Why Rosberg’s pit problems didn’t cost him

Brazilian Grand Prix analysis

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2010

Nico Rosberg made two pits stops within three laps of each other during the Brazilian Grand Prix without losing a place.

How did he manage it? Find out why in the Brazilian Grand Prix analysis:

Lap 1

Lap 1

Nico Hulkenberg’s lead lasted all of a few metres and by the end of the first lap he was third.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton crossed the line side-by-side at the end of lap one with Alonso a nose ahead, which is why he’s shown as having passed Hamilton on lap one. Hamilton held his position at the first corner but lost it a few turns later.

Behind them the usual ‘clean side’ advantage was much in evidence – the drivers who started from seventh, ninth, 11th, 13th and 15th all made up places.

Vitaly Petrov had a disastrous start, slipping back into the midfield and then losing more ground when he swerved to avoid Jaime Alguersuari.

Pit stops

Pit stops

Nico Rosberg managed to make two pit stops within three laps of each other yet only lose one place to his team mate. How?

The answer becomes apparent when you look at the race progress chart below. Zoom in around laps 51 and 54 when he made his two stops and you can see what happened.

The first dropped him behind Michael Schumacher and to the back of the pack of cars that were on the lead lap. That meant he could come in again three laps later and return to the back of the safety car queue without having lost a place.

Schumacher then let Rosberg past, aware his team mate was on much newer tyres, meaning his two pit stops cost him no places at all.

Race progress

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Tick/untick drivers’ names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom

Adrian Sutil’s poor pace triggered the unusual situation with the safety car towards the end of the race.

From around the 20th lap he was falling back and holding up cars behind him who were then lapped, leaving just seven cars on the lead lap when the safety car came out. Among them was the fortunate Schumacher, who’d only just broken free of the Sutil train.

Jenson Button’s strategy worked like a charm though he was perhaps fortunate that the two drivers who pitted in reaction to his stop – Massa and Barrichello – had poor pit stops, leaving him free to carry on lapping quickly and pick up more places.

Lap chart

Lap chart

Hulkenberg was ill-equipped to keep the likes of Alonso and Hamilton behind for long, but he resisted the Ferrari driver’s attacks for several laps and Hamilton never found a way by on the track.

After his pit stop he withstood more pressure from Robert Kubica to the flag.

Fastest laps

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Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race having changed to fresher rubber during the final safety car period.

However Alonso lapped just 0.004s slower than Hamilton’s best on the very next lap, despite having much older tyres, underlining how well the F10 treats its rubber.

RankDriverCarFastest lapGapOn lap
1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’13.85166
2Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’13.8550.00467
3Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’13.9320.08171
4Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’14.0470.19669
5Nico RosbergMercedes1’14.1840.33365
6Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’14.2830.43270
7Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’14.7480.89765
8Nico HulkenbergWilliams-Cosworth1’14.9851.13470
9Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1’14.9971.14664
10Nick HeidfeldSauber-Ferrari1’15.0681.21768
11Robert KubicaRenault1’15.1611.31061
12Michael SchumacherMercedes1’15.2191.36871
13Rubens BarrichelloWilliams-Cosworth1’15.2271.37669
14Felipe MassaFerrari1’15.3301.47969
15Vitaly PetrovRenault1’15.4851.63470
16Jaime AlguersuariToro Rosso-Ferrari1’15.6951.84468
17Sebastien BuemiToro Rosso-Ferrari1’15.9352.08469
18Lucas di GrassiVirgin-Cosworth1’16.7672.91660
19Vitantonio LiuzziForce India-Mercedes1’16.9403.08937
20Heikki KovalainenLotus-Cosworth1’17.1613.31069
21Jarno TrulliLotus-Cosworth1’17.3163.46569
22Christian KlienHRT-Cosworth1’17.6903.83963
23Timo GlockVirgin-Cosworth1’17.6953.84466
24Bruno SennaHRT-Cosworth1’17.7313.88066

2010 Brazilian Grand Prix

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    40 comments on “Why Rosberg’s pit problems didn’t cost him”

    1. Younger Hamilton
      7th November 2010, 23:11

      Thats it im fed up of Nico always being lucky and sneaky cant he have bad luck for one time, i know Webber and himself in Korea but thats not enough he’s always getting away with everything it really baffles me

      1. To be fair, under the old safety car rules (where the pit lane was closed when the safety car was deployed), Nico got caught out at least twice and got a 10-second stop/go penalty as a result. Though he gets no sympathy from me for that as the team should have been responsible enough to build the possibility of a safety car into their pit strategy.

        1. In Singapore 2008 he got that drive through, but he was mighty lucky with the safety car anyway. He went from P9 to P2 because of it (and because they took so long to hand out the drive through).

