#F1 Features: The Engine Corrected Grid – #HungarianGP 2014

Long-time TheJudge13 reader Iestyn Davies has been investigating the effect that powertrains are having on qualifying this year and has come up with this new post.  As TJ13 reported prior to this season, 2014 would be an engine-dominant formula, where the strongest works package would be the most competitive – as we have seen with Mercedes. Qualifying times have been adjusted, to compensate for this engine disadvantage, to highlight better or worse driver + car performances.

Summary: Overall package = driver + car + engine + tyres; Below: Package = driver + car.

Example: Hamilton/McLaren-Mercedes was the fastest package in 2012 overall. He didn’t convert that speed into the title though as team errors and reliability issues mounted up through the season.

Hungary 2014: *The engine-corrected grid*

With fewer straights here, I used 2/3rds correction strength. Massa was still 10 mph faster than Raikkonen (196 vs. 186 mph), the fastest and slowest cars, while all Mercedes engines were faster, apart from Button who ran more wing. Williams and Mercedes were also a little faster than Force India and McLaren for top speed, except for Hamilton, who also went with more downforce.

(Force India, McLaren -0.15, Ferrari -0.5, Renault -0.6)

Driver Constructor Fastest Lap
21 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.537*
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:22.601 (+0.1)
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.715
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1:22.791
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:23.354 (+0.8)
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:23.409 (+0.9)
6 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:24.030
8 Jean-Éric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1:24.037 (+1.5)
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1:24.106
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.144 (+1.6)
10 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.435
9 Nico Hülkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:24.497 (+2.0)
12 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.636 (+2.1)
15 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:24.737 (+2.2)
14 Esteban Gutiérrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:24.760
13 Sergio Pérez Force India-Mercedes 1:25.061
22 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1:25.186*
16 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:26.228 (+3.7)
17 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:26.292
18 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:26.539 (+4.0)
19 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:27.319
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:28.043

 

Track improvement was only a few tenths in each session, as seen by Vergne’s soft tyre times, with only the faster cars improving their times in the drying Q3. The increased gaps here point to the influence of aerodynamics coming back in at Hungary – practice gaps were much the same.

Analysis

Lewis Hamilton was, on average, almost 2 tenths faster than Rosberg in practice here, his favourite track, where we would expect the difference to be more than the usual 0.1. Pole was thus likely, with a 1:22.5, leading to a Hamilton/Vettel front row. Bottas/Alonso, on row 3, can be considered the ‘best of the rest’, ahead of the midfield.

Maldonado’s time is also a composite of his deficit to his team-mate in practice. But, it is likely that he probably would have been pretty close to Grosjean’s time, and likely ahead of Perez at least on this grid. Perez and Massa were the furthest behind their team-mates, although not by as much as ‘Super-Max’ Chilton and Ericsson. Williams said Massa had to clear four cars on his fast lap.

*Conservative estimates for Hamilton and Maldonado could also be just the FP3 gaps – which would be 1:22.65 for Hamilton and 1:24.70 for Maldonado. In this case, we would have had a Vettel pole position instead, but still a Vettel/Hamilton front row. However, it is also likely that Hamilton was holding back in FP3, saving something for qualifying, as noted by Bruno Senna at the time.

Conclusion

It looks like Vettel is coming back into form, now that FRIC is off the car, despite his worst finish of the year (3 early car-failures aside). Red Bull should really be challenging Mercedes next year, especially if the Silver Arrows continue to be poor on strategy efficiency.

The Williams car really is close to the Ferrari, and their developments are making them faster. They must really fancy beating Ferrari, with Kimi not totally on form, and being held back by various issues, e.g. the team’s quali mix-up, as his lead engineer was at home with his wife, having a baby.

McLaren has undoubtedly been helped by the loss of FRIC, as apparently they were not always running it early in the year. Magnussen’s error hid their pace here, although the race result backs up the qualifying result. They’ll be desperate to challenge Ferrari and Williams next year at least.

