Lap time watch: Renault make biggest gain again

2017 Mexican Grand Prix

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Renault has taken the biggest step forward at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, lapping the track almost three-and-a-half seconds faster than they did last year.

The team has consistently been one of the most-improved outfits during 2017.

McLaren posted the third-largest improvement but may have made more progress than the lap times indicate. Neither car set a time in Q2 because of their impending grid penalties:

As has been the case at every race this year with the exception of Monza, the track record has fallen at the current configuration of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez:

Sebastian Vettel lowered the outright track record to 1’16.488. The race lap record is a 1’20.521 set by Nico Rosberg in 2015.

2017 Mexican Grand Prix

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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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13 comments on “Lap time watch: Renault make biggest gain again”

  1. So I guess it is good that in a lot of these Mercedes has gained the least, but both Torro Rosso and Williams are also consistently down on the low end of these, which is matched with their results, but is a bit worrying and also slightly confusing to me.

    I guess Torro Rosso could be suffering from having had to chance their engine so often, but just last year, they often had interesting, and seemingly working, solutions that others copied. Williams is sad, but not new.

    1. Williams is sad, but not new.

      I think 2017 marks the end of the consistent decline that Williams have had, starting from the boost they received in 2014 with the Mercedes PU.

      I for one hope that Paddy Lowe’s arrival this year starts showing through in a more consolidated manner next year. Williams have shown some changes this year – the positive being their better qualifying in the wet at Monza, the negative being the apparent absence of their slippery low-drag aero.

      Also, their driver pairing is probably the most uninspiring – I don’t see their drivers as the kind who spur one another on to better performances (quite unlike Force India, for instance).

      1. Kubica will make the change soon, I am sure

      2. Also, their driver pairing is probably the most uninspiring – I don’t see their drivers as the kind who spur one another on to better performances (quite unlike Force India, for instance).

        Yeah, Williams are continuously shooting themselves in the foot with their Canadian moneybag. The thing is, no matter what you think about Massa, he’s miles ahead of Stroll. Their average difference in qualifying is around 0.7 seconds and more than 4 places. There was a brief period during which Stroll seemed to catch up, but that trend has been reversed again – in the 5 races since Stroll’s apparent breakthrough in Monza, the gap was 0.714 – 0.273 – 1.057 – 1.265 – 1.060. If we only looked at Stroll’s lap times, Williams wouldn’t be any faster than in 2016.
        Now, there’s a lot of talk of replacing Massa (Sky F1 UK doing a particularly poor job of separating their pundit’s interest in Massa’s cockpit from their analyses), but I don’t think that’d solve the fundamental problem. Stroll is slow and hardly showing any progress. Massa is a lot quicker, and that doesn’t seem to spur Stroll on. Now Williams are turning towards di Resta (whose pedigree has been supplemented with a lacklustre 11th out of 18 in the 2017 DTM championship) as a potential improvement (I very much doubt that). Do they think Stroll would somehow get his act together if he lost even more time to his team mate? Or are they deliberately looking for a slower but more renowned team mate to raise Stroll’s morale?
        Whichever way you look at it, Stroll is the problem. A problem Williams see to be unwilling to address.

        1. Fernando Mariano
          4th November 2017, 17:24


  2. Renault and Ferrari are the obvious winners of this season. McLaren and Red Bull are mores surprisingly, as both of them have had a relatively poor season. Funny to see that Haas is in the middle of the lap improvement chart, even though they are dead last in qualifying. Given that they’ve improved more than Force India, which is now clearly the 4th-fastest team (last year they were battling for 4th place with Williams), shows that the gap between the 3 top teams and the rest has widened. Also funny to see that Mercedes has actually made less progress than Sauber, even though they have the benefit of a new 2017-spec engine. Toro Rosso is probably the biggest victim of this year’s rule changes. They had a great chassis in 2014-2016, but this year the chassis is pretty much average it seems.

    1. I think Toro rosso improved little in Mexico because both drivers are basically brand new in the car (and track). I would expect a few tenths better performance had they kept the experienced drivers.

    2. To be fair to Toro Rosso, they did have substantial issues with the engines on both cars throughout. Hartley blew his turbo at the start of his first quick lap in Q2 and as Gasly didn’t even make it out of the garage, I think calling TR out over their chassis is perhaps a bit harsh.

  3. The obvious implication is the potential very competitive 2018 McLaren-Renault. With an alleged best handling chassis this weekend and a competitive PU, Alonso might be in the mix in 2018.

    Too bad we will have the halos to deal with.

  4. At least a second of that is down to drivers though. Renauly have gone from Magnussen and Palmer to Hulkenburg and Sainz in that period. Day and night.

    1. And Williams, come to think of it, have gone backwards.

  5. More significant improvement in ultimate lap time on last season than at COTA despite it being considerably longer (both length and lap time-wise) than this circuit.

    1. And Williams used to have Bottas, now only Massa.

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