Ricciardo prevails in Red Bull’s strategic battle

2014 Italian Grand Prix pit stops and tyre strategies

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Red Bull delivered on their car’s potential by using aggressive strategies for both their drivers. But it led to their drivers fighting for position at the end of the race.

As there is little rewards for deviating from a one-stop strategy at Monza, Red Bull staggered the stints of their two cars to maximise their chances at a track which did not play to their strengths.

Sebastian Vettel was the first of the one-stopping drivers to make his pit stop, on lap 18. This was two laps earlier than anyone did last year.

This gave him the advantage of the ‘undercut’ and allowed him to get ahead of Valtteri Bottas (albeit temporarily) and Jenson Button.

Team mate Daniel Ricciardo, however, had made a poor start and had to rely on the opposite strategy. “It’s one of the longest runs up to turn one here from the start line and it’s not a place where you want to have a bad one,” he said, “but I dropped the clutch and didn’t get the traction.”

Red Bull left Ricciardo out until lap 26, by which time almost all the other cars had pitted. He took full advantage of his fresher tyres, passing Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen.

Ricciardo picked off one more car before the chequered flag fell – and significantly, it was his team mate’s. Team principal Christian Horner reckoned the pass was “inevitable” given how their tyres performed during the final stint.

“We picked two different strategies,” he explained, “an aggressive one with Sebastian to undercut the McLaren, which worked and gave him track position but unfortunately made his tyres marginal at the end of the race.”

“With Daniel we took the opposite approach as he was running in clear air. We ran him long in the first stint with a shorter second stint and then his passing moves to come back through the field were truly impressive and obviously with Sebastian struggling with tyre degradation due to the length of the stint, it became inevitable that the two were going to swap positions.”

Italian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Lewis Hamilton Medium (25) Hard (28)
Nico Rosberg Medium (24) Hard (29)
Felipe Massa Medium (23) Hard (30)
Valtteri Bottas Medium (24) Hard (29)
Daniel Ricciardo Medium (26) Hard (27)
Sebastian Vettel Medium (18) Hard (35)
Sergio Perez Medium (19) Hard (34)
Jenson Button Medium (22) Hard (31)
Kimi Raikkonen Medium (20) Hard (33)
Kevin Magnussen Medium (21) Hard (32)
Daniil Kvyat Hard (30) Medium (23)
Nico Hulkenberg Hard (19) Medium (34)
Jean-Eric Vergne Medium (24) Hard (29)
Pastor Maldonado Medium (21) Hard (31)
Adrian Sutil Hard (24) Medium (28)
Romain Grosjean Hard (20) Medium (32)
Kamui Kobayashi Medium (22) Hard (30)
Jules Bianchi Medium (27) Hard (25)
Marcus Ericsson Hard (30) Medium (21)
Esteban Gutierrez Hard (9) Medium (27) Medium (13) Medium (2)
Fernando Alonso Medium (21) Hard (7)
Max Chilton Medium (5)

Italian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 24.214 21
2 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 24.223 0.009 21
3 Felipe Massa Williams 24.323 0.109 23
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 24.388 0.174 26
5 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 24.453 0.239 25
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 24.547 0.333 20
7 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 24.583 0.369 24
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 24.651 0.437 30
9 Jenson Button McLaren 24.669 0.455 22
10 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 24.913 0.699 21
11 Sergio Perez Force India 24.938 0.724 19
12 Valtteri Bottas Williams 24.991 0.777 24
13 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 25.046 0.832 24
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus 25.098 0.884 20
15 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 25.176 0.962 18
16 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 25.277 1.063 22
17 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 25.547 1.333 19
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 25.693 1.479 36
19 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 26.376 2.162 9
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia 26.641 2.427 27
21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 26.849 2.635 49
22 Adrian Sutil Sauber 26.864 2.650 24
23 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 28.685 4.471 30

2014 Italian Grand Prix

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Image © Red Bull/Getty

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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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27 comments on “Ricciardo prevails in Red Bull’s strategic battle”

  1. *sigh* there’s always one… Gutierrez..

    1. The new crash king ?

  2. To me vettel even if i never liked him he could had give the place to riccy simple because i suppose that scenario was discussed in RB before the race and riccy is far above vettel in points with any bad luck to Mercedes to be helpful, a scenario we all saw in last races giving to riccy the thought of wc.

