Bahrain Grand Prix FP2 analysis

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

There's not much to choose between the two McLaren drivers so far
There's not much to choose between the two McLaren drivers so far

The second practice session at Bahrain brought further evidence of Ferrari’s long-run pace but Mercedes and McLaren are up there with the on one-lap performance.

We look set for an entertaining qualifying session tomorrow. Here’s how all the teams got on in second practice today:

McLaren, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari

FP2 times: McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull
FP2 times: McLaren, Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull

The McLaren and Mercedes drivers set their fastest times on qualifying simulations, as did Felipe Massa. But it looks like Alonso hasn’t shown his hand yet with a low-fuel run.

Massa’s long run looks good compared with those of the McLaren drivers:

Lap Felipe Massa Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton
1 2’00.153 2’02.481 2’01.793
2 2’04.201 2’02.189 2’02.543
3 2’00.613 2’05.157 2’02.274
4 2’00.331 2’01.963 2’02.085
5 2’06.368 2’02.509 2’02.439
6 2’00.087 2’02.464 2’03.036
7 2’00.347 2’02.351 2’02.890
8 2’00.792 2’02.782 2’11.859
9 2’00.377 2’03.268 2’34.349
10 2’04.929 2’03.537 2’01.617
11 2’00.031 2’02.242 2’01.668
12 2’00.615 2’02.405 2’01.937
13 2’01.123 2’06.497 2’10.953
14 2’00.810
15 2’00.877

Early in the session Hamilton aborted one run on the medium tyres having quickly destroyed them – a problem with tyre allocations so tightly restricted this year.

Mercedes one-lap pace looks promising, at least in the hands of Nico Rosberg. Although Michael Schumacher admitted afterwards to being “rusty”, his long-run pace compares favourable with Rosberg’s.

Red Bull, however, lost a lot of running the afternoon changing Mark Webber’s driveshaft and Sebastian Vettel’s brakes – the latter losing his car under braking for the final corner early in the session.

Williams, Force India, Renault, Toro Rosso and Sauber

FP2 times: Williams, Renault, Force India, Toro Rosso, Sauber
FP2 times: Williams, Renault, Force India, Toro Rosso, Sauber

Although Force India topped the times in the first sector it was the VJM03’s pace over long runs that Vitantonio Liuzzi praised following the second session. He felt the car’s one-lap performance wasn’t quite there yet. Both his and Sutil’s long runs looked very consistent.

Sauber showed better pace than they did in the morning but Pedro de la Rosa complained of poor grip and described the turn seven bump as “dangerous”. Kamui Kobayashi suffered a puncture and had to curtail one of his runs.

Rubens Barrichello lost early running due to an electrical problem and finished both sessions almost one second slower than new team mate Nico H?‚??lkenberg. H?‚??lkenberg also looked quicker on his nine-lap stint than Barrichello did on his ten-lapper – of course we don’t know whether they were running the same fuel loads.

Renault said they were happy with the stability of their car under braking. As is to be expected Vitaly Petrov looks some way of Robert Kubica’s pace.

Jaime Alguersuari described the new section of track as “nothing special and very slow” – perhaps that was his revenge for being caught out by the complex where he spun in FP2. Team mate Buemi missed the entire session (apart from a single installation lap) due to car trouble.

Lotus, Virgin and HRT

FP2 Times: Lotus, Virgin, HRT
FP2 Times: Lotus, Virgin, HRT

Bruno Senna logged 17 laps in the HRT and by the end of the session he’d finally managed to beat the best time set during the GP2 Asia practice session.

Worryingly, wheel nut failure brought his car to a halt at the first corner at the end of the session. Team mate Karun Chandhok didn’t do a lap at all despite hopes he would be out during FP2. He has just one hour to complete his first lap in the car before qualifying tomorrow.

Virgin were almost a second off Lotus’s pace in the second session but neither of their cars did low-fuel running and Timo Glock hasn’t tried the super-soft tyres yet.

Top 50 lap times

The top 50 times set during the session:

Rank Driver Lap time Lap
1 Nico Rosberg 115.409 5
2 Nico Rosberg 115.555 2
3 Lewis Hamilton 115.854 7
4 Michael Schumacher 115.854 7
5 Lewis Hamilton 116.051 2
6 Michael Schumacher 116.051 2
7 Jenson Button 116.076 8
8 Sebastian Vettel 116.459 6
9 Nico H?‚??lkenberg 116.501 17
10 Jenson Button 116.516 4
11 Felipe Massa 116.555 27
12 Vitaly Petrov 116.75 10
13 Nico H?‚??lkenberg 116.799 2
14 Felipe Massa 116.81 29
15 Sebastian Vettel 116.924 3
16 Jenson Button 116.944 2
17 Vitaly Petrov 117.053 11
18 Fernando Alonso 117.14 24
19 Pedro de la Rosa 117.255 17
20 Pedro de la Rosa 117.287 16
21 Kamui Kobyashi 117.352 17
22 Adrian Sutil 117.361 7
23 Fernando Alonso 117.415 22
24 Rubens Barrichello 117.452 18
25 Rubens Barrichello 117.455 2
26 Kamui Kobyashi 117.661 16
27 Adrian Sutil 117.706 4
28 Vitaly Petrov 117.711 12
29 Vitantonio Liuzzi 117.833 7
30 Adrian Sutil 117.858 2
31 Fernando Alonso 118.013 19
32 Robert Kubica 118.155 25
33 Vitaly Petrov 118.214 6
34 Robert Kubica 118.226 27
35 Vitantonio Liuzzi 118.364 8
36 Vitaly Petrov 118.429 7
37 Vitantonio Liuzzi 118.533 2
38 Vitaly Petrov 118.952 4
39 Pedro de la Rosa 119.075 13
40 Fernando Alonso 119.087 10
41 Vitantonio Liuzzi 119.305 3
42 Rubens Barrichello 119.305 20
43 Pedro de la Rosa 119.495 12
44 Robert Kubica 119.54 16
45 Jenson Button 119.544 7
46 Vitantonio Liuzzi 119.581 4
47 Fernando Alonso 119.724 11
48 Jaime Alguersuari 119.799 9
49 Robert Kubica 119.826 14
50 Fernando Alonso 119.875 3

Fastest laps

Extended data on the times set by all the drivers.

Pos. Driver Car Fastest On Gap Within 1% Laps
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’55.409 5 0 2 23
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’55.854 7 0.445 2 22
3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’55.903 6 0.494 3 23
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’56.076 8 0.667 3 28
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’56.459 6 1.05 2 18
6 Nico H?‚??lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’56.501 17 1.092 2 26
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’56.555 27 1.146 2 30
8 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’56.750 10 1.341 3 26
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’57.140 24 1.731 3 25
10 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’57.255 17 1.846 2 24
11 Kamui Kobyashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’57.352 17 1.943 2 27
12 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’57.361 7 1.952 3 29
13 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’57.452 18 2.043 2 21
14 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’57.833 7 2.424 3 29
15 Robert Kubica Renault 1’58.155 25 2.746 2 29
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’59.799 9 4.39 3 31
17 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 2’00.444 6 5.035 8 12
18 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 2’00.873 21 5.464 2 23
19 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 2’00.990 13 5.581 1 14
20 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 2’02.037 2 6.628 1 3
21 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 2’02.188 6 6.779 2 21
22 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 2’06.968 16 11.559 2 17
23 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 7’11.000 1 315.591 1 1
24 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth

NB. ‘Within 1%’ refers to the number of times a driver set a lap time that was within 1% of his best.

Analysing practice

This is a new series of articles analysing the lap times from practice. If you have any suggestions for improvements or changes you would like to see, please post them in the comments.

Predict the pole sitter and top five finishers in the Bahrain Grand Prix for your chance to win F1 tickets, DVDs, books and more

66 comments on “Bahrain Grand Prix FP2 analysis”

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  1. I don’t think that Lewis was doing qualifying laps

  2. I can’t understand the problem that people seem to have with Maclarens f-duct. To me F1 is half about the technology and half about the racing and it is this that makes it stand out above most other motorsports. Unfortunately the days of radical concepts like the Fan Car and 6 wheelers are long gone it is heartening to see Engineers pushing the envelope with ingenious designs like the F-duct. The whole point of having teams develop their own cars is surely to let engineers get around the rules otherwise they might as well have one car for all… I thought the double diffusers were fine last year and the f-duct is fine this year. It seems to me that the other teams are just infuriated that they did not think of it themselves.

    1. Quite right. F1 is about improvement. Rules base is so tight these days, that improvement hardly seems possible, but innovation, even if it is just Buttilton’s left foot getting stuffed in a hole, should be applauded. Saddest part is that F1 rules are so thorough, that it takes something so prosaic to make a difference.

      Round of applause to you and the mysterious McLaren employ involved (even if he is just the Woking air-con plant engineer).

      1. Buttilton? lol

      2. Yes, but there are rules and there’s a spirit to the rules which McLaren always seem to want to circumvent. I welcome innovation but the rules should relaxed in that case so that all teams are clear as to what they can do or not.

        This not so in the case of this duct and blown wing. The way I see it, the point of the ‘no movable aero part apart from front wing’ idea is that air flow from any part should be a constant and or non-manipulatable. Clearly, McLaren are going against the spirit of that rule here. They might as well change the rules to allow for mechanically adjustable rear wings now as that is in effect what this duct is about.

