Fantasy Racers – Singapore

Not the best of races as described in my Driver Consistency Post, but a good win for Hamilton and the Brawns managed to make the most of a bad weekend, while the Red Bulls didn’t!

Driver Scores

But how does that translate into the Fantasy Racers scores?  Let’s have a look at the driver scores from the Grand Prix today. By the way, for more information on my calculation methods, please visit my page on Fantasy Racers Explained

Sin09_FR_race_points

This pretty much mirrors the race order, except Alonso who got the fastest lap and so ends up in second instead of Glock (sorry RG!).  A bad day for you if you had ALG, BUE, WEB, SUT or GRO in your team (I have Sutil :( )…

Championship scores

How is the championship going?  Let’s have a look at the scores:

Sin09_FR_champ_points

Button has a big lead and it’s unlikely he’ll be caught now, but it is still possible… (Art imitating life or what ;) ).  Not much change from the last race, the same drivers are in the top 10 but some of the drivers swapped places.  Hamilton gained two places and the most points, Glock and Alonso gained the most ground, while Heidfeld and Webber were the biggest losers…

Average Points Per Race

Sin09_FR_av_points

Top two are the same as the last race, except Vettel is now third after Webber retired.  Rosberg drops a few places after his ‘silly mistake’ today, and Hamilton gains a few places after winning today.  Grosjean has had a rotten time of late – and so far is still 8 points behind Piquet on average.

Points Per Million

Sin09_FR_PPM

Fisichella-Rosberg-Barrichello are still your best value for money – with the three guys starting mid-season being the least value.  Alonso and Glock would have been good picks too!

Last 3 Grands Prix

Sin09_FR_race_points_Last3

Raikkonen is in first place again – but is level with Barrichello, Vettel jumps up to third and Kovalainen drops to fourth.  Hamilton and Button are seventh and eighth due to inconsistent results, while Webber drops right down the order after two retirements on the bounce.  No wonder his championship chances are over :(

My Team

Well, I have climbed another eight places to 46th in the Sidepodcast League and stayed in 4th in the Pitlane Fanatic League. My team lies 260th overall which means I have climbed another 21 places. Not a bad week then, but how did my drivers do?


Adrian Sutil
Force India F1 Team
5.80m – 26 points


Jenson Button
Brawn GP
11.50m – 131 points


Robert Kubica
BMW Sauber F1 Team
5.40m – 101 points


Rubens Barrichello
Brawn GP
10.50m – 121 points


Sebastian Vettel
Red Bull Racing
11.70m – 141 points


Timo Glock
Panasonic Toyota Racing
6.40m – 161 points

So basically instead of some drivers doing well and others doing badly, I have all my drivers except for ‘Silly Sutil’ doing all right for once.  To be honest, Sutil’s mistake was so bone-headed I’m surprised Danny from Fantasy Racers didn’t just take all of his points away.

Well that’s your lot for this race then.  Button is looking good for the championship, but it’s far from over yet as I seem to remember Hamilton losing under similar circumstances in 2007 :(  As mentioned in my Driver Consistency Post, all he has to do is score 5 more points than Barrichello to be champion – although I don’t think it will happen in Suzuka.

One thing is for sure – I will be glad to return to a proper racetrack like Suzuka after all these silly Mickey Mouse tracks we have now – honestly, Singapore was such a bore!  After the first lap there was hardly any passing and in my opinion, it’s just a prettier version of Valencia.  Next week in Japan, the men should be sorted from the boys!!! :D

How did you find the race?  What do you think of the circuit?  How did your driver do today?  Do you think Button will win the championship in Suzuka or will it go down to the wire?  Your comments are much appreciated :)

Driver Consistency – Singapore

Time to see who was a Singapore Flyer and who had too many Singapore Slings – yes, it’s Driver Consistency time!!!  If you need more info on my calculation methods then please refer to my post on Driver Consistency Explained.

