Comparing Qualifying By The Numbers

With the first qualifying session of 2019 all done and dusted we’ve decided to take a look at how it stacked up against the same race last year and a few quite interesting things have come to light.

Firstly let’s look at the 2018 performance. These times are the fastest time from each team in qualifying for the 2018 race regardless of session and the 10 teams came out like this:

Team Best 2018 time
Mercedes 01:21.164
Ferrari 01:21.828
RedBull 01:21.879
Haas 01:23.187
Renault 01:23.061
McLaren 01:23.597
Force India/Racing Point 01:24.005
Williams 01:24.230
Toro Rosso 01:24.532
Sauber/Alfa 01:24.556

Looking at that as differences and percentages gives us this

Team Time difference to leader % of leader’s time
Ferrari 0.664 100.818%
RedBull 0.715 100.881%
Haas 2.023 102.492%
Renault 1.897 102.337%
McLaren 2.433 102.998%
Force India/Racing Point 2.841 103.500%
Williams 3.066 103.778%
Toro Rosso 3.368 104.150%
Sauber/Alfa Romeo 3.392 104.179%

Skipping forward a year to 2019’s qualifying and this is how the same 10 teams performed

Team 2019 Best time
Mercedes 01:20.486
Ferrari 01:21.190
RedBull 01:21.320
Haas 01:21.826
McLaren 01:22.304
Sauber/Alfa Romeo 01:22.314
Toro Rosso 01:22.511
Force India/Racing Point 01:22.532
Renault 01:22.540
Williams 01:24.360

Already we can see that the fastest 4 teams from last year are still in the same positions in 2019, But there’s a few changes further down the order. McLaren are up one place to 5th while Sauber/Alfa Romeo jump from the slowest in 2018 to 6th fastest with Toro Rosso up from 9th in 2018 to 7th this year. All this is at the expense of Renault who drop from 5th to 9th with Racing Point dropping one place to 8th and Williams falling to the bottom of the timesheets

When you look at the time differences and the percentage gap between the teams this is how it works out

Team Time difference to leader % of leader’ s time
Ferrari 0.704 100.875%
RedBull 0.834 101.036%
Haas 1.340 101.665%
McLaren 1.818 102.259%
Sauber/Alfa Romeo 1.828 102.271%
Toro Rosso 2.025 102.516%
Force India/Racing Point 2.046 102.542%
Renault 2.054 102.552%
Williams 3.874 104.813%

So if we look at the comparisons between last year and this year we can see that every team except Williams has improved on their 2018 times with some great results for some of them.

Team Difference from 2018 % of 2018 time
Sauber/Alfa Romeo -2.242 97.349%
Toro Rosso -2.021 97.609%
Force India/Racing Point -1.473 98.247%
Haas -1.361 98.364%
McLaren -1.293 98.453%
Mercedes -0.678 99.165%
Ferrari -0.638 99.220%
RedBull -0.559 99.317%
Renault -0.521 99.373%
Williams 0.130 100.154%

Now if we look at the relative times to the leader we can see where the gaps have closed or increased on Mercedes since the start of 2018 and unsurprisingly it’s Sauber that have made the biggest advance with Toro Rosso also getting relatively closer to the front, whereas Ferrari, RedBull, Renault and Williams find themselves further back on the fastest time than in 2018

Team% of leader's time 2018% of leader's time 2019% difference from 2018
Sauber/Alfa Romeo104.179%102.271%-1.908%
Toro Rosso104.150%102.516%-1.634%
Force India/Racing Point103.500%102.542%-0.958%

So it looks like Alfa Romeo and Toro Rosso have made the biggest steps forward in terms of closing the gap, but it looks like we were right to worry about Williams having gone backwards from 2018

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