2012 British GP tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 British Grand Prix

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McLaren were the quickest team in the pits for the second race in a row.

British Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3
Fernando AlonsoHard (15)Hard (22)Soft (15)
Mark WebberSoft (14)Hard (19)Hard (19)
Michael SchumacherSoft (12)Hard (22)Hard (18)
Sebastian VettelSoft (10)Hard (21)Hard (21)
Felipe MassaSoft (13)Hard (22)Hard (17)
Kimi RaikkonenSoft (13)Hard (21)Hard (18)
Pastor MaldonadoSoft (11)Hard (1)Hard (39)
Lewis HamiltonHard (21)Soft (7)Hard (24)
Romain GrosjeanSoft (2)Hard (24)Hard (26)
Paul di RestaSoft (1)Hard (0)
Nico RosbergHard (15)Hard (22)Soft (15)
Daniel RicciardoHard (16)Soft (13)Hard (23)
Bruno SennaSoft (14)Hard (16)Hard (22)
Nico HulkenbergHard (16)Hard (19)Soft (17)
Sergio PerezSoft (11)Hard (0)
Jenson ButtonHard (16)Soft (15)Hard (21)
Kamui KobayashiHard (16)Hard (21)Soft (15)
Vitaly Petrov
Heikki KovalainenSoft (12)Hard (17)Hard (22)
Timo GlockHard (18)Hard (20)Soft (13)
Pedro de la RosaHard (27)Soft (23)
Narain KarthikeyanHard (16)Hard (19)Soft (15)
Jean-Eric VergneSoft (14)Hard (18)Hard (20)
Charles PicSoft (13)Hard (19)Hard (19)

Two-stoppers were the order of the day for almost everyone. The major difference was when they chose to run the soft tyre, and how long for.

Ferrari had little choice on when to begin Alonso’s final stint which had to be on the soft tyres. With Webber having pitted four laps earlier and closing on the Ferrari they had to make their move or risk coming out behind the Red Bull.

The only driver not to do a two-stopper was Pedro de la Rosa. He explained: “We had to gamble a bit with the strategy and try something different because, in our position, if you do the same as everyone else you won’t advance.

“We risked it to one stop to see if we could beat Marussia. But it wasn’t to be, although we weren’t far off.”

British Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Lewis HamiltonMcLaren24.49821
2Jenson ButtonMcLaren24.7620.26431
3Fernando AlonsoFerrari24.9980.50037
4Lewis HamiltonMcLaren25.0030.50528
5Felipe MassaFerrari25.1100.61235
6Jenson ButtonMcLaren25.1380.64016
7Mark WebberRed Bull25.1790.68133
8Nico RosbergMercedes25.1890.69115
9Sergio PerezSauber25.1920.69411
10Timo GlockMarussia25.2410.74338
11Sebastian VettelRed Bull25.3190.82131
12Felipe MassaFerrari25.3250.82713
13Fernando AlonsoFerrari25.3720.87415
14Romain GrosjeanLotus25.3880.89026
15Nico HulkenbergForce India25.4440.94635
16Michael SchumacherMercedes25.5521.05434
17Kimi RaikkonenLotus25.5811.08313
18Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso25.6131.11529
19Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso25.6261.12816
20Pastor MaldonadoWilliams25.6301.13211
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull25.8291.33110
22Mark WebberRed Bull25.8541.35614
23Kimi RaikkonenLotus25.8711.37334
24Michael SchumacherMercedes25.9381.44012
25Bruno SennaWilliams25.9831.48514
26Nico HulkenbergForce India26.0601.56216
27Charles PicMarussia26.1641.66632
28Timo GlockMarussia26.1651.66718
29Heikki KovalainenCaterham26.1961.69812
30Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso26.2001.70232
31Charles PicMarussia26.3131.81513
32Heikki KovalainenCaterham26.4341.93629
33Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso26.4891.99114
34Bruno SennaWilliams26.5732.07530
35Kamui KobayashiSauber26.8452.34716
36Pedro de la RosaHRT27.7153.21727
37Narain KarthikeyanHRT27.9443.44635
38Narain KarthikeyanHRT29.9085.41016
39Paul di RestaForce India32.7908.2921
40Pastor MaldonadoWilliams33.0688.57012
41Nico RosbergMercedes33.5299.03137
42Romain GrosjeanLotus34.2019.7032
43Kamui KobayashiSauber39.20814.71037

Remember earlier in the season when McLaren had a fast car but kept messing up their pit stops?

