Lap time watch: Three seconds faster than an RB6 at Silverstone

2017 British Grand Prix

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Formula One’s new generation of cars are stunningly quick at Silverstone. They have cut their lap times by more than at almost any other track year-on-year.

Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time of 1’26.600 is 2.6 seconds quicker than we saw last year. For only the second time this season the fastest times at this track are more than five seconds quicker than they were two years ago.

And it bears pointing out that had the track been fully dry throughout qualifying this year’s times might have been even faster still.

The cars from the first season of F1’s V6 hybrid turbo regulations would be almost eight seconds slower. But even some of the quickest cars from the V8 era would struggle up against the new era of machinery.

The 2010 Red Bull RB6, one of Adrian Newey’s most celebrated designs which gave the team their first championship success, was three seconds slower when this Silverstone configuration was used for the first time:

Much of the huge gain in performance has come in the cars were the cars are visibly dramatically quicker. However they aren’t necessarily tackling every corner flat-out where they could, as Lewis Hamilton explained:

“Copse, obviously we were building up to it because it was a little bit damp at the beginning,” he said. “You can take it flat in eighth but it’s not necessarily that quick, you scrub quite a lot of speed off and then the RPM potentially would drop a little bit too much, so I don’t personally do it flat and it didn’t seem to cost me any time.”

Parts of the next few corners are taken without lifting, Hamilton explained.

“When you come through Maggots and Becketts, that section is just on fire, you just can’t imagine how incredible it is when you come through ten. Ten is obviously always flat, eleven has been flat for years.”

“[Turn] twelve, from 2007 to now, just bit by bit, you’re letting off later and later and now you’re kind of still on the gas through twelve or into twelve at least. And then thirteen is a fantastic corner because it’s very bumpy through there. You’ve got maximum downforce, a lot of compression on the tyres and it’s all about the exit.”

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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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4 comments on “Lap time watch: Three seconds faster than an RB6 at Silverstone”

  1. The cars from the first season of F1’s V6 hybrid turbo regulations would be almost eight seconds slower

    Q3 was damp then, though, in 2014. Still the speed is very impressive this year though.

  2. There’s a fine relationship between all the FIA formulae. F4 has to be a bit slower than F3 (and (GP3), and that has to be a bit slower than F2, which has to be slower than F1 itself.
    It has to be carefully balanced to ensure that none of the fomulae over perform against each other or against the limit of the circuits at which they participate.
    Personally, I would hate it if a track (F1 or otherwise) was seriously changed because the cars in the formula that are licensed to use it have become to fast to do so.
    We all like ‘faster’, but sometimes that’s not the best answer to a problem because it will ultimately lead to a change in the specification of the formula. I would suggest that ‘more competitive racing’ is the best solution; how to achieve it is another question.

  3. So the RB6 had no DRS, less power, it was narrower, and is now 7 years behind in terms of aero development, regardless of the tweak in the rules for this year. It had a blown diffuser tho. Did it sport the F-duct? were Red Bull running it already at Silverstone? Can’t remember.

    All in all, even today, that RB6 would be quite a competent car taking everything into consideration. I mean, Webber’s pole was just a tenth shy of Grosjean’s time today!

    (and 2010 was a better season anyway…)

    1. The tyres helped the new cars too.
      I think leaving the RB6 the same shape more or less with minor upgrades such as DRS, more battery power and this year’s super softs it would fight for pole.

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