Scuderia Ferrari conceded the second qualifying defeat in a row, as Sebastian Vettel’s gap to pole position remained almost the same like last weekend. In Paul Ricard, the gap was 0.371 seconds. At the Red Bull Ring, 0.334 seconds separated the Maranello team’s driver from the best time of the qualifying season. Relatively speaking, of course, the delta got bigger. The circuit in Austria is 1.5 kilometers shorter than in Le Castellet, which means that Mercedes has made some gains. First the new engine in France, then the big aero package in Austria.
The analysis in detail shows that the Mercedes and Ferrari after the first two sectors are almost equal. Mercedes is faster in the first sector, the Maranello team in the second. In the first corner, Bottas was 10 km / h faster than Sebastian Vettel, but lost time when accelerating from Turn 3 and braking in Turn 4. In total, both are equal. Here is the picture after about three kilometers distance:
GP Austria 2018: Comparison into two sectors
|Driver||Sector 1||Sector 2 / Total|
|Bottas||16.018 s||28,013 s = 44,031 s|
|Hamilton||16,025 s||28.011 s = 44.036 s|
|Vettel||16.163 s||27.913 s = 44.076 s|
|Raikkonen||16,066 s||28.022 s = 44.088 s|
The third sector consists of a fast left corner, a straight that leads uphill and two right corners. In this section Sebastian lost to the Mercedes 0.289 seconds. The telemetry data provides the resolution where exactly the Ferrari left time. Before the turning point to curve 7, the German driver is measured at 256 km/h while Bottas is only marginally slower with 255 km/h. In the apex Bottas drives 238 km/h. In the left corner, Vettel only reaches 225 km/h. Time loss: 0.06 seconds. On the following straight, the Mercedes wins about a tenth.
It is the only straight on the track where drivers are not allowed to activate DRS. So it’s mainly the engine power that counts. On all other full throttle passages Ferrari drives on the same level as Mercedes. One km/ h faster, one km/h slower. In Turn 9 and 10, Sebastian Vettel loses one and a half tenths again. The speed comparison in Turn 9 goes with 254: 244 km/h again significantly to Bottas. Lewis Hamilton was even faster with 256 km/h. Vettel was astonished: “The Aero upgrade must have done a good job. We lose time in the fast corners, which we could not make up for on the straights and slow corners.” Interestingly, the Mercedes aero updates has more impact in the fast corners than in the slow corners which it was designed for.