Hamilton’s got time in hand but has his eye on Ferrari

2012 Canadian GP Friday practice analysis

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Montreal, 2012Lewis Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday.

Although he edged Fernando Alonso by just 0.0.054s in the second session, the sector times reveal he has a few more tenths in hand.

Nonetheless he is wise to the threat posed by the ever-improving Ferrari F2012: “If you look at the race pace, Ferrari look very, very quick and their tyre degradation seems to be better. We have to be careful of them.”

Ferrari have brought further upgrades to their car this weekend including a revised exhaust exit arrangement similar to McLaren’s.

Technical director Pat Fry said: “We brought two different exhaust configurations here: one was the one used in the last two races, the other represents our latest interpretation of the concept that was part of the car when it made its debut in Jerez.

“From what we could see today, the latter configuration seems to be positive in terms of performance even if, obviously, we need to analyse the data very carefully to make the right choices for the race.”

Longest stint comparison – second session

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 15 16 17 18 19
Sebastian Vettel 82.343 80.272 79.957 80.378 80.231 79.95 80.101 83.251 79.921 80.265 79.896 79.841 79.905 79.981 79.695 80.305
Mark Webber 80.438 80.107 79.957 79.842 79.747 79.712 79.624 79.62 79.338 79.774 79.421 84.166 79.093 79.176 80.342 79.292
Jenson Button 81.122 80.373 76.209 76.948 79.886 75.812
Lewis Hamilton 84.428 80.611 79.911 79.557 79.648 79.34 79.888 79.625 79.349 79.371 79.267 79.099 79.267 83.299 79.35 82.301 79.058 84.57 78.847
Fernando Alonso 81.214 79.828 76.24 81.375 78.282 81.752 87.072 77.464
Felipe Massa 78.52 84.221 80.534 76.65 88.254 76.341 88.61 80.344 76.342
Michael Schumacher 80.873 80.321 79.899 79.448 80.037
Nico Rosberg 80.482 80.015 80.068 80.214 79.659 79.749 79.58 79.369 79.388 79.407 79.273 79.31 79.371 79.421 80.131 79.554 79.779 80.092 79.64
Kimi Raikkonen 80.489 78.762 77.391 80.387 84.698 81.603 77.215
Romain Grosjean 80.241 80.703 81.096 78.675 76.661
Paul di Resta 81.64 80.7 80.338 79.923 80.402 80.107 79.717
Nico Hulkenberg 83.295 80.816 80.834 80.998 80.862 81.138 81.718 80.795 80.449 80.86 80.782 81.362 81.206 80.656
Kamui Kobayashi 85.484 77.709 86.044 77.341 93.483 81.289 76.371 76.79
Sergio Perez 80.575 80.253 80.553 79.758 80.143 79.642 79.858 79.48 79.465 79.54 79.752 79.199 79.62
Daniel Ricciardo 80.611 79.652 79.996 78.67 82.792 78.155 78.571
Jean-Eric Vergne 81.585 83.264 86.643 80.479 83.579 80.232 79.933 80.508 80.297 79.911 80.392 79.956 80.235 79.92
Pastor Maldonado 80.825 79.819 81.77 79.872 79.598 79.364 79.174 79.421 79.235 79.212 79.044 79.103 79.086 79.063 79.292 79.75 79.859
Bruno Senna 82.326 79.185 78.267 80.632 77.427 84.141 80.523
Heikki Kovalainen 84.503 87.536 82.263 77.072 80.961 76.981 81.063 77.247
Vitaly Petrov 82.226 81.054 80.869 80.25 81.898 81.424 80.745 80.59 79.877
Pedro de la Rosa 87.402 85.047 82.401 81.092 81.006 80.852
Narain Karthikeyan 81.257 83.757 79.86 79.614 83.046 79.378
Timo Glock 83.37 82.228 83.277 81.907 82.399 82.114 82.492 82.342 82.155 82.055
Charles Pic 84.965 84.919 92.004 90.338 83.31

Track temperatures are expected to climb throughout the weekend in Montreal. On Friday, in fairly cool temperatures, drivers were able to run fairly long stints without experiencing a significant drop-off in performance.

