Lap times much slower at Sepang this year

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix first practice analysis

Nico H???lkenberg, Force India, Sepang, 2011

The F1 teams lapped the Sepang International Circuit noticeably slower than they did last year.

The best time set by Mark Webber was 2.7 seconds slower than Lewis Hamilton’s time from the same session last year.

Whether this is a consequence of changes to the cars such as the Pirelli tyres, or simply that the track wasn’t in good enough condition this morning, remains to be seen.

The fastest lap of the track last year was a 1’33.542 by Mark Webber. The quickest ever lap of Sepang was Fernando Alonso’s 1’32.585 in 2005.

Longest stint comparison

  • There were few long stints in the first of the day’s practice sessions.
  • Drivers were able to run the experimental new Pirelli tyre which is designed to be more durable, but they will not be able to use it in the race.

This chart shows each driver’s lap time (in seconds) on each lap of their longest stint:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2011drivercolours.csv

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Sebastian Vettel 104.004 102.901 102.368 101.856 102.12 101.673
Mark Webber 101.545 99.87 99.448 98.952 105.959 98.483
Lewis Hamilton 101.429 101.756 103.743 101.175 101.706
Jenson Button 101.84 102.557 102.937
Fernando Alonso 115.34 106.541 100.601 107.088 113.318
Felipe Massa 100.453 100.527 108.948 101.706
Michael Schumacher 104.731 101.163 100.768 100.729
Nico Rosberg 100.663 100.8 101.155
Nick Heidfeld 102.285 100.823 100.525
Vitaly Petrov 107.932
Rubens Barrichello 110.776 105.671 101.047 101.371 106.895 101.395
Pastor Maldonado 102.396 100.822 100.935 110.566 101.469 103.166 104.057 105.257
Adrian Sutil 102.263 100.734 104.833 101.064 108.339 102.614
Nico H???lkenberg 104.557 102.475 109.576 105.325 101.547 101.096
Kamui Kobayashi 100.926 101.141 111.242 103.987 100.872 102.476 101.167 104.041
Sergio Perez 102.878 113.418 101.73 103.414 104.263 102.604
Daniel Ricciardo 104.375 106.669 101.974 102.599 101.525 101.689
Jaime Alguersuari 100.779 100.877 100.883 102.7 101.717 101.967
Davide Valsecchi 105.36 104.176 104.089 113.777 105.782 104.054
Jarno Trulli 101.664 101.62 105.546 103.403 102.172
Narain Karthikeyan 112.057 112.207 108.147 106.763 108.846 106.267
Vitantonio Liuzzi 111.638 107.057 106.446 106.519 105.959
Timo Glock 102.458 109.436 102.154 103.894 106.491 106.569
Jerome d’Ambrosio 106.769 104.65 104.005 103.472 102.967 102.613

Ultimate lap times

  • Sebastian Vettel has a lot of time in hand. He seemed to be running a very different programme to team mate Webber, who was 7.5kph faster on the straight.
  • Both HRTs were more than 7% slower than the fastest time (i.e. slower than 1’44.487). Liuzzi’s ultimate lap was still half a second off.
Car Driver Car Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best
1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’37.583 0.068
2 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’39.283 1.700 0.033
3 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’39.791 2.208 0.000
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’39.964 2.381 1.663
5 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’40.091 2.508 0.555
6 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’40.144 2.561 0.437
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.191 2.608 0.262
8 15 Nico H???lkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’40.288 2.705 0.089
9 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’40.298 2.715 0.145
10 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’40.369 2.786 0.232
11 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’40.426 2.843 0.344
12 9 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’40.488 2.905 0.037
13 18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’40.626 3.043 0.122
14 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’40.734 3.151 0.000
15 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.814 3.231 0.113
16 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’40.855 3.272 0.017
17 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.106 3.523 0.536
18 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’41.471 3.888 0.149
19 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’41.897 4.314 0.257
20 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’42.444 4.861 0.096
21 20 Davide Valsecchi Lotus-Renault 1’43.927 6.344 0.127
22 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’44.902 7.319 0.326
23 22 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’46.245 8.662 0.022
24 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’46.766 9.183 1.166

Complete practice times

  • Lap times so far are much slower than last year. Mark Webber’s best in first practice was 2.7 seconds slower than the best time in the same session last year set by Lewis Hamilton.
  • The tight spread of times (0.6 seconds from fourth to 15th) indicates few drivers were pushing for fast laps.
# Driver Car Best lap Gap Stint lap At time Laps
1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’37.651 1/4 83 22
2 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’39.316 1.665 2/2 48 16
3 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’39.791 2.140 1/3 89 29
4 15 Nico H???lkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’40.377 2.726 4/5 88 23
5 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’40.443 2.792 7/8 59 31
6 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.453 2.802 1/4 86 22
7 9 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’40.525 2.874 3/3 27 6
8 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’40.581 2.930 4/4 74 21
9 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’40.601 2.950 3/5 81 23
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’40.646 2.995 1/1 66 29
11 14 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’40.734 3.083 2/6 84 21
12 18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’40.748 3.097 2/5 86 23
13 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’40.770 3.119 3/5 38 24
14 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’40.872 3.221 5/8 82 27
15 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’40.927 3.276 1/1 43 16
16 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’41.620 3.969 2/5 58 21
17 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’41.627 3.976 2/5 74 18
18 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.642 3.991 1/1 71 24
19 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’42.154 4.503 3/6 87 18
20 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’42.540 4.889 1/3 83 19
21 20 Davide Valsecchi Lotus-Renault 1’44.054 6.403 6/6 63 18
22 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’45.228 7.577 2/2 72 20
21 20 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’46.267 8.618 6/7 10
22 23 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’47.932 10.281 1/1 4

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix


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10 comments on Lap times much slower at Sepang this year

  1. Sevrige said on 8th April 2011, 6:33

    I’m hoping we’ll see some surprise pace in qualifying similar to Australia.

  2. Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer) said on 8th April 2011, 6:41

    Minor correction Keith – 2005 time was 1:32.582
    With an best ultimate laptime of 1:32.382

    Last 3 years in general times were getting quicker in Malaysia with FP3 time last year 1:33.542 assuming that pole time would have been a bit quicker were it not for the rain.

  3. studi06 said on 8th April 2011, 7:40

    Great to see Mark Webber record the fastest time..!!!

  4. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 8th April 2011, 8:58

    I don’t mind slower laptimes too much. It just means the race lasts longer!

  5. DC (@dc) said on 8th April 2011, 9:41

    It looks like HRT are still barely outside of the 107% window. Bad news for them.

  6. BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th April 2011, 9:54

    Hm, interesting. After FP2 confirmed them still being about the same amount of time off last year, it looks like they are somewhat slower this time.

    I wonder how many tenths the RB cars especially were holding back. From recent experience it could be as much as a whole second.

  7. The commentators said at various points that all four of the top placed guys were running heavy fuel loads during their fastest laps.

  8. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th April 2011, 13:23

    Not looking good for HRT is it? :/

    Still, practise is not THAT indicative I guess.

    Good comparison Keith, thanks.

  9. Mark said on 11th April 2011, 9:08

    This is great information Keith. Is there a website that has all laptimes of drivers for one race ?

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