WATCH: How Norris and Perez have gained – and lost – from their braking styles
Every F1 driver has their own style when they hit the race track, but one of the most crucial aspects of their performance actually involves how they slow the car – in other words, braking style.
Braking means getting to the turning point with the correct amount of speed. When done well, the driver avoids potential issues such as locking-up on entry, and exits the corner more effectively while carrying more speed. And while that might sound simple, doing this efficiently lap after lap takes a particular skill.
In the first episode of Racing ID – a new series on F1 TV taking a deep dive into the driving styles of today’s Formula 1 drivers – Jolyon Palmer explains the basics of braking in an F1 car, maximising deceleration to improve lap times and how lock-ups can happen, before giving a fascinating insight into how braking styles differ across the grid.
Despite having the same machinery, McLaren team mates Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri generally take a different approach, with Palmer using data to show how Norris uses his late-braking style to perform some impressive overtakes.
Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, has similarly showed a strong ability to retain speed going into corners while braking late, a skill shared by Sergio Perez in his approach to street circuits.
Palmer highlights how the Mexican’s feel for the brake pedal helped him to gain an advantage over fellow Red Bull driver Max Verstappen for victory in Azerbaijan.
Drivers needs to balance risk versus reward when it comes to braking, and getting it wrong could be disastrous, as Perez discovered when his RB19 hit the barriers into the first corner at Monaco.
But it’s not just about the brake pedal. While Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz might both be “good brakers”, the way they each work through the gears beforehand could prove to be the deciding factor in who is fastest around the track.