Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Korea International Circuit, 2013

Vettel expects more pressure from Mercedes in Korea

2013 Korean Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Korea International Circuit, 2013The prospects of a close race in Korea appear to have improved after Friday practice in which there was little to choose between Red Bull and Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both sessions. In the second Sebastian Vettel was unable to beat his time despite doing his run on super-soft tyres later in the session, with the benefit of a cleaner and grippier track.

“It will be close with Mercedes,” said Vettel after finishing practice just over a tenth shy of Hamilton. “Of course we?re not sure what others were doing with their fuel loads today, but it seems close ahead of tomorrow?s qualifying.”

The sector times indicate both drivers may be able to find more time from their cars: Vettel lost over a quarter of a second to Mark Webber in the middle of the lap and Hamilton lost over a tenth to Nico Rosberg in the final sector.

Come the race, Vettel also know he will not have the potential advantage of his team mate starting close by, due to Webber’s ten-place penalty. This likely explains the difference between their straight-line speeds: it would make sense for Webber to be using a set-up with less drag for a better straight-line speed to improve his chances of overtaking – as he did in China after qualifying poorly.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea International Circuit, 2013“We need to have a car which can be strong in the first sector so we can get some overtaking done,” said Webber afterwards.

Even so Rosberg, who started from the front row in Singapore, is not underestimating the difficulty of taking the fight to their rivals. “Generally it seems that we had a good day but Red Bull is always very hard to beat,” he said.

“My only concern after the long runs was graining on the front tyres, which is something we need to work on tonight and watch out for.”

Team mate Hamilton, who took pole position at this track in 2011, appears to be revelling in the Mercedes’ handling. He was particularly quick through the middle sector with its succession of switchback corners, not unlike the Hungaroring where he scored his only win of the year so far.

While Mercedes and Red Bull are likely to be the pole position contenders, behind them Ferrari and Lotus need to make good on their performance over a race stint. Raikkonen said his car is strongest on long runs, as we’ve seen at other races this year.

As in Singapore, teams have the medium and super-soft tyres this weekend. But the performance gap between the two tyres is not the two seconds seen at Singapore – it’s a second at most.

And as Fernando Alonso pointed out, the super-soft tyre has other drawbacks: “The difference between the two compounds is not as evident as in Singapore, but the super-soft definitely has a very high degradation and we will have to see how much the track surface improvement will affect its behaviour.”

Here’s all the data from Friday practice for the Korean Grand Prix.

Longest stint comparison

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


Sebastian Vettel105.388105.62107.202105.456105.846105.83106.631105.038105.586104.818105.121104.403
Mark Webber104.693104.865105.031105.194105.353106.371105.106105.1105.3104.799104.952105.04104.841104.822104.974104.85104.739
Fernando Alonso105.956106.225106.446106.746106.769106.81106.34106.324107.194105.913106.198107.676
Felipe Massa105.201105.615105.567105.613105.794105.839105.455105.552106.011105.589105.779105.85112.274106.279
Jenson Button105.734105.485114.85105.564105.651105.835105.314
Sergio Perez105.229105.319105.128106.45106.352105.84105.022
Kimi Raikkonen104.234104.444104.894104.64104.879105.173104.268104.714105.531105.536104.985104.956
Romain Grosjean105.179106.754105.277106.385114.692104.671105.63104.214
Nico Rosberg106.132106.042106.482107.211108.508106.811106.883106.316106.172110.621
Lewis Hamilton105.552105.24105.625114.248104.79105.045105.213113.755105.775105.439109.408105.393106.464
Nico Hulkenberg106.12105.797106.604107.794110.005106.919109.751106.332105.831106.237108.493106.322
Esteban Gutierrez106.514105.976106.473106.962108.655107.293109.43110.084106.396
Paul di Resta106.121105.892106.415106.717106.488109.367105.995
Adrian Sutil107.95107.138107.701107.519107.655107.277106.206106.173108.92106.773106.766106.786
Pastor Maldonado106.735109.351112.599106.406107.119106.142106.767106.335107.048106.513106.063
Valtteri Bottas107.702108.198111.206108.931107.656107.534107.399107.408107.39
Jean-Eric Vergne107.659108.025107.695108.007107.506108.885
Daniel Ricciardo111.063110.404111.633107.448107.27108.976
Charles Pic110.512110109.969110.016111.674109.843110.195109.446109.313108.865108.399
Giedo van der Garde109.715110.34109.319108.944109.516109.043109.671108.672108.525108.245108.411108.282108.043108.398
Jules Bianchi107.911108.676108.545108.333108.926108.75111.335
Max Chilton112.654110.158108.42108.148108.903107.776109.053

