2016 Chinese Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2016 Chinese Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Nico Rosberg started the Chinese Grand Prix at a strategic advantage as he was able to start the race on the preferred soft tyre while the rest of the top ten qualifiers were all on the super-softs.

However within a few laps of the race that advantage was partly negated by the Safety Car. That handed several of his closest rivals a ‘free’ pit stop, although it also dropped them behind some other cars.

Even though Rosberg wasn’t able to realise the full benefit of his strategy, he still won the race by a handsome margin of 37 seconds. He clearly wasn’t pushing the car to its limit either, indicating Mercedes still have plenty of performance in reserve.

Team mate Lewis Hamilton made five visits to the pits, although two of these were to fulfil the rules requirement to use a second set of tyres, which he got out of the way during the Safety Car period. Even so, he ended up switching to the medium compound at the end of the race.

2016 Chinese Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4Stint 5Stint 6
Nico RosbergSoft (20)Soft (16)Medium (20)
Sebastian VettelSuper soft (4)Super soft (13)Soft (18)Soft (21)
Daniil KvyatSuper soft (4)Soft (15)Soft (16)Medium (21)
Daniel RicciardoSuper soft (3)Soft (16)Soft (18)Medium (19)
Kimi RaikkonenSuper soft (1)Soft (13)Medium (23)Soft (19)
Felipe MassaSoft (19)Soft (12)Medium (25)
Lewis HamiltonSoft (1)Soft (4)Super soft (1)Soft (15)Soft (9)Medium (26)
Max VerstappenSuper soft (4)Soft (16)Medium (19)Soft (17)
Carlos Sainz JnrSuper soft (4)Soft (15)Soft (14)Medium (23)
Valtteri BottasSuper soft (4)Soft (17)Soft (9)Medium (26)
Sergio PerezSuper soft (4)Soft (14)Soft (10)Medium (28)
Fernando AlonsoSoft (16)Medium (16)Medium (24)
Jenson ButtonSuper soft (4)Medium (23)Medium (17)Super soft (12)
Esteban GutierrezSoft (19)Soft (15)Super soft (9)Super soft (12)
Nico HulkenbergSuper soft (4)Soft (13)Soft (9)Medium (20)Super soft (9)
Marcus EricssonSoft (4)Medium (24)Medium (27)
Kevin MagnussenSuper soft (4)Soft (16)Soft (15)Medium (20)
Pascal WehrleinSoft (15)Soft (12)Soft (16)Super soft (12)
Romain GrosjeanSoft (1)Soft (19)Soft (13)Super soft (11)Super soft (11)
Felipe NasrSoft (1)Medium (19)Medium (20)Soft (15)
Rio HaryantoSoft (18)Soft (10)Soft (12)Medium (15)
Jolyon PalmerSoft (15)Super soft (9)Soft (14)Medium (17)

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2016 Chinese Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Felipe MassaWilliams22.12419
2Sebastian VettelFerrari22.2760.15217
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes22.3010.1776
4Sebastian VettelFerrari22.3500.22635
5Sergio PerezForce India22.3510.22728
6Daniel RicciardoRed Bull22.4260.30237
7Daniel RicciardoRed Bull22.4610.33719
8Sergio PerezForce India22.4850.36118
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren22.5100.38644
10Daniil KvyatRed Bull22.6070.48319
11Lewis HamiltonMercedes22.6260.50221
12Valtteri BottasWilliams22.6300.50621
13Kevin MagnussenRenault22.6770.55335
14Valtteri BottasWilliams22.6820.5584
15Daniil KvyatRed Bull22.6840.56035
16Lewis HamiltonMercedes22.6980.57430
17Valtteri BottasWilliams22.7470.62330
18Nico HulkenbergForce India22.7900.66646
19Jolyon PalmerRenault22.7990.67515
20Nico RosbergMercedes22.8310.70720
21Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso22.8320.70819
22Kimi RaikkonenFerrari22.8320.70837
23Fernando AlonsoMcLaren22.8740.75016
24Fernando AlonsoMcLaren22.9270.80332
25Esteban GutierrezHaas22.9630.83934
26Jenson ButtonMcLaren23.0290.90527
27Esteban GutierrezHaas23.0700.94643
28Max VerstappenToro Rosso23.1301.00639
29Kevin MagnussenRenault23.1581.0344
30Rio HaryantoManor23.1831.05918
31Sergio PerezForce India23.2151.0914
32Kevin MagnussenRenault23.2571.13320
33Jolyon PalmerRenault23.2801.15624
34Romain GrosjeanHaas23.2841.16044
35Kimi RaikkonenFerrari23.2961.17214
36Romain GrosjeanHaas23.3421.21833
37Felipe MassaWilliams23.3491.22531
38Nico RosbergMercedes23.5591.43536
39Marcus EricssonSauber23.5631.43928
40Felipe NasrSauber23.7351.61120
41Max VerstappenToro Rosso23.7441.62020
42Nico HulkenbergForce India23.8671.74317
43Esteban GutierrezHaas23.8781.75419
44Marcus EricssonSauber23.9551.8314
45Jenson ButtonMcLaren24.0721.9484
46Daniil KvyatRed Bull24.0841.9604
47Jolyon PalmerRenault24.0991.97538
48Pascal WehrleinManor24.1041.98027
49Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso24.2692.14533
50Pascal WehrleinManor24.2742.15043
51Rio HaryantoManor24.3692.24540
52Daniel RicciardoRed Bull24.3922.2683
53Romain GrosjeanHaas24.6152.49120
54Rio HaryantoManor24.6352.51128
55Lewis HamiltonMercedes25.1793.0555
56Felipe NasrSauber25.3573.23340
57Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso25.7543.6304
58Pascal WehrleinManor26.9694.84515
59Nico HulkenbergForce India27.6835.5594
60Lewis HamiltonMercedes29.3227.1981
61Nico HulkenbergForce India29.5707.44626
62Max VerstappenToro Rosso30.0347.9104
63Sebastian VettelFerrari30.1157.9914
64Kimi RaikkonenFerrari31.1349.0101
65Felipe NasrSauber36.85414.7301
66Romain GrosjeanHaas58.56336.4391