Lewis Hamilton’s longest stint in the second session (above) was 19 laps, and his fastest lap in that stint was his last one.

Other drivers including the Red Bull pair and Pastor Maldonado demonstrated the good performance of the tyres over a stint

With Sunday’s race distance set at 70 laps, this raises the possibility of drivers making a single stop for tyres.

Sergio Perez was especially pleased with his car’s performance over a race stint: “My car is very well balanced on a high fuel load, but we need to improve it for qualifying conditions, as we haven?t got that right yet.

“However, I have the feeling we can be quite competitive here, and I am really looking forward to my first qualifying and race on this track.”

The performance gap between the two compounds is quite narrow. Pirelli say the super-soft is 0.4-0.7 seconds faster than the soft.

Those who tried the super-soft tyre in the first session found it particularly difficult to improve their times. It seemed easier for those who ran the super-soft in the second session, when track conditions had improved.

Sector times and ultimate lap times

Car Driver Car Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3 Ultimate lap Gap Deficit to best
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 20.907 (2) 24.067 (1) 30.032 (2) 1’15.006 0.253
2 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 20.820 (1) 24.292 (6) 30.148 (6) 1’15.260 0.254 0.053
3 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 20.938 (3) 24.224 (3) 30.124 (4) 1’15.286 0.280 0.124
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 21.046 (4) 24.271 (4) 30.130 (5) 1’15.447 0.441 0.084
5 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 21.169 (9) 24.345 (10) 29.959 (1) 1’15.473 0.467 0.071
6 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 21.234 (12) 24.146 (2) 30.271 (9) 1’15.651 0.645 0.000
7 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 21.145 (7) 24.317 (8) 30.218 (7) 1’15.680 0.674 0.017
8 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 21.162 (8) 24.304 (7) 30.260 (8) 1’15.726 0.720 0.086
9 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 21.252 (14) 24.455 (12) 30.092 (3) 1’15.799 0.793 0.000
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 21.177 (10) 24.429 (11) 30.272 (10) 1’15.878 0.872 0.000
11 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 21.059 (5) 24.344 (9) 30.478 (14) 1’15.881 0.875 0.017
12 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 21.195 (11) 24.284 (5) 30.428 (12) 1’15.907 0.901 0.000
13 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 21.100 (6) 24.483 (13) 30.404 (11) 1’15.987 0.981 0.000
14 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 21.246 (13) 24.524 (14) 30.437 (13) 1’16.207 1.201 0.153
15 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 21.309 (15) 24.596 (15) 30.557 (17) 1’16.462 1.456 0.100
16 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 21.312 (16) 24.657 (16) 30.709 (19) 1’16.678 1.672 0.344
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 21.561 (19) 24.754 (17) 30.545 (16) 1’16.860 1.854 0.121
18 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 21.485 (17) 24.906 (19) 30.490 (15) 1’16.881 1.875 0.194
19 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 21.524 (18) 24.855 (18) 30.696 (18) 1’17.075 2.069 0.049
20 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 21.628 (20) 25.012 (20) 30.875 (20) 1’17.515 2.509 0.201
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 22.277 (22) 25.345 (21) 31.286 (21) 1’18.908 3.902 0.000
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 22.072 (21) 25.440 (22) 31.482 (23) 1’18.994 3.988 0.090
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 22.365 (24) 25.440 (22) 31.370 (22) 1’19.175 4.169 0.203
24 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 22.295 (23) 25.730 (24) 31.877 (24) 1’19.902 4.896 0.000

Hamilton was on it from the word go in Friday practice, leading the times sheets throughout most of the two sessions.

He believed he could find more time on his super-soft tyres in the second session, and was on course to do so before the red flags came out because of Bruno Senna’s crash. The sector times reveal he’s found another quarter of a second.

The sector times reveal there’s very little to choose between the two Ferrari drivers – just two-hundredths of a second separate the pair of them. Felipe Massa looks much more confident:

“The car seems to be well balanced and it seemed to me to be pretty consistent in terms of performance, even if, obviously, the track is not yet providing much grip, this being the first day of the race weekend. To sum up, this has been the best Friday of 2012: let?s hope that can continue through Saturday and Sunday as well.”

