Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuit of the Americas, 2014

Button rues not mimicking Vettel’s late pit stop

2014 United States Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuit of the Americas, 2014Sebastian Vettel’s late pit stop with just eight laps remaining looked like a mistake but was vindicated by his finishing position.

Jenson Button, who slipped out of the points in the closing stages, ended up wishing his McLaren team had done something similar.

Button was running ninth, five seconds behind seventh-placed Vettel when the Red Bull driver made his final pit stop. Vettel had reported vibrations on his tyres and poor rear grip but told his team he should only pit if it would help him finished ahead of the Button and Kevin Magnussen, who was between them.

“It depends in which shape the McLarens are in,” Vettel pointed out on the radio, “if they are the ones we are fighting.”

“Exactly the same as us,” advised race engineer Guillaume Rocquelin. “They pitted one lap and two laps later respectively.”

Vettel fell seven places to fourteenth after his pit stop, but with a tyre performance advantage he made short work of the cars in front of him. By the penultimate lap he was back up to seventh place, and he set the fastest lap of the race as he closed to within half a second of Fernando Alonso at the flag.

Meanwhile Button, who dropped to 12th at the finish, was left wishing he’d done the same as the Red Bull driver. “I think we should have maybe followed Vettel in,” he said on the radio. “They seemed to be pretty good at getting it right.”

United States Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4 Stint 5
Lewis Hamilton Soft (16) Medium (17) Medium (23)
Nico Rosberg Soft (15) Medium (19) Medium (22)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (14) Medium (17) Medium (25)
Felipe Massa Soft (14) Soft (18) Medium (24)
Valtteri Bottas Soft (15) Soft (15) Medium (26)
Fernando Alonso Soft (16) Medium (27) Soft (13)
Sebastian Vettel Medium (1) Soft (1) Medium (24) Medium (22) Soft (8)
Kevin Magnussen Soft (1) Medium (26) Medium (29)
Jean-Eric Vergne Soft (15) Soft (14) Medium (27)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (15) Medium (20) Medium (21)
Romain Grosjean Soft (16) Soft (13) Medium (26)
Jenson Button Soft (1) Medium (27) Medium (27)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (17) Medium (25) Soft (10) Soft (3)
Esteban Gutierrez Soft (1) Medium (19) Medium (20) Soft (15)
Daniil Kvyat Medium (21) Medium (20) Soft (10) Soft (4)
Nico Hulkenberg Medium (1) Medium (15)
Sergio Perez Soft (1)
Adrian Sutil Soft

United States Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Jenson Button McLaren 23.546 28
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 23.799 0.253 26
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus 23.802 0.256 29
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 23.872 0.326 42
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 23.909 0.363 2
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 23.948 0.402 48
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 24.040 0.494 14
8 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 24.131 0.585 17
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 24.133 0.587 43
10 Valtteri Bottas Williams 24.151 0.605 15
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 24.189 0.643 41
12 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 24.226 0.680 1
13 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 24.226 0.680 52
14 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 24.244 0.698 33
15 Valtteri Bottas Williams 24.283 0.737 30
16 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 24.356 0.810 31
17 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 24.368 0.822 16
18 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 24.433 0.887 15
19 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 24.468 0.922 35
20 Felipe Massa Williams 24.488 0.942 14
21 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 24.497 0.951 27
22 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 24.513 0.967 34
23 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 24.553 1.007 29
24 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 24.601 1.055 16
25 Romain Grosjean Lotus 24.688 1.142 16
26 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 24.726 1.180 40
27 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 24.995 1.449 21
28 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 25.007 1.461 1
29 Felipe Massa Williams 25.456 1.910 32
30 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 26.541 2.995 51
31 Jenson Button McLaren 26.806 3.260 1
32 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 26.881 3.335 1
33 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 29.734 6.188 15
34 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 30.158 6.612 15
35 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 31.198 7.652 20
36 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 33.427 9.881 1

2014 United States 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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15 comments on “Button rues not mimicking Vettel’s late pit stop”

  1. To much tyre, not enough driver, that’s a big part of what’s wrong with F1 now.

    1. Couldn’t disagree more. 2 stops is a decent amount to mix up strategies and give more oppurtunity to overtake. In Russia, we barely saw any degradation, and it meant drivers couldn’t get close and show their overtaking skills. The fact the tyres bring the cars closer together means we get to see the skill of the drivers racing wheel to wheel.

