Jenson Button, McLaren, Hockenheim, 2012

2012 German Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 German Grand Prix

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McLaren serviced Jenson Button’s car in a record-breaking 2.31 seconds to help him move ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

German Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4Stint 5
Fernando AlonsoSoft (18)Medium (23)Medium (26)
Sebastian VettelSoft (20)Medium (21)Medium (26)
Michael SchumacherSoft (14)Soft (22)Medium (16)Soft (15)
Nico HulkenbergSoft (12)Medium (19)Soft (15)Medium (21)
Pastor MaldonadoSoft (13)Medium (25)Medium (19)Soft (9)
Jenson ButtonSoft (19)Medium (21)Medium (27)
Lewis HamiltonSoft (3)Medium (28)Medium (16)Soft (9)
Mark WebberSoft (12)Medium (28)Medium (27)
Paul di RestaSoft (10)Medium (29)Medium (28)
Kimi RaikkonenSoft (11)Soft (27)Medium (29)
Daniel RicciardoSoft (19)Medium (19)Medium (29)
Kamui KobayashiMedium (22)Medium (21)Soft (24)
Felipe MassaSoft (1)Medium (23)Medium (23)Soft (20)
Bruno SennaSoft (1)Medium (24)Medium (22)Soft (19)
Jean-Eric VergneMedium (6)Medium (21)Medium (18)Soft (22)
Heikki KovalainenSoft (13)Medium (18)Medium (13)Medium (9)Soft (12)
Sergio PerezSoft (17)Medium (23)Medium (27)
Vitaly PetrovSoft (14)Medium (18)Medium (18)Medium (16)
Romain GrosjeanSoft (1)Medium (23)Medium (18)Soft (24)
Charles PicMedium (21)Soft (22)Medium (22)
Nico RosbergMedium (12)Soft (20)Soft (18)Soft (17)
Timo GlockMedium (19)Soft (21)Medium (24)
Pedro de la RosaSoft (20)Soft (25)Medium (19)
Narain KarthikeyanSoft (22)Medium (24)Medium (18)

With little to choose between the tyres on performance and the medium compound offering better durability, most teams opted to start on the softs but spend most of the race on the mediums.

Kimi Raikkonen was one of the drivers to buck the trend, running softs in the middle part of the race. He used their early grip to pass Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher, but shortly after clearing the Mercedes his lap times dropped off and he dropped back quickly from Button ahead of him, losing up to a second per lap.

Some of those who found themselves unable to get through the race with two stops, such as the Mercedes pair and Nico Hulkenberg, incorporated another stint in the softs later on in the hope they might find a bit more performance.

The other Force India of Paul di Resta might have three-stopped but he admitted on Twitter there had been “slight confusion at the first stop with which tyres we wanted” and they “changed strategy”.

German Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Jenson ButtonMcLaren16.83140
2Mark WebberRed Bull17.2900.45940
3Sebastian VettelRed Bull17.5120.68120
4Fernando AlonsoFerrari17.5700.73918
5Lewis HamiltonMcLaren17.5980.76731
6Kimi RaikkonenLotus17.7350.90438
7Charles PicMarussia17.8210.99021
8Sebastian VettelRed Bull17.8591.02841
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren17.8671.03619
10Nico RosbergMercedes17.8941.06332
11Paul di RestaForce India17.8991.06810
12Michael SchumacherMercedes17.9281.09736
13Fernando AlonsoFerrari17.9421.11141
14Paul di RestaForce India17.9681.13739
15Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso17.9901.15938
16Kimi RaikkonenLotus18.0021.17111
17Pastor MaldonadoWilliams18.0851.25457
18Sergio PerezSauber18.1431.31217
19Michael SchumacherMercedes18.1631.33252
20Sergio PerezSauber18.1991.36840
21Mark WebberRed Bull18.2531.42212
22Nico HulkenbergForce India18.2861.45531
23Bruno SennaWilliams18.3131.48247
24Vitaly PetrovCaterham18.3231.49232
25Vitaly PetrovCaterham18.3541.52350
26Nico HulkenbergForce India18.3651.53446
27Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso18.3741.54319
28Nico RosbergMercedes18.3951.56412
29Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso18.4251.59427
30Nico HulkenbergForce India18.4421.61112
31Michael SchumacherMercedes18.4971.66614
32Nico RosbergMercedes18.7411.91050
33Heikki KovalainenCaterham18.8011.97031
34Bruno SennaWilliams18.8221.99125
35Lewis HamiltonMcLaren18.8772.04647
36Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso18.9012.0706
37Kamui KobayashiSauber18.9042.07322
38Timo GlockMarussia18.9522.12140
39Felipe MassaFerrari19.1372.30624
40Kamui KobayashiSauber19.1772.34643
41Pastor MaldonadoWilliams19.2102.37938
42Heikki KovalainenCaterham19.2332.40244
43Narain KarthikeyanHRT19.3822.55146
44Heikki KovalainenCaterham19.3852.55413
45Charles PicMarussia19.3912.56043
46Narain KarthikeyanHRT19.5352.70422
47Pastor MaldonadoWilliams19.6462.81513
48Felipe MassaFerrari19.6802.84947
49Vitaly PetrovCaterham19.8022.97114
50Pedro de la RosaHRT19.8503.01920
51Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso19.9493.11845
52Romain GrosjeanLotus20.3883.55724
53Pedro de la RosaHRT20.6643.83345
54Lewis HamiltonMcLaren21.0124.1813
55Timo GlockMarussia21.3994.56819
56Romain GrosjeanLotus22.7435.91242
57Felipe MassaFerrari23.0496.2181
58Heikki KovalainenCaterham28.98812.15753
59Romain GrosjeanLotus32.76615.9351
60Bruno SennaWilliams47.94231.1111

