Drivers vary set-ups facing threat of rain

2011 Brazilian GP qualifying analysis

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Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Interlagos, 2011

With rain forecast for the race, some drivers have leaned towards wet weather set-ups for their cars, running more wing.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner said during final practice that teams no longer have to make major set-up changes to their cars in wet conditions as current F1 cars have so much downforce.

That’s certainly true for the RB7, but as the data below indicates some drivers in other teams have opted to run with more downforce.

Qualifying times in full

  • Jenson Button bounced back from a string of poor qualifying performances in Brazil – in the last five years he started 14th, 16th, 17th, 14th and 11th at Interlagos.
  • Having been very quick in Q2, Nico Rosberg lost half a second in Q3: “I was maybe a little too slow on my out lap in Q3 so my tyres didn’t work perfectly on my fast lap, and that’s why I wasn’t as quick as in Q2”, he said.
  • Felipe Massa had a troubled session: “In some corners I was locking up the front and in the slower ones I suffered with understeer, in others I lacked traction: all in all, the car was rather difficult to drive. On top of that, it was a rather complicated day. I had to use two sets of softs in Q2 and I paid for that in Q3, as I could only do one run.”
  • Unusually, both Virgins were out-qualified by both HRTs. “The car was bad to drive this morning – suddenly from one run to another it had no stability any more,” said Timo Glock. “So it was difficult to go into qualifying with confidence, even though in the first run the car felt okay. I got a safe lap in then I tried to push on the second set of tyres. I had a very good first three corners but then one of the Toro Rossos came out of the pits right in front of me and just stayed there during his out lap, so I couldn’t go quicker and lost some time.”

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’13.6641’12.268 (-1.396)1’11.918 (-0.350)
2Mark WebberRed Bull1’13.4671’12.518 (-0.949)1’12.099 (-0.419)
3Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’13.2811’12.613 (-0.668)1’12.283 (-0.330)
4Lewis HamiltonMcLaren1’13.3611’12.811 (-0.550)1’12.480 (-0.331)
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’13.9691’12.821 (-1.148)1’12.591 (-0.230)
6Nico RosbergMercedes1’14.0831’12.569 (-1.514)1’13.050 (+0.481)
7Felipe MassaFerrari1’14.2691’13.291 (-0.978)1’13.068 (-0.223)
8Adrian SutilForce India1’13.4801’13.261 (-0.219)1’13.298 (+0.037)
9Bruno SennaRenault1’14.4531’13.300 (-1.153)1’13.761 (+0.461)
10Michael SchumacherMercedes1’13.6941’13.571 (-0.123)
11Paul di RestaForce India1’13.7331’13.584 (-0.149)
12Rubens BarrichelloWilliams1’14.1171’13.801 (-0.316)
13Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso1’14.2251’13.804 (-0.421)
14Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso1’14.5001’13.919 (-0.581)
15Vitaly PetrovRenault1’13.8591’14.053 (+0.194)
16Kamui KobayashiSauber1’14.5711’14.129 (-0.442)
17Sergio PerezSauber1’14.4301’14.182 (-0.248)
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’14.625
19Heikki KovalainenLotus1’15.068
20Jarno TrulliLotus1’15.358
21Vitantonio LiuzziHRT1’16.631
22Daniel RicciardoHRT1’16.890
23Jerome D’AmbrosioVirgin1’17.019
24Timo GlockVirgin1’17.060

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.

  • Adrian Sutil made it into Q3 while team mate Paul di Resta missed out. The pair tied 9-9 in qualifiyng over the course of the season, with Sutil beating di Resta 8-2 over the last ten races.
  • Bruno Senna beat Vitaly Petrov into Q3. “I didn’t actually feel I made many mistakes,” said Petrov. “I had quite a quick lap at the end of Q1 but then I lost some grip on my lap in Q2, which left me where it did.”
TeamDriverLap timeGapLap timeDriverRound
Red BullSebastian Vettel1’11.918-0.1811’12.099Mark WebberQ3
McLarenLewis Hamilton1’12.480+0.1971’12.283Jenson ButtonQ3
FerrariFernando Alonso1’12.591-0.4771’13.068Felipe MassaQ3
MercedesMichael Schumacher1’13.571+1.0021’12.569Nico RosbergQ2
RenaultBruno Senna1’13.300-0.7531’14.053Vitaly PetrovQ2
WilliamsRubens Barrichello1’14.117-0.5081’14.625Pastor MaldonadoQ1
Force IndiaAdrian Sutil1’13.261-0.3231’13.584Paul di RestaQ2
SauberKamui Kobayashi1’14.129-0.0531’14.182Sergio PerezQ2
Toro RossoSebastien Buemi1’13.919+0.1151’13.804Jaime AlguersuariQ2
LotusHeikki Kovalainen1’15.068-0.2901’15.358Jarno TrulliQ1
HRTDaniel Ricciardo1’16.890+0.2591’16.631Vitantonio LiuzziQ1
VirginTimo Glock1’17.060+0.0411’17.019Jerome D’AmbrosioQ1

