Close contest behind the flying Mercedes pair

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

F1F CSDifferent track conditions changed the usual picture during the first two practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

With this year’s race set to take place in the cooler conditions of the early evening, the significant drop in track temperatures between the first and second practice sessions brought with it a huge improvement in lap times.

Last year drivers found just three tenths of a second between the first two sessions. Today Lewis Hamilton, who headed both sessions, was over three seconds quicker in the evening.

Only his team mate Nico Rosberg could get anywhere near Hamilton’s pace as the chequered flag fell on the day’s action. Everyone else was more than a second behind.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014But less than nine tenths of a second covered the next dozen cars on ultimate pace – an encouraging sign that the competition is close behind the flying W05s.

Although this year’s tyres are a more durable construction than those used last season, Pirelli have brought a softer mix this year (soft/medium) than last (medium/hard). “The medium and soft tyres are a good choice for this track,” said Adrian Sutil.

“In general, the grip was good. Because of the lower temperatures, the tyres are not over-heating, but the track is a challenge for the rear tyres. However, it is good that we have cooler temperatures, which should also be a benefit for the race.”

Jenson Button found it “difficult to get temperature into the tyres” in the cooler conditions of second practice, “but on the other hand you didn’t have as much degradation, so there was a trade-off there”.

The long run pace indicated that, as in Sepang, Mercedes may be putting more strain on their tyres than their rivals. But the likelihood is their performance advantage is so great they will be able to afford to take it easy on race day.

Longest stint comparison – second practice

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

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/charts/2014drivercolours.csv

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Sebastian Vettel 101.937 101.699 101.529 101.647 101.595 101.78 101.839 102.487 102.275
Daniel Ricciardo 101.581 100.915 100.816 100.739 100.603 100.582 101.033 101.146 101.01 101.303 101.009 101.613 101.669 102.022 101.871 101.99 102.158
Lewis Hamilton 103.281 100.151 102.655 100.655 100.891 100.038 99.869 100.016 100.102 100.035 107.305 99.883 100.01 106.569 100.699
Nico Rosberg 98.882 98.791 99.111 100.61 103.972 99.713 103.458 100.875 99.857 100.135 100.772 100.693 100.979 101.022
Fernando Alonso 100.494 100.559 100.311 101.04 101.456 101.779 101.487 101.755 102.618 101.652 101.96 101.79 102.07
Kimi Raikkonen 101.454 101.557 101.397 101.862 101.84 101.623 101.584 102.02 102.506 103.2 102.692
Romain Grosjean 101.183 101.906 101.634 101.928 102.388 102.116 102.332
Pastor Maldonado 102.629 102.396 102.234 101.657 101.947 102.544 103.013 103.606 102.343 102.02 102.094 102.666
Jenson Button 101.908 100.894 101.813 102.172 101.801 101.865 101.925 102.085 101.998 101.826 102.299 102.476
Kevin Magnussen 100.507 100.843 101.285 102.856 101.8 102.006 101.985 102 101.982 102.029 102.814 102.538
Nico Hulkenberg 99.53 99.4 100.229 100.401 100.666 100.411 100.54
Sergio Perez 100.033 100.039 99.848 100.042 100.51 101.367 100.938 100.989 101.404 101.321 101.636 101.737 101.784 110.8 102.196
Adrian Sutil 99.438 114.377 99.785
Esteban Gutierrez 100.977 101.274 101.715 102.16 102.3 103.08 102.956 103.387 102.975 103.743 103.841
Jean-Eric Vergne 100.79 100.484 101.088 101.257 101.583 101.679 102.087 102.105 102.641 102.399 102.145 102.166 102.921 102.068 102.385 102.386 104.033 102.338
Daniil Kvyat 101.663 101.683 102.03 102.107 102.219 103.598 102.305 103.255 104.302 103.223 103.851
Felipe Massa 95.442 99.713 98.847 98.739 101.117 100.044 98.862 100.604
Valtteri Bottas 97.512 106.478 97.689
Jules Bianchi 101.649 101.951 102.648
Max Chilton 100.908 111.281 100.438
Marcus Ericsson 104.595 102.002 102.721 102.578 102.902 103.619 103.813 104.122
Kamui Kobayashi 104.005 103.755 103.897 104.105 104.249 105.126 104.338 104.993

