2013 Chinese Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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It was three-stop strategies all round in China with the exception of one team: McLaren.

Jenson Button and Sergio Perez both made two pit stops, but Button was the only driver to make it home in the points.

Button left it until lap 49 to put the soft tyres on. He nursed them to begin with but leant on them more heavily on his final tour, reducing his lap time by almost two seconds.

Other drivers such as Sebastian Vettel pushed their tyres harder at this point. But there was little for Button to gain by doing that – he was 22 seconds behind the next car – Vettel – at the flag.

Sergio Perez in the other McLaren ran his soft tyre stint in the middle of the race and spent as long on them as Button did. But he found it much harder to make them last than Button did and the stint cost him four places.

Chinese Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Fernando Alonso Soft (6) Medium (17) Medium (18) Medium (15)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (6) Medium (15) Medium (13) Medium (22)
Lewis Hamilton Soft (5) Medium (16) Medium (16) Medium (19)
Sebastian Vettel Medium (14) Medium (17) Medium (20) Soft (5)
Jenson Button Medium (23) Medium (26) Soft (7)
Felipe Massa Soft (7) Medium (12) Medium (17) Medium (20)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (4) Medium (19) Medium (15) Medium (18)
Paul di Resta Medium (14) Medium (18) Medium (21) Soft (3)
Romain Grosjean Soft (7) Medium (16) Medium (14) Medium (19)
Nico Hulkenberg Medium (14) Medium (15) Soft (7) Medium (20)
Sergio Perez Medium (24) Soft (7) Medium (25)
Jean-Eric Vergne Medium (15) Medium (22) Soft (6) Medium (13)
Valtteri Bottas Medium (16) Medium (18) Medium (17) Soft (5)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (7) Medium (16) Medium (16) Medium (17)
Jules Bianchi Soft (6) Medium (10) Medium (16) Medium (23)
Charles Pic Soft (5) Medium (12) Medium (16) Medium (22)
Max Chilton Soft (7) Medium (14) Medium (12) Medium (22)
Giedo van der Garde Soft (6) Medium (14) Medium (17) Medium (18)
Nico Rosberg Soft (5) Medium (14) Medium (1)
Mark Webber Soft (1) Medium (14)
Adrian Sutil Soft (5)
Esteban Gutierrez Medium (4)

Chinese Grand Prix pit stop times

Red Bull were the fastest team in the pits again. Last year the fastest pit stop in the race, achieved by Ferrari, took 20.024s. Red Bull cut that by seven tenths of a second and Vettel’s three pit stops were completed in less than a minute in total.

A demonstration of Red Bull’s superiority came when Vettel arrived in the pits behind Nico Hulkenberg after 14 laps. He was already heading back to the track while Hulkenberg was still sat on his jacks as the Sauber crew fumbled a right-rear tyre change. Hulkenberg spent a total of 3.6 seconds longer in the pits than Vettel during the race.

But faster pit stops can carry highers risks as the other Red Bull driver discovered. Mark Webber’s race ended when a wheel came off his car following a pit stop.

Red Bull were fined ??5,000 (4,262) by the FIA for releasing Webber unsafely. However the stewards took into consideration the fact that “the team was initially unaware of the fact the wheel was not correctly fitted but as soon as the problem was identified the team advised the driver to stop the car”.

Here’s how long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 19.323 14
2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 19.449 0.126 36
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 19.600 0.277 37
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 19.719 0.396 6
5 Paul di Resta Force India 19.831 0.508 53
6 Jenson Button McLaren 19.862 0.539 49
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 19.894 0.571 19
8 Jenson Button McLaren 19.898 0.575 23
9 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 19.957 0.634 36
10 Sergio Perez McLaren 19.969 0.646 24
11 Felipe Massa Ferrari 20.027 0.704 19
12 Romain Grosjean Lotus 20.083 0.760 7
13 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 20.084 0.761 31
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus 20.109 0.786 37
15 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 20.191 0.868 51
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 20.235 0.912 37
17 Sergio Perez McLaren 20.253 0.930 31
18 Romain Grosjean Lotus 20.286 0.963 23
19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 20.303 0.980 23
20 Paul di Resta Force India 20.320 0.997 32
21 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 20.327 1.004 29
22 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 20.362 1.039 38
23 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 20.379 1.056 5
24 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 20.464 1.141 34
25 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 20.521 1.198 23
26 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 20.584 1.261 21
27 Paul di Resta Force India 20.598 1.275 14
28 Jules Bianchi Marussia 20.625 1.302 32
29 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 20.716 1.393 43
30 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 20.743 1.420 20
31 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 20.753 1.430 6
32 Felipe Massa Ferrari 20.753 1.430 7
33 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 20.759 1.436 21
34 Pastor Maldonado Williams 20.794 1.471 7
35 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 20.905 1.582 6
36 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 20.977 1.654 15
37 Pastor Maldonado Williams 20.982 1.659 39
38 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 21.012 1.689 41
39 Max Chilton Marussia 21.063 1.740 7
40 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 21.067 1.744 37
41 Jules Bianchi Marussia 21.097 1.774 6
42 Charles Pic Caterham 21.265 1.942 5
43 Mark Webber Red Bull 21.287 1.964 1
44 Charles Pic Caterham 21.294 1.971 33
45 Valtteri Bottas Williams 21.490 2.167 51
46 Pastor Maldonado Williams 21.517 2.194 23
47 Valtteri Bottas Williams 21.614 2.291 16
48 Charles Pic Caterham 22.183 2.860 17
49 Valtteri Bottas Williams 22.217 2.894 34
50 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 22.299 2.976 5
51 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 22.727 3.404 20
52 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 22.838 3.515 14
53 Jules Bianchi Marussia 24.834 5.511 16
54 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 24.946 5.623 4
55 Max Chilton Marussia 25.091 5.768 21
56 Max Chilton Marussia 25.151 5.828 33
57 Mark Webber Red Bull 26.956 7.633 15

