Lotus have race pace edge over Ferrari and Red Bull

2013 Bahrain GP Friday practice analysis

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Ferrari, Lotus and Red Bull are the three teams at the sharp end of the field in Bahrain – but in which order?

The fastest combined sector times from the session indicate Fernando Alonso had the quickest car under him.

But Kimi Raikkonen, who headed the second session, admitted “there’s still more time to be found” after a poor final sector on his best lap. The table below shows he was only 13th-fastest through that part of the track.

As ever Lotus’s real strength is their race stint pace and that was much in evidence at the end of the second practice session. Their longer stints were more competitive than those of Ferrari and Red Bull.

Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Already some drivers are completing more than 15 laps on the hard tyre, so we are certainly on track to see a three-stop strategy for the race, although it’s possible that some teams will attempt a two-stopper.” There’s a good chance Lotus will be among them.

McLaren were the only team to use a two-stop strategy instead of three in China. But Jenson Button admitted to being unsure how best to proceed with the unco-operative MP4-28.

“It’s very difficult to know exactly what to do with set-up,” he said. “This is a big traction circuit, with lots of low-speed exits and a few high-speed corners too, and that puts a lot of load into the rear tyres.

“The tyres are behaving a bit strangely here – driving conservatively doesn’t seem to help their wear-life, so there’s only so much you can do without damaging your outright pace.”

With Mercedes also struggling Force India look like the most competitive Mercedes-powered team this weekend.

Here’s all the data from the first two practice sessions:

Longest stint comparison

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


Sebastian Vettel100.111100.39100.427114.769100.172100.565100.952114.277101.574102.199
Mark Webber100.676101.52101.117101.195
Fernando Alonso99.44999.57799.86799.54899.892100.692101.94100.977
Felipe Massa100.024100.01899.336100.366100.115100.496100.768101.644102.597
Jenson Button101.882102.39100.953101.072101.291101.082101.588105.728101.938102.278
Sergio Perez101.584101.195101.522102.006101.506101.351101.506101.763102.21102.253102.257102.598102.914103.586
Kimi Raikkonen99.92199.789100.548100.469100.354100.47100.793101.191101.267100.819101.61100.849101.088101.213
Romain Grosjean104.043101.178100.898101.94101.911101.961101.959108.498102.399101.665102.183103.607
Nico Rosberg100.408100.795102.182100.971102.039100.839101.528103.249102.017102.376
Lewis Hamilton102.169101.462101.288101.438101.736109.931101.874103.191102.496103.022103.508
Nico Hulkenberg101.236101.645102.346102.218102.61102.588102.518102.528102.555102.825103.383
Esteban Gutierrez101.851125.639101.689102.292102.272101.712102.762102.507102.795103.458104.123103.968105.722104.845104.951107.505106.134
Paul di Resta100.245100.269101.37799.827100.091101.272100.046100.243100.304
Adrian Sutil101.52199.455100.389100.341100.509100.473109.241100.388101.091
Pastor Maldonado103.013103.553101.995102.169102.081102.312102.686102.771102.627
Valtteri Bottas102.419102.735102.831103.545102.988103.159102.476103.107102.646102.571103.757103.096
Jean-Eric Vergne103.698103.144102.16102.531102.382101.951102.106102.105102.085102.516103.018
Daniel Ricciardo102.504102.571102.846102.818103.268103.308103.312105.308105.327105.694
Charles Pic102.81102.727102.882102.397102.102102.372104.975103.05103.289103.747117.138
Giedo van der Garde103.819104.416104.108104.093104.321104.436105.704107.221108.645109.827
Jules Bianchi102.814102.895103.178103.076103.712114.334103.977106.501
Max Chilton103.29102.582102.897103.228102.891104.854107.96108.072

Sector times and ultimate lap times – second practice

PosNo.DriverCarS1S2S2UltimateGapDeficit to best
13Fernando AlonsoFerrari29.841 (2)40.780 (3)23.423 (2)1’34.0440.266
22Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault29.947 (6)40.760 (2)23.387 (1)1’34.0940.0500.090
37Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault29.794 (1)40.529 (1)23.831 (13)1’34.1540.1100.000
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault29.883 (5)40.893 (6)23.477 (3)1’34.2530.2090.029
514Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes30.030 (8)40.883 (5)23.630 (7)1’34.5430.4990.000
68Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault29.842 (3)41.149 (8)23.557 (4)1’34.5480.5040.083
74Felipe MassaFerrari30.162 (10)40.831 (4)23.559 (5)1’34.5520.5080.000
89Nico RosbergMercedes29.969 (7)41.024 (7)23.673 (8)1’34.6660.6220.000
910Lewis HamiltonMercedes29.857 (4)41.176 (11)23.715 (9)1’34.7480.7040.228
1015Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes30.164 (11)41.157 (9)23.611 (6)1’34.9320.8880.000
115Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes30.151 (9)41.172 (10)23.788 (11)1’35.1111.0670.245
1218Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari30.320 (14)41.361 (12)23.796 (12)1’35.4771.4330.029
136Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes30.216 (12)41.451 (14)23.840 (14)1’35.5071.4630.082
1419Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari30.584 (18)41.440 (13)23.737 (10)1’35.7611.7170.000
1511Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari30.298 (13)41.825 (17)24.007 (15)1’36.1302.0860.003
1616Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault30.535 (15)41.679 (15)24.065 (17)1’36.2792.2350.000
1717Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault30.582 (17)41.806 (16)24.011 (16)1’36.3992.3550.180
1812Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari30.571 (16)41.937 (19)24.108 (18)1’36.6162.5720.000
1920Charles PicCaterham-Renault30.675 (19)41.902 (18)24.131 (19)1’36.7082.6640.353
2023Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth30.863 (20)42.121 (21)24.290 (21)1’37.2743.2300.039
2122Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth31.071 (22)42.072 (20)24.220 (20)1’37.3633.3190.000
2221Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault31.012 (21)42.545 (22)24.295 (22)1’37.8523.8080.118