Sector times

Here are the drivers’ best times in each sector.

  • Times were very close in the short final sector – so much so that Vettel was seventh-fastest and Hamilton only 13th-fastest.
DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel18.239 (1)36.468 (1)17.172 (7)
Mark Webber18.362 (5)36.609 (2)17.128 (3)
Jenson Button18.331 (4)36.764 (3)17.188 (8)
Lewis Hamilton18.270 (2)36.956 (4)17.254 (13)
Fernando Alonso18.317 (3)36.970 (5)17.168 (5)
Nico Rosberg18.366 (6)37.160 (6)17.043 (1)
Felipe Massa18.486 (9)37.327 (7)17.218 (9)
Adrian Sutil18.530 (11)37.461 (8)17.169 (6)
Bruno Senna18.425 (8)37.573 (9)17.302 (15)
Michael Schumacher18.578 (15)37.811 (11)17.100 (2)
Paul di Resta18.580 (16)37.636 (10)17.253 (12)
Rubens Barrichello18.523 (10)37.949 (15)17.131 (4)
Jaime Alguersuari18.572 (14)37.861 (13)17.242 (11)
Sebastien Buemi18.569 (13)37.821 (12)17.301 (14)
Vitaly Petrov18.415 (7)37.873 (14)17.365 (17)
Kamui Kobayashi18.595 (17)38.096 (16)17.310 (16)
Sergio Perez18.547 (12)38.166 (17)17.390 (18)
Pastor Maldonado18.734 (18)38.620 (19)17.221 (10)
Heikki Kovalainen18.813 (19)38.565 (18)17.690 (19)
Jarno Trulli18.891 (20)38.685 (20)17.741 (20)
Vitantonio Liuzzi19.299 (24)39.402 (21)17.928 (21)
Daniel Ricciardo19.172 (21)39.569 (22)17.929 (22)
Jerome D’Ambrosio19.204 (22)39.794 (24)17.969 (24)
Timo Glock19.282 (23)39.745 (23)17.937 (23)

Speed trap

Here are the drivers’ maximum speeds.

  • The straight line speeds give us the best indication of which drivers are running more wing in anticipation of rain. It looks like two pairs have team mates have gone in different directions.
  • Pastor Maldonado suggested he was and this is borne out by the straight-line speeds plus his team mate’s fourth-quickest time through the final sector.
  • The same goes for the Toro Rosso pair, with Sebastien Buemi running more wing than Jaime Alguersuari, but still quicker than all bar four of the others.
PosDriverCarSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso316.2 (196.5)
2Sergio PerezSauber314.4 (195.4)-1.8
3Kamui KobayashiSauber314.0 (195.1)-2.2
4Rubens BarrichelloWilliams313.4 (194.7)-2.8
5Vitaly PetrovRenault311.1 (193.3)-5.1
6Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso310.9 (193.2)-5.3
7Bruno SennaRenault310.8 (193.1)-5.4
8Michael SchumacherMercedes310.0 (192.6)-6.2
9Nico RosbergMercedes309.5 (192.3)-6.7
10Pastor MaldonadoWilliams308.3 (191.6)-7.9
11Heikki KovalainenLotus307.7 (191.2)-8.5
12Adrian SutilForce India307.4 (191.0)-8.8
13Jarno TrulliLotus307.3 (190.9)-8.9
14Paul di RestaForce India307.1 (190.8)-9.1
15Fernando AlonsoFerrari306.9 (190.7)-9.3
16Lewis HamiltonMcLaren306.5 (190.5)-9.7
17Jenson ButtonMcLaren306.2 (190.3)-10.0
18Felipe MassaFerrari306.2 (190.3)-10.0
19Vitantonio LiuzziHRT301.7 (187.5)-14.5
20Daniel RicciardoHRT301.5 (187.3)-14.7
21Mark WebberRed Bull299.6 (186.2)-16.6
22Sebastian VettelRed Bull299.3 (186.0)-16.9
23Jerome D’AmbrosioVirgin296.9 (184.5)-19.3
24Timo GlockVirgin296.7 (184.4)-19.5

