2012 Chinese Grand Prix fastest laps

2012 Chinese Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Two pit stops or three? That was the question facing teams in the Chinese Grand Prix.

And several of them didn’t get the call quite right: towards the end of the race drivers including Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen fell back as their tyres wore out.

The fastest lap times chart below reveals who got their strategies right in China.

Chinese Grand Prix lap times

This chart shows each driver’s laptime on each lap of the race (in seconds). Very slow laps have been discarded.


Nico Rosberg105.632103.934103.61103.73103.544103.94103.705103.65103.579103.692103.616103.637108.995119.832102.551102.656102.857102.503102.573102.843102.96103.019102.798102.659103.206102.944103.062103.276103.182103.215103.466103.093103.355107.529117.707101.197101.248101.439101.109100.967101.049101.338101.394101.365101.035101.72101.47101.88101.692101.402101.863101.477101.3101.639101.583102.212
Michael Schumacher106.359104.32104.148104.112104.187104.173104.341104.288104.109104.238104.565108.697
Kamui Kobayashi110.276105.188104.182104.08103.855104.049104.218104.461108.589121.325104.164103.95103.721103.541103.399103.67104.283103.393103.157103.286103.212103.109103.287103.229108.505118.637101.705102.046102.149102.252102.759102.792102.889102.793102.756102.884102.73106.824118.13799.96100.737100.982100.784100.77101.268101.51101.784101.184102.047101.655101.855101.285102.647103.584102.098102.017
Kimi Raikkonen108.6104.458104.161104.008103.769103.996104.183104.206104.431109.019122.763103.324103.703102.951103.045103.464103.035102.79102.98103.147103.413103.053102.752102.837103.038102.927103.079107.45120.779102.531102.519103.296103.161102.923102.729102.836102.683102.918102.838102.444102.799102.096101.794101.885102.073102.228102.293106.707107.379104.086104.479104.268103.165103.243103.114103.654
Jenson Button107.732104.619104.128103.922103.965104.12104.056104.389104.346104.604108.646118.438102.677102.988102.68103.048102.917102.828102.866102.866102.679102.762102.972106.597118.319101.391101.854102.842101.78102.831101.692100.908101.211101.367101.93102.092101.873102.041106.424123.712102.49102.437101.766102.127101.952102.133102.217101.782101.375101.266101.553100.907101.137100.448100.431100.422
Mark Webber111.27105.459104.439104.179104.345108.465119.956103.01103.591103.127104.916103.601103.442102.993103.093102.875102.967103.019103.116103.512107.533118.131101.466101.724102.827103.775102.591102.207102.05102.496101.746102.183103.359107.728117.836102.112100.709100.725101.52101.494102.093101.408101.905101.891101.962101.643102.371104.722101.717101.074100.832100.49101.634102.028102.389101.107
Lewis Hamilton109.228104.594104.169103.982104.148103.989103.728104.218104.3108.886120.863102.789103.027102.807102.693102.879102.862102.612102.961103.22103.063107.073118.264103.023103.316102.602103.315101.98102.494101.831101.781102.823103.396103.423104.545101.584101.73105.758117.274100.53101.374101.561101.257101.423101.955101.657102.174103.779100.683100.711101.076101.479102.105102.089101.039100.819
Sergio Perez109.726104.574104.118104.336104.031103.933103.911103.976104.378104.481103.954103.906103.847103.894104.04109.024121.729103.663105.167103.363103.069102.972103.114102.903103.436103.389103.161103.916103.38103.354103.269103.221103.211103.812108.803120.194101.071101.131101.672101.588101.615101.673102.024101.411102.98103.726101.412101.249104.22101.81101.851101.895102.072103.505102.413103.422
Fernando Alonso110.905105.36104.284104.205104.456104.154104.365104.073104.257104.021103.935108.091119.017102.96103.135103.272103.187103.027102.915102.972103.329103.141103.003102.931103.121103.031106.964117.736102.115102.857102.202101.785101.74102.209102.527101.97101.795105.765116.842101.363101.152101.745104.951101.421102.373102.321101.552101.737102.575102.423101.377101.773103.479102.81101.87101.609
Romain Grosjean112.513105.425105.09104.366104.561104.557104.346104.467104.635104.428108.458119.6103.335102.831102.983102.955103.13103.282103.145103.321103.247103.447102.923103.227102.995103.148102.55102.387103.253102.532102.512106.386123.623101.285101.12101.398102.185102.662102.218103.164102.464102.483101.907102.088107.208101.522101.193101.999102.393101.131101.457101.325101.944101.829102.24101.547
Sebastian Vettel114.438105.568105.13104.786104.897104.657104.437104.484108.756120.491102.732103.178102.952102.775102.987103.18103.502103.41103.431102.978102.915102.954102.981103.142103.634103.076103.077102.884103.167103.937108.259117.749100.601101.035101.399102.576102.86102.887102.267102.414102.746102.148101.798101.942102.065102.162102.281101.651101.376101.302102.399101.914102.111102.734103.117103.083
Felipe Massa111.897105.61104.828104.519104.509104.594104.397104.516104.51104.18104.131104.251104.311104.297104.206104.456104.794108.838119.265103.114103.531103.739103.387103.074103.433104.04104.177103.509103.426103.948103.746103.979103.131102.901102.722102.714102.844102.869102.707102.606106.585116.946101.316101.382101.306101.781101.417101.24101.426102.254102.193101.963101.624101.932102.255102.382
