McLaren half a second off Red Bull

Brazilian Grand Prix first practice analysis

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Interlagos, 2010

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Interlagos, 2010

The first practice session in Brazil brought few surprises. Red Bull look fast, with a healthy half-a-second advantage over McLaren.

Ferrari kept a low profile in the first session as usual – there’s no way they’re really the best part of two seconds off the pace, even though Felipe Massa was complaining about understeer during the session.

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

The gap between the two Red Bull drivers is eye-catching given they set them at similar times with a similar amount of tyre wear. And there’s no consolation for Mark Webber in the ultimate lap times (see below) either.

Once again, it seems Vettel has the upper hand, and at McLaren it was the same story for Lewis Hamilton.

As expected the McLarens are the fastest thing in a straight line, Jenson Button clocking 318.4kph through the speed trap.

But even so, the Red Bulls were quickest through every sector. Let me correct that: Sebastian Vettel was quickest through every sector.

Vettel’s 1’12.328 beat the best time seen in last year’s first practice by a tenth of a second.

But it remains to be seen how quick the cars will go when they switch to the super-soft tyre – which could have a significant bearing on strategy for the race.

A final note on today’s first practice session: Vitaly Petrov’s crash was reportedly caused by an F-duct problem and not driver error.

Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Lap At time Laps
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’12.328 13 70 23
2 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’12.810 0.482 18 65 28
3 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’12.845 0.517 14 82 24
4 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’13.267 0.939 10 73 24
5 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’13.370 1.042 14 74 24
6 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’13.516 1.188 17 72 26
7 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’13.546 1.218 6 50 26
8 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’13.643 1.315 6 66 25
9 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’13.918 1.590 23 63 26
10 22 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’14.000 1.672 11 39 23
11 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’14.004 1.676 10 91 22
12 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’14.155 1.827 13 73 29
13 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’14.246 1.918 7 61 19
14 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’14.267 1.939 17 73 26
15 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’14.370 2.042 10 46 22
16 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’14.487 2.159 8 52 26
17 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’14.618 2.290 18 75 30
18 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’14.734 2.406 18 53 29
19 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’15.603 3.275 17 63 25
20 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’15.860 3.532 13 69 20
21 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’16.057 3.729 9 67 26
22 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’16.707 4.379 18 53 28
23 20 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’16.839 4.511 15 47 18
24 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’17.360 5.032 25 89 30

Ultimate laps

An ultimate lap is a drivers’ best three times in each sector added together.

Car Driver Car Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best
1 5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’12.185 0.143
2 6 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’12.628 0.443 0.182
3 2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’12.760 0.575 0.085
4 1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’13.034 0.849 0.233
5 11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’13.347 1.162 0.023
6 9 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’13.375 1.190 0.171
7 4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’13.422 1.237 0.094
8 3 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’13.551 1.366 0.092
9 22 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’13.852 1.667 0.148
10 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’13.918 1.733 0.000
11 23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’13.969 1.784 0.035
12 10 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’14.028 1.843 0.127
13 7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’14.097 1.912 0.170
14 8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’14.113 1.928 0.133
15 12 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’14.253 2.068 0.117
16 15 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’14.344 2.159 0.143
17 17 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’14.580 2.395 0.038
18 16 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’14.596 2.411 0.138
19 18 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’15.396 3.211 0.207
20 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’15.860 3.675 0.000
21 19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’15.953 3.768 0.104
22 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’16.483 4.298 0.224
23 20 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’16.578 4.393 0.261
24 21 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’17.232 5.047 0.128

2010 Brazilian Grand Prix

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41 comments on McLaren half a second off Red Bull

  1. Ed Hunter said on 5th November 2010, 15:22

    Ferrari is around 0.3-0.4 off the pace also. If u look at the FP1 results in past races they ware 1.5 sec behind rb, and now is around 1.9 considering that alonso can go faster then this. i think that this track (like all) suite rb the most. but i cant get out of my head that this track when looked at map looks like GP Germany, with one fast section, and one with slow corners.

    • Wouldn’t those 3 or 4 tenths lost be down to Ferrari using a dying engine?

      • Younger Hamilton said on 5th November 2010, 15:33

        I dont think so the main theme since Singapore that Ferrari has 1 or 2 more tenths than McLaren.Interlagos is tough on engines those so the 3 or 4 tenths Ferrari would originally be behind Red Bull probably extends further

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th November 2010, 16:18

          I dont think so the main theme since Singapore that Ferrari has 1 or 2 more tenths than McLaren.

          Therefore RBR’s rivals have not much to worry about. Red Bull will always find new ways to squander that advantage.

      • Yes, that would make sense and is probably why they have always been slower in the last few races in FP1 & FP2, they then go quicker in FP3 with a fresher engine.

        On five line they were saying the engine power can be down as much as 40% on a very used engine, not sure how true that is.

  2. Younger Hamilton said on 5th November 2010, 15:23

    But even so, the Red Bulls were quickest through every sector. Let me correct that: Sebastian Vettel was quickest through every sector.

