Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2012

Shuffled grid expected for Australian Grand Prix

2012 Australian Grand Prix practice analysisPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2012
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2012
Fernando Alonso expects some change to the usual running order in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

Speaking after rain disrupted both of today’s practice sessions the Ferrari driver said: “There?s no point looking at the time sheet from today with a view to making predictions for qualifying.

“Tomorrow I expect to see a very mixed up grid because there are so many teams that have done a good job over the winter”

Two dry sessions might have given us more of an indication what shape the teams are in heading into the first race of the season. But there’s little to be gleaned from Friday’s practice data.

Longest stints in second practice

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2012drivercolours.csv

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Sebastian Vettel 96.975 94.545 94.76 100.204 93.14 92.762 92.582 92.194 93.093 92.238
Mark Webber 96.77 94.613 93.47 99.706 93.196 93.014 92.296 98.319 94.191
Jenson Button 97.522 95.382 94.465 93.971 98.084 93.478 93.039 97.377 93.742
Lewis Hamilton 98.217 96.638 94.969 93.93 93.713 93.52 93.935 93.252 97.736
Fernando Alonso 96.203 90.341 101.103 93.942 91.645
Felipe Massa 91.505 96.233 95.469
Michael Schumacher 95.198 90.643 93.651 89.819 94.001 89.662 89.183
Nico Rosberg 95.103 94.222 96.714 92.394 94.366 95.545 92.184 92.403
Kimi Raikkonen 99.638 95.459 96.795 98.475 94.275
Romain Grosjean 96.19 95.245 94.44 94.873 93.828 93.774 93.466 92.822 93.551
Paul di Resta 92.302 91.639 101.381
Nico Hulkenberg 94.015 94.469 95.791 89.808 100.355 89.971 89.292
Kamui Kobayashi 107.17 115.464 106.098 112.065 105.117 105.22
Sergio Perez 92.06 90.25 95.293 98.905 90.199 91.226
Daniel Ricciardo 105.742 102.248 101.492 100.592 100.827 99.414 99.952 99.706 99.124 98.914
Jean-Eric Vergne 100.443 98.016 97.306 96.161 95.673 95.111 95.065 94.485 97.608 100.834
Pastor Maldonado 98.144 95.905 95.829 94.965 94.108 112.631 94.92 99.014 98.892
Bruno Senna 98.326 97.954 95.429 94.891 96.913 98.661 94.583 95.688 94.312
Heikki Kovalainen 93.347 95.456 96.354 92.182 91.932 96.402 94.389
Vitaly Petrov 99.066 99.423 99.802 99.622 92.767 103.045 98.999 96.897
Pedro de la Rosa
Narain Karthikeyan 108.73 105.645 102.627 102.865
Timo Glock 101.389 110.926 102.833
Charles Pic 106.55 112.445 103.927 115.871

Michael Schumacher was quickest at the end of the second session but was cautious about Mercedes’ potential:

“I would not go so far as to speak about being confident, as the weather conditions were too mixed to gain a clear picture,” he said. “We know what Friday sessions are for and don’t know what fuel loads others were running.

“On the other hand, it is good to see that we were competitive in different circumstances today and that the car provides good handling – I just feel it.”

Looking at the longest stint lap times from the second session (above) Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes had comparable rates of drop-off in their performance. Where Ferrari are in this picture is even harder to tell as their stints were shorter.

Ordinarily teams would use this part of the session to compare the tyre compounds on offer, but their ability to do that was limited by the conditions.

Red Bull put both their drivers on the soft tyre for this late stint. Jenson Button did the same, whereas Lewis Hamilton used the medium.

Schumacher also used the medium for his last stint. Pirelli said the tyre was “particularly well suited to the conditions” and added: “the performance gap between the two compounds has significantly decreased”.