Pastor Maldonado114.494106.352104.955104.64104.913104.759104.591105.198103.697104.27109.2120.041103.056103.714103.615102.783103.648103.18103.098103.317103.711103.204102.887102.817103.649103.217103.167103.37103.39104.981103.53104.018108.886118.011100.563100.482101.024100.903100.73100.983101.545102.591102.34101.756104.94101.672101.29101.769103.513101.835101.603101.873104.105101.8101.341101.555
Bruno Senna113.302105.46105.274104.701105.234104.326104.403104.159104.395104.072104.195108.47119.414102.948102.903103.222103.355103.446104.531103.485103.061103.319103.111103.176103.337104.086103.631106.217109.042119.599101.443101.405101.829101.657101.314101.4101.293101.523101.819101.635102.917101.982102.762101.801101.95101.955102.095103.567103.182101.952102.145101.716101.744101.976102.613101.977
Paul di Resta113.925105.796104.998104.636105.231104.439104.438104.352104.391105.052109.203119.62103.569103.747103.323103.019103.246103.007103.488104.142104.697103.596103.207103.158103.182103.218104.553104.091103.63103.421104.603107.913119.028102.069101.617101.535101.684101.734101.683101.498101.65101.849101.784101.715101.838102.437102.808102.416102.236103.43103.394101.539101.616101.958102.519102.274
Nico Hulkenberg115.795107.27105.607105.472105.379105.277105.789105.635109.397131.412103.726105.518103.178104.203103.975104.525104.458104.596103.564102.717103.189103.111102.978102.877103.327103.322103.514103.837103.722108.577118.823101.483101.512101.675101.342101.738102101.439101.784101.402101.582101.656101.633101.427101.304101.239101.338100.977101.346101.665101.652101.688102.423102.321103.101103.645
Daniel Ricciardo116.795107.182105.307105.402105.31105.226105.614105.951105.138104.974107.449106.454106.331105.941106.755105.414108.782122.279104.437103.405102.731103.956102.726102.533102.435102.752102.877103.165103.188103.752103.332103.744108.779121.132101.501101.706101.285101.535101.262101.251101.672102.241101.343101.576101.26101.401103.93101.484101.421101.594101.593101.686102.999101.916102.001102.18
Jean-Eric Vergne119.116107.744105.55105.586105.041105.345105.81106.005105.269105.328109.904123.108103.475105.94103.926104.171103.457103.669103.119103.323103.183103.131102.923103.002103.234103.556103.628107.908120.724101.205101.104101.417101.754101.88101.714102.047101.803101.566101.861101.77106.371118.524100.682100.272100.173100.353100.36100.019100.377100.489100.361100.661100.493101.297101.698102.259
Heikki Kovalainen114.941106.993105.674105.897105.408105.275105.793105.581105.276105.656105.216112.903122.217105.613104.322105.004105.348105.317105.091104.515104.266104.153105.115104.523104.57104.462104.491108.639105.315103.313106.811105.506103.841105.66103.282103.326104.081105.548105.606104.066104.445103.9104.261104.526109.884105.358101.466101.334102.321101.19
Vitaly Petrov117.261107.651106.514105.805105.35105.353105.699106.654107.896110.145121.954106.554104.796104.92105.312104.645104.501104.497104.885105.386104.186104.31104.185103.765104.015104.239104.298104.652108.323120.405102.915103.734103.106103.004102.804102.763102.766102.385103.101103.638102.893102.723102.877102.889102.965102.968103.213104.602103.115102.881103.496103.126105.953104.904103.577
Timo Glock116.348108.256107.206107.7106.654106.591106.884106.291106.338106.522106.129106.898106.249106.19106.374106.473106.697112.392122.373104.544104.362104.402104.1104.16104.199104.386104.316104.402104.384104.574104.29104.718104.75105.124104.922108.906122.161102.924102.978103.056102.748102.993103.08102.944103.215102.885102.934103.132103.063103.164103.152106.693103.778107.977118.173
Charles Pic117.684108.694107.946107.266106.948106.307106.854106.407106.816106.268106.174106.249106.075106.24106.144106.245106.167107.915111.048123.582104.133104.851104.619104.125104.697104.982104.502104.498104.336104.347104.137104.075104.158104.078103.884104.233108.656123.433102.621102.882103.087102.922102.968103.158103.183103.02103.105107.713114.823103.73103.482104.289103.462103.779103.555
Pedro de la Rosa118.091109.437108.061107.404107.019106.861106.979106.991107.044107.011106.884107.047106.94108.805108.039107.697111.808125.755105.117105.042105.114105.092105.029105.246105.293105.471108.693105.585109.391107.874112.242125.601106.334104.471104.223104.342106.097105.924104.116104.394105.922104.544105.345104.136104.057104.178103.897104.097103.876104.804104.143104.348103.858103.61103.844
Narain Karthikeyan119.05109.47109.086107.466107.914107.622107.875107.638107.721107.004107.815108.885108.05108.334108.595112.677129.269106.062105.999106.072107.303107.354105.93107.638109.258112.821108.748107.127106.337106.051107.825114.427124.824104.104106.686104.935104.601104.594104.486103.935104.531104.198104.252106.895105.049104.72107.228104.847104.39104.752111.174109.854106.674105.128

