Red Bull Racing 2009-12
5th November 2012, 10:04 at 10:04 am #132324
I believe concistency is one of the biggest points to take into consideration when comparing driver performances out of different cars. Based on some number crunching I did, these are a few conclusions one can come to about the Red Bull F1 car’s performances since 2009 and Vettel’s role in it.
1) When Vettel arrived at RBR, he came from a Toro Rosso who had finished the 2008 season fairly stronger than their mother team. Since his arrival in 2009, Red Bull Racing has had one of the best 3 cars in each race. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the only other team that can say the same about their cars.
2) Towards the end of the season, Red Bull had developed into the best car on the grid.
3) 2010 was Red Bull’s most dominant season, in general. That Vettel “only” clinched the title in the last races, due to concentrated and clinical performances and a show of nerves of steel, was partly his fault, and partly (mostly even) due to poor reliablility in his car. He could (should) have dominated that season completely if he had had more luck and made less mistakes.
4) 2011, the Red Bull was less dominating thatn 2010, in sheer speed. It was the pole-win strategy perfected by the team and executed perfectly by their best driver that gave Vettel such a dominant year. But even in 2011, Ferrari had basically the same race pace as Red Bull, in almost all races. And McLaren were only marginally second to the Red Bull. Past Formula One seasons (80s, 90s) have had much huger differences between cars than the last few seasons. This title was only possible because of Vettel’s ability to do what he has shown to to best (even shown once in a Toro Rosso) – to make pole and control the race. Mark Webber wouldn’t have won that title, Hamilton would have, and Alonso probably too, but not as dominant (pure speculation, of course).
4) 2012 has seen the Red Bull rarely dominanting (minus four of the last five races). It is, in fact, their weakest season overall since (and maybe including) 2009. Consitency has made the difference for Vettel, who hung in there, scoring points mostly wherever possible (what Alonso has shown to do even better, maybe); now that his car is top again (although I do get the feeling McLaren was slightly stronger at Yas Marina, making his auditious pass on Button even more impressive), he was in a position to capitalize on that. Clearly the car has something to do with that, but Vettel’s merit is enough to make him a worthy three-time WDC if the manages it. Austin will be good for him, because he does extremely well on new circuits. And Brazil should be fascinating. Great season.
A word to Alonso. He has had an incredible season, and credit is due here. But the Ferrari has performed ok in most races, most of the time with the capacity to match the leader’s pace during the race. Saturday qualies are due to the car, sure, but I’m starting to believe that Alonso is not a particularly good qualifier. How was his record in 2007, when he had the best car on the grid? Can anyone look that up?5th November 2012, 10:25 at 10:25 am #214360
Here’s what I found. Will add my observations later.
Australia: Alonso 2nd, Hamilton 4th
Malaysia: Alonso 2nd, Hamilton 4th
Bahrain: Hamilton 2nd, Alonso 4th
Spain: Alonso 2nd, Hamilton 4th
Monaco: Alonso POLE, Hamilton 2nd
Canada: Hamilton POLE, Alonso 2nd
USA: Hamilton POLE, Alonso 2nd
France: Hamilton 2nd, Alonso 10th
Britain: Hamilton POLE, Alonso 3rd
Germany: Alonso 2nd, Hamilton 10th
Hungary: Alonso POLE (but demoted to 6th), Hamilton 2nd (but promoted to POLE)
Turkey: Hamilton 2nd, Alonso 4th
Italy: Alonso POLE, Hamilton 2nd
Belgium: Alonso 3rd, Hamilton 4th
Japan: Hamilton POLE, Alonso 2nd
China: Hamilton POLE, Alonso 4th
Brazil: Hamilton 2nd, Alonso 4th5th November 2012, 10:43 at 10:43 am #214361
So one can say Alonso is not necessarily an “overqualifier”, putting a car where it doesn’t belong on the grid.5th November 2012, 10:55 at 10:55 am #214362
@journeyer Q2 is a much better guide of qualifying form in 07. They ran race fuel in Q3, and teammates would have different amounts.
Maybe we could add up all the Q2 timegaps between the two and get an aggregate total?5th November 2012, 12:28 at 12:28 pm #214363
Here’s what I found for Q2, and it’s a doozy.
Race Alonso Hamilton DELTA
AUS 85.326 85.577 -0.251
MAL 94.057 94.65 -0.593
BAH 92.214 91.752 0.462
ESP 80.797 80.713 0.084
MON 75.431 75.479 -0.048
CDN 75.522 75.486 0.036
USA 71.926 72.065 -0.139
FRA 75.084 74.795 0.289
GBR 79.152 79.4 -0.248
GER 90.983 91.185 -0.202
HUN 79.661 79.301 0.36
TUR 86.841 86.936 -0.095
ITA 81.356 81.746 -0.39
BEL 105.442 105.132 0.31
JPN 84.806 84.753 0.053
CHN 95.845 95.898 -0.053
BRA 72.637 72.296 0.341
TOTAL 1427.08 1427.164 -0.084
A negative delta means Alonso was faster, a positive delta means Hamilton was faster.
Alonso outqualified Hamilton 9-8 in Q2, but the total delta was less than one tenth of a second, or in terms of percentage, just 0.005% between them.
I’m not convinced that Q2 is any better than Q3 in terms of a barometer. The only goal in Q2 is to get into Q3, so drivers don’t have any incentive to get the maximum out of their cars unless they are under threat. That said, it’s not much different to the Q3 result, where Hamilton edged out Alonso on a 9-8 score.
On balance, I’d say Alonso is a decent qualifier (as good as Schumacher IMO), but not quite on the same level as Hamilton and Vettel, both of whom are one-lap experts in my view.5th November 2012, 12:33 at 12:33 pm #214364
Which adds to my point that Alonso might not have had an as easy time as Vettel last season, if he were driving the Red Bull.
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