        1. The concept of adhering to the “Spirit of the Rules” was tested last year by Toyota Williams & Brawn with the “Double Diffuser” issue and was found not to be enforceable – so as in Law a precedent has been set and the bench mark is now “The Letter of The Law” – as it should now we can unshackle the innovative minds of some of the genius’ who walk the corridors of F1 Paddock. :)

        2. There is no spirit of the rules in F1 and there never has been. Ferrari were running illegal parts which kicked of spygate (and to be honest were outright illegal and designed to pull the wool of over the eyes of the fia), renault had their special dampers, brawn, williams and toyota had their duffusers etc etc etc, some are illegal and some are just clever ways of bypassing the rules (remember Ferrari have been instrumental in bending the spirit of the rules with engine upgrades). When teams claim that another team is not abiding by the spirit of the rues it is effectively code for “damn we have been out thought and now we are buggered, lets see if we can kick up enough fuss to get the rules changed AGAIN and save ourselves”. The rules are the rules and that means that if something breaks the rules then it should be banned but also if it does not break the rules it should be allowed, if they don’t want the spirit of the rules broken then just make teams have the same design (but then it would not really be f1 would it?).

          To be honest I really wish the rules were relaxed a lot more. Just set some safety rules and some size restrictions etc and then let the engineers do their stuff to make the greatest race machines ever created for the greatest drivers to drive.

  3. Great graphics Keith, congratulations!
    One sugestion, the colors of MacLaren and Ferrari¬īs drivers, I suppose orange and red, are too close. I had problems to distinguish the performance of the drivers with my video¬īs resolution.

  4. Good discussion going there over the Mclaren rear wing guys. I see where you are coming from when you say that the driver isnt a moving aero device. But that is really besides the point. The bottom line is that the rear wing would never stall at high speeds, BUT by an action performed consciously by the driver with the clear intent of causing it to stall. Whether its the knees closing a flap, elbow pressing a button, or whatever it does not matter. If the system was totally independent from driver input, I would not have a problem with it. I am all for technical development, in fact its one aspect of the sport I love the most. But this, in my view is clear breach of the rules.

    1. Remember Mclaren’s 4th pedal in 1998?

      It was clever mechanical device acting as TCS. Operated by the driver, not electronic… declared illegal by the FIA.

      I my opinion, both solutions are ingenious and very well deserved praise, not to be frowned at… If it weren’t by this sort of creativity, we could be, very well riding horses these days. F1 should embrace cleverness and tonge-on-the-cheek engineering.

  5. Is anyone else getting the feeling that pole position winners won’t win too many races this year? I’m thinking that Lewis or Vettel will get pole, but Ferrari will beat them on long run pace.

    1. I think that will be the case tomorrow. Last years pole didn’t win either though if you recall. I believe as the season progresses things will change and pole will be a good place to start from.
      With no real knowledge of fuel loads and such I still believe that Ferrari are much quicker than they appear over a single lap. And as far as the race goes, they seem to have much better pace lap after lap. I expect a Ferrari 1-2 tomorrow regardless of where they qualify. Now I wish I could go back and change my vote for the finish.
      I hope zie Germans get spectacular tomorrow however! Go Schumacher and Vettel!

  6. Would be nice if an indication of which tyre each driver is on in the analysis and with any given lap time.
    Might help some to work out what’s going on.

    1. still think poleman has a great chance on sunday round bahrain not much overtaking but can see incidents!! cant wait see where everyone is tomorrow and the excuses to follow..

      1. Incidents? Do you mean you wonder how many parts will fall off of the three new teams=)

        1. well yes can imagine some carbon flying around at high speed although obviously not HRT can they do high speed? was mainly thinking first corner ambitions exceeding grip maybe michael!

  7. Hey Keith sorry to be a pain but do you think in the future you could make the Mclaren and Ferrari colors just a little bit more different. They are really similar and I have a bit of trouble distinguishing them. Fantastic Analysis as always.

  8. I loved the new charts showing the lap times of the drivers during the session. Great way to compare them.

    Unfortunately we don’t have a clue what they were doing though. Even mnore so now than in previous years. They could be trying qualy simulation, a run on full fuel or maybe on half fuel. The difference in laptimes could be vast.

    So even if you look at a “long run” there could for instance be a 70kg fuel difference if they are trying out a run after simulating a mid race tyre change vs a race start simulation on a tank completely filled up.

    This also makes the 1% chart a bit suspect. Drivers who do a qualy simulation will come off looking a lot worse than ones who don’t.

    There is just no way of knowing if they are close to the limit of the car and the car is simply performing less (heavier, different tyres) or if the it’s the driver.

    Still, it’s all we have and you certainly make the most of it :)

  9. Force India look very strong. Their qualifying and race pace are not far off Ferrari’s. Fuel variables do apply, yet looks impressive. Have a feeling Sutil might be the dark horse.

  10. David Smith
    13th March 2010, 7:03

    F1 on BBC

    Not sure if its common knowledge but people with freeview (most of us!) go to 301 and you can now watch free practice on TV third practice starts today at 7:55 on there…

  11. fabio pellim
    13th March 2010, 7:29

    Kudos Keith! Great graphics…

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