Softs would have been better for Rosberg – Mercedes

2015 Hungarian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

Posted on

| Written by

Did the decision to put Nico Rosberg on medium compound tyres instead of softs for his final stint cost him a chance to win the Hungarian Grand Prix? Mercedes admitted that in retrospect he would have been better off with a more aggressive strategy.

Rosberg had deviated from the standard strategy at his first pit stop as he tried to get on terms with the Ferraris. Surprisingly, having passed both the Mercedes at the start the red cars pulled away from Rosberg in the opening stint on soft tyres.

When Rosberg hit the pits for the first time on lap 20 he was almost ten seconds behind leader Sebastian Vettel. While most drivers started the race on softs and took another set at their first pit stop, Rosberg switched to mediums. Ferrari chose softs again, so had the race run green from start to finish Rosberg should have had the chance to return to the softs for an attacking final stint while the Ferraris ran the medium tyre.

But it didn’t work out that way. The Virtual Safety Car was deployed after Nico Hulkenberg crashed on lap 42. This handed all the teams the opportunity to make a pit stop while losing minimal time. Mercedes seized it, but due to the position of the cars on the track when the VSC boards came out Rosberg was one of the first drivers in.

“The default set of tyres was the [medium], as we still had around 30 laps to go in the race under normal conditions,” explained the team’s executive director Toto Wolff afterwards. There was an added pressure due to the suddenness with which Rosberg appeared in the pits: “That was the only set we were able to fit to the car in time.”

A few other drivers did opt for the soft tyre at this point or earlier, including Daniil Kvyat (who did more than half the race on one set), Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Nasr. “In hindsight, the [soft] tyre would have been ideal to attack Sebastian, who was forced to run the [medium],” admitted Wolff, “but hindsight is a wonderful thing”.

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

2015 Hungarian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Sebastian Vettel Soft (21) Soft (22) Medium (26)
Daniil Kvyat Soft (13) Medium (20) Soft (36)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (21) Medium (21) Soft (22) Soft (5)
Max Verstappen Soft (14) Soft (23) Medium (9) Soft (23)
Fernando Alonso Soft (15) Soft (21) Medium (7) Soft (26)
Lewis Hamilton Soft (19) Soft (23) Medium (9) Soft (18)
Romain Grosjean Soft (14) Soft (20) Medium (8) Soft (27)
Nico Rosberg Soft (20) Medium (22) Medium (22) Soft (5)
Jenson Button Soft (14) Soft (21) Medium (34)
Marcus Ericsson Soft (16) Soft (17) Medium (8) Soft (28)
Felipe Nasr Soft (14) Soft (18) Medium (10) Soft (27)
Felipe Massa Soft (14) Medium (15) Soft (25) Soft (15)
Valtteri Bottas Soft (13) Soft (25) Medium (11) Soft (20)
Pastor Maldonado Medium (25) Soft (16) Soft (28)
Roberto Merhi Soft (6) Soft (24) Medium (37) Soft
Will Stevens Soft (26) Soft (15) Medium (24) Soft
Carlos Sainz Jnr Soft (15) Soft (21) Medium (24)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (22) Soft (21) Medium (9) Soft (3)
Sergio Perez Soft (16) Soft (14) Medium (11) Soft (12)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft (15) Soft (21) Medium (5)

2015 Hungarian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Felipe Massa Williams 21.502 54
2 Fernando Alonso McLaren 21.567 0.065 15
3 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 21.574 0.072 33
4 Jenson Button McLaren 21.753 0.251 35
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 21.780 0.278 20
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 21.824 0.322 21
7 Valtteri Bottas Williams 21.867 0.365 38
8 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 21.900 0.398 21
9 Felipe Massa Williams 21.915 0.413 29
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 22.008 0.506 42
11 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 22.013 0.511 42
12 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 22.028 0.526 43
13 Sergio Perez Force India 22.068 0.566 16
14 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull 22.072 0.570 13
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 22.199 0.697 33
16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 22.222 0.720 36
17 Jenson Button McLaren 22.231 0.729 14
18 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 22.270 0.768 43
19 Fernando Alonso McLaren 22.300 0.798 36
20 Sergio Perez Force India 22.409 0.907 30
21 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 22.536 1.034 14
22 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 22.566 1.064 22
23 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 22.573 1.071 15
24 Sergio Perez Force India 22.574 1.072 41
25 Felipe Nasr Sauber 22.729 1.227 14
26 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 22.747 1.245 41
27 Romain Grosjean Lotus 22.805 1.303 14
28 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 22.812 1.310 25
29 Felipe Nasr Sauber 22.907 1.405 32
30 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 22.930 1.428 36
31 Valtteri Bottas Williams 22.974 1.472 13
32 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 23.005 1.503 16
33 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 23.043 1.541 46
34 Will Stevens Manor 23.051 1.549 26
35 Felipe Nasr Sauber 23.097 1.595 42
36 Roberto Merhi Manor 23.125 1.623 30
37 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 23.146 1.644 19
38 Fernando Alonso McLaren 23.162 1.660 43
39 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 23.431 1.929 37
40 Will Stevens Manor 23.664 2.162 41
41 Romain Grosjean Lotus 23.972 2.470 42
42 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 24.272 2.770 42
43 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 24.575 3.073 64
44 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 24.972 3.470 41
45 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 25.096 3.594 15
46 Roberto Merhi Manor 26.392 4.890 6
47 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 27.715 6.213 51
48 Felipe Massa Williams 27.936 6.434 14
49 Romain Grosjean Lotus 28.707 7.205 34
50 Valtteri Bottas Williams 30.031 8.529 49
51 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 31.037 9.535 64
52 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 59.555 38.053 52

