Home | News | Features | Drivers | Teams | Seasons | Galleries | Circuits | Forum | Shop
So, a few weeks ago I put my neck on the line and made some predictions for who would win the Spanish Grand prix.
I said; probably Hamilton, possibly Raikkonen (overtaking his way to victory), and if it rained then Perez. Hamilton was over half a second quicker than anyone (that bothered to do a lap) in Q3 and drove a great race from last to eighth - and that was using a set of tyres less than the others! I think it is fair to say that if there had been 100ml more petrol in that McLaren on Saturday, we would have heard 'God Save the Queen' on Sunday and not 'Gloria al Bravo Pueblo'. So basically I was correct.
Even after my first prediction had let me down, Kimi should have won, but more on that later. Seriously though, who thought Maldonado (most famous prior to, and since, the Spanish Grand Prix for deliberately driving into other people) would drive a calculated, flawless and brilliant victory? That is the beauty of F1 this year. It has become completely unpredictable. Or has it? Well, either way, I've decided to go back to the stats and predict who will win in Canada.
A big factor in the 'randomness' of results this year has been qualifying. We have seen extreme tyre tactics in quali leading to people being out of position on the grid. As drivers try to save precious fresh rubber for Sundays, the grids have had a bit more variation than in the last few years. This has led to it being common place to see people carving their way through the field on superior tyres on race day. Over the first six races of 2011 the average amount of positions gained (from grid position to finish position - not including retirements, disqualifications etc) was 1.15 per driver. The first six races of 2012 have seen an average position gain of 1.6.
You may think more retirements could have caused the fluctuation, but in fact there have been a pretty similar number.
So, who are the big gainers in the race?
Well, top of the pops for scything his way through the field is Sergio Perez with an average gain from quali to race finish of 5.4 positions per race. In Oz he made up 14 positions, Malaysia 7 and at Monaco an incredible 12.
Others who have consistently made up positions are Vergne, di Resta and Glock. How much this is down to amazing driving in the races, how much it is down to tyre saving or underperformance in qualifying and how much it is down to the fact that there is more room to make up positions from further back than if you start in the top ten consistently - is open to debate.
It is no surprise that of the big boys the top name on the list is Alonso. He's made up an average of 3 positions per race and only started outside the top ten once. On the contrary, Button is the biggest loser so far this year with a devastating loss of 4 positions per race.
Here's the thing though: For all the talk of tyres falling to bits, turbo flaps, booster buttons, more overtaking than ever, and six winners from six, I think we have only actually seen the lead of the race change in an overtaking manoeuvre two times so far this year and neither of those have been 'genuine' lead changes: In China Rosberg overtook Massa for the lead when Massa was out of position on a different tyre strategy. Similarly, Vettel relieved di Resta of the lead in Bahrain.
I would argue that when cars have made up positions in the midfield or top ten, it has usually been when there has been a clear difference in performance. The guy behind should have qualified further up the grid (but didn't) or the guy in front's tyres are falling to bits. When it comes to the very front though, is the advantage of clear air and not having to over-work the tyres just too big for someone to have a stab at the leader?
In Australia Button was untouchable at the front. Malaysia was a bit of a different scenario, because of the weather and the lead was lost in the pits, although we were tantalisingly close to seeing Perez take the lead on the track before that error. Nobody got near Rosberg in China. Vettel controlled the race from the front in Bahrain. As expected, the lead into turn one translated into victory for Webber in Monte Carlo. Spain was the only race that there was a straightforward fight for the lead - and once again it was won and lost in the pits.
But why was Maldonado able to stay close enough to Alonso without damaging his tyres to make his strategy work and sneak the lead? More to the point, why hasn't anybody else been able to do that and might we see that in Canada?
Well, I think that had we not seen strategic errors we may have seen closer races for the lead. Take China for example. What could have been if Button had rejoined from his final stop in clear air to chase down Rosberg? Lotus have got to be kicking themselves twice in my opinion. Had they been more aggressive with their strategy in Bahrain and Spain I think we could have seen a very different ending to those races too.
So, we could see a fight at the front, but between who? The key will of course be who can get those tyres working.
Page: 1 | 2 | Next | Last
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2013. All rights reserved.
About | Advertise | Contact | Copyright | Privacy & Security | RSS