2013 March 23 – Malaysia Grand Prix – post Qualifying Analysis

Interesting!
The crystal ball is pretty muddy; that’s because there are so many significant variables.
I get the feeling that the four permutations of:
1. a. qualifying set up versus b. race set up
and
2. c. dry set up versus d. wet set up
yield very different car capability.
Specific observations:
i. Mercedes is fast in one lap, dry
ii. Lotus is comparatively slower in the wet
iii. Red Bull are comparatively fastest over a single lap, wet or dry
iv. Ferrari are quite quick in wet and dry, single lap and race pace, but not the fastest in anything
v. Vettel-Red Bull is the fastest package over a single lap, MASSIVELY
vi. Ferrari start very close to the front with two cars together
vii. Lotus start together at the back of the top ten

Here’s the qualifying positions, as presented by James Allen on his excellent F1 web site:
“MALAYSIAN GRAND PRIX, Qualifying
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m49.674s
2. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m50.587s + 0.913s
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m50.727s + 1.053s
4. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m51.699s + 2.025s
5. Mark Webber Red Bull 1m52.244s + 2.570s
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m52.519s + 2.845s
7. Kimi Raikkonen * Lotus 1m52.970s + 3.296s
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m53.175s + 3.501s
9. Adrian Sutil Force India 1m53.439s + 3.765s
10. Sergio Perez McLaren 1m54.136s + 4.462s

11. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m37.636s + 1.446s
12. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1m38.125s + 1.935s
13. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1m38.822s + 2.632s
14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m39.221s + 3.031s
15. Paul di Resta Force India 1m44.509s + 8.319s
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams no time

17. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m38.157s + 1.348s
18. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m38.207s + 1.398s
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m38.434s + 1.625s
20. Charles Pic Caterham 1m39.314s + 2.505s
21. Max Chilton Marussia 1m39.672s + 2.863s
22. Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1m39.932s + 3.123s

* Three place grid drop for blocking Rosberg”

It’s very difficult to tell how the race might pan out, but here are some of the things I’d like to see:
A. Kimi will start well, pass three to four cars in front, and steadily work his way to the front, likely requiring one less pit stop than any other team*
B. Hamilton will aggressively pass Alonso at the start and have an intense dual with Massa.
C. Red Bull will require one more tire change than Ferrari*
D. One Mercedes driver will take one less stop than the other one*
E. Bianchi will score a point
F. It will rain and the race order will get drastically shaken up
G. Vettel will not win
H. It will dry, after a rain, and the race order will get drastically shaken up,
I. Tires delaminating, fine chaos and mayhem

(*assuming dry race)

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