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Shanghai, 2012Red Bull split their strategy: Mark Webber stopping three times, Sebastian Vettel twice.

But Vettel’s 23-lap stint on medium tyres proved too long for the RB8 to keep its tyres alive. “I had no tyres left,” at the end, he said, and was passed by the two McLarens and Webber as he fell back.

Kimi Raikkonen tried to make his last set of tyres last even longer – 26 laps. He times started to fall off a dozen laps before the end. To begin with he held up Vettel who, of course, was also trying to protect his tyres.

When Raikkonen’s tyres cried enough he lost ten places in two laps. Lotus’s trackside operations director Alan Permane said: “We’ll dissect the data and see if a three stop would have been better for us, but everything before the race suggested a two-stop was the way to go, and this approach benefitted Romain.”

Romain Grosjean made his last pit stop four laps later than Raikkonen and ended the race in much better shape, claiming sixth place.

Most drivers began the race on soft tyres and ended it on mediums. Jean-Eric Vergne was an exception, and he was flying at the end of the race on soft tyres. He was the fastest driver on the track for nine laps in a row beginning on lap 43.

Chinese Grand Prix fastest laps

RankDriverCarFastest lapGapOn lap
1Kamui KobayashiSauber-Ferrari1’39.96040
2Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso-Ferrari1’40.0190.05948
3Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1’40.4220.46256
4Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1’40.4820.52236
5Mark WebberRed Bull-Renault1’40.4900.53052
6Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1’40.5300.57040
7Sebastian VettelRed Bull-Renault1’40.6010.64133
8Nico RosbergMercedes1’40.9671.00740
9Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’40.9771.01748
10Sergio PerezSauber-Ferrari1’41.0711.11137
11Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1’41.1201.16035
12Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’41.1521.19241
13Heikki KovalainenCaterham-Renault1’41.1901.23053
14Felipe MassaFerrari1’41.2401.28048
15Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso-Ferrari1’41.2511.29140
16Bruno SennaWilliams-Renault1’41.2931.33337
17Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1’41.4981.53840
18Kimi RaikkonenLotus-Renault1’41.7941.83443
19Vitaly PetrovCaterham-Renault1’42.3852.42538
20Charles PicMarussia-Cosworth1’42.6212.66139
21Timo GlockMarussia-Cosworth1’42.7482.78841
22Pedro de la RosaHRT-Cosworth1’43.6103.65054
23Narain KarthikeyanHRT-Cosworth1’43.9353.97540
24Michael SchumacherMercedes1’44.1094.1499

Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest lap of the race when he came out of the pits on a new set of medium compound tyres on lap 40.

