Key points about this graph:
- The graph shows all lap times done by a driver during a single stint.
- The label at the top shows the median time, with the background representing the tire used during that stint.
- No laps were removed from the analysis, however some laps are not shown in the graph for aesthetic purposes.
- The horizontal line represents the median.
- The box represent the interquartile range, from 25% to 75%.
FP2 race simulation by median
Important note: Some teams did more than one long stint. For this analysis, I took their longest stint and made the chart. In some cases, the first or second stint was faster than the one shown here, but my reasoning behind taking the longest stint was that it was more representative of actual race pace. Just a little reminder that without all the information that the teams have, the analysis is not perfect and is meant to be informative and not necessarily predictive. Having said that, let’s start with the analysis.
Daniil Kvyat from Toro Rosso only managed to do 20 laps during FP2 and was one of the drivers with the least amount of track time. However, his longest stint of 12 laps with the hard compound yielded a median time of 1:39.189. While it is true that most likely they were running with less fuel or a slightly higher engine mode than other teams, his times must be encouraging for the Russian. If we also take into consideration that Alex Albon had a good FP2 session as well, managing a median of 1:40.140 and showing some very consistent laps with the soft compound, we must believe that Toro Rosso are feeling confident right now.
Renault once again showed good race pace as well, with both Ricciardo and Hulkenberg showing that they will be looking to finish in the top 8. They were very consistent with both the soft and medium compound, and most likely the determining factor for them will be their reliability.
Shanghai seems to be a good place for Racing Point to start getting back on track. The team based in Silverstone has always been good in tracks with long straights, and Shanghai has one of the longest straights of the calendar. Both Checo Pérez and Lance Stroll used the hard tires, which makes me believe that they will be looking to play the long game in China. They showed good race pace and it will be interesting to see if they are able to get into Q3 since it will be a determinant factor for their strategy.
Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris are right in the mix again, with just a few thousands of a seconds separating them from the Racing Point drivers. McLaren seems to have fixed many of the problems that hurt them during the last few seasons, but must take advantage of their strong race pace right now if they want to finish as the 4th best team of the season. We all know that development during the season plays a major role in the final standings, and McLaren have not been the best in that department lately.
The rest of the teams seem to be slightly behind the rest in race pace, however we must understand that the midfield battle is extremely tight. In fact, I would dare to say that this is the closest battle of the midfield that we have seen in recent years. Any team (well, maybe not Williams), can score points on any given day and things can change very quickly.
Kimi Raikonnen showed good consistency, but his lap times were not particularly fast. He has the experience to play the patient game and try to capitalize by the end of the race.
George Russell makes a surprising appearance with a median time of 1:40.970. Why surprising? Because he was not last or 19th place. He was actually faster than both Haas cars and that Antonio Giovinazzi. The Britishman was very consistent, and while the chances of him battling for points are slim, this is definitely an encouraging sign for him and his team.
Haas once again showed that they are inconsistent. Sometimes they have great quali pace, but poor race pace. Sometimes it is the other way around. Sometimes they have everything. Sometimes they have nothing. It is hard to know what to expect from them during the race. In FP2 they were slow in both one lap pace and race pace, but they are a strong team and it is hard to count them out just by looking at the preliminary data.
Finally we have Robert Kubica. Once again, he is the slowest driver in terms of race pace, with a median time of 1:41.933. He was more than half a second away from KMag, and around 1 second away from his teammate. He is showing, however, signs of encouragement, with many laps around his median, telling us that perhaps he is getting more consistent by the day. The speed is not there yet, and the popular Pole must still work hard in order to leave the last place of the grid.
Once again, it seems we have a great battle in our hands. Renault seems to be slightly ahead of the rest in race pace, but their problems with reliability makes them unpredictable. There seems to be very little separating Toro Rosso, Racing Point and McLaren, with Alfa Romeo and Haas slightly behind.
I would like to give a special mention to George Russell. He had a fantastic FP2 session for Williams and showed that he wants to escape the back of the grid. He was faster than Grosjean, Magnussen and Giovinazzi, which is impressive if we consider that the FW42 is clearly a worse car. We have to wait to see what he can do during the race, but the signs are very encouraging.
I hope that you have enjoyed this article, let me know what do you think in the comments below.