McLaren slash the gap to Red Bull in Sepang

2011 Malaysian GP qualifying analysis

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2011

Sebastian Vettel may be on pole position again but Red Bull’s advantage over their rivals has been significantly cut.

Vettel’s margin was one tenth of a second – seven-tenths less than it was in Melbourne.

Here’s all the sector times, speed trap figures and more data from qualifying in Malaysia:

Qualifying times in full

  • The top five line up in the same order as they did in Melbourne.
  • Lotus had a much better qualifying session than they did in Melbourne, lapping within a few tenths of the Williamses.
  • All the drivers in Q3 used the soft tyre.
  • Despite missing all of pre-season testing the fastest HRT in the second race was only half a second slower than one of the Virgins.
  • The slowest car beat the 107% time by one second.
Driver Car Q1 Q2 (vs Q1) Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’37.468 1’35.934 (-1.534) 1’34.870 (-1.064)
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1’36.861 1’35.852 (-1.009) 1’34.974 (-0.878)
3 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’37.924 1’36.080 (-1.844) 1’35.179 (-0.901)
4 Jenson Button McLaren 1’37.033 1’35.569 (-1.464) 1’35.200 (-0.369)
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’36.897 1’36.320 (-0.577) 1’35.802 (-0.518)
6 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’37.224 1’36.811 (-0.413) 1’36.124 (-0.687)
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’36.744 1’36.557 (-0.187) 1’36.251 (-0.306)
8 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’37.210 1’36.642 (-0.568) 1’36.324 (-0.318)
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’37.316 1’36.388 (-0.928) 1’36.809 (+0.421)
10 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1’36.994 1’36.691 (-0.303) 1’36.820 (+0.129)
11 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’36.904 1’37.035 (+0.131)
12 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1’37.693 1’37.160 (-0.533)
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1’37.677 1’37.347 (-0.330)
14 Paul di Resta Force India 1’38.045 1’37.370 (-0.675)
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams 1’38.163 1’37.496 (-0.667)
16 Sergio Perez Sauber 1’37.759 1’37.528 (-0.231)
17 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’37.693 1’37.593 (-0.100)
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’38.276
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1’38.645
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus 1’38.791
21 Timo Glock Virgin 1’40.648
22 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 1’41.001
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 1’41.549
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1’42.574

Team mate comparisons

Compare the best times of each team’s drivers in the last part of qualifying in which they both set a time.

  • The biggest gap between team mates was Vitantonio Liuzzi’s one second margin over Narain Karthikeyan.
  • The next largest gaps were found at Sauber (Kamui Kobayashi over Sergio Perez) and Mercedes (Nico Rosberg over Michael Schumacher)
  • The only rookie to out-qualify his team mate in both races so far is Paul di Resta.
Team Driver Lap time Gap Lap time Driver Round
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’34.870 -0.309 1’35.179 Mark Webber Q3
McLaren Lewis Hamilton 1’34.974 -0.226 1’35.200 Jenson Button Q3
Ferrari Fernando Alonso 1’35.802 -0.449 1’36.251 Felipe Massa Q3
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’37.035 +0.647 1’36.388 Nico Rosberg Q2
Renault Nick Heidfeld 1’36.124 -0.200 1’36.324 Vitaly Petrov Q3
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’38.163 -0.113 1’38.276 Pastor Maldonado Q1
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’37.593 +0.223 1’37.370 Paul di Resta Q2
Sauber Kamui Kobayashi 1’36.691 -0.837 1’37.528 Sergio Perez Q2
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 1’37.160 -0.187 1’37.347 Jaime Alguersuari Q2
Lotus Heikki Kovalainen 1’38.645 -0.146 1’38.791 Jarno Trulli Q1
HRT Narain Karthikeyan 1’42.574 +1.025 1’41.549 Vitantonio Liuzzi Q1
Virgin Timo Glock 1’40.648 -0.353 1’41.001 Jerome d’Ambrosio Q1

Ultimate laps

An ultimate lap is a driver’s best time in each of the three sectors that make up a lap combined.

  • Two drivers who were knocked out before Q3 could have made it a stage further if they’d done their fastest sectors in the same lap: Michael Schumacher and Pastor Maldonado. Schumacher had a problem with his adjustable rear wing in the final sector.
  • If Sergio Perez had put all his best sectors together he’d be three places higher on the grid.
Pos # Driver Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best Actual position
1 1 Sebastian Vettel 1’34.870 0.000 1
2 3 Lewis Hamilton 1’34.898 0.028 0.076 2
3 2 Mark Webber 1’35.138 0.268 0.041 3
4 4 Jenson Button 1’35.194 0.324 0.006 4
5 5 Fernando Alonso 1’35.802 0.932 0.000 5
6 9 Nick Heidfeld 1’36.124 1.254 0.000 6
7 6 Felipe Massa 1’36.251 1.381 0.000 7
8 10 Vitaly Petrov 1’36.324 1.454 0.000 8
9 8 Nico Rosberg 1’36.388 1.518 0.421 9
10 16 Kamui Kobayashi 1’36.676 1.806 0.144 10
11 7 Michael Schumacher 1’36.839 1.969 0.196 11
12 18 Sebastien Buemi 1’37.160 2.290 0.000 12
13 17 Sergio Perez 1’37.280 2.410 0.248 16
14 19 Jaime Alguersuari 1’37.347 2.477 0.000 13
15 15 Paul di Resta 1’37.370 2.500 0.000 14
16 11 Rubens Barrichello 1’37.496 2.626 0.000 15
17 14 Adrian Sutil 1’37.502 2.632 0.091 17
18 12 Pastor Maldonado 1’38.201 3.331 0.075 18
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen 1’38.373 3.503 0.272 19
20 21 Jarno Trulli 1’38.790 3.920 0.001 20
21 24 Timo Glock 1’40.409 5.539 0.239 21
22 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio 1’40.968 6.098 0.033 22
23 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi 1’41.549 6.679 0.000 23
24 22 Narain Karthikeyan 1’42.242 7.372 0.332 24

