Drivers vary set-ups facing threat of rain

2011 Brazilian GP qualifying analysis

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Interlagos, 2011

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Interlagos, 2011

With rain forecast for the race, some drivers have leaned towards wet weather set-ups for their cars, running more wing.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner said during final practice that teams no longer have to make major set-up changes to their cars in wet conditions as current F1 cars have so much downforce.

That’s certainly true for the RB7, but as the data below indicates some drivers in other teams have opted to run with more downforce.

Qualifying times in full

  • Jenson Button bounced back from a string of poor qualifying performances in Brazil – in the last five years he started 14th, 16th, 17th, 14th and 11th at Interlagos.
  • Having been very quick in Q2, Nico Rosberg lost half a second in Q3: “I was maybe a little too slow on my out lap in Q3 so my tyres didn’t work perfectly on my fast lap, and that’s why I wasn’t as quick as in Q2″, he said.
  • Felipe Massa had a troubled session: “In some corners I was locking up the front and in the slower ones I suffered with understeer, in others I lacked traction: all in all, the car was rather difficult to drive. On top of that, it was a rather complicated day. I had to use two sets of softs in Q2 and I paid for that in Q3, as I could only do one run.”
  • Unusually, both Virgins were out-qualified by both HRTs. “The car was bad to drive this morning – suddenly from one run to another it had no stability any more,” said Timo Glock. “So it was difficult to go into qualifying with confidence, even though in the first run the car felt okay. I got a safe lap in then I tried to push on the second set of tyres. I had a very good first three corners but then one of the Toro Rossos came out of the pits right in front of me and just stayed there during his out lap, so I couldn?t go quicker and lost some time.”
Driver Car Q1 Q2 (vs Q1) Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’13.664 1’12.268 (-1.396) 1’11.918 (-0.350)
2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’13.467 1’12.518 (-0.949) 1’12.099 (-0.419)
3 Jenson Button McLaren 1’13.281 1’12.613 (-0.668) 1’12.283 (-0.330)
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1’13.361 1’12.811 (-0.550) 1’12.480 (-0.331)
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’13.969 1’12.821 (-1.148) 1’12.591 (-0.230)
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’14.083 1’12.569 (-1.514) 1’13.050 (+0.481)
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’14.269 1’13.291 (-0.978) 1’13.068 (-0.223)
8 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’13.480 1’13.261 (-0.219) 1’13.298 (+0.037)
9 Bruno Senna Renault 1’14.453 1’13.300 (-1.153) 1’13.761 (+0.461)
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’13.694 1’13.571 (-0.123)
11 Paul di Resta Force India 1’13.733 1’13.584 (-0.149)
12 Rubens Barrichello Williams 1’14.117 1’13.801 (-0.316)
13 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1’14.225 1’13.804 (-0.421)
14 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 1’14.500 1’13.919 (-0.581)
15 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’13.859 1’14.053 (+0.194)
16 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1’14.571 1’14.129 (-0.442)
17 Sergio Perez Sauber 1’14.430 1’14.182 (-0.248)
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’14.625
19 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1’15.068
20 Jarno Trulli Lotus 1’15.358
21 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 1’16.631
22 Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1’16.890
23 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 1’17.019
24 Timo Glock Virgin 1’17.060

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.

  • Adrian Sutil made it into Q3 while team mate Paul di Resta missed out. The pair tied 9-9 in qualifiyng over the course of the season, with Sutil beating di Resta 8-2 over the last ten races.
  • Bruno Senna beat Vitaly Petrov into Q3. “I didn?t actually feel I made many mistakes,” said Petrov. “I had quite a quick lap at the end of Q1 but then I lost some grip on my lap in Q2, which left me where it did.”
Team Driver Lap time Gap Lap time Driver Round
Red Bull Sebastian Vettel 1’11.918 -0.181 1’12.099 Mark Webber Q3
McLaren Lewis Hamilton 1’12.480 +0.197 1’12.283 Jenson Button Q3
Ferrari Fernando Alonso 1’12.591 -0.477 1’13.068 Felipe Massa Q3
Mercedes Michael Schumacher 1’13.571 +1.002 1’12.569 Nico Rosberg Q2
Renault Bruno Senna 1’13.300 -0.753 1’14.053 Vitaly Petrov Q2
Williams Rubens Barrichello 1’14.117 -0.508 1’14.625 Pastor Maldonado Q1
Force India Adrian Sutil 1’13.261 -0.323 1’13.584 Paul di Resta Q2
Sauber Kamui Kobayashi 1’14.129 -0.053 1’14.182 Sergio Perez Q2
Toro Rosso Sebastien Buemi 1’13.919 +0.115 1’13.804 Jaime Alguersuari Q2
Lotus Heikki Kovalainen 1’15.068 -0.290 1’15.358 Jarno Trulli Q1
HRT Daniel Ricciardo 1’16.890 +0.259 1’16.631 Vitantonio Liuzzi Q1
Virgin Timo Glock 1’17.060 +0.041 1’17.019 Jerome D’Ambrosio Q1

Sector times

Here are the drivers? best times in each sector.

