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

Driver Start position Lap one position change Race position change
Lewis Hamilton 1 0 0
Valtteri Bottas 2 0 -1
Max Verstappen 3 0 1
Sergio Perez 5 0
Lando Norris 7 1 -3
Daniel Ricciardo 11 2 6
Lance Stroll 18 2 7
Sebastian Vettel 17 2
Esteban Ocon 9 2 5
Fernando Alonso 13 2 -1
Charles Leclerc 4 0 -3
Carlos Sainz Jnr 15 2 7
Pierre Gasly 6 -2 0
Yuki Tsunoda 8 -4 -5
Kimi Raikkonen 12 -2 -3
Antonio Giovinazzi 10 0 1
Mick Schumacher 19 1
Nikita Mazepin 20 0
George Russell 14 -3
Nicholas Latifi 16 -3 4

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:

Rank Driver Car Fastest lap Gap On lap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’30.734 47
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’31.408 0.674 47
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull-Honda 1’31.488 0.754 35
4 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’31.601 0.867 46
5 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1’31.633 0.899 46
6 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1’31.797 1.063 47
7 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari 1’31.851 1.117 37
8 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1’31.914 1.180 49
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Honda 1’32.297 1.563 46
10 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri-Honda 1’32.506 1.772 44
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren-Mercedes 1’32.716 1.982 43
12 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1’32.751 2.017 49
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’32.778 2.044 45
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’32.804 2.070 45
15 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’32.865 2.131 37
16 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’34.030 3.296 41
17 Sergio Perez Red Bull-Honda 1’34.138 3.404 9
18 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1’36.043 5.309 8
19 George Russell Williams-Mercedes 1’36.130 5.396 7
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas-Ferrari 1’37.043 6.309 7

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Lewis Hamilton C3 (10) C2 (40)
Max Verstappen C3 (13) C2 (2) C3 (35)
Valtteri Bottas C3 (10) C2 (5) C3 (35)
Esteban Ocon C3 (0) C2 (50)
Daniel Ricciardo C2 (13) C3 (37)
Pierre Gasly C3 (13) C2 (37)
Charles Leclerc C3 (10) C2 (40)
Carlos Sainz Jnr C2 (13) C3 (37)
Antonio Giovinazzi C3 (0) C2 (50)
Lando Norris C4 (10) C2 (40)
Lance Stroll C3 (9) C2 (6) C3 (35)
Nicholas Latifi C3 (10) C2 (3) C3 (2) C2 (35)
Fernando Alonso C3 (10) C2 (5) C4 (29)
Yuki Tsunoda C3 (0) C2 (15) C3 (8) C2 (26)
Kimi Raikkonen C3 (0) C2 (26) C3 (23)
Sebastian Vettel C2 (0) C3 (15) C3 (29)
Sergio Perez C3 (10) C2 (-10) C3 (14)
Nikita Mazepin C3 (13) C2 (1)
George Russell C3 (9) C2 (5)
Mick Schumacher C3 (8)

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Fernando Alonso Alpine 20.405 10
2 George Russell Williams 20.519 0.114 9
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 20.531 0.126 10
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 20.580 0.175 10
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull 20.710 0.305 10
6 Lando Norris McLaren 20.973 0.568 10
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine 21.097 0.692 44
8 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 21.668 1.263 10
9 Nicholas Latifi Williams 24.220 3.815 10
10 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 27.165 6.760 9
11 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 27.874 7.469 23
12 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 34.489 14.084 26

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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