Rapid pit stops speed Hamilton to victory

2011 Abu Dhabi GP analysis

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Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Abu Dhabi, 2011
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Abu Dhabi, 2011

McLaren were the fastest team in the pits for only the second time this year.

Rapid pit work helped Lewis Hamilton on his way to victory in Abu Dhabi.

Pit stops

Hamilton’s two visits to the pits were the fastest of any driver during the race.

In comparison Fernando Alonso lost a total of around three seconds to Hamilton getting in and out of the pits – which proved important when it came to deciding the outcome of their battle for victory.

Most drivers made two pit stops and switched to medium tyres at their final stint. But there were a few significant exceptions.

Mark Webber ran a three-stop strategy to jump ahead of Felipe Massa. His Red Bull’s poor straight-line speed made it difficult to overtake on the straights.

And Paul di Resta made a single stop, running a long first stint on medium tyres before switching to softs halfway through the race.

Race progress

Hamilton’s lead over Alonso grew most rapidly after the pair had switched to medium tyres at the end of the race. As has often been the case this year, the Ferrari wasn’t as quick on the harder tyres.

Lap one position change

What stands out on the lap one chart is Sebastian Vettel’s disastrous slump from first to last – replicating his misfortune at Silverstone last year.

Lap chart

The Sauber pair briefly ran in the last two positions after their early pit stops.

From there they climbed through the field to finish tenth and eleventh.

All lap times

Mark Webber set the fastest lap as he ran on soft tyres until the penultimate lap of the race.

Kamui Kobayashi was fourth-quickest, the Sauber driver doing his final stint on soft tyres.

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    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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    22 comments on “Rapid pit stops speed Hamilton to victory”

    1. Ham’s pitstops were impressive but even if they’d gone wrong and the HRT hadn’t been in Alonso’s way I doubt it would have ended differently. Hamilton was on glorious form and Alonso’s car just wasn’t up to the task. I’m glad anyway. Alonso’s second was a massive achievement and it was lovely to see Hamilton at ease again. A dramatic finish would have been nice but after the seasons these two have had I’m happy with how it ended up.

      1. I noticed Massa’s pit stops, without errors, were 1 second slower than Alonso’s. He was still in battle with Webber at the time, and I wonder why Ferrari seem to be less precise with him.
        Alonso’s were also one second slower than Hamilton’s, but he was already behind.

        1. I just think it’s more that pit-stops haven’t been a strong point for Ferrari more than anything even if Massa’s do seem to always go wrong!

        2. Ooh yeah, maybe Ferrari are conspiring against one of their own drivers!

        3. Funny. More because, I remember reading a ferrari article at the beginin of this season where they boasted about some triangular nut they had made for the tyres that gave them a one second pit advantage over others. I Wonder what happened to that nut. :P

    2. McLaren certainly did a good job with those stops (although Button did have a slight problem making him a tad slowerin one stop).
      Funny how RBR fudged Webbers stop that badly, after first having trouble with Vettel ending his race.

    3. Early in the second stint, Hamilton set a string of fastest laps, increasing the gap to Alonso to over more than 5 seconds. Although I was happy to see the quick laptimes, I was a little worried it was too soon in the stint. When Hamilton pitted for the final time, though, I thought he had done enough, having a 3-second gap to Alonso and fewer than 15 laps to go on the final set of tyres. Then suddenly Alonso produced some pretty amazing pace that I didn’t think was in the Ferrari anymore.

      For the neutral observer (and the Ferrari/Alonso fans), it would have been interesting to see the battle for victory if Alonso had managed to get by, but I was relieved to see Hamilton emerge in front.

    4. Good job for all pit crew that was mega fast .

    5. Good teamwork, good strategy, top notch driving and a bit of good luck. That’s been the Red Bull formula all year. Maybe next year things will be a bit more even and we will see a much closer fight.
      Has Sam Michael had an effect already?
      And what’s all this with Jensonstash?

      1. It’s for Movember. On the BBC’s F1 forum, he said he thinks it looks silly but that his girlfriend likes it.

      2. He has a bit of stubble every now and then, but a full on stash? How did I miss this?

    6. Does anyone know what happened to Alguersuari in the pits? One of his pit stops (I think the first one) was very slow. He lost more than 20 seconds.

    7. Also when alonso pitted following hamilton in, i was shouting at the TV, what were ferrari doing! the tyres looked good, they needed to go a couple of extra laps longer for first stop, which would of meant they would of had an extra 2 laps more before his 2nd stop. And that would of probably got him ahead.

      dont think he would of won as the car just wasnt there with the hard tyres. but at least he could of had ago.

      Again bizzare and very short sighted from the ferrari team.

      Much easier to say hindsight, but as i and im sure others picked it up at the time then it really isnt hindsight.

    8. Brilliant drive by Lewis and brilliant work from Mclaren, although I actually think it would have been nice to see Alonso get ahead at the beginning of the last stint and Lewis fight back for the victory. Really looking forward to Brazil and 2012! (even though I’ll only be watching half the races).

      A special mention also for Kov, who has driven superbly all season, only 3 seconds behind Bruno and a full minute ahead of his teammate and any of the other new teams. I can’t remember Trulli even having any real problems.

    9. Alonso’s assault can’t have been helped by twice getting stuck behind backmarkers which refused to get out the way, both Maldonado and Senna’s penalties where handed out for failing to move out of Alonso’s way.

    10. Old Ferrari pit stop returns…

    11. Alonso last stop was crucial as his stop was 1 sec more & moreover he was struck behind that HRT,I don’t think he would have won the race but could have been nice to see him & Hamilton wheel to wheel.

      1. When they jacked up Alonso’s car it was unbalanced/wobbling – causing the rear tyre gunman to take slightly longer. The HRT guys realised they were going to launch ahead of the Ferrari but held off the release so they wouldn’t get in the way of Alonso on the way out.

        1. i was impressed with that decision by HRT

      2. Alonso had traffic in the pits, but Hamilton also had traffic on his outlap; Barrichello actually DRS-ed past Hamilton!

      3. @WasiF1 I was really hoping for that. Even if the pit stop had gone better, Alonso was just too far off the pace to catch or challenge Hamilton.

    12. We have recently subjected to the statement about ‘Alonso’ driving the hell off the Ferrari bla bla bla.
      How DO we really know what the maximum potential of the Ferrari is? Surely the reason we know the McLaren is quick is because JB and LH can both achieve impressive results in the car, now because Massa achieves mediocrity in the Ferrari we assume its not a fast car? Webber has never won a race in the RB7 and yet his team mate has won MANY races, so the question is are Vettel and alonso ‘driving the wheels off their cars’ or are their team mates responsible for being rubbish!

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