2012 Brazilian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel’s championship hopes were almost wrecked when a fault on his radio led to him making a slow extra pit stop late in the race.

Brazilian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4Stint 5Stint 6
Lewis HamiltonMedium (10)Intermediate (8)Hard (36)
Jenson ButtonMedium (23)Hard (34)Intermediate (14)
Mark WebberMedium (9)Intermediate (10)Hard (36)Intermediate (16)
Sebastian VettelMedium (10)Intermediate (9)Hard (33)Medium (2)Intermediate (17)
Felipe MassaMedium (15)Intermediate (4)Medium (36)Intermediate (16)
Nico HulkenbergMedium (23)Hard (34)Intermediate (14)
Fernando AlonsoMedium (10)Intermediate (8)Medium (38)Intermediate (15)
Kimi RaikkonenMedium (5)Intermediate (14)Medium (34)Intermediate (17)
Nico RosbergMedium (9)Intermediate (9)Hard (2)Hard (30)Intermediate (20)
Paul di RestaMedium (10)Intermediate (8)Hard (39)Intermediate (11)
Bruno SennaMedium
Sergio PerezMedium
Michael SchumacherHard (5)Hard (3)Intermediate (9)Hard (37)Intermediate (17)
Kamui KobayashiHard (8)Intermediate (10)Hard (36)Intermediate (17)
Daniel RicciardoMedium (9)Intermediate (10)Hard (32)Hard (5)Intermediate (5)Wet (9)
Pastor MaldonadoMedium (1)
Jean-Eric VergneMedium (15)Intermediate (5)Hard (9)Hard (27)Intermediate (15)
Romain GrosjeanHard (5)
Vitaly PetrovMedium (14)Intermediate (5)Hard (35)Intermediate (16)
Heikki KovalainenMedium (15)Intermediate (4)Medium (18)Hard (19)Intermediate (3)Wet (11)
Timo GlockMedium (14)Intermediate (5)Medium (12)Hard (25)Intermediate (14)
Charles PicMedium (13)Intermediate (7)Medium (35)Intermediate (15)
Narain KarthikeyanMedium (13)Intermediate (7)Hard (31)Hard (4)Intermediate (14)
Pedro de la RosaMedium (14)Intermediate (5)Medium (31)Hard (5)Intermediate (14)

With 20 laps to go, the track was drying and Vettel’s pace on medium tyres was dropping, a consequence of the rear end damage his car suffered on lap one.

His radio was also not working properly – Red Bull were able to talk to him but they could no longer hear what he was saying. He pitted for medium-compound tyres with 19 laps remaining but was back in two laps later as the rain returned for a set of intermediates.

This was his fourth pit stop of the day. Due to the radio problem his team weren’t prepared for his arrival and didn’t have his tyres ready. The delay cost him seven to eight seconds.

When he returned to the track once again he had fallen to tenth place. With Fernando Alonso third, the Ferrari driver was in a position to win the drivers’ championship with 16 laps remaining.

Two drivers elected to use full wet weather tyres during the final rain shower: Heikki Kovalainen and Daniel Ricciardo. The track never really got wet enough for them to take advantage and the safety car deployment on the penultimate lap also cost them a chance to reap the benefit.

However they did manage to complete a race using all four available types of rubber: medium and hard slicks, intermediates and wet weather tyres.

