Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Copying Hamilton’s strategy “not our plan” – Vettel

2015 Spanish Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Sebastian Vettel said it was not Ferrari’s plan to react to Lewis Hamilton changing his strategy during the Spanish Grand Prix.

A slow first pit stop for the Mercedes driver allowed Vettel to keep him behind as they began their second stints. But Ferrari decided against reacting when Hamilton made an early second pit stop, changing his strategy in a bid to get ahead of Vettel.

“We were on two stops, Lewis was on three stops, so I think covering him would have been difficult,” said Vettel after the race.

“Obviously in the first stop, I guess we reacted because Lewis has such a poor stop – I don’t know what happened to him – so we were able to cover him. That was a nice invitation and we took it. After that, as I said earlier, him pulling in so early was clear he’s diverting, or going on a three stop, which was not our plan today, so we stayed out.”

Vettel doubted Ferrari could have overcome Mercedes’ performance advantage by trying to keep track position over Hamilton. “All in all, they were probably a little bit too quick to really put more pressure on them,” he said.

However Ferrari did perform some of the fastest pit work of the race – three of their pit stops were among the four quickest of all.

Spanish Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Nico Rosberg Medium (15) Medium (30) Hard (21)
Lewis Hamilton Medium (13) Medium (19) Hard (19) Medium (15)
Sebastian Vettel Medium (14) Medium (26) Hard (26)
Valtteri Bottas Medium (15) Medium (27) Hard (24)
Kimi Raikkonen Medium (17) Hard (24) Medium (25)
Felipe Massa Medium (14) Medium (18) Hard (15) Medium (19)
Daniel Ricciardo Medium (13) Medium (29) Hard (23)
Romain Grosjean Medium (15) Medium (25) Hard (25)
Carlos Sainz Jnr Medium (14) Hard (28) Medium (23)
Daniil Kvyat Medium (11) Medium (27) Hard (27)
Max Verstappen Medium (13) Hard (24) Hard (28)
Felipe Nasr Medium (12) Medium (27) Hard (26)
Sergio Perez Medium (19) Hard (17) Medium (29)
Marcus Ericsson Medium (18) Medium (27) Hard (20)
Nico Hulkenberg Medium (10) Medium (16) Medium (23) Hard (16)
Jenson Button Medium (11) Hard (16) Medium (17) Medium (21)
Will Stevens Medium (16) Medium (16) Hard (15) Medium (16)
Roberto Merhi Medium (17) Medium (13) Hard (19) Medium (13)
Pastor Maldonado Medium (14) Medium (1) Medium (28) Hard (2)
Fernando Alonso Medium (21) Hard (5)

Spanish Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 21.762 14
2 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 21.789 0.027 41
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 21.800 0.038 42
4 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 21.836 0.074 40
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 21.870 0.108 15
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21.965 0.203 51
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 22.082 0.320 15
8 Felipe Massa Williams 22.139 0.377 14
9 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 22.178 0.416 42
10 Felipe Massa Williams 22.257 0.495 47
11 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 22.273 0.511 38
12 Sergio Perez Force India 22.426 0.664 36
13 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 22.440 0.678 13
14 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 22.452 0.690 45
15 Sergio Perez Force India 22.468 0.706 19
16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 22.534 0.772 26
17 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 22.545 0.783 49
18 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 22.575 0.813 43
19 Jenson Button McLaren 22.589 0.827 11
20 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 22.607 0.845 37
21 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 22.623 0.861 17
22 Felipe Massa Williams 22.629 0.867 32
23 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 22.659 0.897 10
24 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 22.667 0.905 11
25 Felipe Nasr Sauber 22.677 0.915 12
26 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22.727 0.965 32
27 Will Stevens Manor 22.796 1.034 47
28 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 22.859 1.097 14
29 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 22.872 1.110 45
30 Will Stevens Manor 23.043 1.281 32
31 Roberto Merhi Manor 23.070 1.308 30
32 Felipe Nasr Sauber 23.186 1.424 39
33 Romain Grosjean Lotus 23.309 1.547 15
34 Jenson Button McLaren 23.327 1.565 27
35 Fernando Alonso McLaren 23.728 1.966 21
36 Jenson Button McLaren 24.066 2.304 44
37 Roberto Merhi Manor 24.200 2.438 49
38 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 24.396 2.634 13
39 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 24.586 2.824 13
40 Roberto Merhi Manor 24.631 2.869 17
41 Will Stevens Manor 24.687 2.925 16
42 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 24.884 3.122 42
43 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 24.976 3.214 14
44 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 25.272 3.510 18
45 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 32.459 10.697 15
46 Romain Grosjean Lotus 33.256 11.494 40

