F1Punter

Formula 1: Against The Odds

Is Lewis Light on Fuel?

with 6 comments

An interesting thread sprung up on the Planet-F1 forum last week (thanks Grasshopper) about the effect of carrying extra fuel on lap times. Obviously with Spa being such a long fast circuit, the impact is fairly substantial.

It is therefore interesting to compare drivers’ lap times in the second phase of qualifying, with the time that they ultimately qualified with carrying race fuel. Although no two tours are the same, there is no real incentive to max out in Q2 and many factors go in to posting a time, we can at least speculate which drivers are potentially going longer into their first stint.

Looking at the front four:

Difference between Q2 time and Q3 time (seconds):

Hamilton: +1.250
Massa: +1.287
Kovalainen: +1.778
Raikkonen: +1.694

Now I don’t see Heikki threatening Lewis’s position in normal circumstances, but can we say that Kimi will go longer in to the race than Hamilton? If an extra lap of fuel costs 0.168 seconds per lap, then the fact that the Finn has gone an additional half-second slower than his own Q2 time respective to Hamilton’s is certainly interesting.

Also worth noting is that when interviewed immediately after the qualifying session Massa seemed to indicate that he was very happy with his lap and that he had made no mistakes, whilst Ron Dennis appeared to acknowledge that getting to the front in this session was paramount in the McLaren team’s thinking. I am going to stick my neck out and say Lewis is a touch lighter than his rivals.

So back Massa or Kimi for race victory then? Instead I have laid Hamilton at odds-on on the exchanges. Pole-sitters have won just three of the last nine races here, Massa is full of confidence and Kimi has to remain a threat on his past form around this circuit. With the challenging nature of the track, potential inclement weather and the possibility of a safety car, I am happy to take on anyone with the odds in my favour.

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6 Responses

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  1. You beat me to it, F1Punter (thanks for the e-mail).

    I was crunching the same numbers straight after Quali, and was about to post them up on Talkinghorses until I saw your e-mail. Based on my own analysis, Ireckon we might be looking at the following pit schedule:

    Hamilton – Lap 14
    Massa – Lap 16
    Kovaleinnen & Raikonnen – Lap 17

    This probably doesn’t buy us much prior to the race, to be honest, but I’ll be looking at the Live Timing splits very carefully from Lap 10 onwards, to try and get a handle on who genuinely has the pace on lowering fuel. It might help determine the best IR bets following the stops.

    Grasshopper

    September 6, 2008 at 3:11 pm

  2. Looking back to last year’s race gives some hope to Raikonnen backers.

    Kimi was first of the main protagonists to pit in 2007, on Lap 15, where he had an 0.969s advantage over Massa. Felipe pitted a lap later (on the same schedule as Hamilton), but after the stops had played out, Kimi had increased his advantage to 4.524s – in the space of a couple of laps.

    Kimi is peerless on his in/out laps, and his overall record here is second to none. So long as he can stay within reasonable touching distance of the leaders over the first dozen laps, I think he can play himself right into contention from 4th on the grid.

    Grasshopper

    September 6, 2008 at 6:43 pm

  3. […] source: F1 Punter […]

  4. A great race, and we were a shade unlucky in not landing the 12.5 about the Pole/Win wager. I reckon we would have had Kubica comfortably beaten too, if not for the late rain, and Kovalienen’s ill-advised pass attempt on Webber early-doors.

    Grasshopper

    September 7, 2008 at 2:32 pm

  5. Well my pit-schedule analysis was miles out.

    It’s possible that the information on fuel correction won’t actually be beneficial at all, in terms of defining a potential In-Running strategy, but I’ll try again at Monza anyway. Perhaps the weather in Spa was just too changeable over the weekend, to get a proper read – we’ll see.

    Grasshopper

    September 8, 2008 at 7:32 pm

  6. Watch out for McLaren pitting early due to Safety Car paranoia at incident-prone tracks too.

    f1punter

    September 9, 2008 at 6:30 pm


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