Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Lap time watch: F1 hits target to go five seconds quicker

2017 Spanish Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Formula One achieved its target to reduce lap times at the Spanish Grand Prix by at least five seconds compared to 2015.

Lewis Hamilton’s pole position lap of 1’19.149 was five-and-a-half seconds under Nico Rosberg’s pole position time for the 2015 race.

Ahead of the weekend Mercedes raised doubts over whether the goal would be reached. But after qualifying both their cars and the two Ferrari drivers had lapped under the target time of 1’19.681. And Red Bull’s upgrade almost allowed Max Verstappen to do the same – he was just 0.025 seconds off the five-second goal.

Note that some cars lapped even quicker than this in testing. However these times were set on tyre compounds which were not available for the race weekend and are therefore not representative.

The five-second gain was almost mirrored in the race. Hamilton set the fastest lap with a 1’23.593 which was 4.6 seconds quicker than the fastest lap from two years ago.

Compared to last year the new cars were 2.8 seconds quicker around the Circuit de Catalunya. Hamilton also knocked eight-tenths of a second off the former circuit record at the track, set by Rubens Barrichello in 2009:

Formula One’s new regulations for 2017 were expected to produce significantly quicker lap times at the Circuit de Catalunya due to its many medium-to-high speed corners. This is reflected in the gains made by the teams, all of which were at least two seconds quicker than they were last year.

In the three races prior to Spain the team which had posted the largest improvement in lap time compared to last year was Renault. However they were second to Ferrari by that measure last weekend. Its another indication that the Scuderia’s aerodynamic package is a key element in the progress they have made this season:

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9 comments on “Lap time watch: F1 hits target to go five seconds quicker”

  1. Keith the 5s target should be in comparison team by team don’t you think? If everybody was 5s faster than the 2015 Merc target, they would all be with the same pace.

    1. The target was to beat the overall fastest time by 5s regardless of team.

    2. F Truth (@offdutyrockstar)
      15th May 2017, 14:53

      As far as I remember the goal was to beat the pole time from that year.

  2. On one hand this graph shows perfectly what to expect this year. Considering as reference a huge gap to Mercedes last year, only Ferrari made a big step forward. RBR gained only 1/10s (a tenth of a second), Haas 2/10, Renault 4/10.
    So… pretty much the same deficit to Mercedes for 6 out of the 9 other teams: Ferrari significantly faster, STR and Williams even slower.

    On the other hand, considering the (justified) hype around the Mercedes upgrades, the other teams must have been on the right foot at the start of the season. But then Mercedes AMG stepped on the gas (or cash) pedal and…

    At least we have two teams fighting for victories. It would’ve been nice to have someone battling it out with Red Bull Racing. I don’t see them closing the gap to the front-runners, I don’t see someone else taking the fight to them. Maybe an internal “mano-a-mano” battle?

    Here’s to racing!

  3. The race lap times seem to keep getting slower comparing to qualifying times. Engine management perhaps. Some cars on full tanks were going 7 to 8 seconds slower

  4. Ferrari, Renault and Haas are the only 3 teams to have improved their lap time by more than 3 seconds from last year. Hats off to Ferrari for really nailing these regulations down. Even if they do not win the WDC or WCC this year, you know they should have a strong contender for the next few seasons just because there is such a big gap behind them.

  5. Still disappointing to know that the fastest ever lap around the circuit was done in 2008.

    1. That’s because of the change in the circuit layout.

  6. Personally, I don’t care about the lap times.
    I like great race with consistent duels more than a dull but fast paced race.

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