Vettel expects more pressure from Mercedes in Korea

2013 Korean Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Korea International Circuit, 2013The prospects of a close race in Korea appear to have improved after Friday practice in which there was little to choose between Red Bull and Mercedes.

Lewis Hamilton was quickest in both sessions. In the second Sebastian Vettel was unable to beat his time despite doing his run on super-soft tyres later in the session, with the benefit of a cleaner and grippier track.

“It will be close with Mercedes,” said Vettel after finishing practice just over a tenth shy of Hamilton. “Of course we?re not sure what others were doing with their fuel loads today, but it seems close ahead of tomorrow?s qualifying.”

The sector times indicate both drivers may be able to find more time from their cars: Vettel lost over a quarter of a second to Mark Webber in the middle of the lap and Hamilton lost over a tenth to Nico Rosberg in the final sector.

Come the race, Vettel also know he will not have the potential advantage of his team mate starting close by, due to Webber’s ten-place penalty. This likely explains the difference between their straight-line speeds: it would make sense for Webber to be using a set-up with less drag for a better straight-line speed to improve his chances of overtaking – as he did in China after qualifying poorly.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea International Circuit, 2013“We need to have a car which can be strong in the first sector so we can get some overtaking done,” said Webber afterwards.

Even so Rosberg, who started from the front row in Singapore, is not underestimating the difficulty of taking the fight to their rivals. “Generally it seems that we had a good day but Red Bull is always very hard to beat,” he said.

“My only concern after the long runs was graining on the front tyres, which is something we need to work on tonight and watch out for.”

Team mate Hamilton, who took pole position at this track in 2011, appears to be revelling in the Mercedes’ handling. He was particularly quick through the middle sector with its succession of switchback corners, not unlike the Hungaroring where he scored his only win of the year so far.

While Mercedes and Red Bull are likely to be the pole position contenders, behind them Ferrari and Lotus need to make good on their performance over a race stint. Raikkonen said his car is strongest on long runs, as we’ve seen at other races this year.

As in Singapore, teams have the medium and super-soft tyres this weekend. But the performance gap between the two tyres is not the two seconds seen at Singapore – it’s a second at most.

And as Fernando Alonso pointed out, the super-soft tyre has other drawbacks: “The difference between the two compounds is not as evident as in Singapore, but the super-soft definitely has a very high degradation and we will have to see how much the track surface improvement will affect its behaviour.”

Here’s all the data from Friday practice for the Korean 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 105.388 105.62 107.202 105.456 105.846 105.83 106.631 105.038 105.586 104.818 105.121 104.403
Mark Webber 104.693 104.865 105.031 105.194 105.353 106.371 105.106 105.1 105.3 104.799 104.952 105.04 104.841 104.822 104.974 104.85 104.739
Fernando Alonso 105.956 106.225 106.446 106.746 106.769 106.81 106.34 106.324 107.194 105.913 106.198 107.676
Felipe Massa 105.201 105.615 105.567 105.613 105.794 105.839 105.455 105.552 106.011 105.589 105.779 105.85 112.274 106.279
Jenson Button 105.734 105.485 114.85 105.564 105.651 105.835 105.314
Sergio Perez 105.229 105.319 105.128 106.45 106.352 105.84 105.022
Kimi Raikkonen 104.234 104.444 104.894 104.64 104.879 105.173 104.268 104.714 105.531 105.536 104.985 104.956
Romain Grosjean 105.179 106.754 105.277 106.385 114.692 104.671 105.63 104.214
Nico Rosberg 106.132 106.042 106.482 107.211 108.508 106.811 106.883 106.316 106.172 110.621
Lewis Hamilton 105.552 105.24 105.625 114.248 104.79 105.045 105.213 113.755 105.775 105.439 109.408 105.393 106.464
Nico Hulkenberg 106.12 105.797 106.604 107.794 110.005 106.919 109.751 106.332 105.831 106.237 108.493 106.322
Esteban Gutierrez 106.514 105.976 106.473 106.962 108.655 107.293 109.43 110.084 106.396
Paul di Resta 106.121 105.892 106.415 106.717 106.488 109.367 105.995
Adrian Sutil 107.95 107.138 107.701 107.519 107.655 107.277 106.206 106.173 108.92 106.773 106.766 106.786
Pastor Maldonado 106.735 109.351 112.599 106.406 107.119 106.142 106.767 106.335 107.048 106.513 106.063
Valtteri Bottas 107.702 108.198 111.206 108.931 107.656 107.534 107.399 107.408 107.39
Jean-Eric Vergne 107.659 108.025 107.695 108.007 107.506 108.885
Daniel Ricciardo 111.063 110.404 111.633 107.448 107.27 108.976
Charles Pic 110.512 110 109.969 110.016 111.674 109.843 110.195 109.446 109.313 108.865 108.399
Giedo van der Garde 109.715 110.34 109.319 108.944 109.516 109.043 109.671 108.672 108.525 108.245 108.411 108.282 108.043 108.398
Jules Bianchi 107.911 108.676 108.545 108.333 108.926 108.75 111.335
Max Chilton 112.654 110.158 108.42 108.148 108.903 107.776 109.053