  • Times were very close in the short final sector – so much so that Vettel was seventh-fastest and Hamilton only 13th-fastest.
Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel 18.239 (1) 36.468 (1) 17.172 (7)
Mark Webber 18.362 (5) 36.609 (2) 17.128 (3)
Jenson Button 18.331 (4) 36.764 (3) 17.188 (8)
Lewis Hamilton 18.270 (2) 36.956 (4) 17.254 (13)
Fernando Alonso 18.317 (3) 36.970 (5) 17.168 (5)
Nico Rosberg 18.366 (6) 37.160 (6) 17.043 (1)
Felipe Massa 18.486 (9) 37.327 (7) 17.218 (9)
Adrian Sutil 18.530 (11) 37.461 (8) 17.169 (6)
Bruno Senna 18.425 (8) 37.573 (9) 17.302 (15)
Michael Schumacher 18.578 (15) 37.811 (11) 17.100 (2)
Paul di Resta 18.580 (16) 37.636 (10) 17.253 (12)
Rubens Barrichello 18.523 (10) 37.949 (15) 17.131 (4)
Jaime Alguersuari 18.572 (14) 37.861 (13) 17.242 (11)
Sebastien Buemi 18.569 (13) 37.821 (12) 17.301 (14)
Vitaly Petrov 18.415 (7) 37.873 (14) 17.365 (17)
Kamui Kobayashi 18.595 (17) 38.096 (16) 17.310 (16)
Sergio Perez 18.547 (12) 38.166 (17) 17.390 (18)
Pastor Maldonado 18.734 (18) 38.620 (19) 17.221 (10)
Heikki Kovalainen 18.813 (19) 38.565 (18) 17.690 (19)
Jarno Trulli 18.891 (20) 38.685 (20) 17.741 (20)
Vitantonio Liuzzi 19.299 (24) 39.402 (21) 17.928 (21)
Daniel Ricciardo 19.172 (21) 39.569 (22) 17.929 (22)
Jerome D’Ambrosio 19.204 (22) 39.794 (24) 17.969 (24)
Timo Glock 19.282 (23) 39.745 (23) 17.937 (23)

Speed trap

Here are the drivers? maximum speeds.

  • The straight line speeds give us the best indication of which drivers are running more wing in anticipation of rain. It looks like two pairs have team mates have gone in different directions.
  • Pastor Maldonado suggested he was and this is borne out by the straight-line speeds plus his team mate’s fourth-quickest time through the final sector.
  • The same goes for the Toro Rosso pair, with Sebastien Buemi running more wing than Jaime Alguersuari, but still quicker than all bar four of the others.
Pos Driver Car Speed (kph/mph) Gap
1 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 316.2 (196.5)
2 Sergio Perez Sauber 314.4 (195.4) -1.8
3 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 314.0 (195.1) -2.2
4 Rubens Barrichello Williams 313.4 (194.7) -2.8
5 Vitaly Petrov Renault 311.1 (193.3) -5.1
6 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso 310.9 (193.2) -5.3
7 Bruno Senna Renault 310.8 (193.1) -5.4
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 310.0 (192.6) -6.2
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 309.5 (192.3) -6.7
10 Pastor Maldonado Williams 308.3 (191.6) -7.9
11 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 307.7 (191.2) -8.5
12 Adrian Sutil Force India 307.4 (191.0) -8.8
13 Jarno Trulli Lotus 307.3 (190.9) -8.9
14 Paul di Resta Force India 307.1 (190.8) -9.1
15 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 306.9 (190.7) -9.3
16 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 306.5 (190.5) -9.7
17 Jenson Button McLaren 306.2 (190.3) -10.0
18 Felipe Massa Ferrari 306.2 (190.3) -10.0
19 Vitantonio Liuzzi HRT 301.7 (187.5) -14.5
20 Daniel Ricciardo HRT 301.5 (187.3) -14.7
21 Mark Webber Red Bull 299.6 (186.2) -16.6
22 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 299.3 (186.0) -16.9
23 Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin 296.9 (184.5) -19.3
24 Timo Glock Virgin 296.7 (184.4) -19.5

2011 Brazilian Grand Prix

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16 comments on Drivers vary set-ups facing threat of rain

  1. bananarama (@bananarama) said on 26th November 2011, 21:02

    A little disappointed to see Schumacher was apparently just slow in quali once again.
    Overall it seems all top teams have opted for a conservative aproach, RB being even slower than usual and Ferrari not being near the top in topspeeds. Not much excitement on that front to expect, but I’m still looking forward to an interesting race in the wet or even better changing conditions (just noticed in that case Button would be a good bet :-P).

