Raikkonen snatches second with “perfect” strategy

2015 Bahrain Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Kimi Raikkonen hailed his Bahrain Grand Prix strategy as “perfect” after snatching second place from Nico Rosberg.

Bahrain Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4
Lewis HamiltonSoft (15)Soft (18)Medium (24)
Kimi RaikkonenSoft (17)Medium (23)Soft (17)
Nico RosbergSoft (14)Soft (20)Medium (23)
Valtteri BottasSoft (14)Soft (19)Medium (24)
Sebastian VettelSoft (13)Soft (19)Medium (4)Medium (21)
Daniel RicciardoSoft (14)Soft (21)Medium (22)
Romain GrosjeanSoft (12)Soft (19)Medium (26)
Sergio PerezSoft (17)Soft (20)Medium (19)
Daniil KvyatSoft (15)Soft (19)Medium (22)
Felipe MassaSoft (10)Soft (14)Medium (32)
Fernando AlonsoSoft (13)Medium (22)Soft (21)
Felipe NasrSoft (10)Soft (14)Soft (17)Medium (15)
Nico HulkenbergSoft (10)Soft (15)Medium (13)Medium (18)
Marcus EricssonSoft (11)Soft (14)Soft (12)Medium (19)
Pastor MaldonadoMedium (10)Soft (14)Soft (17)Soft (15)
Will StevensSoft (19)Soft (14)Medium (22)
Roberto MerhiSoft (18)Soft (16)Medium (20)
Max VerstappenSoft (6)Medium (24)Soft (4)
Carlos Sainz JnrSoft (11)Medium (18)

While most drivers postponed their stint on the slower medium tyres until the end of the race, Raikkonen got his out of the way in the middle stint. This paid off handsomely, for as well as lapping close to the pace of race leader Lewis Hamilton, who was on the faster soft tyres, Raikkonen was able to push harder on the soft tyres in the final stint.

After rejoining the track on soft tyres for his final stint on lap 41, Raikkonen took ten seconds out of the Mercedes in five laps – an astonishing rate. Rosberg’s late brake problem handed him second place – but he had been poised to pressure the Mercedes driver hard for the position until the flag.

Lotus gave Pastor Maldonado the quickest service of the grand prix but he also suffered the race’s longest pit stop when his engine kill switch incorrectly activated during his final stop.

Bahrain Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Pastor MaldonadoLotus24.31024
2Sebastian VettelFerrari24.4490.13932
3Sebastian VettelFerrari24.5090.19913
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes24.5280.21833
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari24.5470.23740
6Valtteri BottasWilliams24.6230.31333
7Nico HulkenbergForce India24.6790.36925
8Daniil KvyatRed Bull24.6920.38234
9Romain GrosjeanLotus24.7350.42512
10Kimi RaikkonenFerrari24.7730.46317
11Fernando AlonsoMcLaren24.8780.56835
12Felipe MassaWilliams24.8940.58410
13Daniel RicciardoRed Bull24.9430.63335
14Nico HulkenbergForce India24.9790.66938
15Felipe MassaWilliams25.0170.70724
16Romain GrosjeanLotus25.2590.94931
17Sergio PerezForce India25.2880.97837
18Valtteri BottasWilliams25.2930.98314
19Nico RosbergMercedes25.3111.00114
20Fernando AlonsoMcLaren25.3701.06013
21Nico RosbergMercedes25.4181.10834
22Daniil KvyatRed Bull25.4211.11115
23Felipe NasrSauber25.4591.14910
24Sergio PerezForce India25.5731.26317
25Daniel RicciardoRed Bull25.7231.41314
26Lewis HamiltonMercedes25.7911.48115
27Roberto MerhiManor25.8341.52418
28Felipe NasrSauber25.8981.58824
29Marcus EricssonSauber26.0421.73237
30Marcus EricssonSauber26.0451.73511
31Will StevensManor26.1031.79319
32Felipe NasrSauber26.2101.90041
33Will StevensManor26.4792.16933
34Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso26.5932.28329
35Nico HulkenbergForce India26.6522.34210
36Max VerstappenToro Rosso27.2252.91530
37Roberto MerhiManor27.5733.26334
38Pastor MaldonadoLotus30.4266.11610
39Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso32.6478.33711
40Sebastian VettelFerrari33.9219.61136
41Max VerstappenToro Rosso39.33815.0286
42Marcus EricssonSauber49.16224.85225
43Pastor MaldonadoLotus107.39483.08441

2015 Bahrain 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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21 comments on “Raikkonen snatches second with “perfect” strategy”

  1. what happens next time if Mercedes pit first?

    1. That’s the real question! Mercedes are no longer in the back foot like in Malaysia. They keep a close look on Ferrari’s pace and strategy (and you can see it also by the amount of tweets they make about them lol). So they need to find a way to surprise them again or Mercedes “still” better pace will win always.

      1. Another prove Mercedes is keeping a really close look, specially after Malaysia where they didn’t took Ferrari’s pace in FP2 seriously.

    2. I seems that Merc is spending a lot of time reacting to Ferrari’s moves. If they want to take the championship, they need to make Ferrari follow their moves.

      1. That makes no sense. They don’t need to take risks and they can simply cover Ferrari to win the race.

        If they start taking risks they might pick the wrong strategy and lose. Why would they do that?

