2019 Belgian GP: FP2 race simulation pace (Hamilton vs Leclerc)

Hamilton said the long run pace of the Mercedes was “very good” and on further analysis, we would have to agree with him. His Silver Arrow was 0.9s quicker than the Ferrari in race trim, which bodes well for Sunday.

Lawrence Barreto

Senior writer, Formula 1 official website

According to Mr. Barreto’s analyses, Hamilton was 0.9 seconds quicker than the Ferraris in race trim. I do not know how he or his team got that number, so I decided to run a quick analysis myself. Let’s see the stats.

Positions gained from races 1 to 12

As I have said, I could not figure out how they got that number. I tried filtering data and getting results in a variety of ways, but I could not figure out how they got the massive delta of 0.9 seconds per lap.

If we take a look at the first graph, which shows the race simulation from each driver in FP2, we will not get conclusive results. Hamilton clearly started to slow down by the end of his stint, while Leclerc took a lap off during lap 23.

I decided to filter the data to include only laps that could be considered as “representative”. This is still a slightly flawed analysis though. Slower laps that are not included in this chart, actually have an influence on the rest of the data. For example, Leclerc had a slow lap time in lap 23. This could have allowed him to cool the tires, which would then improve his time during the following lap. Still, let’s see what we got.

Hamilton ended up with a stint of 7 representative laps, all of them done with the soft tires. His final average time over this stint was of 1:50.697 per lap.

Charles did a stint of 6 representative laps, done with the medium compound. His final average time over this stint was of 1:50.827 seconds per lap.

The difference between both drivers’ race pace was of only 130 thousands of a second per lap, in favour of Lewis Hamilton. This is not even close to 0.9 seconds per lap as established by Mr. Barreto. It is also important to note that these stints are not exactly 100% comparable one with another. Charles’ stint was done with the slower medium compound, while Lewis did his race stint with the fastest compound available.

Final remarks

I really really do now know where the 0.9 seconds per lap difference was seen between both drivers during the race simulation stints done in FP2.

I am not saying that Hamilton is not faster than Charles, maybe he is, but I would really like to know where that data came from. Still, my numbers show that both drivers are quite fast and even. If you ask me right now, I would say that if Ferrari manages to stay in the lead during the first lap, and avoid silly blunders during the race, they should be able to take the race in a few hours.

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

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