Mercedes progress despite Schumacher’s DRS trouble

2011 Chinese GP qualifying analysis

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2011

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2011

Mercedes relegated Ferrari to the fourth-fastest team around Shanghai.

Nico Rosberg beat both the red cars but Michael Schumacher suffered a repeat of his Drag Reduction System problem from Sepang.

See below for analysis of all the data from qualifying.

Qualifying times in full

  • Red Bull only showed their hand when they had to – Sebastian Vettel’s margin over the McLarens ballooned in the final part of qualifying
  • Lewis Hamilton saved a set of new soft tyres by only doing one run in the final part of qualifying
  • Nico Rosberg showed much better performance from the Mercedes, out-qualifying both Ferraris and coming within two tenths of a second of the McLarens
  • Unusually, Paul di Resta got progressively slower throughout the session yet still made it into Q3.
Driver Car Q1 Q2 (vs Q1) Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’35.674 1’34.776 (-0.898) 1’33.706 (-1.070)
2 Jenson Button McLaren 1’35.924 1’34.662 (-1.262) 1’34.421 (-0.241)
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1’36.091 1’34.486 (-1.605) 1’34.463 (-0.023)
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’35.272 1’35.850 (+0.578) 1’34.670 (-1.180)
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.389 1’35.165 (-0.224) 1’35.119 (-0.046)
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.478 1’35.437 (-0.041) 1’35.145 (-0.292)
7 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1’36.133 1’35.563 (-0.570) 1’36.158 (+0.595)
8 Paul di Resta Force India 1’35.702 1’35.858 (+0.156) 1’36.190 (+0.332)
9 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1’36.110 1’35.500 (-0.610) 1’36.203 (+0.703)
10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’35.370 1’35.149 (-0.221)
11 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’36.092 1’35.874 (-0.218)
12 Sergio Perez Sauber 1’36.046 1’36.053 (+0.007)
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1’36.147 1’36.236 (+0.089)
14 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’35.508 1’36.457 (+0.949)
15 Rubens Barrichello Williams 1’35.911 1’36.465 (+0.554)
16 Nick Heidfeld Renault 1’35.910 1’36.611 (+0.701)
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’36.121 1’36.956 (+0.835)
18 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’36.468
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1’37.894
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus 1’38.318
21 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 1’39.119
22 Timo Glock Virgin 1’39.708
23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 1’40.212
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 1’40.445

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.

  • Following a KERS failure in practice, Mark Webber had to qualify without it. According to Williams, KERS is worth 0.24s per lap. Therefore Webber was at least half a second off what should have been possible in Q1, which would have comfortably secured his passage to Q2.
  • There were some tiny gaps between team mates, with just hundredths separating the McLaren, Ferrari, Toro Rosso and Force India team mates. The latter, separated by just 16 thousandths of a second, was the difference between Paul di Resta getting in and Adrian Sutil missing out.
Team Driver Lap time Gap Lap time Driver Round
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’35.674 -0.794 1’36.468 Mark Webber Q1
McLaren Lewis Hamilton 1’34.463 +0.042 1’34.421 Jenson Button Q3
Ferrari Fernando Alonso 1’35.119 -0.026 1’35.145 Felipe Massa Q3
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’36.457 +0.607 1’35.850 Nico Rosberg Q2
Renault Nick Heidfeld 1’36.611 +1.462 1’35.149 Vitaly Petrov Q2
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’36.465 -0.491 1’36.956 Pastor Maldonado Q2
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’35.874 +0.016 1’35.858 Paul di Resta Q2
Sauber Kamui Kobayashi 1’36.236 +0.183 1’36.053 Sergio Perez Q2
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 1’36.203 +0.045 1’36.158 Jaime Alguersuari Q3
Lotus Heikki Kovalainen 1’37.894 -0.424 1’38.318 Jarno Trulli Q1
HRT Narain Karthikeyan 1’40.445 +0.233 1’40.212 Vitantonio Liuzzi Q1
Virgin Timo Glock 1’39.708 +0.589 1’39.119 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.

