Hamilton ended up dominating the qualifying session after the retirement of both Ferraris. How did the rest of the drivers do in Q3? The stats will tell us the story.
Qualifying session: Best times per sector
This analysis takes into consideration the best sector time for each driver, regardless of quali session. This means that not all best sector times were necessarily done in Q3, some may have been done in Q2 or even in Q1.
Lewis Hamilton did the 3 best sector times over the course of the session. In sector 3, Lewis was untouchable. He outpaced Max Verstappen by almost 2 tenths, and Valtteri Bottas by nearly 2 and a half tenths.
Both Red Bull drivers did very good sector times, with the only major difference between them being found in the last sector. Pierre could not seem to find the pace in the final sector, but overall, a good session for the Frenchman.
Kimi Raikkonen had a great quali session, finishing in 5th place, and posting the best sector 2 from all the drivers that qualified into Q3. The Finn looked one step ahead from the rest of the midfield drivers, so let’s see what he can do tomorrow.
The midfield battle got even better. Racing Point got some new upgrades that threw them back in the mix. Sergio Perez got into Q3 once again, and showed good pace in sector 2.
Qualifying session: Ideal lap
What if each driver had done an ideal lap, composed of all his best times from all three sectors?
Somebody said a couple of weeks ago that an analysis like this one should be thrown in the “garbage bin” because it does not show anything. I completely disagree. This is a theoretical ideal lap, which is meant to show the potential of each car and driver. The argument against this analysis, was that a driver could do a blistering first sector, destroy the tires, and then do a mediocre middle and last sector. While this argument makes sense, at least in theory, in reality it bears no weight whatsoever. No driver is going to go for a massive first sector knowing that his lap will be ruined after that. F1 drivers, some of the best drivers in the world, definitely know better than that. For them, it’s all about maximizing the performance in every sector, as long as it does not damage the performance in the following sector.
Here, we can see why I like this analysis. Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez, and Romain Grosjean, are separated by only 32 thousands of a second. This result shows how close the performance of the midfield drivers is right now.
There you go, a short analysis after the quali session. Please remember that statistics are not necessarily decisive. In many cases, they are meant to be informative, and give you, the reader, a better idea of certain things that are hard to visualize without the help of stats.
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