Red Bull streets ahead in Singapore

2013 Singapore Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2013Red Bull were the team to beat at Singapore on Friday: the RB9 was a second quicker around the Marina Bay circuit than any other car – in Sebastian Vettel’s hands at least.

It fits the recent pattern of Red Bull being substantially quicker than their rivals during Friday practice, but not as far ahead on Saturday. Still it’s hard to see even the likes of Mercedes finding the second they need to catch their rivals within the next 24 hours.

Lewis Hamilton topped the times for Mercedes in the first practice session but was less happy with his W04 later in the evening. “The balance of the car felt really good in first practice but it definitely went away from us in second practice,” he said.

The early signs haven’t been encouraging for Ferrari, who hoped to be closer to Red Bull’s pace on F1′s return to a higher downforce track. But Fernando Alonso found himself behind both Mercees and a Lotus while Felipe Massa languished in 15th.

“We decided to go in another direction to try and find a set-up with which I was more comfortable on this track,” explained Massa. “Unfortunately this did not produce the results we were expecting.”

Vettel’s fastest lap in second practice was over four seconds faster than he managed in the same session last year. Mercedes estimate less than half of that – 1.5 seconds – has come from the changes to turn ten, which is now a left-hand turn instead of a chicane.

The rest of the time gain is likely to come from the resurfacing work done at the track. Turns one to three, the exit of turn five, turns eight to nine, part of turn ten, the entry to turn 14 and part of the pit straight have all been repaved.

The teams also discovered a significant gap in performance between Pirelli’s medium compound tyre and the super-soft. The tyre manufacture estimated the super-softs were worth two seconds per lap, but some drivers found even more than that.

“It?s strange how much of a difference there seems to be between the tyres,” said Jenson Button. “I found about three seconds from my [medium] run to my [super-soft] run.”

“On the long runs at the end of second practice, the [super-soft] tyre felt good; but, as soon as we put the [medium] tyre on, there was lower grip and we struggled to get good balance.”

Here’s all the data from practice for the Singapore Grand Prix:

Longest stint comparison

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

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2013drivercolours.csv

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Sebastian Vettel 111.106 113.671 110.952 111.06 111.271 113.001 123.271 111.336 113.632 111.872 112.385 111.604 111.795 112.795
Mark Webber 111.504 110.934 130.298 110.938 111.152 111.452 112.853 117.606 110.907 111.101 111.465 112.887 111.496 111.626
Fernando Alonso 113.092 116.559 112.435 112.558 117.155 112.633 112.924 114.998 113.016 113.766 114.088 113.733 114.039 113.733 114.437
Felipe Massa 116.804 112.473 128.368 113.418 112.836 119.146 112.616 113.404 119.134 113.382 113.572
Jenson Button 113.113 112.717 112.325 115.058 112.759 117.844 112.674
Sergio Perez 111.85 112.565 112.623 112.96 118.277 112.681 112.394 112.785 112.906
Kimi Raikkonen 111.125 111.527 111.515 112.339 112.48 112.593 119.329 114.608 112.454 113.018 113.706
Romain Grosjean 105.411 119.455 105.681 122.278 105.903
Nico Rosberg 116.077 113.427 113.31 112.953 119.128 113.194 113.655 113.843 119.899 113.615
Lewis Hamilton 114.571 114.354 107.166 118.788 106.577 131.011 115.497
Nico Hulkenberg 114.024 114.567 114.479 114.958 115.204 114.1 114.425 114.682 114.575 115.286 115.164
Esteban Gutierrez 112.654 115.113 113.831 113.03 114.117 112.419 113.747 113.577 114.514 114.017 114.429
Paul di Resta 113.199 113.356 114.364 113.013 120.431 118.428 112.728 112.792 112.607
Adrian Sutil 111.502 112.621 112.36 112.931 113.517 114.355 112.926
Pastor Maldonado 115.099 113.803 113.555 113.974 113.758 114.081
Valtteri Bottas 117.381 114.423 115.316 114.125 114.445 115.226 114.872 115.137 115.781
Jean-Eric Vergne 113.674 113.039 113.95 114.938 113.714 114.613 114.022 113.486 112.923 115.397 113.821
Daniel Ricciardo 114.883 113.74 114.286 114.202 114.364 114.32 114.412 116.038 114.267 114.63 115.384 114.79 114.764 115.229
Charles Pic 117.421 118.529 116.913 116.408 116.614 116.973 116.714 119.964 119.441 116.38 120.838 116.126 119.743 115.884 116.761 116.636 116.976
Giedo van der Garde 116.939 116.289 116.946 116.858 117.538 116.648 116.615 116.758 119.639 116.925 117.107 118.167 117.415 117.756 116.971 118.022 117.344
Jules Bianchi 116.032 116.798 115.012 115.221 122.034 115.07 114.881 115.475 115.443
Max Chilton 116.823 116.978 116.817 116.6 117.213 117.236 118.18 120.002 119.386 118.88 117.921 118.6 122.283