Driver Consistency

So who was the most consistent?  Here is a graph showing the average lap times and standard deviation for the Singapore Grand Prix:

Sin09_race_laps_av

(Note: The laps where race was run under the Safety Car have been excluded as these are not considered ‘Racing Laps’)

The graph is a little more mixed up than last time, due to a lot of drivers retiring which always jumbles up the results.  However, it does match the finishing order for the most part, so there is not much more to be said.  Instead, let us look at the ‘Racing Laps’ – that is, all the timed laps except for pit stops and those run under the Safety Car:

Sin09_race_laps_av_nopit

So Hamilton was still fastest, but Vettel jumps ahead of Glock and Alonso.  Rosberg (without his penalty for crossing the white line) would have been sixth, whereas after qualifying I predicted he would be fourth or fifth – almost RG-esque there ;)  I also managed to pick the correct winner and the Brawns scoring points, although I did get it wrong about Red Bull doing well :(

Button is only seventh quickest because of brake problems near the end of the race, Heidfeld would have been soundly beaten by Kubica anyway and Webber would have not finished in the points, even if he did make it to the end of the race.

Conclusions

Street circuits are often hard to judge because pace can often be determined by who a driver was stuck behind in the race, due to a lack of overtaking.  Today’s race was no different – after a bit of jostling on the first lap, there was not much action during the race.  Sadly, while Singapore may be pretty, it does not offer much more excitement than Valencia.

The race was only interesting to see which Brawn driver would affect the gap between them in the championship.  Rosberg showed again that he still has to prove that he has what it takes to win – in my eyes he is overrated and a better driver in that car would have won by now.

Yet again, he showed pace in a quick car, yet he fell off the pace and made a fundamental mistake leaving the pits (crossing over the white line), resulting in a drive-through penalty.  How many more excuses will people make before they realise that he just is not good enough, I wonder?

In contrast, Glock did brilliantly well to get the Hilux into second place – and had Toyota won, it would have surely have cemented their place in the sport next year…  I will award Mr. Glock my “Prime Number of the Race” award for a brilliant drive “:D

Red Bull all but ruled themselves out of contention for the championship – Webber crashed out after an apparent brake failure and Vettel speeding in the pitlane and then damaging the floor of his car, he did not score many points today, meaning that he only really has a mathematical chance of winning the championship..

The Brawn boys – well, they really made a silk purse out of a sow’s ear today.  Jenson could not get out of Q2, and Rubens had to start tenth after a gearbox penalty, but managed to finish fifth and sixth after good use of strategy and keeping consistent pace during the race.

If Button scores 5 more points than Barrichello next race (I.E. fourth place or above if Barrichello does not score), then he will be champion.  It is worth noting that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Brawns to win now the other teams have caught up, and that Hamilton lost a 17-point lead with two races to go in 2007, to lose to Raikkonen by one point… so either we could have the whole thing sewn up by this time next week or it could be blown right open…

Did you enjoy the race?  Do you like the circuit?  Do you think Rosberg is the next big thing?  Who was your star of the race?  Will Button be champion or will Barrichello catch him up?  As always, I’d love to hear from you so let me know your thoughts in the comments… ;)

More Shaken Up Than A Singapore Sling

Time for Qualifying Analysis for the Singapore Grand Prix.  An interesting session today on a dusty and slippery track under the lights of the Marina Bay circuit.  Button has had car problems all weekend (mainly complaining of understeer) and did not make it into Q3, qualifying 12th.  Fisichella did not even make it into Q2, along with both Force India’s – but then this circuit has very little of the fast sweeping corners, being a street circuit which is very stop-start in nature.

Let’s have a look at the top 10 times in Q3:

Sin09_q3times

Quite a strange linear progression in the times here!

That being said, both Red Bulls qualified well and both BMW’s managed to get into the top 10 for the first time this season.  Hamilton gets pole, Rosberg third and Q3 was stopped 23 seconds before the end because Barrichello hit the wall, denying many with a chance of setting their best lap times.  Speaking of Barrichello, he qualified fifth, although he starts 10th because of a gearbox penalty, due to an overtorque (and possible damage) in the gearbox two races ago at Spa.  A smart decision, as with approximately 40 gear changes per lap, the loads on a gearbox would be quite heavy!

