Formula One race
Source: Getty Images

The Real Meaning of the "Interval" Stat in Formula One Races


Nov. 8 2021, Published 9:37 a.m. ET

After the Mexico City Grand Prix, there are many Formula One fans who have some questions. Spoiler alert: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands once again walked away with the crown. It was his 18th win. But many viewers of the race noticed something on their screens that they may not have seen before.

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The word “interval” was underneath Verstappen’s name as he raced around the track, but what exactly does “interval” mean in F1? What does it tell us about the drivers and how they’re doing in the race?

Formula One race
Source: Getty Images
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“Interval” is actually an incredibly important statistic for F1 races.

Basically, whenever “interval” is under a driver’s name, without any further information, it means that they’re in the lead. There’s no one ahead of them, so there’s no “interval” to keep track of. For all the other drivers, whenever there’s a number next to “interval,” it shows how far they are behind the driver in front of them.

So, for instance, if it says +1.234 next to “interval,” then it means that that driver is 1.234 seconds behind the driver in front of them. It’s an extremely important statistic when it comes to keeping track of who can lap or pass the driver and make a move up the rankings of the entire race.

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Max Verstappen Formula One
Source: Getty Images

On the other hand, “leader” indicates the time between the leading driver, in the case of the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix, Verstappen, and the driver who’s listed. So by the end of the Nov. 7 race, the second-place driver’s “leader” stat was +16.555s, whereas someone like the fifth place driver’s “leader” stat was +81.037s, meaning they finished 81.037 seconds after Verstappen.

So next time we’re watching an epic F1 race, as the drivers circle around at unthinkable speeds, we’ll keep an eye on that “interval” stat so we know which underdog to root for.

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