2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix interactive data: lap charts, times and tyres

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Expectations that the Jeddah Corniche Circuit might produce a race affected by red flags and Safety Cars were realised in a chaotic inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

With a Safety Car period and a pair of red flags within the first 16 laps, very few pit stops were made under green flag running. It also meant several drivers were badly served by fortune.

Lewis Hamilton and team mate Valtteri Bottas pitted under the Safety Car. Max Verstappen stayed out, and reaped a huge reward when the race was red-flagged the first time, allowing him to change his tyres without pitting and retaining his leads.

However, the first restart was incredibly short-lived, only lasting a few corners before another red flag was shown. Hamilton used that opportunity to get ahead of his rival, though he immediately lost it at the next restart.

Lando Norris was another of the biggest losers, pitting under the first Safety Car period and restarting 16th after the red flag having lost 10 places. Charles Leclerc did the same without really losing out much at all, due to their relative on-track positions.

After the race had started for the third (and final) time, there were further interruptions to running. Four Virtual Safety Car periods, caused by debris on track, make lap time charts look more like a four-or-five stop race took place.

Given the number of times green flag racing was interrupted, attrition was surprisingly low. Five drivers were not classified, in order: Mick Schumacher, Sergio Perez, Nikita Mazepin, George Russell and Sebastian Vettel disappear from the lap charts across the course of the grand prix data. The most notable of them is probably Vettel, who made a significant contribution to the number of virtual safety car periods by running with a heavily damaged car that was dropping debris – and him down the order, aero compromised out of any competitive edge.

Towards the end of the race Verstappen reported real difficulty with his rear tyres, which may also have been carrying damage from the contact with Hamilton on lap 37. In this bizarre incident, Verstappen slowed to let Hamilton pass after his team concluded he had gained a position by going off the track. Hamilton was unwilling to pass him before the DRS detection point, so Verstappen slowed down further. The result was the pair gave away four seconds compared to the chasing cars.

Once Hamilton finally got ahead, Verstappen’s lap times dropped off significantly. His gamble on medium tyres for the final restart did not pay off and he limped home as his lap times comparison below shows.

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix lap chart

The positions of each driver on every lap. Click name to highlight, right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix race chart

The gaps between each driver on every lap compared to the leader’s average lap time. Very large gaps omitted. Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and right-click to reset. Toggle drivers using controls below:

NB. Does not reflect post-race time penalties

Position change

DriverStart positionLap one position changeRace position change
Lewis Hamilton100
Valtteri Bottas20-1
Max Verstappen301
Sergio Perez50
Lando Norris71-3
Daniel Ricciardo1126
Lance Stroll1827
Sebastian Vettel172
Esteban Ocon925
Fernando Alonso132-1
Charles Leclerc40-3
Carlos Sainz Jnr1527
Pierre Gasly6-20
Yuki Tsunoda8-4-5
Kimi Raikkonen12-2-3
Antonio Giovinazzi1001
Mick Schumacher191
Nikita Mazepin200
George Russell14-3
Nicholas Latifi16-34

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix lap times

All the lap times by the drivers (in seconds, very slow laps excluded). Scroll to zoom, drag to pan and toggle drivers using the control below:

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix fastest laps

Each driver’s fastest lap:

RankDriverCarFastest lapGapOn lap
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’30.73447
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’31.4080.67447
3Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’31.4880.75435
4Charles LeclercFerrari1’31.6010.86746
5Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’31.6330.89946
6Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’31.7971.06347
7Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’31.8511.11737
8Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’31.9141.18049
9Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’32.2971.56346
10Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’32.5061.77244
11Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’32.7161.98243
12Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’32.7512.01749
13Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’32.7782.04445
14Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’32.8042.07045
15Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’32.8652.13137
16Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’34.0303.29641
17Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’34.1383.4049
18Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’36.0435.3098
19George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’36.1305.3967
20Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’37.0436.3097