Note: At the time of writing, there was no official word on Rubens’ starting position (or whether he had to take a further penalty in order to repair the car)…

Time to look at the Fuel Weights:

Sin09_fuelweights

The weights are quite close here too.  With a race length of 61 laps, pretty much every driver here is on a two-stop strategy.  This should not affect the positions much with the fuel corrected times, but let us have a look at them anyway:

Sin09_q3times_fuelcorrected

With Hamilton’s car being slightly heavier, he has a big lead of six tenths over Vettel (who was one of the lightest).  In fact, Vettel’s car being light means he is just pipped into second by Rosberg.  Otherwise, the positions do not change much except Kubica and Kovalainen who rise to eighth and ninth respectively and Heidfeld dropping to tenth.

Here is the Mega-Graph, which puts it all together:

Sin09_q3times_fuelweights corrected

And here is the graph with fuel corrected versus Q3 Times:

Sin09_q3times corrected

Race Predictions:

I think Hamilton is a great position to win tomorrow – he is quick and has a heavy car with KERS so should be able to leap away at the start and build up a good lead.  Although both Brawns seem to have missed an open goal, I think one will end up scoring a few points and changing the margin of the gap between them a little bit.  I hope that whoever ends up being champion does not ‘limp’ to it – I want to see a strong finish but it looks like that isn’t going to happen.

It looks like Red Bull are strong and will probably get on the podium.  As for Rosberg, well, who knows?  I don’t have a high opinion of him and I don’t think he will win for sure, he will probably finish fourth or fifth.  I hope I am wrong though – as I’m a bit of a Williams fan ;)

One thing though – whoever wins, I hope that this time, at least the result is honest – as we are bound to have some kind of mix-up due to a Safety Car comes out ;)

Let me know what you think and who you think will win tomorrow.  And remember to join me in Live Commenting during the race over at the good guys on Sidepodcast ;)

Don’t forget to vote in the poll below either, it’s just for fun though!

Singapore – The End Begins…

So, we’re finished with Europe and the battle lines have been drawn for the final showdown in a very strange but fantastic season.  Can Button hang on to win the title?

Can Barrichello overpower him and pip him at the post?  Or will Vettel surprise everybody and take the crown?  It will certainly be an exciting finish to the season and I hope you’ll all be watching :D

In preparation for the weekend, why not check out my driver consistency post from the last race, review the Fantasy Racers scores to help make your picks, or check out my special posts on the points situation, or a speculative post on what would have happened had the medals system proposed by Bernie had been used?

Hope you enjoy the race … let’s hope it’s an honest result this time and that the sport does not suffer any more controversy.  What do you think will happen and who do you think will win?  As always, let me know what you think in the comments…

Going For Gold

(NOTE:  This material was already covered in my Driver Consistency post for the Italian Grand Prix, but people have requested that it deserved it’s own post.  Apologies for the repetition, however it does make for better reading…)

Just for fun, let’s have a look at how the championship would look like if Bernie had been successful in implementing his medals system, an idea mooted at the end of 2008/start of 2009 (and quickly dropped).

The idea of the system was to reward race wins by awarding Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, as in the Olympics.  The driver with the most Gold medals at the end of the year would be champion.  If the situation arose that there was more than one driver with the same amount of Gold medals, Silver medals would be used as a tie-breaker.

So how many Gold medals has each driver won?  Let’s take a look, first over the  course of the season:

ITA09_2009YTD_Gold_Medals_cumul

(Apologies if the graph is difficult to see – click on it to open in a new window…)

We can see from this that Button built up an early cushion of six wins and that the others have not been able to catch up, fighting amongst themselves with six winners in the seven races since Turkey (Button’s last win).

The total number of Gold medals for each driver is as follows:

ITA09_2009YTD_Gold_Medals

So with four races to go, Barrichello and Vettel could catch up to Button, forcing a tie-breaker.

So who has the most Silver medals?

ITA09_2009YTD_Silver_Medals

Here is the kicker – if Barrichello won the next four races, Button would have to finish second at least twice to tie with him, and once to tie with Vettel.  Then, if the scores were still tied, we would need to use Bronze medals to break the tie:

ITA09_2009YTD_Bronze_Medals

So now it would come down to who finished third the most times – and as it’s pretty even, it might be best to list the permutations:

Button

  1. Needs to win once to become champion.
  2. However, if Barrichello wins the next four races, needs to finish second in three of the races, or second in two races and third in two races.
  3. If he only manages one third place, then the championship would presumably be decided on points, meaning that Barrichello would win if Button did not score higher than fifth in the other race.

