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F1 Out Lap: What Is the Difference Between an Out Lap and in Lap?

Samriddhi Jaiswal

F1 Out Lap : What does Out Lap means in Formula 1?

The first qualifying session of the 2023 season is set to be held on 4 March in Bahrain. Drivers will be out on track to secure the highest grid position for the race on Sunday.

  • Contents
  • What is an Out Lap in F1?
  • What is Hot Lap in F1?
  • What is In-Lap in Formula 1?

The qualifying session is held before each race to determine the order cars will be lined up at the start of the race. The fastest qualifier starts at the front and the slowest at the back.

The drivers run different kinds of laps in a qualifying session. This includes the out lap, the hot lap, and the in lap.

What is an Out Lap in F1?

The out lap is the first lap after the driver leaves the garage. Usually, this is a slow lap and it helps get the tires and brakes up to the right temperature. An out lap is usually restricted to qualifying as of course no one wants to go slow in a race.

It is important to get the tires and brakes up to a proper temperature to churn out optimum performance from these components in the hot lap that follows next. Cold tires do not offer much grip and cold brakes slow down the car.

Also Read: Charles Leclerc is on the pole position at the Bahrain Grand Prix

What is Hot Lap in F1?

Even though the purpose of the out lap is to heat up the tires, the driver does not want to heat it up too much. The concept behind this is that the fresher the tires are, the less worn out they are and it helps the drivers go faster.

This is why the driver keeps weaving in and out to heat the tires up without wearing them out. They usually accelerate the car in the last corner as they are about to cross the line to enter the hot lap.

A hot lap or a flying lap is one where the driver goes as fast as possible in order to log the fastest time in the timesheets. This determines the starting position of each car in the actual race.

A driver can perform more than one hot lap if they are not satisfied. But it is mandatory for them to do at least one lap in each of the three qualifying sessions. Hot Lap is also known as Push Lap.

What is In-lap in Formula 1?

The in-lap is the lap that happens immediately after the hot lap. The driver takes the car slowly back to the pit with a focus on reducing the tire wear and cooling down the brakes.

It is usually a slow lap that drivers run before they head into the pit during qualifying and practice sessions. The drivers refrain from going unnecessarily fast as it would lead to tire wear.

The point of in-lap during qualifying is to cool down the brakes and the tires and causes minimal wear on their way back to the pit, especially if there is another session.

During races, the in-lap is usually the push lap. Drivers go as fast as they can in the in-lap before they head into the pit for a tire change.

Since they are already getting the tire changed, they do not have to worry about the wear their push lap would cause. The purpose of push/in-lap is also to make up some time before they head into their pit stops.

Also Read: Carlos Sainz pleasantly surprised with Bahrain GP P3; rues missing out on pole to Charles Leclerc

About the author

Samriddhi Jaiswal

Samriddhi Jaiswal


Samriddhi Jaiswal is an F1 editor and writer at The SportsRush. She started her career as a business journalist but soon found her calling in lights out here we go! Samriddhi has been a Ferrari fan even when her interaction with F1 was occasional. Her first real experience with the thrilling sport came when Charles Leclerc clinched his iconic victory in Spa and Monza and painted the track red. Now, a Tifosi, Samriddhi is a hardcore fan of the prancing horse and can relate to the chaos within the Italian camp and also admires Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher. Off the track, she finds her home in books and musical instruments.

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