2013 Japanese GP tyre strategies and pit stops

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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Mark Webber, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2013Red Bull’s decision to convert Mark Webber to a three-stop strategy prompted claims they’d done so to favour Sebastian Vettel.

But looking at the data it’s clear to see why Red Bull chose the strategies they did – and why Vettel was always likely to come out on top given how the race unfolded behind them.

Red Bull pitted Webber for the first time on lap 11, three laps before his team mate came in. As their leading driver at the time Webber would have expected to pit first as that gave him the advantage of the ‘undercut’ and potentially the opportunity to leapfrog leader Romain Grosjean.

Team principal Christian Horner said it was necessary to bring Webber in at this time because his tyres were beginning to fade. This is consistent with expectations: Vettel has usually been able to make his tyres last longer than Webber has this year. In dry races where both started on the same compound, Webber had to pit first eight times out of ten.

Webber’s lap times also indicate his tyres were starting to go off. They were beginning to rise relative to his team mate even as the gap between him and Grosjean increased. On lap 11, as he headed for the pits, he lost six tenths of a second to Grosjean in the first two sectors.

Webber left the pits on a set of hard tyres with 42 laps remaining. He would have needed to do two stints averaging 21 laps each to make it to the end of the race. Vettel was able to manage a 23-lap stint on hards which indicates Webber could have handled this, even taking into account how he was punishing his tyres more severely than Vettel. Whether he could have done so and been quick enough to pressurise Grosjean is a matter of conjecture.

But Red Bull had an opportunity which, in the normal course of things, wouldn’t have been available to them. They could bring Webber in for an early second stop and commit to a three-stopper.

This was possible because a large gap had opened up behind their drivers. Mercedes had dropped of contention with Lewis Hamilton taking damage on the first lap – ironically due to contact with Vettel – and Nico Rosberg earning a drive-through penalty for being released from his pit box too soon.

On top of that Felipe Massa had held up his team mate (despite being ordered to wave him past) and Alonso had been further delayed by Daniel Ricciardo, who started on mediums and ran long, and Nico Hulkenberg, who jumped both Ferraris with an early pit stop.

The upshot of this was that Red Bull could bring in one of their drivers early and convert to a three-stopper without the slightest danger of them losing time in traffic during the next stint.

This had an obvious appeal on the Red Bull pit wall. When a team is attacking one rival car with both of theirs the best way of ensuring at least one of their drivers gets ahead is to put them on alternate strategies. This is what Lotus tried to do to Vettel in Germany, bringing Grosjean in before Vettel while leaving Raikkonen out.

The next decision Red Bull faced was which of their drivers to put on the three-stopper. Logically it would be the one who had pitted earliest the first time around and who was hardest on his tyres: Webber.

Mark Webber, Romain Grosjean, Suzuka, 2013With the prospect of passing Grosjean via the undercut diminishing Red Bull knew they would have to pass him on the track. Having fresher tyres would make that easier and arguably it should have helped Webber more than Vettel.

When Vettel caught Grosjean his tyres were eight laps newer and of the same compound; when Webber caught the Lotus his tyres were up to twelve laps newer (less any further distance he had covered on them in qualifying) and he was on the faster medium compound. Yet Vettel passed Grosjean after a single lap while Webber took six to force his way by.

Before catching Grosjean, Webber took almost two seconds out of Vettel’s lead in as many laps. If he’d cleared the Lotus as quickly as Vettel did it appears he would have been able to catch his team mate and potentially pass him, though Webber is sceptical about that.

Ultimately their strategies helped both drivers pass Grosjean. But what made the difference and allowed Vettel to come out on top was his raw pace.

Vettel qualified a tenth of a second slower than Webber despite losing KERS in Q3 which cost him four to five tenths of a second. That suggests he had around three tenths in hand over Webber, a supposition backed up by their lap times from Q2, when both drivers had working KERS.

