How Raikkonen, Hamilton and Massa’s lap times compared at Monza

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton started his race behind one Ferrari and ended it behind the other
Lewis Hamilton started his race behind one Ferrari and ended it behind the other

The three championship rivals had varying fortunes in the mixed weather at Monza. At one time or another each was substantially faster than the other.

Here’s a look at how their lap times compared during the Italian Grand Prix:

Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton lap times

Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton lap times (click to enlarge)
Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton lap times (click to enlarge)

The important thing to remember when looking at this graph is that the gap between each line is one second. So the swings in performance between each of the drivers were quite large.

Lewis Hamilton’s lap times suddenly improved once he got past Raikkonen, but what was particularly impressive was he kept his lap times very quick despite having to pass cars on several laps.

Massa’s lap times improved considerably after he hit clean air having passed Nico Rosberg on lap 15. Massa’s pit stop on lap 22 coincided with Hamilton getting his first proper clear laps in prior to his stop on lap 27.

Through all of this Raikkonen was oddly quiet. He began putting in some quick laps after his first pit stop but it wasn’t until he switched from extreme wets to standard wets that he really sped up.

Over the final laps he was taking up to two seconds per lap off Massa and Hamilton, who were running nose to tail. Just as at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, Raikkonen seemed to thrive when the track was moving from damp to dry conditions.

Here’s two graphs showing how the gap from Raikkonen to Massa and Hamilton fluctuated:

Italian Grand Prix: Gap between Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa

Italian Grand Prix: Gap between Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa (Click to enlarge)
Italian Grand Prix: Gap between Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa (Click to enlarge)

Italian Grand Prix: Gap between Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton

Italian Grand Prix: Gap between Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton (Click to enlarge)
Italian Grand Prix: Gap between Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton (Click to enlarge)

30 comments on “How Raikkonen, Hamilton and Massa’s lap times compared at Monza”

  1. What an impressive job from Lewis if we consider how much fuel he was carrying in the starts of his two stints, comparatively with Kimi and Felipe.

  2. Great statistics… I would love to see all your data after doing this for a few seasons.

  3. This another evidence that shows that Hamilton is not an ordinary kid got lucky being selected by a top team. He is a class driver and I have no doubt that he will get the title this year or in the future.

  4. The earlier laps go a long way to show how Ferrari struggle in the wet conditions. Raikkonen was complaining that he couldn’t get his tyres up to temperature in the earlier stages of the race. Once the track begun to dry out, he could set those really quick times since it takes less effort to heat the inters than the full wets. With rain a distinct possibility for the last 4 races, Hamilton’s brilliant pace in the wet will surely seal him the title.

  5. I wonder what the result might have been if Lewis was put on intermediates after the first pit stop!

  6. I find it so strange how Kimi, quite often only comes alive at the end, if he was like that for the entire race he could’ve won, Massa and hamilton are slower than Kimi when he is giving it his all but on the whole, a lot more consistant.

  7. ferrari is just not good with the tyers this year, especialy in the wet.mclaren has the better car.

  8. I like this article because of its in-depth content, but why are the graphs’ axis divided into one-second increments when tenths of a second would probably be more representative?

    If I had proper internet access I’d happily redo them for you. But I don’t so I can’t :(

  9. Actually, looking at the graphs you’ve got again, they’re perfectly representative and I will forthwith shut by big, slightly drunken mouth :)

  10. All the datas of the GP :

    http://communaute.f1-express.net/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=10000

    Heikki’s are a bit strange at the and of the first stint.

  11. Sorry for my english :/

  12. Very useful – thanks Wizzer.

  13. You’re welcome Keith. Thanks for the great job, a little bit too Hamilton friendly but i forgive you, you’re english after all. :)

  14. I don’t think this post is ‘Hamilton-friendly’ at all.

  15. I don’t think this post is Hamilton Friendly in the slightest.

    Keith you shold write an article titled “What is going on in Kimi Raikkonen’s head?”

  16. Keith,

    A suggestion: change de picture that illustrates the post. This could let the post less “Hamilton friendly”…

  17. I’d love to see Kubica in the graph — he was the star of the race!

  18. The Monza Grand Prix was a great example of how the McLaren works better in the wet than the Ferrari chassis, which is more than a match for the McLaren in dry conditions. I must say I was very surprised at how little ground both the Ferrari drivers made up at Monza, compared to Hamilton.
    I know alot has been mentioned of Hamilton’s wet weather driving skills in the media, but alot of it would appear to be down to the performance of the McLaren in those conditions. To be brutally honest, I found the Ferraris’ to be unusually sombre at Monza, where they usually want to put on a show for their tifosi.
    As earlier bloggers have rightly pointed out, Raikkonen yet again saved his best laps till last, and not for the first time this year. Massa too, should have taken more of the advantage he had in qualifying, and should be leading the championship by now. As others have correctly suggested, Singapore is an unknown race track with unforeseen weather patterns. We all know that Fuji, Shanghai, and Sao Paulo can produce plenty of wet races, so if I was Luca, I would be asking my team questions!

