      2. There have always have a good speed on straights… as far as I can remember even back in 2008.

      3. I’m glad STR started off really badly and are now doing very well. The opposite of Sauber, sadly.

      4. @fer-no65 I think the Force India now leans more towards aero performance than straight line in most cases.

    2. First!

      Keith, Congrats on providing a site that’s more user-friendly than both the BBC and FOM sites. So nice to have all this data, and manipulable also!

      Mclarens for Front Row Lock-out tomorrow I reckon

      1. I think the kid will have something to say about that, he won’t crash his car during Q3, so he should be able to get it back up front.

    3. “I think I was too wide and too far on to the kerb, so I lost the rear and couldn’t catch the car any more,” he said.

      Keith, I’m not sure I understand this bit. Is “he” Vettel, or Webber?

      1. Vettel, explaining his crash.

    4. It really seems to me, that the idea to allow DRS for full during Qualifying and only limited for passing in the race is blowing up right in their faces.

      They stated a reason to allow it in Qualli was to discourage teams from setting up their cars to run without it, making it ineffective because of the rev limit.
      This evidently did not work, as all since at least the mid season, all teams have followed Red Bulls lead and went for Qualli optimized DRS which can be activated really soon after each corner and on most parts of the track with a low fuel car.
      But it also means that the DRS loses much of its speed benefit for passing and therefore its not as interesting to gear for its use with a considerable amount of fuel and running in someones slipstream.

      1. Why don’t they just allow DRS where it is allowed during the race ? Just do as if every driver was less than a sec behind a virtual driver in a way…

        1. If it’s limited to race use only there’s the notion of teams not bothering with it altogether and optimising their cars for quali, where the lower gear ratio will mean better acceleration.

      2. It also has a negative impact on the slower teams, as they can’t open it as much as the downforce-intensive teams. Thereby expounding their problems!

        So yes, thoroughly agree. DRS in Quali is annoying, and I personally think it’s annoying all together. I was watching the BBC’s Classic f1 the other day – more than enough passing in each of those videos. Raikkonen and Hamilton seem to get the idea (even if they get it wrong) that if you want to pass someone, DO IT! Don’t moan about turbulence and ground effects.

        Personal thoughts, but I don’t believe I’m alone in the matter.

    5. Watching P2 made me wonder what value if any Williams will get from Raikonen as a driver. Why in the world would he take on this less than great opportunity to drive the Williams?? Little chance they will be any thing better than they are now and those team at the tope will cetainly get better and the gap to mid/low level teams will only become worse.
      Only a fool would imagine his presence in the team will make a hill of beans difference. The ride won’t amount to anything but putting money into his pockets and the sponsors putting money into the Williams team pockets. Zero chance of winning any race anytime soon.

      1. I disagree. There is a good chance the Williams car in 2012 will be a lot better as they have said they know the problems with the 2011 car and how to fix them on the new car. The Longer the same regulations last the more closer the times between the front and back of the grid get. See how close in times the 2008 grid was in the last year of the old regs.

        1. And one part of their problem has been the Cosworth engine’s apparent limited scope for an EBD solution; that won’t be there next year, even if it weren’t abolished, they’re having Renault engines next year.

          The other part I see is lack of reliability in their drive-train, but the change of engine, and another winter of testing should help them sort that better I would hope.

        2. While Williams may know how to fix the 2012 car based on 2011 problems that could mean that they have sacrificed significant development opportunities this year that they should have been making. They may just be playing catch up next year.

    6. Hamilton found two-tenths of a second over his closest rivals in the second and third sectors.

      Two things to point out & question,Did Lewis find two tenths per sector or both altogether? Interestingly,It says Hamilton not McLaren,which would mean Jenson as well.So its fully supports my & the BBC Commentators’ point about the middle & final sectors suiting Lewis’ driving style

      1. I think Button and Hamilton have taken different approaches with set-up as Lewis is considerably faster through the speed trap and it is a bigger factor in his sector times than those sections suiting his driving style.

    7. Do Toro Rosso ever try adding some more wing?

      They seem to always top the speed charts even in practice. Slap a gurney on the thing and see what happens!

      1. Hey they’re sticking with what has worked for them. I Notice Sauber are now copying them. Sauber was consistantly the slowest in the top speeds previously.

        1. Yeah, my comment was a bit tongue in cheek… It would be nice to see them near the bottom one time though, just to see if their pace improves, but obviously they know what they’re doing!

    8. Just finished watching practice after a long day at uni. My first observation is the Lewis’ long run looks very strong compared to others this year. Button also looked strong so I expect Mclaren to go very well. As Jenson says, overtaking looked very difficult despite the DRS so hopefully, we will see all drivers going all out for their best times in Q3 as grid position will be crucial.

      I expect it will be the simple SoftSoftMedium strategy, but with overtaking difficult, and higher track temps at the beginning of the race, it might be interesting to see if a driver starting in the lower reaches of the top 10 will gamble on starting on the Mediums.

      Finally, Vettel looked slightly uncomfortable for me today, but I’m sure he will bounce back tomorrow. However, I personally would be surprised to see anyone other than Hamilton on Pole.

    9. Also Keith, are there no ultimate lap times, as I believe Lewis was going quicker when he locked up going into turn 10 (? after the 2nd straight).

    10. This straight line speed is working wonders for the guys in the STR6 at the moment, especially with these huge straights. They’re already in a position to overtake on the straight with that advantage, DRS just confirms it and allows them to move on to their next target much quicker.

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