Lotus came into this weekend concerned about their performance on the low-grip track and that seems to have been borne out in practice so far. But Raikkonen expects them to improve as temperatures go up:

“I’m not 100% happy with my set-up and I think we?re missing a trick somewhere. It?s not a major issue, but I know we can go faster. Let?s see how it goes tomorrow, anything can happen and hopefully it?s a little warmer as that usually seems to help.”

Complete Friday practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’15.564 1’15.259
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’15.842 1’15.313
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’16.619 1’15.410
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’15.682 1’15.531
5 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’16.460 1’15.544
6 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.000 1’15.651
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’16.264 1’15.697
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’15.782 1’15.878
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’15.986 1’15.799
10 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’16.347 1’15.812
11 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’15.897 1’15.907
12 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’16.249 1’15.898
13 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’16.859 1’15.987
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’16.890 1’16.360
15 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’17.014 1’16.562
16 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’18.177 1’16.981
17 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’18.762 1’17.022
18 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’17.935 1’17.075
19 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’17.352 1’17.124
20 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’17.580 1’17.716
21 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’18.182 1’18.908
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.004 1’19.084
23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’19.354 1’19.378
24 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’20.087 1’19.902

Red Bull and Mercedes were among those who ran the super-soft tyres in first session, expecting rain to fall in the second. They likely would have gone more quickly in the second session on super-softs, so they are likely more competitive than they appear.

Jenson Button’s gearbox change robbed him of significant practice mileage – he’s covered just 26 laps to Hamilton’s 73 so far.

Speed trap

# Driver Car Engine Max speed (kph) Gap
1 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT Cosworth 324.3
2 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham Renault 322.6 1.7
3 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham Renault 322.5 1.8
4 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 321.7 2.6
5 11 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 321.4 2.9
6 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 320.8 3.5
7 15 Sergio Perez Sauber Ferrari 320.4 3.9
8 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes Mercedes 320.1 4.2
9 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari 320 4.3
10 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 319.9 4.4
11 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 319.5 4.8
12 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 319.4 4.9
13 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 318.9 5.4
14 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 318.6 5.7
15 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 318.5 5.8
16 3 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 318.3 6
17 19 Bruno Senna Williams Renault 317.6 6.7
18 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT Cosworth 317.3 7
19 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 316.9 7.4
20 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 314.7 9.6
21 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 312.3 12
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia Cosworth 312.2 12.1
23 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 312 12.3
24 25 Charles Pic Marussia Cosworth 309.7 14.6

A surprising name appears at the top of the speed trap chart – Pedro de la Rosa in the HRT. The team have a very skinny rear wing for this race and a slipstream may have helped him set the highest straight-line speed.

But HRT look capable of getting on terms with their closest rivals this weekend. De la Rosa said: “We were quicker than the Marussias in the morning and the afternoon but both the car and myself can improve. The rise in temperature expected for tomorrow is good for us we?re struggling to heat up the tyres in the last sector and that will help us.”

2012 Canadian Grand Prix

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26 comments on Hamilton’s got time in hand but has his eye on Ferrari

  1. Stretch (@stretch) said on 9th June 2012, 10:31

    I reckon that Rosberg will be on the podium if the longest stints are anything to go by.

  2. Nick.UK (@) said on 9th June 2012, 10:46

    Lol. Usually, whenever a driver mentions key rivals as ones to watch; what they are actually saying is ‘I am gonna beat them by a huge margin’. The best example of this was when Hamilton tipped Button for pole in Spain… and we can all remember the time Lewis set there!

    However in this instance… I too did think the Ferrari looked strong. It looked like it had terrific turn in! I certainly would be surprised if I heard either driver complaining of understeer this weekend!

  3. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 9th June 2012, 11:16

    It’s the second year in a row in Canada Massa’s said it’s been the best Friday of the year that far, so it will be interesting to see if he and Ferrari can challenge for the front row like last year.

  4. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 9th June 2012, 11:19

    Despite everything – everyone catching up with Mclaren, and Ferrari starting the season with the 7th quickest car and now seeing them at the top of the time sheets at this stage just proved what a couple of great teams they really are.