Sector times and ultimate lap times

Pos No. Driver Car S1 S2 S3 Ultimate Gap Deficit to best
1 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 34.988 (10) 43.169 (1) 20.516 (3) 1’38.673 0.000
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 34.686 (1) 43.668 (6) 20.427 (2) 1’38.781 0.108 0.000
3 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 34.946 (9) 43.452 (3) 20.399 (1) 1’38.797 0.124 0.000
4 2 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 34.791 (3) 43.428 (2) 20.625 (5) 1’38.844 0.171 0.000
5 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 34.906 (6) 43.487 (4) 20.721 (6) 1’39.114 0.441 0.000
6 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 35.177 (14) 43.487 (4) 20.562 (4) 1’39.226 0.553 0.000
7 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 34.995 (11) 43.703 (7) 20.746 (7) 1’39.444 0.771 0.000
8 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 35.001 (12) 43.815 (9) 20.831 (9) 1’39.647 0.974 0.127
9 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 35.188 (15) 43.804 (8) 20.765 (8) 1’39.757 1.084 0.000
10 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 34.933 (8) 44.022 (11) 20.840 (10) 1’39.795 1.122 0.357
11 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 35.082 (13) 43.900 (10) 21.024 (14) 1’40.006 1.333 0.000
12 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 34.900 (5) 44.032 (12) 21.075 (15) 1’40.007 1.334 0.000
13 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 34.891 (4) 44.247 (16) 20.958 (12) 1’40.096 1.423 0.114
14 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 34.916 (7) 44.183 (14) 21.012 (13) 1’40.111 1.438 0.075
15 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 35.222 (16) 44.116 (13) 20.888 (11) 1’40.226 1.553 0.220
16 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 34.772 (2) 44.294 (17) 21.202 (16) 1’40.268 1.595 0.284
17 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 35.313 (18) 44.199 (15) 21.345 (18) 1’40.857 2.184 0.260
18 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 35.276 (17) 44.450 (18) 21.228 (17) 1’40.954 2.281 0.335
19 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 35.551 (19) 45.085 (19) 21.516 (19) 1’42.152 3.479 0.309
20 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 35.632 (21) 45.147 (20) 21.797 (21) 1’42.576 3.903 0.222
21 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 35.557 (20) 45.438 (21) 21.829 (22) 1’42.824 4.151 0.284
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 35.725 (22) 45.468 (22) 21.768 (20) 1’42.961 4.288 0.480

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 Total laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’39.630 1’38.673 51
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’39.667 1’38.781 50
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’40.117 1’38.797 52
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’39.816 1’38.844 54
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’40.880 1’39.114 43
6 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’40.396 1’39.226 53
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’40.374 1’39.444 49
8 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’40.677 1’39.757 48
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1’40.215 1’39.774 51
10 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’41.432 1’40.006 52
11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’40.007 34
12 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’40.860 1’40.152 51
13 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’41.626 1’40.186 54
14 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1’40.899 1’40.210 54
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’41.924 1’40.446 49
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’42.043 1’40.552 44
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’41.482 1’41.117 57
18 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1’42.002 1’41.289 54
19 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’43.883 1’42.461 55
20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1’43.660 1’42.798 55
21 James Calado Force India-Mercedes 1’43.008 21
22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1’43.108 31
23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1’44.100 1’43.441 43
24 Rodolfo Gonzalez Marussia-Cosworth 1’46.810 10

