Tyres will make race “massively challenging”

2013 Australian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Melbourne, 2013The disrupted build-up to the Australian Grand Prix means teams are heading into today’s race with many unknowns.

The postponement of qualifying today meant Q2 and Q3 were held in unusually cool conditions more like those seen in testing than in races.

And for those drivers in the final ten it meant grappling with graining on a cold track with slick tyres. And the more laps they did, the worse condition they’ll be in for the start of the race.

“It’s going to be massively challenging with the tyres, not really knowing how long the tyres are going last,” said Lewis Hamilton.

“I’ve already had graining, I’ve already done maybe a lap or two more than these guys on the tyres so that means I’m going to struggle to go as long as them in the first stint.”

Hamilton did two flying laps on his super-soft tyres, as did his team mate, the two Ferrari drivers and Paul di Resta. The Red Bull and Lotus drivers only did one flying lap on their tyres, whereas Jenson Button did three.

Those who start outside the top ten will have free choice of tyres, and may fare better on the more durable medium compounds. But there is also the threat of further rain, which could make these calculations irrelevant.

Here’s the data from qualifying.

Qualifying times in full

Driver Car Q1 Q2 (vs Q1) Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’44.657 1’36.745 (-7.912) 1’27.407 (-9.338)
2 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’44.472 1’36.524 (-7.948) 1’27.827 (-8.697)
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’45.456 1’36.625 (-8.831) 1’28.087 (-8.538)
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’44.635 1’36.666 (-7.969) 1’28.490 (-8.176)
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’43.850 1’36.691 (-7.159) 1’28.493 (-8.198)
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’43.380 1’36.194 (-7.186) 1’28.523 (-7.671)
7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1’45.545 1’37.517 (-8.028) 1’28.738 (-8.779)
8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’44.284 1’37.641 (-6.643) 1’29.013 (-8.628)
9 Paul di Resta Force India 1’45.601 1’36.901 (-8.700) 1’29.305 (-7.596)
10 Jenson Button McLaren 1’44.688 1’36.644 (-8.044) 1’30.357 (-6.287)
11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1’45.930 1’38.067 (-7.863)
12 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’47.330 1’38.134 (-9.196)
13 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’44.871 1’38.778 (-6.093)
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1’46.450 1’39.042 (-7.408)
15 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’44.300 1’39.900 (-4.400)
16 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’47.328 1’40.290 (-7.038)
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’47.614
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’47.776
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’48.147
20 Max Chilton Marussia 1’48.909
21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1’49.519
22 Charles Pic Caterham 1’50.626

Charles Pic was outside of the 107% time by 0.01s in Q1 but under the circumstances is likely to receive a dispensation to start the race.

Sector times

Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Sebastian Vettel 28.427 (1) 23.312 (1) 35.299 (1)
Mark Webber 28.634 (2) 23.351 (2) 35.842 (2)
Lewis Hamilton 28.673 (3) 23.372 (4) 36.042 (5)
Felipe Massa 29.117 (7) 23.442 (6) 35.931 (3)
Fernando Alonso 28.984 (5) 23.361 (3) 36.148 (8)
Nico Rosberg 28.827 (4) 23.600 (9) 36.096 (6)
Kimi Raikkonen 29.043 (6) 23.561 (7) 36.134 (7)
Romain Grosjean 29.611 (9) 23.409 (5) 35.993 (4)
Paul di Resta 29.318 (8) 23.584 (8) 36.403 (9)
Jenson Button 29.661 (10) 23.773 (10) 36.923 (10)
Nico Hulkenberg 31.540 (11) 25.355 (12) 40.969 (15)
Adrian Sutil 31.841 (12) 25.251 (11) 40.598 (13)
Jean-Eric Vergne 32.809 (15) 25.402 (13) 40.550 (12)
Daniel Ricciardo 32.524 (14) 25.537 (14) 40.776 (14)
Sergio Perez 33.691 (16) 25.676 (16) 40.463 (11)
Valtteri Bottas 32.419 (13) 25.552 (15) 41.504 (16)
Pastor Maldonado 36.107 (19) 27.148 (18) 44.359 (19)
Esteban Gutierrez 36.051 (18) 26.930 (17) 43.357 (17)
Jules Bianchi 36.424 (20) 27.614 (19) 44.109 (18)
Max Chilton 35.861 (17) 28.198 (21) 44.850 (22)
Giedo van der Garde 36.901 (22) 27.779 (20) 44.398 (20)
Charles Pic 36.675 (21) 28.482 (22) 44.753 (21)

Speed trap

Pos Driver Car Speed (kph/mph) Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 311.1 (193.3)
2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 309.7 (192.4) -1.4
3 Paul di Resta Force India 308.3 (191.6) -2.8
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 308.2 (191.5) -2.9
5 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 307.9 (191.3) -3.2
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 307.6 (191.1) -3.5
7 Romain Grosjean Lotus 307.1 (190.8) -4.0
8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 306.6 (190.5) -4.5
9 Mark Webber Red Bull 304.9 (189.5) -6.2
10 Jenson Button McLaren 299.7 (186.2) -11.4
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams 299.3 (186.0) -11.8
12 Sergio Perez McLaren 293.2 (182.2) -17.9
13 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 290.7 (180.6) -20.4
14 Adrian Sutil Force India 290.5 (180.5) -20.6
15 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 277.9 (172.7) -33.2
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 276.5 (171.8) -34.6
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams 272.8 (169.5) -38.3
18 Max Chilton Marussia 271.9 (169.0) -39.2
19 Charles Pic Caterham 271.2 (168.5) -39.9
20 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 270.7 (168.2) -40.4
21 Jules Bianchi Marussia 266.3 (165.5) -44.8
22 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 261.4 (162.4) -49.7

Over to you

How do you think today’s race will unfold? Can anyone catch Red Bull?