Sector times and ultimate lap times – second practice

Pos No. Driver Car S1 S2 S3 Ultimate Gap Deficit to best
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 29.831 (1) 40.933 (1) 23.561 (1) 1’34.325 0.000
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 29.876 (2) 41.138 (2) 23.676 (2) 1’34.690 0.365 0.000
3 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 30.214 (3) 41.296 (5) 23.850 (5) 1’35.360 1.035 0.000
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 30.426 (10) 41.145 (4) 23.862 (7) 1’35.433 1.108 0.000
5 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 30.341 (7) 41.371 (6) 23.730 (4) 1’35.442 1.117 0.000
6 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 30.230 (5) 41.408 (8) 23.890 (8) 1’35.528 1.203 0.000
7 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 30.383 (9) 41.141 (3) 24.082 (13) 1’35.606 1.281 0.000
8 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 30.223 (4) 41.416 (9) 24.001 (12) 1’35.640 1.315 0.000
9 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 30.478 (11) 41.492 (10) 23.692 (3) 1’35.662 1.337 0.000
10 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 30.351 (8) 41.540 (12) 23.911 (9) 1’35.802 1.477 0.000
11 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 30.511 (12) 41.494 (11) 23.859 (6) 1’35.864 1.539 0.056
12 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 30.562 (13) 41.382 (7) 23.937 (10) 1’35.881 1.556 0.091
13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 30.263 (6) 41.642 (14) 24.093 (14) 1’35.998 1.673 0.000
14 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 30.611 (14) 41.611 (13) 23.993 (11) 1’36.215 1.890 0.151
15 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 30.764 (16) 41.790 (15) 24.339 (17) 1’36.893 2.568 0.082
16 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 30.736 (15) 41.986 (16) 24.240 (15) 1’36.962 2.637 0.000
17 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 30.985 (19) 42.024 (17) 24.250 (16) 1’37.259 2.934 0.000
18 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 30.948 (17) 42.285 (18) 24.366 (18) 1’37.599 3.274 0.000
19 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 31.058 (21) 42.338 (19) 24.404 (19) 1’37.800 3.475 0.000
20 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 31.035 (20) 42.606 (20) 24.606 (22) 1’38.247 3.922 0.000
21 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 30.973 (18) 42.820 (21) 24.464 (20) 1’38.257 3.932 0.000
22 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 31.062 (22) 43.118 (22) 24.517 (21) 1’38.697 4.372 0.439

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 Total laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’37.502 1’34.325 42
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’37.733 1’34.690 44
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’37.953 1’35.360 45
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’40.406 1’35.433 47
5 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’39.533 1’35.442 24
6 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’38.636 1’35.528 37
7 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’39.389 1’35.606 46
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’39.056 1’35.640 55
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’38.949 1’35.662 37
10 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’39.102 1’35.802 61
11 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’35.920 9
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’39.862 1’35.972 59
13 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’38.783 1’36.366 45
14 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’40.652 1’36.962 33
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’36.975 35
16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’38.122 1’36.998 28
17 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1’40.793 1’37.259 56
18 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’41.036 1’37.599 47
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’40.889 1’37.800 35
20 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’41.794 1’38.247 30
21 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’38.257 33
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’42.711 1’39.136 51
23 Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1’40.076 14
24 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1’40.913 20
25 Robin Frijns Sauber-Ferrari 1’42.417 35

Speed trap – second practice

# Driver Car Engine Max speed (kph) Gap
1 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 327
2 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 326.8 0.2
3 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 326.1 0.9
4 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault 324.2 2.8
5 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 324.1 2.9
6 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Renault 323.2 3.8
7 22 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 322.8 4.2
8 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 322.3 4.7
9 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 321.9 5.1
10 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes 321.4 5.6
11 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham Renault 320 7
12 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham Renault 319.3 7.7
13 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 319.1 7.9
14 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 318.1 8.9
15 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Renault 317.5 9.5
16 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Renault 316.6 10.4
17 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault 315.2 11.8
18 4 Max Chilton Marussia Ferrari 314.7 12.3
19 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber Ferrari 314.1 12.9
20 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari 310.9 16.1
21 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia Ferrari 310.5 16.5
22 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 308.8 18.2

2014 Bahrain Grand Prix

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26 comments on Close contest behind the flying Mercedes pair

  1. madgerz (@madgerz) said on 4th April 2014, 22:04

    FI looks better than most in the longer stints.
    good for them and if they can translate the same to the race, it could be another strong race for them

  2. ME4ME (@me4me) said on 4th April 2014, 22:15

    Kvyat has impressed me so far this weekend. He is quick.
    As for the teams, on sunday we’ll probably have an amazing race for 3rd, but 1st and 2nd are already decided in my oppinion. A bit of a shame really.

    • Jake (@jleigh) said on 4th April 2014, 22:22

      @me4me you don’t think we could have a race between the Mercs for the win?

      • Mayank (@mjf1fan) said on 4th April 2014, 22:46

        @jleigh
        I doubt Rosberg could challenge Lewis again this weekend. Despite having few lock ups on his flap, Lewis was still 3 tenths up on Rosberg. Lewis is definitely at full ease in the car so Rosberg would have to be his very best to beat him.

      • ME4ME (@me4me) said on 5th April 2014, 12:10

        @jleigh, I didn’t mean to say that Ham will be 1st and Ros 2nd. Just that Mercedes as a team are very likely to take those spots on the podium. Personally i feel it can do either way between Ham and Ros, depanding on track and conditions.