Speed trap

# Driver Car Engine Max speed (kph) Gap
1 19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso Ferrari 320.8
2 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Renault 320.2 0.6
3 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 318.4 2.4
4 5 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 318.3 2.5
5 18 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Ferrari 317.9 2.9
6 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari Ferrari 317.7 3.1
7 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari 317.4 3.4
8 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber Ferrari 317.2 3.6
9 14 Paul di Resta Force India Mercedes 316.9 3.9
10 15 Adrian Sutil Force India Mercedes 316.3 4.5
11 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia Cosworth 315.5 5.3
12 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 314.4 6.4
13 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 314.3 6.5
14 6 Sergio Perez McLaren Mercedes 314.1 6.7
15 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams Renault 313.8 7
16 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams Renault 313.8 7
17 23 Max Chilton Marussia Cosworth 313.7 7.1
18 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 312.5 8.3
19 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 312.1 8.7
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham Renault 311.6 9.2
21 20 Charles Pic Caterham Renault 311.4 9.4
22 7 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus Renault 310.4 10.4

2013 Korean Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Korean Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty

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28 comments on Vettel expects more pressure from Mercedes in Korea

  1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 4th October 2013, 15:14

    I don’t see why Vettel faces any pressure, he has practically won this world championship, all he has to do is bring the car home in the point s for the next couple of races. Mercedes and Ferrari will battle for 2nd.

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 4th October 2013, 15:33

      Mercedes and Ferrari will battle for 2nd.

      I think Mercedes can possibly take it to Vettel in the race. They have a quick car over a long run, so I don’t see why not?

      But I think the most exciting thing right now is the battle for 2nd in the WCC between Mercedes and Ferrari.

      • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 4th October 2013, 15:41

        “I think Mercedes can possibly take it to Vettel in the race. They have a quick car over a long run, so I don’t see why not”

        I mean’t in the WCC.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 4th October 2013, 15:45

        Yeah not that I get ‘excited’ over the WCC race, but certainly Mercedes has done better this year so far than I had expected. I had them as being a strong 4th place team, as I thought Ferrari and Lotus would both be closer to the Red Bulls, those 3 hogging the top 3 points paying positions on average, leaving Mercedes a bit on the outside looking in. I also thought Mac would be robbing more points in the mix by now too. But Ferrari haven’t been as close to RBR as I hoped, and Lotus has surprised me at their failing do be stronger, so Mercedes sits fighting for a strong third, or maybe a weak second in the WCC come the end of the season, as much due to Ferrari and Lotus’s weaknesses, and Mac’s absence, as to their own strengths, which have certainly lacked as often as they have been present.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th October 2013, 16:53

      @full-throttle-f1 I did not say he was ‘under pressure’ in terms of the championship, but so far it looks like Mercedes can put him under pressure in the race.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 4th October 2013, 17:18

        If FA can’t then he at least will be hoping you are right, Keith, and that LH can. FA will be hoping someone, anyone, pressures SV into a costly mistake, if he himself can’t.

  2. kpcart said on 4th October 2013, 15:20

    Shows how wrong Hamilton was a couple PC days ago talking about Redbull being on the gas 20m before any other car and also shows just how great vettel was at Singapore. Mercedes aren’t far behind Redbull, they are very close, they just don’t have the vettel factor.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 4th October 2013, 15:34

      It’s just Friday. LH’s comments from the other day may well still hold true. I’d love it if a Mercedes was able to pressure SV in the closing laps on Sunday, but I’m not holding my breath for it. And ultimately it’s not LH that SV needs to worry about anyway, not that he really needs to worry about anyone.

    • I thinkt that, per the context, that traction was very important in a street track like singapore. RBR’s traction superiority, in low as well as mid-speed, is a well-known fact over the past several seasons. People have talked about ride height schenanigns, bendy wings, etc. Whatever the reasons, traction, they has it.

