Second qualifying in a row on the same track, the poleman does not change, with Verstappen that dominates literally the session and he also allows himself not to do a perfect Q3, but a lot of things change behind him. Lando Norris confirms its season stellar and finds an incredible front row just 48 thousandths from the start at the post. Strong of the top speed of her McLaren and a refined trim between the two weekends, the young Englishman shows off talent pure and puts behind the other Sergio Perez’s Red Bull and the two Mercedes of Hamilton and Bottas, in addition of course to the rest of the group. Norris capitalized performance to say the least while for Perez, in general, the start from third place is still a good result, having the two Mercedes behind him with the projection of a race for protection of the shoulders of his captain. On the other hand, the result was bad for the two black arrows, who certainly cannot be satisfied with the fourth and fifth starting places. However, as always, let’s see the data to better understand what happened on the track, starting with comparing the lap of Verstappen with that of Norris and with that of Lewis Hamilton.
In comparison with Norris it is immediately evident how much the McLaren be fast on the straight, with English arriving in 321 km / h on the pit straight ea 318 at the braking point of turn 3. The MCL35M uses a mapping definitely aggressive of the Mercedes power unit, together with a high level of aerodynamic penetration to earn important cents, but Verstappen finds a better performance at turn 4 and in the extensions of the last sector, giving proof of a Red Bull traction still unmatched. In the last corner then Norris also makes a small mistake, but the front row is still well deserved for the young Englishman, who is loading himself on his shoulders a whole historical team is prestigious like McLaren, sight the total absence of Ricciardo, which is now hardly justified.
Less balanced the comparison between Verstappen and Hamilton, with the Dutchman faster in all stretches and in most of the curves at medium-low speed. Hamilton has better detections only at Turn 3 and Turn 7 ei 7 km / h paid for at turn 1 from the seven-time world champion, they give an idea of how much advantage Verstappen had from the point of view of overall performance (which obviously includes the car and the driver’s driving). In fact, Turn 1 is very special and is always a delicate obstacle for drivers and cars, and seeing such a marked difference of the number 33 RB16B compared to everyone confirms (if ever it was needed) that on the Spielberg track hands of the Dutch driver is unrivaled.
To investigate further we have calculated the downforce indices, and we compared them between some reference pilots in Q3. We then recalculated them with the data from Q2, comparing them with the Q3 of the past weekend in order to obtain an evaluation with the same compound.
The car that, as always, expresses a load index tallest of all is Lewis Hamilton’s W12, but with Verstappen this weekend getting close to solo -0.665%. Norris is shorter than ben 2 percentage points is Russell of over 3.5 percentage points, to give the idea of that load difference there is between the top teams and the others. Even more interesting is the comparison with the past weekend, where we studied the data from Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull is McLaren. Let’s see how the only team that has decreased considerably the level of vertical load is precisely that of Maranello, with ben lo 0.727% less. McLaren is Red Bullincrease the aerodynamic incidence, the latter in a way significant. This can be explained by virtue of softer compounds brought by Pirelli this weekend, with the Milton Keynes team in particular, and the Woking team in part, to want to protect more coverage during the race. We note that Mercedes remains almost stationary, perhaps having identified the load level of the past weekend as a step too high.
Ferrari not easy to understand
The approach of Maranello at this weekend it was evident right away, with a rear wing the more it downloads and an attempt at improve straight speedseo and, taking advantage of the grip of the new tires, the position in qualifying. But the bad long run performance of the soft rubber made preferableto risk to stay out of Q3 just to not having that tire at the start. Despite this situation, however, in Maranello there was no turning back on the set-up, in any case confirming the lower downforce, despite the fact that he points to race pace and last weekend the race pace with a high level of load was particularly good. The more plausible assumptions for this attitude I am that on the one hand by lowering the load one has one best top speed and therefore more ease to perform and to defend against overtaking, on the other there is the need to study the various configurations during this season to find definitive certainties for the future. Comparing the round of Sainz this weekend with that of Leclerc of last we notice some interesting data
The most discharged SF21 is easily found top speed and stretch, but, as was to be expected, fatigue more when cornering , especially in the fast ones such as 6, 7 and 9. The considerable advantage in the extension between turns 7 and 9 and the excellent passage to turn 10 still give Sainz a better third sector compared to last week. Ferrari it remains however one of the few together with Alfa Romeo and Alpine (whose potential, however, has not been expressed due to what happened to Alonso) a not having improved the performance compared to the past weekend, given however that Leclerc and Sainz did not run on soft tires either in Q2, or obviously in Q3. Aside from the Haas jump, who gets better remarkably it is clearly the McLaren with Lando Norris, the Aston Martin which brings both cars in Q3 but with soft rubber, Alpha Tauri is Red Bull, all very aligned. Instead, it remains on similar times as seen the last qualification the Mercedes, who seemed to have taken a step forward but evidently failed to make ends meet when necessary. Returning to Ferrari, everything will depend on the race pacein a more discharged configuration, which, it must be said, still looked very good in the long runs on Friday, maybe thanks from a mechanical package modified accordingly to improve tire management, of which obviously we have no evaluable information.
The race now appears to be downhill for now for Verstappen and Red Bull, in the best possible conditions to try a world extension that would begin to become important even if obviously everything is possible. Behind them there will probably be one very close strategic battle between those who will start with medium tires (including an extraordinary Russell), those with soft tires (the Aston Martin and Alpha Tauri), and those who, having free choice, may opt for a first stint with the hard tire.