Statistical 101: Formula 2 at Barcelona
Formula 2’s season continues with the second round of 2017 at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, visiting the track for the 13th time.
Prema Racing’s Charles Leclerc goes into the weekend as Drivers’ Championship leader with 36 points, eight ahead of Russian Time’s Artem Markelov. Leclerc and ART’s Alexander Albon could become the second driver to win races in both GP3 and GP2/F2 after Alex Lynn (GP3 feature, 2014; GP2 sprint, ‘15, ’16).
The event’s early position in the calendar usually brings new drivers to the top-three, with 2016 representing Norman Nato’s first win in GP2 and the first podium for Nicholas Latifi. Many competitors may use this as inspiration to find their own way up to celebrate on Saturday or Sunday with many interesting statistics on past races.
The target time everybody will be looking for is around the one minute 27-second mark, with last year’s pole position set by Prema’s Pierre Gasly being a 1m27.807s. This venue’s average quick qualifying lap is 1m27.991s.
Nato set the fastest time during the first test held this year – 1m27.834s – on the morning of the third day.
These do not break the record, which is currently held by former Barwa Addax driver Romain Grosjean – 1m27.510s – set back in 2009.
A pole for either Leclerc or teammate Antonio Fuoco would give Prema two different poles at one track in the second tier of European openwheel motorsport. Prema’s currently on a five-race streak of posting the quickest lap in qualifying.
Feature Race (37 laps)
This event is usually close, with five of the 12 past contests finishing with a gap of over two seconds between the winner and the runner-up.
The largest difference came 10 years ago when Bruno Senna beat Timo Glock by 5.333s, while the smallest gap came a year after as Alvaro Parente beat Senna to the win by just 0.579s.
The average interval between the top-two in this race is 2.133s. This isn’t as boring as that sounds though, with 36 different leaders in past competition. Just one running had a single driver lead every lap when Parente won nine years ago.
There is always the risk of possible safety car periods, with eight emerging in the last 12 races for a combined 33 laps out of 444 total.
On average, 19 challengers complete the full distance. The highest amount came five years ago, while just 13 finished in 2005. There has always been one DNF.
Two competitors on the grid have previously won on Saturday, with now-Rapax driver Johnny Cecotto Jr. (2014), like Nato, victorious.
Sprint Race (26 laps)
Traditionally, the difference between the winner and second is larger this time around. One-third of the last 12 events have been settled by over five seconds.
The biggest gap ever came six years ago when Fabio Leimer won by 10.190s over Dani Clos, while the smallest was witnessed last year as Lynn won by just 0.377s over Gasly. On average, the top-two is separated by 3.484s.
Competition for first is not as intense in the sprint, either, with just 17 different leaders in 12 years. Just two of the first nine sprints had more than one leader throughout.
Safety cars also tend to come out less, with just five in the past amounting to 15 laps out of 300 total. More drivers also finish this event with 20 classified on average.
Some places on the calendar do well at predicting who might have a chance of the title, even though this race is early in the season.
Just two champions have won here in the past: Timo Glock in the 2007 sprint and Stoffel Vandoorne in the 2015 feature – 16.66% of the total title winners.
However, 75% of champions have placings in the top-six, with just three failing to classify in the points at the track in their winning season.
Each of the last three champions – Jolyon Palmer (second twice), Vandoorne (first, second), Gasly (third, second) – have finished on the podium in both races.
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