2019 French GP: Qualifying Analysis

2019 French GP: Qualifying Analysis

Lewis Hamilton secured his 86th pole position as Mercedes took their sixth front row lock-out of the 2019 season. We take a look at all the stats and stories from Saturday at the French Grand Prix!


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

  • Mercedes dominate qualifying, Hamilton beats Bottas by 0.286s
  • Vettel starts only seventh
  • Verstappen fourth, Gasly down in ninth
  • Norris and Sainz record their best qualifying positions of the year as McLaren’s pace impresses
  • Giovinazzi reaches Q3 for the second time in his career
  • Russell out-qualifies Kubica despite missing two practice sessions

The Ultimate Pace

FASTEST
SECTOR 1
FASTEST
SECTOR 2
FASTEST
SECTOR 3
21.951
Lewis Hamilton
27.300
Lewis Hamilton
39.005
Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton couldn’t be stopped in Qualifying, setting the fastest sector time in all three parts of the track. Despite being only seventh fastest overall, Sebastian Vettel was the second fastest driver in Sector 2 during qualifying. The middle sector was a weak point for both Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen – Bottas was second fastest in Sectors 1 and 3, but only fourth fastest through the middle sector, while Verstappen was fifth fastest in the first and final sectors, but only ninth fastest in the middle sector.

POLE
LAP
ULTIMATE
PACE
1:28.319 1:28.256

Hamilton’s pole lap could have been 0.063 seconds quicker if he’d put all three of his best sectors into one lap. 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. Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll, Antonio Giovinazzi, Daniil Kvyat, Robert Kubica and George Russell all achieved their best three sector times on their final qualifying lap. Kevin Magnussen was the furthest away from his best potential time. The lap times are compared in the table below:

Quali PosDriverLap TimeUltimate PaceDifferenceUltimate Pace Pos
1Lewis Hamilton88.31988.256-0.0631
2Valtteri Bottas88.60588.60502
3Charles Leclerc88.96588.833-0.1323
4Max Verstappen89.40989.386-0.0234
5Lando Norris89.41889.407-0.0115
6Carlos Sainz89.52289.513-0.0097
7Sebastian Vettel89.50689.433-0.0736
8Daniel Ricciardo89.91889.869-0.0498
9Pierre Gasly90.18490.088-0.0969
10Antonio Giovinazzi90.40890.408013
11Alexander Albon90.46190.29-0.17110
12Kimi Raikkonen90.53390.345-0.18812
13Nico Hulkenberg90.54490.321-0.22311
14Sergio Perez90.73890.661-0.07714
15Kevin Magnussen91.16690.817-0.34915
16Daniil Kvyat91.56491.564017
17Romain Grosjean91.62691.549-0.07716
18Lance Stroll91.72691.726018
19George Russell92.78992.789019
20Robert Kubica93.20593.205020

The team-mate battles

Charles Leclerc beat his team-mate in qualifying for the second time this season, while Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and George Russell all maintained their impressive performances against their team-mates in 2019. Perhaps most eye-catching was Russell, who was half a second quicker than Robert Kubica, despite the Brit missing two practice sessions – the first a result of Nicholas Latifi taking his place in Free Practice 1, and the second due to him missing running in Free Practice 3 because of mechanical issues.

Largest gaps in each session:

Q1: Sergio Perez 0.762s faster than Lance Stroll

Q2: Max Verstappen 0.322s faster than Pierre Gasly

Q3: Charles Leclerc 0.834s faster than Sebastian Vettel

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

Team Gap Winner
Mercedes 0.286 Hamilton
Ferrari 0.834 Leclerc
Red Bull 0.775 Verstappen
Renault 0.175 Ricciardo
Haas 0.460 Magnussen
McLaren 0.104 Norris
Racing Point 0.762 Perez
Alfa Romeo 0.125 Giovinazzi
Toro Rosso 0.119 Albon
Williams 0.416 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. Interestingly, while Antonio Giovinazzi reached Q3, based on the Alfa Romeo drivers’ best sector times, Kimi Raikkonen was actually faster overall. This can be explained by Kimi Raikkonen not putting all of his best three sector times together when it mattered, and the fact that Giovinazzi’s time in Q3 was slower than his lap in Q2.

Driver FASTEST
SECTOR 1
FASTEST
SECTOR 2
FASTEST
SECTOR 3
FASTEST
OVERALL
Mercedes HAMILTON HAMILTON HAMILTON HAMILTON
Ferrari LECLERC VETTEL LECLERC LECLERC
Red Bull VERSTAPPEN VERSTAPPEN VERSTAPPEN VERSTAPPEN
Renault RICCIARDO HULKENBERG RICCIARDO RICCIARDO
Haas MAGNUSSEN MAGNUSSEN MAGNUSSEN MAGNUSSEN
McLaren SAINZ NORRIS NORRIS NORRIS
Racing Point PEREZ PEREZ PEREZ PEREZ
Alfa Romeo RAIKKONEN GIOVINAZZI RAIKKONEN RAIKKONEN
Toro Rosso ALBON ALBON ALBON ALBON
Williams RUSSELL RUSSELL KUBICA RUSSELL

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





Team Pace

While Mercedes were fastest in every sector, Ferrari were second fastest through all three sections of track. Red Bull could manage only fourth fastest of the teams overall, with the third fastest sectors being shared between McLaren (in Sectors 1 and 3) and Renault (in Sector 2). As in every race weekend so far this year, Williams were the slowest of the ten teams through all three sectors.

  GAP TO
ULTIMATE PACE
GAP TO POLE
Mercedes 0 -0.063
Ferrari 0.531 0.468
McLaren 1.036 0.973
Red Bull 1.13 1.067
Renault 1.566 1.503
Toro Rosso 2.034 1.971
Alfa Romeo 2.08 2.017
Racing Point 2.405 2.342
Haas 2.561 2.498
Williams 4.445 4.382

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

Every team was faster in qualifying at this year’s French Grand Prix than they were at the 2018 event. The Renault powered teams were most improved – McLaren over 3.5 seconds faster than they were last season, and Renault two seconds up on last year. Haas and Williams’ gains were minimal compared to the other teams. You can see the full data below:

 20182019Difference
McLaren92.79389.292-3.501
Renault91.91289.822-2.09
Toro Rosso92.26790.29-1.977
Alfa Romeo92.05590.336-1.719
Ferrari90.33788.787-1.55
Mercedes89.72688.256-1.47
Racing Point92.07590.661-1.414
Red Bull90.50189.386-1.115
Williams93.27692.701-0.575
Haas91.38490.817-0.567

All set for Sunday:

Will Lewis Hamilton take a second win in a row at the French Grand Prix, or could Valtteri Bottas close down the gap to his team-mate in the championship battle? What can Sebastian Vettel do from seventh on the grid? Red Bull’s race pace looked impressive on Friday – will it aid Max Verstappen to another podium finish? Will McLaren be able to convert their strong qualifying showing into a double points result? There are plenty of questions to be answered in the 2019 French Grand Prix!

In the Lucky and Unlucky Grid Positions:

LUCKY:

Pole: Lewis Hamilton

4th: Max Verstappen

5th: Lando Norris

7th: Sebastian Vettel

16th: Romain Grosjean

17th: Lance Stroll

UNLUCKY:

3rd: Charles Leclerc

10th: Antonio Giovinazzi

12th: Kimi Raikkonen

13th: Nico Hulkenberg

18th: Robert Kubica

20th: Daniil Kvyat

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






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