2012 Bahrain Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

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All the pit strategy data, including how new tyres helped Kimi Raikkonen catch Sebastian Vettel, and how much time Lewis Hamilton lost in the pits.

Bahrain Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4Stint 5
Sebastian VettelSoft (11)Medium (14)Soft (14)Medium (18)
Lewis HamiltonSoft (9)Medium (14)Medium (13)Medium (21)
Mark WebberSoft (9)Medium (14)Soft (16)Medium (18)
Jenson ButtonSoft (8)Medium (14)Medium (15)Medium (16)Soft (2)
Nico RosbergSoft (8)Soft (14)Medium (14)Medium (21)
Daniel RicciardoSoft (7)Medium (16)Soft (15)Medium (18)
Romain GrosjeanSoft (10)Medium (15)Medium (15)Medium (17)
Sergio PerezSoft (9)Soft (12)Medium (16)Medium (20)
Fernando AlonsoSoft (9)Medium (14)Medium (14)Medium (20)
Paul di RestaSoft (14)Medium (19)Medium (24)
Kimi RaikkonenSoft (11)Soft (13)Medium (15)Medium (18)
Kamui KobayashiMedium (14)Medium (17)Soft (19)Soft (7)
Nico HulkenbergSoft (9)Soft (10)Medium (17)Medium (21)
Felipe MassaSoft (8)Medium (14)Soft (16)Medium (19)
Bruno SennaSoft (9)Soft (15)Medium (14)Medium (16)
Heikki KovalainenSoft (1)Soft (12)Soft (12)Medium (13)Medium (18)
Jean-Eric VergneSoft (10)Medium (15)Medium (15)Soft (17)
Vitaly PetrovSoft (10)Soft (13)Medium (16)Medium (17)
Charles PicSoft (12)Soft (12)
Pedro de la RosaSoft (9)Medium (13)Medium (16)Medium (17)
Pastor MaldonadoSoft (11)Soft (12)Medium (2)
Michael SchumacherSoft (9)Soft (14)Medium (14)Medium (20)
Timo GlockSoft (10)Medium (13)Medium (15)Soft (17)
Narain KarthikeyanSoft (10)Medium (11)Medium (11)Medium (13)Soft (10)

Sebastian Vettel built up a gap of 4.9 seconds in the first six laps – which proved highly valuable later in the race.

“A good start was crucial and I was able to pull away from the pack,” he explained, “which was a big advantage as we always had to go on scrubbed tyres due to the fact we had used almost all of them in qualifying yesterday.”

Kimi Raikkonen, who emerged as his leading pursuer, had the advantage of fresh tyres for every stint of the race. Vettel, meanwhile had used tyres for every stint bar the last one.

This also helps explain why Raikkonen was able to catch and pass team mate Romain Grosjean during the second stint. Grosjean had used tyres for the first two stints whereas Raikkonen, who did not make it into Q3 on Saturday, was not.

Bahrain Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Mark WebberRed Bull21.70539
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull21.8000.09539
3Nico RosbergMercedes21.8880.18336
4Felipe MassaFerrari21.9380.23338
5Felipe MassaFerrari21.9630.25822
6Michael SchumacherMercedes21.9790.2749
7Sebastian VettelRed Bull22.0170.31211
8Paul di RestaForce India22.0690.36414
9Fernando AlonsoFerrari22.0940.3899
10Michael SchumacherMercedes22.1050.40023
11Michael SchumacherMercedes22.1920.48737
12Nico RosbergMercedes22.2280.5238
13Mark WebberRed Bull22.2360.5319
14Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso22.2410.53640
15Jenson ButtonMcLaren22.2700.56522
16Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso22.2950.59023
17Bruno SennaWilliams22.3100.60524
18Pastor MaldonadoWilliams22.3300.62523
19Kimi RaikkonenLotus22.3620.65724
20Kimi RaikkonenLotus22.4120.70711
21Nico HulkenbergForce India22.4130.7089
22Nico HulkenbergForce India22.4460.74119
23Paul di RestaForce India22.4830.77833
24Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso22.4950.79038
25Nico HulkenbergForce India22.5600.85536
26Kimi RaikkonenLotus22.5970.89239
27Jenson ButtonMcLaren22.6160.91137
28Mark WebberRed Bull22.6490.94423
29Sebastian VettelRed Bull22.7171.01225
30Kamui KobayashiSauber22.7581.05314
31Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso22.7631.05810
32Romain GrosjeanLotus22.7631.05840
33Bruno SennaWilliams22.7961.09138
34Pastor MaldonadoWilliams22.8681.16311
35Romain GrosjeanLotus22.8961.19125
36Nico RosbergMercedes22.9031.19822
37Sergio PerezSauber22.9241.21937
38Timo GlockMarussia22.9331.22838
39Jenson ButtonMcLaren23.0161.3118
40Vitaly PetrovCaterham23.1671.46239
41Heikki KovalainenCaterham23.1731.46838
42Fernando AlonsoFerrari23.2071.50237
43Romain GrosjeanLotus23.2461.54110
44Heikki KovalainenCaterham23.3231.61813
45Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso23.3531.64825
46Bruno SennaWilliams23.4051.7009
47Sergio PerezSauber23.4081.7039
48Vitaly PetrovCaterham23.4111.70610
49Pedro de la RosaHRT23.4201.71522
50Vitaly PetrovCaterham23.4211.71623
51Timo GlockMarussia23.4231.71810
52Sergio PerezSauber23.4281.72321
53Fernando AlonsoFerrari23.4491.74423
54Felipe MassaFerrari23.5571.8528
55Heikki KovalainenCaterham23.6391.93425
56Lewis HamiltonMcLaren23.6961.99136
57Jenson ButtonMcLaren23.9432.23853
58Charles PicMarussia24.0202.31512
59Pedro de la RosaHRT24.2412.5369
60Narain KarthikeyanHRT24.3172.61245
61Pedro de la RosaHRT24.5202.81538
62Kamui KobayashiSauber24.6742.96950
63Heikki KovalainenCaterham25.0473.3421
64Narain KarthikeyanHRT25.2043.49921
65Kamui KobayashiSauber25.5903.88531
66Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso25.8294.1247
67Narain KarthikeyanHRT25.8964.19110
68Narain KarthikeyanHRT26.4174.71232
69Lewis HamiltonMcLaren28.3416.6369
70Timo GlockMarussia29.6487.94323
71Lewis HamiltonMcLaren30.6228.91723