  3. Vettel´s early stop made the others react, which in turn reulted in all of them struggling with deg at the end. That made passing easier for Ricciardo, as it´s much harder to overtake when everyone is driving tyres with roughly the same age. So maybe, if Red-Bull had them both stop at e.g. lap 23 and 24, and thus not lured in the rest of the midfield early, it might have been Vet P6 behind a McL and Ric somewhere around P9/P10 where he was before the pit-stops. I think it´s the split which gave them the team-result.

    1. That’s true. I think that Red Bull today wasn’t very fast, Mclaren had more or less the same pace (Vettel wasn’t able to build a gap to Magnussen in his second stint) and both Vettel and Ricciardo didn’t qualify very well. All things considered, P5 and P6 is an amazing result for them. It’s just frustrating that once again Vettel struggled because of the strategy.

  4. The cat is definitely out of the bag!

    1. To which cat are you referring? Please enlighten us!

      1. That was supposed to be a reply to @jason12.

        1. Why was the cat in the bag To start with ?

  5. RBR was very unccompetitve all the weekend, so the only thing that crosses my mind is that RBR decided (Vettel included) to make a better strategy for Ric, as he is in 3rd place overal. OFc, that’s not a good thing to live with for Vettel (as he was easily overtaked by Ric), but that was the best decision for the team in the end of the day.

    1. Mr win or lose
      8th September 2014, 10:08

      I don’t think Ricciardo’s strategy was really better. The “optimal” timing for a pitstop was probably in-between Vettel’s and Ricciardo’s pitstop. Red Bull pitted Vettel early to overtake Magnussen, so he had a clear road after the pitstops (although he wasn’t really faster than Magnussen). Ricciardo was well behind and he was just waiting for the cars in front to battle, so he could catch up and overtake them and that worked out very well. So the Red Bull strategy was very efficient for both cars.

    2. It was a good strategy for the team, but disappointing for the race. Vet did his job well, he held up much of the field so that Ricciardo could come at them all with fresher rubber

  6. it’s not the first time Vettel receives wrong strategy this year and it won’t be the last. There is no lack on this. They simply push Riciardo. He has been betten for another weekend

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      7th September 2014, 23:11

      It looked like he would have lost out anyway; if he pitted layer he would have been stuck in traffic.

      Still, I’m disappointed that Vettel always gets bad strategy calls this year.

      1. Well, Vettel is behind so the focus is on Ricciardo. Hence the strategy in Italy. We must also remember the boos Vettel received last year. Not good for the brand….

    2. It’s not a wrong strategy, just one worse than what RIC got, down more to luck than anything else.

    3. its not so much that he “received the wrong strategy” as he is just not as good as RIC. It really does make one wonder whether the RBR car was SO much ahead of the others that it flattered VET.

    4. Vettel didn’t have the wrong strategy, it got him ahead of the cars he was racing with (McLarens + Perez). For all we know Ricciardo could have just have had more race pace than Vettel, it wouldn’t be the first time this season.

      1. Yap, Webber was really ahead any other driver apart of Vettel

        1. Obviously, it was a reply to @marlarkey

  7. Any idea why FI pitted Hulkenberg so early?

    Having to do 34 laps on the medium tyres probably didn’t help his race at all.

  8. Dear oh dear, I was expecting comments marvelling at RICs racing nouse and overtaking skill in salvaging a great result after being buried at the start, instead we seem to have bought out all the Vettel apologists. I am warming to VET this year, he is showing great character and restraint in a year where it is not going his way, watching his recent qualifying and race performances it is clear that he is trying very hard in a car that does not entirely suit him, to be faster than RIC he uses all the track and more driving right on the edge of control and sliding the car dramatically, this effort is hard on both driver and tyres, I think Vettel stopped early because it was the best strategy available to him as his tyres began to give up.

    1. Yeah he seems to be struggling similar to Raikkonen and Hulkenberg, doesn’t have great pace and can’t make the tyres last compared to his team mate.

  9. Strategy or not it was another great showing from Dan. It’s pure pleasure watching him race with such accurate overtaking moves. Brilliant drive!

  10. It’s not really surprising that Ric managed to do a longer first stint. He just seems to know exactly how to handle the RB10 to stay quick and have very tire wear.

    1. C. Horner explained the situation well. He said SV used to drive like a ballerina, on and off the brakes and throttle continuously – call it aggressive. DR’s style , according to Horner is almost old fashioned , very smooth, just lets the car flow through the corners but he is super fast and precise when doing it.

      Nobody denies AV is fast but look at Silverstone, Spa and Monza, he is often off the track. darting here and there. DR passes, according to many experts like Andretti are pure class, precise and decisive.

      It is what it is.

  11. I think Red Bull needs to get Danny practising his starts ! This is a problem that Webber had consistently in F1.

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