Toro Rosso look like they could soon challenge for the 6th place on the Strategy Group, the only ‘open’ one, after Bob “The builder of fast cars” Fernley perhaps gets to ‘have a say’ in 2015 (unless BE built in a ‘multi-year’ provision!), as the Force India is falling back, while the Toro Rosso is getting stronger.

Ferrari’s mix-up is all the more galling, as Marussia looked slower than Caterham here, for the first time in a while, due to the lack of FRIC, so Bianchi’s lap really was ‘the perfect lap’. Again, he looks ready for a step up the grid, like Ricciardo/Bottas did last year and Hulkenberg has for some time.

30 responses to “#F1 Features: The Engine Corrected Grid – #HungarianGP 2014

  1. “It looks like Vettel is coming back into form, now that FRIC is off the car…”

    I find that comment most interesting… I think it goes against most peoples perceptions of VET’s abilities.

    I’ll leave it at that. We are all still recovering from the ‘Great War of the Maurading Hamilfosi.’

    • Vettel has looked uncomfortable all year, so FRIC no longer there is one of the few logical explanations for him suddenly improving

      • For me, too, “Vettel improves because of missing FRIC” seemed strangely sounding. The guy has been a master of scalextric, blown Newey designs, and he was one of those criticizing this year’s cars’ lack of downforce (as TJ put it, according to him driving wasn’t fun anymore), so giving him even less downforce and car-on-rails-through-the-corners effect seems counterintuitive to allowing him to drive better.

        My observation though: In Hockenheim and in Hungaroring Vettel was driving the car rather “aggressively”, hustling it through the corners rally-style. Maybe this paid off more in Hungaroring than elsewhere (remember Kimi’s rally antics there from last year?), compared to Colgate Boy’s smooth riding style.. Or maybe Vettel is slowly coming back..

      • Couldn’t it also be track related? Everyone said that Hungary would suit the RB’s characteristics. It’s not a power circuit, not many sweeping fast corners etc. Also you could see he was taking a lot of risk not only in the race, but also during FP’s. There were a couple times you could see him fishtailing the car when he exited in think it was T12.

        I think we will all see if the lost of FRIC has benefited him when they get to Spa.

    • And perception of what….? That he can’t deal with a less than perfect car? Please do divulge more…

        • Newey was at RBR for just over three years before one of his cars won a race, if he was so good and his cars so easy to win with why did it take Vettel joining before they won a race (VETs third race for RBR)?

          And lets add to that in 2006, Neweys final McLaren they also didn’t win a race. That’s over 4 years without a win. Prior to Vettel racing one of his cars the last driver to win in one was Kimi in Japan (yes that race!)

      • What I mean is, generally speaking, I believe that there is a perception out there that VET only performs under highly unique technical circumstances. The same was said of Casey Stoner after his Ducati Championship victory in 2007 and subsequent Ducati GP wins in 08/09/10. Then came his Honda years… And I smiled…

        It has been noted that the RBR blown diffuser was greatly utilised by VET (and it was) and the aero and mechanical stability of the RBR also stripped away any lack of car control he had. Essentially implying anyone could drive that car to victory. Funnily enough Webber never came runner-up in any title winning year. A factoid lost in the quagmire of data mining to bolster pre-formed perceptions.

        Anyway, under said technical circumstances he ‘romped’ to 4 consecutive WDC’s and over 5 years won an epic amount if races between 2009-13. But the perception somewhat undermined the achievement. That perception was also cultivated by Alonso and Hamilton.

        In relation to this comment I made, I simply amused myself at the fact a (very astute) connection was made by you between the RBR losing essentially what is a driver aid and VET’s relative performance being enhanced. Who would have thought?! (me for one).

        To be clear, I would say that I am neither a fan of the boy, nor do I dislike him. But I have MASSIVE respect for the fact he has executed every single real opportunity into tangible results, poles, wins and WDC’s. In the end what more can be asked of a driver? Kimi, Alonso, Hamilton, Button can’t say the same thing.

