2008 Brazilian Grand Prix analysis

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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)

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

  4. yorricksfriend
    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.

    1. The name of the portuguese driver is TIAGO MONTEIRO (just a small mistypo)

    2. eightintintin
      20th July 2014, 21:32

      Tiago Monteiro didn´t finish in Brazil 2005. The case of Nick has happened with Juan Manuel Fangio in the ’50s and Michael Schumacher in 2002 (these, also scoring points)

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

  10. 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
    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!

    1. eightintintin
      20th July 2014, 21:34

      Great idea! ¿?

      What if that has really happened?

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

    Yes, it’s just about as likely.

  16. “I love these graphs! Is there some site to get the full lap time data for each race?”

    I’d recommend this brazilian website (which has English version): http://ultimosegundo.ig.com.br/paginas/grandepremio/inforace/

    Every lap time plus many other cool stats from every race.

    BTW, Alinora is right. Fisi wasted 130s in his 3 pits, Vettel 4 pits cost him 107s (most drivers that did 3 pits lost 84/85s, curiously after Fisi the driver that had the slowest pits among the 3 stoppers was Kovalainen). It was not Fisi fault that he wasted two thirds of a lap more than most people on pits and that FI gave him extremes tyres in the end (a gamble that had awful results to every driver).

  17. Mr Soap with McLaren strategists you never know, but I would definately fancy your unicorns! Unicorn vs Vettel Torro Roso 1-0

    Keith after I brought up Karma in Singapore you said that you didn’t believe in it. After this race, after the extreme teasing the raingods served Massa, his family and Ferrari in similiar conditions to Spa, I must say it was kind of poetic. The positions didn’t change between those of lap 65 and the end but the expectations and the excitment certainly shifted wildly. Still FIA succeded with getting a final titledeciding race, If Ham already have won then the final turnarounds wouldn’t be historic at all. So I guess FIA are karmaproof indeed.

    But then again, I believe you staged Spa-gate just to turn F1fanatic.com into the most active and read f1 blog on the internet. Am I right to say that a year ago you wouldnt have dreamt of 400+ comments to one of your posts and an average at maybe 30-50?

  18. Its 2 days and I still can’t get over it. Been watching the last three laps over and over every day.

  19. [img]http://www.fia.com/en-GB/sport/championships/f1/brazil/PublishingImages/BRZ_F1_2008_Chart.jpg[/img]

  20. Mussolini's pet cat
    4th November 2008, 16:03

    Adrian, I thought that too. Given how far ahead Hamilton was to Glock, does that mean Hamilton could have won the race if he had stayed (and struggled) on dry’s??? Purely academic I know, but interesting none the less.

  21. Here is my race ‘analysis’. Massa lead from pole, drove arguably the best race of his life, putting 110% into every lap. Kimi did his bit for Ferrari, lead hamilton slowly out the pits to allow Vettel, Alonso and Fisi past, once out he slowed them down so hams best bud glock and co. could close in on them. Once Kimi was content Fisi was holding up hamilton he went after a Ferrari 1-2. Vettel, wanting to drive for Ferrari at some time in the future, made sure he got ahead of hamilton and stayed there. Alonso also showing his commitment to the Scuderia did the same. Hamilton was over cautious the enitre race and was lucky that Glock came to the rescue.

  22. @Amy

    For someone who I have seen leave the site at least twice, you are still very vocal with your delusional impression of Glocks final lap.

    The stats Keith has put together above clearly show what happened. Besides if Glock had wanted to gift anything to Hamilton then surely he would have pitted for wets. He took a gamble to try and gain position, which paid off…. He made up a place!!

  23. @Amy – Lewis Hamilton would have been overcautious had he been six seconds slower over the race distance and finished behind Timo Glock. You could say he timed it to perfection, minimising the stress on his engine but still getting the fifth place which was all he needed. Of course, that only served to maximise the stress on anyone watching.

  24. Vettel, wanting to drive for Ferrari at some time in the future, made sure he got ahead of hamilton and stayed there. Alonso also showing his commitment to the Scuderia did the same. Hamilton was over cautious the enitre race and was lucky that Glock came to the rescue.

    Of course, Glock would tear up a Ferrari contract if it was offered to him, the sheer audacity of his actions on Sunday, eh ;)

    Nothing can change what happened, and despite it not being the result many were hoping for, it was a result that many others were: either way, what happened will be cemented as a great sporting moment.

    When the drivers, and boss, of the team, and the team itself, that you support, can all congratulate and pay all due respect to their greatest opponent…why can’t its supporters? All you can do now is wait until they will win it back…in 2009 :)

  25. Hmm.. I was a bit confused because I thought that Vettel was also on dry tyres and thats why he was faster than Hamilton i.e it wasnt wet enough for the wets to work properly. but reading this site it seems to be saying that he was on wets.. so why was he faster than Hamilton? or is Vettel just such a brilliant driver that he is faster than Hamilton in a McLaren in the wet even when they are on the same tyres and fuel?

    But at the end of the day everyone with their conspiracy theories about Toyota stepping out of the way.. well why would they? Toyota are not exactly a small team that can be influenced are they? and you dont win a Championship in one race or one corner.. Even the comentators agreed that at the end of the season the best man one. Although I really did feel sorry for Massa.. He seems to have done everything asked of him through the whole season.

  26. In the battle between Vettel and Hamilton, Kubica suddenly catches them from behind and overtakes both in one or two corners. Arguably he put Hamilton off a little and gave the opportunity for Vettel to pass.

    On the same (inter presumably) tyres, Kubica blew both drivers into the weeds at that critical moment in the race! How did he do that!?

  27. McLaren ran light downforce all weekend which is why the wets did not work well.

  28. @ Amy (#21)

    Kimi did his bit for Ferrari, lead hamilton slowly out the pits to allow Vettel, Alonso and Fisi past, once out he slowed them down so hams best bud glock and co. could close in on them.

    Sounds like incredibly foul play to me, the exact reason why I believe Ferrari, and its drivers (whoever they happen to be during any given year) are unsporting, underhanded cheaters, and F1 really would be far far far better off without them.

    Stuff like that is not better than a footballer pulling at a member of the opposing team’s shirt to keep him off the ball.

    Do you know what happens to that player? Yes, thats right, he gets a yellow card, and a free kick is awarded to the obstructed player.

    But of course, for some stupid reason, that kind of thing is still ‘allowed’ in F1.

  29. bernification
    5th November 2008, 22:38

    @Amy, 2 questions.

    if ,as you constantly maintain, the fix was in between Toyota and McLaren, why didn’t Toyota pit Glock?

    He was behind Hamilton before everyone pitted for wets so would have been afterwards.

    Why didn’t Ferrari complain and have the FIA take the pit lane transmissions as evidence?

    Sorry- 3rd question, aren’t you the young lady who swore undying love for Alonso and Renault last year?

    I’m sure when Ferraris 09 is a dud you’ll be back there.

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