Brazilian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Sebastian VettelRed Bull20.99710
2Mark WebberRed Bull21.0060.00955
3Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso21.1820.18519
4Mark WebberRed Bull21.2320.23519
5Sebastian VettelRed Bull21.2560.25952
6Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso21.3020.30520
7Nico HulkenbergForce India21.3470.35023
8Paul di RestaForce India21.3640.36718
9Timo GlockMarussia21.4420.44519
10Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso21.4440.44751
11Jenson ButtonMcLaren21.4560.45957
12Kimi RaikkonenLotus21.5410.5445
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren21.5500.55323
14Lewis HamiltonMcLaren21.6060.60918
15Felipe MassaFerrari21.6800.68319
16Nico RosbergMercedes21.8060.80918
17Michael SchumacherMercedes21.8270.83054
18Heikki KovalainenCaterham21.8490.85259
19Fernando AlonsoFerrari21.8620.86556
20Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso21.9730.97661
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull22.0161.01919
22Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso22.0611.06456
23Michael SchumacherMercedes22.2431.24617
24Nico HulkenbergForce India22.2501.25357
25Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso22.3621.36515
26Paul di RestaForce India22.3891.39257
27Felipe MassaFerrari22.4271.43055
28Fernando AlonsoFerrari22.4721.47510
29Michael SchumacherMercedes22.4861.4898
30Felipe MassaFerrari22.5961.59915
31Vitaly PetrovCaterham22.7021.70554
32Heikki KovalainenCaterham22.7211.72437
33Kimi RaikkonenLotus22.7311.73419
34Charles PicMarussia22.7461.74920
35Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso22.8381.8419
36Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso22.9231.92656
37Fernando AlonsoFerrari23.0002.00318
38Heikki KovalainenCaterham23.0022.00556
39Nico RosbergMercedes23.0182.0219
40Vitaly PetrovCaterham23.0312.03414
41Charles PicMarussia23.0822.08555
42Mark WebberRed Bull23.1272.1309
43Timo GlockMarussia23.2512.25414
44Heikki KovalainenCaterham23.4292.43215
45Timo GlockMarussia23.5442.54731
46Narain KarthikeyanHRT23.6252.62851
47Kamui KobayashiSauber24.2543.25718
48Nico RosbergMercedes24.2623.26520
49Lewis HamiltonMcLaren24.4103.41310
50Charles PicMarussia24.4273.43013
51Pedro de la RosaHRT24.5103.51355
52Timo GlockMarussia24.8163.81956
53Pedro de la RosaHRT25.3754.37850
54Pedro de la RosaHRT25.7874.79014
55Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso25.9764.97929
56Michael SchumacherMercedes25.9804.9835
57Pedro de la RosaHRT26.5735.57619
58Narain KarthikeyanHRT26.7395.74220
59Narain KarthikeyanHRT27.1136.11613
60Kamui KobayashiSauber27.2666.2698
61Vitaly PetrovCaterham27.4526.45519
62Narain KarthikeyanHRT27.4806.48355
63Paul di RestaForce India28.3367.33910
64Sebastian VettelRed Bull28.9327.93554
65Nico RosbergMercedes31.76810.77150
66Kimi RaikkonenLotus32.30911.31253
67Kamui KobayashiSauber32.82311.82654
68Heikki KovalainenCaterham38.29117.29419

Aside from Vettel’s fourth pit stop, Red Bull’s pit work was very rapid in Brazil – they managed four of the five quickest stops. McLaren, unusually, were not among the fastest.

Toro Rosso also had a good day in the pits. But Ferrari’s best effort was almost seven-tenths slower than the quickest of the day.

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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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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11 comments on “2012 Brazilian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. Really feel sad for Hulkenberg. He had the fastest car, best strategy….bad luck in the end.

    1. I wouldn’t say it was bad luck. Just inexperience.

      1. First safety car was a joke! They could’ve cleared the debris under double-waved yellow flags.
        So, Button or Hulkenberg who mastered their car under tricky conditions should’ve won!

        @estesark, it is not inexperience! Kovalaïnen didn’t gave them (Hamilton & Hulkenberg) space under blue flags conditions, if he weren’t there, the contact wouldn’t have happen or not the same way.

        Sad for Hulkenberg and Hamilton.

        1. @jayfreese there was debris on the first couple of corners, turn 4, and the slow bits in the infield.

          It’d have been a whole lap double waved yellows. It’s better to get the Safety Car out…

          1. @fer-no65, I’ve always seen marshals taking up their balls to go clear the debris on every track of the world, every series of motorsport. The more when the two possible champions didi cry on their radios for a safety car, didn’t they?

            Anyway, that was an outter-atlantic pace car rather than a propoer F1 safety car this time, no safety reason (a puncture isn’t unsafe) no safety car!

      2. I don’t think it is inexperience, but opportunism. ;)

      3. It was just opportunism imho.

  2. Too opportunistic too eager. He has a faster car. he could have wait for a better straight line overtake with DRS. It’s a risk especially when he has a slide just before the incident with LEwis at the corner. Well, couldn’t blame him though . He’s a racer making instance decision while I am a armchair analysis with replay. Hehe. Nice one though. Force India could have a great chance to win and he lost it and a podium finish.

  3. @jayfreese can’t agree with you more. First the SC and then a quick penalty for a racing incident. Looked like the FIA was hell bent on preventing a Force India podium. Nico Hulkenberg didnt slide by a wide margin for it to be declared his fault.

  4. Redbull showing why they were the best team this year. Not only their car is fast, and they have very capable drivers .. their pit-crew has also been solid all year. Great job by them.

    1. @me4me Yep. They delivered well under immense pressure and unpredictable circumstances.

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