2011 Brazilian Grand Prix

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    16 comments on “Drivers vary set-ups facing threat of rain”

    1. A little disappointed to see Schumacher was apparently just slow in quali once again.
      Overall it seems all top teams have opted for a conservative aproach, RB being even slower than usual and Ferrari not being near the top in topspeeds. Not much excitement on that front to expect, but I’m still looking forward to an interesting race in the wet or even better changing conditions (just noticed in that case Button would be a good bet :-P).

    2. The talk of the town is that Lewis tyres pressures were optimized for two flying laps, contrary to Jenson’s for only one.

      That made the difference in the S2 in comparison with Jenson.

      I hope that this could help Lewis with his race pace with a heavy car if the race starts on a dry track.

      Incidentally, Jenson and Vettel seems to disagree a bit about dry and wet set up:

      Q: While the weather forecast tomorrow is for rain, have you chosen the set-up of your car only for qualifying or also thinking about 71 laps for tomorrow?

      SV: To be honest with you, I think a typical rain set-up doesn’t exist any more. The big difference is that you put on different tyres. Car-wise, there isn’t much you can do. Generally if it’s wet, you put on more downforce if anything but car-wise, from the set-up point of view, it’s more or less the same as in the dry.

      JB: I think that the set-up we’ve taken this weekend is a set-up that helps us in the wet, and it’s not been done on purpose, it’s just the way it is for us around here. Yeah, as Seb said, there’s not a big difference. You don’t really have a massive change to the car for wet conditions but there are small things.

      1. Well, I get Vettel´s point you doný know exactly how the weather is gonna change. And since you cant change the setup anymore after qualifying I guess you choose something in between…

        Imagine that you setup for wet race and it doesn´t rain like today…

      2. Prior to the Canadian GP Button said the exact same thing as Vettel did now.

    3. A small mistake I think, I think it’s actually 10-9 to Sutil in qualifying. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: based on pure performance, Sutil does not deserve the sack.

      1. I don’t think many people are claiming he does.

        But neither does Paul di Resta deserve the sack, while Nico Hülkenberg probably does deserve a chance to race again. Three into two won’t fit. What would you do, if the decision was yours to make?

        1. I would … swallow my pride and support Di Montezemolo’s plan to introduce a 3rd car !

        2. I’d keep Sutil and Di Resta. Continuity is good and Hulkenberg didn’t really impress me at all last season.

          1. Somehow, I think that’s what they’re gonna do. They need Sutil’s money and he’s just performing too well to change.
            Not what I would do, but I think FI Will…

          2. I’d ditch Sutil. If we here alk about the STR drivers having reached their potential and not growin, that is even more true for Sutil.

            I think he would be a good candidate for either Williams or Renault though. Having experience, bringing some money and being fast enough for solid qualli and points.

            1. @BasCB The problem with Sutil is perhaps continuity. The team may benefit from a severe shake-up. That said, they performed well today and I can’t see them improving much next year. I don’t think there is space to improve.

            2. I think FI will have quite a struggle to keep at the level they are next year @andrewtanner, even if their technical team now seems to be stable again, STR are getting better, Sauber got back into a groove, Mercedes is likely to be further ahead and even Williams and Lotus might get up there at times next year.

              But I do think thats not a bad situation to put a fresh lineup in. I agree with you on the Sutil thing there.

    4. Couple of observations:
      Rosberg’s time in Q2 would have put him ahead of Alonso in Q3 if he could have replicated it. Impressive lap.
      Top speed difference across the grid is huge (again) – Vettel is giving away 14kph to the likes of Baricello. The top runners all seem to have more wing/lower gear ratio in anticipation of a wet race so no obvious advantage that i can see between them if it rains.

    5. May be Roseberg ran on a dry set up with helped him to achived P2 or may be it was one of those laps that came out of nowhere.

    6. Did Buemi not complain about problems in his car in Q2? What were they?

    7. Looks interesing. Nice to have heard Alguersuari say he is looking forward to having a bit of rain anyhow. It does show how he might not be the fastest of the STR drivers, but more the racer.

    Comments are closed.