Best sectors and ultimate laps

Here are the drivers best sector times from the second session:

Car Driver Car Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3 Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best
1 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 30.371 23.393 35.233 1’28.997 0.186
2 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 30.302 23.594 35.232 1’29.128 0.131 0.164
3 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 30.433 23.800 35.625 1’29.858 0.861 0.341
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 30.597 23.538 35.874 1’30.009 1.012 0.332
5 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 30.767 23.999 35.697 1’30.463 1.466 0.246
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 31.039 23.827 35.865 1’30.731 1.734 0.735
7 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 30.701 23.837 36.618 1’31.156 2.159 0.776
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 30.877 24.153 36.348 1’31.378 2.381 0.127
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 31.239 24.191 36.656 1’32.086 3.089 0.098
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 31.031 24.424 36.667 1’32.122 3.125 0.072
11 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 31.195 24.409 36.627 1’32.231 3.234 0.065
12 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 31.254 23.980 37.008 1’32.242 3.245 0.525
13 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 31.419 24.282 36.931 1’32.632 3.635 0.000
14 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 31.392 24.579 36.719 1’32.690 3.693 0.132
15 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 31.582 24.433 36.912 1’32.927 3.930 0.112
16 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 31.494 24.614 37.144 1’33.252 4.255 0.000
17 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 31.431 24.787 37.402 1’33.620 4.623 0.488
18 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 31.638 24.761 37.471 1’33.870 4.873 0.442
19 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 31.684 24.898 37.335 1’33.917 4.920 0.358
20 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 31.884 24.888 37.713 1’34.485 5.488 0.000
21 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 31.952 24.968 37.605 1’34.525 5.528 0.079
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 32.136 25.009 37.625 1’34.770 5.773 0.000
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 34.095 26.905 39.967 1’40.967 11.970 1.660
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 53.525 35.542

Despite having had little pre-season running, Marussia look capable of beating the 107% rule in Q1 and making it into the race. Timo Glock was only 3.9% slower than Schumacher in the second session.

Unlike all of the drivers in front of him, Glock set all three of his best sectors on that lap. But even knowing that – and assuming this was a low-fuel run on new, soft tyres, and that the faster cars will pick up more time on a fully-dry track – this is a positive sign the MR01s can qualify on merit.

It’s hard to be similarly optimistic about HRT’s chances, but at least they have done more running so far than they had at this point last year.

Straight-line speeds

Maximum speeds – first practice:

# Driver Car Engine Max speed Gap
1 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 313.9
2 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes Mercedes 312.8 1.1
3 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 312.8 1.1
4 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 312.5 1.4
5 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 312 1.9
6 3 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 311.9 2
7 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 311.2 2.7
8 15 Sergio Perez Sauber Ferrari 310.4 3.5
9 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 309.1 4.8
10 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 308.7 5.2
11 11 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 308.6 5.3
12 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 308.2 5.7
13 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham Renault 307.6 6.3
14 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 306.8 7.1
15 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 305.6 8.3
16 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 304.4 9.5
17 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari 303.1 10.8
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham Renault 302 11.9
19 19 Bruno Senna Williams Renault 301.5 12.4
20 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 301.3 12.6
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia Cosworth 297.1 16.8
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia Cosworth 290 23.9
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT Cosworth 266.2 47.7

Maximum speeds – second practice:

# Driver Car Engine Max speed Gap
1 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 314.5
2 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes Mercedes 311.8 2.7
3 15 Sergio Perez Sauber Ferrari 311.7 2.8
4 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 311.1 3.4
5 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 308.6 5.9
6 11 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 308.3 6.2
7 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 308 6.5
8 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 307.9 6.6
9 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham Renault 307.4 7.1
10 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham Renault 307.3 7.2
11 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 304.2 10.3
12 24 Timo Glock Marussia Cosworth 303.8 10.7
13 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari 303.6 10.9
14 25 Charles Pic Marussia Cosworth 301.6 12.9
15 19 Bruno Senna Williams Renault 300.1 14.4
16 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT Cosworth 299 15.5
17 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 298.6 15.9
18 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 297.7 16.8
19 3 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 297.6 16.9
20 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 297.1 17.4
21 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 297.1 17.4
22 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 296.7 17.8
23 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 296 18.5
24 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT Cosworth 150.3 164.2

Mercedes’ rear wing, which is believed to enhance the power of its DRS to give it superior drag-reduction, has been the focus of much discussion. Schumacher was the second-fastest driver through the speed trap in both sessions.

Last year we grew accustomed to seeing Red Bull towards the bottom of the speed trap times and that was the case here as well. However the rapidly-drying track in the second session appears to have exaggerated the difference.

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2012 Australian Grand Prix


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Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo