2012 Indian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 Indian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton’s five-wheel change for McLaren was the fourth-quickest pit stop of the race.

Indian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3
Sebastian VettelSoft (33)Hard (27)
Mark WebberSoft (30)Hard (30)
Lewis HamiltonSoft (32)Hard (28)
Jenson ButtonSoft (25)Hard (35)
Fernando AlonsoSoft (29)Hard (31)
Felipe MassaSoft (28)Hard (32)
Kimi RaikkonenSoft (27)Hard (33)
Sergio PerezSoft (14)Soft (5)Hard (1)
Pastor MaldonadoSoft (27)Hard (3)Hard (29)
Nico RosbergSoft (27)Hard (33)
Romain GrosjeanHard (36)Soft (24)
Nico HulkenbergSoft (28)Hard (32)
Bruno SennaSoft (26)Hard (34)
Michael SchumacherHard (1)Soft (32)Soft (22)
Daniel RicciardoHard (27)Soft (33)
Paul di RestaSoft (28)Hard (32)
Kamui KobayashiHard (36)Soft (24)
Jean-Eric VergneSoft (1)Soft (32)Hard (26)
Vitaly PetrovSoft (31)Hard (28)
Heikki KovalainenSoft (32)Hard (27)
Timo GlockSoft (31)Hard (27)
Pedro de la RosaSoft (32)Hard (10)
Narain KarthikeyanSoft (26)Hard (32)
Charles PicSoft (28)Hard (31)

Sebastian Vettel delayed his first pit stop as he was still going strong on the soft tyres after half distance.

“I felt very good on the soft tryes and was competitive,” he said. “I could have stayed out even longer I think, but at some stage you have to cover. McLaren and Ferrari were quick on the hard tyre today, so it was important to have a gap to them.”

However McLaren could not get as much performance out of the soft tyre compared to the hard, as was clear from practice. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: “We found it difficult to coax sufficient pace out of the [softs], but our car was the fastest in the field on the [hards].

“The trouble was, by the time we were running on [hards], the gap to the cars ahead was a bit too large.”

Indian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull20.70733
2Fernando AlonsoFerrari20.8000.09329
3Mark WebberRed Bull20.8080.10130
4Lewis HamiltonMcLaren20.8520.14532
5Romain GrosjeanLotus20.9760.26936
6Felipe MassaFerrari21.1000.39328
7Michael SchumacherMercedes21.3220.61533
8Sergio PerezSauber21.3360.62914
9Kimi RaikkonenLotus21.4040.69727
10Nico RosbergMercedes21.4900.78327
11Jenson ButtonMcLaren21.5090.80225
12Nico HulkenbergForce India21.6540.94728
13Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso21.6580.95133
14Pastor MaldonadoWilliams22.0031.29627
15Bruno SennaWilliams22.0471.34026
16Vitaly PetrovCaterham22.4451.73831
17Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso22.6371.93027
18Charles PicMarussia22.6921.98528
19Kamui KobayashiSauber22.7262.01936
20Heikki KovalainenCaterham22.9672.26032
21Pedro de la RosaHRT23.8303.12332
22Paul di RestaForce India23.9483.24128
23Sergio PerezSauber24.5083.80119
24Narain KarthikeyanHRT24.5443.83726
25Michael SchumacherMercedes25.0364.3291
26Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso25.0974.3901
27Timo GlockMarussia27.3036.59631
28Pastor MaldonadoWilliams28.0537.34630

Red Bull were the fastest team in the pits for the third time in the last seven races.

But McLaren’s pit stop for Lewis Hamilton was impressively quick – the fourth-fastest of the race – given that it included a change of steering wheel.

“During that first stint I started having a downshift problem,” explained Hamilton. “I was having to change down with my right hand instead of my left, so the team elected to change the steering wheel at the pit stop.”

“I’ve never had to change a steering wheel during a race before. We’ve done it in Barcelona testing before, but never in a race. Even so, the guys did it fantastically quickly, under immense pressure, so I want to say ‘well done!’ to them all.

“I took the wheel off before I’d even stopped the car, and threw it out of the car. The team then fitted a new one, I clicked it into first gear, and I was away – all in just a bit over three seconds flat.”

2012 Indian 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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5 comments on “2012 Indian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. Just rewatched that Lewis stop, pure magic. Incredible how fast everything happens.

    1. Yeah, it really looked impressive. Slow-throw-stop-attach-go! :)

  2. Vettel was the last onto his stop, covering Hamilton rather than Alonso/Webber. I think he was just playing games with the rest of the field to be honest. I think him making sure he was last to the pits was about him trying to further his record of most consecutive laps led, rather than any strategy!

  3. That steering wheel change was impressive, brilliant how it’s just plug and play!

    Seeing Raikkonen get around Massa with their pit-stop battle was cruel when his hard-work was undone by Massa’s DRS moments later! Makes you wonder if sometimes it’s best to hang back and attack later, though I could appreciate Raikkonen wanting to get it done quickly.

  4. Vettal is just the best…. Born legend

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