    • Actually, Renault have spilled the beans – Mercedes just don’t have the right engine mapping:
      http://thejudge13.com/2013/10/04/red-bulls-clever-mechanical-systems-explained/

      Clearly the system works better at Singapore than it does at Mokpo.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 4th October 2013, 20:14

        Very interesting read…thanks for that.

      • macrob said on 4th October 2013, 21:56

        Very interesting article, thank you for sharing!!

      • A bit of speculation in there but I think logically it proceeds well by looking at the rake. The rake that RBR runs is powerful evidence that they have a way of using exhaust that other’s can’t. Everyone would run lots of rake if they could, say, drop a rubber skirt around the diffuser in the back. Newey does this with hot air. Whether they are doing this via “four-cylinder” mode, assymetrial firing patterns, or whatever, is not clear.

  3. Pole time here last year was 1:37.242 and Hamilton went 1’38.673. Which means everybody has a lot more in hand, since if it stays dry the pole time this year will likely by in the 1:36 range.

  4. Albert said on 4th October 2013, 16:00

    Does that mean he’ll be just 1 second faster per lap instead of 2? The pressure! :P

  5. Looking forward to F1 at its best. Two of the best qualifiers ever to be in the sport, in different, but closely matched cars. Let’s hope it pans out to a good Q3.

    Also, it’s fun to see how Hamilton and Rosberg go back and forth in having the edge. They really push each other. Also, good to see that through the season this closness has not resulted in conflict. This is really the only top team with such parity in skills. A shame they are not both fighting for a WDC.

  6. minnis (@minnis) said on 4th October 2013, 16:34

    Hamilton fastest again! Seems Vettel was right about the RBR’s traction control not being as effective here! :P.

  7. danclapp (@danclapp) said on 4th October 2013, 17:44

    Im a brit but Max you need to resign to get beat by 3 tenths when your teammate missed P1 says it all really. How they got rid of Glock easily their best driver in that teams history ill never know? £££££££

    • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 4th October 2013, 20:48

      That’s a no-brainer, Daddy Chilton bought some stock from the team and therefore Maxie got to replace the sponsorless Glock and probably will drive next year. If Bianchi moves to a bigger team in 2015 the other Chilton will probably take his place I guess.

  8. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 4th October 2013, 20:46

    Vettel I think is trying a bit of metal warfare here, having just seen reruns of FP2 and FP1, I really think Red Bull was probably a bit higher on fuel to make the opposition think they actually have a chance.

    • Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 4th October 2013, 20:49

      *mental warfare*

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 4th October 2013, 22:42

        @force-maikel

        I really think Red Bull was probably a bit higher on fuel to make the opposition think they actually have a chance.

        No, Red Bull have a tendency to bluff in practice. They bluffed in Australia and Hungary, both races where they seemed dominant in practice, but performed rather poorly in the race.

        It’s Mercedes who tend to sandbag in practice. Few expected them to get pole position in Bahrain, Spain, Germany, Hungary or Belgium, yet they still pulled it out of the bag.

  9. (referring to this article) I think criticising the other teams is a bit unfair, absolutely. But then, who can blame him after all the stick his team’s been getting of late. I love this comment though – I think that’s brilliant! :D

    Overall a pretty solid day, we had no issues with the car, and there is room for improvement – especially once we turn on the Traction Control

    That was brilliant Vettel – you can dislike him absolutely, but you can’t say he doesn’t have a personality!

    • Michael Brown (@) said on 4th October 2013, 21:49

      He’s a great guy off the track, but some dislike his comments when he’s racing (like in Austin last year).

      • Feuerdrache (@xenomorph91) said on 4th October 2013, 22:08

        It might have sounded like complaining, but after all he said what most F1 supporters are saying about DRS. :P Without DRS, Hamilton wouldn’t have been able to pass him in that race.

        • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 5th October 2013, 1:03

          Vet wasn’t complaining about DRS in Austin. He was yelling about Karthikeyan in the HRT not getting out of the way quickly enough in S1. He believed he lost the position because of that.

          I think Hamilton may have win the race anyway. His pace was slightly better, albeit not by much, and he was more determined.

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