Sector times and ultimate lap times

Pos No. Driver Car S1 S2 S3 Ultimate Gap Deficit to best
1 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 28.317 (1) 39.889 (1) 36.043 (1) 1’44.249 0.000
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 28.350 (3) 40.123 (2) 36.380 (3) 1’44.853 0.604 0.000
3 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 28.343 (2) 40.482 (7) 36.420 (4) 1’45.245 0.996 0.123
4 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 28.413 (4) 40.466 (6) 36.379 (2) 1’45.258 1.009 0.000
5 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 28.500 (6) 40.274 (3) 36.527 (5) 1’45.301 1.052 0.110
6 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 28.474 (5) 40.377 (4) 36.840 (10) 1’45.691 1.442 0.000
7 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 28.516 (7) 40.500 (8) 36.738 (7) 1’45.754 1.505 0.000
8 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 28.542 (8) 40.460 (5) 36.755 (8) 1’45.757 1.508 0.021
9 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 28.630 (11) 40.661 (11) 36.711 (6) 1’46.002 1.753 0.000
10 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 28.670 (12) 40.558 (9) 36.797 (9) 1’46.025 1.776 0.000
11 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 28.766 (13) 40.625 (10) 36.943 (12) 1’46.334 2.085 0.072
12 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 28.775 (14) 40.754 (12) 36.900 (11) 1’46.429 2.180 0.000
13 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 28.605 (10) 40.965 (15) 37.036 (14) 1’46.606 2.357 0.000
14 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 28.568 (9) 41.108 (17) 37.078 (15) 1’46.754 2.505 0.116
15 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 28.863 (15) 40.909 (13) 36.996 (13) 1’46.768 2.519 0.040
16 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 28.982 (16) 41.092 (16) 37.213 (17) 1’47.287 3.038 0.000
17 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 29.022 (17) 40.947 (14) 37.465 (18) 1’47.434 3.185 0.000
18 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 29.211 (18) 41.311 (18) 37.163 (16) 1’47.685 3.436 0.076
19 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 29.602 (22) 41.785 (20) 38.047 (19) 1’49.434 5.185 0.000
20 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 29.489 (19) 41.777 (19) 38.230 (22) 1’49.496 5.247 0.235
21 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 29.521 (20) 41.895 (21) 38.110 (20) 1’49.526 5.277 0.000
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 29.531 (21) 41.903 (22) 38.185 (21) 1’49.619 5.370 0.000

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 Total laps
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’47.885 1’44.249 53
2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’47.420 1’44.853 50
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’48.239 1’45.258 57
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’47.055 1’45.368 53
5 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’48.355 1’45.411 30
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’48.362 1’45.691 53
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1’49.608 1’45.754 50
8 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’48.354 1’45.778 50
9 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’50.092 1’46.002 47
10 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’49.267 1’46.025 51
11 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’50.757 1’46.406 50
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’49.348 1’46.429 56
13 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’49.887 1’46.606 51
14 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’50.222 1’46.808 53
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’49.493 1’46.870 49
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’49.355 1’47.287 50
17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’49.510 1’47.434 54
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’49.481 1’47.761 45
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’52.920 1’49.434 58
20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’53.647 1’49.526 57
21 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’52.673 1’49.619 48
22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’52.359 1’49.731 46

