2012 Hungarian GP tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton’s dominant pole position on Saturday allowed him to save new tyres for the race which was crucial to his strategy.

Hungarian Grand Prix tyre strategies

On a day when overtaking was nigh-on impossible, tyre strategy took on utmost importance.

For the front runners the key was avoiding the seductive but deadly trap of the three-stop strategy, because even with the advantage of new tyres overtaking was terrifically difficult.

Hamilton’s superb performance in qualifying yesterday allowed him to stockpile fresh tyres and run the best strategy available to him. He started on his used softs from Saturday, and then two sets of new medium tyres saw him to the end of the race.

Soft-medium-medium was the preferred strategy, chosen by almost half the competitors. A significant exception was the Lotus drivers, who preferred soft tyres for their middle stint

McLaren opted to break up Jenson Button’s two medium-tyre stints with a short stint on softs. This was a disaster: he got stuck behind Bruno Senna and a potential podium finish turned into a disappointing sixth.

Here are the tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4Stint 5
Lewis HamiltonSoft (18)Medium (22)Medium (29)
Romain GrosjeanSoft (19)Soft (20)Medium (30)
Sebastian VettelSoft (17)Soft (21)Medium (20)Soft (11)
Jenson ButtonSoft (15)Medium (19)Soft (11)Medium (24)
Kimi RaikkonenSoft (20)Soft (25)Medium (24)
Fernando AlonsoSoft (17)Medium (26)Medium (26)
Felipe MassaSoft (18)Medium (25)Medium (26)
Pastor MaldonadoSoft (15)Medium (26)Medium (28)
Bruno SennaSoft (16)Medium (26)Medium (27)
Nico HulkenbergSoft (15)Medium (24)Medium (30)
Mark WebberMedium (20)Medium (19)Soft (16)Soft (14)
Paul di RestaSoft (16)Medium (22)Medium (31)
Nico RosbergSoft (16)Medium (24)Medium (29)
Sergio PerezSoft (21)Medium (26)Medium (22)
Kamui KobayashiSoft (8)Medium (32)Soft (27)
Jean-Eric VergneSoft (12)Soft (18)Soft (16)Medium (18)Medium (4)
Michael SchumacherSoft (1)Medium (31)Medium (26)
Daniel RicciardoSoft (14)Soft (20)Soft (13)Medium (21)
Heikki KovalainenSoft (17)Medium (19)Medium (20)Soft (12)
Vitaly PetrovSoft (18)Medium (17)Medium (16)Medium (16)
Charles PicMedium (20)Soft (19)Medium (28)
Timo GlockMedium (18)Soft (22)Medium (26)
Pedro de la RosaMedium (22)Medium (19)Soft (25)
Narain KarthikeyanSoft (18)Medium (21)Soft (21)

Hungarian Grand Prix pit stop times

For only the second time this year Red Bull were the fastest team in the pits. They were also supremely consistent – all six of their pit stops ranked within the top 11 times.