  • Having been within half a second of reaching Q2 in Sepang, Lotus struggled in the cooler conditions in Shanghai, and were well over one-and-a-half seconds away. They can’t have been expecting the car in front of them would be a Red Bull, though.
  • Michael Schumacher had another problem with his Drag Reduction System on his last effort in Q2. His sector times indicate at least eighth place was possible instead of 14th.
  • Hamilton did not have the luxury of two runs in Q3 and probably missed out on second place because of it.
Pos # Driver Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best Actual position
1 1 Sebastian Vettel 1’33.706 0.000 1
2 3 Lewis Hamilton 1’34.356 0.650 0.107 3
3 4 Jenson Button 1’34.421 0.715 0.000 2
4 8 Nico Rosberg 1’34.643 0.937 0.027 4
5 5 Fernando Alonso 1’35.068 1.362 0.051 5
6 6 Felipe Massa 1’35.108 1.402 0.037 6
7 10 Vitaly Petrov 1’35.149 1.443 0.000 10
8 7 Michael Schumacher 1’35.437 1.731 1.020 14
9 18 Sebastien Buemi 1’35.500 1.794 0.703 9
10 19 Jaime Alguersuari 1’35.549 1.843 0.609 7
11 15 Paul di Resta 1’35.681 1.975 0.509 8
12 17 Sergio Perez 1’35.713 2.007 0.340 12
13 14 Adrian Sutil 1’35.816 2.110 0.058 11
14 16 Kamui Kobayashi 1’35.885 2.179 0.351 13
15 9 Nick Heidfeld 1’35.910 2.204 0.701 16
16 11 Rubens Barrichello 1’35.911 2.205 0.554 15
17 12 Pastor Maldonado 1’36.006 2.300 0.950 17
18 2 Mark Webber 1’36.144 2.438 0.324 18
19 20 Heikki Kovalainen 1’37.894 4.188 0.000 19
20 21 Jarno Trulli 1’38.318 4.612 0.000 20
21 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio 1’39.071 5.365 0.048 21
22 24 Timo Glock 1’39.605 5.899 0.103 22
23 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi 1’39.864 6.158 0.348 23
24 22 Narain Karthikeyan 1’40.369 6.663 0.076 24

Sector times

Here are the drivers? best times in each sector.

Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel 24.839 (1) 27.936 (1) 40.931 (1)
Jenson Button 24.967 (2) 28.188 (3) 41.266 (4)
Lewis Hamilton 25.057 (3) 28.148 (2) 41.151 (3)
Nico Rosberg 25.150 (6) 28.424 (5) 41.069 (2)
Fernando Alonso 25.222 (11) 28.381 (4) 41.465 (5)
Felipe Massa 25.111 (5) 28.439 (6) 41.558 (6)
Jaime Alguersuari 25.188 (9) 28.650 (13) 41.711 (10)
Paul di Resta 25.274 (13) 28.607 (11) 41.800 (12)
Sebastien Buemi 25.166 (7) 28.557 (8) 41.777 (11)
Vitaly Petrov 25.078 (4) 28.509 (7) 41.562 (7)
Adrian Sutil 25.211 (10) 28.691 (16) 41.914 (15)
Sergio Perez 25.372 (16) 28.685 (15) 41.656 (9)
Kamui Kobayashi 25.409 (17) 28.575 (9) 41.901 (13)
Michael Schumacher 25.229 (12) 28.588 (10) 41.620 (8)
Rubens Barrichello 25.346 (15) 28.656 (14) 41.909 (14)
Nick Heidfeld 25.168 (8) 28.700 (18) 42.042 (17)
Pastor Maldonado 25.325 (14) 28.620 (12) 42.061 (18)
Mark Webber 25.473 (18) 28.693 (17) 41.978 (16)
Heikki Kovalainen 25.857 (19) 29.391 (19) 42.646 (19)
Jarno Trulli 25.906 (20) 29.492 (20) 42.920 (20)
Jerome d’Ambrosio 26.178 (21) 29.704 (21) 43.189 (21)
Timo Glock 26.320 (23) 29.908 (22) 43.377 (22)
Vitantonio Liuzzi 26.214 (22) 30.076 (23) 43.574 (23)
Narain Karthikeyan 26.426 (24) 30.343 (24) 43.600 (24)

Maximum speeds

  • The Renaults have the highest top speeds which should prove useful as they fight their way up from tenth and 16th.
  • Surprisingly little difference between the two Red Bulls despite Webber not having KERS
Pos Driver Car Speed (kph) Gap
1 Nick Heidfeld Renault 322.6
2 Vitaly Petrov Renault 322.5 -0.1
3 Pastor Maldonado Williams 322.0 -0.6
4 Rubens Barrichello Williams 322.0 -0.6
5 Paul di Resta Force India 320.7 -1.9
6 Adrian Sutil Force India 320.6 -2.0
7 Sergio Perez Sauber 318.6 -4.0
8 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 318.4 -4.2
9 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 317.9 -4.7
10 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 317.4 -5.2
11 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 316.9 -5.7
12 Felipe Massa Ferrari 316.9 -5.7
13 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 316.8 -5.8
14 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 316.7 -5.9
15 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 316.3 -6.3
16 Mark Webber Red Bull 316.0 -6.6
17 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 315.3 -7.3
18 Jenson Button McLaren 315.1 -7.5
19 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin 312.6 -10.0
20 Timo Glock Virgin 312.4 -10.2
21 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 312.1 -10.5
22 Jarno Trulli Lotus 311.7 -10.9
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 308.0 -14.6
24 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 307.6 -15.0

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

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52 comments on Mercedes progress despite Schumacher’s DRS trouble

  1. BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th April 2011, 17:02

    Interesting to see what have might been for Renault here. They had a lot of speed that did not come out at the right moment.

  2. lunarrune said on 18th April 2011, 8:44

    wow i must admit – it will be better for Schumacher to leave the sport as a driver. why doesn’t he start his own team? he just isn’t competitive any more. don’t get me wrong, i’m a big schumacher fan but i feel the time has come for him to move on.

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