2019 Chinese GP: Qualifying Analysis

2019 Chinese GP: Qualifying Analysis

Valtteri Bottas became the third different polesitter of the 2019 season as Mercedes locked out the front row in Shanghai. We take a look at all the stats and stories from Saturday at the Chinese Grand Prix!


Q  U  A  L  I  F  Y  I  N  G     R  E  C  A  P

  • Bottas takes pole by 0.023s from Hamilton
  • Albon fails to participate in qualifying after heavy crash in FP3
  • Renault reach Q3 for first time in 2019, as does Gasly
  • Both McLarens eliminated in Q2
  • Raikkonen misses out on Q3 for the first time since Hungary 2016

The Ultimate Pace

FASTEST
SECTOR 1
FASTEST
SECTOR 2
FASTEST
SECTOR 3
23.921
Lewis Hamilton
27.016
Lewis Hamilton
40.240
Lewis Hamilton

While Valtteri Bottas took pole position, it was his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton who set today’s ultimate pace, with the fastest time in all three sectors. Had he hooked the three sectors together on his final push for pole, Hamilton would have set a lap time over three tenths faster than Bottas’ actual pole lap. Given the high tyre degradation experienced at the Shanghai International Circuit, finding a balance between being fast in all three sectors and saving the tyres is difficult – hence why the gap between the best actual lap time and the best potential lap time is higher than usual.

POLE
LAP
ULTIMATE
PACE
1:31.547 1:31.177

By adding each drivers’ best three sector times together, we can get an idea of who put a lap together when it mattered, and who failed to pull all three sectors into one fast lap. Romain Grosjean was the only driver who set all of their three fastest sector times on their final lap in qualifying, while Lewis Hamilton was the furthest away from his ultimate pace – 0.393 seconds. The lap times are compared in the table below:

PosDriverQualifying TimeUltimate PaceDifferenceUltimate Pace Position
1Valtteri Bottas91.54791.422-0.1252
2Lewis Hamilton91.57091.177-0.3931
3Sebastian Vettel91.84891.506-0.3423
4Charles Leclerc91.86591.642-0.2234
5Max Verstappen92.08991.853-0.2365
6Pierre Gasly92.93092.804-0.1267
7Daniel Ricciardo92.95892.912-0.0468
8Nico Hulkenberg92.96292.679-0.2836
9Kevin Magnussen93.15092.947-0.2039
10Romain Grosjean93.15693.1560.00011
11Daniil Kvyat93.23692.970-0.26610
12Sergio Perez93.29993.244-0.05513
13Kimi Raikkonen93.41993.331-0.08814
14Carlos Sainz93.52393.217-0.30612
15Lando Norris93.96793.847-0.12015
16Lance Stroll94.29294.081-0.21116
17George Russell95.25395.077-0.17617
18Robert Kubica95.28195.213-0.06818
19Antonio Giovinazzi
20Alexander Albon

The team-mate battles

Qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix saw some close lap times between team-mates – particularly between the Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Haas pairings. Just 0.004 seconds separated Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg in the final part of qualifying and, while the Haas pair didn’t set a lap time in Q3, Kevin Magnussen was just 0.006 seconds faster than Romain Grosjean in Q2.

Largest gaps in each session:

Q1: Charles Leclerc 0.845s faster than Sebastian Vettel

Q2: Max Verstappen 0.579s faster than Pierre Gasly

Q3: Max Verstappen 0.841s faster than Pierre Gasly

Gap between team-mates in last session where each driver set a time:

As neither Antonio Giovinazzi nor Alexander Albon set a competitive time in qualifying, their results have been omitted from the table below.