McLaren have had pit stop problems in the last two races. Today consecutive problems for Lewis Hamilton in his first two pit stops went some way towards wrecking his race.

How much time did he lose? Team mate Button’s average pit stop time was 22.961s to Hamilton’s 27.553s. Based on this, Hamilton lost 13.7s over his three pit stops.

Simply subtracting that lost time from his race time suggests he would have easily finished fifth. But of course those slow stops meant he spent more time in traffic, losing even more time.

Once again this year, we saw very little of what Hamilton was capable of when not in traffic. But it seems likely he would have finished behind the Lotuses and probably Webber too.

Hamilton said: “By rights we should have been fighting to finish in the top four today, but it didn’t work out like that in the end.

“The delays in the pits were a big part of that, of course. For the driver sitting in the car, that’s always frustrating, because you’re just waiting and there’s nothing you can do to help.”

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    25 comments on “2012 Bahrain Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops”

    1. Shocking performance by McLaren in the pits. Their best time was just 15th fastest…! 5 of Mercedes’ 6 pit stops were better than that. That’s a huge loss…

      Question/Suggestion: wouldn’t it be better if the tyre strategy chart is arranged with the positions after the race instead of grid position? it’d be easier to make a comparision, I think.

      1. @fer-no65, i completely agree with your Question/Suggestion. I was thinking exactly the same.
        That would give us an easy way to compare the results with pit strategies.

        1. Maybe @keithcollantine can have a look at it :P

    2. McLaren – a truly abysmal race team supported by top notch engineering.

    3. Yep. Mclaren has really been squandering opportunities consistently, and a lot of them result in Hamilton ending up behind his teammate. (I dont believe in any conspiracy theories in the Mclaren garage, but its funny how often it’s happened). Gotta thank Mclaren for the mistakes though, as the points table look’s really interesting.
      I was surprisingly underwhelmed by Lewis’ drive as well today. I expected him to overtake more cars as well as keep in touch with Vettel during the 1st stint.

      1. @todfod,

        I was surprisingly underwhelmed by Lewis’ drive as well today

        The McLaren was just slow yesterday. Jenson Button, running without any problems (until he hit problems, that is) and in clear air was just a couple of seconds ahead of Alonso (and around 50 behind Vettel!), whose car has been called a dog and all kinds of worse things as well.

    4. What happened to Ferrari’s lightning fast pit stops?? They were hands down the fastest pit crew first 2 races of the season.

      1. Every time they went into the pits they had traffic so they had to be longer…..

    5. The pit stops are one thing, but the sheer lack of pace from both of the Mclaren’s today is a big worry.
      I hope this performance was just a one off error in set up, because it looked alarmingly similar to 2011; Hamilton had no chance of keeping up with Vettel at the start of the race, then didn’t seem to make any impact at all on Alonso whom he must have followed around within 2 sec for the last 15 laps.

    6. mclarenn pit crew were a joke, a 9.9 stop and 12sec stop was disgraceful, lewis should have easily finished 5th, completley ruined hamiltons race. they really need to sort out thier pit stops because it is proving to be very costly. Mclaren didnt have pace today so a 5th place would have been a decent result and would have still lead the championship.

