Ricciardo’s middle stint hints at Red Bull potential

2015 Chinese Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Last year in China most drivers avoided using the soft tyres, but this time several teams tries using the more aggressive compound in the middle of the race.

They included Ferrari, who were able to make the tyres last well during practice, and Mercedes, who ran better on the medium tyre but were wary of covering off the threat from Ferrari.

However it was Daniel Ricciardo who ran the longest stint on the soft tyres as he recovered from a poor start when his car went into anti-stall mode. He made it back up to ninth place, a further sign Red Bull’s chassis has the potential to become a competitive proposition once its engine and braking problems have been sorted.

Chinese Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Lewis Hamilton Soft (14) Soft (19) Medium (23)
Nico Rosberg Soft (15) Soft (16) Medium (25)
Sebastian Vettel Soft (13) Soft (17) Medium (26)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (15) Soft (19) Medium (22)
Felipe Massa Soft (13) Medium (21) Medium (22)
Valtteri Bottas Soft (14) Medium (21) Medium (21)
Romain Grosjean Soft (12) Medium (20) Medium (24)
Felipe Nasr Soft (10) Medium (21) Medium (25)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (14) Soft (22) Medium (20)
Marcus Ericsson Soft (14) Soft (16) Medium (25)
Sergio Perez Soft (11) Soft (15) Soft (15) Medium (14)
Fernando Alonso Soft (12) Medium (23) Soft (20)
Jenson Button Soft (14) Soft (18) Medium (23)
Carlos Sainz Jnr Medium (19) Soft (20) Soft (16)
Will Stevens Soft (16) Medium (22) Soft (16)
Roberto Merhi Soft (17) Medium (23) Soft (14)
Max Verstappen Soft (12) Medium (20) Medium (20)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (11) Medium (22) Medium (16)
Daniil Kvyat Medium (15)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft (9)

Chinese Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22.235 33
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 22.444 0.209 30
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 22.453 0.218 34
4 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 22.470 0.235 11
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 22.483 0.248 15
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 22.488 0.253 13
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 22.635 0.400 14
8 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22.645 0.410 14
9 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 22.818 0.583 15
10 Sergio Perez Force India 22.829 0.594 11
11 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 22.829 0.594 31
12 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 22.897 0.662 36
13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 22.899 0.664 33
14 Valtteri Bottas Williams 23.084 0.849 14
15 Sergio Perez Force India 23.144 0.909 41
16 Felipe Massa Williams 23.145 0.910 13
17 Fernando Alonso McLaren 23.238 1.003 12
18 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 23.258 1.023 32
19 Jenson Button McLaren 23.273 1.038 32
20 Felipe Massa Williams 23.317 1.082 34
21 Sergio Perez Force India 23.338 1.103 26
22 Fernando Alonso McLaren 23.345 1.110 35
23 Felipe Nasr Sauber 23.409 1.174 10
24 Romain Grosjean Lotus 23.421 1.186 12
25 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 23.424 1.189 39
26 Valtteri Bottas Williams 23.582 1.347 35
27 Romain Grosjean Lotus 23.605 1.370 32
28 Felipe Nasr Sauber 23.732 1.497 31
29 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 23.795 1.560 19
30 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 23.846 1.611 14
31 Jenson Button McLaren 23.936 1.701 14
32 Will Stevens Manor 24.054 1.819 38
33 Roberto Merhi Manor 24.088 1.853 40
34 Will Stevens Manor 24.132 1.897 16
35 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 24.256 2.021 12
36 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 24.589 2.354 30
37 Roberto Merhi Manor 25.938 3.703 17

2015 Chinese Grand Prix

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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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16 comments on “Ricciardo’s middle stint hints at Red Bull potential”

  1. He was on average 2sec slower than Ham who was going 1sec slower than he could. I don’t see how that hints at their potential.

    1. Andre Furtado
      13th April 2015, 20:26

      I agree, for the speed that he was doing, I don’t see how he was not saving tires.

    2. Never locking brakes might have helped as well.

  2. I think that is more an illustration of a very good racing driver outperforming his package than any evidence of a midseason Red Bull resurgence. Let’s see how they fair come the European rounds; surely the combined might of Red Bull and Renault will eventually start to tell.

    1. How you can outperform your package? :O

      1. Ask your girlfriend.

        1. hahaha sharp)))

        2. ZING!!! :D

  3. Chris Lawson
    13th April 2015, 17:00

    I think Alonso’s final stint was more impressive and showed potential. I know Merc had time in hand but he was within half a second of them consistently.

  4. He used his best trick from last year : excellent usage of his tyres.

    But unless Renault bring their A game for Spain onwards, he won’t be capable on doing much. The guy is legit and very good, but his car is handicaped on the straights, and different from last year, now he is almost alone at that.

  5. I don’t agree, as I argued here, Red Bull chassis is worse than Toro Rosso. The brake problem isn’t as bad in China as in Malaysia so sorting it wont give that much improvement I think. To be honest Sainz is doing better job than Ricciardo except for the spin (his fault) and gearbox problem (not his fault). He set the 3rd fastest lap too.

  6. Those stats reflect nothing on the race itself. That car looked horrible on track and the other one blew up. Everyone questioned Seb, but he knew! The teams glory days are behind them. I personally think RBR will leave the sport before they reign again. Poor Dan maybe he can follow Seb and take Kimi’s seat when he’s done.

  7. “Red Bull’s chassis has the potential to become a competitive proposition once its engine and braking problems have been sorted.”
    Dan said no more problems with breaks. But his overtaking attempts in China were just amusing. Not sure what’s happening with the guy. Looks like half a man from last season.

    1. That is what happens when you car is below expectation and you have ambition that counters your car’s ability. You try to push it too much and that ends biting you back. Hamilton had a similar experience in 2011. He wanted too much from his car because Red Bull was so strong that he ended up not driving very cool.

  8. you could probably have taken the softs full race distance if you ran them slow enough. The tires are engineered to work at certain limits, and the limit of the tires kept Vettel or Nico from getting any where near the guy in front of them in the race. If you ask me Pirelli have gone soft this year, in order to slow down Merc, and in the process they have made it almost impossible to push the tires outside the limit for any real meaningful amount of time.

  9. Red Bull have always been decent on tyres – so can make long stints work….
    but that generally means suffering the undercut, and playing the game that you can make moves later on fresher tyres.

    Unfortunately with a marked top speed and power disadvantage, the Bulls will simply be unable to overake even the middling Merc teams.

    After an absolutely horrible start, Daniel drove well, but a Redbull with low top speed, but good tyre usage is only good in one spot – and that is leading the race from start to finish (much like Vettel over the Red Bull good period)… Start with a middling car that can’t overtake, and you have a very long year,

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