Drive-through penalties: Maldonado on laps 24 and 58, Hamilton on lap 54 and Verstappen on lap 56

2015 Hungarian Grand Prix

Browse all 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix articles

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

20 comments on “Softs would have been better for Rosberg – Mercedes”

  1. Rosberg mentioned the problem in his post-race video, too. What a pity.

  2. To be fair to the team, Rosberg had been asking for the medium tyre already, so they would have had to override him to make that decision too.

    1. Is there any solid evidence (e.g. radio communication) of Rosberg asking for medium tyres to do the final stint ? Because at the end of the race, Toto Wolff admitted the team’s fault on the tyre choice for ROS when the VSC/SC was deployed.

      It’s unusual for a driver asking the team to fit a slower/underperforming tyre, especially when they know they’re losing a lot of time for a pursuing team mate on that compound.

      1. Is there any solid evidence (e.g. radio communication) of Rosberg asking for medium tyres to do the final stint ?

        Yes. I was watching it live on BBC1 and Rosberg By the team that they would put the option on for the final stint, Rosberg asked what Tyres Hamilton would be on and was told “softs”. Nico then said he also wanted the softs rather than option.

        David Coulthard (commentating) queried the request from Rosberg.

        1. What lap was that request ?

          1. It was quite early @elio, after the team told him that they were planning to stop Hamlton first because he would be running the mediums (he had to use both compounds).
            My impression was that this was Rosberg telling the team that he was not amused by them pitting Hamilton earlier and that he would want to stop first, using the mediums (as the softs wouldn’t last).

        2. Nico wanted to stop ahead of Lewis to keep track position; but that ment he had to stop sooner than planned and they worried if they changed to soft they would not last until the end;
          It was the logical decision at the time.
          Had he run his medium until he could safely mount the softs he would have been undercut by Lewis. He would have been on the faster tire but behind.
          His decision was the right one, to stay ahead of Lewis on the same tire.

      2. LOL. I obviously meant “medium” not “Softs”. I’s past my bedtime. :P

  3. It’s obvious it was team fault for not ready to give better tyres for driver last stint.
    Regardless, Rosberg will falling behind Ferrari in soft too like the first stint.

  4. Mr win or lose
    27th July 2015, 9:41

    Still I don’t understand why some teams seem to prefer the medium tyre over the soft tyre at the Hungaroring, even though the softs are much quicker over a single lap, while the degradation is more or less similar. Last year Mercedes put Hamilton on mediums and he wasn’t able to overtake Alonso on softs. This year Rosberg’s pace on softs was disappointing early in the race, but he probably would have been faster on softs than Vettel on mediums at the end of the race. Instead, he got mediums, was attacked by Ricciardo, got a puncture and finished in 8th place. Tyre strategies are not really Mercedes’ cup of tea I guess.

  5. One can only wonder where Hülkenberg finally could’ve finished.

  6. Is there any way to know how many laps all the tyres had on them at the start?

  7. Would have been that bad to put on cold softs at the final stop for Rosberg? Even if the pit stop was a few seconds longer just to pull them out, they were still under VSC, and then full SC, so the time wouldn’t have been lost… Wouldn’t the safety car laps heat up the tires enough by the time the grip is needed?

  8. When across berg was on mediums the team told him Lewis was pitting for mediums, Rossberg then clearly moaned that he wanted mediums again at the next stop. The team said he’d get the faster sifts and he said no he wanted mediums. Both mercs stopped under vsc Rossberg got mediums as requested, Lewis got the faster softs as expected. Rossberg threw therein away with that bad decision. I think he got confused.

    1. “Across berg”? ;)

    2. Both had the mediums. What were you watching? Or did you get confused?

  9. Rosberg should have been insisting on softs in my view. The evidence does not suggest that he did. This underlines for me the difference between him and Hamilton. Had the boot been on the other foot there would have been no doubt what Hamilton would have gone for. Who’s to blame? Rosberg / Team 50% 50%.

  10. The team cost Rosberg an almost certain win with that blunder.

    In the end it cost him a lot more points than the difference between 1st and 2nd too as the contact was very unlikely to happen as the difference between the 2 tyres was big and he was evenly matched with Vettel on the primes.

    Didn’t see him sulking like Hamilton like in Monaco though when the team cost him a win..

    1. He wasn’t matching Vettel, he was clearly faster.

Comments are closed.