Photo: Daimler

Formula One has long been trending toward becoming two-tiered, with a handful of real competitors racing alongside some poor bastards without a shot in the world. This past weekend’s British Grand Prix was a case in point, a good demonstration of how far off-pace most teams are.

This first popped up on on radar when Axis of Oversteer tweeted about the massive gulf between the top and lower-tier teams. Racefans.net took the time to compile a lovely chart showing each driver’s fastest lap at the British GP. Let’s have a look:

Source: Racefans.net

As you can see, Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull are fighting for top spots. Red Bull’s cars are noticeably slower than either Mercedes, which are both slower than the Vettel and Raikkonen in their Ferraris. But look past these three and it gets grim fast.

The next driver on the list, Niko Hulkenberg in his Renault, is a whopping 2.709 seconds off Vettel’s pace. He’s 1.4 seconds off of the slowest of Red Bull car, meaning he’s basically counting on luck to finish any higher than seventh.

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At the same time, he has seven cars coming laying down times within 0.3 seconds of his fastest lap. Essentially, he has no hope at catching up to anyone on the Red Bull, Mercedes or Ferrari teams but he has a troupe of cars breathing down his neck.

Really, the competition in F1 seems to be for seventh place. Unless someone at one of the top-tier teams crashes, breaks down or does something heroically stupid, it’s hard to imagine any other driver cracking sixth.