This means that we could have ended up with a scenario like Brazil last year – Ironically not what Bernie wanted as he wanted to see drivers win races to win the championship and not decided by a guy who finishes down the order ;)

Barrichello

Needs to win all four races and hope that Button does not achieve any of the above :D

Vettel

  1. Also needs to win all four races.
  2. As he has one less second place to his name, he has to hope Button does not finish second at least twice; or
  3. Button does not finish second at least once and third at least once as he is further back in the championship, as that alone would be enough for Button to tie on points meaning he would only need one more point from two races to become champion.

Conclusions and Final Thoughts

Bernie Ecclestone had an idea to make a system where a driver who wins races wins the championship, but after listing all the permutations, I think it would have been an awful idea as it is so much more confusing than a good old fashioned points system :P

Besides, the championship decider could have been the race where all Button needs to do is finish in the low points – which is ironically the exact scenario Bernie hoped to avoid with this system!

Who do you think will be champion?  How will they do it?  Do you still like the idea of medals?  Is Kovalainen finished as an F1 driver? Let me know your thoughts as always as I’d love to hear from you ;)

The Home Stretch

(NOTE:  This material was already covered in my Driver Consistency post for the Italian Grand Prix, but people have requested that it deserved it’s own post.  Apologies for the repetition, however it does make for better reading…)

With the end of the European season and with four races to go, the championship battle is looking very tight :)  I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the championship points and see what each of contenders has to do to take the championship.

Let’s start with the Constructors Championship:

ITA09_2009YTD_Const_Points

Red Bull are exactly 40 points behind Brawn with a maximum 72 left to score (4×18).  Ferrari are mathematically still capable of catching, but it is very unlikely to happen.

For Red Bull to win the constructors championship, they must score 10 points more (a whole race win) than Brawn.  While this is possible, it is also unlikely to happen as both Red Bull drivers are having a bad run of form, with bad qualifying pace, mechanical issues, Vettel using up all of his allocated engines (and therefore taking a 10-place grid penalty next time he needs a new engine) and Brawn running quite strongly at the moment.

Add to this that the Red Bull only does better on cold or fast sweeping tracks, and it looks even more difficult – Singapore is a street circuit (where Red Bull have been weak this year), Japan should suit them, Brazil is usually random and Abu Dhabi will be hot, which suits the Brawns.  Also, McLaren and Ferrari have good cars now, so they will be taking even more points away from the two teams trying to win the championship.  I would probably say that Brawn have done enough to be the constructor’s champions for 2009.

But what about the Driver’s Championship?  Let us have a look:

ITA09_2009YTD_Champ_Points

Button has a fourteen-point lead over Barrichello which means that Barrichello needs to score an average of 3.5 points more than Button to be champion.  This is not that much when you consider that Hamilton had a 12 point lead over Alonso and 17 point lead over Raikkonen with two races to go – and he lost the championship to Raikkonen by 1 point.  In 2008 Hamilton had a seven point lead over Massa in the last round and only won by one point, so the championship is far from over.

For example, suppose in the next race Barrichello wins and Button does not score – then the lead is only four points.  So my point is that we are going to have a championship battle that goes right down to the wire :D

But are the Red Bulls still capable of catching Button?  Well, Vettel is 26 points behind which means he needs to outscore Button by 6.5 points per race to catch him.  Considering at some point Vettel will have to change his engine and take a 10-place grid penalty, this is starting to look like a tall order.  So Vettel needs to win a race and hope the Brawns do not score to take a big chunk out of their lead, and it needs to happen in the next two races or he is out.

What about Webber?  28 points behind, which means 7 points per race more than Button to win.  This is basically only a mathematical chance as this requires the Brawns to hardly score any points and Webber has not been having a good run of form and his car will not suit all the circuits, so he is effectively out.