      1. Dan: disgraceful?? Steady on. Something went wrong with the same thing on consecutive pit-stops suggesting the error is not just habitual but – therefore – solvable, given time and the right sort of analysis. Cross-threads are common on pit-stops, even with modern technology. It isn’t disgraceful to make mistakes. Think about that the next time you make an error at work.

        1. Yes, but something went wrong in 2 of the last three races as well – McLaren seem to have a major issue with pit stops this year and they need to analyse why and fix it, fast, because they threw away a fistful of points today.

        2. Same wheel all 3 times counting the button pitstop last week. Mechanic should step aside. There were 3 other wheels that went on just fine each time.

          1. You have absolutely no idea whether it was the wheel, the wheel gun, the mechanic or something else. Imagine if you were criticized in the same way for something at work which wasn’t your fault. You shouldn’t hurl approbation at people when you’re not in full possession of the facts. And even *even* if it was his fault, he made a *mistake*. This weekend – of all weekends – it would perhaps be nice if we got our perspectives right about who deserves criticism and who our anger. This Mclaren mechanic does not deserve the latter.

            1. It doesnt matter whether it was the wheel, the wheel gun, the mechanic, it is the team responbility and these kind of mistakes impact revenue and business prospect which in turn help to run the team. Though no one is safe from public critism, and they do say, sh$t rolls down hill.

    7. About McLaren’s pitstops, okay, they were by all means slow, but didn’t Hamilton have a problem on his rear-left wheel nut? I mean, those abysmally slow stops were a technical fault, and not because the crew is as bad as that of HRT.

      Still, they have as much as half a second to improve if they want to reach Red Bull and Ferrari.

      1. Normally there is a spare wheel nit on the other gun, and I’ve seen other teams, even in GP2, changen guns ans wheel nuts.

        Hamilton’s problem didn’t start with his wheel nut though. The team were already set to drop him behind Button, as Button stopped first. So the Pit error just made him fall further back. Even at that he was still right behind Button, until they made sure the second time.
        Why the leading driver doesn’t get the best strategy, is the issue, not the nutty nut.

        1. As much as I hate to think McLaren would do this on purpose… this is probably the fourth time, this season, Hamilton gets into the pit with an advantage over Button and leaves the pit behind Button and other drivers. Karma is what’s keeping Button behind Hamilton on points. Poor, very poor stuff from McLaren this year. The pit mess, human or mechanical, it has to be addressed as they are losing vital points.

    8. Boycott Bahrain GP
      22nd April 2012, 23:53

      McLaren`s issues are probably due to bad ” karma “, for the team being associated with the brutal Bahraini regime ! ;) So happy Macca didn`t win and got problems during the race, otherwise it would have been another score for the Bahraini regime.

      1. What goes around comes around I guess! Particularly in formula 1. ;-)

    9. Terrible pit-stops for Hamilton. Without these problems he would have got fourt or fifth place in this race.

      McLaren really should be concerned about their pit-stops.

      But the team should be even more concerned about their race pace. McLaren wasn`t even in contention for the podium in this race. Even with faultless pit stops Hamitlon would have been way behind Vettel, Taikkonen and Grosjean.

      McLaren didn`t stand a chance of winning in Malaysia, China or Bahrain despite being very fast in qualifying. I wonder whether this is down to the configuration of the car. Maybe the car`s with a “stepped-nose” configuration have more potential than McLaren. If that`s the case, McLarens strong form at the beginning of the season might be down having a car more similar to last year and a better idea of how to set up the car for the first races. As the other teams get to grip with their “brand-new” configuration McLaren is loosing ground.

    10. Dear Pirelli,

      Time to accept the criticism of your tires and how their failings are affecting Grand Prix racing. When the greatest driver in the world comments that your product needs change because of how poorly it performs suggests that maybe there is some truth in what I and many others have said. If the solution is to continue with the same type of tire then they must be given unlimited numbers of them for race weekends so that this disturbing pattern of drivers not even trying to qualify due to not having enough tires for a weekend.
      Hearing that a set of tires might last about six laps during the past weekends Grand Prix reflects the Pirelli Tire Companys continued being in over their heads with regards to being able to produce suitable racing tires.

      Figure it out or just get out…

      TED BELL

      1. Once again, Ted, the teams asked for degradation. I don’t think any team would like to go back to the Bridgestones. Of course Schumacher is going to vent his frustration if it affected him badly at one particular race but you can bet your bottom dollar that he would heap praise on them if they helped him score some valuable points.

        Swings and round-abouts.

    11. It isn’t just the mistakes in the last two races for McLaren at pit stops I seem to recall Hamilton had a long pit stop in one of the first two races due to a problem with the rear jack.

      This season looks like it could be a very close one and if McLaren get on top of their pit stop problems it may cost them a title.

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