Close contest behind the flying Mercedes pair

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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F1F CSDifferent track conditions changed the usual picture during the first two practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

With this year’s race set to take place in the cooler conditions of the early evening, the significant drop in track temperatures between the first and second practice sessions brought with it a huge improvement in lap times.

Last year drivers found just three tenths of a second between the first two sessions. Today Lewis Hamilton, who headed both sessions, was over three seconds quicker in the evening.

Only his team mate Nico Rosberg could get anywhere near Hamilton’s pace as the chequered flag fell on the day’s action. Everyone else was more than a second behind.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014But less than nine tenths of a second covered the next dozen cars on ultimate pace – an encouraging sign that the competition is close behind the flying W05s.

Although this year’s tyres are a more durable construction than those used last season, Pirelli have brought a softer mix this year (soft/medium) than last (medium/hard). “The medium and soft tyres are a good choice for this track,” said Adrian Sutil.

“In general, the grip was good. Because of the lower temperatures, the tyres are not over-heating, but the track is a challenge for the rear tyres. However, it is good that we have cooler temperatures, which should also be a benefit for the race.”

Jenson Button found it “difficult to get temperature into the tyres” in the cooler conditions of second practice, “but on the other hand you didn’t have as much degradation, so there was a trade-off there”.

The long run pace indicated that, as in Sepang, Mercedes may be putting more strain on their tyres than their rivals. But the likelihood is their performance advantage is so great they will be able to afford to take it easy on race day.

Longest stint comparison – second practice

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

Sebastian Vettel101.937101.699101.529101.647101.595101.78101.839102.487102.275
Daniel Ricciardo101.581100.915100.816100.739100.603100.582101.033101.146101.01101.303101.009101.613101.669102.022101.871101.99102.158
Lewis Hamilton103.281100.151102.655100.655100.891100.03899.869100.016100.102100.035107.30599.883100.01106.569100.699
Nico Rosberg98.88298.79199.111100.61103.97299.713103.458100.87599.857100.135100.772100.693100.979101.022
Fernando Alonso100.494100.559100.311101.04101.456101.779101.487101.755102.618101.652101.96101.79102.07
Kimi Raikkonen101.454101.557101.397101.862101.84101.623101.584102.02102.506103.2102.692
Romain Grosjean101.183101.906101.634101.928102.388102.116102.332
Pastor Maldonado102.629102.396102.234101.657101.947102.544103.013103.606102.343102.02102.094102.666
Jenson Button101.908100.894101.813102.172101.801101.865101.925102.085101.998101.826102.299102.476
Kevin Magnussen100.507100.843101.285102.856101.8102.006101.985102101.982102.029102.814102.538
Nico Hulkenberg99.5399.4100.229100.401100.666100.411100.54
Sergio Perez100.033100.03999.848100.042100.51101.367100.938100.989101.404101.321101.636101.737101.784110.8102.196
Adrian Sutil99.438114.37799.785
Esteban Gutierrez100.977101.274101.715102.16102.3103.08102.956103.387102.975103.743103.841
Jean-Eric Vergne100.79100.484101.088101.257101.583101.679102.087102.105102.641102.399102.145102.166102.921102.068102.385102.386104.033102.338
Daniil Kvyat101.663101.683102.03102.107102.219103.598102.305103.255104.302103.223103.851
Felipe Massa95.44299.71398.84798.739101.117100.04498.862100.604
Valtteri Bottas97.512106.47897.689
Jules Bianchi101.649101.951102.648
Max Chilton100.908111.281100.438
Marcus Ericsson104.595102.002102.721102.578102.902103.619103.813104.122
Kamui Kobayashi104.005103.755103.897104.105104.249105.126104.338104.993

