Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

Why drivers expect “a queue in the pits on lap six” in Canada

2019 Canadian Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

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Ferrari were anxious to play down their session-topping times on Friday, and with good reason. After all, the red cars haven’t got a great record when it comes to delivering on their apparent potential this season.

But with long straights to flatter their class-leading power unit and efficient – perhaps too efficient – chassis, plus warm track temperatures to help them get the tyres into the right operating window, Ferrari are certainly a more competitive force than they have been in recent races. Whether that’s going to be enough to trouble the all-conquering Mercedes W10s is another matter entirely.

Mercedes were emphatically quickest in first practice but Valtteri Bottas said that while changes they made for the second session improved the car’s performance, it made the handling trickier. Clearly the team is not about to sacrifice driver comfort for lap time, which shows they don’t consider themselves far ahead of the opposition this weekend.

The silver team did not have a trouble-free Friday. Bottas lost time with a minor power unit problem, and Lewis Hamilton’s brush with the wall was more costly. He missed out on a chance to hone his qualifying effort and also missed out on potentially valuable long-run data.

The latter could prove a problem as the limited life of the soft tyres may push teams towards using the harder compounds in the race. Anyone who starts on the soft compound will want to get rid of them quickly, predicted Nico Hulkenberg. “There’s going to be a traffic jam on lap six in the pits,” he said. “I think we need to introduce some traffic lights…”

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019
Hulkenberg doubts the tyres will last long
It looks like being a tricky weekend for Red Bull. No doubt their true pace was likely disguised by Max Verstappen’s brush with the wall. Pierre Gasly, who has been closer to his team mate in recent races, appeared to revert to his early-season form on day one in Canada, well done on his team mate’s pace.

Honda introduced its latest power unit in Baku, meaning Red bull does not have the benefit of fresh hardware which the Mercedes customers all enjoy. The Ferrari-powered teams are also getting their hands on some new kit: Haas did not run Ferrari’s new turbo and MGU-H on Friday, but expect to on Saturday, which should help them offer even stronger competition for Red Bull.

McLaren also looked competitive on Friday in the hands of Carlos Sainz Jnr. As the graph below shows, they are the only team yet to have improved on their best time from last year.

Will they be as quick on Saturday? Previously Renault have not been able to increase the power of their engines for qualifying as much as their rivals. However in Monaco Daniel Ricciardo spoke of finally having a proper ‘qualifying more’ for the first time. Keep an eye out for evidence of that in qualifying.

Longest stint comparison – second practice

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint. Very slow laps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan, right-click to reset:

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Combined practice times

PosDriverCarFP1FP2Total laps
1Charles LeclercFerrari1’13.7201’12.17763
2Sebastian VettelFerrari1’13.9051’12.25166
3Valtteri BottasMercedes1’12.9141’12.31171
4Carlos Sainz JnrMcLaren-Renault1’13.9731’12.55379
5Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’12.7671’12.93839
6Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’14.2021’12.93573
7Sergio PerezRacing Point-Mercedes1’14.1721’13.00370
8Daniel RicciardoRenault1’14.1231’13.01671
9Nico HulkenbergRenault1’14.4741’13.16872
10Lance StrollRacing Point-Mercedes1’14.8121’13.17169
11Lando NorrisMcLaren-Renault1’14.2461’13.24971
12Pierre GaslyRed Bull-Honda1’14.5701’13.34565
13Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’13.7551’13.38848
14Alexander AlbonToro Rosso-Honda1’14.7031’13.43681
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso-Honda1’15.3431’13.52172
16Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’13.9451’13.54271
17Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’14.6451’13.59870
18Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’14.5821’14.87033
19George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’15.9891’15.03665
20Robert KubicaWilliams-Mercedes1’15.28744

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2019 Canadian Grand Prix

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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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5 comments on “Why drivers expect “a queue in the pits on lap six” in Canada”

  1. He missed out on a chance to hone his qualifying effort and also missed out on potentially valuable long-run data.
    The latter could prove a problem as the limited life of the soft tyres may push teams towards using the harder compounds in the race.

    Oh no – we aren’t going to have another two hours of Lewis telling us every ten minutes that he can’t possibly make it are we?

    1. This time they upped their game: we’ve been hearing they might not make since yesterday!
      And Ferrari also got in on the fun, with Vettel saying he doesn’t think they’re ahead despite their practice results.
      If you go by all their comments, I think a Williams 1-2 is on the cards!

  2. Interesting Hulkenberg’s prediction of drivers starting the race on the softest compound of the weekend stopping as early as on lap six. I have my doubts about that. More likely something like lap twelve, lap ten at the earliest in my view, but we shall wait and see.

    1. lap twelve, lap ten at the earliest

      this seems like a normal, acceptable affair. But the fact the Vettel, Kevin, Hulk have all complained of the tyres getting worn out pretty quickly is something to take notice off. With temperatures set to increase, i doubt if even the mediums will last long enough.

      1. I suppose they could all be hoping for a relatively early starring role by Stroll in his home GP, using his predicted Q1 exit, and predictable good start and strong RP car to get ahead of his natural position, and then mess up sufficiently around lap 10-13 to cause a SC @jerejj, @webtel

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