Renault show strong straight-line speed (Canadian GP Practice 1 interactive data)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

McLaren weren't quickest through the speed trap in Montreal
McLaren weren't quickest through the speed trap in Montreal

The fastest car through the speed trap in first practice today was not a Mclaren – but a Renault.

Take a closer look at the data from first practice in Canada including an interactive chart of all the drivers’ lap times below.

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Tick/untick drivers? names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom

Renault fastest in speed traps

Red Bull’s Christian Horner has complained about the Renault engines being – he claims – 20-30bhp down on their rivals engines. So how were the R30s the quickest cars through the speed traps by 4kph in this session, with Vitaly Petrov clocking 319.2kph?

This is most likely explained by different downforce levels. During practice the BBC said McLaren, who have often been the quickest cars through the speed traps this year, were running a higher downforce rear wing than their rivals.

McLaren may think they can find more lap time by trading off their straight line speed advantage for more downforce, making them quicker in the corners yet still reasonably competitive on the straights.

As for Renault, they were a couple of tenths of a second off their benchmark rivals Mercedes. Let’s see if they continue to show the same performance through the rest of the practice sessions.

Teams may choose to trim their downforce for the race to improve their ability to overtake, make themselves harder to pass, and reduce their fuel consumption.

The fastest Cosworth-powered car was Bruno Senna’s HRT, ranked 12th at 309.1 kph.

The Red Bulls, who are not using their F-duct this weekend, ranked ninth (Sebastian Vettel, 312.5kph) and 20th (Mark Webber, 306.2kph).

McLaren faster than they look

We’ve seen McLaren top the times sheets on Fridays several times before this year.

But the manner in which they did it today suggests their full advantage over their rivals is greater than Jenson Button’s 0.158 second margin over Michael Schumacher.

In the past we’ve seen them do a lot of low-fuel running, working on their qualifying performance. Today each of their drivers did a single stint with what appears to be a reasonably low fuel load followed by a longer stint.

All of their closest rivals set their times later in the session, as the track became cleaner and grippier.

Although Button set the fastest time Lewis Hamilton set the quickest three sectors – had he strung them together he would have matched Button’s lap to within three thousandths of a second.

Expect the lap times to get much quicker in the second session, assuming it stays dry. In the last F1 race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2008 the fastest time of the weekend was set in second practice before the track started to break up. The best lap, a 1’15.752 set by Hamilton, was 1.8 seconds faster than the best from first practice.

Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Lap At time Laps
1 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’18.127 10 57 23
2 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’18.285 0.158 14 74 19
3 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’18.352 0.225 8 57 19
4 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’18.356 0.229 23 92 23
5 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’18.549 0.422 27 93 27
6 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’18.662 0.535 14 70 19
7 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’18.726 0.599 10 62 21
8 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’19.097 0.970 23 89 25
9 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’19.282 1.155 22 71 31
10 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’19.313 1.186 18 75 19
11 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’19.373 1.246 12 64 12
12 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’19.511 1.384 14 77 21
13 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’19.549 1.422 24 93 24
14 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’19.609 1.482 15 65 26
15 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’20.186 2.059 20 62 33
16 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’20.320 2.193 26 91 27
17 22 Pedro de la Rosa Sauber-Ferrari 1’20.584 2.457 20 90 21
18 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’20.823 2.696 25 88 28
19 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’21.869 3.742 19 73 24
20 20 Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth 1’21.977 3.850 27 92 27
21 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’22.543 4.416 9 48 12
22 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’22.701 4.574 17 62 28
23 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’22.713 4.586 12 67 20
24 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth No time

22 comments on “Renault show strong straight-line speed (Canadian GP Practice 1 interactive data)”

  1. Marc Connell
    11th June 2010, 18:05

    actually looking at those times, HRT have cought up a lot. Running with lotus now ? yeah its not the race but thats still worth a well done.

    1. They did set their best times right at the end but even so I think they’ve made progress. They had good straight-line speed in Shanghai, though, so I thought they might go well here. It’s not as if they have an excess of downforce, after all. Could be a good battle at the back this weekend!