If Webber had been three-tenths of a second quicker he would have had a chance to come out ahead of Vettel at the end of his third stint. He certainly wouldn’t have been stuck behind Grosjean.

Given Vettel’s performance advantage, whatever strategies Red Bull chose he was always going to make that count once he got into free air. What probably did for Webber’s chances of beating him was the confluence of events that allowed Red Bull to split their drivers’ strategies, which was their best chance of beating Lotus.

Japanese Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4
Sebastian VettelMedium (14)Hard (23)Hard (16)
Mark WebberMedium (11)Hard (14)Hard (17)Medium (11)
Romain GrosjeanMedium (12)Hard (17)Hard (24)
Fernando AlonsoMedium (13)Hard (17)Hard (23)
Kimi RaikkonenMedium (11)Hard (20)Hard (22)
Nico HulkenbergMedium (10)Hard (19)Hard (24)
Esteban GutierrezMedium (9)Hard (21)Hard (23)
Nico RosbergMedium (12)Hard (12)Medium (15)Hard (14)
Jenson ButtonMedium (8)Hard (15)Hard (17)Medium (13)
Felipe MassaMedium (11)Hard (17)Hard (25)
Paul di RestaMedium (10)Hard (16)Hard (27)
Jean-Eric VergneMedium (7)Hard (14)Medium (17)Hard (14)
Daniel RicciardoHard (21)Hard (23)Medium (8)
Adrian SutilMedium (8)Hard (19)Hard (25)
Sergio PerezMedium (12)Hard (18)Hard (12)Medium (10)
Pastor MaldonadoMedium (9)Hard (19)Hard (24)
Valtteri BottasMedium (8)Hard (19)Hard (25)
Charles PicHard (17)Medium (18)Hard (17)
Max ChiltonMedium (11)Hard (18)Hard (23)
Lewis HamiltonMedium (1)Hard (6)
Giedo van der GardeMedium
Jules BianchiMedium

Japanese Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Nico RosbergMercedes22.55139
2Fernando AlonsoFerrari22.6450.09413
3Nico RosbergMercedes22.7710.22024
4Mark WebberRed Bull22.7740.22325
5Nico RosbergMercedes22.8120.26112
6Fernando AlonsoFerrari22.8390.28830
7Felipe MassaFerrari22.8710.32028
8Sebastian VettelRed Bull22.8730.32237
9Sebastian VettelRed Bull22.9160.36514
10Felipe MassaFerrari22.9460.39511
11Romain GrosjeanLotus23.0860.53529
12Mark WebberRed Bull23.0940.54342
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren23.1050.55440
14Esteban GutierrezSauber23.1840.63330
15Romain GrosjeanLotus23.2820.73112
16Kimi RaikkonenLotus23.2900.73931
17Kimi RaikkonenLotus23.3130.76211
18Nico HulkenbergSauber23.3830.83210
19Valtteri BottasWilliams23.4210.8708
20Jenson ButtonMcLaren23.4620.9118
21Paul di RestaForce India23.4760.92510
22Valtteri BottasWilliams23.4830.93227
23Adrian SutilForce India23.4840.93327
24Pastor MaldonadoWilliams23.5240.9739
25Mark WebberRed Bull23.6171.06611
26Max ChiltonMarussia23.6481.09711
27Adrian SutilForce India23.8031.2528
28Nico HulkenbergSauber23.8311.28029
29Paul di RestaForce India23.8581.30726
30Esteban GutierrezSauber23.8871.3369
31Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso24.0871.53621
32Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso24.1781.62744
33Pastor MaldonadoWilliams24.2021.65128
34Max ChiltonMarussia24.3731.82229
35Charles PicCaterham24.3801.82917
36Charles PicCaterham24.3811.83035
37Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso24.6082.05721
38Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso24.8762.32538
39Lewis HamiltonMercedes25.2972.7461
40Sergio PerezMcLaren25.5853.03442
41Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso25.8163.2657
42Jenson ButtonMcLaren26.2633.71223
43Sergio PerezMcLaren26.4233.87212
44Sergio PerezMcLaren27.7075.15630

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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    Images ?? Pirelli/LAT, Red Bull/Getty

    Author information

    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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    54 comments on “2013 Japanese GP tyre strategies and pit stops”

    1. Facts and figures won’t stop the conspiracy nuts, unfortunately.

      1. Sperry, but I disagree.

        With 10 laps to go, Webber was 14-15 seconds ahead of Vettel and lapping at about the same pace.