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’35.3451’34.15448
2Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’35.1011’34.18445
3Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’34.7901’34.28249
4Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’34.5641’34.31048
5Felipe MassaFerrari1’34.4871’34.55245
6Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’34.9491’34.54352
7Nico RosbergMercedes1’34.6211’34.66659
8Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’35.6111’34.63147
9Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’35.1191’34.93252
10Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’35.7921’34.97645
11Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’35.0691’35.35654
12Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’36.0141’35.50655
13Sergio PerezMcLaren1’35.6401’35.58960
14Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’36.4851’35.76153
15Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’35.7831’36.57944
16Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’36.7551’36.13356
17Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’36.4981’36.27950
18Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’37.2141’36.61655
19Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’37.8501’37.06153
20Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’39.4451’37.31345
21Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’37.36329
22Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’37.97013
23Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’38.40120
24Rodolfo GonzalezMarussia-Cosworth1’40.2157

Speed trap – second practice

#DriverCarEngineMax speed (kph)Gap
18Romain GrosjeanLotusRenault315.8
27Kimi RaikkonenLotusRenault315.60.2
310Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes3141.8
414Paul di RestaForce IndiaMercedes313.72.1
515Adrian SutilForce IndiaMercedes313.52.3
69Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes312.53.3
73Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari311.74.1
812Esteban GutierrezSauberFerrari311.64.2
94Felipe MassaFerrariFerrari311.54.3
1011Nico HulkenbergSauberFerrari3114.8
115Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes310.35.5
122Mark WebberRed BullRenault3105.8
136Sergio PerezMcLarenMercedes309.46.4
1423Max ChiltonMarussiaCosworth309.36.5
1516Pastor MaldonadoWilliamsRenault309.26.6
1617Valtteri BottasWilliamsRenault308.87
171Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault308.77.1
1818Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoFerrari308.47.4
1920Charles PicCaterhamRenault308.17.7
2021Giedo van der GardeCaterhamRenault307.68.2
2122Jules BianchiMarussiaCosworth307.28.6
2219Daniel RicciardoToro RossoFerrari305.99.9

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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39 comments on “Lotus have race pace edge over Ferrari and Red Bull”

  1. Alonso was doing low 1.40 for many laps….

    Ferrari impressed me more in term of deg and race pace.

    1. Alonso ran the Hard tyres(The Longer Stint) first followed by Mediums (The faster stint) while Kimi ran the Softs first and then ran the Hards for about 3-4 Laps..
      The lap Times are skewed a bit thus

      1. Kimi ran the Softs first

        *ran the Mediums first

  2. How can you compare drivers doing long runs with medium and hard ??

  3. Ferrari looks strong in both tyres, both on qual and race pace. Kimi seems also good but maybe there were some issues with the hard compound. I am not 100% sure on that. So, it looks to be a battle between Alonso and Kimi for the win with Vettel a little bit behind the two of them. Now, between Webber, Massa and Grosjean, Massa has the most chances to snatch a podium from one of the top 3 I mentioned.

    1. Lotus always has issues with harder compound.

      They need more time to heat it up for get go.

  4. So it seems 2013 will really be a mano-a-mano-a-mano between 3 drivers in 3 different cars. Oh joy.

    If Ferrari really is faster in the first part of the stint, then it’s crucial for Lotus to qualify ahead of them.
    Kimi, show us the meaning of haste!

    1. @randy

      So it seems 2013 will really be a mano-a-mano-a-mano between 3 drivers in 3 different cars.

      Ironically we had an identical season to that 10 years ago.

      1. And yet 10 years ago the season ended with a german dominating it…

        Fingers crossed so that ir doesn’t happen again!
        Nothing wrong with germans winning, though :P

    2. I’m believe that the fight will be between Raikkonen, Alonso and Vettel (since Web,there’s always something), I can’t see Romain fighting for the lead neither Massa that keeps struggling with the Medium tyre and with tyre preservation.

  5. Good to see Lotus on top of the top speed charts. Overtaking won’t bee too hard for them in the race i think.

  6. Grosjean is still quite slower than Kimi. even with new chassis, he’s still struggling.

    1. and romain got new front wings and other bits in Shanghai last week……..kimi only got it today.

