Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Montreal, 2012

Hamilton’s got time in hand but has his eye on Ferrari

2012 Canadian GP Friday practice analysis

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Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Montreal, 2012Lewis Hamilton was fastest in both practice sessions on Friday.

Although he edged Fernando Alonso by just 0.0.054s in the second session, the sector times reveal he has a few more tenths in hand.

Nonetheless he is wise to the threat posed by the ever-improving Ferrari F2012: “If you look at the race pace, Ferrari look very, very quick and their tyre degradation seems to be better. We have to be careful of them.”

Ferrari have brought further upgrades to their car this weekend including a revised exhaust exit arrangement similar to McLaren’s.

Technical director Pat Fry said: “We brought two different exhaust configurations here: one was the one used in the last two races, the other represents our latest interpretation of the concept that was part of the car when it made its debut in Jerez.

“From what we could see today, the latter configuration seems to be positive in terms of performance even if, obviously, we need to analyse the data very carefully to make the right choices for the race.”

Longest stint comparison – second session

This chart shows all the drivers’ lap times (in seconds) during their longest unbroken stint:


Sebastian Vettel82.34380.27279.95780.37880.23179.9580.10183.25179.92180.26579.89679.84179.90579.98179.69580.305
Mark Webber80.43880.10779.95779.84279.74779.71279.62479.6279.33879.77479.42184.16679.09379.17680.34279.292
Jenson Button81.12280.37376.20976.94879.88675.812
Lewis Hamilton84.42880.61179.91179.55779.64879.3479.88879.62579.34979.37179.26779.09979.26783.29979.3582.30179.05884.5778.847
Fernando Alonso81.21479.82876.2481.37578.28281.75287.07277.464
Felipe Massa78.5284.22180.53476.6588.25476.34188.6180.34476.342
Michael Schumacher80.87380.32179.89979.44880.037
Nico Rosberg80.48280.01580.06880.21479.65979.74979.5879.36979.38879.40779.27379.3179.37179.42180.13179.55479.77980.09279.64
Kimi Raikkonen80.48978.76277.39180.38784.69881.60377.215
Romain Grosjean80.24180.70381.09678.67576.661
Paul di Resta81.6480.780.33879.92380.40280.10779.717
Nico Hulkenberg83.29580.81680.83480.99880.86281.13881.71880.79580.44980.8680.78281.36281.20680.656
Kamui Kobayashi85.48477.70986.04477.34193.48381.28976.37176.79
Sergio Perez80.57580.25380.55379.75880.14379.64279.85879.4879.46579.5479.75279.19979.62
Daniel Ricciardo80.61179.65279.99678.6782.79278.15578.571
Jean-Eric Vergne81.58583.26486.64380.47983.57980.23279.93380.50880.29779.91180.39279.95680.23579.92
Pastor Maldonado80.82579.81981.7779.87279.59879.36479.17479.42179.23579.21279.04479.10379.08679.06379.29279.7579.859
Bruno Senna82.32679.18578.26780.63277.42784.14180.523
Heikki Kovalainen84.50387.53682.26377.07280.96176.98181.06377.247
Vitaly Petrov82.22681.05480.86980.2581.89881.42480.74580.5979.877
Pedro de la Rosa87.40285.04782.40181.09281.00680.852
Narain Karthikeyan81.25783.75779.8679.61483.04679.378
Timo Glock83.3782.22883.27781.90782.39982.11482.49282.34282.15582.055
Charles Pic84.96584.91992.00490.33883.31

Track temperatures are expected to climb throughout the weekend in Montreal. On Friday, in fairly cool temperatures, drivers were able to run fairly long stints without experiencing a significant drop-off in performance.

Lewis Hamilton’s longest stint in the second session (above) was 19 laps, and his fastest lap in that stint was his last one.

Other drivers including the Red Bull pair and Pastor Maldonado demonstrated the good performance of the tyres over a stint

With Sunday’s race distance set at 70 laps, this raises the possibility of drivers making a single stop for tyres.