2016 Chinese 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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18 comments on “2016 Chinese Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. Why did Hamilton do a penultimate 9 lap stint on the softs? seems like he could have stretched the one before out another 5 laps, and add another 4 on the mediums.

    1. Because he was stuck behind Raikkonen. In the end it was the wrong decision as he was able to undercut Raikkonen but was then passed later with ease.

      1. @mike-dee

        I initially thought the same as you (that it was a mistake), but thinking it through with the data available now, I don´t see a later pit-stop gaining him that position, be it late enough for a soft-stint at the end or simply shorter time on the medium. He could have had a bit of a safer margin to Verstappen, but would have probably ended in the same position he did. The main problem was not getting past Massa in the middle of the race.

    2. Hamilton’s aero was reduced by all the damage to the floor when his front wing was knocked under his car. That meant he was sliding around a lot more than the other cars, which in turn wore out the tyres much more quickly. Where Rosberg could get 20 laps out of the softs, Hamilton could only get 15. It was even less when he was following closely behind other cars.

      1. I disagree with that @ians
        The strategy for Lewis is changed mid race i guess and they should have let him continued for say another 3-4 laps on softs which makes 12 to 13 instead of 9 laps. He can bolt a Medium like planned which will be better than either williams had or use a Fresh SS twice which he had and catch others and pass them or do a Soft stint until the end. Instead of running on Mediums for 26 laps which wasn’t good with that damage. Had he was ahead then it might be better for them to run Mediums and act like a road block yesterday he was catching up.

  2. That middle stint by Verstappen on mediums, so so good. Shows that good tyre management can make such a difference with these new rules and give such a big advantage.
    Also because of these tyre rules there are constant battles, drivers close to each other on different strategies and with different tyres. Artificial, maybe, but the battles themselves are actually real (not DRS, for example) and really exciting. Today also showed that the faster tyre is by no means a guarantee of a pass on a slower tyre.
    Big fan of the new tyre regulations and the effects they have had.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      17th April 2016, 23:51

      If you are looking for impressive it is probably Vettel; 13 laps on SS early on. And towards the end 21 in Softs. Longest stints of any driver.

      1. To the Max !
        18th April 2016, 5:46

        He wasn’t talking about the length of the stint, but the pace Verstappen did on the mediums.

      2. Vettel was impressive yes, but out of those 13 laps on SS, at least a couple were under the SC + fresh set of SS that he saved from qualy.

        As for the last stint on Softs, I believe Rosberg’s stint at the start on heavy fuel with used Softs was even more impressive. Even if you consider the fact that .some were under the SC, it is neutralized by the fact that he was on much heavier fuel than Vettel’s stint, which was on pretty low fuel

      3. Vettel was very impressive with his tyres, the Ferrari seems to be anyway (James Allison, I guess) but yes, as I To the Max! points out, I meant the pace Verstappen managed on the medium tyres. His stint wasn’t even particularly long for the mediums but the pace managed to keep him competitive so as to get him past Sainz, Bottas, Perez, Alonso and Button in the end.

  3. I’m surprised McLaren went that way with the Mediums. Couldn’t they make the soft last long enough? They were completely obliterated by the competition after a good first stint.

  4. They probably sacrificed the strategy to undercut Räikkönen.

  5. With the exception of Kvyat, all potential challengers had problems. Kind of making Rosberg’s margin look a lot better than it was in reality.

  6. Team Willy in continued speedy pitstops shocker! A bit of a contrast from last year.

    1. @jules-winfield Either their car is fast or their pit crew is.

  7. Hamilton’s wing & wheels change on lap 1 was only 7.2 seconds slower than the fastest wheels-only stop in the race. That’s impressive, even given that he had no deflated tyres.

  8. Why its so difficult now for F1 team to decide this simple formula:
    – When track temperature rise, use harder tires.
    – When track temperature goes down, especially at night, use softer tires.
    Change-change-change like Mercedes in China or not change like Williams in Bahrain, just use my simple formula and it will mostly work, no brainer.

    1. Medium and SuperSoft have lower working temp range than Soft.

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