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4
Lewis HamiltonC3 (10)C2 (40)
Max VerstappenC3 (13)C2 (2)C3 (35)
Valtteri BottasC3 (10)C2 (5)C3 (35)
Esteban OconC3 (0)C2 (50)
Daniel RicciardoC2 (13)C3 (37)
Pierre GaslyC3 (13)C2 (37)
Charles LeclercC3 (10)C2 (40)
Carlos Sainz JnrC2 (13)C3 (37)
Antonio GiovinazziC3 (0)C2 (50)
Lando NorrisC4 (10)C2 (40)
Lance StrollC3 (9)C2 (6)C3 (35)
Nicholas LatifiC3 (10)C2 (3)C3 (2)C2 (35)
Fernando AlonsoC3 (10)C2 (5)C4 (29)
Yuki TsunodaC3 (0)C2 (15)C3 (8)C2 (26)
Kimi RaikkonenC3 (0)C2 (26)C3 (23)
Sebastian VettelC2 (0)C3 (15)C3 (29)
Sergio PerezC3 (10)C2 (-10)C3 (14)
Nikita MazepinC3 (13)C2 (1)
George RussellC3 (9)C2 (5)
Mick SchumacherC3 (8)

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Fernando AlonsoAlpine20.40510
2George RussellWilliams20.5190.1149
3Charles LeclercFerrari20.5310.12610
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes20.5800.17510
5Sergio PerezRed Bull20.7100.30510
6Lando NorrisMcLaren20.9730.56810
7Fernando AlonsoAlpine21.0970.69244
8Valtteri BottasMercedes21.6681.26310
9Nicholas LatifiWilliams24.2203.81510
10Lance StrollAston Martin27.1656.7609
11Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri27.8747.46923
12Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo34.48914.08426

NB. Excludes tyre changes under red flag.

2021 Saudi Arabian 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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6 comments on “2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix interactive data: lap charts, times and tyres”

  1. Nell (@imabouttogoham)
    6th December 2021, 1:51

    There could’ve been a lot more ways controversy would’ve arisen. Max’s tires falling off at the end seems like it was a formality but he still would’ve been equally as dogged.

    1. I was expecting another red flag to save his bacon but it wasn’t to be. Verstappen is a very lucky boy this weekend – so many errors of judgement (by his team too, medium tyres was a massive fail) and an atrocious driving style. He could easily have come away from here with a DNF (or DNQ if you’re of that mind). To still be leading the title race is as good as he could have hoped for.

      Looks like the Ferraris had a good fight – shame hardly any of it made the channel 4 highlights. I’m in the dark on pretty much anything that happened in this race outside of the Hamilton-verstappen battle.

      1. someone or something
        6th December 2021, 11:03

        Not going to argue against your assessment of the driving style, I still haven’t processed it all.
        However, I disagree with the following:

        many errors of judgement (by his team too, medium tyres was a massive fail)

        Sure, it was quite a big gamble. But it may have been this very gamble that put him in a position where he actually had something to lose. Would he have been able to thread the needle at the final restart without the extra bit of traction and brake performance the softer compound gave him? I don’t think so; I’d assume Verstappen would’ve stayed in 3rd, and from then on, he would’ve probably had no chance of overtaking Hamilton, as their cars were too close on pace.
        In other words, that gamble enabled him to fight for the win in the first place.

  2. It looks like something has gone wrong with the Tyre strategies table. Some drivers have a first stint of zero laps, while Perez has a second stint of -10 laps

  3. I notice that Bottas was 5s slower than Hamilton on the lap when the SC was called.
    It was briefly mentioned (Max complaining on the radio), but was quickly forgotten abut with the red flag, and the fact that Max jumped both anyway by not pitting.
    Can anyone say if Hamilton was too fast or if Bottas was too slow? When they’re driving to their delta times, how much leeway are they given? I presume both were legal, just pushing the opposite limits to the extreme?
    Feels like another grey area…

    1. someone or something
      6th December 2021, 19:18

      If Hamilton had been too fast, there would’ve been a penalty.
      As for how slowly Bottas was allowed to go – the Safety Car regulations demand a gap of less than ten car lengths to the car ahead, but seeing as they hadn’t caught the Safety Car yet, this was essentially a VSC situation (cf. article 48.7).
      According to articles 48.5 (Safety Car) and 49.3 (Virtual Safety Car):

      No car may be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person at any time whilst the [48.5: safety car/49.3: VSC] procedure is in use. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.

      Therefore, Bottas’ behaviour was clearly on the naughty side, but unlike the minimum time, there is no clearly defined maximum time. At the end of the day, he probably escaped a penalty because the subsequent red flag negated any advantage he or his team might’ve gained. Plus, Masi and the Stewards had more urgent matters to tend to.

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