Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Monaco, 2018

Sauber make biggest gain in Monaco as Haas slump

2018 Monaco Grand Prix

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Two weeks ago in Spain, Haas posted the biggest year-on-year lap time improvement of any team. They did the same in China, underlining the progress they have made with the VF-18.

So it comes as a surprise to see them at the opposite end of the graph this weekend in Monaco. Romain Grosjean reached Q3 last year, setting a best lap of 1’13.203 on the way. Twelve months on he was last in Q2, posting a best of 1’12.728.

The team which has made the biggest step forward in Monaco compared to last year is Sauber. Marcus Ericsson said before the weekend began he believes the team is making much better progress with its 2018 car compared to last year.

But it was his impressive rookie team mate Charles Leclerc who delivered again in qualifying. He was fractionally quicker than Grosjean’s Haas – and 2.4s better than Sauber managed in 2017.

Sauber is the fourth different team to have made the biggest-year-on-year improvement at a track this season, joining Haas, Renault (Australia and Azerbaijan) and McLaren (Bahrain).

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The hyper-soft tyres seem to have done their job. Monaco has seen the second-largest gain in lap time compared to last year, after the Circuit de Catalunya which was resurfaced:

The result is Daniel Ricciardo set the fastest lap ever seen on any configuration of the Monaco circuit.

But hopes they might break the 70-second barrier next year are likely not to be realised, as the FIA has already indicated aerodynamic changes to aid overtaking are likely to add one-and-a-half seconds to lap times:

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2018 Monaco Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “Sauber make biggest gain in Monaco as Haas slump”

  1. The 2nd most significant improvement in ultimate lap time on last season so far.

  2. No mention of the improvement in china?

    1. It’s there in the second graph on the very right (Shanghai). Yeah, it’s ordered alphabetically and not chronologically, so that threw me for a moment. @esploratore

      1. Spooky how other than China the rest of the tracks are the same alphabetically and chronologically…

  3. Some of the improvements have go come from the dri er though…

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