Sector times put Ferrari on top at Monza

2012 Italian GP Friday practice analysis

Posted on

| Written by

McLaren headed the practice times on Friday ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

But Lewis Hamilton, who set the day’s fastest time, was just 0.058s quicker than Fernando Alonso over their best laps.

And on sector times, Ferrari had the edge. Felipe Massa’s three best sector times put him one tenth of a second faster than Hamilton, and he was almost matched by Alonso.

The times show Ferrari have a quick car for their home race – and underline how close the front-runners are at Monza.

Jenson Button said: “Looking at the data, there are quite a few teams out there that look quick too: it’s very close and that’s going to make it an interesting race.”

Here is the data from the first two practice sessions for the Italian Grand Prix.

Sector times and ultimate lap times – second practice

CarDriverCarSector 1Sector 2Sector 3Ultimate lapGapDeficit to best
16Felipe MassaFerrari27.675 (7)29.071 (2)28.433 (1)1’25.1790.251
25Fernando AlonsoFerrari27.607 (4)29.082 (3)28.503 (2)1’25.1920.0130.156
34Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes27.585 (3)29.067 (1)28.638 (6)1’25.2900.1110.000
43Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes27.456 (1)29.150 (4)28.707 (7)1’25.3130.1340.015
58Nico RosbergMercedes27.643 (6)29.169 (5)28.518 (3)1’25.3300.1510.116
69Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault27.763 (8)29.201 (6)28.534 (4)1’25.4980.3190.006
711Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes27.617 (5)29.205 (7)28.711 (8)1’25.5330.3540.013
812Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes27.554 (2)29.249 (9)28.744 (9)1’25.5470.3680.000
915Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari27.914 (15)29.339 (10)28.588 (5)1’25.8410.6620.227
1010Jerome D’AmbrosioLotus-Renault27.988 (17)29.232 (8)28.746 (10)1’25.9660.7870.191
117Michael SchumacherMercedes27.801 (12)29.387 (11)28.808 (13)1’25.9960.8170.098
122Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault27.798 (11)29.437 (12)28.843 (15)1’26.0780.8990.026
1318Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault27.851 (13)29.677 (14)28.772 (11)1’26.3001.1210.104
141Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault27.780 (9)29.567 (13)28.956 (17)1’26.3031.1240.091
1519Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault28.016 (18)29.708 (16)28.804 (12)1’26.5281.3490.255
1616Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari27.792 (10)29.855 (19)28.937 (16)1’26.5841.4050.140
1714Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari28.121 (19)29.695 (15)28.841 (14)1’26.6571.4780.073
1820Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault27.913 (14)29.798 (17)29.073 (20)1’26.7841.6050.057
1917Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari27.928 (16)29.830 (18)29.072 (19)1’26.8301.6510.034
2021Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault28.236 (20)29.861 (20)29.057 (18)1’27.1541.9750.068
2124Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth28.456 (24)30.052 (22)29.383 (21)1’27.8912.7120.053
2225Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth28.374 (22)30.049 (21)29.545 (22)1’27.9682.7890.000
2322Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth28.417 (23)30.386 (23)29.739 (24)1’28.5423.3630.033
2423Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth28.372 (21)30.567 (24)29.685 (23)1’28.6243.4450.155

Ferrari were not as quick as McLaren in the first part of the lap but more than made that up elsewhere, as Alonso explained: “Compared to Spa, here we are on the pace, maybe we have a bit more downforce and make up a bit of time at the two Lesmos and the second chicane, while we are losing out in the first sector with the two long straights.

“We will analyse these details this evening and tomorrow we will try and improve also in terms of top speed, which was probably our weak point today.”