        Why the hell wouldn’t they take the gamble and leave him out? Vettel would have to reel him in at 1.5 seconds EVERY LAP till the end. He might have, but it would have been close.

        At the very least he would have been passed by Vettel and finished 2nd anyway. Grosjean was a further 6-7 seconds behing Vettel anyways.

        By pitting Webber they guaranted that Vettel would get ahead.

        Absolute crock! Webber screwed by the team again!

        1. @nick101

          Why the hell wouldn’t they take the gamble and leave him out?

          Because then you’d just whine about RBR leaving Webber out on old tyres as he falls off the cliff at 2-3 seconds per lap and finishes 3rd.

          Webber had every chance to win on a 3 stopper, but couldn’t pass Grosjean (something Vettel did much quicker), which wore out his tyres, so he couldn’t catch Vettel.

          1. Sorry, but I wouldn’t.

            I’m not a Webber fan, or a Vettel hater. Vettel is quite clearly the better driver than Vettel and has out classed Webber for the last few years. I reckon in 2010 Webber had his one and only real chance at the WDC, but other than that it’s been the Vettel show.

            What I can’t stand is silly decisions! I despise Hamilton, but was raging at Mercedes in Korea for leaving him out like they did on shot tyres – it was completely stupid!

            And whether you’re a Vettel fan or not, anyone can see plain as day that RedBull pitted Webber to give Vettel the upper hand – it’s as plain as the nose on your face. They had it planned LONG before they did it – hence the radio call to Vettel that he was now racing Grosjean and not Webber. That radio call was long before they told Webber about switching to a 3 stop.

            Take a step back for a minute and look at it objectively – switching Webber to a 3 stop was a CLEAR move to give Vettel track position.

            1. @nick101
              Switching Webber to a three stopper was necessary because his first stint was too short (especially in comparison to Vettel and Grosjean) for him to be able to make it on a two stopper. It disadvantaged him initially by giving up track position, but only because there was no other choice (than leave his tyres to go off at the end and still get caught by Vettel).

              The 3 stopper was supposed to then pay off with Webber passing Grosjean, then pressuring Vettel on fresher, option tyres. Had Vettel taken 8 laps to pass Grosjean (as Webber did), and had Webber passed Grosjean within 2 laps (as Vettel did), then the result would have been different.

              Objectively, there is no denying that Webber lost the race through his average start, tyre management (though this one shouldn’t be so prevalent, blame the FIA) and inability to deal with Grosjean.

        2. @nick101

          Why the hell wouldn’t they take the gamble and leave him out?

          That would have left him doing a 28-lap stint on hard tyres which was more than any other driver did. Those who ended the race with 24/25-lap old tyres were struggling to hold position (e.g. Hulkenberg, Bottas). So he would have been slow and vulnerable – look how much Bottas’s times dropped off for an example of how bad it might have been.

          Vettel would certainly have caught him and had a huge tyre advantage. He was already a second a lap faster when Webber pitted (he lost some time passing Grosjean but Vettel’s lap 42 versus Webber’s lap 41 gives a fair guide). This would only have increased as Webber extra-long stint went on.

          So Webber would have been caught and passed easily by Vettel and probably Grosjean too, leaving some people asking why didn’t they pit Webber and give him fresh tyres to attack with…

          1. @keithcollantine

            Sorry Keith, but I disagree mate, so does Gary Anderson – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/24514661?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

            Not saying it was DEFINITELY the wrong decision, but I reckon it was worth a gamble. Like I said, pitting him GUARANTEED he’d be behind Vettel and Grosjean. Keeping him out may have given him a shot.