  3. nidzovski said on 4th April 2014, 22:21

    Van Der Garde in Sauber not Caterham mate :). Kvyat is showing great pace once again. I’m amazed by him as I watched him last year as well. He is a fresh blood in F1 and aleady showing way to JEV. If we take aside Mercs than we should have a great race once again. #f1diehardfan #hardtimesneedssuport

  4. Lars (@lars) said on 4th April 2014, 22:28

    The early part of the 2014 season just shows what an outstanding driver Alonso is. I support Magnussen, but can not stop being impressed by Alonso. Hamilton is also outstanding, but he is also in the by far Best car. Alonso is not and he is still good. Really good.

    • Slava (@slava) said on 5th April 2014, 10:39

      Well, I am even more impressed by The Hulk. He is really good. I have a strong feeling that in several years he will be the one thing that force me to watch F1.

  5. gwenouille (@gwenouille) said on 4th April 2014, 22:36

    Magnussen did a great great job in his 3rd sector !

    • Lars (@lars) said on 4th April 2014, 22:46

      Yes. I think he even held back a little in todays Training in the sense that he made few attempts to go fast. It is the first grandprix where he knows the track and I think he will qualify in top 6.

  6. trotter said on 4th April 2014, 22:38

    Supporting Ferrari is getting really tiresome. Supporting Alonso actually, but he won’t be getting anywhere if the Ferrari car isn’t as fast as him.

  7. Lars (@lars) said on 4th April 2014, 22:40

    I really hope McLaren get some more downforce in the fast corners. If they succeed on this they can challenge Mercedes. Anyway the race for 3rd is exiting and we must count in Vettel, Alonso, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Button, Hulkenberg, Massa, Bottas and even Kvyat as an outsider. That is a lot of serious candidates for the podium.

    • Albert said on 4th April 2014, 22:46

      I think you’re reading waaay too much into practice times.

      It’s been a seriously long time since any race had so many canditates for 3th place, and I seriously doubt this one will change that.

      • Lars (@lars) said on 4th April 2014, 22:51

        Fair enough, but I am also trying to take into consideration Australia and Malaysia. Obviously after qualifying the list will shorten if some of there names get a poor start position.

  8. Mayank (@mjf1fan) said on 4th April 2014, 22:43

    All those people who are moaning about how dominating Mercedes are due to their PU should see this long run chart. If we ignore Mercedes for a moment and look at other teams, they all are quite close to each other. Infact RBR has the best long run pace which is closely matched by FI (although I doubt they were having a bit less fuel on board then others). So if it was just about Mercedes PU, then all other mercedes powered teams should have filled the top 8 spots.

    Mercedes definitely is being benefited by having a very good PU but along with that they have a very good chasis.

    • Lars (@lars) said on 4th April 2014, 22:53

      Agree, it is not just the powerunit that make them strong.

    • Breno (@austus) said on 5th April 2014, 2:27

      Sure, but I’d prefer we had a period like 06-08 with no dominant team.

      • Mayank (@mjf1fan) said on 5th April 2014, 4:26

        When the winter testing started this season, I also hoped for 2-3 teams being fairly equal. I wished for a RBR vs FERRARI vs MERC battle but as testing progressed I saw it clearly that Mercs are way ahead of these teams.

        Every team were given around 2.5 years to build and develop these cars and if Mercs are so far ahead of everyone then they rightfully deserve this success.

  9. Mr_Peabody said on 4th April 2014, 22:46

    Great to see that Caterham have a car that is more slippery than the standard high drag low downforce model of the past years. Now they need to add power to increase downforce. And get the power transition problem sorted.

  10. Brian K said on 4th April 2014, 22:55

    Nothing will silence all the negativity surrounding F1 other than a really competitive and entertaining race. There’s no reason we can’t see a great battle for the lead between ROS and HAM and then another for the 3rd podium spot. Or it may be a snooze fest, who knows, but I have hope!

  11. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 5th April 2014, 1:56

    Those speed trap numbers are quite big… Lol.
    Can’t wait to see how big they get at Monza.

    • David not Coulthard (@davidnotcoulthard) said on 5th April 2014, 7:43

      Speaking of Monza, it amazes me when I think about how Vettel is the 2nd most recent driver to win there with a Ferrari Engine (and with a team based in Italy as well)….

  12. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 5th April 2014, 9:41

    Behind Mercedes, it seems like the the Red Bull is the best of the rest however, Force India is truly a force to be reckoned with as Hulk and Checo have put in fairly quick and consistent times. I think with Williams, we head into the unknown as they largely missed the crucial FP2

  13. HiPn0tIc (@hipn0tic) said on 5th April 2014, 11:34

    Mercedes and then the rest untill when? I think the gap will still remain, and i reckon, after the Monaco GP, if RBR will not be at the same level they just as might “let” this season go and start working in the 2015 year….

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