Speed trap

# Driver Car Engine Max speed (kph) Gap
1 15 Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes 290.2
2 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 289.8 0.4
3 14 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 289.3 0.9
4 6 Sergio Perez McLaren Mercedes 289.3 0.9
5 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari 289 1.2
6 5 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 288.7 1.5
7 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 288.6 1.6
8 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams Renault 288.4 1.8
9 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 287.9 2.3
10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 287.8 2.4
11 20 Charles Pic Caterham Renault 287.7 2.5
12 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 287.3 2.9
13 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 287.1 3.1
14 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 286.4 3.8
15 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia Cosworth 286 4.2
16 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 285.7 4.5
17 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham Renault 285 5.2
18 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari 284.2 6
19 23 Max Chilton Marussia Cosworth 283.8 6.4
20 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber Ferrari 283.7 6.5
21 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 282.8 7.4
22 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 282.5 7.7

2013 Singapore Grand Prix

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33 comments on Red Bull streets ahead in Singapore

  1. Phil (@gribz) said on 20th September 2013, 21:14

    *yawn* Let’s get this season over with and move on to 2014. Hopefully the significant changes to the cars will bring some more interesting, wheel-to-wheel racing, rather than another run of Schumacher-style “racing”.

    • I hear “wheel-to-wheel-racing” very highly spoken of. Can you think of four seasons in the last twenty which have featured a lot of it?

      • Phil (@gribz) said on 20th September 2013, 22:41

        No, and I guess that is the problem. The only solution is to make all the cars equal, GP2/3 style. But then what is the point of F1, being the premier class of motor racing, the cutting edge of technology?

        I think i’ve got to the point where I don’t really care about all the little tweaks of the car’s balance, the subtle changes to the aerodynamics, the different tyres etc.. I just want to see who is the best driver when everyone’s technology is pretty much equal.

        • @gribz tight rules are suppose to produce wheel-to-wheel competition but…

        • @gribz, I see the equalization of F1 as the problem rather than the solution. There are many areas of development other than aero-dynamics where performance can be improved but they are all banned, the end result is all those little tweaks and subtle changes which result in the team with the best aero-dynamics department dominating.

      • @jonsan, good question, bad answer, no!, unfortunately, re-fueling, aero-dependance and degradable tyres have all worked against the essence of racing which is wheel to wheel racing.

        • fangio85 (@fangio85) said on 20th September 2013, 23:05

          I never believed refueling had anything to do with it. The only reason f1 is so professional is the dependence on wing aero. Look at v8 supercars or nascar, both have refueling in every race, and both have more overtaking, and more wheel to wheel racing in one event than f1 has in a whole season

          • @fangio85, good point, however I think re-fuelling exacerbated the aero problem by using the pits and variable fuel load to gain positions that could not be gained by on-track passing.

          • Baron (@baron) said on 21st September 2013, 0:18

            V8 Supercars? More overtaking? You jest sir!
            In some ways it’s even more processional than F1…and it’s artificial fiddling with the rules that achieved that too..

        • My question was largely rhetorical. In the twenty years I’ve been watching F1 I have not seen very much wheel to wheel racing. From what I know of years prior to that, it was always somewhat of a rarity. Which is why I find complaints about ts current absence (or implied absence compared to “what used to be”) to be puzzling.

          F1 cars spend very little time racing alongside each other. There’s probably a host of reasons why that is so – I think the narrowness of the tracks/wideness of the cars is an important factor, but there are several others. Whatever the reasons though, the paucity of wheel-to–wheel racing seems to be a permanent feature of the sport and not one attributable to “the Vettel Era” or “the Schumacher Era”.

          • fangio85 (@fangio85) said on 21st September 2013, 0:51

            @baron
            I’m not sure what you are watching but that is simply wrong. In the sandown 500 alone I saw more changes of position on track than I remember ever seeing in an f1 race, and that’s only using the latest v8 race, which was on a hard to pass circuit, as an example. Also, how do you define rule changes as ‘artificial’? Lol. It’s got no push to pass or drs, all the overtaking on track is due to actual racing, not pushing buttons. The latest rule changes in v8 were to bring costs down, make cars safer, and lure new manufacturers to the sport. All of which have been achieved. The racing is waaay closer in v8s than f1, to try say it isn’t is ridiculous lol. BTW, I prefer f1, but only because of the engineering and technicality of it, not because of the racing.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 21st September 2013, 5:26

      The ironic thing is that probably we’ll get even more boring and dominant races next year.

