Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2012

Ferrari look quick as wet race prospects decrease

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix Friday practice analysisPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2012Friday practice at Interlagos for the last Grand Prix of the season took place on a scorching hot track.

We all know that is going to change as a cold front is heading to the area. But exactly when it will arrive?

Although some have been quick to regurgitate reports of a “100% chance of rain on Sunday”, these weather systems can be volatile and it’s worth exercising a little patience when watching how they develop.

A close look at the weather front heading towards Sao Paulo now indicates the heavy rain which was expected to hit the track on Sunday may arrive much sooner.

The consequences? It could hit qualifying instead – or it might arrive too late. As for race day, that may now only see occasional light showers rather than the deluge originally forecast.

Either way, the conditions teams experienced in practice today will be quite different those they race and, most likely, qualify in.

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 15 16 17
Sebastian Vettel 79.702 80.003 79.78 80.276 80.672 79.521 80.115 80.306 80.088 80.029 80.109 80.127
Mark Webber 80.106 80.113 79.924 79.978 80.099 80.245 80.295 81.72 80.177 79.642 79.754 79.914 80.068 80.183 80.522
Jenson Button 79.949 79.719 79.763 79.745 79.595 79.58 80.189 79.902 79.766 80.537 80.174 80.2 89.764 79.765
Lewis Hamilton 79.587 81.218 81.658 79.623 79.65 81.122 79.51 79.503 88.846 79.128 82.019 79.37 79.401 82.141 80.234
Fernando Alonso 79.929 79.959 79.553 79.599 79.525 79.948 82.92 79.582 80.635 79.826
Felipe Massa 79.981 79.332 79.193 85.321 79.342 79.033 84.111 79.235 79.841 79.75 83.468 79.461 79.715
Michael Schumacher 79.809 79.583 80.122 80.02 79.813 79.949 79.783 85.866 79.778
Nico Rosberg 81.782 80.226 82.937 79.575 79.538 86.57 82.119 79.728 79.433 79.644 82.663 79.604
Kimi Raikkonen 79.757 79.922 80.29 79.909 80.073 83.928 80.606 85.742 80.164 82.545 82.367 80.473 80.519 81.014 80.762
Romain Grosjean 79.89 80.338 80.024 88.908 79.638 79.661 79.531 79.778
Paul di Resta 79.877 79.767 80.965 79.985 80.106 79.912 80.399 79.876 80.051 80.116 79.958 79.668 82.337 79.949 79.932
Nico Hulkenberg 80 79.672 79.612 79.947 79.715 82.89 79.748 79.194 79.421 84.037 79.434 79.517 80.327 79.705 79.863 79.946 80.378
Kamui Kobayashi 80.22 80.023 80.207 80.051 80.035 87.839 80.137 80.245 80.378 81.941
Sergio Perez 80.114 80.298 80.182 80.753 85.995 80.647 80.376 81.329
Daniel Ricciardo 81.889 81.255 81.013 81.096 82.45 81.563 80.772 80.942 81.04 81.022 81.808 82.211
Jean-Eric Vergne 82.262 81.867 81.339 81.214 81.195 81.176 81.195 81.119 82.891 81.726 82.627 83.727
Pastor Maldonado 80.74 80.4 80.113 80.562 80.599 80.296 80.463 80.307 80.162 80.411 80.915 80.638 80.807
Bruno Senna 80.486 80.886 80.486 80.606 80.523 84.194 80.161 80.235 79.826 79.827 80.098 80.223 80.408 80.65 80.854 80.863
Heikki Kovalainen 80.363 80.953 81.056 81.169 80.439 80.755 80.89 80.665 80.802 82.31 81.706
Vitaly Petrov 81.166 81.215 80.797 80.571 85.408 80.561 80.819 81.486 81.461 84.768 83.357
Pedro de la Rosa 84.743 82.099 78.794 78.639
Narain Karthikeyan 78.315 78.139 82.585 78.437
Timo Glock 81.372 81.514 81.152 81.514 81.516 82.15 81.213 81.407 81.535 81.61 82.938 83.627
Charles Pic 82.872 82.071 81.673 81.976 82.004 82.577 81.909 82.416 85.481 82.127 82.229 82.303 82.294 82.698

In the high heat Ferrari, whose dislike of cool conditions was amply demonstrated in America, looked more competitive. Felipe Massa said: “The tyres are the same, but their performance is completely different to what we saw in Austin last week: definitely degradation is much higher here and so I don?t think we will see a one-stop strategy.”

Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Interlagos, 2012As well as edging Fernando Alonso on one-lap pace Massa’s race pace looked stronger too – though the usual caveat applies that we cannot be certain what their fuel loads or set-ups were.

Nonetheless during the stint Massa was told by race engineer Rob Smedley that he’d set the quickest lap of the high-fuel runners. At the same time Lewis Hamilton was told his effort was among the best.

“We?re certainly looking strong,” said Hamilton, “but this place can be so tough on tyres that it?s hard to make any accurate predictions at this stage.”

“The track and ambient temperatures were so high today that it felt almost as though I was sliding around the track with the tyres melting. Having said that, our long runs are usually tougher on the tyres [than shorter runs], but our long runs still looked quite good today.”

Sebastian Vettel’s stint times were approximate to Alonso’s. Team mate Mark Webber ran a longer stint. His tyres seemed to go off towards the end of it, but this may be less of a concern in cooler temperatures.