Longest stint comparison – second practice

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

Sebastian Vettel94.55891.20591.42490.7991.07193.691
Mark Webber91.67290.71790.46690.31790.64490.35690.17790.14490.37494.74190.1890.90890.390.652
Jenson Button91.32391.14690.77390.57390.57890.73290.73492.9790.609
Lewis Hamilton91.38496.03890.52990.41390.62790.20990.06690.18290.61689.82897.402
Fernando Alonso85.71392.27985.56491.97685.35
Felipe Massa90.90490.39890.23790.19390.30190.66990.5193.46890.31890.38193.68490.45690.82790.936
Michael Schumacher90.1789.83990.47690.32891.37190.09189.88289.70890.59689.92990.14990.01489.98790.39490.03689.965
Nico Rosberg90.39690.14690.57589.88889.90389.81589.68990.30689.77692.75190.07389.115
Kimi Raikkonen90.64490.6790.51390.49390.30790.67290.18390.01290.36690.6390.34390.10590.13990.68390.18590.205
Jerome dAmbrosio92.53591.37491.70491.20191.72591.30391.19791.26690.97991.055
Paul di Resta91.37991.58291.79990.75191.60390.70290.68390.94590.73590.61990.80291.39191.52296.46390.85490.745
Nico Hulkenberg91.32191.09295.791.13391.07290.64690.74590.53890.66890.41690.38890.27890.60890.201
Kamui Kobayashi89.26288.27897.53788.18587.59389.81687.33286.73
Sergio Perez86.66986.32195.38886.07293.41786.79586.068
Daniel Ricciardo91.85191.69991.45891.42391.24891.06891.190.83991.2491.14991.63791.15191.359
Jean-Eric Vergne92.76991.99491.75591.63891.80891.78491.26291.41991.30591.79791.27691.14291.19891.43191.52
Pastor Maldonado92.02391.32693.58491.39390.88590.60492.290.86191.38491.02890.57890.83891.322
Bruno Senna93.32291.87992.09291.41791.07791.35291.16591.171
Heikki Kovalainen92.37996.22991.49391.591.80691.4691.64891.63291.27891.33991.053
Vitaly Petrov91.93391.80191.64291.53791.75193.0791.36991.4492.81193.94291.72992.76895.49592.10192.263
Pedro de la Rosa93.14192.52492.51492.21292.09492.40491.91291.98592.29696.52692.879
Narain Karthikeyan90.30590.1289.82589.52789.48189.477
Timo Glock92.44191.9792.15891.96191.84591.72691.99691.79991.8294.79191.581
Charles Pic93.82892.96893.10593.47693.33692.81592.45592.418

After four consecutive wet Friday practice sessions the teams finally had the chance to do some long runs and try to suss out tyre performance over a race stint.

They discovered the tyres are holding up well at Monza, where Pirelli has brought the medium and hard compounds. Kimi Raikkonen managed a particularly long stint with very consistent times.

Alonso was unable to do a long run at the end of second practice having been sidelined with a gearbox problem – though fortunately not one that will leave him with a grid penalty.

Having observed the progress of his team mate and rivals Alonso said: “I expect we will see different strategies in qualifying because there seems to be very little difference between the medium and hard tyres. In the race we will have to use both and so in the end it balances out.”

Nico Rosberg was also encouraged by Mercedes’ performance: “It seems that we have a good pace on high and low fuel levels,” he said.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said the medium tyre appeared to offer little in the way of a clear performance advantage over the more durable hard tyre: “We might see different approaches tomorrow, and some drivers could even try a one-stop strategy for the race: the winning tactic in Belgium a week ago, which used the same compounds.

“Although there are many places in Monza that put a lot of energy through the tyres, the overall wear rate has been very good today, which allowed a number of the drivers to set their fastest times later on in their runs.”

Complete practice times

1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.9441’25.290
2Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’25.7231’25.328
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’25.8001’25.348
4Michael SchumacherMercedes1’25.4221’26.094
5Felipe MassaFerrari1’25.8811’25.430
6Nico RosbergMercedes1’25.7621’25.446
7Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’26.0461’25.504
8Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’26.5181’25.547
9Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’25.548
10Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’26.3231’26.068
11Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’26.3901’26.104
12Jerome D’AmbrosioLotus-Renault1’27.1801’26.157
13Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’26.5081’26.394
14Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’26.5041’26.404
15Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’26.641
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.3731’26.724
17Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’26.7461’26.730
18Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’26.783
19Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’27.8551’26.841
20Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’27.7891’26.864
21Jules BianchiForce India-Mercedes1’27.192
22Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’28.5781’27.222
23Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’29.2071’27.944
24Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’28.7511’27.968
25Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’29.3311’28.575
26Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’28.779
27Ma Qing HuaHRT-Cosworth1’31.239

Neither Red Bull made it into the top ten, raising the possibility of their drivers struggling to make it into Q3 tomorrow, as Sebastian Vettel failed to do at Spa.

