Remember that I just did a post with ALL THE LAPS, divided by team? Well, I did the same, but now for every driver. Who came out on top? Let’s take a look at the numbers.
I used the same methodology as I did in my previous analysis. Basically I removed all the outliers, and then transformed the data in a way that could be properly visualized.
The two transformations used here were (1) a percentile transformation and (2) a z-score transformation. The percentile transformation is good to see the drivers that usually had the fastest, or slowest, laps compared to the rest of the field. It doesn’t, however, show how fast or how slow those laps were compared to the laps done by other drivers. The z-score transformation is good to see the differences in speed between the drivers. This type of transformation allows you to see the relative speed between drivers in a meaningful way.
All laps by percentile
Once again, here we are visualizing 20,477 laps. This time, however, we are separating all of these racing laps by driver. Drivers at the top of the chart usually had their laps among the fastest of each race, while drivers in the bottom did some of the slowest laps of each race.
The difference between the top five drivers and the rest is staggering. Lewis Hamilton was one step ahead of everyone else. The current World Champion was far superior to everyone during this season, and deserved his championship, no question about it. Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen, and Charles Leclerc, were not separated by much. You can see that the difference between Lewis and them was mostly due to the number of slow laps done. Hamilton rarely made mistakes and was consistently among the fastest in every single race. His main blemish came in Germany, after spinning out and having to pit with front wing damage.
Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly are next in the order. Both drivers spend half a season in Toro Rosso and Red Bull. Because of this, it is hard to compare them to either the top drivers or the midfield drivers. While they were separated by very little, we have to give the edge to Alex Albon. He spent more time in Toro Rosso than Gasly did (12 races vs 9), meaning that most likely the difference would be bigger had he spent the same number of races racing with the more powerful RB15.
It’s difficult to properly visualize the analysis for all 20 drivers, but the ridge plot is good to see the trends. The top five drivers are miles ahead of the rest. Albon and Gasly are slightly ahead of the McLaren drivers, who are in turn slightly ahead of the Renault drivers. Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat are pretty even and lag just slightly behind Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg.
Kimi Raikkonen and Lance Stroll are one step behind the previously mentioned midfield drivers, but still ahead of Giovinazzi and both Haas drivers. At the bottom of the grid, we see George Russell and Robert Kubica, trailing by a very significant margin in this analysis.
All laps by Z-score
The previous transformation is good to understand which drivers were consistently among the slowest of each race, but it doesn’t show us actual differences in speed. The chart with lap times standardized is a good way to overcome that limitation.
As in the previous analysis, the 0 mark is the reference. Most of the lap times are between the -1 and 1 Z-score, meaning that these times are considered as “mostly average”. Drivers on the left side of this mark were faster than the average, with drivers on the left being slower than the average. The further away from the 0, the faster or the slower the driver was.
In other words, lap times done between the -1 and 1 mark were slightly faster or slower than normal. Laps between the -3 and -1 mark range from very fast to faster than normal, while laps between the 1 and 3 mark range from slower than normal to abnormally slow.
Since the distribution of the data more or less follows a Gaussian distribution, we see a mostly symmetrical pattern. The top five drivers are predominantly on the left side of the chart, meaning that they were much faster than the rest of the field. Bottom five drivers have most of their laps predominantly on the right side of the chart. You already know what that means.
From Sainz to Kvyat we see very slight differences. If the pattern continues next year, then the battle for fourth place in the Constructor’s Championship will be very hard to predict.
Perhaps the ridge plot is better to see the differences between the drivers. Not much between most of them right? In my opinion, there are five distinct groups. The first one includes the fastest drivers, from Hamilton to Leclerc. The second one includes just both Toro Rosso/Red Bull drivers, Albon and Gasly. The third one starts with Sainz and finishes with Kimi and Stroll. The fourth group includes Giovinazzi and both Haas’ drivers. Finally, the fifth group includes only both Williams’ drivers.
There you go, every single lap from all the drivers who took part in the 2019 Formula 1 season.
It is very unfortunate to see such a division between the drivers from Ferrari, Mercedes, and Red Bull. The idea of them being over one standard deviation away from the rest of the field is just nonsensical in my mind, but that is the reality of the current state of Formula 1. The same idea comes to my mind when I see the lap times done by Russell and Kubica. How the mighty have fallen.
On the bright side, it is fantastic to see McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, and even Toro Rosso, fighting neck and neck. Point-wise McLaren was one step ahead of the rest, but speed-wise, they are not that far ahead. The British team did a great job this season, but the hard work must continue if they want to go back to their former days of glory
In any case, I hope that you have enjoyed this article. If you did, let me know. Perhaps I could do the same for each driver? Thank you for taking the time to read, and please, help me out by share my site with your friends and people who may enjoy this type of content.