            1. @nick101 I’ve only skim-read that because I’m up to my eyeballs in other stuff at the moment but I found this passage rather surprising:

              OK, he had lost 0.4 seconds to leader Romain Grosjean’s Lotus on lap 10, but his lap time was basically the same as he had done on lap eight, which does not suggest his tyres had gone.

              Teams do not wait for the drivers to complete each lap before looking at their times and deciding what to do. They can see the sector times and a lot more besides. As I wrote in the article it was clear from Webber’s sector times on lap 11 his tyres were going off.

              He’d lost time to Grosjean for five laps in a row and if they’d left him out longer he might have started holding Vettel up as well, which would have doubled Red Bull’s disadvantage.

              And Red Bull could have anticipated Hulkenberg’s lap ten stop would lead those he had been racing to pit, giving Webber good space to come out in. For this plus everything else I wrote above his lap 11 pit stop looks entirely correct to me.

            2. I disagree with Gary Anderson – as right as he often is. Whilst Webber’s times didn’t increase, the gap to Grosjean started to increase. This indicated that Webber was not gaining any time from the reduced fuel load because of the state of the tyres whereas Grosjean could do so.

          2. And Di Resta Il pitted at lap 26.

    2. Rear right gun seriously hurt both McL on the race. Four out of five slowest stops! They lost it for my man Checo in terms of position & then ROS happened – twice.

    3. I’m sceptical that Webber would’ve even won had he got the lead at the start. Vettel’s pace was spectacular, and Mark has a lot more trouble than the others when it comes to overtaking people, even if he’s on a different strategy…

      Another sign that Vettel’s sucess is not just down to his car…

      1. Come on @fer-no65, keep the faith :-)

        Seriously, I think Webber would have won if he had led with Grosjean behind him, perhaps even with only Vettel behind him. I think Webber used his tyres up too quickly because he tried too long to pass Grosjean, but he was still quicker. In free air he could have put some distance between himself and the Lotus.

        If Webber had led into turn 1 with Vettel tucked in behind, it would have been more difficult to win, but if he had pit stop priority, he might still have held on. Vettel’s only option would have been to go much longer and attack him on fresher tyres, but I don’t think that would have worked on the faster (than Grosjean) Webber.

        1. @adrianmorse I had aaaaaaaaaaall the faith in the world. That’s why I cheer for Webber :P otherwise, I’d go the easy way and cheer for someone else, but no ! I got faith that the black cat is following another guy every sunday, and it turns out it’s never the case. :P

          Seriously, tho, I’m still sceptical about that. had Grosjean slotted in between the two but gone much slower than Mark, maybe. But Romain went very fast at the beginning, he’d not have held up Vettel enough, I think.

        2. Assuming the same gap had developed, they would then have put Vettel on the 3-stop. Given his pace advantage over Webber, this may have been enough to pass him eventually on fresh tyres at the end.

        3. @adrianmorse, exactly, Mark lost this race not at the end but in the beginning when he slowed down to Grosjeans pace in a wasted effort to save tyres, to win with an extra pit stop you have to be purple every lap.

        4. @adrianmorse “In free air he could have put some distance between himself and the Lotus”

          If he had the pace over Grosjean – Grosjean could not have pulled out 4s over Webber after the first stops.

          1. @raymondu999, I think Webber looked faster than Grosjean on the prime tyres. On the first stint on options, Webber fell back towards the end of the stint, but he had hounded Grosjean in the opening laps, taking life out of his tyres.

            In the end, Webber managed to catch and pass Grosjean on what was supposed to be the slower strategy, so I think he was faster yesterday.

        5. AdrianMorse

          I`ve watched the race several times, and the best chance Mark Webber had to win was in fact the three-stopp-strategy. Any other strategy would have made sure he would be unable to fight for the win as he would have been i a “tyre-conserving-contest” against two drivers that are better at saving their tyres than he is. With the three-stopper he got a chance.

