Massa doubts victory was possible

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Although Pirelli brought their soft and super-soft tyres for this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the harder generation of compounds in use this season meant the race was quite similar to last year’s in terms of the strategies used.

For most drivers it was a case of starting the race with a short stint on the option tyre (super-soft this year, soft last year) and spending the remaining two stints on the prime (soft this year, medium last year).

Inevitably those who deviated from this were those with the most to gain from taking a risk, particularly the two Red Bull drivers. But even for them the performance benefit from new tyres was not significant enough to make a three-stop strategy worthwhile.

Felipe Massa made a late deviation from the normal strategy – and one which gave him a chance to win. While Nico Rosberg dropped back and Lewis Hamilton drove more conservatively as a result, Massa had successfully extended his first two stints which gave him the chance to revert to the faster super-soft tyres for a short final stint.

But although he took eight seconds out of Hamilton during the final stint, Massa didn’t think the win was on. “It was a close race,” said Massa, “I didn’t think the victory was there, but it was so close at the end”.

One overlooked aspect of pit strategies this year is how teams have mastered the art of quick, consistent and reliable four-wheel changes. There have been few repeats of the problems we saw teams experiencing last year when problems during the pit stops caused cars to lose wheels.

Remarkably, the seven fastest pit stops during today’s race were performed to within one tenth of a second of each other by five different teams. At both this year’s race and last year’s 40 individual pit stops were performed, and while last year 18 were within a second of the best, this year that number rose to 28 – and would have been one higher but for Nico Hulkenberg’s five second penalty.

Even the Caterham crew, who had an excuse for being rusty having missed the last two races, managed to perform one of those stops. Remarkable work all round.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Kimi RaikkonenFerrari21.5466
2Romain GrosjeanLotus21.5740.02821
3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull21.5820.03647
4Sebastian VettelRed Bull21.6110.06546
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari21.6190.0735
6Kevin MagnussenMcLaren21.6230.07729
7Nico HulkenbergForce India21.6420.09637
8Valtteri BottasWilliams21.6610.11510
9Romain GrosjeanLotus21.6990.1538
10Nico RosbergMercedes21.7410.19511
11Daniel RicciardoRed Bull21.7470.20127
12Lewis HamiltonMercedes21.8850.33910
13Lewis HamiltonMercedes21.8870.34131
14Pastor MaldonadoLotus21.9980.4527
15Valtteri BottasWilliams22.0150.46935
16Sergio PerezForce India22.0310.48514
17Felipe MassaWilliams22.0400.49443
18Jenson ButtonMcLaren22.0420.49628
19Felipe MassaWilliams22.0540.50813
20Fernando AlonsoFerrari22.0680.52227
21Kevin MagnussenMcLaren22.0870.54121
22Kimi RaikkonenFerrari22.2060.66026
23Adrian SutilSauber22.2270.68137
24Adrian SutilSauber22.2770.73122
25Sergio PerezForce India22.3250.77941
26Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso22.3480.80244
27Kamui KobayashiCaterham22.4260.88036
28Adrian SutilSauber22.4910.9455
29Jenson ButtonMcLaren22.6271.0816
30Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso22.7611.21530
31Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso22.9191.37313
32Sebastian VettelRed Bull23.0941.54821
33Esteban GutierrezSauber23.1281.5827
34Esteban GutierrezSauber23.2701.72428
35Will StevensCaterham23.5451.99937
36Nico RosbergMercedes24.0832.53734
37Will StevensCaterham24.1442.59814
38Daniil KvyatToro Rosso24.1692.6236
39Kamui KobayashiCaterham24.4212.87515
40Nico HulkenbergForce India27.4455.89915

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4
Lewis HamiltonSuper soft (10)Soft (21)Soft (24)
Felipe MassaSuper soft (13)Soft (30)Super soft (12)
Valtteri BottasSuper soft (10)Soft (25)Soft (20)
Daniel RicciardoSoft (27)Soft (20)Super soft (8)
Jenson ButtonSuper soft (6)Soft (22)Soft (27)
Nico HulkenbergSoft (15)Soft (22)Super soft (18)
Sergio PerezSoft (14)Soft (27)Super soft (14)
Sebastian VettelSoft (21)Soft (25)Super soft (9)
Fernando AlonsoSuper soft (5)Soft (22)Soft (28)
Kimi RaikkonenSuper soft (6)Soft (20)Soft (29)
Kevin MagnussenSoft (21)Super soft (8)Soft (26)
Jean-Eric VergneSoft (13)Soft (17)Soft (14)Super soft (11)
Romain GrosjeanSuper soft (8)Super soft (13)Soft (33)Soft
Nico RosbergSuper soft (11)Soft (23)Soft (20)
Esteban GutierrezSuper soft (7)Soft (21)Soft (26)
Adrian SutilSuper soft (5)Soft (17)Soft (15)Soft (17)
Will StevensSuper soft (14)Soft (23)Super soft (17)
Kamui KobayashiSuper soft (15)Soft (21)Super soft (6)
Pastor MaldonadoSuper soft (7)Soft (19)
Daniil KvyatSuper soft (6)Soft (8)

2014 Abu Dhabi 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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14 comments on “Massa doubts victory was possible”

  1. Another over looked aspect was that in reaction to Rosberg’s woes Mercedes were not using the full potential of the cars Power supply. Lewis even asked for the engine not to be turned up, he had more speed if needed without that. The margin, any margin was all that was needed under the circumstances.