  2. Becken Lima (@becken-lima) said on 26th November 2011, 21:13

    The talk of the town is that Lewis tyres pressures were optimized for two flying laps, contrary to Jenson’s for only one.

    That made the difference in the S2 in comparison with Jenson.

    I hope that this could help Lewis with his race pace with a heavy car if the race starts on a dry track.

    Incidentally, Jenson and Vettel seems to disagree a bit about dry and wet set up:

    Q: While the weather forecast tomorrow is for rain, have you chosen the set-up of your car only for qualifying or also thinking about 71 laps for tomorrow?

    SV: To be honest with you, I think a typical rain set-up doesn’t exist any more. The big difference is that you put on different tyres. Car-wise, there isn’t much you can do. Generally if it’s wet, you put on more downforce if anything but car-wise, from the set-up point of view, it’s more or less the same as in the dry.

    JB: I think that the set-up we’ve taken this weekend is a set-up that helps us in the wet, and it’s not been done on purpose, it’s just the way it is for us around here. Yeah, as Seb said, there’s not a big difference. You don’t really have a massive change to the car for wet conditions but there are small things.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 26th November 2011, 22:22

      Well, I get Vettel´s point you doný know exactly how the weather is gonna change. And since you cant change the setup anymore after qualifying I guess you choose something in between…

      Imagine that you setup for wet race and it doesn´t rain like today…

    • F1fanNL (@) said on 27th November 2011, 0:07

      Prior to the Canadian GP Button said the exact same thing as Vettel did now.

  3. tflb1 (@) said on 26th November 2011, 21:44

    A small mistake I think, I think it’s actually 10-9 to Sutil in qualifying. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: based on pure performance, Sutil does not deserve the sack.

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 26th November 2011, 21:50

      I don’t think many people are claiming he does.

      But neither does Paul di Resta deserve the sack, while Nico Hülkenberg probably does deserve a chance to race again. Three into two won’t fit. What would you do, if the decision was yours to make?

      • gwenouille (@gwenouille) said on 26th November 2011, 21:57

        I would … swallow my pride and support Di Montezemolo’s plan to introduce a 3rd car !

      • tflb1 (@) said on 26th November 2011, 22:08

        I’d keep Sutil and Di Resta. Continuity is good and Hulkenberg didn’t really impress me at all last season.

        • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 26th November 2011, 22:24

          Somehow, I think that’s what they’re gonna do. They need Sutil’s money and he’s just performing too well to change.
          Not what I would do, but I think FI Will…

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th November 2011, 14:49

          I’d ditch Sutil. If we here alk about the STR drivers having reached their potential and not growin, that is even more true for Sutil.

          I think he would be a good candidate for either Williams or Renault though. Having experience, bringing some money and being fast enough for solid qualli and points.

          • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 27th November 2011, 21:47

            @BasCB The problem with Sutil is perhaps continuity. The team may benefit from a severe shake-up. That said, they performed well today and I can’t see them improving much next year. I don’t think there is space to improve.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th November 2011, 7:40

            I think FI will have quite a struggle to keep at the level they are next year @andrewtanner, even if their technical team now seems to be stable again, STR are getting better, Sauber got back into a groove, Mercedes is likely to be further ahead and even Williams and Lotus might get up there at times next year.

            But I do think thats not a bad situation to put a fresh lineup in. I agree with you on the Sutil thing there.

  4. davidwhite (@davidwhite) said on 26th November 2011, 23:25

    Couple of observations:
    Rosberg’s time in Q2 would have put him ahead of Alonso in Q3 if he could have replicated it. Impressive lap.
    Top speed difference across the grid is huge (again) – Vettel is giving away 14kph to the likes of Baricello. The top runners all seem to have more wing/lower gear ratio in anticipation of a wet race so no obvious advantage that i can see between them if it rains.

  5. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 27th November 2011, 4:32

    May be Roseberg ran on a dry set up with helped him to achived P2 or may be it was one of those laps that came out of nowhere.

  6. Did Buemi not complain about problems in his car in Q2? What were they?

  7. BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th November 2011, 14:51

    Looks interesing. Nice to have heard Alguersuari say he is looking forward to having a bit of rain anyhow. It does show how he might not be the fastest of the STR drivers, but more the racer.

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