    Cocky and rude stuff

  3. Alex White said on 5th November 2010, 15:28

    Klien faster than Senna, Again.

  4. Johnny86 said on 5th November 2010, 15:28

    Look at the difference between senna and klien. I guess singapore wasnt a fluke then. I was hoping it to be.

  5. Younger Hamilton said on 5th November 2010, 15:29

    Red Bull look fast as always.Expect them to be fastest in sectors 1 and 2 but McLaren hold the domination in the final sector.Ferrari,like Ed Quoted i reckon are 3 tenths off Red Bull.Im not making any predictions for pole because its too early to say plus im planning to wait for third practice to make a statement anyway great article Keith despite my early comment.Are we expecting option tyres out for 2nd practice

  6. Fahad alam said on 5th November 2010, 15:35

    Ferrari kept a low profile in the first session as usual

    Ha they are so clever

    • No is is because they us older engines,they have always been slower in the last few races in FP1 & FP2, they then go quicker in FP3 with a fresher engine (and trying harder)

      On five live they were saying the engine power can be down as much as 40% on a very used engine, not sure how true that is.

  7. Scribe (@scribe) said on 5th November 2010, 15:46

    yeesh thats depressing, an McLaren tend to reveal there pace early, not much for the sneakies. Well I hope all this new stuff we keep bringing is going to be damn good next year.

    Ah well, I just about got over this after Japan, now i’ll be a Redbullite, don’t really mind which of their drivers win it now though I’d prefer Mark. Started to think Mark isn’t as nice as he’d like us to think, but still why would he be at this stage, he’s still my hope.

    Still I hold out hope for Lewis doing something amazing, we’ve massivley overdelivered this year helped by Redbull and Ferrari not playing it fantastic in the middle of the season, next year, if we’re properly on the pace, it’ll be our year! ;)

    • If the MP4-26 is not good enough next season, then Jess and Nicole should appear in Pirelli Calendar ;-)

  8. Why is nobody talking about the engine failure at Ferrari?

  9. macahan said on 5th November 2010, 15:48

    But we have as usual no clue of fuel loads. Just best guesses from reports on refueling times etc.

    Ferrari might run on full tanks. Mark might ran higher load then Vettel, Kubica might ran on fumes, Alonso might actully ran out of fuel. ;P
    Clearer picture should emerge after FP2 once the two sessions data is looked at. But will really not be telling until after FP3 how Quali could look like.. As usual…

  10. Robbie said on 5th November 2010, 15:52

    Red Bulls will probably lock out the front row in qualifying but come race pace, I expect McLarens to overtake them, especially if it’s going to rain.

  11. Lopes said on 5th November 2010, 16:05

    The Brazilian motorsports website “Grande Premio” is reporting that Lotus has signed Bruno Senna for next year. (In portuguese only)

    http://esporte.ig.com.br/grandepremio/formula1/2010/11/05/com+patrocinio+da+embratel+senna+acerta+com+lotus+e+se+livra+da+hispania+9985064.html

    They report the announcement will only be made after Abu Dhabi. The deal is reportedly counting on the money from Embratel, the brazilian telecom company that was acquired by Telmex in 2006.

    Yes, the same Telmex that is sponsoring Sergio Perez at Sauber next year…

    • Lopes said on 5th November 2010, 16:09

      If that’s confirmed, it will mean that once again we’ll see a Senna driving a Lotus car powered by a Renault engine…

  12. Calum said on 5th November 2010, 17:12

    Redbull RB7 is going to be more if the same, the RB5 dominated the tail end of 2009, all of 2010 and with no major rule change it should mean the evolution not revolution that is RB7 will be equally quick.

    How can the F2011* or the Mp4-26 compete with the new Redbull because everything they have to give development wise will have gone onto their 2010 challengers now to catch the RBR and it hadn’t worked clearly.

    With all resources in Woking and maranello trying to keep up with the RB6, it just means the Redbull design team have more time than their rivals to develop the RB7 :(

  13. judo chop said on 5th November 2010, 17:40

    How did he crash? Was he using the f-duct on a bend?

  14. curedcat said on 5th November 2010, 18:56

    This was the same as singapore where redbull was at least One second up on the rest of mclaren and ferrari , and the in Q3 , everyone watched as that advantage vaporised . Here its looking even closer

  15. tharris19 said on 5th November 2010, 21:05

    I believe McLaren is through for the year. They cannot compete with the Red Bulls or the Ferraris in the dry or wet. Jenson is not happy with car, Lewis said he is happy with the car and it’s new floor, but it is just to slow to compete with their main competition. This sounds like a variation on a theme when it comes to this car this year.
    The car is suffering from a terminal illness and McLaren should just let it die in peace.

    • DeadManWoking said on 5th November 2010, 22:03

      LOL, just 8 more days and the whole field is obselete anyway. 8)

    • Renell said on 5th November 2010, 22:19

      unfortunately they’re keeping up appearances. the lack of relative improvement brought on by the developments has been thoroughly disappointing

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