          If Webber had been first into the first corner, Grosjean second and Vettel third Vettel would have been put on a three-stop-strategy. He would have made the undercut work on Grosjean in his first pit-stop and by the time Webber would have pitted for his first stop Vettel would have been past him too. Then Vettel would have unleashed his pace and by the time he was ready for his third pit-stop he would have had more than enough time in hand to come in and back out in the lead. It would have been “Malaysia” all over again.

          As a matter in fact neither Webber nor Grosjean had the pace to beat Vettel in this race regardless of running order in the first stint. The only thing that could have denied Vettel the win was Hamilton if he had been able to slow Vettel down in the first stint while the others got away. Didn`t happen though, and when Vettel was in contact with the two it was only a matter of time before he pounced. His pace was superior, he was almost as fast on 20 laps old tyres as Grosjean was on 7 laps old tyres. Webber was oly able to claw back less than a second a lap on tyres that were half the age of Vettels tyres.

      2. The reality is that Mark’s just not fast enough to beat Vettel, never really has been.

        1. false. Look at Spain, Monaco 2010. Nurburgring 2009.

    4. An interesting write-up Keith, thanks. I hope it gets read, as the tyre strategies and pit stops articles are usually less commented on.

      I agree with your conclusion that what made the difference between Vettel and Webber was that Sebastian was simply faster today (in fact all season long). However, I do think Webber could have kept Vettel behind had he also two-stopped, but then it would have been likely he would have finished second behind Grosjean. Clearly, the current outcome was much to be preferred by the Red Bull pit wall.

      Webber also didn’t look like he minded coming second to Vettel rather than Grosjean. Vettel and Webber have had their disagreements over the years, but recently I’ve only seen mutual respect between the two. Also, Webber mentioned that the advantage of a three-stop strategy was that it allowed him to push more on the Suzuka circuit where it is so rewarding.

      I did wonder one thing: how many new sets of prime tyres did Grosjean have left for the race? I thought his pace on the hards was a little disappointing, but then I remembered his strange strategy in qualifying yesterday of doing a number of runs on the hard. If he did both stints on scrubbed tyres, it might explain was he was losing time to the Red Bulls.

      1. @adrianmorse Agreed on WEB-VET relations. They looked positively civil in the cooldown room.

    5. Really well written article. Thanks

    6. Mr win or lose
      13th October 2013, 20:22

      Wow! Great to see such an elaborated article about pitstop strategies! Even though the battle for the lead was decided in the pits, the different strategies were fun. Clever tactics by Red Bull. Trying to undercut Grosjean and forcing him to compromise his strategy, so he would eventually suffer. Which he did.

    7. I thought it was odd Vettel used Hards at the end instead of Mediums. He only had to do 2 more laps than he did in his initial stint, and obviously he had far less fuel on board.

      1. @chaddy It probably made the difference that he had a set of new hards to use but no new mediums. I do intend to change the data tables above to show new and used compounds which is something missing at the moment.

        1. I agree. I also initially thought that they would go for mediums. This would have probably made it easier to pass Grosjean. However, there would have been a much higher risk of falling prey to Webber later if the tyres would have gone off. So if they were confident that they could pass Grosjean on hards quickly it would have made sense to use the hards.

          And thanks, Keith, for trying to include tyre age in the future – this might explain some pace differences.

    8. Finally an article talking sense!
      I’d add to the mix the fact that Webber only had one set of new hards to use in the race, and vet had 2. Webs 2nd stint was on used hards.
      So to expect web to do ~20 + lap stint on used hards when vet managed 23 on new ones and was clearly a few laps kinder to them anyway is a bit much to ask.
      web simply had too much to do after short first stint and 42 laps to go. Is highly unlikely he’d have stayed ahead of vettel on a 2 stop.