  2. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 20th September 2013, 21:43

    With the super soft so much faster, it may actually be the preferred race tyre, provided you can keep a set of new ones for Sunday. Also, despite Red Bull and possibly Mercedes being a lot faster than the rest, it could be tricky for them to get through to Q2 on the mediums – and very embarrassing if one of them doesn’t.

    So far, though, the weekend does not surprise. Red Bull are extremely quick, and Mercedes are quick too but struggling to find the right setup, which they might well find in time for Q3. So I’m going for a surprised Hamilton on pole ;-)

    • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 20th September 2013, 21:45

      If they ran in Q1 and Q2 with the same set of options, that would be best; 1 or 2 laps in Q1 wouldn’t take too much life out of the tyres, which would mean they can get into Q3 on 1 set of tyres.

  3. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 20th September 2013, 21:59

    Again, Red Bull not last in the speed trap. They really changed their philosophy.

    • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 20th September 2013, 22:25

      @mike-dee no, it’s more like they improved their own game double than what other teams have done. Because when you see the first races, Red Bull was not really THAT ahead of Lotus, Mercede or Ferrari. Remember that Lotus won the first and Ferrari the third one. So they were almost equal. Now Red Bull looks “streets ahead” while the fight for the second WCC place is still being fought hard.

    • Yes indeed, looks like Newey is anticipating next years need to reduce drag and putting more effort into streamlineing without reducing downforce.

    • Dave (@dworsley) said on 20th September 2013, 23:36

      You shouldn’t forget that the speed trap is set up at the end of the pit straight and not at the fastest point of the track. The sector one speed trap is better indication of relative top speeds.

  4. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 20th September 2013, 22:30

    I still believe that Mercedes will take pole position. They usually sandbag in practice, and then show their true one-lap form in qualy (as we saw in China, Spain, Hungary, and Belgium).

    However, in the race I don’t really expect anything other than a Vettel win, sadly, unless Merc can pull off another Monaco.

  5. Sean Doyle (@spdoyle17) said on 21st September 2013, 0:22

    Interesting to see Massa be the only one to break into the Mercedes-powered logjam at the top of the speed trap, and so far ahead of Alonso. Could they be toying with a “go-for-broke” setup, or is it just that Alonso is using an old engine to keep wear off the one he wants to use in Yeongam, Suzuka, COTA, or Interlagos? I know it’s just a speed trap, but that’s a significant gap.

  6. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 21st September 2013, 1:55

    As I suspected, Ferrari are in just as much trouble as they were in Hungary. Belgium and Monza just disguised their performance somewhat because they’re less reliant on downforce.

    Ferrari are in big trouble.

  7. LifeW12 (@lifew12) said on 21st September 2013, 2:39

    looks like another Red Dull weekend

  8. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 21st September 2013, 3:17

    Wow. I was very impressed by the Red Bull’s long runs today in FP2. Whereas in the first part of the season it was Mercedes dominating over one lap and Ferrari and Lotus looking really competitive over the long runs on Friday, here Red Bull just looked in a class of their own in both categories.

    I hope somebody can get in front of Vettel tomorrow, but even if a Merc manages it, I suspect during the race one of the Bulls will be able to undercut or muscle past on fresher tyres at a later stage. I don’t hold out much hope for Alonso to take any points off Vettel either, so the only real challenger (if you can call being 53 points back even that) to Vettel in this championship will drop even further back.

  9. Todfod (@todfod) said on 21st September 2013, 8:26

    … and its back to a car being 1 sec a lap quicker than the competition.

    Might as well watch reruns of the 2002 and 2004 seasons.

    • I don’t think they are really 1 sec faster. In my opinion Merc has been sandbagging as usual and will strike in qualy today. Also on race distance Ferrari and Lotus will be much closer.

      If it proves in the race though that Vettel is 1 sec per lap faster, other teams should just focus on next year as this year is decided.

    • Patrick (@paeschli) said on 21st September 2013, 12:36

      2002 and 2004 were boring since race n°1, this year, we only saw a clear dominance of Red Bull since the second half of the season

  10. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 21st September 2013, 10:01

    With the difference between super-soft and medium being so extreme (3 or more seconds), I think we will see mostly 3 stops despite the pit lane differential being quite large. So it would be super-soft, super-soft, super-soft and the last lap on mediums? Last year, it was 2 or 3 stops already with a much smaller difference between compunds (although this might have been due to safety car as well).

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