Featured image of post 2024 Miami GP: Was Max losing 0.25s per lap just in sector 1 due to damage?

2024 Miami GP: Was Max losing 0.25s per lap just in sector 1 due to damage?

Max Verstappen picked up floor damage at lap 22 of the Miami GP; this is a fact. Christian Horner himself mentioned that Max was losing two and a half tenths just in turn one. Other sources have estimated the damage at 0.25 seconds per lap. Is any of those two numbers accurate? Let’s take a look at the numbers.


General lap data

First, we need to decide how to analyze the data. While both Max and Lando did two stints, they were not perfectly synchronized. Max stopped for new tires on lap 23, while Lando waited until lap 29. Because of this, we can only compare the data from lap 1 to lap 22. The data is incomplete since it doesn’t have the timing from the first sector of the first lap, so we’ll have to settle for analyzing laps 2 to 22 for the first stint.

Second, we can analyze the second stint after the end of the safety car. This interval includes laps 33 to 57. The recording from lap 33 may be a bit atypical since the leader has an advantage over the rest of the field since he controls the pace, so we’ll instead analyze laps 34 to 57 to make the comparison fairer.

First stint (laps 2 to 22)

Lap data (laps 2 to 22)

During the first lap, we can see that in general Max Verstappen showed a better pace in sector 1. The overall delta was 0.12 seconds per lap over 21 laps, with Max Verstappen coming on top of Lando Norris. Still, there’s a caveat here; Norris was in traffic until Checo was called into the pits.

From lap 2 until lap 18, Lando was slower on average by 0.19 seconds per lap on S1, but as we just mentioned, he was always in traffic, especially at the end when he was unable to overtake Checo Pérez. However, once he was able to get into free air, his times in sector 1 drastically improved. The McLaren driver went from losing 0.19 seconds per lap to gaining 0.18 seconds per lap against Max. This is a drastic change of almost 4 tenths of a second. You can clearly see the the trend (dashed line) swinging in Lando’s favour well before Max hit the bollard.

Was Max conserving the tires? I think that’s unlikely. While his lap times weren’t getting drastically worse, his teammate had already stopped a few laps earlier, as well as most of the field. Lando, on the other hand, kept a strong pace up until lap 27, just before taking advantage of a cheap pit stop due to the appearance of the safety car.

Second stint (laps 34 to 57)

Lap data (laps 34 to 57)

On the second stint is where the 0.25 seconds per lap data comes from. I think this is the number that people seem to be quoting, albeit with some people saying 0.25 seconds per lap in S1 and some others saying 0.25 seconds per lap just in S1. Indeed, Max was 0.25 seconds per lap slower just on sector 1, but does that mean that he was losing all of that time because of the damage? I’m not so sure.

The 0.25 seconds per lap delta in S1 doesn’t look so big since, as we saw in the previous chart, Norris was already faster than Verstappen in S1 by the end of the stint. From laps 19 to 22 his sector times were much better and his overall lap times were trending faster and faster. I think if Max had stayed out, he would’ve continued to lose time to Lando.

I’m sure some people will say that the gap wasn’t representative in S2 because Lando could’ve been saving the tires just to avoid any major surprises, but I find that unlikely. Norris kept doing strong lap after strong lap, and it wasn’t until the last few laps that it was clear that Max wasn’t going to get to him. You can even see how from laps 46 to 51 Max picked up the pace and tried to close the gap, but was unable to.

Final remarks

Let’s make something very clear; Max did pick up damage after hitting the bollard on lap 22. I don’t doubt that there was a pace penalty from the floor damage, but even Max himself said “It didn’t feel different, so I don’t know…Maybe it was already damaged. I don’t know. I mean I hit that thing and then my pace was the same so I didn’t know if there was damage.”

We can only speculate, but based on the data it appears to me that the damage was only causing a minor performance deficit, at least in sector 1. The trend by the end of Max’s first stint was in favour of Lando. I think the confusion comes from the fact that Max was technically faster than Lando in S1 for the first 22 laps, but that’s without considering that Lando was running in dirty air for most of that run. If I had to make a guess, I would say that the damage was causing at most a deficit of 1 tenth of a second in sector 1. Once again, this is just a guess, albeit an educated one.

Regarding total time loss per lap, I didn’t do the full analysis of the other two sectors so I’m not in a position to speculate. I guess it is possible that he could’ve lost 2 tenths or so per lap due to the damage, but based on Max’s feedback I’m not so sure if would’ve made a difference. The data shows to me that Lando Norris was getting stronger as the race went on, with him displaying not only strong lap times but very little tire degradation. Even if we add a couple of tenths to Max’s pace on the last stint, he still wouldn’t have been able to catch Lando. Perhaps it just wasn’t Red Bull’s day.


I hope you have liked the article. I came up with the idea to do this a few hours ago. Unlike most of my other charts for which I already have code, I had to create code from scratch for this analysis. Building the charts from nothing is quite time-consuming, but I think the results are pretty good so that’s quite rewarding on a personal level.

If you enjoy my work and want me to keep this project going, please support me in any way you can. If you want to donate to cover the server costs then click on the “buy me a coffee” button. If you don’t want to donate due to your financial circumstances then that’s ok too since you can also support me by sharing my content.

comments powered by Disqus
This website is unofficial and is not associated in any way with the Formula 1 companies. F1, FORMULA ONE, FORMULA 1, FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, GRAND PRIX and related marks are trade marks of Formula One Licensing B.V.
Built with Hugo
Theme Stack designed by Jimmy