Rain makes for inconclusive practice day in Monaco

2012 Monaco GP Thursday practice analysis

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monaco, 2012The rain that was forecast for Friday arrived a day early in Monaco, forcing teams to revise their plans for the second practice session.

Had the rain been expected further in advance, its likely some of the teams would have run the super soft tyre in first practice. As it was, Jenson Button and Kamui Kobayashi were the only drivers to set representative lap times on the tyre.

It also limited the amount of race preparation the teams could do in the second session, leaving them with busy programmes when practice resumes on Saturday morning.

Longest stint comparison – first practice

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

As we didn’t see the usual high-fuel runs on slicks in the second practice session, the graph uses the data from the first session instead, when all the teams were using the soft tyre:

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

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Sebastian Vettel 82.781 79.698 78.659 81.816 77.814 77.611 84.305 77.222
Mark Webber 84.53 79.813 78.938 78.522 83.66 80.28 78.106 83.961
Jenson Button 83.855 77.552 84.767 77.19
Lewis Hamilton 78.164 88.666 77.301 85.581 76.747
Fernando Alonso 83.487 82.557 78.388 89.664 77.6 81.892 83.604 84.69 77.126
Felipe Massa 77.5 77.052 85.608 77.531 77.093 82.139 77.29 76.843
Michael Schumacher 79.941 81.301 78.654 93.257 77.812 88.887 83.848 77.413
Nico Rosberg 82.216 80.23 89.357 84.111 86.58 77.75
Kimi Raikkonen
Romain Grosjean 80.063 76.751 81.695 77.192 85.982 76.63
Paul di Resta 80.48 88.38 80.908 84.924 78.582 86.02 81.613 78.302
Nico Hulkenberg 83.505 89.97 79.98 79.309 91.562 79.536 78.907
Kamui Kobayashi 82.8 78.256 81.239 77.489 92.488 77.357 77.038 82.702
Sergio Perez 81.883 79.425 83.677 78.111 89.716 81.841 95.705 77.2 81.051
Daniel Ricciardo 80.458 79.898 79.34 78.834 80.391 79.302 78.388 81.311 81.285 79.58 79.446 78.978 80.696 78.726 78.252
Jean-Eric Vergne 82.211 79.894 78.801 83.602 78.791 79.191 79.015 78.854 78.6 83.39 78.209
Pastor Maldonado 80.722 80.903 77.929 77.228 86.035 76.904 89.117 76.76
Bruno Senna 86.514 83.948 82.371 81.852 86.287 88.83 80.41
Heikki Kovalainen 82.802 81.303 82.691 89.368 80.111 89.727 85.262 79.633 88.718
Vitaly Petrov 84.296 81.565 91.428 80.457 79.341 88.196 79.598
Pedro de la Rosa 98.361 95.526 86.797 84.659 83.963 83.379 88.004 82.718 83.152 82.423
Narain Karthikeyan 94.821 92.75 87.142 82.693 82.828 81.869 81.767
Timo Glock 86.592 90.879 83.829 81.638 85.653 88.181
Charles Pic 90.414 86.16 83.786 88.429 83.515 82.008 81.243 87.265 81.129

“The most important job today was to try and get a decent high-fuel long-run on the super-soft tyre ?ǣ which I don?t think anyone managed,” said Button. “We?ve got to see how the tyre works because its performance will play a considerable role in the race.”

This is going to mean a lot more guesswork when it comes to race strategy. Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Unfortunately the changeable weather conditions meant that the majority of the field were unable to compare the soft and super-soft tyres as much as we had hoped making Saturday?s practice very important for the full fuel load runs.

“There will still be plenty of data for us to analyse tonight, and we would expect the soft tyre to last for around 50 laps and the super-soft to last for 35 laps, with a difference of about a second per lap between the two compounds.”

Sector times and ultimate lap times – first practice

Car Driver Car Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3 Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best
1 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 19.822 35.485 20.896 1’16.203 0.062
2 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 19.849 35.721 20.934 1’16.504 0.301 0.126
3 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 19.932 35.756 20.857 1’16.545 0.342 0.166
4 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 20.062 35.691 20.974 1’16.727 0.524 0.116
5 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 19.931 35.721 21.095 1’16.747 0.544 0.000
6 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 19.957 35.675 21.128 1’16.760 0.557 0.000
7 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 20.006 35.804 21.061 1’16.871 0.668 0.167
8 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 20.122 35.792 21.223 1’17.137 0.934 0.085
9 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 20.106 35.913 21.171 1’17.190 0.987 0.000
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 20.278 35.873 21.110 1’17.261 1.058 0.000
11 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 20.231 35.914 21.124 1’17.269 1.066 0.144
12 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 20.469 35.775 21.295 1’17.539 1.336 0.567
13 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 20.242 36.102 21.287 1’17.631 1.428 0.000
14 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 20.336 36.069 21.618 1’18.023 1.820 0.186
15 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 20.475 36.152 21.529 1’18.156 1.953 0.461
16 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 20.603 36.182 21.431 1’18.216 2.013 0.086
17 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 20.529 36.318 21.405 1’18.252 2.049 0.000
18 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 20.729 36.617 21.693 1’19.039 2.836 0.000
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 20.681 36.664 21.852 1’19.197 2.994 0.144
20 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 21.305 37.278 22.103 1’20.686 4.483 0.152
21 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 21.244 37.306 22.335 1’20.885 4.682 0.010
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 21.313 37.628 22.510 1’21.451 5.248 0.187
23 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 21.909 37.901 22.613 1’22.423 6.220 0.000
24 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 29.463 47.630

Alonso was on good form in the first session and pronounced himself satisfied with the Ferrari’s performance. Here as in Spain the F2012’s upgrades appear to have brought it within range of the front runners.

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2
1 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’17.190 1’15.746
2 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’16.630 1’16.138
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’16.265 1’16.661
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’16.843 1’16.602
5 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.711 1’18.251
6 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’16.747 1’17.375
7 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’16.760 1’16.820
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’17.261 1’17.021
9 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’17.038 1’17.153
10 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’18.106 1’17.148
11 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’17.222 1’17.303
12 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’17.413 1’17.293
13 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’18.302 1’17.395
14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’17.631 1’17.800
15 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’18.617 1’17.655
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’18.209 1’18.522
17 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’18.252 1’18.808
18 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’19.341 1’18.440
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’19.039 1’20.029
20 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’19.267
21 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’21.638 1’19.309
22 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.895 1’20.240
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’22.423 1’20.631
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’20.838 1’20.886

Kimi Raikkonen didn’t set a time in the first session and had little dry running in the second. “The steering wasn?t to my liking so the team changed it for me,” he explained. “It’s something you change for Monaco and there?s no way of knowing what it will be like beforehand.”

However Lotus look competitive once again – team mate Romain Grosjean was second in both sessions.

Technical director James Allison said the Monaco-specific upgrades the team had brought for the E20 are working: “We?re happy with today?s performance as we came here with a certain amount of trepidation about whether our cars would be competitive.”

Speed trap – first practice

# Driver Car Engine Max speed Gap
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 279.9
2 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 279.1 0.8
3 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari 278.3 1.6
4 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham Renault 277.5 2.4
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 277.5 2.4
6 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes Mercedes 277.4 2.5
7 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 277.4 2.5
8 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 277.2 2.7
9 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham Renault 277.2 2.7
10 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 276.9 3
11 11 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 276.8 3.1
12 3 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 276.7 3.2
13 19 Bruno Senna Williams Renault 276.3 3.6
14 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 276.2 3.7
15 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 276 3.9
16 24 Timo Glock Marussia Cosworth 276 3.9
17 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 275.9 4
18 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 275.4 4.5
19 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT Cosworth 274.7 5.2
20 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 274.5 5.4
21 15 Sergio Perez Sauber Ferrari 274.3 5.6
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT Cosworth 274.3 5.6
23 25 Charles Pic Marussia Cosworth 273.8 6.1
24 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 216.9 63

Maximum speed is never a priority in Monaco, the cars are around 30-40kph slower at peak speeds than at normal circuits.

2012 Monaco Grand Prix

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21 comments on Rain makes for inconclusive practice day in Monaco

  1. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 24th May 2012, 19:01

    One thing I’ve noticed this year is the Toro Rosso guys using practice a lot more than most drivers, particularly when the track is wet. At the Melbourne Grand Prix, we walked the track in FP2 and whilst there were several appearances from all the drivers, the only cars that seemed to be continuously on-track (and they stayed there when everyone else was parked in the garage) were the two Toro Rossos. Why is that? Are the drivers trying to get experience? And if so, why are they the only ones doing it? I noticed it again today when JEV and RIC were both pumping in laps on the intermediates.

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 24th May 2012, 22:54

      That’s nothing new. Often times in the past couple years when the track was wet or changing, Alguersuari would be the only driver on track.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 25th May 2012, 0:18

      Remember Olivier Panis ?!

    • Tom Bisset (@pianoshizzle) said on 25th May 2012, 0:24

      Their first win was with Vettel at Monza (the year it was really, really wet). Maybe they feel that their best chance of a race win or a high scoring points position is going to be in a race that is wet so are capitalising on running laps in the wet to collct valuable data in case the rain comes down on race day in Monaco, or at any of the other races this year.

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 25th May 2012, 8:32

      What @us_peter,@hohum and @pjanoshizzle said, and indeed probably the two drivers not having much experience yet. If the team is really only expected to develop them for Red Bull, might as well give them track time. Especially in Monaco too, where getting to know the track is so important.

      • Julian (@julian) said on 25th May 2012, 10:31

        Let’s not forgot that if it’s just the torro rossos on the track all the cameras are looking at them.
        But I’m sure that’s only a small part (if at all) of why they do that.

  2. Bradley Downton (@bradley13) said on 24th May 2012, 19:56

    @keithcollantine – Can I just ask, is there any data from the wet part of the session only? It would be interesting to see the drivers quickest times on the inters, I know I heard Perez was about 1 second quicker than anyone.

  3. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 24th May 2012, 21:32

    Let’s hope for Felipe, it continues to rain.

  4. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 24th May 2012, 22:47

    The speed trap is all over the place. A Lotus not at the top, an RB8 in the top 5 and a couple of quick Ferrari’s.

  5. DVC (@dvc) said on 25th May 2012, 0:57

    @keithcollantine I’ve got a few suggestions on how to make the plot better:

    Just having the lap time dots equally spaced on the x-axis is not optimal, we could have more useful information than that. If session time was along the x-axis, and the data points positioned based on when the lap as completed that would be better. We could then see when each driver was doing their quick and slow times, and compare them to others who completed laps at the same time. In sessions like this one where it rains, the periods of wet/dry could be marked on the top axis.

    Also, I’d like the lap time data points to be connected up by lines only when they are part of the same stint. This way we can see which laps are out laps, which are in laps, and how long each driver is going for on a stint.

    It might be possible to go even further, different symbols could be used for the data points for each different compound tyre.

    With all of these things the plot wouldn’t be any more cluttered than it is now, but it would convey a lot more information. Are any of these things possible Keith?

    • bosyber (@bosyber) said on 25th May 2012, 8:50

      It might indeed make for a very informative plot, @dvc. But it also seems like a much more complicated procedure for generating these plots (and I can only hope for @keithcollantine that creating these is at least partly automated).

      I don’t know if the laptime is coupled to session time, for example (if not, almost impossible to reconstruct accurately I’d think). Even if it is, you’d then get two problems: One, the plot stretches over the whole session, quiet times will give empty bits of space used, with around it dense clusters of laps, making the plot less clear.;And two, comparing two stints done at different times, but on same tyres, ~fuel load is hard, as you’d need a time-shifted view anyway, that would amount to something like the current plot.

      In addition, automatically determining when a stint is a stint, and when it is two stints is very complicated and bound to need tweaking and even manual intervention. Similar with possibly filtering out back-off laps.

      Then, using different symbols for different compounds: that is easy when the info is there, but it will make the plot very cluttered very quickly.

      Already I find the easiest way to digest these is to “select none”, then add drivers in small groups (either grouped by length of stint, average pace of stint, by team etc.) to see how they fit in the rest of the data as otherwise it is a lot of lines coming together. Putting more information in will only increase that.

      Yes, I too have considered creating graphs like this for myself (and then perhaps create a recipe to generate them), but it gets complicated and fiddly very quickly. And as I indicated, the result is not clearly much more useful in the end, thanks to all those things. So until someone can help Keith get such a procedure perfected, I’d say these current plots are very good.

      • DVC (@dvc) said on 26th May 2012, 12:07

        I understand that doing something like this would depend on the level of automation, and the information available. It wouldn’t be any more cluttered though, and would provide a better tool for people analysing the session performance of various drivers. I think the result would be much more useful. I disagree with your opinion that it wouldn’t be much more useful.

        p.s. I’m a scientist who is trained to produce informative and useful plots.

  6. xeroxpt (@) said on 25th May 2012, 2:17

    I think it was pretty conclusive, Lotus is the team to beat, Button is not as fast as he wants to and Alonso is obviously up there and in familiar fashion I dont think theres much more out of that Ferrari, Ferrari just dont “sandbag” also like expected the Mercedes have good pace, if its hot Lotus or Vettel will make pole if its cool Rosberg will be on pole.
    I know about the conditions nonetheless this should be unnacceptable how to make a prototype worse than the dallara chassis, the difference between power outputs on both the HRT and GP2 cars should provide more than .3, the distance between Narain and Cecotto.

  7. Tiaan (@niaato) said on 25th May 2012, 6:57

    Probably a stupid question, but why do the teams have FP1 & 2 on Thursday at Monaco ?

  8. Rahim.RG (@rahim-rg) said on 25th May 2012, 9:38

    Raikkonen for Pole:)

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