Thursday, July 21, 2016

Formula One: Elo Ratings, Post-British Grand Prix

It's been a few weeks since we updated the ratings, mostly due to a combination of summer vacation and some issues with our data provider. We're back online, though, just in time for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Silverstone was a picture of British order, sandwiched by two bits of disorder: the rain-soaked start behind the safety car, and the radio-order-influenced battle between Rosberg and Verstappen. The teenager has put together a string of impressive results since being promoted to the Red Bull senior team. It's helped that -- unlike some of his rivals -- he hasn't been hampered by reliability (Hamilton) or bad luck (Vettel).

Let's take a look at the updated rankings.

Rank+/-Driver TeamRating+/-
1 -- RosbergMercedes 1656 -18
2 +1 HamiltonMercedes 1639 +173
3 +4 VerstappenRed Bull 1455 +153
4 -- RaikkonenFerrari 1442 +11
5 -- RicciardoRed Bull 1439 +17
6 -4 VettelFerrari 1432 -120
7 +1 BottasWilliams 1148 -135
8 +2 HulkenbergForce India 1135 +6
9 +3 Sainz Jr.Toro Rosso 1125 +81
10 -4 PerezForce India 1122 -218
11 +3 ButtonMcLaren 993 +86
12 +3 GrosjeanHaas 987 +92
13 -4 MassaWilliams 984 -153
14 -3 KvyatToro Rosso 958 -137
15 -2 AlonsoMcLaren 942 -101
16 -- GutierrezHaas 854 +50
17 -- MagnussenRenault 706 +6
18 +3 WehrleinManor 692 +129
19 -- PalmerRenault 690 +66
20 -2 NasrSauber 627 -48
21 -1 EricssonSauber 607 -5
22 -- HaryantoManor 523 +60

After a strong weekend, Hamilton and Verstappen have climbed their way into the top three. Vettel may have dropped 120 points over the course of the Silverstone weekend, but has only dropped 30 points since our last check-in after Monaco. The German driver had previously been the main beneficiary of the woes at Mercedes, but bad luck -- a tire explosion in Austria and a failed gearbox in Britain -- and the emergence of Verstappen have bumped him down in the standings.

On the flip side, Perez saw a string of overperforming results come to an end, while Williams seems to be struggling with aerodynamics issues that come to the fore in high-aero tracks (Monaco) and in the rain (Britain). For now Williams is holding on to fourth place in the constructors standings, but is under significant pressure from Force India.

Further down the standings we see Pascal Wehrlein making serious progress in the Manor. When both Manors have finished a race (which has happened in six of the 10 races so far) he's yet to be beat by his teammate. He's also finished ahead of at least one Sauber driver in four of the six races where he and both Saubers finished, and ahead of at least one Renault driver in two of the four races where he and both Renaults finished.

Let's check in on our team ratings for the first time since the Grand Prix of Monaco.

RankTeamAvg. Rating
2Red Bull1447
4Force India1129
6Toro Rosso1042

Hamilton's resurgence has allowed Mercedes to take back the clear number one spot, while Red Bull and Ferrari are effectively tied for second. Force India takes fourth by virtue of having two relatively equal drivers, while Williams and Toro Rosso are struggling with one consistent driver (Bottas and Sainz) and one inconsistent driver (Massa and Kvyat).

Haas has gained some ground on McLaren over the last few weeks, as Grosjean has put together a reasonable string of qualifying and race results. And basement-dwelling Manor appears to be ready to overhaul Sauber, if only Rio Haryanto could stop finishing last.

Check back in after the Hungarian Grand Prix for updated standings.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Formula One: Elo Ratings, Post-Monaco Grand Prix

Apparently the gods of Monaco were looking out for Lewis Hamilton this year, after completely abandoning him last year. The Principality has always favored cars with strong downforce, even if their power units were lacking. For this reason we can assume that both Red Bull (for the first reason) and McLaren (for the latter) had this race circled on their calendars. Ricciardo put his car on pole, joining Vettel and Massa as only the third non-Mercedes driver since the start of the 2014 season to claim the front spot on the grid.

Monaco is notorious for favoring the pole-sitter. Over the last 30 years, if the pole-sitter isn't forced to retire (which they had to do in seven out of 30 tries) they go on to win 61% of the time. Barring any mistakes, Ricciardo was well-positioned to take the victory.

Pit stop mistake. Notice the lack of new tires.
Even with the botched pit stop, Ricciardo was on Hamilton's gearbox most of the rest of the way, and not even the looming threat of rain and mild sprinkles at the end of the race was enough to let him by.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Formula One: Elo Ratings, Post-Spanish Grand Prix

The 2016 Spanish Grand Prix will be remembered for two things: Max Verstappen shattering the record for the youngest driver to ever win a grand prix, and the Mercedes drivers colliding in turn four and taking each other out of the race.

