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Old 16 Aug 2019, 11:22 (Ref:3922961)   #1
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Stats: Vettel vs Leclerc, who is fastest?

The "stats" part of the title is an ominous signal saying I am going to put here some data to feed the argument about who of them is "faster". "Faster" can have several meanings, mostly raw speed in one lap and sustained speed through a race. As is well known, Senna was faster than Prost in qualifications but Alain had a lot more fastest laps in races, adding more confusion to the one-lap speed discussion

Anyway, here are the data I want to expose: qualification gaps and race gaps. Race gaps are calculated as time gaps at the end of the races divided by number of laps, thus it is expressed as a gap per lap, ta make it more comparable to qualy gaps.

To resume all those gaps I have used the median of qualy gaps and the median of race gaps. We cannot use noraml averages because of two reasons: there are "infinite gaps" (when one driver didn't completed the qualification or the race, thus he used and "infinite" time) and there are not infrequent "outliers", due to "random" circunstances.

Let's go with the (hideous) numbers: (positive is Vettel's advantage)

+0.25  +0.02  1
-0.30  -0.63  2
+0.02  +0.31  3
+1.43  +1.13  4
+0.32  +0.06  5
+1.20  +inf   6
+0.68  +0.01  7
-0.54  -0.83  8
-0.66  -0.24  9
-0.62  -1.73 10
-inf   +inf  11
-0.03  +0.05 12
Qual: -0.005 (-0.03/+0.02) , VET 6 - LEC 6
Race: +0.035 (+0.02/+0.05), VET 8 - LEC 4
(Between parenthesis is an approximate "error margin")

So far, the most important conclusion is they are extremely close in qualifications and very close in races. The difference in race gaps is not statistically significant (i.e. it could happen just by chance between two identical drivers).

One could argue that being Vettel a four time world champion and Leclerc a rookie in a top end team, it throws a positive light on Leclerc. Also, the age factor (32 vs 21) is a good indication for Leclerc. On the other side, Vettel has proven he is a front runner for many years and Leclerc has a lot to prove as yet.

If you one were Ferrari's principal and had to choose one of them for a two years contract, who would be the better option? And for a three year contract?
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