    Good to see Massa with real twinkle in the eye again as well.

  2. Are the tyre strategies and pit stop times under the wrong headings?

  3. Think is, had Rosberg’s not failed, would Massa be able to overtake him?

    1. No way. HAM was turning down the engine but only so far as to stay in front of MAS.

  4. The title was over and all I was hoping for Hamilton to have a slightly bigger problem so Massa could take the win. That would’ve been brilliant.

  5. Should Massa have stayed out on the softs til the end of the race? Clearly the tyres would be in bad shape, but he had a 15 second lead with 12 laps to go. Normally Hamilton would have been able to eat in to that and overtake easily, but factor in that his engine was turned down and he didn’t need to win the race – it’s possible he could have decided to sit behind Massa and not risk it.

    Also, by staying out, Massa was unlikely to drop any further than 2nd place anyway, due to the gap to 3rd.

    1. Massa’s set of softs he took, while pitted for the first time on lap 13 wouldn’t have lasted 42 laps, so it was not worth of try to stay out on track until the end by ”must” with only 1 stop. It would have been like Kimi’s situation in the 2012 Chinese GP, when he dropped from the podium positions down to 14th because of staying out on track with the same set of tyres for too many laps, so If Massa would have tried, then he’s tyres would have died before the end and Hamilton with 18 laps fresher softs would have caught him up quickly and then Massa would have had to come to pits and could have had lost the 2nd place to Bottas, who had much fresher (22 laps newer) softs as well.

    2. Maybe the time difference were big enough to excuse such a risk in terms of racing tactics but i think it was also a matter of safety and finish risk. If Massa did that then maybe the tyres could have delaminated by being pushed beyond their limits.
      If that happened then Massa and Williams would have lost everything and am certain Williams was more keen on getting that nice double podium result for the end of the year that risking everything so much.
      They viewed the win as a long shot anyway.

  6. Why Massa didn’t try stay on those soft tyres until the end of the race. I know it’s very risky, but he was way far ahead of third placed Bottas, so why not try?

    1. @osvaldas31

      You know i never thought of that he could have made it i think. He could still have pitted if it got too bad that he would not finish and get 2nd. Ham was closing a little bit around 3 laps before Massa pitted. Maybe Williams thought should bring him in so they have a shot to catch back up. But Ham would had to take 1 second a lap and i don’t think he would have, no way Hamilton would have tried a overtake towards the end.

  7. Great race for Massa! Good to see him taking the fight to the impressive Bottas in the last 3 races. That will be a great intra-team battle to watch and these guys appear to really working together as a team more than any other constructor out there. I think what’s good for Williams is good for both drivers! Let’s hope they do as well in 2015!

  8. Lets all pump the breaks on Bottas he is not as good as some people think. He barely beat Maldando, and clearly if Massa can get podiums the car is a great car. Many times i seen people say him and Ric were best drivers of the year and that they would win the WC in the Merc that is laughable to me. What evidence is there that they can hang with Hamilton and Ros, Ric maybe but Bottas? Last 3 races he as been beaten by Massa. Alo would never of let that happen, whilst this looks a negative post how they did not in a race and Ric won 3 i will never know. No way a top driver loses the Austria race.

    Im not saying Bottas is poor but he did have a great car this year a car that Ric, Alonso and Hamilton would have been abe to win races in. Massa was alot better than Raikonnen has been but im almost sure Alonso would get 3rd in the WC in that car. Lotus in 2013 was probably a WC car i mean Gro and Kimi were making everyone but Red Bull look silly at times. To this day i believe 2013 Lotus was a WC car in Alo hands.

    1. Every time(3 times) when Merc had big troubles, RIC had track positions and better pace. Additionally, before Merc formally won WCC, I suspect Wolff would not like to see(allow) his B team to beat his A team.

    2. I agree that Bottas although solid he never showed to be THAT awesome. He left quite a lot slip threw his hands and made some mistakes although you can say that the guy has less experience than Riccardo and that his first year wasn’t exactly very helpful to him considering what a total dog that Williams was. It was his first try driving a decent car this year, so lets see if he can show improvement next year. Riccardo did seem quite amazing though considering his team mate was not Massa but a 4 times champion and also considering how he took advantage every chance the Mercs gave and how amazingly he overtook people in many races.

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