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull18.96458
2Lewis HamiltonMcLaren19.0590.09540
3Jenson ButtonMcLaren19.0830.11934
4Mark WebberRed Bull19.1750.21139
5Sebastian VettelRed Bull19.3310.36738
6Fernando AlonsoFerrari19.3650.40143
7Sebastian VettelRed Bull19.3800.41617
8Mark WebberRed Bull19.3860.42255
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren19.4080.44415
10Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso19.6000.63664
11Mark WebberRed Bull19.6110.64720
12Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso19.6300.66634
13Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso19.6440.68046
14Fernando AlonsoFerrari19.6690.70517
15Pastor MaldonadoWilliams19.7550.79141
16Kimi RaikkonenLotus19.7720.80845
17Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso19.8580.89430
18Felipe MassaFerrari19.9170.95343
19Felipe MassaFerrari19.9811.01718
20Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso20.0271.06347
21Kamui KobayashiSauber20.0651.10140
22Kimi RaikkonenLotus20.0871.12320
23Bruno SennaWilliams20.2131.24916
24Sergio PerezSauber20.2161.25247
25Romain GrosjeanLotus20.2311.26739
26Kamui KobayashiSauber20.2341.2708
27Pastor MaldonadoWilliams20.3041.34015
28Sergio PerezSauber20.3201.35621
29Nico RosbergMercedes20.3521.38816
30Paul di RestaForce India20.3521.38838
31Jenson ButtonMcLaren20.3551.39145
32Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso20.3631.39912
33Timo GlockMarussia20.3831.41940
34Lewis HamiltonMcLaren20.4361.47218
35Paul di RestaForce India20.4601.49616
36Michael SchumacherMercedes20.5031.53932
37Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso20.5101.54614
38Vitaly PetrovCaterham20.5151.55151
39Heikki KovalainenCaterham20.5671.60356
40Vitaly PetrovCaterham20.5921.62835
41Bruno SennaWilliams20.6041.64042
42Nico HulkenbergForce India20.6071.64339
43Nico RosbergMercedes20.6321.66840
44Nico HulkenbergForce India20.7361.77215
45Heikki KovalainenCaterham20.7801.81617
46Charles PicMarussia20.9151.95120
47Vitaly PetrovCaterham21.0702.10618
48Narain KarthikeyanHRT21.2592.29518
49Michael SchumacherMercedes21.3362.3721
50Timo GlockMarussia21.3372.37318
51Charles PicMarussia21.3782.41439
52Heikki KovalainenCaterham21.8552.89136
53Pedro de la RosaHRT21.8772.91341
54Narain KarthikeyanHRT22.0313.06739
55Romain GrosjeanLotus22.1513.18719
56Pedro de la RosaHRT22.3323.36822

2012 Hungarian 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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10 comments on “2012 Hungarian GP tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. Its unreal how Kimi managed to put on a string of fastest laps on the set of Soft tyres during the second stint. And he was the only driver to stay on a set of softs for 25 laps!
    I think this worked for him because unlike the other drivers, he was in fresh air after his first pit stop.
    This call from the pit lane by Lotus I believe helped both their cars on the podium. Good on them!

  2. Lewis Hamilton’s dominant pole position on Saturday allowed him to save new tyres for the race which was crucial to his strategy.

    But didn’t all the front runners have two new sets of mediums left? His dominance on Saturday might have saved him a set of options in case his first run in Q3 had been better, although that might only have served to lure him into the three-stop-strategy trap as well.

    I have often advocated an aggressive, extra-stop strategy, but today the three-stopper didn’t work, especially for Button. What’s more surprising is Button’s comments after the race, in which he stated that the team called him in early for both his first and second stop on strategic grounds, only to find himself dropped into traffic. And his pit stops were pretty fast, too, so they cannot have hoped to get him out well clear of Senna. On a two-stopper, Button may not have ended up on the podium, as Vettel was quite a bit faster behind him, and Raikkonen’s fast second stint passed all bar Hamilton, but at least he would have finished ahead of Alonso.

    1. I don’t know why Button was complaining about the strategy, he was struggling on the tyres his first 2 stops. He may have finished ahead of Alonso, but then again, his tyres may have gone off completely and he would have dropped too far back.

  3. Mclaren are really amazing with their stops.
    Despite the error in Button’s stop, it was actually faster than Hamilton’s slow stop.
    And their slowest stops were not all that slow in the end.
    Amazing. I hope they maintain the consistency.

  4. Note that mclaren put the race on a platter for lotus with their 4.2s first stop for Hamilton. Grosjean was about 2s behind at the time. Of course lotus choked and did a 4.9. Mclaren are patting themselves on the back for quick stops but if that was rbr or ferrari behind they would have punished them for another bad stop.

  5. The lotus are quick and gentle on tyres. Hopefully they can keep up and mess up with the frontrunners.

  6. Although I can understand why they didn’t risk it, having had no long runs on the option in practice, could McLaren have put Hamilton out on softs for his second stint ?
    He managed to run a first stint of 18 laps with full tanks on used softs, after locking his fronts quite badly on the first corner. I suspect he could have managed a second stint of 22 laps quite easily.

    If nothing else, it would have given Grosjean second place.

  7. Looking at the pit-stop times there doesn’t seem to be any significant blunders by any team. Looks like everyone was relatively on the ball.

  8. its no coincidenc that lotus were fast at another very HOT track. (see bahrain and valencia). so maybe the hype around their pace will die down from now on as there arent any other sweltering heat tracks left. (apart from Austin i guess!)

    1. Keep wishing!! Kimi got this!

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