Button rues not mimicking Vettel’s late pit stop

2014 United States Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Sebastian 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 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4Stint 5
Lewis HamiltonSoft (16)Medium (17)Medium (23)
Nico RosbergSoft (15)Medium (19)Medium (22)
Daniel RicciardoSoft (14)Medium (17)Medium (25)
Felipe MassaSoft (14)Soft (18)Medium (24)
Valtteri BottasSoft (15)Soft (15)Medium (26)
Fernando AlonsoSoft (16)Medium (27)Soft (13)
Sebastian VettelMedium (1)Soft (1)Medium (24)Medium (22)Soft (8)
Kevin MagnussenSoft (1)Medium (26)Medium (29)
Jean-Eric VergneSoft (15)Soft (14)Medium (27)
Pastor MaldonadoSoft (15)Medium (20)Medium (21)
Romain GrosjeanSoft (16)Soft (13)Medium (26)
Jenson ButtonSoft (1)Medium (27)Medium (27)
Kimi RaikkonenSoft (17)Medium (25)Soft (10)Soft (3)
Esteban GutierrezSoft (1)Medium (19)Medium (20)Soft (15)
Daniil KvyatMedium (21)Medium (20)Soft (10)Soft (4)
Nico HulkenbergMedium (1)Medium (15)
Sergio PerezSoft (1)
Adrian SutilSoft

United States Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Jenson ButtonMcLaren23.54628
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull23.7990.25326
3Romain GrosjeanLotus23.8020.25629
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari23.8720.32642
5Sebastian VettelRed Bull23.9090.3632
6Sebastian VettelRed Bull23.9480.40248
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull24.0400.49414
8Kimi RaikkonenFerrari24.1310.58517
9Fernando AlonsoFerrari24.1330.58743
10Valtteri BottasWilliams24.1510.60515
11Daniil KvyatToro Rosso24.1890.64341
12Sebastian VettelRed Bull24.2260.6801
13Kimi RaikkonenFerrari24.2260.68052
14Lewis HamiltonMercedes24.2440.69833
15Valtteri BottasWilliams24.2830.73730
16Daniel RicciardoRed Bull24.3560.81031
17Lewis HamiltonMercedes24.3680.82216
18Nico RosbergMercedes24.4330.88715
19Pastor MaldonadoLotus24.4680.92235
20Felipe MassaWilliams24.4880.94214
21Kevin MagnussenMcLaren24.4970.95127
22Nico RosbergMercedes24.5130.96734
23Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso24.5531.00729
24Fernando AlonsoFerrari24.6011.05516
25Romain GrosjeanLotus24.6881.14216
26Esteban GutierrezSauber24.7261.18040
27Daniil KvyatToro Rosso24.9951.44921
28Esteban GutierrezSauber25.0071.4611
29Felipe MassaWilliams25.4561.91032
30Daniil KvyatToro Rosso26.5412.99551
31Jenson ButtonMcLaren26.8063.2601
32Kevin MagnussenMcLaren26.8813.3351
33Pastor MaldonadoLotus29.7346.18815
34Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso30.1586.61215
35Esteban GutierrezSauber31.1987.65220
36Nico HulkenbergForce India33.4279.8811

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. 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. 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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