Jenson Button, McLaren, Hockenheim, 2012During Button’s final pit stop McLaren whisked his wheels off and replaced them in in just 2.31 seconds – a new record time. It further underlines the progress they have made from earlier in the season when they made a series of costly mistakes in the pits.

The quick turnaround meant Button’s entire pit stop from entering to exiting the pits took less than 17 seconds.

That was one second less than Vettel’s corresponding stop, despite Red Bull producing the eighth-quickest complete pit stop of the race on that occasion.

That combined with a rapid out-lap from Button allowed him to take second off Vettel and go after Alonso.

2012 German Grand Prix

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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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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16 comments on “2012 German Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. As I have observed before this is the worst combination of tyres and the mediums are the worst tyre in the range. The softs only perform well for less than a quarter of a race unless they are in clean air and being driven conservatively and the mediums take a couple of laps to start working, are slower than the softs and the hards and become even slower after only one third race distance. The result is that any 2 stop strategy with these tyres requires a lot of careful sub-optimal speed running while a 3 stop strategy means the tyres degrade even faster due to the need to re-pass cars and run in heavy traffic.

  2. Hats off to those responsible for the pits stops at McLaren. The improvement has been enormous in such a short period of time.

    Not only they got the fastest ever time, they were also very reliable. Didn’t they do the same last race too? Again, hats off!

    1. yes its great but it does not make up for all the mistakes earlier in the season.

      1. Unless McLaren started racing deloreans, theres nothing you can do about the past. Credit due where it is deserved, and this stop was incredible!

        1. I got it!

      2. @sato113 fixing a constant problem like this is a way to make up for the mistakes earlier this season. If all their pitstops are this quick later in the year, it could prove decisive in on-track position.

    2. @Fer-no65 Plus, their pace seemed to improve remarkably on track as well. I’ve always thought McLaren were a force to be reckoned with when it came to development through a season and this weekend was a perfect display of that.

  3. That 2.31 second pit stop was crazy fast! It hardly looked like Button’s car had come to a complete stop before he was off again. I halfway expected to see wheels to come flying off before he exited the pit lane!

  4. Its a pity all the (so called) Mclaren supporters ripped their own team a new one after the failed pit stops in the first few races. Obviously they were onto something and like most new things, had to sort out reliability.

    1. @infy, no, they needed a bollicking , and they reacted when they got it.

  5. I was genuinely gob smacked when I saw Button’s pit. Such an impressive pit stop, massive congratulations have to go out to all the pit crew, they are heavily under acknowledged for the role they play in a race, and deserve a little time in the limelight.

  6. This time Ferrari did it right. At least they seems to learn from what they’ve done.

    And what a pit stop from Mclaren!

  7. Before the second stops, Perez was ahead of both Kobayashi and Hulkenberg, yet, after the stops, he came out behind both of them, can I ask if anyone knows how this happened? :/

  8. “He used their early grip to pass Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher, but shortly after clearing the Mercedes his lap times dropped off and he dropped back quickly from Button ahead of him, losing up to a second per lap.”

    Raikkonen passed Webber in the pits. Did he pass Maldanado in the first stint? I only recall him passing DI resta in the first stint. I am confused.

    Raikkonen took advantage from the battle between Hullk and Schumi to get closer. Had he switched to Mediums instead of softs. He had a chance to take the podium on track. Remember he was 5 seconds behind Button at one point. Soft wasnt significantly a faster tyre on heavy fuel load. He was doing same lap times as Button. Again Lotus didnt put it all together.

    1. you fear with ferrari, red bull and mclaren getting their act together lotus will miss their chance for that win

  9. I think it would be a good idea to rearrange the order of drivers in the tyre strategy table, to the race finishing order rather than qualifying. It might show certain strategies that failed and some that were brilliant.

Comments are closed.