Sector times and ultimate lap times – second practice

PosNo.DriverCarS1S2S3UltimateGapDeficit to best
144Lewis HamiltonMercedes29.831 (1)40.933 (1)23.561 (1)1’34.3250.000
26Nico RosbergMercedes29.876 (2)41.138 (2)23.676 (2)1’34.6900.3650.000
314Fernando AlonsoFerrari30.214 (3)41.296 (5)23.850 (5)1’35.3601.0350.000
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault30.426 (10)41.145 (4)23.862 (7)1’35.4331.1080.000
519Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes30.341 (7)41.371 (6)23.730 (4)1’35.4421.1170.000
622Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes30.230 (5)41.408 (8)23.890 (8)1’35.5281.2030.000
71Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault30.383 (9)41.141 (3)24.082 (13)1’35.6061.2810.000
826Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault30.223 (4)41.416 (9)24.001 (12)1’35.6401.3150.000
920Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes30.478 (11)41.492 (10)23.692 (3)1’35.6621.3370.000
1011Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes30.351 (8)41.540 (12)23.911 (9)1’35.8021.4770.000
1177Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes30.511 (12)41.494 (11)23.859 (6)1’35.8641.5390.056
1225Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault30.562 (13)41.382 (7)23.937 (10)1’35.8811.5560.091
1327Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes30.263 (6)41.642 (14)24.093 (14)1’35.9981.6730.000
147Kimi RaikkonenFerrari30.611 (14)41.611 (13)23.993 (11)1’36.2151.8900.151
1521Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari30.764 (16)41.790 (15)24.339 (17)1’36.8932.5680.082
1699Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari30.736 (15)41.986 (16)24.240 (15)1’36.9622.6370.000
1713Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault30.985 (19)42.024 (17)24.250 (16)1’37.2592.9340.000
188Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault30.948 (17)42.285 (18)24.366 (18)1’37.5993.2740.000
1917Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari31.058 (21)42.338 (19)24.404 (19)1’37.8003.4750.000
204Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari31.035 (20)42.606 (20)24.606 (22)1’38.2473.9220.000
2110Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault30.973 (18)42.820 (21)24.464 (20)1’38.2573.9320.000
229Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault31.062 (22)43.118 (22)24.517 (21)1’38.6974.3720.439

Complete practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’37.5021’34.32542
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’37.7331’34.69044
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’37.9531’35.36045
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’40.4061’35.43347
5Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’39.5331’35.44224
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’38.6361’35.52837
7Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’39.3891’35.60646
8Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Renault1’39.0561’35.64055
9Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1’38.9491’35.66237
10Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’39.1021’35.80261
11Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’35.9209
12Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Renault1’39.8621’35.97259
13Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’38.7831’36.36645
14Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1’40.6521’36.96233
15Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1’36.97535
16Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’38.1221’36.99828
17Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault1’40.7931’37.25956
18Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’41.0361’37.59947
19Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1’40.8891’37.80035
20Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1’41.7941’38.24730
21Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1’38.25733
22Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1’42.7111’39.13651
23Felipe NasrWilliams-Mercedes1’40.07614
24Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1’40.91320
25Robin FrijnsSauber-Ferrari1’42.41735

Speed trap – second practice

#DriverCarEngineMax speed (kph)Gap
111Sergio PerezForce IndiaMercedes327
227Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes326.80.2
344Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes326.10.9
426Daniil KvyatToro RossoRenault324.22.8
56Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes324.12.9
625Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoRenault323.23.8
722Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes322.84.2
877Valtteri BottasWilliamsMercedes322.34.7
919Felipe MassaWilliamsMercedes321.95.1
1020Kevin MagnussenMcLarenMercedes321.45.6
1110Kamui KobayashiCaterhamRenault3207
129Marcus EricssonCaterhamRenault319.37.7
1314Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari319.17.9
147Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari318.18.9
1513Pastor MaldonadoLotusRenault317.59.5
161Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault316.610.4
173Daniel RicciardoRed BullRenault315.211.8
184Max ChiltonMarussiaFerrari314.712.3
1999Adrian SutilSauberFerrari314.112.9
2021Esteban GutierrezSauberFerrari310.916.1
2117Jules BianchiMarussiaFerrari310.516.5
228Romain GrosjeanLotusRenault308.818.2

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    26 comments on “Close contest behind the flying Mercedes pair”

    1. FI looks better than most in the longer stints.
      good for them and if they can translate the same to the race, it could be another strong race for them

    2. Kvyat has impressed me so far this weekend. He is quick.
      As for the teams, on sunday we’ll probably have an amazing race for 3rd, but 1st and 2nd are already decided in my oppinion. A bit of a shame really.

      1. @me4me you don’t think we could have a race between the Mercs for the win?

