Figures, figures...

21.08.2013

Five rounds run, three to go. What do numbers tell us?

Five of total eight rounds of 2013 GP3 series are run and the third-last one will be held this weekend at Spa. Title race is wide-open and Kevin, as you all hopefully know, is firmly in it. Currently he lies fifth in standings with 75 points. To be more precise he has exactly the same amount of points as third-placed team-mate Aaro Vainio and fourth-placed Jack Harvey, losing only on countback of race wins. Leading duo Tio Ellinas (91 points) and Facu Regalia (90) seem to be far away but it really only seems. With the current points system you can earn maximum 31 points during one single Saturday (taking pole-position in qualification and winning the race with the fastest lap). And taking into account the fact that current GP3 cars are not prone to overtaking, it is not an academic prospect. Quite the opposite – so far this has happened three times during five rounds. More opened layouts at Spa and Monza where next two rounds will be held should make it hard to reproduce such kind of dominance but then you never know. Now, let’s look back to some more figures.

Overall standings

Points Wins
1 T. Ellinas
91
1
2 F. Regalia
90 1
3 A. Vainio
75 2
4 J. Harvey
75 1
5 K. Korjus
75 0
6 C. Daly
71 1
7 C. Sainz
60 0
8 D. Kvyat
57 0
9 N. Yelloly
52 0
10 R. Visoiu
40 2

Number of race wins compared to points score and position usually tends to say something about the racecraft but not in 2013 GP3. Robert Visoiu has earned both his wins in reversed-grid Sunday races, starting from pole which he got thanks to P8 on Saturday. Aaro Vainio, the other man with two wins took one of them on Sunday (from 4th on the reversed grid) and another on Saturday (from pole).

With three rounds to go there are still 144 points to grab and from this viewpoint everything is absolutely opened. But remaining more realistic one can say that Top 8 still have sound chances for the overall crown. There are no dominant drivers which leads us to a question of consistency.

Finishing in points-scoring positions

SAT SUN Total
T. Ellinas
4
4 8
F. Regalia
3 4 7
A. Vainio
3 3 6
J. Harvey
5 3 8
K. Korjus
4 3 7
C. Daly
4 3 7
C. Sainz
3 3 6
D. Kvyat
3 3 6
N. Yelloly
3 2 5
R. Visoiu
3 2 5


It is easy to see that consistency is the king. With a few exceptions that tend to prove the general trend. Top 8 drivers have all finished in points more often that not. 9th and 10th drivers have 50/50 score in this area but further down we see why they are actually not a match to Top 8. On the other hand three drivers with 75 points have all different number of points finishes. Jack Harvey is the only one having scored on all weekends but even that haven’t pushed him higher than fourth.

But that can be very much down to regulations. First of all Saturday’s race 1 is much more “fruitful” (points for Top 10 with 25 to winner opposed to Top 8 and 15 on Sunday). Lack of overtaking due to car’s aero sensibility means qualification is all-important. Not only for a good place on the grid but also because of four points to poleman. And with Saturday’s Top 8 reversed for Sunday means if you are out of that bunch you are almost certainly out of points.

Let’s have a look who are best qualifiers. This should also show the true speed of the driver, as car’s aero properties almost eliminate the meaning of racecraft and turn achieving a fastest lap during a race into lottery. That theory is proved by a fact that race 1 poleman has been victorious on four occasions out of five. The only unfortunate exception was Kevin, who managed to convert his pole at Silverstone “only” to P2. And even in that case the winner came from no lower than P2 on the grid.

Grid positions

BAR VAL SIL NÜR HUN Average
T. Ellinas
1
6 6 2 10 5.0
F. Regalia
6 3 3 1 9 4.4
A. Vainio
5 4 11 17 1 7.6
J. Harvey
8 10 2 4 4 5.8
K. Korjus
10 5 1 9 4 5.8
C. Daly
3 1 9 14 2 5.8
C. Sainz
15 8 5 10 8 9.2
D. Kvyat
7 2 7 8 3
5.4
N. Yelloly
4 26 8 6 15 11.8
R. Visoiu
12 9 14 11 11 11.4


Again, the first obvious thing is that nobody has been able to take two or more poles. And Top 8 has clearly separated them from drivers in lower ranks. It also shows how some unexpected events during qualifying can affect the whole weekend – Aaro Vainio’s and Conor Daly’s poor grid positions for Nürburgring race 1 meant they earned one single combined point during the meeting.

But there is also a lean-on-points race on Sunday. Again, the lack of overtaking means (or at least has meant until now, before two fastest and longest tracks) that if you are lucky you can gather a good crop even without the ultimate pace. Look at these facts. On three occasions Saturday’s 8th-placed drivers have taken victory on Sunday. Aaro Vainio's climb from P4 to P1 at Barcelona could be seen as a superhuman act, had it not been simply a superb take-off. Robert Visoiu, the only driver to win two reversed-grid races is only 10th in the standings. And two winners – Giovanni Venturini in England and Melville McKee in Germany – are still hopelessly outside of Top 10. Let’s see how many points have leading figures earned on Sundays.

Points in race 2

Total SUN Share
T. Ellinas
91
24 26%
F. Regalia
90 18 20%
A. Vainio
75 28 37%
J. Harvey
75 12 16%
K. Korjus
75 28 37%
C. Daly
71 8 11%
C. Sainz
60 30 50%
D. Kvyat
57 18 32%
N. Yelloly
52 22 42%
R. Visoiu
40 30 75%

The general trend is again obvious – the lower the ranks the higher the percentage of points scored on Sundays. You can’t be a contender relying only on reversed-grid races. On the other hand you can consider Sunday as a damage-limitation task. If you are good in it, you can turn an average weekend to a not-that-bad one. Considering points awarded to winners (25 on Saturday vs 15 on Sunday) the theoretical optimum should be at 37.5%. And guess who is the closest to that?

All in all these small tables show exactly what Kevin has said several times in different forming. The most important thing is consistency. To achieve this, you must be quick in qualifying and finish race 1 at least in Top 8. It virtually guarantees you a points-scoring place in race 2. If you are good in all those chapters and can add fastest laps here and there, you are a title contender.

Of course it will be difficult to win a title without winning a race. So far Kevin has done OK and - as the figures told us - if he keeps his momentum wins will come sooner or later. Let’s keep fingers crossed for Kevin and hope he can finally turn his unquestionably good form into a victory at  gorgeous Spa-Frachorchamps, a very fitting place to do it.

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