Sergio Perez was especially pleased with his car’s performance over a race stint: “My car is very well balanced on a high fuel load, but we need to improve it for qualifying conditions, as we haven?t got that right yet.

“However, I have the feeling we can be quite competitive here, and I am really looking forward to my first qualifying and race on this track.”

The performance gap between the two compounds is quite narrow. Pirelli say the super-soft is 0.4-0.7 seconds faster than the soft.

Those who tried the super-soft tyre in the first session found it particularly difficult to improve their times. It seemed easier for those who ran the super-soft in the second session, when track conditions had improved.

Sector times and ultimate lap times

CarDriverCarSector 1Sector 2Sector 3Ultimate lapGapDeficit to best
14Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes20.907 (2)24.067 (1)30.032 (2)1’15.0060.253
25Fernando AlonsoFerrari20.820 (1)24.292 (6)30.148 (6)1’15.2600.2540.053
36Felipe MassaFerrari20.938 (3)24.224 (3)30.124 (4)1’15.2860.2800.124
41Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault21.046 (4)24.271 (4)30.130 (5)1’15.4470.4410.084
511Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes21.169 (9)24.345 (10)29.959 (1)1’15.4730.4670.071
614Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari21.234 (12)24.146 (2)30.271 (9)1’15.6510.6450.000
77Michael SchumacherMercedes21.145 (7)24.317 (8)30.218 (7)1’15.6800.6740.017
83Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes21.162 (8)24.304 (7)30.260 (8)1’15.7260.7200.086
912Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes21.252 (14)24.455 (12)30.092 (3)1’15.7990.7930.000
108Nico RosbergMercedes21.177 (10)24.429 (11)30.272 (10)1’15.8780.8720.000
1115Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari21.059 (5)24.344 (9)30.478 (14)1’15.8810.8750.017
122Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault21.195 (11)24.284 (5)30.428 (12)1’15.9070.9010.000
1318Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault21.100 (6)24.483 (13)30.404 (11)1’15.9870.9810.000
1410Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault21.246 (13)24.524 (14)30.437 (13)1’16.2071.2010.153
159Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault21.309 (15)24.596 (15)30.557 (17)1’16.4621.4560.100
1619Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault21.312 (16)24.657 (16)30.709 (19)1’16.6781.6720.344
1720Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault21.561 (19)24.754 (17)30.545 (16)1’16.8601.8540.121
1821Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault21.485 (17)24.906 (19)30.490 (15)1’16.8811.8750.194
1917Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari21.524 (18)24.855 (18)30.696 (18)1’17.0752.0690.049
2016Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari21.628 (20)25.012 (20)30.875 (20)1’17.5152.5090.201
2122Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth22.277 (22)25.345 (21)31.286 (21)1’18.9083.9020.000
2224Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth22.072 (21)25.440 (22)31.482 (23)1’18.9943.9880.090
2323Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth22.365 (24)25.440 (22)31.370 (22)1’19.1754.1690.203
2425Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth22.295 (23)25.730 (24)31.877 (24)1’19.9024.8960.000

Hamilton was on it from the word go in Friday practice, leading the times sheets throughout most of the two sessions.

He believed he could find more time on his super-soft tyres in the second session, and was on course to do so before the red flags came out because of Bruno Senna’s crash. The sector times reveal he’s found another quarter of a second.

The sector times reveal there’s very little to choose between the two Ferrari drivers – just two-hundredths of a second separate the pair of them. Felipe Massa looks much more confident:

“The car seems to be well balanced and it seemed to me to be pretty consistent in terms of performance, even if, obviously, the track is not yet providing much grip, this being the first day of the race weekend. To sum up, this has been the best Friday of 2012: let?s hope that can continue through Saturday and Sunday as well.”

Lotus came into this weekend concerned about their performance on the low-grip track and that seems to have been borne out in practice so far. But Raikkonen expects them to improve as temperatures go up:

“I’m not 100% happy with my set-up and I think we?re missing a trick somewhere. It?s not a major issue, but I know we can go faster. Let?s see how it goes tomorrow, anything can happen and hopefully it?s a little warmer as that usually seems to help.”

