Mercedes flying as Button plays down McLaren gains

2014 Spanish Grand Prix Friday practice analysis

Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014You only need to look back at the practice results from the last Spanish Grand Prix to see how dramatic the change in the competitive order has been since then.

In practice for this race 12 months ago Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari were separated by two-tenths of a second. Today the spread is over a second and a half.

Lewis Hamilton had almost a second in hand over any non-Mercedes car in second practice, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to discover Mercedes were keeping more in reserve than any of their rivals.

Nor does Nico Rosberg seem to have anything for his team mate so far. Missing part of the first practice session due to a problem with his energy recovery system won’t have helped. Meanwhile Hamilton set the fastest times in all three sectors, and said afterwards: “I’ve not had such a good Friday for a very long time.”

Jenson Button was second-quickest in the first practice session but he believes that isn’t representative of their real performance.

“In this afternoon’s warmer temperatures, it was harder for us to get the car working properly,” he said. “When you’re limited on downforce, the car seems to operate properly within a very narrow temperature range.”

“This morning, I think we looked quicker than we actually were. We’re now trying to work on the balance to improve our long-run pace a little more – and I think we can make the car a bit stronger for tomorrow.”

The tyre Pirelli have brought this weekend are highly durable – some drivers have complained they are too conservative. That being so, instead of the four pit stop strategies we saw last year, expect an upper maximum of three on Sunday.

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 19 20 21 22
Daniel Ricciardo 91.27 91.636 91.902 92.369 92.378 91.973 92.235 92.135 91.815 91.826 91.939 91.969 93.736 93.348 101.773 91.75 91.863 91.843 91.879 91.988 92.282 92.143
Lewis Hamilton 91.385 91.743 91.038 91.999 90.584 90.636 90.761 91.216 91.891 91.043 91.187 91.078 90.869 91.334 99.999 91.341 91.064
Nico Rosberg 90.947 96.626 90.704 92.533 92.795 93.917 91.181 91.559 92.406 92.301 92.779 91.68 95.911 91.435 91.444 91.716
Fernando Alonso 92.37 92.64 93.065 93.4 92.519 92.451 92.949 92.86 92.885 92.892 93.721
Kimi Raikkonen 93.193 92.318 91.992 92.17 91.917 92.386 93.131 92.416 92.355 92.692 92.184 92.222 92.727
Romain Grosjean 92.859 92.765 93.109 92.995 93.402 93.103 92.829 100.66
Pastor Maldonado 94.108 93.32 92.868 93.749 93.167 92.999 93.057 93.737 93.176 92.733 93.894 93.344 94.231 94.86 95.834 95.816 93.725 94.286 93.934
Jenson Button 92.835 93.149 92.7 93.351 98.583 93.098 93.118 92.959 93.25 93.071
Kevin Magnussen 92.398 92.853 92.944 93.513 94.741 93.797 94.302 93.932 94.656 93.865 93.693 93.653
Nico Hulkenberg 93.229 92.798 93.065 93.26 92.781 93.225 93.319 92.97 93.062 92.787
Sergio Perez 92.701 92.056 92.103 95.671 92.497 92.251 92.706 93.195 95.93 93.21 92.817 92.995 92.964
Adrian Sutil 94.67 93.887 93.829 93.851 93.259 93.725 93.956 95.293 94.601
Esteban Gutierrez 101.448 89.105 110.458 89.834
Jean-Eric Vergne 93.135 93.35 95.049 93.805 93.462 93.675 93.521 93.099 93.095 93.467 93.491 93.657 93.291
Daniil Kvyat 92.33 92.988 92.998 93.55 93.248 93.189 93.225 93.643 94.291 93.314 93.205 94.339 93.396 93.345
Felipe Massa 93.176 93.54 92.994 93.469 92.81 92.534 92.953 92.819 93.376 93.245 93.797 93.894
Valtteri Bottas 93.644 93.365 92.886 92.81 93.433 93.641 93.458 93.4 93.425 93.436 93.366 93.716 93.94
Jules Bianchi 99.438 93.874 94.015 93.98 93.782 93.772 94.611 94.122 93.745 93.922
Max Chilton 94.89 94.294 94.483 95.074 94.241 94.901 94.552 94.315 94.209 94.508 96.241 94.972
Marcus Ericsson 96.032 95.41 95.038 95.258 95.354 95.349 95.344 96.234 95.774 95.598 96.469 96.062 96.944 97.893 97.489
Kamui Kobayashi 96.32 96.095 96.075 95.295 94.997 95.631 96.023 96.607 96.504 97.675 97.338 96.959 96.668 98.946 96.805 97.716 98.607 97.349 98.795