      1. Marc Connell
        11th June 2010, 18:10

        i hope they do a 2009 mclaren, run first half of the season with no downforce then 2nd half they become unstoppable. Quite a few tracks will suit them

      2. You say that trimming down-force might help the cars overtake, make them harder to pass, and reduce fuel consumption. I understand the first two. Would you explain how trimming down-force reduces fuel consumption? I would have thought that this would increase fuel-consumption, as it would increase top-speed. Moreover, wouldn’t trimming down-force increase tyre wear on a track that’s hard on the tyres?

        1. Less drag = less the engine has to work to reach those higher speeds.

  2. Is the “Lap” column the same as a typical “Laps [completed]” column?
    And what is the “At time” column?

    1. I think the “Lap” column is what lap out of their practise laps they set their fastest lap on, “At time” is how far into the session and the final “Laps” column shows the total number of laps they completed…I think. Keith am I right?

      1. Its still hard to figure out how one can set a lap at the 93rd minute, I would assume it can’t exceed 92 considering the duration of a lap.

        1. It’s rounded up

      2. Dead right :-)

  3. “McLaren may think they can find more lap time by trading off their straight line speed advantage for more downforce, making them quicker in the corners yet still reasonably competitive on the straights.”

    I expect that’s probably the case. They can remove downforce from their car by activating the F-duct as other teams can by changing to lower downforce wings. This could give them a huge advantage since they don’t need to compromise downforce in the turns in order to have good straight line speed. Anyone without an effective F-duct will have to pick a compromise.

    1. Also, maybe McLaren have one eye on the weather. If the race and or qualifying are wet (which is likely) they’ll need lots of down-force. The F-duct also allows them, as you say, to keep good straight-line speed: all-in-all, a good invention; which, like most good inventions in F1, has been quickly banned!

  4. I see RBR did not even pack their F-duct for the trip. Talk about bringing a knife to a gun fight.

    1. Probably a case of rather brining an excellent throwing knife to it than a backfiring or jamming gun.

      Adrian Newey commented on the Red Bull system last race and said they have checked the theory/windtunnel with real running and now have to work on making it work reliably.

  5. Looks like Renault are a serious contender here. Pedrov did a nice run of constantly fast laps in the end.

    Is it possible McLaren were not using the F-duct all the time or is the slower speed also from running with more fuel.

    Red Bull have probably not shown what they are made off. But Vettel was running hard to get closer to the front in the last minutes, so maybe he was not too heavy on fuel there.

    1. Renault have good traction out of the many slow(ish) corners, as we saw in Monaco. And Renault, despite the protestations of Horner, seem to have a pretty powerful engine, as we saw in Malaysia: Petrov was pretty much as quick as Lewis on the main-straight. So they may well be reasonably competitive here. What caught my eye were the performances of the Mercedes. If they can get themselves ahead of Red Bull in qualifying, that would be great; and not completely out of the realms of possibility. Regardless, I think that this will most likely be another McLaren 1-2, come rain or shine.

  6. Well done Bruno Senna. I hope he gets a good car next year. Want Senna name to be fighting in the top 5.

  7. why is webber often so much slower on the straights than vettel?

    we saw a huge differential at china in the race; also vettel was frequently quicker on the straight at turkey. i’m thinking it could be that webber runs more rear wing in order to tailor the balance to his liking; he’s heavier than vettel so will have less ballast to move around to achieve this.
    or maybe he prefers more rear grip.

    what this does to the lap time is hard to quantify – the extra 6kph vettel gets at the end of the straights is probably worth no more than a tenth of a second per lap (if the straight is 500m long, they’re probably only travelling at that top speed for 100m at most; montreal has 3 straights where they’re looking 300kph+) – but webber will have greater stability under braking and more grip in the corners.

    1. One wonders whether they have equal machinery, as well as equal status in the team…

    2. 6kph higher top-speed at the end of 500m, assuming linear acceleration, means 3kph higher _average_ speed over these 500m. That is worth quite a bit of time.

      Also assuming they are not bouncing off the limiter in top gear (which would seem wasteful, but I’m certainly open to correction on that), they will never travel at top speed for extended times, or indeed even reach top speed.

  8. I think may be the Mclaren know that anyway they will be faster on the straight then their rivals so they decided to have more downforce which will help them to exit the corner well & let them have a good traction out of the corner.Similarly may be alongside the low downforce setup I think the torque of the Renault engine is helping the team & Red Bull to have a traction out off the corners.

  9. you could tell renault were running much thinner rear wing than the others

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