2008 Brazilian Grand Prix analysis

Hamilton vs Vettel vs Glock. I admit it looks less exciting in graph form

Hamilton vs Vettel vs Glock. I admit it looks less exciting in graph form

Here’s the Brazilian Grand Prix race data that shows how those extraordinary change of position between Lewis Hamilton and Timo Glock in the final laps came about.

Plus, why did Ferrari not use Kimi Raikkonen to slow Hamilton?

Brazilian Grand Prix race progress chart

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix progress chart (click to enlarge)

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix progress chart (click to enlarge)

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix progress chart (leaders) - click to enlarge

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix progress chart (leaders) - click to enlarge

This shows the time difference between each driver and the leader. The second graph shows the same data, but just drivers within 50 seconds of the leader.

The first chart shows Kazuki Nakajima, Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil’s early gamble to switch to wet tyres at the end of the race didn’t pay off – they lost more time to the cars in front of them.

The second shows two things. First, from laps 18 to 40, Ferrari had a clear chance to use Kimi Raikkonen to slow down Lewis Hamilton. Why didn’t they do this? Were they concerned it would be too blatant a use of team orders and would lead to them being punished?

We can also see more clearly the crucial moment at the end of the race when Timo Glock’s lap time plunged, allowing Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton to pass him. This graph shows what happened to his lap times:

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, Jarno Trulli vs Timo Glock

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, Jarno Trulli vs Timo Glock (click to enlarge)

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, Jarno Trulli vs Timo Glock (click to enlarge)

This graph shows the lap times for the Toyota duo of Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli, the only two drivers in the field to stay on dry weather tyres at the end of the race.

As the track began to dampen from laps 65-69 Glock’s lap times jumped into the high 1’18s while Trulli lapped in the 1’20s. Clearly Glock was able to cope with the wet conditions better at first (although, as he was further ahead of Trulli, his laps would have been set on a slightly drier track).

The penultimate lap, number 70, appears to be the point at which the combination of an increasingly wet surface and decreasingly warm tyres tipped the Toyotas into trouble. Glock’s lap time rocketed to 1’28 and Trulli was five seconds slower.

With dry weather tyres that were now not only very low on temperature but also heavily worn, the pair tiptoed around the final lap in 1’44. The fact that this produced a thrilling run to the chequered flag for the title contenders was, in a sense, a side-show for Glock. For him, the gamble of staying out on dry tyres paid off:

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix lap chart

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix lap chart (click to enlarge)

Glock was running seventh on lap 65, but he ended the race sixth having passed Kovalainen.

Trulli did not gain an extra place through the gamble, however, as Kovalainen passed him on the final lap.

This link posted by Qazuhb shows a neat animation of how the final laps unfolded.

Brazilian Grand Prix race progress versus average lap time chart

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix race progress versus average lap time (click to enlarge)

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix race progress versus average lap time (click to enlarge)

This final chart shows each driver’s position relative to the leader’s average lap time, which can make the data easier to follow.

Data source: 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix – all laps (PDF)

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31 comments on 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix analysis

  1. Anyone have a lap-by-lap-sector-by-sector time chart? I would like to see when Glock fell off.

  2. Anonymous said on 4th November 2008, 1:08

    I remember Martin Brundle saying that Glock’s first and second sector times were fine, so it must of been the third sector where he really started struggling. You could really see he had no grip as Hamilton passed him.

  3. Oliver said on 4th November 2008, 1:10

    Looking at the graph op Trulli and Glock it appears they were doing almost identical lap times all through the race.

  4. yorricksfriend said on 4th November 2008, 2:50

    Anonymous – I think Brundle was saying that about the sector times for Glock’s penultimate lap, not his final lap.

    That’s an exponential loss of time for Glock in the final part, like one of the commentators said he really did “fall off the cliff”

  5. Keith, I have a silly question. Where do you get all these stats? I know the live timing has them, but are they stored somewhere where you can retrieve them?

    I have always liked these posts. Good job!

  6. * Hamilton was awarded 5 penalties this season, the most of any driver in a single season, ever.

    * Hamilton won the championship with the most number of penalties

    * Massa is now 4th in the list of drivers with most career wins without a world championship:

    Stirling Moss 16
    David Coulthard 13
    Carlos Reutemann 12
    Filipe Massa 11

    * Nick Heidfeld finished every race this season, which has only happen once before with Tiago Monterio in 2005.

  7. I love these graphs! Is there some site to get the full lap time data for each race? I know FORIX used to have charts like these but they are now a pay service…

  8. Keith, do you have the graphs that show Ron Dennis’ call to Toyota on the last lap offering them Kovaleinnen, all the 10 year olds on McLaren’s books who told Ron they were going to drive for him one day, and the big book of Ferrari secrets for them to flick the engine switches on both their cars to the 1min44 setting. Apparently this was the true reason for Hamilton winning the title.

  9. ajokay said on 4th November 2008, 9:36

    I think the first graph shows that it’s time for Fisichella to give up.

  10. Adrian said on 4th November 2008, 10:50

    The only thing I can’t help but wonder, and it’s something we’ll nenver know…

    Where would Hamilton have finished if he’d stayed on dry tyres??

    He’d have been further down the road from Glock so might not have struggled as much….

  11. @DC,

    You can find all the laptimes on the http://www.fia.com. These PDFs contain tables and tables of data concerning laptimes; pit-stops and stuff.

  12. Alianora La Canta said on 4th November 2008, 11:32

    ajokay, Giancarlo’s clutch went AWOL at some point between his first and second stops. He lost a good 50 seconds because his car stalled in the two pit stops he did after the clutch failure (notice the two near-vertical lines at laps 38 and 64). Had the clutch not failed, he’d have been nearly a lap further up the road than he was, early tyre gamble or not.

  13. from laps 18 to 40, Ferrari had a clear chance to use Kimi Raikkonen to slow down Lewis Hamilton. Why didn’t they do this?

    To do any meaningful slowing they would have to let
    Hamilton come uncomfortably close and risk loosing
    a position which would not be worth the slowing… or?

    I mean Hamilton has proved before that he can pass Raikkonen, particular in the wet :)

  14. Imagine Heikki not switching tires and being 5th, taking the championship off his teammate, alternatively losing out to Vettel and Ham truly in the final corner, thus causing FIA to punish McLaren for a teamorder stage up. Hah!

  15. Mr Soap said on 4th November 2008, 13:40

    Imagine Unicorns invading the track and attacking Vettel putting him out of the race. Hah!

    Yes, it’s just about as likely.

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