2019 Spanish GP: FP2 race simulation pace (Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull)

Key points about this graph:

  1. The graph shows all lap times done by a driver during a single stint.
  2. Longest stint from the session was selected for analysis.
  3. The label at the top shows the median time, with the background representing the tire used during that stint.
  4. Some laps were removed for aesthetic purposes.
  5. Calculations were performed with all the laps from the stint.
  6. The horizontal line represents the median.
  7. The box represent the interquartile range, from 25% to 75%.

FP2 race simulation by median

As we can see, Mercedes seems to be looking on top at  the moment. While the FP2 simulation stints are always complex to analyze since we do not have all the information regarding fuel loads, engine modes, among others, the data still gives us some insights on the strengths of each team.

Valtteri Bottas’ pace was clearly impressive, but his teammate trailed him by a small margin, even when using the hard compound. Right now it seems like the battle for the victory will be between both of them, but as usual, FP2 numbers can be tricky and it is never good to use them as predictive numbers, but more as informative data.

Ferrari was able to do a continuous stint of 15 and 14 laps with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc respectively, and Vettel’s data show that the Scuderia may be able to play the long game in Barcelona. His lap times with the medium tires were very consistent and perhaps, as it has been during the season, it may be better to bet on the mediums and hards instead of the previously favourite soft tires.

Max Verstappen only managed to do a maximum of 6 laps in a single stint, so it is hard to say what his race pace looks like, but at the moment he seems to be away from the front runners. Gasly managed to do a full stint of 10 consecutive laps, but as it has been during the season, seems to be in a different category compared to the Dutchman. 

FP2 race simulation with linear model

As we metioned, Ferrari got some positive data from their FP2 stints. Both Vettel and Leclerc managed to keep the tires alive for over 14 laps, and perhaps will try to go long and attack at the end of the race as they have tried to do in some of the previous races.

Mercedes looks the strongest in average pace, but their degradation data is tricky to analyze. Were their times getting slower due to degradation, or did they turn down the engine in order to confuse their opponents? I do not know the answer, but if they manage to take pole later today, it seems like it will be hard to catch them.

Red Bull is a bit of an unknown right now. Max continues to be the strongest driver of the Austrian team, and while his median time of 1:23.125 looks to be “slow”, he did not do enough laps to show what he can do during the race.


The Spanish GP is hard to predict. Last year, the race at the circuit in Barcelona proved to be dull. Drivers struggled to overtake, and most likely this race will be decided during quali and not during the actual race.

Mercedes looks very strong in race pace, but they will certainly be looking to take a 1-2 start and dominate the race from there. Ferrari may be looking to play the long game and attack the Silver Arrows at the end of the race. If they are able to manage the tires properly, they may be able to break the Merc’s dominance. Red Bull does not have the one lap pace required to challenge for pole at the moment, and while they usually have very strong race pace, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya does not favour race pace as much as quali pace. They will have a hard time tomorrow unless they are able to climb positions during the quali session.


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