Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Number crunching from Singapore: Nando and Seb on a different level

I've had a little gander at the lap times from last Sunday's Singapore GP (because I'm sad).

They show us what we already knew: namely that Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel were on a different planet to everyone else. But I thought the numbers were so striking that they're worthy of repetition here.

Alonso and Vettel exclusively shared the 26 fastest laps set by anyone at the Singapore race, as well as between them set 35 of the 36 fastest laps (these 35 laps were as equitably shared as is possible, Alonso set 17 of them and Vettel 18). That one rogue non-Alonso/Vettel lap of the 36 was set by Robert Kubica, who made a late stop for tyres and therefore benefited from running with a light fuel load on fresh tyres. And even there his fastest tour (1:49.255) was well over a second shy of Alonso's best (1:47.976) and of Vettel's (1:48.141).

The 37th best lap of the race was set by Schumi(!), who clocked a 1:49.680, while Webber, who lest we forget came home 3rd in Singapore, set his best time, the 39th best of the race, at 1:49.706. Getting on for two seconds short of Alonso's best, in other words.

Even though Alonso and Vettel clearly dominated last Sunday's race, these times astonish me. This is especially so given their advantage in qualifying over the rest was tenths of a second, rather than whole seconds, as well as that we're living in an age of budget caps and the like where the performance gaps between machinery on the grid is closer than it has been in a long time (and both Alonso and Vettel had team mates out there on Sunday).

The numbers confirm what our eyes had already told us: Alonso and Vettel moved onto another level from the rest last Sunday.

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