      1. The problems in Russia was fuel consumption, forcing drivers to cruise around the track to save fuel.

    2. @hohum I think it’s more complex than that. Stops are far quicker and DRS makes overtaking a given if you have any sort of advantage in traction.

      DRS is what kills it. It used to be “one thing is catching others, another thing is overtaking”. Now it’s a matter of catching, because overtaking will happen sooner or later on most tracks, even if there’s a top speed deficit in normal conditions.

      So defending is rendered useless. Not only it eats more tyres, but it’s also a ridiculous, pointless effort because no matter what you do, you’re going to be overtaken anyway.

      1. @fer-no65, I agree that DRS and comedy tyres are both ruining F1, and on top of that each of them is contrary to the other, DRS is supposed to compensate for the inability of a car to follow close behind another car through corners due to lack of grip caused by turbulent air stalling the front wing, but now not only does the following car lose grip but they accelerate wear of these crap tyres by following close enough to take advantage of their DRS, once the pass takes place the tyre wear advantage is lost, all that happens is more pit stops and more emphasis on getting cars away from other cars to avoid premature tyre wear.

  2. I’m sure Button wouldn’t have been able to mimic Vettel, not even if he had pitted 3 or 5 laps earlier than Vettel did. I think Vettel pitted too late, and it surprised me that he got back up to 7th, but that was probably due to the fact that the RBR this weekend was able to get to the podium, and it was fast on the softs, which the McLaren wasn’t.
    But I think that McLaren shouldn’t have pitted Magnussen during the safety car, whereas Buttons early pitstop seem to be a good idea, which almost worked out had he taken better care of them for them to last 3 or 4 laps more, but he fought very well.

    1. Indeed @palle, Button did fight very well so as a result the tyres went away and lost him all he had worked for.

  3. Hubert Reinartz
    3rd November 2014, 0:45

    Couldn’t agree more and even go beyond the stupid tire theatre: Get rid of all the gimmicks, give the drivers a real race car and you will save tons of money and gain even more fun for everybody! Give us back Formula 1 RACING!

  4. Paul (@frankjaeger)
    3rd November 2014, 0:49

    I knew that pitstop by the Mclaren crew looked fast. It had to be a 2.2 or near. Any idea of the stationary time? The highlights just missed it out when it was about to reveal

    1. @frankjaeger I saw Button’s pit entry for that stop, he really left nothing on the table at pit entry. I am surprised it was .4 clear though as a whole stop! Another reason why they should have pitted again…. I’d apply for a job in McLaren’s pit strategy team, but they’d tell me I’m not qualified enough no doubt..

      PS. TV race control this race was noticeably erratic.

      1. Paul (@frankjaeger)
        3rd November 2014, 1:12

        Hahaha yeah they really seem to have dropped the ball at a couple of crucial points this year. I find myself doing the now-typical ‘Mclaren will bounce back’ thing in my head at every race @fastiesty

        1. @frankjaeger I’ve dropped so many points in prediction championships from thinking McLaren were not running light in practice/would score points/wouldn’t mess up pit strategy/would have upgrades that finally work….

          1. @fastiesty Likewise bro, the list goes on. I always put Button in for a 5th place, rarely materialises

  5. Is this sort of strategy discussion not banned with the new FIA rules?

  6. Mclaren is probably on Williams level when it comes to confidens. They do not yet have the winning mentality Redbull and Mercedes have to make the all-or-nothing decisions. It surely will come back once they win a championship again. But when the team is lower down and needs every point, they’re automatically overly carefull. But anyway, I might be over-analysing this :)

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