Now they have great pit stops and a slow car. For the second race running they had the fastest complete pit stop time.

It was a poor race for Mercedes, both cars finishing below where they qualified. A slow pit stop was among the lesser of Nico Rosberg‘s problems: “In the race today, I had a poor start and generally we just didn’t have the pace.

“Then a slow second pit stop held me up towards the end; so all in all, it really didn’t come together. Now we need to work hard to improve the car for our next home race at Hockenheim in two weeks time.”

2012 British Grand Prix

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Image © McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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Keith Collantine
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14 comments on “2012 British GP tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. The pitstop speed data shows practice makes perfect! Well done Sam Michael (I beleive it’s him in charge of pit lane operations) and the rest of the Mclaren pit crew. Now if the aero guys can deliver these Germany updates…

  2. Good job in the pits McLaren. I estimate that the cars are about 0.8-1.2 secs off the pace. They need massive upgrades to challenge for the remainder of this season. After all they are McLaren, it is possible.

  3. The length of the Alonso’s first stint was the reason he did not win. He could have done atleast 3-4 more laps on those tyres and he would have got 3-4 laps less to do on the softs. Ferrari needs to be proactive and not reactive for this is what caused Fernando the title in 2010 and the driver was the same ( Webber) who Fernando followed into the pits.

    1. 2010 was a major blunder.

      But in this case, he had to as Webber was way faster than him after the his first pit stop.

    2. @gill, it’s true he might have extended his first stint with a few laps, but I think Ferrari’s strategy was pretty good. No-one could have predicted that Alonso would struggle so badly on the soft tyres, especially as Massa managed 14 laps on the softs with a heavy car.

    3. I think it would have made little difference if they stopped a few laps later. The Red Bull was simply the faster car yesterday, which was a bit obscured by Alonso’s deviating strategy that resulted in his early lead.

  4. I think behaviour of the car changes not only with the “type of tyre” but also with the “set of tyre of particular type”. We saw Hamilton who was faster in the first stint on a heavy fuel load than he was on the second set of hard when the car was light. These tyres are utterly sensitive to the tyre temperature, the weight of the car in terms of fuel load, the track temperature and the suspension settings. Hence the pace of the car is defined.

    1. I understand that the tyres themselves are really remarkably even in quality (with Bridgestones there were far bigger differences between sets, apparently it was noticeable if packed dry or in the rain!). Even to the extend, that Pirelli is able to produce them to the same specs in a different factory.

      1. @bascb Yeah, Sky were saying at the weekend the tyres are produced in Turkey but that particular region is susceptible to earthquakes so they do have back-up production if required.

        Only in F1!

  5. Well, looks like Mclaren fixed their pitstops too late… Had they brought up 2.8 pitstops in first few races they could have much easier job to bring themselves back pointwise…

    1. Precisely. They would still be in contention for the constructors. Now its a tough climb back up.
      At least they have found this solution.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      9th July 2012, 15:45

      Also the head of this article seems to set apart the fact that in Valencia they also had one of the longest pitstops with Lewis, and that put Lewis in the path of MAD-donado. The rest is history

  6. does anyone reckon we’d have had a better race if the compounds used were soft/medium?

    it seems 2 stopper races are a bit less excting. perhaps mediums would have meant 3 stoppers were possible too.

  7. Now for the aero.

    To be honest, I can’t quite believe the car that won at Montreal was the one we saw this weekend at Silverstone.

    It maka no sense!

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