Share your views on the Australian Grand Prix in the comments.

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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20 comments on Tyres will make race “massively challenging”

  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th March 2013, 2:03

    I bet Caterham are regretting a few of the decisions they made over the winter …

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 17th March 2013, 2:11

      Yeah, finally Marussia made it.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th March 2013, 2:56

        Well, it remains to be seen exactly what the gap is – we have to take into consideration the extreme conditions in qualifying, and of course, they’re yet to race. But after over-promising and under-delivering so much for the past three years, locking out the back row of the grid has got to be disheartening.

    • Primalogy said on 17th March 2013, 2:51

      I reckon Pic regrets his move (I mean his money move) from Marussia to Caterham !!!

  2. James (@goodyear92) said on 17th March 2013, 2:05

    I might be wrong here, but the disparate between Hamilton’s top end speed and Rosberg’s (4.5 kph) would seem to suggest that the latter is running with a little bit more wing, maybe. This might perhaps have accounted for the difference between both cars in the wet and subsequent dry conditions. It could also stand Rosberg in better stead for the race, as it should enable him to look after his tyres a bit better. It has me a tad nervous, to be honest, as I’m praying for Ham to make it to the podium, but I would be happy with a good/great result for either of the Mercs.

  3. mantresx (@mantresx) said on 17th March 2013, 2:20

    Actually Sebastian almost did two flying laps, he only backed off when he was sure he got pole, which was just before the pitlane.

  4. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 17th March 2013, 2:25

    Darn you, Red Bull :_(

    I hope it’s a “too early to call it a day” situation…

    • Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 17th March 2013, 3:27

      Last year’s qualifying didn’t mean anything in terms of race pace isnt it? Since DRS was allowed throughout the track. It Now that DRS can be deployed only in the DRS zone, its an accurate description of race pace. I dont like it.

    • Akshay (@hamilfan) said on 17th March 2013, 3:42

      Please let seb do something stupid with the backmarkers and let webber win this one . I can tolerate red bull winning as long as its webber at home . I hope lewis doesn’t go backwards .

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 17th March 2013, 2:28

    So JB did 3 flyers on the SS’s.

    Well, he’ll be screwed for the first stint, unless it rains.

  6. Roger2012 said on 17th March 2013, 2:54

    Hope the tyres don’t end up playing too big a role as I really want to see a proper race.

    • Primalogy said on 17th March 2013, 2:59

      Hope the tyres will differenciate the excellent car/driver combination from the good and thus reward constructors and drivers fairly.

  7. Phil Carr (@atseridluap) said on 17th March 2013, 3:21

    Great comments above as always so to recap: Bad move to Caterham for pic; Caterham struggling; Tyre concerns (however this will enable the top ten to be overtaken & improove the spectacle).
    Other note worthy points:
    1. Mclaren how long can Martin Whitmarsh hold onto his multi million pound job after last years dreadful season – allowing Lewis Hamilton to slip thru his fingers – loosing lowe – producing this donkey of a car.
    2. Where is the long line of TV pundits / ex F1 racers / soap box experts. Not one of them has re-appeared & held up their hands & said it looks like we made a massive mis-judgement over Hammy’s move to Mercedes & we’d like to appologise. Yes, guys we understand ‘you only speak when your being paid’! So there’s no money being paid out for appologies – and your all not man enough to do it any way!
    Getting close now to an exciting race!
    Regards,
    Phil

  8. panache (@panache) said on 17th March 2013, 3:29

    This is just going from bad to worse for Mclaren. Already they’ve made two key operational blunders by making the call to switch to Supersofts in Q2 then keeping Perez on them, and afterwards sending Button out too early for too many laps on his Supersoft tyres.

  9. Bosley (@bosley) said on 17th March 2013, 4:30

    I don’t think people quite understand Pic’s move to caterham. He didn’t move there from marussia, he had no seat for this year had he not taken it, otherwise he would have ended up like every other marussia rookie.

    So it’s not his bad decision he moved to the team, it was his only decision.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 17th March 2013, 5:11

      @bosley

      So it’s not his bad decision he moved to the team, it was his only decision.

      I don’t think Pic regrets moving to Caterham – I suspect Caterham will regret taking him and van der Garde. We’ve only had one qualifying session, but they’ve been in the wars all throughout this weekend. And with Jules Bianchi racing for Marussia, you’d have to say that Marussia are in better shape to place in the World Constructors’ Championship this year.

  10. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 17th March 2013, 4:59

    Whats with the huge differences in speed trap this time around? ROS 4.5 km’s slower than HAM in the same car? Surely ROS isn’t running that much more rear wing than his team mate? With a difference like that, we’d almost see the difference in rear wing depth of the 2 team mates :P

  11. Yappy said on 17th March 2013, 5:13

    Before anyone writes off this season. Remember last year Button won the first race and was not seen again till mid-season. That out of the way. Vettel for WC.

  12. wigster (@wigster) said on 17th March 2013, 5:54

    I hate to say it but, barring rain and unreliability, the only way I can see someone from a team other than Red Bull winning is if Red Bull make a mistake with their tyre strategy and someone else gets it perfect. I just don’t think on dry race pace anyone else is going to be close unfortunately.

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