Tyres will make race “massively challenging”

2013 Australian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Melbourne, 2013The disrupted build-up to the Australian Grand Prix means teams are heading into today’s race with many unknowns.

The postponement of qualifying today meant Q2 and Q3 were held in unusually cool conditions more like those seen in testing than in races.

And for those drivers in the final ten it meant grappling with graining on a cold track with slick tyres. And the more laps they did, the worse condition they’ll be in for the start of the race.

“It’s going to be massively challenging with the tyres, not really knowing how long the tyres are going last,” said Lewis Hamilton.

“I’ve already had graining, I’ve already done maybe a lap or two more than these guys on the tyres so that means I’m going to struggle to go as long as them in the first stint.”

Hamilton did two flying laps on his super-soft tyres, as did his team mate, the two Ferrari drivers and Paul di Resta. The Red Bull and Lotus drivers only did one flying lap on their tyres, whereas Jenson Button did three.

Those who start outside the top ten will have free choice of tyres, and may fare better on the more durable medium compounds. But there is also the threat of further rain, which could make these calculations irrelevant.

Here’s the data from qualifying.

Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’44.6571’36.745 (-7.912)1’27.407 (-9.338)
2Mark WebberRed Bull1’44.4721’36.524 (-7.948)1’27.827 (-8.697)
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’45.4561’36.625 (-8.831)1’28.087 (-8.538)
4Felipe MassaFerrari1’44.6351’36.666 (-7.969)1’28.490 (-8.176)
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’43.8501’36.691 (-7.159)1’28.493 (-8.198)
6Nico RosbergMercedes1’43.3801’36.194 (-7.186)1’28.523 (-7.671)
7Kimi RaikkonenLotus1’45.5451’37.517 (-8.028)1’28.738 (-8.779)
8Romain GrosjeanLotus1’44.2841’37.641 (-6.643)1’29.013 (-8.628)
9Paul di RestaForce India1’45.6011’36.901 (-8.700)1’29.305 (-7.596)
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’44.6881’36.644 (-8.044)1’30.357 (-6.287)
11Nico HulkenbergSauber1’45.9301’38.067 (-7.863)
12Adrian SutilForce India1’47.3301’38.134 (-9.196)
13Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’44.8711’38.778 (-6.093)
14Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1’46.4501’39.042 (-7.408)
15Sergio PerezMcLaren1’44.3001’39.900 (-4.400)
16Valtteri BottasWilliams1’47.3281’40.290 (-7.038)
17Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’47.614
18Esteban GutierrezSauber1’47.776
19Jules BianchiMarussia1’48.147
20Max ChiltonMarussia1’48.909
21Giedo van der GardeCaterham1’49.519
22Charles PicCaterham1’50.626

Charles Pic was outside of the 107% time by 0.01s in Q1 but under the circumstances is likely to receive a dispensation to start the race.

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel28.427 (1)23.312 (1)35.299 (1)
Mark Webber28.634 (2)23.351 (2)35.842 (2)
Lewis Hamilton28.673 (3)23.372 (4)36.042 (5)
Felipe Massa29.117 (7)23.442 (6)35.931 (3)
Fernando Alonso28.984 (5)23.361 (3)36.148 (8)
Nico Rosberg28.827 (4)23.600 (9)36.096 (6)
Kimi Raikkonen29.043 (6)23.561 (7)36.134 (7)
Romain Grosjean29.611 (9)23.409 (5)35.993 (4)
Paul di Resta29.318 (8)23.584 (8)36.403 (9)
Jenson Button29.661 (10)23.773 (10)36.923 (10)
Nico Hulkenberg31.540 (11)25.355 (12)40.969 (15)
Adrian Sutil31.841 (12)25.251 (11)40.598 (13)
Jean-Eric Vergne32.809 (15)25.402 (13)40.550 (12)
Daniel Ricciardo32.524 (14)25.537 (14)40.776 (14)
Sergio Perez33.691 (16)25.676 (16)40.463 (11)
Valtteri Bottas32.419 (13)25.552 (15)41.504 (16)
Pastor Maldonado36.107 (19)27.148 (18)44.359 (19)
Esteban Gutierrez36.051 (18)26.930 (17)43.357 (17)
Jules Bianchi36.424 (20)27.614 (19)44.109 (18)
Max Chilton35.861 (17)28.198 (21)44.850 (22)
Giedo van der Garde36.901 (22)27.779 (20)44.398 (20)
Charles Pic36.675 (21)28.482 (22)44.753 (21)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes311.1 (193.3)
2Felipe MassaFerrari309.7 (192.4)-1.4
3Paul di RestaForce India308.3 (191.6)-2.8
4Fernando AlonsoFerrari308.2 (191.5)-2.9
5Kimi RaikkonenLotus307.9 (191.3)-3.2
6Sebastian VettelRed Bull307.6 (191.1)-3.5
7Romain GrosjeanLotus307.1 (190.8)-4.0
8Nico RosbergMercedes306.6 (190.5)-4.5
9Mark WebberRed Bull304.9 (189.5)-6.2
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren299.7 (186.2)-11.4
11Valtteri BottasWilliams299.3 (186.0)-11.8
12Sergio PerezMcLaren293.2 (182.2)-17.9
13Nico HulkenbergSauber290.7 (180.6)-20.4
14Adrian SutilForce India290.5 (180.5)-20.6
15Giedo van der GardeCaterham277.9 (172.7)-33.2
16Esteban GutierrezSauber276.5 (171.8)-34.6
17Pastor MaldonadoWilliams272.8 (169.5)-38.3
18Max ChiltonMarussia271.9 (169.0)-39.2
19Charles PicCaterham271.2 (168.5)-39.9
20Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso270.7 (168.2)-40.4
21Jules BianchiMarussia266.3 (165.5)-44.8
22Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso261.4 (162.4)-49.7

Over to you

How do you think today’s race will unfold? Can anyone catch Red Bull?