2012 Chinese Grand Prix

    Browse all 2012 Chinese Grand Prix articles

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    33 comments on “2012 Chinese Grand Prix fastest laps”

    1. Vergne did seem to be struggling on saturday, but after the team rebuilt his car he looked to be doing quite a solid race!

    2. But Vettel’s 23-lap stint on medium tyres proved too long for the RB8 to keep its tyres alive. “I had no tyres left,” at the end, he said, and was passed by the two McLarens and Webber as he fell back.

      And when you include DRS, there was no way Vettel could not let them pass. The speed difference was too great. Regardless, very well done by Vettel.

    3. Brilliant lap time from Kovalainen, 13th Fastest?! Incredible!

      1. He had just put a set of softs on six laps from the end, though.

    4. Was Massa’s last stint on Medium or soft tyres? He and Vergne stopped on the same lap for final stint. If he was also on soft, then its a huge worry for Massa as he was a whole second slower than Vergne, which can be seen by selecting just the two of them

      1. Looking through the race so far, but I can’t seem to find any actual footage of Massa after his final stop…regardless, evidence so far suggests that Di Resta held him up until the end of the race.

      2. He must’ve been on softs as he used mediums for his first two stints right?

    5. There was so much going on in this race that I’d have to watch it again to get it all. A few things that stood out for me:

      – Webber is much more comfortable with the RB8 than Vettel, who couldn’t do anything even after reverting to the older exhaust which he thought was better.
      – Button’s race pace is just better than Hamilton’s on a fair scale.
      – Was shocking to see Kimi fall off like that.. wrong strategy as he encountered the infamous ‘cliff’ rather dramatically.
      – Force India’s lack of race pace or just pace for that matter. Still can’t quite tell what went wrong since testing.
      – Sauber are in a position even they wouldn’t have dreamt of! Malaysia wasn’t a fluke in changeable conditions.
      – The sheer number of on-track tussles today and the fact that there was not one major incident! Some of those tussles were heart-stopping!
      – The obvious desperation of the Scarlet Dog.

      And for a change, I’m actually looking forward to what the hideous Bahrain Intnl Circuit will bring in terms of racing after seeing what the race today was like!

      1. I’m not sure how you can say that Vettel couldn’t do anything especially considering he recovered from 11th to 5th – just one position behind Webber who started 5 places ahead.

      2. I’m also not sure how you can conclude

        – Button’s race pace is just better than Hamilton’s on a fair scale.

        if you’re basing yourself on the above laptimes graph, at least. Only in their second stint were they both in clear air, and their laptimes were evenly matched.

      3. @ rits
        Definitely disagree on your Button/Hamilton comment. In fact, I’d say they are, and have been this season, almost perfectly matched on race pace. The only reason Hamilton had higher lap times in a few places on the chart is because he was stuck in traffic at those times. If you look at their pace when they were both in clean air, they match times almost perfectly, with Hamilton, in fact, seemingly being the quicker driver.

      4. First stint equal, second stint equal. Third stint, Laps 31 – 35, Lewis lost 8.5 seconds to Button due to being stuck behind Perez. He lost about another 4 seconds before that being stuck in traffic after his pit stops. Then in the final stint Hamilton was much faster than Button except where overtaking and defending from Webber (Lap 47 / 48) and passing Vettel (Lap 52 – 54) – after which he coasted home.

        If we are talking speed, the scale tips slightly in favour of Hamilton – as it has always done. I do think however, Button’s tyre management and the ease in which he got through traffic seemed to be the major difference between the two in this race. Either Hamilton has become too cautious in his approach to overtaking, or teams don’t care about defending against Button?

    6. Vettel’s early laps on options were slower than Massa’s early laps on primes. Hah.

      1. Massa needs to go!!!!!

    7. Jean-Eric Vergne was an exception, and he was flying at the end of the race on soft tyres.

      I was surprised not more drivers went that route, although I’m never sure how much of that extra performance comes from the options being brand new (as all other drivers would only have used options at their disposal).

      Speaking of brand-new options, Rosberg won the race with one new set of options unused! How often has that happened (i.e., that a driver who finishes the race has one set of new options left) in the Pirelli era, stat-fans?