Mark Webber said: “We’re working hard, but we’re not there yet. We were a bit more competitive on the longer runs in practice today. We’re not normally the Friday world champions, so we’ll do some work now for tomorrow. We often find a good step ahead of qualifying.”

The first practice session also saw the debut of Ma Qing Hua, the first Chinese driver to participate in an official F1 session. Ma described it as an “extraordinary experience”:

“From the start I felt comfortable in the car and working with the team, and I accomplished all the targets we set ourselves.

“We started with quite a long stint on hard tyres and then we made changes to the set-up as I adapted to the F112. It was an important step for me, but also for motorsport in China since it’s a very young sport there but with a great potential.”

Speed trap – second practice

#DriverCarEngineMax speed (kph)Gap
110Jerome D’AmbrosioLotusRenault345.4
29Kimi RaikkonenLotusRenault3432.4
33Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes342.33.1
44Lewis HamiltonMcLarenMercedes341.93.5
511Paul di RestaForce IndiaMercedes341.73.7
612Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes341.34.1
715Sergio PerezSauberFerrari339.46
814Kamui KobayashiSauberFerrari339.36.1
97Michael SchumacherMercedesMercedes338.47
108Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes338.47
1120Heikki KovalainenCaterhamRenault3387.4
1222Pedro de la RosaHRTCosworth3387.4
135Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari337.97.5
1421Vitaly PetrovCaterhamRenault337.57.9
156Felipe MassaFerrariFerrari337.38.1
1616Daniel RicciardoToro RossoFerrari336.78.7
1717Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoFerrari336.58.9
1825Charles PicMarussiaCosworth336.49
1924Timo GlockMarussiaCosworth335.89.6
2023Narain KarthikeyanHRTCosworth333.711.7
2119Bruno SennaWilliamsRenault333.412
2218Pastor MaldonadoWilliamsRenault333.212.2
232Mark WebberRed BullRenault329.116.3
241Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault328.716.7

A big part of the reason for Red Bull’s troubles is their poor straight-line speed – over 4kph slower than any other car. Significantly the Lotuses, which use the same Renault engines, were the fastest, indicating the problem is not necessarily a lack of horsepower.

2012 Italian Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Italian Grand Prix articles

Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

34 comments on “Sector times put Ferrari on top at Monza”

  1. nice analysis as usual, but I don’t believe in Ferraris pace, they tend to show their true potential in friday practice, they are surely better but i don’t think they have enough for Mclaren-Mercedes.

    1. Agree. Ferrari might be running a bit lighter on fuel. I expect they will be quite a bit behind.

    2. Forget the Ferrari’s., Narain has MONSTER race pace. He can win from the back!

      1. Haha really it is :D

  2. The speed trap chart is really interesting, we don’t really know for sure if those speed were obtained when slip-streaming anyways those stats reveal how long are teams 7th gears, Williams super quick at SPA seem to be running too much downforce this time? cause Lotus surely won’t make the Belgium mistake this weekend they brought the low drag spec, i can’t understand red bulls speed trap marks, perhaps running low revs for friday, maybe scarbs can shed a light on the mystery.

    1. They paired nicely per 2 for those speed traps … We are used to see RedBull at the bottom of top speed but not by that margin. It could be a struggle to match Lotus and McLaren in the straight and we saw at Spa the importance of top speed with Sch passing back or defending Kimi just because of his beter speed …

  3. FP times mean squat…I bet the pole times atleast 1.23.000

    Ferraris got poor top speed, I guess macca’s extra diffuse DF is getting them out the corners a lot quicker

    1. Read the article, alonso says that Ferrari were running higher down.

    2. last year the winner had the slowest top speed…check…

  4. Ferrari need to improve top speed unless they will be easily overtaken. They might be OK, if they repeat something like Red Bull did last year but it’s unlikely because F2012 doesn’t have mighty downforce of RB7(RB8 either though!)

    1. As long as Fernando is on the podium and ahead of the red bulls, it will be a good day for Ferrari.

    2. Ferrari need to improve top speed unless they will be easily overtaken.

      On the other hand, when they have the edge in sectors 2 and 3, their rivals will find it difficult to be close enough for overtaking, because that’s where they need to be close.

      1. yes in a normal race like 2010. when you could do that. In the DRS age the one moment they get with in a second of you it will be mirror signal maneuver.