Share your views on the Australian Grand Prix in the comments.

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Lotus/LAT

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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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20 comments on “Tyres will make race “massively challenging””

  1. I bet Caterham are regretting a few of the decisions they made over the winter …

    1. Yeah, finally Marussia made it.

      1. Well, it remains to be seen exactly what the gap is – we have to take into consideration the extreme conditions in qualifying, and of course, they’re yet to race. But after over-promising and under-delivering so much for the past three years, locking out the back row of the grid has got to be disheartening.

    2. I reckon Pic regrets his move (I mean his money move) from Marussia to Caterham !!!

  2. I might be wrong here, but the disparate between Hamilton’s top end speed and Rosberg’s (4.5 kph) would seem to suggest that the latter is running with a little bit more wing, maybe. This might perhaps have accounted for the difference between both cars in the wet and subsequent dry conditions. It could also stand Rosberg in better stead for the race, as it should enable him to look after his tyres a bit better. It has me a tad nervous, to be honest, as I’m praying for Ham to make it to the podium, but I would be happy with a good/great result for either of the Mercs.

  3. Actually Sebastian almost did two flying laps, he only backed off when he was sure he got pole, which was just before the pitlane.

  4. Darn you, Red Bull :_(

    I hope it’s a “too early to call it a day” situation…

    1. Last year’s qualifying didn’t mean anything in terms of race pace isnt it? Since DRS was allowed throughout the track. It Now that DRS can be deployed only in the DRS zone, its an accurate description of race pace. I dont like it.

    2. Please let seb do something stupid with the backmarkers and let webber win this one . I can tolerate red bull winning as long as its webber at home . I hope lewis doesn’t go backwards .

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    17th March 2013, 2:28

    So JB did 3 flyers on the SS’s.

    Well, he’ll be screwed for the first stint, unless it rains.

  6. Hope the tyres don’t end up playing too big a role as I really want to see a proper race.

    1. Hope the tyres will differenciate the excellent car/driver combination from the good and thus reward constructors and drivers fairly.

  7. Great comments above as always so to recap: Bad move to Caterham for pic; Caterham struggling; Tyre concerns (however this will enable the top ten to be overtaken & improove the spectacle).
    Other note worthy points:
    1. Mclaren how long can Martin Whitmarsh hold onto his multi million pound job after last years dreadful season – allowing Lewis Hamilton to slip thru his fingers – loosing lowe – producing this donkey of a car.
    2. Where is the long line of TV pundits / ex F1 racers / soap box experts. Not one of them has re-appeared & held up their hands & said it looks like we made a massive mis-judgement over Hammy’s move to Mercedes & we’d like to appologise. Yes, guys we understand ‘you only speak when your being paid’! So there’s no money being paid out for appologies – and your all not man enough to do it any way!
    Getting close now to an exciting race!

    1. ^^ Whatever he said!

  8. This is just going from bad to worse for Mclaren. Already they’ve made two key operational blunders by making the call to switch to Supersofts in Q2 then keeping Perez on them, and afterwards sending Button out too early for too many laps on his Supersoft tyres.

  9. Anthony Bosley (@)
    17th March 2013, 4:30

    I don’t think people quite understand Pic’s move to caterham. He didn’t move there from marussia, he had no seat for this year had he not taken it, otherwise he would have ended up like every other marussia rookie.

    So it’s not his bad decision he moved to the team, it was his only decision.

    1. @bosley

      So it’s not his bad decision he moved to the team, it was his only decision.

      I don’t think Pic regrets moving to Caterham – I suspect Caterham will regret taking him and van der Garde. We’ve only had one qualifying session, but they’ve been in the wars all throughout this weekend. And with Jules Bianchi racing for Marussia, you’d have to say that Marussia are in better shape to place in the World Constructors’ Championship this year.

  10. Whats with the huge differences in speed trap this time around? ROS 4.5 km’s slower than HAM in the same car? Surely ROS isn’t running that much more rear wing than his team mate? With a difference like that, we’d almost see the difference in rear wing depth of the 2 team mates :P

  11. Before anyone writes off this season. Remember last year Button won the first race and was not seen again till mid-season. That out of the way. Vettel for WC.

  12. I hate to say it but, barring rain and unreliability, the only way I can see someone from a team other than Red Bull winning is if Red Bull make a mistake with their tyre strategy and someone else gets it perfect. I just don’t think on dry race pace anyone else is going to be close unfortunately.

Comments are closed.