Alonso’s ultimate lap time reveals Ferrari’s true performance (FP2 analysis)

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Singapore, 2010

The key question after second practice is how close would Fernando Alonso have been to the two Red Bulls if he hadn’t gone off during his first lap on super-soft tyres?

Combining their best sector times from the session shows there would have been very little in it.

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

Alonso’s ‘ultimate lap’ based on his best sector times was around four-tenths of a second shy of Vettel’s.

We can knock a few more tenths off in the expectation that Alonso would have found more time in the third sector.

However remember that Alonso did his soft-tyre lap later in session when the track would have been in better condition – and track evolution is especially pronounced on Singapore’s temporary street circuit.

The likelihood is that on the same tyres at the same time Alonso is still a couple of tenths off the Red Bull’s pace. But he’s certainly close enough to be competitive and remember the RB6’s race pace has never lived up to its one-lap qualifying speed.

The picture is far less rosy at McLaren. Jenson Button and Vettel were on-track on super-soft tyres at the same time (see the 50-53 minute mark on the interactive chart).

Vettel was almost eight-tenths of a second quicker. Button aborted his second effort after a slight mistake, but he was never going to find that amount of time.

And Red Bull aren’t in the habit of running their car light in practice. If anything they’ve tended to look better on Saturday than on Friday.

Despite the deficit, Lewis Hamilton reckons he still has the Red Bulls in sight:

The Red Bulls definitely aren?t unbeatable here. Okay, they?re very quick in the second and third sectors, so we?ll have to work hard to try to make up time there, but I?m pretty confident we can do it.
Lewis Hamilton

Here’s how their best sector times compared:

Team Sector one Sector two Sector three
Red Bull 29.005 41.423 36.192
Ferrari 28.957 41.599 36.51
McLaren 29.085 41.709 36.729

Mark Webber, meanwhile, insisted the team’s pace has not been compromised by the more stringent floor flexibility tests introduced after its dominant win in Hungary:

We knew nothing would change with our car before we came here; we?ve passed all the new FIA tests and we weren?t coming here expecting to be slower than we were in Budapest.

Other people had their ideas how to improve their car and we have continued to improve our car too. Ferrari still look quick and anyone can be on pole tomorrow, us, Ferrari or McLaren, we just keep trying to do our best.
Mark Webber

Pos. Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Lap At time Laps
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’46.660 14 57 29
2 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’47.287 0.627 18 64 27
3 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’47.690 1.030 13 50 28
4 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’47.718 1.058 15 50 19
5 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’47.818 1.158 17 59 28
6 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’48.302 1.642 16 51 30
7 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’48.341 1.681 19 68 28
8 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’48.679 2.019 12 51 26
9 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’48.855 2.195 10 34 15
10 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’48.889 2.229 14 53 31
11 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’49.153 2.493 14 47 32
12 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’49.438 2.778 23 67 30
13 22 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’49.558 2.898 15 63 25
14 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’49.608 2.948 14 49 30
15 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’49.896 3.236 13 35 28
16 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’49.984 3.324 6 16 10
17 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’50.191 3.531 7 19 31
18 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’50.896 4.236 7 16 35
19 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’51.878 5.218 16 61 30
20 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’52.150 5.490 14 54 22
21 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’53.431 6.771 21 84 25
22 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’53.526 6.866 24 89 27
23 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’54.725 8.065 15 61 27
24 20 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’55.542 8.882 15 59 24

Ultimate laps

An ultimate lap is a drivers’ best three sector times added together:

Pos. Car Driver Car Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’46.620 0.040
2 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’47.066 0.446 0.652
3 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’47.215 0.595 0.072
4 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’47.595 0.975 0.223
5 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’47.611 0.991 0.079
6 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’47.945 1.325 0.357
7 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’48.100 1.480 0.241
8 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’48.649 2.029 0.030
9 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’48.710 2.090 0.443
10 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’48.767 2.147 0.122
11 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’48.807 2.187 0.048
12 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’49.180 2.560 0.258
13 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’49.261 2.641 0.723
14 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’49.536 2.916 0.072
15 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’49.540 2.920 0.356
16 22 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’49.543 2.923 0.015
17 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’49.943 3.323 0.248
18 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’50.581 3.961 0.315
19 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’51.685 5.065 0.193
20 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’51.812 5.192 0.338
21 25 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’53.029 6.409 0.402
22 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’53.526 6.906 0.000
23 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’54.668 8.048 0.057
24 20 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’55.218 8.598 0.324

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27 comments on Alonso’s ultimate lap time reveals Ferrari’s true performance (FP2 analysis)

  1. Sorry to say it but Hamilton is thinking wishfully if he thinks he will find 1.1s somewhere on the track over RBR tomorrow. Then again, he must really focus on Webber, who may be within his sights. Webber’s deficit to Vettel is big. I wonder if Webber is thinking about the title and giving himself a extra 6 inches from the walls until Q3. Button is very impressive today. He seemed to get his set up organized before Hamilton.

  2. Nah he’s…..he’s still way off from the RB6. I dunno where that half a second is going to come from.

    They’re not going to beat Red Bull on pole barring some unusual circumstances, but if they’re sort of close, maybe ‘just’ 2-3 tenths behind the Red Bull pole time then they could go into the race with confidence of a win..

    People talk about Ferrari/McLaren sand bagging but we’ve said that this whole season and always been wrong.