    3. Hard to say that they would, the undercut is useful if you are behind but requires the driver to be more gentle on the tires as it increases the length the next stint. If Mercedes are out in front they will be racing to an agreed plan determined by the best predicted outcome. If they are in the lead by a few seconds (which is normally where a car of roughly equal pace will sit due to not wanting to damage their tires) and Mercedes decide to pit, the car following can simply follow them in if its not another Mercedes and remove the benefit of the undercut

  2. Kimi’s undoing this season is going to be qualifying. His long run pace has been a match and occasionally better than Vettel, but if he can’t get track position it’s being wasted.

    Kimi lost time in the race behind Vettel and looking how close he was to Hamilton in the end I think the win was very much possible.

    It’s interesting after Kimi’s very Kimilike casual I’m going to try for the pass radio message we didn’t hear one to Vettel not to hold him up. Any other team and we’d have heard them telling him they were on differing tyre strategies, don’t hold him up. I’m curious if it just wasn’t broadcast or if Ferrari didn’t make a call.

    1. @philipgb Wasn´t that before the 1st pit-stops, when they were still on the same strategy? Wouldn´t be surprised if Vettel and Raikkonen have just agreed on not listening to any team-order anyway. As they are direct neighbours, I guess they had time to talk about that during the winter.

      Also interesting: Shortly after Kimi´s stop, which put him on prime, there was a team-radio to Rosberg “We´re going target+10”, meaning Merc initially planned 3 stops.

      1. Alexander (@)
        20th April 2015, 9:21

        You shouldn’t really believe anything you hear on those radios.. I think the teams knew it was pretty clear that 2 stops was the only clever strategy.

    2. Ferrari was having No Intention of let Kimi Pass Vettel(Which they Believe is there Trump Card). If Vettel hasn’t damaged the front Wing, he Would have been 3rd with Kimi 4th.

      Kimi don’t take risk while overtaking – he has calm down with age. VET incident did help Kimi as that provided him the window to show his talent – which he did.

      But I can bet over the season you will see Kimi Being Overshadowed in Ferrari and only Vettel will be favored.

    3. Kimi’s undoing this season is going to be qualifying.

      So far qualifying behind Vettel is working out well for him. Seb is used early in the race to aggressively undercut the Mercs and force them to pit early, while Kimi hangs back saving his fuel and tyres for the second half of the race. I don’t know if that’s a deliberate decision on Ferrari’s part but that’s the way things have played out a number of times already this season.

      As long as Merc have the faster car this works to Kimi’s advantage. If at some stage Ferrari catch or surpass Mercedes for speed then this same scenario will play to Seb’s advantage.

    4. Kimi lost time in the race behind Vettel

      He really didn’t. There was only one lap (10, I think) where he might have lost a couple of tenths behind Vettel before Seb sped up.

  3. I was wondering why Massa was losing positions at the end of the race, his tires were 32 laps old!

  4. Kimi’s strategy was good but it wasn’t perfect. His tyres had plenty of meat left at the end as he was catching lewis, so they should of pitted him much earlier. For a few laps he was so slow, so slow Alonso passed him. He would of lost at least a net 6+ seconds in staying out for just 2 of those laps compared to new tyres. That time could of given him the win.

    Its interesting to see kimi up there now the car is good… All i kept thinking in that race was Ferrari let that one get away.

    1. I think they did it much closer to perfection than we think. The really slow laps we saw in turn helped save fuel which is another limiting factor in the race. Ferrari ensured that the fresh softs were not sacrificed for fuel saving by staying on mediums a couple of laps more than what would have been ideal from tyre strategy perspective. Kimi ended up using more fuel than others by the time he caught up with the Mercedes pair due those lightning fast laps. It was pretty close in the end with respect to Kimi’s fuel usage and I’m not sure if he would have been able to push as much if he started one lap earlier.

    2. Raikkonen was doing laps in the 1:39 range when he was overtaken by Alonso. At the end of the race Raikkonen was doing laps in the 1:38 range. So at best he would have saved a 1 or perhaps 2 seconds if he’d had stopped earlier and if nothing else changed.

      Trouble is that with the length of the stint other things change too. You also need to account for the longer stint and that would have meant that Raikkonen would have had to go slower to preserve his tyres. In the end I doubt he would have actually gained any significant time by stopping earlier.

      It only looked silly because Alonso had just come out on a fresh set of tyres and was setting his fastest laps of the race. It’s the ridiculously gimmicky 3 second laptime difference between the different tyres that made it look bad for Ferrari.

  5. I for one thought of the possibility that Raikkonen could have backed Hamilton into Rosberg before he (Kimi) pitted for the last time. Thereby ensuring he could have caught both Mercs. But I think not, he would not have been able to keep Hamilton behind him at that stage.

  6. Massively impressed by the Ferrari pit crew. They did a great job.

  7. It was not a “perfect strategy” – the strategy for Kimi, yes it worked, but it was chosen as a second choise because kimi was so slow compared to Vettel and Merc at the start – it was a lucked in result – it could not be predicted, he was not that fast, and then the strategy choice suddenly made him faster… maybe ferrari can use the data from Kimi’s 2nd choice strategy and give this second choice strategy to Vettel in the next race and they will win instead of coming 2nd.

    1. that is the silliest thing I have ever heard ….

  8. Pastor’s pit stop times. From the sublime to the ridiculous.

Comments are closed.