F1 Round #2 in Imola – An Analysis

Overall Race Analysis

The race in Imola was a spectacular event with lots of tension and quite a number of incidents. While the race winner Max Verstappen drove almost without any error in the difficult conditions, the closest competitors like Lewis Hamilton, Vatteri Bottas and Sergio Perez all made mistakes throughout the race. The following picture shows the positions of the drivers for each lap, color coded. Lewis Hamilton for example made a mistake in Lap 32 which put him temporarily in 9th position – But at the end he was able to catch up on Verstappen and achieved the 2nd place. Bottas had the big crash in lap 32 with Russel and did not finish the race while Perez had his incident in Lap 38 which cost him quite a big amount of grid positions.

An overview of the recorded laptimes shows a big peak in lap 33/34. This is due to the fact that the race was stopped after the big crash between Valtteri Bottas and George Russel.

Zooming in, we can see that the Laptimes overall improved in course of the race, except of the big outlier in the beginning of the race (Safety Car after crash of Latifi) and around lap 33 (Red Flag, crash Bottas & Russel). Drivers reported throughout the race that the track is getting dry and therefore at the end all drivers were on slicks, which is also reflected in the laptime boxplots.

Looking at the graph below, we see the distributions of the laptimes per driver. The first observation shows that Bottas and Russel were the slowest on the grid, but taking into consideration that their race ended earlier and they could not benefit from the better track conditions towards the end of the race, this cannot be verified.

Verstappen vs. Hamilton

The two championship contenders after the first two races in 2021 are definitely Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. So how did their core performance look like throughout the race in direct comparison? The graph below shows the distribution of the laptimes of both drivers, excluding the outliers (Safety Car, Red Flag, Pitstops). It shows, that both of them were almost equally consistent, only Lewis managed to set the fastest lap of the race and got the extra point for it.

Taking a look on the laptimes per lap we can clearly see that both drove almost the same laptimes for the majority of the race. Only Lewis had his incident in lap 31, which cost him some grid positions.

Schumacher vs. Mazepin

Another exciting driver pairing is in the Haas F1 Team with the two Rookies: Schumacher and Mazepin. Mazepin received a lot of critic in the last few weeks for his inconsistent driving style and it might be interesting to take a look on the laptimes for both, Mick and Nikita.

The Median and average times for both of the drivers seem quite similar, but Schumacher being more consistent than Mazepin, which is shown by the shorter upper whisker of the boxplot diagram. Also the laptimes overall in the graph below are showing that Schumacher (solid line, blue) is way more consistent than Mazepin (dashed line, orange)

Summary

All in all a very exciting race and it once again revealed some interesting information about the drivers and their strengths and weaknesses.

The Source code can be found – as always on the GitLab page.

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