Complete Friday practice times

1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’15.5641’15.259
2Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’15.8421’15.313
3Felipe MassaFerrari1’16.6191’15.410
4Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’15.6821’15.531
5Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’16.4601’15.544
6Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’16.0001’15.651
7Michael SchumacherMercedes1’16.2641’15.697
8Nico RosbergMercedes1’15.7821’15.878
9Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’15.9861’15.799
10Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’16.3471’15.812
11Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’15.8971’15.907
12Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’16.2491’15.898
13Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’16.8591’15.987
14Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’16.8901’16.360
15Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’17.0141’16.562
16Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’18.1771’16.981
17Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’18.7621’17.022
18Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’17.9351’17.075
19Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’17.3521’17.124
20Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’17.5801’17.716
21Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’18.1821’18.908
22Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’20.0041’19.084
23Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’19.3541’19.378
24Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’20.0871’19.902

Red Bull and Mercedes were among those who ran the super-soft tyres in first session, expecting rain to fall in the second. They likely would have gone more quickly in the second session on super-softs, so they are likely more competitive than they appear.

Jenson Button’s gearbox change robbed him of significant practice mileage – he’s covered just 26 laps to Hamilton’s 73 so far.

Speed trap

#DriverCarEngineMax speed (kph)Gap
122Pedro de la RosaHRTCosworth324.3
220Heikki KovalainenCaterhamRenault322.61.7
321Vitaly PetrovCaterhamRenault322.51.8
412Nico HulkenbergForce IndiaMercedes321.72.6
511Paul di RestaForce IndiaMercedes321.42.9
614Kamui KobayashiSauberFerrari320.83.5
715Sergio PerezSauberFerrari320.43.9
87Michael SchumacherMercedesMercedes320.14.2
96Felipe MassaFerrariFerrari3204.3
1016Daniel RicciardoToro RossoFerrari319.94.4
1117Jean-Eric VergneToro RossoFerrari319.54.8
128Nico RosbergMercedesMercedes319.44.9
139Kimi RaikkonenLotusRenault318.95.4
144Lewis HamiltonMcLarenMercedes318.65.7
1510Romain GrosjeanLotusRenault318.55.8
163Jenson ButtonMcLarenMercedes318.36
1719Bruno SennaWilliamsRenault317.66.7
1823Narain KarthikeyanHRTCosworth317.37
1918Pastor MaldonadoWilliamsRenault316.97.4
205Fernando AlonsoFerrariFerrari314.79.6
211Sebastian VettelRed BullRenault312.312
2224Timo GlockMarussiaCosworth312.212.1
232Mark WebberRed BullRenault31212.3
2425Charles PicMarussiaCosworth309.714.6

A surprising name appears at the top of the speed trap chart – Pedro de la Rosa in the HRT. The team have a very skinny rear wing for this race and a slipstream may have helped him set the highest straight-line speed.

But HRT look capable of getting on terms with their closest rivals this weekend. De la Rosa said: “We were quicker than the Marussias in the morning and the afternoon but both the car and myself can improve. The rise in temperature expected for tomorrow is good for us we?re struggling to heat up the tyres in the last sector and that will help us.”

2012 Canadian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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26 comments on “Hamilton’s got time in hand but has his eye on Ferrari”

  1. I reckon that Rosberg will be on the podium if the longest stints are anything to go by.

    1. @stretch Me too. This is a perfect time for him to shine again.

  2. Lol. Usually, whenever a driver mentions key rivals as ones to watch; what they are actually saying is ‘I am gonna beat them by a huge margin’. The best example of this was when Hamilton tipped Button for pole in Spain… and we can all remember the time Lewis set there!

    However in this instance… I too did think the Ferrari looked strong. It looked like it had terrific turn in! I certainly would be surprised if I heard either driver complaining of understeer this weekend!

  3. It’s the second year in a row in Canada Massa’s said it’s been the best Friday of the year that far, so it will be interesting to see if he and Ferrari can challenge for the front row like last year.

