With Formula 1 is a game of tenths. In qualifying for the Japanese GP at Suzuka all the top ten drivers were in the same second. Sometimes it's hard to visualize how that happens and what it actually means on track.
Once again we found the onboards from Webber's pole lap and Alonso's eight place run and put them side by side. I encourage you to stop the clip in various places around the lap and compare the two.
- Alonso is set up for a higher DRS speed, 323 km/h vs 315 km/h for Webber.
- Webber brakes later into turn 1 and is slightly faster out of turn 2
- Alonso carried more speed into the first left of the "esses" but had to give it up on the subsequent right. By the second right of the complex, Turn 6, the Red Bull is a Massive 16 km/h faster at the apex.
- Alonso has lost about a car length as they come out of Dunlop and continues to lose ground on the run down to Dengner 1. At the braking point he is 6 km/h faster than Webber and makes up ground braking later. Not sure how he managed to keep it on the road at the Hairpin where he is late but manages to keep momentum.
- Out of the Hairpin, Red Bull's traction advantage is most obvious but on the run to Spoon, the lower downforce setup on the Ferrari revealed, Alonso is faster.
- In Spoon, Alonso is really risking, braking late into the apex but he pays for that lower aero load on exit where he's forced to make a big correction and can't get a good run to 130 R.
Crucially he has used all his KERS while Webber has saved a little extra squirt which he uses after the chicane. Alonso is faster into that Chicane but lacking some grip is a little late in the second part, again penalizing his exit.
By the end of the lap Webber is four painted starting grid spots ahead but at the start, Alonso will have six cars between him and the Red Bull. He will need to take some big risks when the lights go out.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m30.915s 2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m31.089s +0.174s 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m31.253s +0.338s 4. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m31.365s +0.450s 5. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m31.378s +0.463s 6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m31.397s +0.482s 7. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1m31.644s +0.729s 8. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m31.665s +0.750s 9. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m31.684s +0.769s 10. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.827s +0.912s Q2 cut-off time: 1m31.848s Gap ** 11. Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1m31.989s +0.699s 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m31.992s +0.702s 13. Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1m32.013s +0.723s 14. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1m32.063s +0.773s 15. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m32.093s +0.803s 16. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m32.485s +1.195s Q1 cut-off time: 1m32.875s Gap * 17. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m32.890s +1.066s 18. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m33.357s +1.533s 19. Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.320s +2.496s 20. Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1m34.556s +2.732s 21. Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1m34.879s +3.055s 22. Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1m34.958s +3.134s 107% time: 1m38.251s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2