    I’m not gonna be able to catch Qualy live, I’m not sure if I should even bother to catch up with it on the iPlayer afterwards

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 24th September 2010, 18:29

      Well, early in the season both RBR and Ferrari tended to run heavy in FP2 and then show their true pace in FP3. That hasn’t been the case lately though. Hamilton is going to have to work some magic, since it looks like Red Bull is faster than McLaren in all three sectors:

      Team Sector one Sector two Sector three
      Red Bull 29.005 41.423 36.192
      Ferrari 28.957 41.599 36.51
      McLaren 29.085 41.709 36.729

      • Lets look at the post lap 70 segment, which I assume is heavy fuel, being uniformly slower for all than earlier running.

        In this segment, the faster McLaren, Hamilton, did ~112.8, Webber did ~112.8, and Ferrari(Massa) did ~112.8. (Vettel remains on his own planet.) This heavy fuel/soft tire scenario is the key one for the race, and it seems pretty close. However, take fuel out of the bargain and RBR looks way too quick.

  3. Macca isn’t looking too good around here, but with some luck maybe Lewis can get a 3rd place. Also the rest of the circuits aren’t as low speed as Singapore so I won’t give up hope yet.

  4. I do think the Red Bull cars are a lot quicker, at least for qualifying. Maybe Alonso can split them, McLaren is closer than in Hungary but has a big gap to get there.

    But in the race anything can happen. What about lap 1 with that chicane, how many people are going to misjudge that?

  5. I just hope for rain. I am really wondering what that would the sprays look like in the dark & the floodlights.

    • I can’t begin to imagine how hard it will be for the drivers to see with the reflection of the floodlights on the wet surface of the track

      • As usual, Button is the only whining about spray already. By Jove the dude’s a whinger. Found the right team to be in this year then.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 25th September 2010, 9:17

          Congratulations to Jenson Button! He finally replaced his ‘grip’ and ‘balance’ excuse with a new one… ‘Spray’.

          I think Jenson is trying to get more original in his excuses. Its not like he can go to the press and just say that he is ridiculously slow. Without blaming other factors for his lack of pace, he would just seem like an undeserving WDC.

  6. gwenouille said on 24th September 2010, 21:40

    I don’t know if I am the only one in that case, but this chart thing doesn’t display properly on my XP firefox…
    Full-screen version is fine though… Have you changed anything recently Keith ?

    Apart from that, it seems it will be a very tough Week-end for the McLarens… I wouldn’t be surprised (but sad) if Button’s title hope were burried on Sunday.
    I think we will see a Webber/Alonso battle here.

  7. Bartholomew said on 24th September 2010, 22:12

    I think Alonso will do well in the race and might even win.
    However,he won´t have Flava (the Napoleon of Singapore)
    as his boss this time. He is on his own now.

  8. It looks pretty much as I thought for Q and the race, a Vettel-Alonso fight. But something tells me the weather will be a factor on both days. In the rain, or changeable conditions, you have to like Lewis’s chances, also because the McLaren race-management team remains the best.

  9. Keith wrote “…remember the RB6′s race pace has never lived up to its one-lap qualifying speed.”

    I don’t know about this. They looked untouchable at Monaco and Hungary, and pretty close to that at Silverstone too.

    • David A said on 25th September 2010, 0:50

      They were untouchable at Monaco, but at Hungary, instead of streaking into the distance, both drivers spent some point staring at Alonso’s gearbox.

      • What would you call Webber’s drive after the SF restart at Hungary if not “driving into the distance”?

        It would have been an easy one-two had Vettel not botched the restart too. And safety car or no safety car, I think Webber had the pace to jump Alonso at the pits having had to make do with being stuck behind him from the lights. He was clearly saving the car and was ready to pounce and put in quick laps one Alonso pitted.

    • David A said on 25th September 2010, 0:51

      And Hamilton kept Webber honest in Britain too.

      • Sure but I think Webber was probably driving well within the limits of the car there.

      • Yes true and if 3 people (LH,FA and Martin W.) say they are close to Redbull then there must be an element of truth in there.

        The whining of JB is getting out of hand if you ask. And it means he is nervous for the Weekend as he knows LH must be sandbagging ….. erm, lets hope that is the case. Can’t wait!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th September 2010, 10:01

      Red Bull were 1.2s faster than everyone in qualifying at Hungary, their race pace was at least half a second per lap off that.

      Ferrari were very close to their pace at Hungary but with Alonso crashing one car in practice, missing qualifying and starting at the back their performance was a bit hidden.

      • I don’t think Ferrari were as close as you suggest. Both Vettel before the SC and Webber after it were out of sight after a few laps and easily made a huge gap to the Ferrari behind them. Remember also that Webber was able to pull out a 25 second lead over second place, ON USED TYRES, in 30 odd laps. That’s not far off 1 second a lap of faster pace.

        OTOH, Alonso was not able to shake off either Webber or Vettel throughout the periods that they were following him.

      • I guess you mean at Monaco, not Hungary. Yes they (Ferrari) were closer at Monaco than they were at Hungary but they weren’t really any faster than Renault were on that circuit either.

  10. roberttty said on 25th September 2010, 4:34

    Looks like The Bridgestone supersofts tires are proving to be more than capable of lasting all 61 laps of the race.

    Lets hope Pirelli can do better and produce “racier” tires for future seasons.

  11. Electrolite said on 25th September 2010, 12:24

    I think it’s safe to say Williams are the best behind Renault by now. Force India, now I come to think of it, have been really disappointing this year!

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