      1. I think you got that wrong Kimi got parts in Malaysia that Romain only got lost week in China, normally they should be on equal foot this weekend or Kimi has new parts that Romain doesn’t have. I haven’t hear or read anything about the lotus technically this weekend so I’m don’t know. Still it is a large gap he is leaving between himself and Kimi so something is not going well in the Lotus number 8.

        1. read the team report. James Allison said that Kimi will have new bits that romain had in chinese gp.

          They distribute upgrades evenly from time to time for the sake of fairness.

    2. Lotus reps did say that the 2013 car is tailored specifically to suit Raikonnen’s style. I wonder how this is affecting Grosjean.

      1. nope, they didn’t say that. They only say that the FRIC system has narrow window to get it right. And Romain suffer more due to his driving style. Also Romain has issues with the new tyres as well.

      2. Räikkönen’s style is a bit shorter (1,75m) than Grosjean’s (1,8m). So I’d guess this year’s car is a tight fit for Grosjean. LOL

  7. So, 15 laps on the HARD tyre is supposed to be good ?

    1. I guess we should read that as 15 laps on the hard when the track is not rubbered in (meaning that come the race they should be doing about 20-25 laps?)
      Sure enough thats a very far cry from seeing Vettel race all but the last lap on his softs a couple of years back.

    2. @hohum On a desert, sandy track with one of the biggest improvements over a weekend out of all the tracks on the calendar, 15 laps or more on friday is good,yes

  8. As a Hamilton fan, I found this session a bit depressing. To see worse tyre degradation is one thing, but they were nowhere on one-lap pace either. Lotus, Ferrari, Red Bull, and even Force India look faster over a single lap, and McLaren looks better on race pace too. If they don’t find some serious performance overnight, they will be struggling to score points on Sunday – if this session is anything to go by anyway.

    It looks like a good fight between Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen though.

  9. I think its time to see Perez do a one stopper and end up on the podium. Read it first here!

    1. Let’s say time to see Perez do a one stopper and beat Button. No Podium though, as Frerrari, RB and Lotus all see good.

      1. all *seem good

    2. Perez was flattered by a car, which was easy on its tyres, we won’t see him one stop. Two stop, maybe, but if he does, I’d expect Button to as well, and maybe Lotus.

    3. @bascb Pirelli predicted 3-4 pit stops so a one stopper would end in tears or on the side of the track in lap 40 with a exploded tyre I think.

      Nice thinking though :-)

      1. If you read what Pirelli says now, they expect a 3 stopper to be the norm, but a 2 stopper possible after having all the data from friday testing @force-maikel

        1. @bascb Yep and I think only Ferrari and Lotus might make that happen. Red Bull? errrr, not to sure about them. They seem to like the hard tyre but the mediums were not so good, even if Vettel says otherwise. I saw their tyres after 10 laps, they were awfully damaged.

  10. It’s interesting that the strengths of the teams seem to be in the same areas as last year. Lotus, Force India and Ferrari were all good in high temperatures and on race pace last year also. The only difference seems to be Lotus have caught up with Red Bull and Ferrari while McLaren has fallen down.

  11. Looks like we’re in for another Alonso – Raikkonen battle. Hopefully we see some wheel to wheel action this time.

    1. I think they both understand that wheel to wheel action will cost them an extra pit-stop and the podium, I think they will settle for a really good inlap or DRS to decide who stands tallest.

  12. what’s interesting is that Lotus used to be at the bottom of top speed lists along with RBR in 2012. In 2013 they seem to take a “low” downforce approach like Ferrari.
    And my guess is that’s why they manage the tires so good – less corner speed – less temperature in tires – less thermal degradation.

    1. Lower down force generally means more reliance on mechanical (tyres) grip. Suspension setup is, IMO, the only real place to find an advantage with the tyres.

  13. Lotus have a real chance to get their first pole position in ages tomorrow. Raikkonen has more chance to be fair, predicted raikkonen to win with alonso and vettel. same podium in australia

  14. “The fastest combined sector times from the session indicate Fernando Alonso had the quickest car under him.”
    If Fernando Alonso had the quickest car under him, he would’ve been first in the practice session.
    Taking sector times from different laps and picking the best sector times and adding them all up to make a “quickest car” lap is nonsense.
    There are numerous things that happen in each of the three sectors that occur on a single lap, and every one of those things will change all of the subsequent things depending on the circumstance.
    With your logic, someone with a lap record time could be beaten by someone slower.

    1. Ummmm……
      No; the fact he would have been able to set the fastest overall theoretical time means that in FP2, Alonsos car was the fastest; the car which can go faster is usually the fastest. That’s how racing has always worked, and it will continue to do so.

      1. Not that certain.
        Imagine one driver does the best third sector. THen it pits, adjust his car, and proceed to make the best first and second sectors, while compromising his previous third sector time.

        Driver manages 4th best time, and yet, by your logic, he has the fastest car.

  15. The top three teams all look fairly close on pace, so I’m looking forward to a close battle between them in both qualifying (due to the tyre allocation change) and the race!

Comments are closed.