Drivers expect tyres to create “demanding” race

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Bahrain, 2012Friday practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix showed drivers will have a lot of work on their hands to keep life in their tyres.

Several drivers remarked on the difficulty of managing the tyres over a race stint in the second practice session.

Heikki Kovalainen said: “This morning the track wasn’t as dusty as we’d feared, so the grip levels were ok.

“That meant we could take a proper look at the degradation levels on the prime tyres in FP1 and it was immediately clear that the heat and the nature of this track will mean managing wear rates is going to be crucial on Sunday.

“Rear grip is an area we’ll have to pay particular attention to and we tried a few setup changes to try and manage that, but I think it’ll be the same for everyone.”

Longest stint comparison

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:

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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Sebastian Vettel 100.536 100.417 100.903 102.514 100.811 101.069 105.04 101.12
Mark Webber 100.866 100.724 100.525 100.745 101.332 101.339 101.053 102.521 102.151
Jenson Button 108.298 100.959 101.308 100.898 101.052 101.353 101.897 102.098 102.704 103.495
Lewis Hamilton 101.014 100.318 100.595 100.664 101.118 101.555 106.982
Fernando Alonso 104.271 101.384 101.238 101.595 101.768 103.701 101.853 104.437
Felipe Massa 100.202 101.25 100.488 100.434 100.982 100.943 101.022
Michael Schumacher 101.162 101.343 100.901 101.421 101.423 101.62 102.058 102.015 101.971 102.296 102.909
Nico Rosberg 101.083 101.381 101.41 101.403 113.243 101.347 101.719 102.058 102.359 102.74 102.988 103.522
Kimi Raikkonen 100.438 100.709 99.989 100.322 102.034 100.934 100.722 101.711
Romain Grosjean 100.091 99.821 101.309 100.298 100.365 100.764 100.696 100.836 105.237 101.48 102.113 102.445 103.133
Kamui Kobayashi 100.724 101.417 101.072 101.534 102.141 102.079 102.553 103.125 102.858
Sergio Perez 101.172 100.925 100.677 101.668 101.266 102.216 102.358 102.701 103.429 104.133
Daniel Ricciardo 102.147 101.444 101.491 101.656 101.865 101.789 103.069 102.854 102.432 103.068 103.517 105.921
Jean-Eric Vergne 102.839 102.036 101.915 102.229 102.33 102.78 102.857 102.807 103.111 104.175
Pastor Maldonado 101.982 101.486 101.701 101.37 101.579 101.77 102.062 101.644 101.825 102.069 102.113 102.347 103.894 103.07
Bruno Senna 100.794 101.132 101.136 101.057 100.875 101.082 100.847 101.237 101.384
Heikki Kovalainen 101.781 102.066 107.3 101.613 102.6 104.853 103.093 104.476 106.174 104.902
Vitaly Petrov 101.243 105.813 100.789 103.818 101.377 102.221 102.46 104.014 103.633 104.707
Pedro de la Rosa 102.9 102.777 102.95 103.046 103.492 104.902 104.572 105.011 106.054 108.146 109.01
Narain Karthikeyan 105.226 105.212 105.495 106.289 106.213 107.237 108.705
Timo Glock 100.948 100.988 101.103 101.29 101.465 102.621 102.812 102.7 102.675 102.984 103.335
Charles Pic 103.15 102.803 103.131 104.259 102.803 103.025 104.113 104.286 104.419 104.713

As the chart shows, high tyre temperatures made life difficult for the drivers on race stints. Look at how much more quickly the lap times rise here than they did for the Chinese Grand prix last weekend.

Remember they’re using the same tyre compounds here as in China – medium and soft – the difference is the track configuration and temperature. Lewis Hamilton said: “Looking after the tyres here is going to be a real challenge.

“The track surface is extremely hot, and the amount of energy that goes through the tyres under braking is incredible: the temperatures keep on rising until it feels just like driving on an ice-rink.

“Tyre degradation will be a big issue for everyone around here and the weekend will be all about who can look after the tyres the best.”

Nico Rosberg added: “The most important thing still is to improve our race pace. For the moment, it looks reasonable but we need to analyse where we are on high fuel levels compared to our competitors and draw our conclusions.

“The conditions are really tough out there, so the race will be quite demanding from the tyre perspective.”