  5. Akin Aslan (@hamfanatic) said on 9th June 2012, 11:57

    interesting when you compare Mark Webber against Sebastian Vettel, Vettel seems to struggle a bit in the car while Webber is comfortable in te car

    • Nick.UK (@) said on 9th June 2012, 12:25

      Vettel is struggling to fit his ego into the car along with him.

    • George (@george) said on 9th June 2012, 13:38

      To be honest it just underlines that Vettel is the better driver to me. The situation was reversed last year and Webber couldn’t get close to Vettel, this year the car is more to Webber’s liking but the pair are evenly matched, Vettel perhaps being slightly stronger in races.

  6. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 9th June 2012, 12:22

    I’d hardly call a hundreth of a second “time in hand”.

  7. BBT (@bbt) said on 9th June 2012, 12:59

    Looks like Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel to me….. then maybe Alonso but not really any longs runs from Button or Schumacher and I would expect Ferrari to dial their new exhausts more than the setup improvement that the others can make so maybe Alonso will be there fighting for the win.

    Alonso could top 3 in qualifying, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  8. sagar atgamkar (@sagaratgamkar) said on 9th June 2012, 13:12

    good to see the FORCE INDIAs show pace, but this year the others have got well ahead of them. since the time the team was made , they seem to be promising and just that. and its also time STR start putting both cars in points.

  9. timi (@timi) said on 9th June 2012, 13:55

    With a HRT at the top of the speed trap I hope the commentator’s will finally shutup about “ferrari power” “mercedes power” and “renault power”. Peak power for all th engines is within 20hp, it’s just when the power is available. All the engines are very very similar in terms of performance. You go Cosworth!!

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 10th June 2012, 3:24

      @timi, actually you missed the point, it’s ALL about aerodynamic drag, and the more horsepower you have the more drag you can tolerate and the more downforce you have the more drag you will generate. I am sorry that the Cosworth engine is not doing well but realistically they could not be expected to design an engine that was immediately competitive with designs that had a couple of seasons of incremental improvement before development was frozen.

  10. david_paraguay said on 9th June 2012, 13:55

    so mclaren seem to be faster here, but it will neccesary a good strategy and good pit stops to win this, otherwise if they make even little mistakes, they couldn´t just with the race pace, it´s pretty tight and the ferraris looks strong

  11. Coanda (@ming-mong) said on 9th June 2012, 14:06

    I don’t understand why RBR haven’t solved there top speed issue…

    • James_mc (@james_mc) said on 9th June 2012, 14:17

      There is an argument that they don’t need to. Well certainly last season. It was a brilliant piece of thinking at Monza to realise that having a higher top speed doesn’t matter if you can get a better drive onto the straight from the corner preceding it.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 9th June 2012, 14:40

      @ming-mong You spend more time cornering than you at top speed on a straight so it makes sense to put more effort into cornering speed than top speed.

    • Coanda (@ming-mong) said on 9th June 2012, 14:56

      I understand the argument & that more time is spent corning however I am not sure i agree with it, and judging from the other teams speed traps neither do they. Unless you put it on pole & gain the early buffer whilst the pack are scrambling you leave yourself wide open for a tough afternoon. You may spend more time cornering however 99% of overtaking is on the straight which is even more amplified with DRS. It is hard to make a move stick when your some 10 kph down your rival & we saw this last year with Webber in Korea & Dhabi. I think it is a weakness that should have been addressed so that they could try and keep there DF levels for good corner entry & exit speeds whilst maintaining some sort of competitive speed down the straights. It surely has to be a balance.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 10th June 2012, 3:32

        @ming-mong, It surely does have to be a balance and the results suggest they have the best balance.
        It would be great if they could keep the same downforce and go faster but the only way they could do this would be to have a more powerful engine, unfortunately that is another avenue of enjoyment the FIA have closed for us.

  12. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 9th June 2012, 14:42

    Yeah, that speed trap looks a little skewed. Most drivers are in pairs, give or take a position, but De La Rosa is miles ahead of Karthikeyan. Must be one hell of a slipstream he pulled off.

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