Driver Consistency – Italy

Let’s now take a look at how consistent the drivers were in the Italian Grand Prix.  From looking at the drivers’ races through their average lap times and spread, we can see who punched above their weight and who was lucky to finish in the points.

if you need more info on my calculation methods then please refer to my post on Driver Consistency Explained.  As an added bonus, after this analysis I will do a laptime comparison, and finally have a look at the championship situationand see if the medals system would have been better than points…

Driver Consistency

Here is a graph showing the average lap times and standard deviation for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza:

ITA09_race_laps_av

This graph always mirrors the finishing order, so not much to say here.  However note that Liuzzi and Alguersuari’s standard deviation is a lot smaller because they suddenly stopped running before they made their pitstops.  Conversely, Rosberg and Kubica had to make a few pitstops to change a flat tyre and a damaged front wing respectively, which increases their spread of laptimes.

Finally note that I have removed the last lap which was run under the safety car and that Webber is not listed because he did not complete any timed laps.

Here are the average lap times with pit stops and retirement laps removed:

ITA09_race_laps_av_nopit

Monza has few corners and most drivers did a one-stop strategy today so the field is mostly unchanged.  Strangely though, even though the qualifying times were closer than on most tracks, there is a 4% difference in laptimes between the fastest and slowest car – but this is probably skewed because Kubica basically had a race that was one big mechanical problem!

Because only racing laps are left over, all penalties from pitstops are removed and so the fastest two drivers are those that were on two-stop strategies.  However, note that the next three drivers are the podium finishers (in 1-3-2 order) and that they are not far off the pace of the two stoppers.

If we take a closer look, Hamilton is only about 3 tenths faster than the one-stoppers.  This means over the course of 53 laps, he would have only gained 15.9 seconds over the one stoppers (on pure pace).  As an average pitstop was around 28 seconds, you can see already that if you had a reasonably quick car on a one stop strategy you could beat a faster car on a two-stopper.

Alonso and Kovalainen were also one-stopping but they did not make their strategies work so well for them.  In fact, considering Kovalainen had a car almost as fast as Barrichello, on an identical fuel and tyre strategy and with KERS, he had a poor race and faded away.

When we compare Barrichello and Kovalainen’s lap times, we can see how they performed over a race distance:

ITA09_KOVvsBAR_laps

ITA09_KOVvsBAR_laps_zoom

So even though Kovalainen had a great chance to win today, he was almost a second a lap slower on average.  Part of this can be attributed to running in dirty air following other cars, but this was because he had a bad start and was overtaken by a few drivers.  Sadly, this is another wasted opportunity for the Finn and I think when McLaren look at the data, they will have to ask why he could not convert his awesome qualifying pace into a good result…

My personal opinion on the man is that he does not suit the team – he needs a change to see if he has what it takes to be an F1 driver.  Because when your team mate does well and you don’t, you are the one that looks bad.  He has had a lot of chances at McLaren and never seems to convert them, and there will come a point where there can be no more excuses.  I just hope he turns it around before then ;)

The Home Stretch

With the end of the European season and with four races to go, the championship battle is looking very tight :)  I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at the championship points and see what each of contenders has to do to take the championship.

Let’s start with the Constructors Championship:

ITA09_2009YTD_Const_Points

Red Bull are exactly 40 points behind Brawn with a maximum 72 left to score (4×18).  Ferrari are mathematically still capable of catching, but it is very unlikely to happen.

For Red Bull to win the constructors championship, they must score 10 points more (a whole race win) than Brawn.  While this is possible, it is also unlikely to happen as both Red Bull drivers are having a bad run of form, with bad qualifying pace, mechanical issues, Vettel using up all of his allocated engines (and therefore taking a 10-place grid penalty next time he needs a new engine) and Brawn running quite strongly at the moment.

Add to this that the Red Bull only does better on cold or fast sweeping tracks, and it looks even more difficult – Singapore is a street circuit (where Red Bull have been weak this year), Japan should suit them, Brazil is usually random and Abu Dhabi will be hot, which suits the Brawns.  Also, McLaren and Ferrari have good cars now, so they will be taking even more points away from the two teams trying to win the championship.  I would probably say that Brawn have done enough to be the constructor’s champions for 2009.

