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2023 Netherlands FP2 Analysis

2023 Netherlands FP2 Analysis

Aug 25, 2023

Hey Data Gurus,

Welcome back from the summer break! It’s time to get straight back into the dirty data of the FP2 session in Zandvoort!

I’ll keep this one short and sweet, but if you’re getting this in your inbox and you’re not a member, be sure to check out and consider joining and you can get access to every qualifying and race session analysis. I’m continually adding new content and developing this analysis, and it’s like nothing you’re going to get anywhere else on the internet (until another F1 race/performance engineer quits their job and starts making content).

Let’s get into it!



Session Notes

Since it’s free practice too, I’m just going to leave you with a TLDR at the top, and you can pick through the rest. If you have any questions, leave me a comment on (and find this post) - I’d love to hear from you!

I have also added a high-fuel pace analysis for practice sessions!


  • NOR tops the session by the length of one of his facial hairs (just ahead of VER)

  • VERY small field spread if you exclude the Haas (only 0.8% from 1st to 9th team) - the typical qualifying field spread is about 1.5% or more

  • HAM 3rd fastest on best sectors

  • ALB has another very strong performance - the car looks good in high speed and straight line - more to come

  • All 3 bottom teams are Ferrari-powered cars, with Ferrari 9th fastest team

  • LEC seems to have some entry issues (there is a detailed comparison of him to NOR below)


  • High-fuel pace rankings

    • VER, Mercedes/PER, McLaren, Alpine (same pace, but higher deg than McL)

    • Unclear on Ferrari

    • Rest of the field unclear

  • PIA and RIC ended up in the T3 barriers and caused a red flag early in the session

    • RIC is out this weekend with a broken wrist - Lawson will replace him for the weekend - holy shit


Run Plans

  • All teams started the session on a new or used MED or HRD

  • The session was interrupted by red flag caused by PIA and RIC shunt at T3

  • After the red flag, most teams went out on new SFT except Ferrari

  • Alfa Romeo pitting twice in their SFT tyre run - not clear why

  • End of the session, all teams running high-fuel

  • STR and ALO split their run from MED/HRD respectively onto SFT - the final 3 laps on SFT were very fast, but also high degradation


  • Not much in terms of lap time between NOR and PER - see telemetry analysis below

  • All three Ferrari-powered teams at the bottom of the sheets today, but only ZHO lacking top speed - will be interesting to see how this evolves for Saturday's qualifying

  • Interesting pace order between ALB down to GAS

  • But realistically, the entire spread from McLaren to Ferrari is only 0.8% on a relatively short lap

  • There are extremely fine margins coming back from the break in FP2, only MAG sitting quite far off - for context, the lap time spread between the first and next-to-last team in Hungary qualifying was greater than 1.5%!

  • Hamilton not showing his full potential, as his best sectors were good enough for 3rd fastest overall

  • VER best sectors also put him 0.1s ahead of Lando

  • Looks like the pecking order is VER and NOR… then the rest

Speeds and Lap Times

Colored by Engine manufacturer

Telemetry Analysis


Top Teams

  • Small margins between NOR and VER (VER in RED for once.. what the hell)

  • NOR stronger T1 and good drive out of T3 - VER marginally faster into T2 and INTO T3

  • VER better T7 and T8

  • Possibly issue with data at T9 - not clear unless NOR faster in, but VER faster out

  • VER strong into T11, but NOR better compromise of T12 exit speed

  • ALB very strong in S1 and S2, but starting to lose laptime on being able to carry speed into T9 an T10

  • NOR also just slightly stronger into T11 and into T13 than ALB

  • This seems like just a bit of balance, the downforce and top speed of the Williams seems very reasonable

  • I’m exited to see where they end up on Saturday and into Sunday

  • NOR just very strong on brakes into T1 and carries a LOT of speed through T8

  • In general NOR looks more comfortable (more downforce/grip) in the HS sections than HAM

  • HAM very strong exit out of T10

  • Interestingly - HAM looks like he’s carrying lots of part-throttle through T2/3/9 and T10 - which… is a bit odd. Usually, we see Ferrari doing this in high-speed corners to stabilize the car

  • But T9 and T10 are low’ish medium-speed corners

  • TSU just losing a lot of time through T3 and into T7 - but otherwise nothing crazy

  • Possibly a bit too much downforce on the AlphaTauri if the McLaren is faster? But this is quite typical of AT

  • GAS losing time T3 and T7 - not dissimilar to the lap between TSU and NOR

  • NOR also carrying a chunk more speed through T13 finding him another tenth or so

What about Ferrari

  • NOR seems to be very strong on the entry into most of the lower speed corners except T11/2 (see A and D)

  • A. NOR gains a lot of time into T1 on the brakes, able to carry a lot of late entry rolling speed - this is likely to be LEC just under-shooting the potential of the tyre on this lap - not a trend thru the rest of the lap

  • B. NOR slightly faster through T2, but minimal laptime gains

  • LEC in general faster in straight line

  • C. NOR likely has more downforce than LEC and able to carry more speed and is mroe stable into T7/8

  • D. NOR seems to be over pushing T9 and T10 as he gains on the entry, but loses out on the exit.

  • E. similar story - NOR gains some time on the entry but loses on the exit

Looking back on this - it looks like LEC is lacking entry performance massively - as NOR looks quite similar to other drivers at the front - Ferrari should be strong if they can sort out the entry speed

High Fuel Comparison - Rough and Dirty

… but thoughtful and thorough.

I’ve finally got to a reasonable place to provide some meaningful insight into FP2 high fuel data.

The main thing we need to consider for FP2 is that teams are running (possibly) different engine modes and different fuel levels. I need to go through the past two seasons and do all of the practice sessions and try to understand what fuel levels teams are running (which is a load of work, but it will be worth it).

So… here are some early figures for FP2 pace and degradation. The figures are a massive work in progress.

  • Above are the raw stints data, but I’ve tried to boil down these figures to make sense of them below

  • I’ve done a lot of manual slow lap and poor lap removal to help make these figures make more sense

  • This chart is extremely noisy, but I’ll come up with a better representation soon

  • The X-axis is the driver's best 3 laps on that stint - further to the left - faster overall pace, further to the right, slower overall pace

  • The y-axis is degradation (the slope of the line fit above) - this represents how much pace the tyre loses per lap

  • For example, LEC’s stint 4 on the SFT was 15 laps long, but he had “negative” degradation - that means his lap time was improving more than the fuel burn-off

  • But his fastest 3 laps of the stint were about 0.6s per lap slower than VER - so I don’t think this is a particularly useful stint - let’s see on Sunday

  • SAI pace on the MED much better, with much better degradation

  • Pace ranking (rough)

    • VER, Mercedes/PER, McLaren, Alpine (same pace, but higher deg than McL)

    • Unclear on Ferrari

    • Aston also had a VERY fast soft stint with insane deg (not shown here because not representative)

Teammate Comparisons

As usual, I won’t go into too much detail on the teammate comparisons on FP2 - will save my energy for Qualifying and Race Analysis

  • PIA crashed out - comparison to early / green track with PIA on HRD tyre

  • Issue with PER data braking into T1

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