        I have acknowledged his under performance this year so far. I think it’s the first time in his career someone has gotten on top of him over a substantial series of races. Ala Button / Hamilton mid-late 2011. It will be interesting to see how he responds, and if indeed you are correct in the connection you make between FRIC going and VET emerging once more. In Hamilton’s case, he came out and totally dusted Button in 2012 after his 2011 intra-team failing.

        • “Kimi, Alonso, Hamilton, Button can’t say the same thing.”

          I disagree with this when it comes to Kimi and Hamilton and half-disagree when it comes to Alonso and Button.

          The only year Button had a dominant car (for half the season mind you) he won the title. In 2012 McLaren was strong but Button was simply not as good as Hamilton.
          Kimi had chances with McLaren in 2003 and 2005 but if the Merc engine keeps blowing up then it’s hardly his fault.
          In 2007, Alonso or Hamilton should have won it, but the infighting between the former and Dennis destroyed everything. In a way you could blame Alonso for not getting down to work and just spent his time fighting for a no1 status within the team.
          And the only other chance Hamilton (2012) had, it was poor reliability and team errors that cost him the title, again hardly his fault. On the contrary, that was Hamilton’s strongest year and he was the best driver that year making no mistakes whatsoever.

          So it’s hardly just a driver effort. Without taking anything away from Vettel, it’s also a team effort and RBR not only provided Vettel with a dominant car but also excellent reliability and strategy. Quite similar in a way to the Ferrari/Schuey years.

          • In 2012 McLaren had the fastest car on the grid over the course of the season. A series of car failures, strategy errors and so on really cost them.

            I think it would be hard to suggest that Lewis ‘made no mistakes whatsoever’ though. The setup he chose at Spa, the collision with Maldonardo – one which a Kimi, Fernando or Jenson would simply not have had, both spring to mind. I think every driver makes mistakes over the course of the season, those were about the only two Lewis made though.

            The fact the JB & LH were beaten by FA, KR & SV in 2012 shows what a cock up of a season that was for McLaren.

            2010 was another championship possible McLaren car, 2nd best car in the field granted, but the last lap in Monza pushing too hard and the Webber collision in Singapore cost him and they really were driver error. Had he taken points those days? I think he’d have got WDC number 2.

            Now I don’t want this to appear as a downer on Lewis, but in a pretty simplistic view of things, Hamilton has had a championship capable car in at least 3 previous seasons (07,08 & 10 – and now 14, but not 12 because of those faults out of his control). He’s picked up 1 of those 3, so 33%.

            Vettel? He’s had a championship capable car 4 times, and he’s picked up all 4 titles (the 09 car was never really fast enough to challenge the early Brawn dominance, even if you take out VETs driving errors he still wouldn’t have won). So I can see exactly where SIS is coming from on that front.

            This year is Lewis’s fourth realistic shot at winning the title, i.e. 4th times he’s got the car to do it. Not delivering would be pretty bad news for him on that front. Granted the car has broken a lot, so it might end up like 2012 where it’s not him that loses the WDC, it’s the car.

          • Too late to be considered a championship capable winning car really. If anything Button messed up in 2009, he went through a patch were he didn’t drive well, no where near the cars potential, and as such I think the 2009 title looks closer than it was in reality, just as the ’14 WDC looks closer than it really is between RIC & the Merc boys (although the failings at Merc are team/car rather than driver).

          • I disagree. The Red Bull was still strong early 2009 (granted not as strong as the Brawn) but Vettel made rookie errors.

          • …. a common failure on both WO5’s in Spa – 2 DNF’s and a Ricciardo win? 😉

            Fraid he’d still be 35 points back….

            Merc really need to get on top of the brake problems….

          • Well, I kind of disagree about Lewis’s chances in 2010, but that’s OK, it’s a matter of opinion. And although he did miss out on ’07 and ’12 I think both years were not his fault.

