Cruising Mercedes still 0.5s quicker than anyone

2015 Australian Grand Prix lap times and fastest laps

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[interactivecharts]Lewis Hamilton’s fastest lap in the Mercedes was almost half a second quicker than any of the teams’ rivals managed. But the performance advantage of the W06 is likely much greater than this.

Australian Grand Prix lap times

All the lap times by the drivers (in seconds, very slow laps excluded):

Lewis Hamilton146.005133.78593.49392.76592.68592.59392.89992.93392.91192.74292.43292.49193.03393.17792.45892.14892.46292.34792.30691.9492.40592.79192.925111.20499.01293.02193.24192.82492.00591.67691.95391.87593.07191.99591.56291.51491.13491.20891.82591.34791.98291.54191.69391.22991.17791.64991.22491.02390.94591.80492.24291.70891.27391.35890.99391.491.645
Nico Rosberg145.242134.4294.63893.06892.37192.82792.4692.3892.57293.18492.6592.75292.9393.57692.32492.392.36592.24392.42692.45493.01192.94893.04893.964111.56898.55292.09292.10891.75491.60991.73791.6692.98191.77591.35591.6191.57391.56591.79891.491.49391.25992.24391.23191.31991.09291.33291.14191.38491.44391.67891.68891.41191.37291.36691.18991.146
Felipe Massa144.418134.43695.1593.92893.4793.20593.57693.21293.05493.17193.48493.35593.35493.51793.24793.15993.24593.19593.141111.56198.94794.55592.07293.04292.5893.05993.2293.11892.9192.75592.81392.77692.85792.61292.60792.29392.44492.9192.77692.74792.35892.14192.09191.94792.27392.07391.80291.93191.71991.85991.85792.28991.78491.94491.7539292.358
Sebastian Vettel144.069133.84695.36194.02793.43893.19793.75492.99193.07493.4993.59793.51393.37493.85393.17393.22993.14693.16893.14592.85992.30792.664111.26398.54392.11592.42992.6792.43292.51892.69892.44392.392.85692.63392.56792.45692.51893.72992.64492.67392.65392.12992.33492.28892.05492.25992.03792.12791.75491.57891.45791.49291.84791.71991.47891.71793.383
Kimi Raikkonen143.867131.25697.2395.07194.68494.12694.26494.23994.22294.06193.99993.89894.58294.486117.699.21591.9693.24292.11292.00992.19492.33594.01592.32292.88191.68191.95292.05391.58591.94791.52392.00392.99992.15491.42691.69791.75992.31111.054
Daniel Ricciardo143.889132.12296.67595.09294.8194.4294.5194.21394.23694.03794.02993.99194.35494.62994.08294.3494.96394.45694.28894.68894.649113.899.81193.83693.76193.54393.57493.10292.93993.20793.13993.12893.16793.00593.06392.93492.993.23193.17293.00393.0393.04593.37794.61592.79793.25394.02194.01193.12193.6993.22493.33293.34293.93498.23496.576
Carlos Sainz Jnr143.584133.58497.66295.19594.55795.41794.39294.60494.3594.58894.56194.84694.7494.70894.23494.31394.52294.23294.69694.394.79994.933146.974100.61593.22693.08193.46294.06793.56693.70694.07396.78695.50495.6495.82895.71995.78194.28696.27193.54493.42893.97193.52993.45993.86993.5793.22992.87293.02493.07493.64693.44994.97793.36694.07495.328
Felipe Nasr143.809132.36496.28495.14894.76194.26394.50594.3394.16493.94594.04794.21194.1894.38593.59693.54993.8593.74594.11894.24893.72294.26494.091114.815100.83692.76692.93193.37693.45993.46693.58593.38593.23493.88793.43593.22193.01993.42993.12792.73992.85592.90593.05893.4492.61292.63293.01393.18893.76693.91993.79794.05393.01592.78893.37193.95796.63
Max Verstappen143.966130.74597.78295.73595.3795.0495.16994.72195.15795.12695.02994.58895.03494.98294.43994.30194.53594.84294.6994.54694.64194.47794.48294.80594.71795.09694.66394.52994.29594.829114.11
Nico Hulkenberg144.593129.97197.99195.94495.31495.16495.42794.90895.05795.02794.72194.77294.8295.11594.73494.76594.7194.81594.987112.76899.48493.52193.85794.40394.60894.31794.38594.41594.36694.28794.21594.01294.27693.75994.16393.86993.9894.01393.95694.36394.13297.5111.359100.85792.2492.27391.9791.97592.07192.40693.11692.73192.52192.9592.67693.33
Sergio Perez144.532130.016100.15397.22696.96798.56395.4196.09696.17495.80197.40596.232103.44695.62995.3895.65795.39595.80395.21795.68595.66395.24595.78395.44295.71296.34996.69295.86395.0995.04695.67596.66696.42395.76495.81794.871120.40999.39591.99592.02592.55293.20192.35992.27491.95992.12592.33592.21292.69692.5692.94893.39293.2693.72495.74594.997
Marcus Ericsson133.281129.28498.42696.65994.74894.75594.67794.91795.03594.84594.57794.6595.22895.18494.72894.68694.36994.74195.00695.13694.63795.19796.05596.969118.722101.61493.72493.56493.86693.45393.25893.46393.32394.02594.11593.84194.20296.19894.11294.78594.061120.55100.81792.10191.691.98191.93191.91191.72791.5692.72193.61393.36492.46992.4992.143
Jenson Button144.513129.60198.57197.81296.46196.02796.67496.37896.92596.41897.3696.18797.54596.67696.24396.32895.99596.16396.13896.19396.21795.64395.56995.44895.845115.831101.54294.96494.89895.92696.94795.93496.96195.4294.89395.12494.94595.13394.8695.02496.08395.47598.36495.41494.52694.72794.51295.16797.8895.80495.68895.54295.34494.2493.338