    9. Fantastic analysis Keith, thank you very much, proving once again you run the best F1 website out there :)
      Interesting to see how teams have caught up with Red Bull on pit stops

      1. @mnm101 I think the regulations since Germany have closed them all up – they’re still spectacular though. No 2.1s ones (or whatever the figures were in Malaysia) but 2.3’s are seriously quick: in fact, I’m surprised mistakes don’t happen more often!

        1. I forgot about the regulation changes, well they brought it on themselves :P

    10. The end of Vettel’s long second stint was really impressive, after Grosjean pitted for new hards he could gain only less than 2 seconds to Vettel over 8 laps.

      1. Yes but Webber gained 12 sec on Vettel and 13 on Gosjean with tires older than him. Why do you see thing in one way only ? The fact is that the lotus hasn’t a good pace on hard tires. And that Webber could win the race because he was faster than Vettel.

        1. The crucial factor here is Grosjean, on whom Red Bull had no control. His position blows all silly conspiracy theories out of the window. Red Bull had no way of predicting beforehand that Vettel would get past Grosjean at the first attempt nor that Webber would get stuck behind the Frenchman for several laps. Vettel approached Grosjean on hard tyres and went past him at the first attempt when the Frenchman was defending his lead of the race, no less. Later, when Webber arrived behind Grosjean, the latter’s tyres were older than they had been while defending against Vettel – and Webber had fresh medium tyres. In theory Webber should have passed him with ease but he didn’t.
          The fact that those situations arose would indicate that Red Bull gave Webber a fair chance of passing Grosjean and attacking Vettel. You can hardly blame the team for Webber’s inability to pass Grosjean for so many laps and when he finally did, Vettel was too far ahead with just over 1 lap left in the race.

          As Coulthard has clearly said in his article on this matter, Vettel was simply faster and drove better than Webber and so deserved his victory. Trying to skew that fact to suit another viewpoint will not get you anywhere.

          1. Even if he had passed him at once he could not catched Vettel and certainly not passed him. Because Vettel had fresh tyres also.
            And I think that fresh tires are an advantage in corners not in straights. Mark couldn’t be close enough in the straight to pass Grosjean, I don’t know why. I remember than Vettel was very very close before the chicane and so can pass him on the straight. I cannot understand how he could be so close, he was much faster in the back straight, it’s odd, but Grosjean perhaps make some mistake somewhere and so Vettel could catch him so fast. I don ‘t know if you can watch again the race. I don’t. But if you can look again try to figure out why Vettel why so fast in the back straight. The reason why Vettel passed Grosjean is because he was instantly so close. I don’t know if it was because of his talent or something else. I would like to know his top speed in the back straight at the moment. I think something happens there because he was (without DRS) much faster than Grosjean, and so could place himself ideally to overtake in the straight.

    11. Great article, Keith. Confirming and elaborating my assumptions about the RBR strategies.

    12. All hail the ballerina from Queanbeyan without whom this article wouldn’t need such a detailed analysis. Thank you very much @keithcollantine

    13. Fernando Alonso pit stop (22.645 s) on lap 13 was displayed on TV as 2.3 s of pit crew job time. Also, there’s a best time from Mercedes on lap 39 (Nico Rosberg) that I missed while watching the race.
      Aren’t these new pit stop time records?

    14. Unfortunately Mark is not really competition for Sebastien, and never has been. He sulks too much, too many excuses and perhaps too little focus. Maybe Ricardo will be an improvement. Sebastien is an absolute master, hard working, quick reaction time, strategically focussed and soo fast.

    15. Carlos Furtado das Neves
      14th October 2013, 10:14

      Can somebody, please, fix the board above with the tyre strategies, it’s “damaged”.
      Ricciardo, Pic, Bianchi’s missing.
      Thank you very much.
      Best regards.

    16. Massive thanks for this analysis, Keith.

    17. There is a simpler way to look at this.
      Just imagine that Red Bull had allowed Webber on a 2-stop strategy and Vettel made to stop 3-times.
      The way the race went, Webber would have reached Grosjean while using wearing hard tyres rather than the grippy mediums as he actually did. But if he was struggling to pass RG on such good tyres, logic would say that he would have had an even harder time with wearing harder tyres.