Sector times

The drivers? best times in each sector.

  • The gap between the two fastest cars and the rest is clear to see in that the top four times in each sector is held by a Red Bull or a McLaren.
  • Lotus are losing their time to the other midfield cars in the middle sector.
Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel 24.665 (1) 31.569 (1) 38.636 (2)
Lewis Hamilton 24.667 (2) 31.614 (2) 38.617 (1)
Mark Webber 24.672 (3) 31.679 (3) 38.787 (4)
Jenson Button 24.680 (4) 31.783 (4) 38.731 (3)
Fernando Alonso 24.845 (7) 32.058 (5) 38.899 (5)
Nick Heidfeld 24.869 (9) 32.218 (6) 39.037 (6)
Felipe Massa 24.863 (8) 32.252 (7) 39.136 (8)
Vitaly Petrov 24.777 (6) 32.424 (9) 39.123 (7)
Nico Rosberg 24.715 (5) 32.474 (11) 39.199 (9)
Kamui Kobayashi 25.034 (14) 32.368 (8) 39.274 (10)
Michael Schumacher 24.877 (10) 32.655 (14) 39.307 (11)
Sebastien Buemi 25.128 (16) 32.478 (12) 39.554 (13)
Jaime Alguersuari 25.017 (12) 32.751 (16) 39.579 (15)
Paul di Resta 24.914 (11) 32.881 (17) 39.575 (14)
Rubens Barrichello 25.110 (15) 32.602 (13) 39.784 (17)
Sergio Perez 25.227 (17) 32.471 (10) 39.582 (16)
Adrian Sutil 25.021 (13) 32.951 (18) 39.530 (12)
Pastor Maldonado 25.280 (20) 32.741 (15) 40.180 (20)
Heikki Kovalainen 25.258 (18) 33.274 (19) 39.841 (18)
Jarno Trulli 25.269 (19) 33.370 (20) 40.151 (19)
Timo Glock 25.537 (21) 33.967 (21) 40.905 (21)
Jerome d’Ambrosio 25.704 (22) 34.221 (22) 41.043 (22)
Vitantonio Liuzzi 25.796 (23) 34.273 (23) 41.480 (23)
Narain Karthikeyan 25.934 (24) 34.646 (24) 41.662 (24)

Straight-line speeds

  • Christian Horner said Red Bull are running KERS. In Melbourne, without KERS, they were only faster than the HRTs, Virgins and Lotuses in a straight line.
  • The top five fastest cars in a straight line all have Mercedes engines.
Pos Driver Car Speed (kph) Gap
1 Adrian Sutil Force India 311.4
2 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 311.0 -0.4
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 310.6 -0.8
4 Paul di Resta Force India 308.8 -2.6
5 Jenson Button McLaren 306.8 -4.6
6 Vitaly Petrov Renault 306.4 -5.0
7 Nick Heidfeld Renault 306.2 -5.2
8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 305.9 -5.5
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 304.9 -6.5
10 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 304.8 -6.6
11 Pastor Maldonado Williams 304.6 -6.8
12 Mark Webber Red Bull 304.3 -7.1
13 Sergio Perez Sauber 304.0 -7.4
14 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 303.3 -8.1
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams 303.3 -8.1
16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 303.0 -8.4
17 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 301.7 -9.7
18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 301.7 -9.7
19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 301.5 -9.9
20 Timo Glock Virgin 300.9 -10.5
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus 300.9 -10.5
22 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 299.1 -12.3
23 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 298.9 -12.5
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 296.5 -14.9

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix


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97 comments on McLaren slash the gap to Red Bull in Sepang

  1. matt88 said on 9th April 2011, 18:05

    go Tonio, 1 sec faster than his teammate, the guy isn’t so bad indeed…

  2. Oliver said on 9th April 2011, 19:25

    But his team mate had already qualified long before him so there was no need t keep pushing when reliability can be an issue for the race. So why not just save your engines. But beating someone who hasn”t raced in 5yrs can’t be considered a great feat.

  3. Seyr said on 10th April 2011, 1:56

    Feels to me like Red Bull lost relative performance after fitting KERS.

  4. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 10th April 2011, 2:58

    So far it looks like Mclaren are the only one who can spoil the Red Bull party

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