2015 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2015 Spanish Grand Prix articles

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Keith Collantine
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8 comments on “Copying Hamilton’s strategy “not our plan” – Vettel”

  1. I think Mercedes’ pit stops are quite poor compared to Ferrari’s, and that’s quite a disadvantage now that they are racing them. Also, although I can understand Mercedes’ decision to try the undercut, it effectively ended Hamilton’s race against Rosberg, as Hamilton could not go off-strategy anymore, and would have older tyres than Rosberg.

    I wonder if Mercedes considered going a bit longer with Hamilton in the first stint, that way he could have attacked Vettel with different and/or fresher tyres. Now, with the failed undercut, they had less than nothing: still stuck, and on older tyres.

    Mercedes were lucky that Ferrari did not try to cover Hamilton (what did they have to lose?), and perhaps they could have stayed ahead at least for the third stint, as Hamilton pitted from 1.7s back, and had a slow 3.4s pit stop. Once Hamilton was in clear air, second place looked easy for him (although I did not expect he could simply come out ahead of Vettel).

    1. Without that 5.6s stationary pit stop for Lewis (or whatever it was) vs the 2.3-ish stop for Vettel, I think Lewis would have successfully undercut Vettel at the first pit stops, and there would have still been a race for first. I believe he came out about 2s behind Vettel, despite his pit stop being over 3s slower.

      But it seems to me that there would have been not much chance for Lewis to beat Nico even if he had got a good start and closely followed him throughout the race. Overtaking just seems very difficult this year – the turbulent air seems to have a much more significant effect on the following car’s aero performance than last year (perhaps due to the lower noses), and Barcelona is a tricky track to overtake at anyway – Nico couldn’t overtake Lewis here last year despite seemingly being faster and shadowing him closely, and the dirty air situation seems worse this year.

      We saw Lewis following Seb for half the race, unable to overtake despite a pace advantage of probably close to a second a lap early in the stint, and we saw a similar thing with Raikkonen stuck behind Bottas. There was also Vettel being stuck behind Bottas in Bahrain. The turbulent air greatly reduces aero effectiveness and therefore grip, so the following car has to use less throttle out of corners otherwise they will get wheelspin/snaps of oversteer, and so it is extremely difficult to get a better exit and overtake on the following straight. This reminds me of the Brazil last year, where the dirty air meant Hamilton dropped back in the downforce-reliant sector 2 and compromised his exit so he was too far away to make a move on the pit straight.

      There was overtaking in today’s race of course, but it only really seemed to happen when a car had a significant tyre advantage (softer compound or much fresher tyres) or straight-line speed advantage.

  2. Top 10 in pit stop times: 3 Ferrari’s, 4 Williams’s, 2 Mercedes’s

    1. And one of Toro Rosso’s!

  3. David (@ringridder)
    11th May 2015, 8:21

    Why did Toro Rosso use OPP on Ves? He’s the only one using two Prime sets. No wonder he couldn’t defend at the end.

    1. Good catch, strange.

    2. May be couldn’t get the mediums work.

  4. He also lost a combined 3 seconds in the pits compaired to SainzJR.

    Still about 3s ahead of SainzJR but lost time by letting the leaders through in a bad place (T2-T3) which put the Spaniard on Verstappens tail.

    Whatever the case, SainzJR outqualified and out raced Verstappen. I think its now 3-2 in Quali and 3-2 in races (counting Bahrain for VES as he only retired later) in favor of the Spaniard.

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