            As for Vettel whether he could have won the title in ’09, then that’s again open to debate. In my opinion, the more mature and experienced Vettel of ’12/’13 would have won the title in ’09.

          • How can you say 07 was not his fault? He was the fool who pushed too hard and beached his car in China

          • I look at 2010 as the one that really got away for Lewis. If he’d had a little more patience behind Massa on lap 1 he’d have surely taken an easy P3 that day at Monza (I said last lap crash above – that was 09, got my years mixed up!). In Singapore if he’d not risked it all he’d have taken a fairly easy P4, possibly P3 with a bit more patience. That would have left him with another ~26>30 pts. That would have taken the title with ease!

            It kinda sums Lewis up though, all in, all the time. That sometimes pays off big style, but that’s not the way that Alonso, Vettel, Kimi or nowadays Rosberg are racing. Don’t get me wrong it’s damn entertaining to watch, and the guys vastly talented, but he’s rarely pragmatic in his approach.

        • I think the current idea that Vettel is hammered by Ricciardo is a pretty false picture of things. I think Dan has only had one DNF, in Malaysia, a race in which he was behind Vettel. On the other hand, Vettels luck this season makes Hamilton almost look lucky in comparison!

          Australia: PU issues in both Q and race. DNF.
          Malaysia: car works P3, RIC DNF late in race due to car.
          Bahrain: Brake by wire issues in Q, also in race + DRS issues.
          China: car works, but team get strategy wrong P5 (Ric beats him on pace)
          Spain: Car dies in qualifying, starts P15 finishes P4 behind RIC.
          Monaco: Car dies whilst ahead of RIC.
          Canada: Car works, but team bodge strategy, handing RIC the win.
          Austria: Car stops on lap 1, no point continuing, RIC had the pace on him there though.
          GB: RIC wins out thanks a helpful strategy, Vettel faster all weekend.
          Germany: RIC massively compromised in turn 1, RIC finishes behind VET.
          Hungary: VET shafted by the safety car, RIC benefits (e.g. McLaren putting JB on inters) to win.

          So looking at the race weekends where both cars have worked for some part (including viewing of FP sessions) of it I’ve got it at something like:
          Aus: Can’t call it as VETs car not working for most of the weekend.
          Mal: VET
          Bah: Tough to call, as VET had issues all weekend.
          Chi: RIC without doubt.
          Spa: RIC perhaps? Hard to be sure.
          Mon: Can’t call it really.
          Can: VET easily
          Aus: RIC easily
          GB: VET just about
          Ger: RIC
          Hun: VET

          Which brings it out fairly evenly in terms of pace and so on. Obviously the constructors points table looks vastly different, but a good bundle of Vettels lack of points is down to something that Lewis is also suffering from, and that’s lady luck. The issue they both (LH & SV) have though is that there are grid pens for using too many parts on your cars, so suffering early on also means they’re likely to suffer later on as well.

          I could write something very similar about Lewis, but I think that plenty have already acknowledged that, whilst perhaps not for the German driver so many love to hate.

  2. Forceindia falling back?. They r bit unlucky in last 2 races like tail wind in britain, cooler temps on race day in hockenhiem .Their race pace is better Dan McLaren and williams . torrorosso looks quick only in qualys but on race pace they r 0.7 to 1 sec slower.

    • They have a lack of investment at the moment though, which is limiting their development. Unless cash comes soon, they will continue to slide away from the front pack…. Which is a great shame given their promise

  3. Yes the forceindia is a much better car than torrorosso mclaren and williams and str is s***t car on race pace. Fi can easily get 5th position this year or even 4th with some luck.

    • I guess time will tell on this one… Fingers crossed for a miracle from Hulk

      • Im following this site from the beginning of the season. The amount of technical info they r providing is great . I like to see new feature like fp2 forensics as fp2 is very much important session to analyze which team had better pace on race stinct.

        • I mean full info Like lap times of each team in column wise and lap count on rows at least for top 6 teams .

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