          1. Yes, that’s true. It was mightily ironic the way Rosberg was moaning that he had been “cheated out a win” by Crashgate, when the only reason he was in P2 in the first place was thanks to his own cheating (and the delay in the stewards’ room, of course).

            But, the point is that a safety car is necessarily a lottery. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Rosberg “won” yesterday and in Singapore, but certainly “lost” in Canada ’07, for instance. It’s definitely unjustified to suggest that Nico never has any bad luck.

      2. I don’t think it is about luck here. Had they not been in that position, they would not have done this move. It’s more a case of clever usage of the situation.

      3. Thats it im fed up of Nico always being lucky and sneaky cant he have bad luck for one time, i know Webber and himself in Korea but thats not enough he’s always getting away with everything it really baffles me

        Have you seen any wheels suddenly fly off that Mercedes? Like in Hungray and Japan?

    2. Younger Hamilton
      7th November 2010, 23:15

      Umm Interesting,Lewis FASTEST LAP by 0.004secs and Jenson 3rd jsut 0.081secs and in the race Lewis was crying about tyres graining even on the Primes and he does the fastest lap of the race,just brilliant driving and even through the tough times Lewis and Jenson can still OUTPERFORM their MP4-25 machinery.

      1. Think its more an indication of how far behind the mp4-25 is… Even with fresh rubber they can just barely match the times of alonso and the red bulls. Crossed fingers for next year but I dont want to get my hopes up :(

        1. Yep, Hamilton’s FLap was due to fresh tyres not outperforming the car…

      2. Didn’t he set that fastest time after he had pitted for new rubber under that last safety car?

        Having new tyres when everyone else’s are 30 laps old will help with the setting of quick laps for sure.

        1. mid season the mclaren was a fraction behind red bull and well ahead of ferrari. makes you wonder how a team that experienced has blown it really.

          like red bull they should be well clear of alonso with that car.

    3. I know this is a bit off topic, but I thought the headline image of Rosberg in his mercedes was a screenshot from the F1 2010 game before closer inspection. Codemasters have done well with the visuals in that case

    4. Hamilton fell out with his dad because he told him McLaren weren’t consistent in providing best vehicles or matching developments of other teams.

      This race exposed McLaren issues very plainly.

      1. Where did you get that from?

      2. Younger Hamilton
        8th November 2010, 0:21

        Hamilton fell out with his dad because he told him McLaren weren’t consistent in providing best vehicles or matching developments of other teams.

        Exactly since when did that occur
        i know he fell out with his Dad but that wasnt the reason

    5. I find it pretty interesting that Jenson was at least as fast as Lewis in the race today, if not faster. I’m pretty sure he held station behind Lewis when it was clear he was out of the championship anyway.

      I saw an interview where Schumi said he let Rosberg through after the safety car because he had fresher tyres. I think that shows how he’s treating this season, he’s having fun and definitely not as ruthless as he was in the past. I think it might have had something to do with Rosberg having a battle with Kubica in the driver’s championship too, whereas Schumi is in no-man’s land .

      1. Younger Hamilton
        8th November 2010, 0:24

        Or in simply cases,TEAM ORDERS!!!

        1. Or in a much more likely case,
          He let him past without the team ordering him to do so, and in the process, has shown the idiots at Ferrari and Red Bull how team mates can actually work… wait for it… as a team.

          1. I’m not sure if this is ironic or not!

    6. Somehow youngerhamilton’s comments irritates me… What about the time in valentia where hamilton got away with overtaking the safety car and then lost no positions with the drive thru? Safety cars can create opportunities at times and it’s up to the teams to exploit that. Mercedes did that with nico and limit their damage. Mclaren exploited it to change their worn rubber without losing race positions.

    7. It’s a shame for Quick Nick. Had his team not gambled on new tryes during the SC stint he may have some chances trying to stick with the Sutil-Shumi-Kubica train. Probably wouldn’t end up with the drive thru for Roseberg won’t be lapping him (or at least that early) without that pit stop.

    8. From Autosport, Brawn added: “We made all the right strategy calls today.”

      I don’t understand why they didn’t wait a little longer before pitting Schumacher. If he’d been able to stay out a lap or two longer he wouldn’t have got stuck behind Sutil, and Rosberg wouldn’t have been able to pass him initially.

      1. I agree. Another big mistake from the team. And why didn’t they changed the tyres on Michael’s car during the safety car period? His tyres were older and he must have had new sets. I would be very happy to hear Andy Shovlin’s explanation. Maybe they wanted Rosberg to score more points against Kubica?

