Robert Kubica has been under fire for his poor performances during the season. In Spielberg, he had his worst race so far. How bad was it this time? The stats will tell us the story. Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Note: The solid lines show an average regression based on adjacent lap times. This means that a line that is higher on the chart, means that on average, that driver was slower than his counterpart.
The solid light blue line that represents Kubica’s average lap never goes below Russell’s average line. This does not mean that Kubica was never faster than George, only that he was never really faster than George for a sustained period of time.
During Robert’s first stint, he was not really faster than George, but he was not that far off from his lap times. During his second stint, however, he was much slower than the rookie. The following chart will show you better what I mean.
Delta per lap in common
It is much easier to see how bad Kubica was, especially after he stopper for new tires at lap 19. Sure, during the first 18 laps of the race, he only outpaced Russell on 3 laps (10, 11 and 15), but at least he was within one second of his teammate. After he put on the hard tires, the delta rocketed up.
From lap 21 until the end of the race, Kubica only outpaced Russell on 6 laps, and that is considering that 3 of those were caused by blue flags (laps 61 to 63). On 38 out of the remaining 46 laps that he had in common with Russell, he was outpaced by more than half a second.
The fact that from lap 21 until lap 68, Kubica was on average slower than Russell by 1.32 seconds per lap, shows how incredibly poor his performance was in Austria.
Average race pace & race pace distribution
Note: The black vertical lines show the 25th, 50th and 75th quartiles, while the red line shows the 10th percent quartile.
The average pace distribution chart shows us the difference between both drivers. Fifty percent of the laps done by Kubica had a time of 1:12.121 or more, while only only 18.1% of Russell’s laps were slower than that time.
What about Kubica’s fastest time of the race? Well, it was atrocious as well. Williams is already a very slow car, but his fastest lap, a 1:10.963, was a full second slower than Russell’s fastest lap of the race (1:09.926). In fact, the Britishman did 35 laps that were faster than Kubica’s fastest lap of the race. Absolutely ridiculous.
I believe that George Russell is a talented driver. Since he is part of the worst team in F1, Williams, it is easy to forget about him. He has been, however, dominating Robert Kubica in style.
Having said that, the difference in performance between both drivers in Austria, is not just because Russell did a great job, but also because Kubica had a dreadful race. Russell being able to finish one full lap ahead of Kubica should tell you how great was the difference between both drivers.
At the moment, not even the Verstappen-Gasly partnership is as unbalanced as what we have seen with Russell-Kubica. It is not acceptable for any team to have a disparity so great between drivers. You may see one, two, or even three tenths between the average lap times of teammates during a race, but a difference of 1.3 seconds per lap? That is comparing two drivers that are in different skill categories.
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