        1. @jleigh
          I doubt Rosberg could challenge Lewis again this weekend. Despite having few lock ups on his flap, Lewis was still 3 tenths up on Rosberg. Lewis is definitely at full ease in the car so Rosberg would have to be his very best to beat him.

        2. @jleigh, I didn’t mean to say that Ham will be 1st and Ros 2nd. Just that Mercedes as a team are very likely to take those spots on the podium. Personally i feel it can do either way between Ham and Ros, depanding on track and conditions.

    3. Van Der Garde in Sauber not Caterham mate :). Kvyat is showing great pace once again. I’m amazed by him as I watched him last year as well. He is a fresh blood in F1 and aleady showing way to JEV. If we take aside Mercs than we should have a great race once again. #f1diehardfan #hardtimesneedssuport

    4. The early part of the 2014 season just shows what an outstanding driver Alonso is. I support Magnussen, but can not stop being impressed by Alonso. Hamilton is also outstanding, but he is also in the by far Best car. Alonso is not and he is still good. Really good.

      1. Well, I am even more impressed by The Hulk. He is really good. I have a strong feeling that in several years he will be the one thing that force me to watch F1.

    5. Magnussen did a great great job in his 3rd sector !

      1. Yes. I think he even held back a little in todays Training in the sense that he made few attempts to go fast. It is the first grandprix where he knows the track and I think he will qualify in top 6.

    6. Supporting Ferrari is getting really tiresome. Supporting Alonso actually, but he won’t be getting anywhere if the Ferrari car isn’t as fast as him.

      1. I’ve been thinking that about supporting Lewis, till this year.

    7. I really hope McLaren get some more downforce in the fast corners. If they succeed on this they can challenge Mercedes. Anyway the race for 3rd is exiting and we must count in Vettel, Alonso, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Button, Hulkenberg, Massa, Bottas and even Kvyat as an outsider. That is a lot of serious candidates for the podium.

      1. I think you’re reading waaay too much into practice times.

        It’s been a seriously long time since any race had so many canditates for 3th place, and I seriously doubt this one will change that.

        1. Fair enough, but I am also trying to take into consideration Australia and Malaysia. Obviously after qualifying the list will shorten if some of there names get a poor start position.

    8. All those people who are moaning about how dominating Mercedes are due to their PU should see this long run chart. If we ignore Mercedes for a moment and look at other teams, they all are quite close to each other. Infact RBR has the best long run pace which is closely matched by FI (although I doubt they were having a bit less fuel on board then others). So if it was just about Mercedes PU, then all other mercedes powered teams should have filled the top 8 spots.

      Mercedes definitely is being benefited by having a very good PU but along with that they have a very good chasis.

      1. Agree, it is not just the powerunit that make them strong.

      2. Sure, but I’d prefer we had a period like 06-08 with no dominant team.

        1. When the winter testing started this season, I also hoped for 2-3 teams being fairly equal. I wished for a RBR vs FERRARI vs MERC battle but as testing progressed I saw it clearly that Mercs are way ahead of these teams.

          Every team were given around 2.5 years to build and develop these cars and if Mercs are so far ahead of everyone then they rightfully deserve this success.

    9. Great to see that Caterham have a car that is more slippery than the standard high drag low downforce model of the past years. Now they need to add power to increase downforce. And get the power transition problem sorted.

    10. Nothing will silence all the negativity surrounding F1 other than a really competitive and entertaining race. There’s no reason we can’t see a great battle for the lead between ROS and HAM and then another for the 3rd podium spot. Or it may be a snooze fest, who knows, but I have hope!

    11. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      5th April 2014, 1:56

      Those speed trap numbers are quite big… Lol.
      Can’t wait to see how big they get at Monza.

      1. Speaking of Monza, it amazes me when I think about how Vettel is the 2nd most recent driver to win there with a Ferrari Engine (and with a team based in Italy as well)….

    12. Behind Mercedes, it seems like the the Red Bull is the best of the rest however, Force India is truly a force to be reckoned with as Hulk and Checo have put in fairly quick and consistent times. I think with Williams, we head into the unknown as they largely missed the crucial FP2

    13. Mercedes and then the rest untill when? I think the gap will still remain, and i reckon, after the Monaco GP, if RBR will not be at the same level they just as might “let” this season go and start working in the 2015 year….

    Comments are closed.