Team Gap Winner
Mercedes 0.023 Bottas
Ferrari 0.017 Vettel
Red Bull 0.841 Verstappen
Renault 0.004 Ricciardo
Haas 0.006 Magnussen
McLaren 0.444 Sainz
Racing Point 0.266 Perez
Williams 0.028 Russell

Looking at each driver’s ultimate pace also offers an interesting glimpse into who was fastest in each sector in each team. The results can be found in the table below. The smallest gap between team-mates’ best sector times was at Ferrari, where Charles Leclerc was only 0.002 seconds faster than Sebastian Vettel in the middle sector. Meanwhile, with their best three sector times combined, Max Verstappen’s best potential lap was 0.951 seconds faster Pierre Gasly’s.

Driver FASTEST
SECTOR 1
FASTEST
SECTOR 2
FASTEST
SECTOR 3
FASTEST
OVERALL
Mercedes HAMILTON HAMILTON HAMILTON HAMILTON
Ferrari VETTEL LECLERC VETTEL VETTEL
Red Bull VERSTAPPEN VERSTAPPEN VERSTAPPEN VERSTAPPEN
Renault RICCIARDO HULKENBERG HULKENBERG HULKENBERG
Haas GROSJEAN MAGNISSEN MAGNUSSEN MAGNUSSEN
McLaren SAINZ SAINZ SAINZ SAINZ
Racing Point PEREZ PEREZ PEREZ PEREZ
Williams RUSSELL KUBICA RUSSELL RUSSELL

Find all the team-mate battle statistics for the 2019 season here!





Team Pace

As noted above, Mercedes had the quickest car in all three sectors, while Ferrari were second fastest in all three. After being beaten by Haas on pace in Bahrain, Red Bull returned to their expected form, with the third quickest car in every sector. It was a shame for Alex Albon to miss out on qualifying – Toro Rosso had the fifth fastest car in both the first and last sectors, meaning they had a good chance of qualifying in the top ten, as demonstrated by Daniil Kvyat missing out on Q3 by just 0.022 seconds.

  GAP TO
ULTIMATE PACE
GAP TO POLE
Mercedes 0 -0.37
Ferrari 0.327 -0.043
Red Bull 0.676 0.306
Renault 1.487 1.117
Haas 1.668 1.298
Toro Rosso 1.793 1.423
McLaren 2.04 1.67
Racing Point 2.067 1.697
Alfa Romeo 2.154 1.784
Williams 3.877 3.507

About the above table: the ‘gap to ultimate pace’ column shows the gap between the team’s best three sector times added together and the overall best three sector times added together. The ‘gap to pole time’ column shows the gap between the team’s best three sector times added together and the lap time of the polesitter.


Improvements between 2018 and 2019

The table below shows the difference in each team’s best potential lap time in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix between 2018 and 2019. Racing Point were the most improved team, with their best 2019 lap being over nine tenths faster than their best 2018 effort.

Team20182019Difference
Racing Point94.28893.331-0.957
Alfa Romeo93.61692.97-0.646
Mercedes91.47991.177-0.302
Red Bull91.73191.853+0.122
Toro Rosso93.04993.217+0.168
Haas92.49892.845+0.347
Renault92.31392.664+0.351
Ferrari91.04491.504+0.460
McLaren92.74093.244+0.504
Williams94.05095.054+1.004

All set for Sunday:

Can Valtteri Bottas convert his pole position into a win to take a second win of the season? Will Ferrari be able to challenge Mercedes in the Grand Prix, or will Red Bull be a bigger threat from behind? Will Kimi Raikkonen be able to maintain his points-scoring form, despite starting from thirteenth? There are plenty of questions to be answered in tomorrow’s 1000th World Championship race!

In the Lucky and Unlucky Grid Positions:

LUCKY:

3rd: Sebastian Vettel

5th: Max Verstappen

6th: Pierre Gasly

8th: Nico Hulkenberg

11th: Daniil Kyat

12th: Sergio Perez

UNLUCKY:

4th: Charles Leclerc

13th: Kimi Raikkonen

15th: Lando Norris

20th: Alexander Albon

Find out what makes each grid position lucky or unlucky here!

 






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