Sector times and ultimate lap times

PosNo.DriverCarS1S2S3UltimateGapDeficit to best
110Lewis HamiltonMercedes34.988 (10)43.169 (1)20.516 (3)1’38.6730.000
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault34.686 (1)43.668 (6)20.427 (2)1’38.7810.1080.000
39Nico RosbergMercedes34.946 (9)43.452 (3)20.399 (1)1’38.7970.1240.000
42Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault34.791 (3)43.428 (2)20.625 (5)1’38.8440.1710.000
54Felipe MassaFerrari34.906 (6)43.487 (4)20.721 (6)1’39.1140.4410.000
68Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault35.177 (14)43.487 (4)20.562 (4)1’39.2260.5530.000
73Fernando AlonsoFerrari34.995 (11)43.703 (7)20.746 (7)1’39.4440.7710.000
85Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes35.001 (12)43.815 (9)20.831 (9)1’39.6470.9740.127
97Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault35.188 (15)43.804 (8)20.765 (8)1’39.7571.0840.000
106Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes34.933 (8)44.022 (11)20.840 (10)1’39.7951.1220.357
1115Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes35.082 (13)43.900 (10)21.024 (14)1’40.0061.3330.000
1214Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes34.900 (5)44.032 (12)21.075 (15)1’40.0071.3340.000
1311Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari34.891 (4)44.247 (16)20.958 (12)1’40.0961.4230.114
1412Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari34.916 (7)44.183 (14)21.012 (13)1’40.1111.4380.075
1518Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari35.222 (16)44.116 (13)20.888 (11)1’40.2261.5530.220
1619Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari34.772 (2)44.294 (17)21.202 (16)1’40.2681.5950.284
1716Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault35.313 (18)44.199 (15)21.345 (18)1’40.8572.1840.260
1817Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault35.276 (17)44.450 (18)21.228 (17)1’40.9542.2810.335
1921Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault35.551 (19)45.085 (19)21.516 (19)1’42.1523.4790.309
2020Charles PicCaterham-Renault35.632 (21)45.147 (20)21.797 (21)1’42.5763.9030.222
2122Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth35.557 (20)45.438 (21)21.829 (22)1’42.8244.1510.284
2223Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth35.725 (22)45.468 (22)21.768 (20)1’42.9614.2880.480

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’39.6301’38.67351
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’39.6671’38.78150
3Nico RosbergMercedes1’40.1171’38.79752
4Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’39.8161’38.84454
5Felipe MassaFerrari1’40.8801’39.11443
6Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’40.3961’39.22653
7Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’40.3741’39.44449
8Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’40.6771’39.75748
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’40.2151’39.77451
10Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’41.4321’40.00652
11Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’40.00734
12Sergio PerezMcLaren1’40.8601’40.15251
13Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’41.6261’40.18654
14Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1’40.8991’40.21054
15Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’41.9241’40.44649
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’42.0431’40.55244
17Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’41.4821’41.11757
18Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1’42.0021’41.28954
19Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’43.8831’42.46155
20Charles PicCaterham-Renault1’43.6601’42.79855
21James CaladoForce India-Mercedes1’43.00821
22Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1’43.10831
23Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1’44.1001’43.44143
24Rodolfo GonzalezMarussia-Cosworth1’46.81010

Speed trap

#DriverCarEngineMax speed (kph)Gap
119Daniel RicciardoToro RossoFerrari320.8
22Mark WebberRed BullRenault320.20.6
33Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari318.42.4
45Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes318.32.5
518Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoFerrari317.92.9
64Felipe MassaFerrariFerrari317.73.1
712Esteban GutierrezSauberFerrari317.43.4
811Nico HulkenbergSauberFerrari317.23.6
914Paul di RestaForce IndiaMercedes316.93.9
1015Adrian SutilForce IndiaMercedes316.34.5
1122Jules BianchiMarussiaCosworth315.55.3
1210Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes314.46.4
139Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes314.36.5
146Sergio PerezMcLarenMercedes314.16.7
1516Pastor MaldonadoWilliamsRenault313.87
1617Valtteri BottasWilliamsRenault313.87
1723Max ChiltonMarussiaCosworth313.77.1
188Romain GrosjeanLotusRenault312.58.3
191Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault312.18.7
2021Giedo van der GardeCaterhamRenault311.69.2
2120Charles PicCaterhamRenault311.49.4
227Kimi RaikkonenLotusRenault310.410.4

2013 Korean Grand Prix

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Image ?? Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty

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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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28 comments on “Vettel expects more pressure from Mercedes in Korea”

  1. I don’t see why Vettel faces any pressure, he has practically won this world championship, all he has to do is bring the car home in the point s for the next couple of races. Mercedes and Ferrari will battle for 2nd.

    1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      4th October 2013, 15:33

      Mercedes and Ferrari will battle for 2nd.

      I think Mercedes can possibly take it to Vettel in the race. They have a quick car over a long run, so I don’t see why not?

      But I think the most exciting thing right now is the battle for 2nd in the WCC between Mercedes and Ferrari.

      1. “I think Mercedes can possibly take it to Vettel in the race. They have a quick car over a long run, so I don’t see why not”

        I mean’t in the WCC.

      2. Yeah not that I get ‘excited’ over the WCC race, but certainly Mercedes has done better this year so far than I had expected. I had them as being a strong 4th place team, as I thought Ferrari and Lotus would both be closer to the Red Bulls, those 3 hogging the top 3 points paying positions on average, leaving Mercedes a bit on the outside looking in. I also thought Mac would be robbing more points in the mix by now too. But Ferrari haven’t been as close to RBR as I hoped, and Lotus has surprised me at their failing do be stronger, so Mercedes sits fighting for a strong third, or maybe a weak second in the WCC come the end of the season, as much due to Ferrari and Lotus’s weaknesses, and Mac’s absence, as to their own strengths, which have certainly lacked as often as they have been present.