But what about the Driver’s Championship?  Let us have a look:

ITA09_2009YTD_Champ_Points

Button has a fourteen-point lead over Barrichello which means that Barrichello needs to score an average of 3.5 points more than Button to be champion.  This is not that much when you consider that Hamilton had a 12 point lead over Alonso and 17 point lead over Raikkonen with two races to go – and he lost the championship to Raikkonen by 1 point.  In 2008 Hamilton had a seven point lead over Massa in the last round and only won by one point, so the championship is far from over.

For example, suppose in the next race Barrichello wins and Button does not score – then the lead is only four points.  So my point is that we are going to have a championship battle that goes right down to the wire :D

But are the Red Bulls still capable of catching Button?  Well, Vettel is 26 points behind which means he needs to outscore Button by 6.5 points per race to catch him.  Considering at some point Vettel will have to change his engine and take a 10-place grid penalty, this is starting to look like a tall order.  So Vettel needs to win a race and hope the Brawns do not score to take a big chunk out of their lead, and it needs to happen in the next two races or he is out.

What about Webber?  28 points behind, which means 7 points per race more than Button to win.  This is basically only a mathematical chance as this requires the Brawns to hardly score any points and Webber has not been having a good run of form and his car will not suit all the circuits, so he is effectively out.

Going For Gold

Just for fun, let’s have a look at how the championship would look like if Bernie had been successful in implementing his medals system, an idea mooted at the end of 2008/start of 2009 (and quickly dropped).

The idea of the system was to reward race wins by awarding Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, as in the Olympics.  The driver with the most Gold medals at the end of the year would be champion.  If the situation arose that there was more than one driver with the same amount of Gold medals, Silver medals would be used as a tie-breaker.

So how many Gold medals has each driver won?  Let’s take a look, first over the  course of the season:

ITA09_2009YTD_Gold_Medals_cumul

(Apologies if the graph is difficult to see – click on it to open in a new window…)

We can see from this that Button built up an early cushion of six wins and that the others have not been able to catch up, fighting amongst themselves with six winners in the seven races since Turkey (Button’s last win).

The total number of Gold medals for each driver is as follows:

ITA09_2009YTD_Gold_Medals

So with four races to go, Barrichello and Vettel could catch up to Button, forcing a tie-breaker.

So who has the most Silver medals?

ITA09_2009YTD_Silver_Medals

Here is the kicker – if Barrichello won the next four races, Button would have to finish second at least twice to tie with him, and once to tie with Vettel.  Then, if the scores were still tied, we would need to use Bronze medals to break the tie:

ITA09_2009YTD_Bronze_Medals

So now it would come down to who finished third the most times – and as it’s pretty even, it might be best to list the permutations:

Button

  1. Needs to win once to become champion.
  2. However, if Barrichello wins the next four races, needs to finish second in three of the races, or second in two races and third in two races.
  3. If he only manages one third place, then the championship would presumably be decided on points, meaning that Barrichello would win if Button did not score higher than fifth in the other race.

This means that we could have ended up with a scenario like Brazil last year – Ironically not what Bernie wanted as he wanted to see drivers win races to win the championship and not decided by a guy who finishes down the order ;)

Barrichello

Needs to win all four races and hope that Button does not achieve any of the above :D

Vettel

  1. Also needs to win all four races.
  2. As he has one less second place to his name, he has to hope Button does not finish second at least twice; or
  3. Button does not finish second at least once and third at least once as he is further back in the championship, as that alone would be enough for Button to tie on points meaning he would only need one more point from two races to become champion.

Conclusions and Final Thoughts

Bernie Ecclestone had an idea to make a system where a driver who wins races wins the championship, but after listing all the permutations, I think it would have been an awful idea as it is so much more confusing than a good old fashioned points system :P

Besides, the championship decider could have been the race where all Button needs to do is finish in the low points – which is ironically the exact scenario Bernie hoped to avoid with this system!

Who do you think will be champion?  How will they do it?  Do you still like the idea of medals?  Is Kovalainen finished as an F1 driver? Let me know your thoughts as always as I’d love to hear from you ;)

Fantasy Racers Scores – Italian Grand Prix

Right… Have you all taken a deep breath? Because that was a FANTASTIC Italian Grand Prix – loads of overtaking and a return to the good old days of a strategy race-off between a fast car on a one-stopper and a fast car on a two-stopper.

