(Motorsport-Total.com) – Max Verstappen’s record-breaking season continues happily: with his 53rd career victory in Las Vegas, he is tied with Sebastian Vettel in the list of all-time winners, but had to fight harder than usual for the victory in Nevada.
In Las Vegas, Max Verstappen not only kept his nose slightly ahead of Charles Leclerc at the start
How good was the pace of the individual cars? What do the data from the 2023 season tell us? Who is good in qualifying, who is good in the race? Who has the best top speed? Who has the best tire wear and how much does it cost? How fast are teammates with each other?
With the data provided by our technology partner “PACETEQ”, it is possible to gain insights into the otherwise hidden data of Formula 1 teams and we can use it to answer all these questions!
Race pace: Ferrari fails slightly, McLaren reverses
Judging by the data, Max Verstappen was the fastest driver in the field at the Las Vegas Grand Prix, but only about a tenth a lap ahead of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. While the Monegasse made a slightly better impression on the medium tyres, the Red Bulls performed better on the hard tyres.
Surprisingly, McLaren took third place (+0.43), something Oscar Piastri’s tenth place was not expecting at all. However, the hard-hard-medium strategy, without stopping with the safety car, ruined Piastri’s race. Mercedes (+0.58) also failed to exploit its full potential with seventh and eighth places.
Alpine (+0.77) and Aston Martin (+0.93) benefited the most from the top teams’ problems, although Alpine’s pace remains surprising considering Renault is the lowest powered engine. However, Esteban Ocon managed to make the tires work perfectly in the race.
Williams (+1.42), Haas (+1.59), AlphaTauri (+1.88) and Alfa Romeo (+2.0) all struggled with tire temperatures and graining in the race. Valtteri Bottas probably would have had the best pace, but after the contact at the start which damaged his diffuser and underbody, his race was over.
If you look at the best qualifying times, Ferrari and Charles Leclerc were the dominant force. Due to the few corners, the field remained close, with only AlphaTauri and McLaren disappointing as they simply couldn’t get their tires to warm up.
Tire wear is not a problem with Ferrari and Haas
Leclerc deprived of a sure race victory by the safety car!
With his 53rd career victory in Las Vegas, Max Verstappen has joined Sebastian Vettel in the list of all-time Formula 1 winners. More Formula 1 videos
In the Brazilian Grand Prix the teams mainly made two stops, although this was due to the safety car phases. If you extrapolate the tire data from the race, the medium-hard strategy without a safety car would have been around four seconds faster than the medium-hard two-stop strategy. In any case, it was more about getting the tires up to temperature and avoiding graining than protecting the tyres.
Mercedes, McLaren and Ferrari showed the best tire management in Las Vegas. Charles Leclerc’s first stint on medium tires was particularly impressive. There were no major differences between the teams at the back of the field.
The seasonal average presents a mixed picture. The Red Bull RB19 is still the most tire-wearing car, with consistent laps also indicating pace management. Nonetheless, in theory the team should have advantages, especially on tracks with aggressive asphalt. Mercedes and Aston Martin also score points for tire wear.
Ferrari and its customer teams Haas and Alfa Romeo are a little further behind and wear tires faster and more intensively. This particularly costs the American Haas team valuable race time and makes it almost impossible to score points on race Sunday.
This is what the balance of power looks like throughout the entire season!
If you look at the averages of the first 21 races, it now seems that the chasing pack is slowly catching up to Red Bull. Especially in qualifying, the Bulls are becoming more and more vulnerable in not taking first place.
If you take the average of the first 21 races, in qualifying Red Bull has almost two tenths of an advantage over Ferrari, followed by Mercedes (+0.38) and McLaren (+0.64). The problem child in qualifying is Williams: the Grove team is last, 1.21 seconds behind.
In the race there are bigger gaps. Ferrari is now six tenths away, as is Mercedes. The gaps in the defensive midfield have also increased significantly. While the gap was 1.21 seconds in qualifying, it is now 1.71 in the race.
The differences between qualifying and the race are sometimes serious. If you take Red Bull as a reference, Aston Martin lags behind in the race by around 0.082 seconds per lap and is therefore still the team closest to catching up with Red Bull in terms of qualifying, albeit in the wrong direction.
The biggest loser is Ferrari: in the race the Scuderia is four tenths behind Red Bull compared to qualifying the day before. Alfa Romeo and Haas also seem to do much better on the flying lap, losing another three tenths to Red Bull in the race.
Team duel: Perez and Stroll with applause
A similar difference between qualification and race can also be seen in the distances in team duels. The clearest duel between teams in qualifying took place at Aston Martin with Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll, where the Canadian earned an average of almost eight tenths. Also noteworthy were the duels at Williams, Haas and Red Bull, with Ferrari the closest.
The clearest duel between teams in the race is also at Aston Martin, where Lance Stroll sees no equal against Fernando Alonso. Interestingly, one of the most heated qualifying duels is one of the closest in the race, where Magnussen at Haas is on average even faster than Hülkenberg.
In addition to Haas, other team duels also took place. In the race, Tsunoda is now faster than Ricciardo and Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Looking at the data, Daniel Ricciardo is also Yuki Tsunoda’s best teammate, who he had at AlphaTauri in 2023.
Which car has the best top speed?
The big question, of course, is: where does Red Bull’s advantage come from? The car is obviously perfectly balanced, but the RB19 can also show its strengths on straights. If you look at the maximum speed values in qualifying, no one is faster than Verstappen and Perez.
On the one hand the RB19 is once again aerodynamically efficient and generates less air resistance than the competition, but even with the DRS open the Red Bull seems to find more time than the others. With an average of 0.5 km/h behind, only Williams can keep up at a distance, followed by Ferrari.
Mercedes finds itself in the middle of the field when it comes to top speed, while at the rear are McLaren and AlphaTauri, who still have to improve with an average of 5 km/h behind Red Bull. These cars have too much air resistance.
Who bluffs the most in Q1?
Have you ever wondered which team can improve the most from Q1 to Q3? We have the answer: Red Bull! The team finds more than a second over the course of qualifying, which means that at the start of qualifying you often don’t have all the cards on the table, whether it’s the amount of fuel or the engine mode.
The smaller teams, who obviously risk being eliminated in Q1, have to give their all in the first qualifying segment and therefore can only improve further through the general improvement of the track conditions.
Who makes the best pit stops?
An important criterion for a good race strategy is obviously pit stops. On average, Red Bull and McLaren drivers spend less time changing tires. Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez last an average of just 2.62 seconds during tire changes, the best value in Formula 1.
Alfa Romeo and Haas have bigger problems when changing tires with more than three and a half seconds per stop! And that excludes pit stops with front wing changes or similar. The unluckiest person in the pit lane is Guanyu Zhou. The Chinese take an average of 3.7 seconds to change tyres.