Weather makes DRS decision tough for teams

2011 Belgian GP FP2 analysis

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

The weather continued to vex the teams at Spa-Francorchamps.

But the gaps between rain showers at least gave enough time for most of them to run the soft and medium slick tyres during the second practice.

Friday’s rain is particular headache for the teams as race day is expected to be dry. That means they have little data with which to make critical decisions about rear wing angles and gear ratios.

Sacrificing downforce for straight-line speed will make a car hard to pass in the race, but could compromise qualifying performance.

Spa was always going to be a track where optimising the Drag Reduction System and getting the best trade-off between qualifying and race performance was going to be difficult. The limited running has only exacerbated that problem.

Longest stint comparison

  • The rain meant we didn’t see the high-fuel runs teams usually try at the end of second practice.

This chart shows the lap times (in seconds) each driver set during their longest stints.

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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Sebastian Vettel 116.03 113.261 111.794
Mark Webber 131.652 130.524 135.7 129.094 128.351
Lewis Hamilton 116.053 112.8 112.066 117.5
Jenson Button 110.77 117.593
Fernando Alonso 110.461 126.751 112.333
Felipe Massa 119.322 121.376 115.674
Michael Schumacher 115.186 112.102 112.236 118.123 111.922
Nico Rosberg 117.185 111.967 119.088 121.149 111.962 111.242 116.077 112.197
Bruno Senna 130.901 129.558 128.293 132.041 126.186
Vitaly Petrov 129.839 128.889
Rubens Barrichello 116.642 130.282 114.853 113.43 129.465 113.156
Pastor Maldonado 137.192 135.402 144.924 134.426 151.799 129.444
Nico Hulkenberg 128.139 125.365 123.852
Paul di Resta 113.211 111.751 115.691 111.95
Kamui Kobayashi 136.279 139.917 134.532 133.987 132.251 139.265 136.661 126.432
Sergio Perez 112.929 126.49 112.059 112.199 121.412 111.655 125.818
Sebastien Buemi 137.325 135.742 135.105 134.925 131.346 130.043 129.421 125.719 124.151
Jaime Alguersuari 136.59 137.821 134.063 133.54 130.901 130.233 127.806 126.064 135.316 123.741
Heikki Kovalainen 131.361 126.419 126.163
Jarno Trulli 139.957 138.443 138.029 136.514 144.237 131.512 130.592 138.007 127.519 126.667 142.226 125.429
Daniel Ricciardo 144.063 143.328 143.37 141.705 142.6 139.119 135.999 134.644 134.069 132.554 134.45
Vitantonio Liuzzi 142.425 141.813 140.486 156.608 137 133.045 131.748 150.773 128.432
Timo Glock 117.885 116.631 115.687 115.494
Jerome d’Ambrosio 150.336 141.571 141.487 139.952 139.293 136.207

Ultimate lap times

An ultimate lap is a driver’s fastest three sector times combined.

  • Vettel was unable to get a lap in on soft tyres, but the combination of his best sector times indicates his real pace.
  • All the drivers were able to lap within 107% of Webber’s theoretical best time, indicating they should all be able to qualify.
Car Driver Car Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best
1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’50.145 0.176
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’50.201 0.056 0.260
3 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’50.529 0.384 0.241
4 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’50.838 0.693 0.000
5 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’51.028 0.883 0.762
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’51.122 0.977 0.120
7 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’51.218 1.073 0.000
8 14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’51.351 1.206 0.374
9 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’51.510 1.365 0.241
10 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’51.568 1.423 0.087
11 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’51.606 1.461 0.316
12 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’52.395 2.250 0.355
13 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’52.457 2.312 0.552
14 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’52.667 2.522 0.244
15 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’52.780 2.635 0.000
16 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’53.047 2.902 0.109
17 9 Bruno Senna Renault 1’53.794 3.649 0.041
18 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’54.844 4.699 0.207
19 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’55.436 5.291 0.058
20 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’55.584 5.439 0.618
21 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’55.972 5.827 6.262
22 25 Jerome d’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’56.751 6.606 0.065
23 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’57.235 7.090 0.215
24 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’57.573 7.428 0.039