      Impressive last stint by the Williams drivers, yet again; they seemed to come out of nowhere (also because the race was so eventful it’s hard to keep track of what’s happening further back – I usually keep a close eye on the sector times, but this race there was just no time).

      What happened to Ricciardo between laps 10 and 17? He seemed to have good pace most of the race, but did he just leave his first pitstop 7 laps too late?

      1. I saw in somewhere that in this race the prime was faster than the options. Is this right Keith?

        1. Most likely only when the softs where wearing.

          The gap between the tyre compounds seemed more significant this weekend.

    8. I’m having some difficulties in understanding what Massa did, especially in the final stint. I remember that he was in a very good place before his final pitstop (I think he was ahead of Raikkonen, who was also on a 2 stop strategy), then he went backwards, and I can’t really understand why.

      1. Slowing everybody down. Kimi lost .7-1sec every lap behind him.

      2. Massa was just very very slow. He spent his whole race holding cars up.

    9. The thing that makes me in doubts is:

      I expected that the fastest laps were from guys in 3 or 4 pits strategy.

      But how could Maldonado, in a 2 stops, made the 4th fastest lap? This shows the potential of the car. Looks quite good the 7th for Vettel.

      The RB8 is not as bad as we used to say in this 3 GPs.

      1. He did it having just stopped for fresh tyres.

    10. There seems to be a pitstop happening on every lap of the race!!

    11. The tell here is that, after being the only top cars to go to softs for stint 2, McLaren made no impression on Rosberg at all. From there, they were going to be in a furious pursuit mode but not in control of the pace. Rosberg had the option to stay the tortoise or go to three stops and go soft to fend off Button if need be. Mercedes were in control from that time. The fact that they did not cover Button speaks to them being very confident in their tire wear on the medium.

    12. Traffic was the king of the day.
      Even with worn tyres it took other drivers a while to get past Kimi which created a long queue of cars.
      As such, vettel and Webber couldn’t run at their true pace.
      The train of cars also rendered the DRS useless for several laps as Kimi had better straight line speed relative to the Bulls.
      The cars are now closer to each other on pace, hence there is much less time to be gained by making more stops.

      Qualifying for the top 10 drivers is what is distorting the natural flow. As they wear out these tyres that have proven to be quite fragile.
      Had all the cars started o fresher tyres, the faster cars would have gone deeper into the race before making their first stop.

      Webbers early first stop almost got him past both Hamilton and Button.

    13. If Lotus planned to do two stops from the get-go, they timed them rather poorly for Raikkonen. How did they expect him to do the whole second half of the race on one set of tyres?

      Regardless, you have to say if he had been able to pass Massa, he might have been able to better manage them I guess.

      1. Yeah, looking at Kimi’s graph it’s pretty obvious….someone at Lotus was focusing at wrong things.

        Don’t think Kimi would have better tires if he overtook Massa, but he was definitely loosing 1sec a lap behind him for 10 laps.

        If top6 didn’t hit the middle pack train, Rosberg would have been in trouble. It’s not only Jenson who would have been at his back. Hamilton, Kimi and maybe Red Bulls would have been at his gear box.

        But this is why qualifying is so important, you get clean air and choice on where you get out on your first pit stop.

    14. Just looking at what happened with Vettel and Raikkonen. They were setting near identical times between laps 40-47 with only about .05s in it on average. Then Raikkonen falls off the cliff for 2 laps before bringing some normality back to the situation.

      It’s amazing what a couple of lines on a graph can tell you!

      1. I think this was about the time when the 3 stoppers came up behind and he was trying to keep them behind for a bit.

        Not sure on the exact laps but thats how I remember it from the race.

        Did a good job but a bad strategy ruined the race for him I think but a lesson learned I am sure.

    15. Wow Alonso only 12th fastest. That Ferrari is more ambling donkey than prancing horse :(

    16. I had been waiting for some surprise name to get FL. I thought it would happen more often. Prior to his season, there was two fastest lap by drivers not driving for Red Bull, McLaren or Ferrari in the new non-refuelling era. Kubica and Petrov had one each in 2010. I have participated some predictions and I picked Vergne for FL, and I was so close to get that correct.

    17. What’s interesting when you compare Hamilton and Button which i hadn’t appreciated during the race is how slow Hamilton’s first stop was – 2 seconds slower than Button’s. And also Button only lost 6 seconds to Hamilton on his final stop – so overall Button was only down 3 seconds due to pit stops compared to Hamilton.

    Comments are closed.