    9. Massa was so disappointing. He really deserves to lose his seat. He is no help to the team at all.

      1. Actually he did do some very nice passing on track. Hardly his mistake having to come in again after he notices the wheel nut is not fixed on his front tyre.

        1. I agree, he looked maybe a bit over aggressive near the end of the race, but he was unlucky with his pitstop, which put him at the back of the race. He would probably have quite a few more points had he driven like this in more races of the season.

    10. That’s very interesting. At the end of the day that was why he ended with a good result

    11. Liuzzi was disappointing that crash was a rookie mistake, i hope they get him out for next season!!

    12. well
      I don’t understand why Rosberg’s pit stops didn’t cost him? ??? maybe my mind is not analytical, I don’t understand this chart at all.
      Please, somebody explain me


      1. ok.




        1. nice, thanks for letting me know, you are so great.
          so I still don’t get the Rosberg advantage? was he twice, just in three laps, twenty odds seconds in front of Hulk in the safety car pace?
          Probably i would have to see it on some graphs picturing the track and the distances between the drivers to understand. ?

    13. Nico has had some bad luck, he was driving along in Korea in 4th then Webber spun, ricocheted of the barrier and hit the Mercedes driver, totally unavoidable DNF from the German, that was very unlucky.

      To be honest, Mclaren are overrated, thy do seem to have a good year bad year inconsistency in the past decade and a bit, they had two championship winning cars in a row, 98 and 99, good car in 2000, bit of a dip, then potential winners in 2003?, 2005 and 2007, won in 2008, and 2009 was ridiculous. As for 2010, it still has a very remote chance of taking a drivers title……

      1. I think McLaren have a different philosophy to other teams, for some strange reason they try to build cars that’ll win Monaco, which is different to other race tracks. Its all about the prestige with them, they prefer the Drivers championship over the Constructors because they want that number 1 on their car at any cost.

        1. McLaren only prefer the drivers’ championship over the constructors’ when the constructors’ is out of reach. And vice versa. In 2005 we had several statements from the team along the lines of “We’re fighting for the constructors’ championship, that’s what means most to us” because Alonso was so far ahead in the WDC but Renault were catchable in the WCC.

          I don’t know where this myth about McLaren always wanting the drivers’ title comes from.

    14. Sutil had a poor pace?, you know he was on the hard tyre almost the whole race! And on Soft he made some decent times. But 13th is still way off!

    15. Kubica was stuck behind Hulk for the whole race, and I think he made a mistake when he decided to pit with Nico for the first time. We know that Renault doesn’t have the fastest pit crew, so Robert should have stayed out for 2-3 more laps on soft tyres and try to gain some advantage.

    16. What a bizarre situation at Lap 55-56, you see FIVE sets of drivers, One set on lead lap, one a lap down, and Heikki and Trulli 2 laps down, Di Grassi some 6-7 laps down, Klien another lap down on Di Grassi.

      You have Massa, Buemi and Liuzzi fighting for position, while simultaneously lapping the slower cars and also being lapped simultaneously. Meanwhile, the cars that they are lapping – Trulli and Kova – are also lapping Klien and Di Grassi. F1 should do something to avoid creating such a mess.

      Letting drivers unlap themselves may not be the best solution, Klien – who is barely faster than the safety car itself, will take over 10 laps to cover up the extra 7-8 laps he is behind. You should let drivers unlap for only 1 lap. That is, if someone is one-lap down, he now comes on lead lap, and one who is 2 laps down comes to 1 lap down and so on, so that at the race restart, you don’t see drivers lapping each other. This way, all the drivers on lead lap will be at the front, the next cluster will be 1 lap behind, next cluster 2 laps behind, while that will still cause the chart to look bizarre as the one above, atleast, they won’t be mixing it up!!

      1. Great Idea!

        And while we are at it, I say every time the leader comes up to lap a car he stops and then everybody stops behind him, so that everyone can catch up to everyone else, that way no one will have to lap any one and no one will feel bad about getting in anyone else’s way.

        1. Oh come on!! At the race restart, who wants to see the order of drivers to be 1st, 5th, 6th, 2nd, 7th, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 10th, 17th, 11th, 12th, 4th!!

          This way atleast they will be in order in which they are supposed to fight, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.. and so on.

          It is obviously unfair to expect drivers to respect blue flags when they are racing for position. If we let everyone unlap for a single lap and get into position, then we would have no blue flags at the race restart.

          And don’t tell me blue flags should be banned. No sport should punish you for being fast.

          1. No sport should punish you for being fast.

            That’s exactly what you are doing by letting the lapped cars go. You are punishing the leaders for being to fast to begin with. They’ve used more fuel and worn their tyres more, but their gap and the lapped cars they’ve put between them and the next car are removed. Punished for being fast.

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