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 18.880 (2) 37.971 (1) 17.170 (2) 1’14.021 0.005
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 18.851 (1) 38.118 (2) 17.331 (9) 1’14.300 0.279 0.000
3 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 18.939 (7) 38.211 (4) 17.238 (4) 1’14.388 0.367 0.165
4 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 18.933 (5) 38.207 (3) 17.277 (6) 1’14.417 0.396 0.175
5 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 18.935 (6) 38.221 (5) 17.324 (8) 1’14.480 0.459 0.043
6 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 18.921 (4) 38.333 (6) 17.256 (5) 1’14.510 0.489 0.144
7 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 18.915 (3) 38.482 (8) 17.158 (1) 1’14.555 0.534 0.114
8 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 18.987 (8) 38.637 (12) 17.188 (3) 1’14.812 0.791 0.051
9 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 19.097 (10) 38.352 (7) 17.478 (14) 1’14.927 0.906 0.067
10 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 19.013 (9) 38.612 (11) 17.410 (11) 1’15.035 1.014 0.096
11 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 19.105 (11) 38.720 (13) 17.304 (7) 1’15.129 1.108 0.000
12 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 19.179 (16) 38.506 (9) 17.576 (17) 1’15.261 1.240 0.110
13 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 19.136 (13) 38.610 (10) 17.569 (16) 1’15.315 1.294 0.227
14 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 19.162 (14) 38.722 (14) 17.474 (13) 1’15.358 1.337 0.074
15 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 19.168 (15) 38.850 (15) 17.726 (20) 1’15.744 1.723 0.095
16 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 19.193 (18) 39.142 (18) 17.428 (12) 1’15.763 1.742 0.139
17 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 19.106 (12) 39.081 (16) 17.609 (18) 1’15.796 1.775 0.157
18 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 19.189 (17) 39.456 (19) 17.403 (10) 1’16.048 2.027 0.000
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 19.279 (19) 39.092 (17) 17.693 (19) 1’16.064 2.043 0.062
20 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 19.356 (20) 39.601 (20) 17.535 (15) 1’16.492 2.471 0.163
21 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 19.439 (21) 39.852 (21) 17.786 (21) 1’17.077 3.056 0.000
22 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 19.671 (22) 39.920 (22) 18.084 (23) 1’17.675 3.654 0.000
23 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 19.682 (23) 40.254 (23) 17.924 (22) 1’17.860 3.839 0.000
24 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 19.740 (24) 40.274 (24) 18.113 (24) 1’18.127 4.106 0.000

The Ferrari drivers were exceptionally close on their sectors. Massa reckoned he had more time in hand: “On my first lap with the mediums, I lost a few tenth at the second corner, so, in terms of an outright time, I could have done even better than fourth place.”

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 Total laps
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’14.131 1’14.026 73
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’14.140 1’14.300 75
3 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’14.198 1’14.523 71
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’14.217 1’14.863 66
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’14.392 1’14.592 65
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’14.716 1’14.553 66
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’15.114 1’14.654 72
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’16.315 1’14.669 76
9 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’14.719 1’14.994 70
10 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’14.738 1’15.129 73
11 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’15.015 1’15.953 84
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’15.050 1’15.131 72
13 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.255 1’15.839 74
14 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’15.701 1’15.371 55
15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.396 1’15.542 67
16 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’15.413 23
17 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’15.432 45
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’15.587 1’15.902 74
19 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’16.048 1’16.048 75
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’16.617 1’16.126 69
21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’16.460 32
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’16.506 1’17.675 73
23 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’16.655 42
24 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’17.234 1’18.127 57
25 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’17.678 1’17.244 30
26 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’17.895 1’18.139

Jenson Button, McLaren, Interlagos, 2012The McLaren drivers tried different set-ups with Jenson Button using a slimmer rear wing as he did at Spa-Francorchamps. This may prove ill-suited to wet conditions, and Button felt it had other drawbacks

“We were running a lower downforce set-up package to Lewis this afternoon. It was quite an interesting comparison, but, in the hot weather, lower downforce makes things trickier because the car slides more, which hurts the tyres.

“Still, it was a useful test, because we needed to see how well the smaller rear wing works. Obviously, it operates in a different way so we wanted to be able to understand that.

“Using the smaller rear wing, our long-run pace was surprisingly good. However, our single-lap pace wasn?t as strong ?ǣ probably because we weren?t able to use DRS as fully as we could with the bigger wing.”

Speed trap

# Driver Car Engine Max speed (kph) Gap
1 3 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 321.9
2 15 Sergio Perez Sauber Ferrari 315.9 6
3 17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 315.2 6.7
4 16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 314.5 7.4
5 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes Mercedes 313.4 8.5
6 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT Cosworth 313.1 8.8
7 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 313 8.9
8 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari 312.7 9.2
9 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 312.6 9.3
10 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham Renault 312.1 9.8
11 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT Cosworth 311.8 10.1
12 11 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 311.5 10.4
13 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber Ferrari 311.5 10.4
14 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 311.3 10.6
15 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes 311 10.9
16 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham Renault 311 10.9
17 9 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 309.4 12.5
18 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 309 12.9
19 19 Bruno Senna Williams Renault 308.6 13.3
20 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 308.5 13.4
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia Cosworth 308.3 13.6
22 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 308.1 13.8
23 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 307.6 14.3
24 25 Charles Pic Marussia Cosworth 303.3 18.6

There was a wide spread in straight-line speeds with the Red Bulls towards the bottom as usual. Button, with his low downforce rear wing, was quickest by a clear 6kph.

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix articles

Images ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Red Bull/Getty images, McLaren/Hoch Zwei