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 23.391 (1) 32.369 (1) 29.764 (1) 1’25.524 0.000
2 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 23.537 (2) 32.619 (2) 29.817 (2) 1’25.973 0.449 0.000
3 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 23.823 (4) 32.639 (3) 30.047 (3) 1’26.509 0.985 0.000
4 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 23.773 (3) 32.887 (4) 30.377 (5) 1’27.037 1.513 0.084
5 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 23.902 (6) 32.956 (5) 30.438 (6) 1’27.296 1.772 0.000
6 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 24.071 (9) 33.157 (8) 30.373 (4) 1’27.601 2.077 0.187
7 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 24.183 (12) 33.075 (6) 30.509 (7) 1’27.767 2.243 0.044
8 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 23.963 (7) 33.105 (7) 30.751 (11) 1’27.819 2.295 0.047
9 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 24.092 (10) 33.180 (9) 30.552 (8) 1’27.824 2.300 0.000
10 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 23.847 (5) 33.277 (11) 30.925 (15) 1’28.049 2.525 0.000
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 24.018 (8) 33.306 (12) 30.750 (10) 1’28.074 2.550 0.000
12 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 24.104 (11) 33.411 (13) 30.731 (9) 1’28.246 2.722 0.000
13 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 24.192 (13) 33.195 (10) 30.897 (14) 1’28.284 2.760 0.000
14 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 24.288 (15) 33.631 (15) 30.755 (12) 1’28.674 3.150 0.024
15 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 24.431 (16) 33.552 (14) 31.017 (16) 1’29.000 3.476 0.105
16 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 24.256 (14) 33.633 (16) 31.177 (17) 1’29.066 3.542 0.063
17 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 24.507 (18) 33.966 (17) 30.888 (13) 1’29.361 3.837 0.132
18 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 24.502 (17) 34.170 (18) 31.319 (18) 1’29.991 4.467 0.000
19 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 25.079 (21) 34.295 (19) 31.672 (20) 1’31.046 5.522 0.102
20 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 24.966 (20) 34.716 (20) 31.656 (19) 1’31.338 5.814 0.000
21 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 24.907 (19) 34.862 (21) 31.817 (21) 1’31.586 6.062 0.000

Complete practice times

Pos Driver Car FP1 FP2 Total laps
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’27.023 1’25.524 50
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’28.168 1’25.973 45
3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull-Renault 1’27.973 1’26.509 59
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’28.128 1’27.121 56
5 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’28.337 1’27.296 52
6 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1’28.423 1’27.788 64
7 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’27.891 1’27.811 55
8 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1’28.791 1’27.824 44
9 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault 1’28.744 1’27.866 76
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso-Renault 1’28.792 1’28.049 59
11 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’28.828 1’28.074 48
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Renault 1’28.859 1’28.246 54
13 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1’29.688 1’28.284 49
14 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1’28.698 33
15 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1’28.779 1’29.129 52
16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1’29.105 24
17 Felipe Nasr Williams-Mercedes 1’29.272 15
18 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’29.944 1’29.493 47
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1’29.820 1’29.991 48
20 Giedo van der Garde Sauber-Ferrari 1’30.440 22
21 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1’30.748 1’31.148 47
22 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’30.942 4
23 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1’30.997 1’31.338 60
24 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1’31.421 1’31.586 61