From my Qualifying Analysis, it was clear that the KERS cars were running lighter and did indeed scarper into the distance. But of course, they had to stop early and they had to stop twice, so the Brawns who were fuelled heavy timed their stops to perfection and emerged one-two after their stops as the light cars could not pull out enough of a gap before theirs.

Towards the end of the race, the Brawns had to push because Hamilton was catching Button, but on the last lap, he overdid it and spun out at Lesmo 1, violently hitting the wall (but he was OK) and bringing out the safety car, sealing the second win for Barrichello, Button in second and a solid but uneventful third for Raikkonen.

Red Bull were nowhere today – Vettel finished 8th and Webber’s championship challenge ended today when he was punted off by Kubica. Kovalainen failed to make the most of his opportunity and only managed sixth place, disappointing a lot of people (Sorry Amy!) RG would also have been gutted to see Heidfeld in seventh but Toyota were nowhere today too.

Fisichella could only manage ninth, Liuzzi retired but Sutil finished fourth, showing that yet again the Force India was a good package this weekend. We shall see if this continues for the rest of the year…

Driver Scores

Right then, time to look at the driver scores for the Grand Prix. For more information on my calculation methods, please visit my page on Fantasy Racers Explained

Ita09_FR_race_points

Not too many surprises here except Sutil set the fastest lap and so ties with Button on points. A bad day if you had Liuzzi, Not Seb, Kubica or Webber. Kubica has done very poorly for me this year and has massively disappointed…

Championship scores

How did this affect the championship? Let’s have a look at the scores:

Ita09_FR_champ_points

Button’s lead seems unassailable, and Barrichello has really cemented second place. The next 8 places are very tight, so we say goodbye to Trulli and hello to Glock. Can Button be caught? Doubtful, I would say…

Average Points Per Race

Ita09_FR_av_points

Still pretty much the same as last race, but Massa and the other ‘non-active’ drivers are starting to drop off. Kovalainen jumps ahead of Fisichella too, and the bottom three active drivers are all rookies. Is this solely because of the testing ban, I wonder?

Points Per Million

Ita09_FR_PPM

Fisichella becomes the best value for money, as even though he finished ninth that is typically higher than he would have for Force India. Sutil also leaps up the order due to the resurgence in form too. And you have not got much bang for your buck if you picked a McLaren driver also!

Last 3 Grands Prix

Ita09_FR_race_points_Last3

Barrichello pips Raikkonen into first place – while Kovalainen moves up to third (great effort!). Fisi also climbs to fourth, Sutil climbs, Hamilton drops and Button stays about the same. I think if you compare this graph to the one from the last race you can see that F1 is mad and crazy at the moment, with unpredictable results and some great racing! Bring it on for the rest of the season!

My Team

Well, I have climbed sixteen places to 52nd in the Sidepodcast League and stayed in 4th in the Pitlane Fanatic League. My team lies 281st overall which means I have climbed another 61 places. GET IN!!! ;)

Here’s how my drivers did…


Adrian Sutil
Force India F1 Team
6.20m – 153 points


Jenson Button
Brawn GP
11.00m – 153 points


Robert Kubica
BMW Sauber F1 Team
5.10m – 17 points


Rubens Barrichello
Brawn GP
10.00m – 203 points


Sebastian Vettel
Red Bull Racing
11.90m – 93 points


Timo Glock
Panasonic Toyota Racing
6.40m – 63 points

That’s all from me then. I hope you enjoyed the race – it was full of action and overtaking and strategy so it ticked all my boxes. Brawn and Jenson are back, non-KERS beat KERS on a track where it should have dominated and we saw the challengers for this year’s championship narrow down…

How did your team do? Are you sticking with Fisi? Is Button back on your roster? Will you be dropping Red Bulls like an insomniac? Who is your pick for a good race into the night at Singapore? Will you be dropping Renault drivers in case they are not allowed to race there? As always, please give me your thoughts in the comments…

Qualifying Analysis – Italy

Yay! Qualifying Analysis for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza!  After another fantastic qualifying session at Monza today we have another surprise grid.  Hamilton grabbed pole with suspicions of running a light car in case he was penalised for blocking Buemi in Q1, Sutil was narrowly pipped to pole, which would have been the second in a row for a Force India car.