    1. I remember Massa being at the top of Q2 as well…if I’m not mistaken?

      1. I remember him doing very well in the race too before that run-in with the HRT.

    2. Good to see Felipe back on form. :)

  4. Despite everything – everyone catching up with Mclaren, and Ferrari starting the season with the 7th quickest car and now seeing them at the top of the time sheets at this stage just proved what a couple of great teams they really are.

  5. interesting when you compare Mark Webber against Sebastian Vettel, Vettel seems to struggle a bit in the car while Webber is comfortable in te car

    1. Vettel is struggling to fit his ego into the car along with him.

    2. To be honest it just underlines that Vettel is the better driver to me. The situation was reversed last year and Webber couldn’t get close to Vettel, this year the car is more to Webber’s liking but the pair are evenly matched, Vettel perhaps being slightly stronger in races.

  6. I’d hardly call a hundreth of a second “time in hand”.

  7. Looks like Hamilton, Rosberg, Vettel to me….. then maybe Alonso but not really any longs runs from Button or Schumacher and I would expect Ferrari to dial their new exhausts more than the setup improvement that the others can make so maybe Alonso will be there fighting for the win.

    Alonso could top 3 in qualifying, I wouldn’t be surprised.

    1. That should be Webber then Vettel

  8. good to see the FORCE INDIAs show pace, but this year the others have got well ahead of them. since the time the team was made , they seem to be promising and just that. and its also time STR start putting both cars in points.

  9. With a HRT at the top of the speed trap I hope the commentator’s will finally shutup about “ferrari power” “mercedes power” and “renault power”. Peak power for all th engines is within 20hp, it’s just when the power is available. All the engines are very very similar in terms of performance. You go Cosworth!!

    1. @timi, actually you missed the point, it’s ALL about aerodynamic drag, and the more horsepower you have the more drag you can tolerate and the more downforce you have the more drag you will generate. I am sorry that the Cosworth engine is not doing well but realistically they could not be expected to design an engine that was immediately competitive with designs that had a couple of seasons of incremental improvement before development was frozen.

  10. david_paraguay
    9th June 2012, 13:55

    so mclaren seem to be faster here, but it will neccesary a good strategy and good pit stops to win this, otherwise if they make even little mistakes, they couldn´t just with the race pace, it´s pretty tight and the ferraris looks strong

    1. Mclaren faster or Hamilton faster?

  11. I don’t understand why RBR haven’t solved there top speed issue…

    1. There is an argument that they don’t need to. Well certainly last season. It was a brilliant piece of thinking at Monza to realise that having a higher top speed doesn’t matter if you can get a better drive onto the straight from the corner preceding it.

    2. @ming-mong You spend more time cornering than you at top speed on a straight so it makes sense to put more effort into cornering speed than top speed.

    3. I understand the argument & that more time is spent corning however I am not sure i agree with it, and judging from the other teams speed traps neither do they. Unless you put it on pole & gain the early buffer whilst the pack are scrambling you leave yourself wide open for a tough afternoon. You may spend more time cornering however 99% of overtaking is on the straight which is even more amplified with DRS. It is hard to make a move stick when your some 10 kph down your rival & we saw this last year with Webber in Korea & Dhabi. I think it is a weakness that should have been addressed so that they could try and keep there DF levels for good corner entry & exit speeds whilst maintaining some sort of competitive speed down the straights. It surely has to be a balance.

      1. @ming-mong, It surely does have to be a balance and the results suggest they have the best balance.
        It would be great if they could keep the same downforce and go faster but the only way they could do this would be to have a more powerful engine, unfortunately that is another avenue of enjoyment the FIA have closed for us.

  12. Yeah, that speed trap looks a little skewed. Most drivers are in pairs, give or take a position, but De La Rosa is miles ahead of Karthikeyan. Must be one hell of a slipstream he pulled off.

    1. Maybe it was a glory run so they can approach sponsors with the line “we have the fastest car…..” and still keep a straight face.

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