Max Verstappen claims his maiden victory
Once Mercedes was out this looked like Ferrari -- the #2 team in the Elo ratings -- would finally get a chance to claim a 1-2 finish. The Red Bull drivers of Ricciardo and Verstappen were in the mix, but everyone expected Vettel and Raikkonen to outpace the Red Bull pair. Both teams ended up going for a split strategy, as Verstappen and Raikkonen opted for two stops while Ricciardo and Vettel made three. The two-stop strategy proved to be the winner, as Verstappen held off Raikkonen for 30 laps.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Formula One: Elo Ratings, Post-Spanish Grand Prix Qualifying

Lewis Hamilton finally had a fully operational car for qualifying, Max Verstappen finally drove a Red Bull, and a McLaren finally broke into Q3. There were a few inexplicable results, though, such as Felipe Massa getting bumped in Q1 (leading to some squabbling between driver and team) and both Ferraris getting relegated to row three. Let's take a look at the ratings, post-qualifying.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Formula One: Elo Ratings, Post-Russian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton continues to have bad luck, Sebastian Vettel's is even worse, and Nico Rosberg just keeps going. And in news from Thursday night, it appears that Kvyat is out and Verstappen is in at Red Bull, following Kvyat's double collision with Vettel during the opening lap at Sochi. The Russian driver and the teenager are swapping places for the rest of the season, with Kvyat relegated back down to the Toro Rosso team for the final 17 races.

Source: Daily Mail
What does Elo have to say about this swap? Is Red Bull making the right choice in promoting Verstappen to the A-team?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Formula One: Elo Ratings, Post-Chinese Grand Prix

A few years ago Bernie Eccelstone floated the idea of ringing the track with sprinklers, which would randomly turn on during the race. The idea was to shake up the ordering and introduce a degree of randomness that would confound the drivers and strategists. While we didn't get an unforeseen rainstorm or "accidental" car into the wall, we did get the next best thing: six different teams placed cars in the top ten on the grid, with Lewis Hamilton getting relegated to the back of the grid due to technical issues.

This lead to a memorable start.

Pictured: A whole lotta oops.
Vettel and Raikkonen collided in the first corner, while Felipe Nasr slammed into Hamilton while trying to avoid Raikkonen as the Ferrari came back onto the track. By the end of the first lap, Raikkonen, Romain Grosjean, Hamilton, and Nasr all had to pit for new front wings, leaving the track scattered with debris. Race leader Daniel Ricciardo became a victim of this debris, picking up a puncture on the back straight and getting quickly overtaken by Rosberg. By that point the FIA decided that enough was enough, and sent out the safety car to give track workers a chance to clear some debris.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Formula One: Elo Ratings, Post-Bahrain Grand Prix

For the first time since the completion of qualifying at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, we have a new leader atop our Elo ratings. Rosberg's seemingly-effortless victory -- his fifth in a row -- has put him ahead of his teammate for the first time in over a year.

Once again Lewis Hamilton failed to convert a pole position to a win, as he got bogged down on the start, shoved wide in the first corner, and surrounded by mid-pack drivers.

Lewis Hamilton (right) about to get tagged by Valteri Bottas (center)
Source: Bleacher Report

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Formula One: Elo Ratings, Post-Australian Grand Prix

Hamilton got bogged down at the start, Ferrari appeared to have the race in hand, and the new Haas F1 team was in position to pick up a point. For a while 2016 Australian Grand Prix seemed to be a break from the last two seasons. But on lap 17 Alonso and Gutierrez collided, sending Gutierrez into the sand trap and Alonso barrel rolling and flipping into the wall.

Alonso walked away with only a slight limp, but the race was red-flagged.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Formula One: 2016 Preseason Standings

Source: Wikipedia
The 2016 Formula One season starts this weekend in Australia, with Lewis Hamilton as the odds-on favorite to claim his fourth World Championship overall and third in a row. Mercedes has racked up nearly 1,300 laps over the winter practice, appearing to have finally put to bed the reliability gremlins which plagued them during the 2014 season. Ferrari, meanwhile, seems to have taken a big step forward in pace, and seeks to challenge Mercedes for the constructor's title.

This year also sees the appearance of Haas F1, an American-owned team under the leadership of NASCAR team owner Gene Haas. Bolstered by an engine deal with Ferrari and a decidedly non-rookie lineup of Romain Grojean and (former Sauber driver and Ferrari reserve driver) Esteban Gutierrez, Haas has stated they plan to be fighting the mid-pack teams by the end of the year.

This year also sees three new faces: Jolyon Palmer (Renault) and DTM Champion Pascal Wehrlein and GP2 Series regular Rio Haryanto (Manor).

Let's check out the preseason standings.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Formula One: 2014 and 2015 Elo Ratings

Our first look at the application of our Elo ratings for Formula One will examine the 2014 and 2015 seasons. These seasons were notable for the utter dominance by the Mercedes F1 team and their drivers, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) and Nico Rosberg (GER).

Hamilton leads Rosberg during the 2013 Malaysian GP.
Hamilton won the title in 2008 while driving for the McLaren team, while Rosberg had routinely bested seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher while the two were teammates during Schumacher's return to F1 from 2010-2012. Hamilton and Rosberg had been friends since they were teenagers, teammates in the European Karting Championship. Even then they spoke of being teammates in Formula One, racing against each other for the World Championship.

Mercedes gave them that opportunity.