      Vettel on the other hand, caught and overtook Grosjean at the first attempt while he, Vettel, had fresh hard tyres. It is safe to assume that if Vettel had mediums on, he would have passed just as easily and then caught Webber further ahead. If Webber was 2-stopping, he would have had wearing hard tyres, not much defence against Vettel’s fresher mediums.

      The inference therefore, is that Webber would not have made it to P1 either way because he failed to catch and pass Grosjean as quickly as Vettel would have done and actually did.

      1. then because you can’t prove (or disprove) a negative, folks would have said, RB kept Webber on a two-stopper to allow Vettel to jump him with fresher tires. If RB keeps Webber and Vettel both on 2-stops, Grojean wins with Webber holding up Vettel and folks then saying “well if Vettel were as good as people say he is, he should have passed Webber”. Etc.

        RB is on the cusp of being 4x WCC. They know how to call races and have the car that allows them to call races. They made the right call.

    18. You must understand one thing : Vettel was not pushing at the end of the race. Only 10 sec ahead of Grosjean after the finish line when Webber had 17 sec just before his last pit stop ! So Webber couln’t catch Vettel, or else you must own that Vettel couldn’t catch Webber as Webber was 17 sec ahead of Grosjean ! So in fact Webber could win the race if he don’t stopped and he culdn’t win else. An other thong : on this track you lost 20 sec for a pit stop it’s a very big handicap.

    19. Another thing : I think during the race Webber was faster than Wettel. You should look at the data. Never mind the qualifications. In the race he was faster.

    20. Mark is not really competition for Sebastian, and never has been. He sulks too much, too many excuses and perhaps too little focus.

      Lack of focus has been Webber’s biggest problem most of his career. He is a very talented driver and when fired-up can produce exceptional performances – Silverstone 2010 is the best example. However, such motivation is few and far between with him and if he feels that things are not going for him, he stops fighting and starts to drift. The best example for the latter is also from 2010 – that crucial last race at Abu Dhabi. After his pit-stop on Lap 11, Webber drove brilliantly for 4 laps, hoping to leapfrog ahead of Alonso when the latter came in for his own stop. But it did not work and Webber ended-up behind Alonso again. That seemed to deflate Webber and from lap 16 to 55 he did not make a single move to attack and try to pass Alonso, not even when the latter ran wide while trying to pass Petrov.

      But getting back to last Sunday, if Red Bull had kept Webber to a 2-stop, the podium would have been Vettel-Grosjean-Webber without a doubt. Then of course, all these conspiracy theorists would have been jumping up & down suggesting that Red Bull deliberately forced Webber to a 2-stop strategy knowing that he was harder on the tyres than Vettel. And being Webber, he would have continued played the ‘poor victim’ with those ambiguous comments of his which could be taken either way.
      As it was, the 3-stopper gave Webber a chance to fight for the lead but he blew it when he failed to pass Grosjean on his older tyres for so many laps. That is the simple truth.

    21. Another thing : I think during the race Webber was faster than Wettel. You should look at the data. Never mind the qualifications. In the race he was faster.

      No, he wasn’t – at least not when it mattered. Webber had the fastest lap alright and probably the next few fastest to follow but that is hardly surprising when he was the only one of the top three drivers to have option tyres with a lighter car. But unlike qualifying, being the fastest driver over a few laps is not the ticket for victory but being faster than the other guy and passing him when it matters. That is where Vettel succeeded and Webber failed on Sunday and if anything he was lucky to get P2 from Grosjean who deserved it better.