Speaking of which, Liuzzi managed to get into the top 10, however ex-Force India and now Ferrari driver Fisichella crashed in Morning Practice, meaning that he did not get enough practice in a car with KERS and failed to get out of Q2.  A shame really, because an Italian driver in a Ferrari at Monza sounded like a really good reason to support Ferrari this weekend!

Also, Brawn were happy with where they qualified (as they admitted they are running heavy) and Raikkonen even managed a smile in the press conference!  Shock Horror!

Let’s have a look at the Q3 times:

Ita09_q3times

The field is very close here – much closer than most other circuits, but then this is a ‘point and squirt’ circuit with few corners, so all that matters is a good engine and low drag around here.  KERS helps too, which is why so many of the non-KERS cars may be running heavy and near the back of the Top 10 because they know they will be passed at the start anyway!

I was watching the Qualifying today and commenting on Sidepodcast (which is the only place to be for live commenting!), I asked people to give me predictions on who they thought was light or heavy.  Here are their predictions:

James:

I haven’t seen quali yet but I’m going with they all have some fuel onboard clip_image001

Bassano Clapper:

93 bottles of Watermelon Breezer in Sutil’s car.  That’s the best I got.

Alex Andronov:

Lewis light, Heikki heavy, Sutil light, Webber heavy, Alonso heavy.

RG:

Liuzzi heavy, Kovy one stopping, Sutil one stopping and Toyotas very, very, very, i.e. going 40 odd laps into the race.

rowley:

Heaviest: Button, Rubens, Liuzzi and Webber.  Lightest: Lewis, Sutil and Kimi. Medium: Kovi, Alonso and Vettel.

Speaking of which, let’s have a look at the fuel weights…

Ita09_fuelweights

So over the course of a 53-lap race, all except the top 3 are on a one-stop strategy.  The interesting thing is that two of the KERS cars (Kovalainen and Alonso) are heavy.  Also, both McLaren and Force India seem to be hedging their bets by having one car heavy and one car light.  I think Hamilton is running light in a bid to get pole because McLaren feared he would be penalised after he apparently blocked Buemi exiting the pits in Q1.  This did not happen however…

Finally, it is worth noting that the top three guys are possibly running a three-stop strategy.

From this information, we can work out how fast the drivers would have gone if they had been running on fumes like in Q2.  I linked to it earlier but if you want to know how it’s calculated, check out my post on Qualifying Analysis here.

Anyway, here are the fuel-corrected lap times:

Ita09_q3times_fuelcorrected

Barrichello gets the fuel corrected pole, with Button less than a tenth slower – which is why they were so happy with their pace!  To be so close on time when they are so much heavier means that they are in a good position to let the KERS cars scamper off while they run longer and overtake them in the pits.  Also, look how much faster Kovalainen is than Hamilton – a mega effort and hopefully he can translate it into a good finish tomorrow.  Amy must be happy!

Finally, putting it all together, we have the mega graph…

Ita09_q3times_fuelweights corrected

…and the fuel corrected times vs. Q3 times:

ita09_q3times corrected

Race Predictions:

From all of this, I really really hope Button can use his advantage and have a strong performance – he is well overdue for a good result.  I don’t think Force India can repeat their performance at Spa here, but it is possible.  What is interesting is how well the KERS cars will do against the non-KERS cars – I don’t think we have conclusively seen that KERS cars will dominate here, which is odd because you would think on a circuit where long straights and power is important that they would?

Anyway, that’s enough from me.  Let me know what you think and who you think will win tomorrow.  And remember to join me in Live Commenting during the race over at the good guys on Sidepodcast ;)

UPDATE: Poll Results

I ran a Polldaddy poll to see who you guys thought would win.  I have had trouble closing it, so here is a screen shot of the results:

PollResults

Interesting how many people think Kovy will win and how few Barrichello would… I guess we will just have to wait and see ;)