Complete practice times

  • All the drivers set their fastest time on soft tyres, with the exception of Vettel, Alguersuari, Buemi, Kovalainen (all medium) and Petrov (intermediate)
  • A steering problem kept Petrov from setting a time on slicks
  • Pirelli expect the soft tyre to be around 1.2 seconds per lap faster than the medium tyre
Car Driver Car Best lap Gap Stint lap At time Laps
1 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’50.321 2/2 53 22
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’50.461 0.140 1/3 50 19
3 4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’50.770 0.449 1/2 52 9
4 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’50.838 0.517 1/1 54 9
5 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’51.218 0.897 1/1 53 15
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’51.242 0.921 6/8 49 23
7 17 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’51.655 1.334 6/7 52 21
8 14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’51.725 1.404 1/2 50 18
9 15 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’51.751 1.430 2/4 50 9
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’51.790 1.469 1/1 51 13
11 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’51.922 1.601 5/5 46 23
12 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth 1’52.750 2.429 1/1 54 20
13 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’52.780 2.459 1/1 54 26
14 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’52.911 2.590 6/7 50 25
15 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’53.009 2.688 8/8 53 25
16 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’53.156 2.835 6/6 51 17
17 9 Bruno Senna Renault 1’53.835 3.514 3/3 53 20
18 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1’55.051 4.730 4/4 51 20
19 24 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’55.494 5.173 4/4 51 23
20 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1’56.202 5.881 2/2 47 15
21 25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1’56.816 6.495 5/5 52 20
22 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1’57.450 7.129 2/6 45 19
23 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1’57.612 7.291 5/6 51 24
24 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault 2’02.234 11.913 1/1 36 12

Speed trap

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

  • This is an area to keep an eye on as teams are evaluating different approaches with their Drag Reduction Systems.
  • Red Bull were running less rear wing than their rivals and Sebastian Vettel was just a fraction off the highest straight-line speed seen in the session.
  • Meanwhile McLaren were testing different versions of their rear wing including some that were much steeper.
# Driver Car Engine Max speed Gap
1 17 Sergio Perez Sauber Ferrari 298.8
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 298.7 0.1
3 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes Mercedes 298 0.8
4 15 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 297.5 1.3
5 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 295.8 3
6 16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 295.8 3
7 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 295 3.8
8 18 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso Ferrari 292.9 5.9
9 19 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso Ferrari 292.5 6.3
10 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 292.4 6.4
11 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari 291.5 7.3
12 4 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 288.8 10
13 14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 288.3 10.5
14 11 Rubens Barrichello Williams Cosworth 287.5 11.3
15 3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 287.3 11.5
16 12 Pastor Maldonado Williams Cosworth 286.4 12.4
17 23 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT Cosworth 286.3 12.5
18 24 Timo Glock Virgin Cosworth 285.4 13.4
19 25 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin Cosworth 283.3 15.5
20 9 Bruno Senna Renault Renault 282.3 16.5
21 20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus Renault 280.5 18.3
22 21 Jarno Trulli Lotus Renault 275 23.8
23 22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT Cosworth 270.8 28
24 10 Vitaly Petrov Renault Renault 268 30.8

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Belgian Grand Prix articles

Images ?? Pirelli, Red Bull/Getty images

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15 comments on Weather makes DRS decision tough for teams

  1. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 26th August 2011, 18:26

    Speaking as a layman, might it not be best to try and get away with some extra downforce and have long gear ratios, with 7th as a DRS “over-run”? Or would this lose too much time on the straights, I wonder?

    Whitmarsh was saying about wanting them to run as low as possible, but he didn’t have to drive it through Eau Rouge so he would leave it up to the drivers! I think that will be the essence of the McLaren philosophy tomorrow though.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th August 2011, 19:04

      But its interesting to see Red Bull go defensive (optimize for the straights). It might indicate that McLaren and Ferrari are really faster in race pace so they are likely to pass the RBR cars.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 26th August 2011, 20:43

        I think last year too we saw the Red Bulls really cut the downforce because of how draggy their cars were. This year the Red Bull doesn’t seem as draggy and more efficient, but I think the trend will be the same this year.

  2. Victor. said on 26th August 2011, 18:42

    It all comes down to whether one trusts the weather forecast. If race day is indeed dry then I’d go with Whitmarsh and run less angle. However, if we accept that this is Spa and it might snow on Sunday I’d take downforce over straight line speed – not only would one be able to qualify higher, but if it does drizzle one is better off.

    Having said that, on balance I’d go for less angle. Spa is a track where overtaking is hardly a problem, especially so with a a car set up for top speed.

  3. HoHum (@hohum) said on 26th August 2011, 19:00

    Looking at Red Bull it would appear that Vettel is setting up to win the predicted DRY race and Webber is on plan B to ensure points for the team if it rains during the race.

  4. James said on 26th August 2011, 20:42

    Could Mercedes have a small advantage then, given they managed to put in a half decent time in the first session then? It’s probably a very tiny advantage, but helpful none-the-less.

    I know that given the sifistication of the simulators nowadays teams will have a rough idea on what to do anyway, but nothing beats raw track data.

  5. sato113 (@sato113) said on 26th August 2011, 21:41

    please don’t forget everyone that the SPEED TRAP is located on the exit of eau rogue, not at the end of the kemmel straight. therefore it is useful as a guidline to see who is coming out of eauu rogue fastest, not who has the highest top speed…

  6. HoHum (@hohum) said on 27th August 2011, 4:20

    Well we will all know who is quick and who is not in just a few hours, the video recorder is set just in case I sleep in but also to allow me to speed through the commercials. May I wish good luck to all your favourite drivers, and especially mine.

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