    2. @full-throttle-f1 I did not say he was ‘under pressure’ in terms of the championship, but so far it looks like Mercedes can put him under pressure in the race.

      1. If FA can’t then he at least will be hoping you are right, Keith, and that LH can. FA will be hoping someone, anyone, pressures SV into a costly mistake, if he himself can’t.

  2. Shows how wrong Hamilton was a couple PC days ago talking about Redbull being on the gas 20m before any other car and also shows just how great vettel was at Singapore. Mercedes aren’t far behind Redbull, they are very close, they just don’t have the vettel factor.

    1. It’s just Friday. LH’s comments from the other day may well still hold true. I’d love it if a Mercedes was able to pressure SV in the closing laps on Sunday, but I’m not holding my breath for it. And ultimately it’s not LH that SV needs to worry about anyway, not that he really needs to worry about anyone.

    2. I thinkt that, per the context, that traction was very important in a street track like singapore. RBR’s traction superiority, in low as well as mid-speed, is a well-known fact over the past several seasons. People have talked about ride height schenanigns, bendy wings, etc. Whatever the reasons, traction, they has it.

    3. Actually, Renault have spilled the beans – Mercedes just don’t have the right engine mapping:

      Clearly the system works better at Singapore than it does at Mokpo.

      1. Very interesting read…thanks for that.

      2. Very interesting article, thank you for sharing!!

      3. A bit of speculation in there but I think logically it proceeds well by looking at the rake. The rake that RBR runs is powerful evidence that they have a way of using exhaust that other’s can’t. Everyone would run lots of rake if they could, say, drop a rubber skirt around the diffuser in the back. Newey does this with hot air. Whether they are doing this via “four-cylinder” mode, assymetrial firing patterns, or whatever, is not clear.

  3. Pole time here last year was 1:37.242 and Hamilton went 1’38.673. Which means everybody has a lot more in hand, since if it stays dry the pole time this year will likely by in the 1:36 range.

  4. Does that mean he’ll be just 1 second faster per lap instead of 2? The pressure! :P

  5. Looking forward to F1 at its best. Two of the best qualifiers ever to be in the sport, in different, but closely matched cars. Let’s hope it pans out to a good Q3.

    Also, it’s fun to see how Hamilton and Rosberg go back and forth in having the edge. They really push each other. Also, good to see that through the season this closness has not resulted in conflict. This is really the only top team with such parity in skills. A shame they are not both fighting for a WDC.

  6. Hamilton fastest again! Seems Vettel was right about the RBR’s traction control not being as effective here! :P.

    1. Sebs TC didn’t work as they accidently fitted Webber’s TC :-)

      1. As long as they didn’t fit Webber’s clutch/KERS, Seb should be okay =)

  7. Im a brit but Max you need to resign to get beat by 3 tenths when your teammate missed P1 says it all really. How they got rid of Glock easily their best driver in that teams history ill never know? £££££££

    1. That’s a no-brainer, Daddy Chilton bought some stock from the team and therefore Maxie got to replace the sponsorless Glock and probably will drive next year. If Bianchi moves to a bigger team in 2015 the other Chilton will probably take his place I guess.

  8. Vettel I think is trying a bit of metal warfare here, having just seen reruns of FP2 and FP1, I really think Red Bull was probably a bit higher on fuel to make the opposition think they actually have a chance.

    1. *mental warfare*

      1. @force-maikel

        I really think Red Bull was probably a bit higher on fuel to make the opposition think they actually have a chance.

        No, Red Bull have a tendency to bluff in practice. They bluffed in Australia and Hungary, both races where they seemed dominant in practice, but performed rather poorly in the race.

        It’s Mercedes who tend to sandbag in practice. Few expected them to get pole position in Bahrain, Spain, Germany, Hungary or Belgium, yet they still pulled it out of the bag.

  9. (referring to this article) I think criticising the other teams is a bit unfair, absolutely. But then, who can blame him after all the stick his team’s been getting of late. I love this comment though – I think that’s brilliant! :D

    Overall a pretty solid day, we had no issues with the car, and there is room for improvement – especially once we turn on the Traction Control

    That was brilliant Vettel – you can dislike him absolutely, but you can’t say he doesn’t have a personality!

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      4th October 2013, 21:49

      He’s a great guy off the track, but some dislike his comments when he’s racing (like in Austin last year).

      1. It might have sounded like complaining, but after all he said what most F1 supporters are saying about DRS. :P Without DRS, Hamilton wouldn’t have been able to pass him in that race.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          5th October 2013, 1:03

          Vet wasn’t complaining about DRS in Austin. He was yelling about Karthikeyan in the HRT not getting out of the way quickly enough in S1. He believed he lost the position because of that.

          I think Hamilton may have win the race anyway. His pace was slightly better, albeit not by much, and he was more determined.

Comments are closed.