        Question for you guys. as i didnt see FP. was everyone using DRS all round the lap like they usually do in FP?? i never understand this when they are running race fuel, its totally false data as you dont use drs on every straight in the race. its only useful to set up gearing for qualy.

  5. From lap time chart, it seems like Kimi vs Schumi. Mercedes should have greater torque, whilst Lotus would have better straight line speed configuration just like last year at Monza.

    1. Yeah, looks like Mercs and Lotus are race ready. I would question Mercs tyre wear though, I was amazed how bad it was in Spa.

  6. I can not possibly be the only one that automatically assumed the article was going to be about Alonso when reading the title.

  7. That Red Bull is such a drag!

    Seriously, though, Webber did put in a good long run, competitive with Hamilton and slightly longer. Button’s long run doesn’t look quite as good, but I think he had a very good run in FP1 on the harder tyre.

    Jenson Button said: “Looking at the data, there are quite a few teams out there that look quick too: it’s very close and that’s going to make it an interesting race.”

    Well, I hope so, but with a low of cars of similar speed all trying to do a one-stop strategy, we could be in for a processional race. If tyre wear is higher than expected, though, and teams find that they have to make their first stop around lap 17-18, rather 23-34, then we could be in for an interesting finale.

    1. just a pity that Vettel and Webber will need their good race pace starting mid pack, will they get clean air to show it

  8. i think lotus and sauber could make a one stop race work, would be exciting to see raikkonen one stop and the other top drivers having to do a two stop race

    1. @um1234
      The last two races in Monza have been one-stoppers, so I very much doubt that this will have such increased tyre wear that it will require more, especially on medium and hards.

      1. @jamiefranklin Remember that in 2010 F1 was still using Bridgestone rubber, so that was always going to be a one stop. That said however, last year was medium and soft so this year, by rights should be a one stopper for those who are kind to their tyres. Hoperfully @um1234 is right about Lotus and they can capitalise.

  9. cmon felipe! if you’re ever going to score podiums again, it’s needed right now.

    1. :-) Would be a great time to do it in front of the Tifosi, wouldn’t it!

      1. Felipe on the podium would make my weekend!

  10. To have the ultimate fastest lap is of little use if you’re fast in different sectors on different laps. If Massa were consistent, he could have his best weekend in a long time, it’s nice to see him on form.

  11. I’m not really worried for RBR. They rarely fair up well in the speed trap and they were miles behind Sauber (the top guys) in Spa. If they can stick like glue to the few corners there are I’m sure they will qualify and score well but I don’t envisage a 2011 style victory for them, I just don’t think they have the performance advantage this ear.

  12. Looking at practice earlier on the Mclaren’s times seemed to be up there even when the lap wasn’t that amazing. I’d said they’re the ones to watch – but a podium for Felipe this weekend would be brilliant!

  13. Are we going to have a good old-fashioned Ferrari vs McLaren scrap at Monza?? Can’t wait :)

    1. Looks like it. Though it would be beautifully exciting if D’Ambrosio could be up there causing problems. Not in a Grossjean way, mind ;)

  14. So much for analysing max engine power by looking at the speed-trap data, however reading the report of Kimis’ ragged first practice I’m guessing Lotus are running a very low drag configuration, should make for exciting racing.

  15. Wow what a great year! Nobody can figure anything out , no rhyme or reason to the races , anybody can win and the experts are made to look like fools.

  16. Schumacher looks particualy strong this weekend. His fastest lap in FP2 was actually a net quickest when you consider he did it with no DRS. I have been reading various analysis’s that suggest its worth upto 1.2 seconds around monza considering the 4 long straights. Also encouraged by mercedes long run pace. I think its actually a true reflection that they are in the hunt this weekend.

  17. It seems that Button and Hamilton made times on medium compound while Alonso was on hards, maybe another little improvement is possible.

  18. Hm, looks like we might see a race where the Mercedes cars qualify near the front again and then will have their work cut out to make it work over the distance. Can Schumi do a nice run defending from faster cars again this year?

    I would love to have it this tight come qualifying and the race, might bring us a repeat of 2010 with both Alonso and Massa fighting with Button. If we add Hamilton to that mix, and Kimi too (and have it complicated from all of them having to count on the Mercedes being somewhere in ther) it might be a real treat.
    Although for the championship an Alonso engine failure during the race would not be bad (giving Massa a win?)

Comments are closed.