Let’s take a quick look at the maximum speeds seen during the qualifying session session of the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix weekend.
A simple analysis this time. I just took the maximum speed done by each driver in each of the four speed traps. I then just organized the data into a simple but informative chart.
Remember that the intermediate 1 and intermediate 2 speed traps are at the end of the first and sector sectors respectively.
Qualifying session maximum speeds
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one that provides very few overtaking opportunities. I would argue that in this track, the speed taken at the intermediate 1 sector is quite useless since the overtaking opportunities before T4 are very scarce.
In this track, the most important speed metric should be the one taken at the speed trap, taken just before T1. In this sector, McLaren, Racing Point and AlphaTauri had some strong numbers, with all of them having speeds of more than 323 km/h.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have drivers from top teams like Hamilton and Verstappen. Why did they struggle to get more speed before T1? The answer is quite simple. These teams likely decided to run with a more aggressive aerodynamic setup. By doing this, they should be stronger in the turns, and should be able to reduce tire slip. If they can get less tire degradation, they will be in a stronger position for the race.
Teams like Racing Point and McLaren went instead for a more aggressive quali trim. They were able to position higher during the quali session, and will have a positional advantage tomorrow. It is important to note however that they are more vulnerable to tire degradation, so they will have to manage their tires more carefully to get a good result during the race.
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