Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren analysis

Having compared the rookies, it’s time to compare the more experienced drivers with their teammates. Each should theoretically have the same car as the other, so this should be fair. First up is Red Bull

Driver

Sebastian Vettel

Mark Webber

Difference

P1 time

1:27.158 (2nd)

1:26.831 (1st)

0.327s

P2 time

1:26.014 (4th)

1:26.283 (5th)

0.269s

P3 time

1:24.507 (1st)

1:25.364 (2nd)

0.857s

Q1 time

1:25.296

1:25.900

0.604s

Qualifying pos

1st

3rd

2 places

Fastest lap

1:29.844 (4th)

1:29.600 (3rd)

0.244s

Laps ahead

58

0

58

Finish

1st

5th

4 places

Throughout the race, there was never less than a two-position gap between Vettel and Webber, and this had extended to a four-position gap by the end. Webber only beat Vettel in practice one, and in setting a quicker fastest lap. But this wasn’t enough to compete, and he struggled all weekend. This hadn’t been apparent until qualifying, and then became very obvious in the race. Without a doubt, Vettel completely trumped Webber for performance in Melbourne, and there’s a lot for the Aussie to do to understand what went wrong, and how to improve.

McLaren are next. Hamilton did amazingly after a dire winter for the team, and Button would have also done well if he hadn’t allowed himself to suffer from a drive-through penalty.

Driver

Lewis Hamilton

Jenson Button

Difference

P1 time

1:28.483 (7th)

1:28.440 (6th)

0.043s

P2 time

1:25.986 (2nd)

1:25.854 (1st)

0.132s

P3 time

1:25.553 (3rd)

1:25.567 (4th)

0.014s

Q1 time

1:25.384

1:25.886

0.502s

Qualifying pos

2nd

4th

2 places

Fastest lap

1:30.314 (8th)

1:29.883 (5th)

0.431s

Laps ahead

58

0

58

Finish

1st

5th

4 places

The practice sessions demonstrate just how close the two drivers are to each other: neither had the advantage. But Lewis managed to make it count in qualifying, and stayed at least two places ahead during the race after Button’s penalty. But the closeness of their times suggests that Jenson could have made it onto the podium without that mistake, especially since he still finished ahead of Massa.

Finally Ferrari:

Driver

Fernando Alonso

Felipe Massa

Difference

P1 time

1:27.749 (3rd)

1:28.842 (11th)

1.093s

P2 time

1:26.001 (3rd)

1:26.789 (7th)

0.788s

P3 time

1:26.121 (6th)

1:27.011 (12th)

0.890s

Q1 time

1:25.707

1:26.031

0.324s

Qualifying pos

2nd

4th

2 places

Fastest lap

1:29.487 (2nd)

1:28.947 (1st)

0.540s

Laps ahead

42

16

26

Finish

4th

7th

3 places

With Alonso being pushed back at the start of the race, Massa was left to hold off Jenson Button. They swapped positions after Button’s mishap in the hope of gaining places for both drivers, but after the first round of pit stops Alonso was still ahead. A second round left Massa briefly in the lead, but the Brazilian could never quite catch up again. He did, however, set the fastest lap of the race, so there’s clearly still some good stuff in there despite all the ‘he’s not been the same since the accident’ talk. On the other hand, in every practice session and qualifying he was quite a way behind the Spaniard.

Next post will be unlucky Mercedes, superb Renault and a much faster Toro Rosso.

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