2019 Austrian GP: Race pace – Midfield teams

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc dominated the headlines on Sunday, but how did the midfield battle develop this last Sunday? The stats will tell us the story, so let’s take a look at the numbers.

Note: The “image” is actually a vector. You can click on it, and zoom in as much as you want in order to see the lap number for each of the individual data points.

Lando Norris was the fastest driver from a non Ferrari, Mercedes, or Red Bull team. He took a 6th place, which showed once again, how good the McLaren has been in fast circuits. Carlos Sainz was no slouch either, having the 8th fastest race pace of the grid. His mean time of 1:10.135 was over 2 tenths slower than Lando’s, but he was still able to secure valuable points for the emblematic British team. The British GP, the second fastest track of the calendar, is coming up next, and McLaren must be feeling buoyed about their chances in the upcoming race.

Pierre Gasly continues his streak of poor performances. He was lapped by his teammate near the end of the race, and his average lap pace was 1.080 seconds slower than Max’s pace. There is not much to say about Gasly anymore, since his lack of pace has become a constant this season. He was 86 thousands of a second slower per lap than Lando Norris, and only 129 thousands of a seconds faster per lap than Carlos Sainz. After seeing what the Red Bull car can do, the lap times done by Pierre Gasly continue to be unacceptable.

Daniel Ricciardo, Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen, and Checo Perez, are separated in this analysis by 23 thousands of a second, with Nico Hulkenberg coming right behind them. Both Alfa Romeo drivers managed to secure points for the Swiss team, while Renault and Racing Point had to settle for positions 11th to 13th.

Alex Albon did not  have the best race, as his strategy may have not been the best for the young rookie. His first stint consisted of 34 laps with the medium compound, and he was among the slowest during that time, only outpacing both Daniil Kvyat, both Haas drivers, as well as both Williams cars. During his second stint, he was the 5th fastest driver among midfield drivers, but it was not enough to close the gap. His teammate, Daniil Kvyat,  just could not get going during the race. The Russian driver was looking strong in quali before his incident with George Russell, but he did not have the pace on Sunday. He was on average only faster than Kevin Magnussen, who did 3 stops during the race and had a penalty applied even before he launched the car, and than the two Williams cars.

Lance Stroll had a very similar strategy to his teammate this weekend, however, he could not find the rhythm in Austria. He was almost one and a half tenths slower per lap than Checo, and he was never in contention to challenge for points.

Haas continues to struggle with the tires, and the end of their problems still looks far away. After nine races into the season, the American team cannot fix their problems during Sundays, and Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were among the slowest once again. How bad is it? Well, if it were not for Williams, they would be challenging for the last position on race days. Not what is expected from a team that started the season looking to take 4th place in the Constructors Championship.

Williams. Is anyone surprised to see them as the slowest cars out there? I do not think so. What it is surprising, is to see how much slower Robert Kubica was than George Russell. The Pole was over one second slower per lap than the rookie, which is incredible considering that both of them are driving an absolute disaster of a car. Kubica’s fastest time of the race, a 1:10.964, done in lap 55, was slower than 35 laps done by George Russell. What about his slowest lap? A 1:14.519, was slower by 0.775 seconds than Russell’s slowest lap. An absolute disaster for Kubica.

Final remarks

The battle between Ferrari and Red Bull was the highlight of the weekend, and rightfully so, but the midfield battle was as interesting as it has been during the season.

McLaren seems to have taken a big step forward in fast tracks. They will be looking to maximize points in Great Britain, another fast track, albeit with different characteristics. 

Renault Alfa Romeo and Racing Point were separated by very little during the weekend. Silverstone is coming next, and the Renault, Ferrari, and Mercedes powered teams, will be looking to see who is the strongest once again.

Toro Rosso did not have the best race. They did not have the best car for this weekend, and the strategy team let them down this time. It is still interesting to see how good Alex Albon has been so far, challenging a driver who is being touted to replace Pierre Gasly at Red Bull.

Haas continues to be a mess during the weekends. Very strong pace on Saturdays, no pace whatsoever the next day. Both Romain and Kevin are having a hard time driving the car, and with its current conditions, they continue to be unable to extract the pace from it.

Williams was the slowest again. They were the slowest at the beginning of the season, they were the slowest again in Austria, and they will continue to be the slowest until the end. No upgrades are good enough to get them close enough to fight the rest of the midfield cars. Just another season of misery lies ahead of them.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. If you did, please share it with your friends. Let me know what you think about it in the comments below.

2 Comments

  1. LWR

    I *love* the lap numbers in the circles, and I love the fact that you’re doing this as a vector, not a bitmap! Great work, as always!

    Reply
    • admin

      Hello LRW

      Thank you for your kind comment, and thank you especially for your donation. I am glad that you are enjoying the comment. If you would like to see an analysis for a specific driver that you like and that I usually do not write about, like Danny Ric or KMag, just let me know and I will do an article about him.

      Reply

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