Sector times and ultimate lap times – second practice

Car Driver Car Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3 Ultimate lap Gap
1 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 29.610 (2) 40.384 (1) 22.822 (1) 1’32.816
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 29.727 (4) 40.442 (2) 23.093 (2) 1’33.262 0.446
3 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 29.430 (1) 40.796 (5) 23.238 (4) 1’33.464 0.648
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 29.752 (5) 40.523 (3) 23.206 (3) 1’33.481 0.665
5 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 29.617 (3) 40.888 (7) 23.242 (5) 1’33.747 0.931
6 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 29.815 (6) 41.008 (8) 23.392 (7) 1’34.215 1.399
7 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 30.098 (9) 40.877 (6) 23.436 (10) 1’34.411 1.595
8 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 30.260 (12) 40.767 (4) 23.422 (9) 1’34.449 1.633
9 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 29.959 (8) 41.191 (11) 23.465 (12) 1’34.615 1.799
10 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 29.940 (7) 41.112 (10) 23.592 (15) 1’34.644 1.828
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 30.285 (13) 41.105 (9) 23.406 (8) 1’34.796 1.980
12 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 30.199 (11) 41.372 (14) 23.268 (6) 1’34.839 2.023
13 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 30.124 (10) 41.372 (14) 23.445 (11) 1’34.941 2.125
14 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 30.446 (18) 41.255 (12) 23.528 (14) 1’35.229 2.413
15 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 30.439 (17) 41.265 (13) 23.746 (17) 1’35.450 2.634
16 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 30.354 (14) 41.777 (17) 23.498 (13) 1’35.629 2.813
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 30.386 (16) 41.794 (18) 23.717 (16) 1’35.897 3.081
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 30.375 (15) 41.747 (16) 23.791 (18) 1’35.913 3.097
19 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 30.644 (19) 41.803 (19) 24.140 (19) 1’36.587 3.771
20 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 30.879 (20) 42.620 (21) 24.304 (21) 1’37.803 4.987
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 31.006 (21) 42.580 (20) 24.226 (20) 1’37.812 4.996
22 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 31.129 (22) 43.706 (22) 24.503 (22) 1’39.338 6.522

All three of the fastest sector times were set by Mercedes. Rosberg was comfortably the quickest driver in the second session but Hamilton said changing conditions were partly to blame: “Wind direction also played a huge role today.

“On one lap, there?d be a headwind going into turn four, the next lap, it?d be a tailwind, then a crosswind. And that makes a big difference around the circuit. I think my fastest lap was set half an hour after Nico set the fastest time of the session, and the wind was very different.”

Lotus did not look too competitive based on their times in second practice. But that was also the case in China, where they took fourthon the grid.

Technical director James Allison said: “There?s a pattern emerging over the first four races where it seems that the programme we run on a Friday is different from that run by other teams, so you can?t draw too many conclusions merely from looking at our position on the timing monitors.”

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’34.249 1’32.816
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’34.552 1’33.262
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’33.877 1’33.525
4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’33.572 1’33.747
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’34.483 1’33.862
6 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’34.150
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’34.277 1’34.246
8 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’34.344
9 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.929 1’34.411
10 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’35.436 1’34.449
11 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’34.609 1’35.183
12 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’34.847 1’34.615
13 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’35.024 1’34.893
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.591 1’34.895
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’35.719 1’34.941
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’36.195 1’35.229
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’35.268 1’35.459
18 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’35.497
19 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’36.484 1’35.913
20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’36.330 1’35.968
21 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’36.169
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’38.006 1’36.587
23 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’37.467 1’37.803
24 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’38.877 1’37.812
25 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’39.996 1’39.649

Force India ran both tyre compounds in first practice as they anticipated not running in the second session.

Despite missing the better track conditions in second practice, di Resta was the sixth-quickest driver on Friday.

Speed trap

Red Bull’s poor straight-line speed is much in evidence again – Mark Webber was only faster than the two Marussias through the speed trap.

# Driver Car Engine Max speed (kph) Gap
1 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 320.1
2 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 318.1 2
3 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 318.1 2
4 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 317.4 2.7
5 3 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 317.2 2.9
6 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 316.8 3.3
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes Mercedes 316.6 3.5
8 15 Sergio Perez Sauber Ferrari 315.6 4.5
9 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham Renault 315.5 4.6
10 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham Renault 315.4 4.7
11 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 314.4 5.7
12 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 313.5 6.6
13 19 Bruno Senna Williams Renault 311.5 8.6
14 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 311.3 8.8
15 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari 309.3 10.8
16 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 308.2 11.9
17 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 307.3 12.8
18 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT Cosworth 307.2 12.9
19 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT Cosworth 307.2 12.9
20 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 307.2 12.9
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia Cosworth 304.2 15.9
22 25 Charles Pic Marussia Cosworth 300 20.1

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix


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Image ?? Pirelli/LAT

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41 comments on Drivers expect tyres to create “demanding” race

  1. Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 21st April 2012, 5:43

    Massa’s times in his stint seem very competitive. I’m surprised.

  2. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 21st April 2012, 10:12

    I took the longest stint chart and had a look at Button, Hamilton, Rosberg and Schumacher. Of course it is only practice but there is a pattern. The McLaren guys seem able to attack the circuit quicker but suffer more at the end of the stint. To some extent that’s a given, but their drop off rate is quite a bit higher than Mercedes.

    Mercedes seem better prepared to draw a straight line as far as the graph goes so perhaps this is a sign that they shouldn’t expect too many tyre related surprises?

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