As we saw several times last year when the two Mercedes drivers were fighting each other for victory, there is a balance to be struck between how far a driver can pull ahead and how far they need to. Because the current F1 tyres are so fragile, pulling out a lead of much more than two seconds over the other car is something of an indulgence, and if the Safety Car were to come out the leading driver would have squandered tyre life for no gain.

That’s what Hamilton was wary of as he kep an eye on the other W06 in his mirrors. “Nico was very quick throughout the race and it was really trying to manage the fuel and all that, and also the tyres, not really knowing where the limit of the tyres is in terms of how far they can go,” said Hamilton.

“Once you’ve got a two-second gap you try to manage that, there’s no need to eke out more. But when Nico turned up the heat I was able to react, which was good.”

So we know Hamilton wasn’t pushing to his maximum and therefore we haven’t seen the best the Mercedes is capable of. Sebastian Vettel, who was best of the rest today, is well aware of that.

“They have a great package at the moment,” he admitted. “Thirty-four seconds down the road is a lot for everyone else. You can turn it around a little bit for the next grand prix, we can be closer, but it could be even worse.”

Jenson Button’s two lap times at the end of the race make for interesting reading. Honda chose to run conservative settings on their power unit at this first race weekend, but it seems they might have allowed Button to push a little harder once he was guaranteed to be a classified finisher.

His final two laps were his quickest of the race, and he was almost a full second faster on his final tour than he was on any other lap. While it’s true that he was two laps down and therefore would have been periodically losing time due to blue flags and gaining time on clear laps, the suddenness with which his lap times improved right at the end of the race suggests he may also have been allowed to push the engine a bit harder.

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Australian Grand Prix fastest laps

Each driver’s fastest lap:

RankDriverCarFastest lapGapOn lap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’30.94550
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’31.0920.14747
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’31.4260.48136
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1’31.4570.51252
5Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’31.5600.61551
6Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’31.7190.77450
7Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’31.9591.01446
8Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’31.9701.02548
9Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’32.6121.66746
10Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’32.7971.85246
11Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’32.8721.92749
12Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’33.3382.39356
13Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’34.2953.35030

2015 Australian Grand Prix

Browse all 2015 Australian Grand Prix articles

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...

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38 comments on “Cruising Mercedes still 0.5s quicker than anyone”

  1. I’m actually surprised the lap times weren’t quicker this race. Last year, Australia was the first race for the new V6 engines, and a cruising Rosberg did a 1m31.9s (if I recall correctly), somewhere in the middle of the race.

    So assuming Mercedes were pushing a bit more this race than last year, the cars have hardly become any faster. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if Ricciardo’s best lap from last year was quicker than this year’s.

    1. @adrianmorse Last year’s fastest lap was a 1’32.478. Based on that they were 1.5s quicker this year, which approximately correlates with the 1.7s gain seen in practice (qualifying was wet last year).

      1. still pretty slow compared to other years.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          16th March 2015, 9:33

          and the glass is still half empty!

      2. This may be the case for Merc or Sauber and Ferrari but for Red Bull isn’t!
        Daniel Ricciardo best lap last year was 1’33.066. Pirelli has changed the rear tires to address the overheating issues, so we must assume that the soft tires are at least a little bit faster than last year. Ricciardo yesterday did a 1’32.797 which means that RB11 is only 0.3 sec faster than RB10, with the same or better tires! And if we think the time RedBull found during the season (1 sec or 2 at least) certainly the RB11 is a step backwards from last year (my gut feeling is that not only Renault is to blame here-Peter Prod leaving, Seb eating pasta etc).

        There is only one solution for RBR : They should race the RB10 in Malaysia and keep doing that until Mario Illien help renault find some power. This is better IMO than moaning about Mercedes and try to scare FIA and Bernie about selling the team (which will happen i think).

    2. Marcus Parker
      15th March 2015, 17:20

      The cars are definitely faster the Mercedes just still had a big advantage so had no need to push any harder.

    3. You have to keep in mind that it was a 1-stop-race. Compared to last year where 14 out of the 18 runners left after the start, stopped at least twice.
      It’s really a shame that Pirelli didn’t bring the Super-Softs to Australia. Lap times would’ve been faster, tyre degredation higher + more pit stops & more entertaining racing.

      Nevertheless the cars got a lot faster, espescially Ferrari & Sauber. I think that the Mercedes and Ferrari could’ve gone even faster, but they were more concentrating on fuel saving, than putting in quick lap times, respectively Kimi would’ve definately improved his fastest time he set already on lap 36.

    4. I too can’t get my head around how some teams improved so little compared to last year.

      The teams arrived so unprepared in 2014, many people thought we wouldn’t even get 10 finishers. They had all year to optimise their packages and understand the PU’s. They developed the cars aerodynamically. For 2015 they built new cars, second generation PU’s. There were press releases talking of +70BHP and better fuel efficiency. Reg’s have been relatively stable.

      Yet comparing the times from 2014 and 2015 shows at most a 2 second improvement, less for most teams. Force India and Red Bull barely improved at all, McLaren went backwards. Imagine how much money has been invested from these teams in the past 12 months for such little gain…

      Merc (benchmark):
      2015 – FP2 1:27.6 / FP3 1:27.9
      2014 – FP2 1:29.6 / FP3 1:29.4

      Red Bull:
      2015 – FP2 1:30.0 / FP3 1:31.2
      2014 – FP2 1:30.4 / FP3 1:31.0

      Force India
      2015 – FP2 1:30.4 / FP3 1:30.7
      2014 – FP2 1:31.1 / FP3 1:31.7

      2015 – FP2 1:31.3 / FP3 1:31.4
      2014 – FP2 1:30.5 / FP3 1:30.8

  2. All the lap times by the drivers (in seconds, very slow laps excluded):

    So Button is not part of this graph? :)

    1. Not in this graph is what I meant.

  3. Verstappen seemed to have some genuine pace on the mediums. It’s unfortunate we didn’t get to see him on the softs.

  4. I’d be curious to know the amount of fuel left in each car.
    Years ago, the FIA used to publish the results of post-race scrutineering results which include car weight among other details… was quite fascinating.

    1. I’d love to see that data!

  5. Therefore this Championship is going to be again for Mercedes and Hamilton
    Once Hamilton said that Vettel was killing Formula 1 cause he always won
    Now is the contrary and he seems being so happy
    If this Championship carry on this way , i do believe people turn off Tv in the middle of season
    It is most boring than 80’s years
    We are moving back instead moving forward .

    1. Its the nature of F1, As long as everyone can build there own cars & you have multiple engine manufacturer’s there is always the probability that someone will end up with a big advantage.

      We have seen throughout F1’s history with Lotus, McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull & now Mercedes all having periods of dominance.

      The only way to prevent it is via artificial means (Success ballast, balance of performance etc..) which I don’t believe fans would want, Or to make it a spec series & again I don’t believe that is something fans would want.

      At the end of the day everyone has the same set of rules & its down to the competitors to close the gap to whoever is ahead, Thats the nature of F1, Always has been & always will be.

      1. I don’t think you understand the nature ‘of rules’.

    2. He said one driver dominating isn’t good for the sport, last season he was fighting Nico the entire way so it’s not exactly the same.

      He has also recently said he would prefer there to be other teams competing with them as he enjoys fighting more. It’s not Mercedes or his fault there aren’t and you can’t blame him for enjoying finally earning some championships.

      It’s the first race of the season don’t write it off just yet. Nico is sure to come back strong, Ferrari and Williams can challenge at certain tracks and McLaren is a work in progress.

      Of course if you’re a Hamilton critic it’s going to suck watching him win another championship.

  6. After following this site over two years, I finally had to create an account to comment on the these plots. They are fantastic since they are interactive! However, they REALLY need a way to zoom in to the data, at least in Y-direction (time). Whenever there is a safety car involved, the time curves bunch up in the bottom in an undistinguishable way, rendering the whole plot useless.

    It does say “with slow laps excluded”, but how many sigma do you mean? Does not seem to be quite enough, I would have quite unceremoniously let SAI’s pitstop problem out, since it would not reduce the information content of the plot at all. In this case I would LOVE to be able to set the range from 85 to 125 seconds, to see the action.

    /end rant.

    Loved the return to action so much, that I’d probably vote the race too highly, if’d dare vote. ;-)

    1. not exactly the solution, but you might want to try this:
      Browser: Firefox
      Right click over article area –> Inspect element
      find “” tag and change it’s width parameter to 150% (so that it pushes the sidebar off the row)
      Then close the inspection window and use CTRL +/- to zoom in and out

      1. “content” tag

  7. Amazed to see Ericsson being that fast! Out-performing his team-mate with 1 sec although 3 places below in race. But still, surprisingly fast..

    1. Ericsson made 2 pit stops, Nasr just 1. Not that difficult to be faster on much fresher option tyres, compared to Nasr’s worn prime tyres.
      On the contrary, Nasr completely out-performed his more experienced team mate. Much better start and pace than Ericsson, especially in the first half of the race.

      1. @srga91 Didn’t he even have three soft tyre runs as he pitten on lap 1 under SC from the mediums?

        1. @xtwl Seems like I overlooked his 1st stop 😲Still he had 2 runs on the options, because the 2nd time he pitted for mediums. He couldn’t make them work, so the team decided to put on the option tyre for his final stint.

  8. with all the talk about RB not increasing their performance from last season to this, Renault is our problem,
    yet they were the ones which found the loop hole that gave them a chance to catch up to Merc,
    always said watch out what you wish for this could back fire on yourself,
    sure enough now they have gone from 2nd to 4th and maybe even 5th best team,
    considering all their talk about how great they are with aerodynamics, they always forgot to mention Renault gave them engine mapping which in turn gave them extra down-force,
    time they took a hard long look at themselves i think.

    1. It was actually James Allison of Ferrari who pointed out that there was no homologation date specified in the 2015 regs.

  9. Stein Marten Warshtein
    16th March 2015, 3:25

    I’m surprised Sahara Force India was slow compared to Saubr. Seems they went a step back. Is Mercedes treaing them different?

    1. Force India are just a step back from everyone else in term of their aero package. Normally all the teams would of brought new aero packages to the first race however Force India didn’t.

      This is because they used their 2014 car for the first two test sessions and then only used their new car for the last test, so they have had little to no time to improve their car.

  10. Stein Marten Warshtein
    16th March 2015, 3:26

    Hope not again in financial trouble. Love to see Hulkenberg win or get on a podium in 2015.

    1. Not likely but sure is long overdue.

  11. “.. it was really trying to manage the fuel and all that, and also the tyres, not really knowing where the limit of the tyres is in terms of how far they can go”

    And the engines. With four engines which have to last for 20 race weekends every team and driver is having to do a balancing act. If e.g. Ferrari think that 3rd and 4th are the best positions they can get, and they’re running 3rd and 4th in Malaysia, they’re going to settle for that rather than push to try to overtake Mercedes and risk losing an engine in the process. It’s logical, but it’s going to make for even more boring races.

    1. Well, would you look at how long that prediction stood up to scrutiny.

  12. I feel Bottas will shake things in Malasya.

  13. On the Button “speed improvement” at the end of the race: I assumed that Honda and McLaren were being cautious on the fuel consumption and measurement (this being new ground for them, by far the longest run the car had ever had) and at the end they let Button max out the fuel flow for some extra information. Maybe as Keith suggests, he was allowed to “turn the engine up to eleven”.
    Personally I think Button acquitted himself very well, in and out of the car. He gave a very upbeat assessment of the race at the end. Such a shame that there was only Button out there though – they really, really need the feedback from both cars and both drivers.

  14. Mr win or lose
    16th March 2015, 16:35

    The racepace of the Ferraris was pretty good. The Mercs were pushing hard in the first laps after the safety car, but still Räikkönen’s fuel-adjusted fastest lap was faster than Hamilton’s. Vettel’s fastest fuel-adjusted lap on “old” softs was also very impressive. In Malaysia the field tends to be tighter, so then Ferrari could really become a threat.

  15. Raikkonen had almost identical pace compared to Lewis’ on his last stint, and was considerably held up by Ricciardo on the first stint. I bite my tongue a little bit, but if this is not just a one off, I predict he will have a faster race pace than Vettel this season. Over a single lap it might be a different matter, though.
    Also, maybe it would be fairer to say cruising Hamilton faster than anyone else. I doubt Rosberg was cruising.

    1. That’s a meaningless comparison, as Raikkonen was on both different tyres and a different strategy than the other front runners. If he had not been faster than them under those conditions it would suggest he’s past due for retirement.

  16. This fastest lap of Vettel,during the race,he did not fit on the soft tyres but still Raikkonen is 3 hundredths ahead using the soft tyres,I
    Could imagine how much closer Vettel could have got if He did a 2 stop,he would have been around 20 seconds only behind Rosberg.

Comments are closed.