      1. Please explain to me how “if Red Bull had kept Webber to a 2-stops, the podium would have been Vettel-Grosjean-Webber ”

        I have some difficulties to explain myself in English, but it’s not hard to see than Webber was faster than Grosjean from lap 29 to lap 42 and that the gap between them passed from 4 sec to 17 sec during theses laps. I am repeating and repeating myself, but not only was it impossible for Grosjean to catch Webber but I think if he don’t stop at lap 42 Webber would have finished the race 25 sec ahead of Grosjean… and some seconds ahead of Vettel. At any rate who CANNOT deny that Webber was BOUND to finished the race LARGELY ahead of Grosjean ? Don’t forget that Vettel finished the race 10 sec ahead of Grosjean and that Webber at lap 42 was already 17 sec ahead of Grosjean. So Vettel wasn’t pushing at all at the end or he could never have catched Webber (if you think of it) and an other thing Webber could not catch Vettel because even if he had passed Grosjean at once Vettel would have been pushing and pushing ahead and the result would have been the same at the end with Webber 2 sec instead of 7 behind Vettel.
        Lastly the difference between medium and hard compound was small as explained by pirelli motorsport (look on the pirelli site they predicted also BEFORE THE RACE that the best strategy will be 2 stops with the second stop at lap 37 !!….and Vettel has do 2 stops with the second at lap 37 and Webber 3 stops ! They said also that a worn tyre will CONTINUE TO PERFORM WELL nowinstanding the degradation. Think of it.) and Rosberg with hard tyres made the same lap time than Webber at the end. And last of last the lose of time on suzuka track for a pitstop is 20 sec. If it was only 15 sec as on other tracks Webber would have issue from pits directly behind Vettel and ahead of Grosjean. This strategy could not work on such a track. Obvious.

        1. it’s not hard to see than Webber was faster than Grosjean from lap 29 to lap 42

          After which the tyres would drop off massively (Webber punishes them more than Vettel), costing Webber a few seconds a lap. 17 seconds is nothing when the guy behind is 3 seconds a lap faster with 15 laps to go.

          1. Only 11 laps.
            I own I don’t know exactly about this point. But as Grosjean tyres were worn as well, I think it’s impossible.

    22. The reality is that Mark’s just not fast enough to beat Vettel, never really has been.

      Although I am no Webber fan, I don’t entirely agree with that. Occasionally, when fired-up for some reason, Webber can produce exceptional performances – Silverstone 2010 is a good example. But he lacks consistency and motivation and can get bogged down behing someone for ages. He can be good but lacks ate all-round skill and commitment that Vettel has.

    23. Mark couldn’t be close enough in the straight to pass Grosjean, I don’t know why. I remember than Vettel was very very close before the chicane and so can pass him on the straight. I cannot understand how he could be so close, he was much faster in the back straight, it’s odd, but Grosjean perhaps make some mistake somewhere and so Vettel could catch him so fast. I don ‘t know if you can watch again the race. I don’t. But if you can look again try to figure out why Vettel why so fast in the back straight. The reason why Vettel passed Grosjean is because he was instantly so close. I don’t know if it was because of his talent or something else.

      It is simply talent and despite what some people prefer to believe, there is no “something else”. Never has been.

      To answer your question, Vettel was so close to Grosjean before the pass because he planned that move in advance. He got very close a couple of turns before the straight and remained that way as both of them got on to the straight and into the DRS zone. That enabled Vettel to deploy his DRS and whip past Grosjean with still some of the straight left and then pull away before the next turn.

      Webber on the other hand, did not plan the pass as well and did not have his car in the optimal position as Grosjean and he entered the straight. He was not close enough and so when he made the pass attempt, they were too far down the straight already and approaching the next turn. This allowed Grosjean to ‘close the door’ on Webber repeatedly.

      1. Funny :
        Horner also revealed Vettel used the DRS (drag reduction system) to perfection to pass Grosjean on lap 41, while Webber had made a mistake with the technology, costing him precious time at the end of the race, when he was on quicker tyres.
        “Seb has DRS when he passed Grosjean,” he said. “There was one lap where Mark got right into the slipstream but because he pushed the button too early the flap didn’t open so he didn’t get the benefit.”

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