2012 has been described as ‘topsy-turvy’ and a ‘lottery’ that has ended the domination of Formula One’s usual greats. But according to a detailed analysis by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, F1’s old guard is still at the very top of the timesheets.
The analysis shows that McLaren and Red Bull, respectively, have been the best teams overall when it comes to pace in the all-out ‘Q2’ qualifying segment, and the actual grands prix. The second best team in qualifying, however, has been Mercedes, whose average Q2 laptime is less than two hundredths of a second slower than the leading MP4-27. Another few hundredths back, the third best average Q2 laptime belongs to Lotus, followed by 2011 qualifying dominator, Red Bull.
Fifth, sixth and seventh in the Q2 analysis are Ferrari, Williams and Sauber, with all of the top seven teams separated by a mere four tenths.
Red Bull has been more than a tenth adrift in qualifying, but according to Auto Motor und Sport’s analysis, the reigning champions have had the best overall race pace.
The second-best team on race pace has been Sauber, with a cumulative average laptime over the seven grands prix so far less than a tenth slower than the leading Red Bull.
Lotus trails by a couple of tenths in third place.
The major surprise of the race-pace analysis is Toro Rosso: only half a second adrift big-brother Red Bull and ahead even of the ‘qualifying champions’ McLaren.
The result is in stark contrast to the Faenza based team’s qualifying performances, with the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso better only than the bottom-three stragglers on Saturdays.
Another big surprise in terms of race-pace is Mercedes, who despite Shanghai winner Nico Rosberg’s claim that the W03 is the very fastest car in 2012, ranks only ahead of Caterham, Marussia and HRT in the grands prix.
“Not even traffic and Michael Schumacher’s many problems can explain” Mercedes’ almost one second per lap deficit, the analysis written by journalist Michael Schmidt said.