Chinese GP practice 1 interactive chart

Vettel showed good pace despite a heavier fuel load

Vettel showed good pace despite a heavier fuel load

Review all the drivers’ lap times from the first practice session at Shanghai with the F1 Fanatic interactive lap chart.

The chart shows each driver’s lap time (in seconds, on the vertical axis) and when they set them (in minutes, on the horizontal axis):

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With cool temperatures at Shanghai and all the teams using the hard tyre there were visible signs of graining rubber on pretty much all the cars in the first session. This problem should become less severe as the weather warms up and more rubber goes down on the track – although with only one support race this weekend that won’t happen very quickly.

As we’ve grown used to seeing in practice sessions this year, McLaren led way largely because they ran a lighter fuel load than Red Bull and Ferrari. The team have said several times they’re trying to improve their one-lap pace for qualifying.

But we shouldn’t underestimate the MP4-25’s speed, especially thanks to its F-duct which appears to be helping them again this weekend. Both their drivers also had their second stints interrupted by Sebastien Buemi’s crash, when they appeared to have more fuel on board.

What’s interesting about their pace in first practice, however, is that Jenson Button’s was four tenths of a second quicker than Lewis Hamilton in the final sector – which includes the longest straight on the track. Hamilton was three-tenths of a second quicker in the rest of the lap – suggesting he either ran more wing for the corners or made a mistake in the final sector of his best lap.

Mercedes appear to have had their drivers on different programmes, with Michael Schumacher running more fuel than Nico Rosberg.

Ferrari intended to use the session to make a comparison between an F10 equipped with an F-duct driven by Fernando Alonso, and the regular one driven by Felipe Massa.

But Alonso’s engine failure – his second in the first four races – put paid to that. He now has six engines left to get him through 16 races, so all but one of them will have to do three Grand Prix distances.

Massa’s times largely kept pace with Sebastian Vettel’s, suggesting a similar fuel load, Vettel only putting daylight between himself and the Ferrari driver with a quick lap at the end of his second stint.

While most drivers stuck to short stints Lucas di Grassi did a 19-lap run in the Virgin VR-01, with a best time of 1’42.181 four laps before the end of his stint.

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23 comments on Chinese GP practice 1 interactive chart

  1. In what format do you get these lap times? Are you manually typing in each time?

  2. Senor Paz said on 16th April 2010, 14:26

    Keith, brilliant.

  3. Invoke said on 16th April 2010, 14:40

    This is a great chart Keith, but it would be great to have a check/uncheck all button, could you implement that?

  4. Matt said on 16th April 2010, 14:40

    I am waiting for Sports Tonight to show highlights… thank you Keith. If I was a Seppo I probably say “you da man” but you know what I mean :)

  5. sumedh said on 16th April 2010, 14:45

    Great analysis. But we need a button to turn on/off all drivers at the same time. Makes it easier to compare team-mates.

  6. Vishy said on 16th April 2010, 14:54

    Fatastic work Keith. And excellently spotted that Jenson was faster in 3rd sector while Lewis in the other two indicating the difference in amount of wing they were running. It could possible be that they are working together with different combinations to see what works best.

    Also notice how close their times are this bodes well for McLaren’s overall pace.

    I get a feeling that Button Hamilton pairing is the best in the field and they will push each and develop the car faster than other teams.

    • Alistair said on 16th April 2010, 15:55

      ‘I get a feeling that Button Hamilton pairing is the best in the field and they will push each and develop the car faster than other teams’.

      I agree. If I had to pick two of the current drivers for my team, it would be Hamilton and Button. Both drivers are very quick, dedicated, hungry, and successful. Together, they have a lot of experience. Both are world champions. Both are highly marketable. They have complimentary styles. Crucially, they are both easy-going and get along well with the team and each other. This harmony was lacking in 2007. And this driving pedigree was lacking, somewhat, in 2008 and 2009.

  7. Wow. You have outdone yourself Keith. Why hasn’t SpeedTV hired you to enliven their lame, talky “DeBrief” shows with truthy details like this? Need more of this and less of Matchet rambling about metalurgy or whatever.

  8. Stacy said on 16th April 2010, 15:02

    Excellent work Keith. Just hoping this didn’t take you too long :)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th April 2010, 16:09

      Not really but I made a rookie mistake with my sleep tactics this weekend and had to have a two hour ‘pit stop’ of my own. Back on form again now!

      Actually I hoped to get this up before FP2 but the FIA for some reason didn’t publish the lap times straight away. I’m at their mercy for this sort of thing. FP2 analysis coming soon.

  9. kbdavies said on 16th April 2010, 15:45

    Thanks for putting this up so quickly Keith. You are truly a “F1 Fanatic”!

  10. Alistair said on 16th April 2010, 16:02

    I wonder whether the non-F-duct teams might fall into the ‘KERS trap’. Remember how the KERS teams spent so much time, money, and effort into developing KERS? Remember, also, how the benefit KERS offered was overestimated and development time was wasted on it rather than on some more valuable aerodynamic, especially down-force maximising, developments? The F-duct is clearly useful; otherwise, it wouldn’t be on the McLaren. But I bet McLaren would rather have an excellent aerodynamic base with a car that develops very high down-force: the Red Bull car, for instance.

  11. HounslowBusGarage said on 16th April 2010, 16:09

    Sorry to be dim, and I’m sure it’s very impressive. But what exactly am I looking at? What is the X axis actually showing? I’m assuming that the Y axis is time in seconds, is it?

  12. Dr. Gonzo said on 16th April 2010, 17:14

    “He now has six engines left to get him through 16 races, so all but one of them will have to do three Grand Prix distances.”

    4×3=12, 2×2=4, 12+4=16 :D

  13. These are really modern charts, but I usually print them, but these are impossible to print normally. I want old charts back please :)

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