Speed trap – second practice

# Driver Car Engine Max speed (kph) Gap
1 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 335.1
2 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault 334.5 0.6
3 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Mercedes 333.6 1.5
4 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso Renault 332.2 2.9
5 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes Mercedes 331.5 3.6
6 11 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 330 5.1
7 19 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 329.9 5.2
8 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams Mercedes 329.6 5.5
9 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Renault 329 6.1
10 22 Jenson Button McLaren Mercedes 327.8 7.3
11 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber Ferrari 326.9 8.2
12 7 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 326.9 8.2
13 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber Ferrari 326.7 8.4
14 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren Mercedes 325.9 9.2
15 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham Renault 325.4 9.7
16 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham Renault 324.5 10.6
17 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari Ferrari 322.4 12.7
18 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia Ferrari 321.6 13.5
19 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus Renault 320.4 14.7
20 4 Max Chilton Marussia Ferrari 318.6 16.5
21 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus Renault 317.7 17.4

2014 Spanish Grand Prix

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15 comments on Mercedes flying as Button plays down McLaren gains

  1. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 9th May 2014, 20:57

    That was a looong run from Ricciardo. Is he going to do a one-stopper on Sunday? He actually has decent straight-line speed, too. I’ve put him third in my predictions.

    • HiPn0tIc (@hipn0tic) said on 9th May 2014, 21:48

      Yes but only until Vettel let him throw…tough luck…

    • Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 9th May 2014, 22:25

      Nah, 22 laps will be enough for a 2-stopper. Meanwhile the 16-17 lap stints of the Mercs will do for a 3-stopper. Of course, with almost no fall off whatsoever, I guess they could just as well extend it a lot more for a 1-stopper and a 2-stopper respectively.

      Still, the Red Bull could make it with one less, which is encouraging considering their massive 1s per lap disadvantage.

  2. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 9th May 2014, 20:57

    Interesting how Mercedes are 1-2 in every sector, so much for Red Bull having more downforce and/or better drivability than Mercedes. RBR are 3 tenths slower than Merc in both the downforce sector (S2) and the mechanical grip sector (S3).

    • timi (@timi) said on 9th May 2014, 21:27

      @kingshark Right on. The two must be closely matched on DF, it can’t just be the engine, else McLaren, Force India et al would be right up there as well. Mercedes have done a stellar job from the engine to aero, it really is astounding

  3. Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 9th May 2014, 21:47

    Insane speed trap figures there. I can’t wait to see how these cars fare at Monza!

    • Dave (@dworsley) said on 10th May 2014, 3:49

      Yep, the speed trap figures almost match Monza’s FP2 from last year, just 5 km/h slower on average. These cars are are actually ahead of 2004 qualifying speed trap figures for most of the races so far this year.

  4. Michael C said on 9th May 2014, 21:56

    You just get the impression that we are seeing one of the greatest driver/car combinations of all time. It may not be as entertaining on Sunday, but you have to credit Mercedes and Lewis for providing us with what Nigel Mansell described as “almost perfection”.

  5. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 9th May 2014, 23:28

    Looking at those speed traps, it seems that Renault have caught up substantially.

  6. philprojectd (@philprojectd) said on 10th May 2014, 5:07

    I find it extremely interesting how Torro Rosso managed to get so high up in the speed trap when no other Renault powered car even comes close, especially their big brother team. They must be running very little wing considering straight line speed has been the weakest link of the Renault PU all season long thus far. Nonetheless their p2 times don’t necessarily reflect a severe lack of downforce when compared to the teams around them so it’s even more intriguing. Torro Rosso is making strides this season, Lotus is still miles away from them in terms of race pace.

  7. BasCB (@bascb) said on 10th May 2014, 7:43

    Guess its time to do the “and who will be in for 3rd and behind that game again. So far it looks like another runaway victory for Hamilton. Lets hope for some upsets for him, maybe a Maldonado or even Rosberg getting on top of himself and not messing up and then really fighting for the victory (would have to be nailing pole to do it most likely)

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