  19. @wizzer Yeah as much as i like or want to slam keith for his hamilton centric ways, this is a good post that isn’t really lewis contric… just comparing the championship contenders.

    i don’t think it’s totally chassis based, i think the tires are playing a big role here too. the mclaren runs their tires very hot, which is why they use a harder compound usually, whereas the ferrari is tire friendly, and they prefer a softer compound.

    in the wet, all things are equal, so the mclaren with the hotter running tires are able to drive more grip than the ferrari’s rock hard cold tires.

    i think this is where kimi is suffering too, he has problems getting heat in the tires – he’s a mclaren driver used to hot tires with soft driving, but the ferrari is the opposite.

    i think that’s really why kimi suffered a lot during the race and why he was setting fast laps towards the end, he got his inters on and was able to warm them up on a drying track.

    i also think that’s why hamilton dropped off the back of massa for a bit after being able to close in at a rate of 2 seconds a lap and attack him, then by the time he got there on the drying line his tires were cooked. 3-5 laps later they cooled and he made up the difference but didn’t attack again.

    and for massa, well he isn’t the best in the world, but he’s trying hard and working on being consistent, he drove for the points not the win and was able to take a point out of hamiltons lead, just like spa, didn’t have the top end speed because of the extra radiator size so kept his nose clean and let those 2 fight it out, and it paid off.

  20. Keith I don’t think Wizzer is saying this post is Hamilton friendly more like the whole blog is Hamilton friendly because there is nothing pro/against any of the three drivers.

    Back on topic the Ferrari looks like a dog in the wet and is one of the reasons why I think McLaren will dominate in Singapore on a greasy track. I know on the subcontinent there is a lot of dew factor that takes place overnight so it would be interesting to see if that will cause an affect on the cars in Singapore but that is totally dependent on the start time – anyone know what it is?

  21. Terry Fabulous
    18th September 2008, 6:58

    Rabi I think it starts at 20:00 local time.

  22. Rabi, I heard somewhere 10pm???

  23. I mean a few recent posts but not that particularly one. Everyone have preferences, I was just kidding you.

  24. Very interesting analysis.
    This then begs the question, if as most people here do say, that its the Mclaren giving Lewis the advantage, what then happened to Heikki?

  25. I don’t intend this blog to be friendly or hostile to any particular driver or team. And I’m certainly not some simple-minded cretin who only like drivers (or people) from the same country as him. To take Hamilton as an example, I thought he was in the right at Spa, but he was in the wrong at Magny-Cours. But there’s no denying that articles about Hamilton are popular: have a look at the most commented articles under the ‘All Time’ tab at the top-right of the page.

    The Singapore Grand Prix session times are here: 2008 Singapore Grand Prix

  26. I never said that. I know some French F1 blog who are “very very” most Hamilton-friendly than yours, I was just joking because I have a different point of view, that’s all.

  27. Wizzer – fair enough, I just hate this idea that because I’m British I’m supposed to like certain drivers and dislike others.

  28. Hammy drove well, and quite hard. He definitely messed up his tyres at some points – so he was either very fast or terribly slow. If he was consistent all the way through, we wouldn’t get the excitement of the passing. But the net result is 7th. His tyres were terrible at the last pit stop.

  29. Blame the media Keith. Our British media overhype things so much that most of us in the UK buy into the rubbish. Perfect example is the hype over football that takes place. After we won 5-1 in Germany remember the absolute drivel that was in the press? Unfortunately more than 90% of Britons bought into it and were talking such rubbish that I was trying to stop myself from hitting every brick wall in London with my head from the disbelief.

    And besides if you were to support your own country then you’d be spoilt for choice since the whole of F1 is basically located in the UK, even Ferrari’s chassis is designed here :p

  30. Rabi has a point about Brit press but I will say something about Brazilian press:

    Monday morning the Brazilians fans finally fall in love with Lewis completely, comparing him with Senna at any moment and his performance at Monza was crucial. The three most popular F1 blogs in Brazil had some posts about Lewis and are plenty of discussions about him, most of the comments are praising his driving, something that overshadowed Vettel´s win.

    The point of some fans is: why Massa wants to be a champion starting in 6th and finishing in…6th!
    The general feeling at this moment is that Lewis deserves to win more than Massa…

    If someone wants to read what the Brazilians fans think, here below are some main streams blog´s links (use google to translate!):

    http://navblog.uol.com.br/comment.html?postFileName=2008_09-14_11_31_13-11074102-0&idBlog=1609519
    This post above was about Vettel´s win, but the main issue in discussion was Lewis´ race. There are a tiny the polarization, but a massive support to Lewis and some furious comments against the blogger.

    http://colunistas.ig.com.br/flaviogomes/2008/09/15/hamilton/
    (this one above is the most “popular” F1 Blog in Brazil and this post has some polarization about Lewis fight with Glock and Webber, but the blogger is a Lewis supporter and the majority of his readers are on Lewis´ filed.

    http://blog.estadao.com.br/blog/livio/?title=lewis_hamilton_lembrou_ayrton_senna&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1#comments

    (Livio Oricchio, who run this one above, is a famous insider and a friend. He was victim of Lewis fans irritation some weeks ago when he suggested that Lewis deserved the penalty at Spa. The title of this post after Monza race was: “Lewis remembered me Senna”….

    This is what the Brazilian press thinks, but the most important is what the Brazilian fans, whom are very far from the hype around Lewis at Britain, think and express themselves in the most popular F1 Blogs in Brazil.

    There are few of them that know who is James Allen or iTV and in fact, the Brazilain coverage is absolutely over centered in Massa. None here are discussing about Anthony Hamilton or any of this nonsense we used to read in comments at Blogs in English. Those guys are just watching races…

    (Keith: Sorry for the long off topic comment, maybe I should put this on the forum…)

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