#F1 Forensics: Top Drivers Lap Times & all new Lap Gap Chart

Brought to you by TJ13 contributor Tourdog

An exciting race it was. The lack of running in the practice and qualifying sessions was a blessing to me, as it meant less work, but also meant that no one had any real idea of pace, setup, tyres, etc. The teams were forced to make educated guesses on their setups, and then pray they guessed correctly once the race happened.

Obviously Mercedes got it right, as well as a few others like Toro Rosso.

Ricciardo looked very strong in the beginning of the race, putting down half a dozen fastest laps while everyone was still running on the intermediate tyre. Once the switch was made to the softs, however, he was well off the pace, and his collision on lap 36 didn’t help him either.

Standout performances must go to Carlos Sainz Jr., and Max Verstappen. Carlos went from 20th to 7th, and Verstappen from 8th to 4th.

Only two of the drivers I show here chose to run the medium tyre. Both Sainz and Vettel put it on for their third stint around lap 27. No doubt they were both hoping to get to the end of the race, and most likely would have done it. Rosberg has switched to the soft about 5 laps earlier, and would have no doubt caught and passed Vettel, but his softs would have been knackered by the end, so there is a chance Vettel could have gotten in back. Lewis was screwed, and got lucky twice to get the win. If it hadn’t been for the last safety car, Lewis would have had to change tyres, or keep his softs going for another 14 laps beyond the 23 they had already done, which wasn’t going to happen, and this would have dropped him further back. It also means that the podium would have been Rosberg (if he could pass and hold off Vettel) Vettel, and Verstappen.

Alas, the safety car came out on lap 43, and gave Hamilton the opportunity to put on a fresh set of Softs. Then Rosberg’s mistake, one that he will never forget, handed Lewis the lead and that was it. Hamilton wins, and takes the WDC.

I’m afraid I have to beat the safety drum again folks. Take note of laps 30 and 31 during the first safety car period. The safety car came out on lap 27. On lap 30 they let the lapped cars go, which included Alonso. He then ran two laps at full on race pace  in the 1:46.00’s. There were still marshall’s lingering around, and though this time they were well off the racing line, there have been other occasions where the Marshall’s were still in harms way while the back markers were catching up. Having cars running at full beans while the course is under Safety car is an inherently risky situation that needs to be resolved. As other here in the TJ13 towers have advocated for, the easy fix is to send the back markers through the pits, instead of around the track during the safety car. We still question the inherent “fairness” of giving a lap back to a lapped car, just because there is an incident on track, but that is another discussion…

At the request, and with the assistance of Vortex Motio, I have added another graph for you to ponder. The lap time graph has not changed, but there is a new one down below. It is kind of difficult to tile in a snappy way, so allow me to take a few sentences to explain..

Because the track was changing lap by lap, we have identified who was the fastest on each individual lap. Then on each lap we calculated the time difference between the fastest time (Zero on the chart), and the other drivers lap times. So the top of the graph is the fastest lap time (Zero), whomever’s dot is at the top for each lap is the driver that did the fastest lap and all other drivers are compared to him. Negative numbers represent seconds off the pace, not that they were running faster lap times.

This differs slightly from other graphs you will see online, that simply plot the gap to a single lap time, usually the fastest overall lap of the race. The problem with that is, it does not really take conditions into account. The way we have done it, we are comparing drivers against each other on each individual lap.

I have only included seven drivers this week, any more and the graphs get to busy to be useful. There are laps shown in the new graph where no one is fastest (Zero). It just means that one of the drivers not shown had the fastest time for that lap.

Hopefully that makes some sense. if not I blame Vortex.

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For more interesting numbers visit the CHANCERY’S ARCHIVE

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3 responses to “#F1 Forensics: Top Drivers Lap Times & all new Lap Gap Chart

  1. “As other here in the TJ13 towers have advocated for, the easy fix is to send the back markers through the pits, instead of around the track during the safety car. We still question the inherent “fairness” of giving a lap back to a lapped car, just because there is an incident on track, but that is another discussion…”

    Just leave them were they are. Without a safety car drivers must pass them on track and I see no reason why with a safety car drivers don’t have to lap back markers. A safety car is for safety, not to spice up the show by eliminating back markers from a fight on track.

    • They would have a right old headache calculating the fuel they should have used on the laps they did vs fuel they used on the laps they actually did, as they would have to project an extra laps fuel. That is bound to lead to a load of f**k ups, they had enough hassle over just the fuel flow and where you fit the damn thing! I think they should filter them through the pits and add a lap as has often been suggested, I’m just putting a card down to say the rule will be badly written and some ad hoc crap invented to accomodate for the above eventuallity, which will no doubt lead to some penalty post race that will piss everyone off and make the FIA look like amateurs… again!

  2. It’s really interesting that how hard it is for drivers to drive really close to delta during VSC.

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