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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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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22 comments on “2013 Chinese Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. I think in hindsight, Button was being overly careful. Not a bad call considering the wear concerns at the time though.

  2. At least for me, Perez still keeps failing to impress.

    1. Indeed he is.

      Meanwhile button did set the second fastest lap , where Perez was just 14/15th.

      1. That was really all about button ending the race with very light car and the softer tires (that’s when the button’s fastest lap was done?) while perez used his softer tires earlier in the race and in the end of the perez had word mediums when he had light car.

        1. I don’t think Perez was that bad this weekend.

          Before his 1st stop he was matching Button’s times & was only about 4 seconds behind him on the track.
          What cost him was that he came out the pits in traffic after his 1st stop & then made the move to the soft’s too early.

          I find it amazing how people’s opinions on Perez changed as soon as he was announced as Hamilton’s replacement.
          There were people all through 2012 praising him & calling for him to replace Massa, Then as soon as he signed with Mclaren the same people were saying he wasn’t good enough.

          1. Bear in mind, that as soon as he signed for Mclaren he stopped driving well.

            That probably had an effect on people’s opinions.

            I agree with the sentiment that F1 fans are very fickle. But in this case, perhaps some of the criticism is justified.

          2. Honestly, I can’t say I was one of them.

            If I were Whitmarsh, I would’ve hired Hulkenberg.

            I think the reason for Perez’s podiums were due to excellent strategy performed to perfection by Perez’s ability to save tires with that car.

            Perez’s qualifying performances were not special, whereas Kobayashi did put his sauber on the first row in spa.

            Imo the car had more pace than they extracted out of it.

            Perez is off to McLaren, and the promice from sauber is not even close to Button.

            His racecraft just isn’t there (yet) , and he certainly wasn’t the only one that had to go trough traffic.

            so yes, i feel sceptical about him, but that’s the way it is.

            I quite like surprises , so if he should surprise, I’ll swallow my words, but at the moment I think McLaren made a big mistake.

    2. His tire sequence was the worst, specially for a two stopper, but he needs to get a car that can qualify in the first row before you can talk about delding you.
      Mclaren is still a midfield car thus season.

      1. Meant deluding, which remembers me I like Perez but it’s starting to suck to be a Mclaren “fan” and even only been three races at it….

  3. Special mention to the Mercedes pit crew.
    They showed grace under pressure when the team decided to pit their cars on the same lap, almost stacking the two. It’s not easy to manage 18 tires in a span of a few seconds. Good job!

    1. Yes, and unlike Force India in Malaysia didn’t have gun problems… although I think you’ll find it was 16 tyres, unless they took two of Webbers!

    2. You’re right, it’s supposed to be 16 LOL! Thanks!! Webber wasn’t gonna use them anyway haha

    3. Not sure by doing that 2-cars stop, they made the 23rd and 50th quickest pitstop time.

      Just how on earth Bianchi did only 10 laps on medium tyres (stint 2)?

      1. It does look like Rosberg lost some time there, though do we need factor in that cars drive into the pits more slowly at the beginning of the race with very worn tyres?

      2. @jeff1s I think he was trying to jump Pic, but didn’t manage to (on that occasion).

  4. 16 tyres :P have to agree though great job!

  5. Not really slow pit stops this time out, regardless of the reasons behind them.

  6. Hulkenberg lost a lot in this, he did 7 laps on soft, while Di Resta did only 3, it was much wiser to use the soft for only few laps.

  7. it is interesting to see that a 7 lap stint in the soft tyre was clearly a disadvantage. Massa lost to Alonso, Grosjean to Kimi, Maldonado to Bottas, Chilton to Bianchi. For those that paid more attention may remember that Massa lost more than a second just for staying one more lap, by then he was pressing Alonso for 2nd place.

    1. same logic for Van der Garde (6 laps) vs Pic (5 laps) and Vergne (6 laps) vs Ricciardo (4 laps)

    2. Massa himself blamed his medium stints for the struggles, he even pitted sooner after the first pit-stop and still didn’t made much ground with it.

  8. McLaren’s situation is nothing alike Ferrari. At times I feel they can pull an RB8 rather than mimicking the F12. With pace being so tight and subjective, who knows what someone in the zone could have achieved in supposedly the faster 3 stop strategy.

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