Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

2016 Spanish Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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A two-stop strategy was the preferred route home for most of the teams.

But not for Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel – and it potentially cost them the race.

Among the few other drivers who opted for the same route was Felipe Massa. He committed to it early, pitting as soon as lap eight for his first stop and enjoying stellar service from the Williams crew once again.

For Massa the strategy helped keep him out of traffic. But for Ricciardo and Vettel it left them on the wrong side of strategy splits within their own teams, and handed the initiative to their team mates.

Renault were the only team to use the hard tyres during the race, switching both drivers to it at their second pit stops. Neither driver had particularly good pace on this rubber, but while Jolyon Palmer persevered with it until the end, Kevin Magnussen ditched his for soft tyres.

2016 Spanish Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4Stint 5
Max VerstappenSoft (12)Medium (22)Medium (32)
Kimi RaikkonenSoft (12)Medium (23)Medium (31)
Sebastian VettelSoft (15)Medium (14)Soft (8)Medium (29)
Daniel RicciardoSoft (11)Medium (17)Soft (15)Medium (22)Soft (1)
Valtteri BottasSoft (12)Medium (27)Medium (27)
Carlos Sainz JnrSoft (10)Medium (28)Medium (28)
Sergio PerezSoft (9)Medium (26)Medium (31)
Felipe MassaSoft (8)Medium (17)Soft (16)Medium (25)
Jenson ButtonSoft (10)Medium (26)Medium (29)
Daniil KvyatSoft (9)Medium (16)Medium (26)Soft (14)
Esteban GutierrezSoft (16)Soft (14)Medium (35)
Marcus EricssonSoft (9)Soft (15)Medium (16)Medium (25)
Jolyon PalmerSoft (11)Medium (22)Hard (32)
Felipe NasrSoft (12)Medium (24)Medium (29)
Kevin MagnussenSoft (10)Medium (20)Hard (25)Soft (10)
Pascal WehrleinSoft (11)Medium (22)Medium (32)
Rio HaryantoMedium (22)Medium (26)Soft (17)
Romain GrosjeanSoft (15)Soft (14)Medium (8)Soft (19)
Fernando AlonsoSoft (11)Medium (28)Medium (6)
Nico HulkenbergSoft (10)Medium (10)
Lewis HamiltonSoft (1)
Nico RosbergSoft (1)

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2016 Spanish Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Felipe MassaWilliams21.3848
2Sebastian VettelFerrari21.6030.21937
3Sebastian VettelFerrari21.6430.25915
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull21.6830.29943
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull21.7380.35411
6Fernando AlonsoMcLaren21.7950.41111
7Felipe MassaWilliams21.8310.44741
8Valtteri BottasWilliams21.8560.47212
9Sergio PerezForce India21.9180.53435
10Daniel RicciardoRed Bull22.1040.72028
11Kimi RaikkonenFerrari22.1070.72312
12Kevin MagnussenRenault22.1220.73855
13Kimi RaikkonenFerrari22.1690.78535
14Nico HulkenbergForce India22.1760.79210
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso22.2340.85025
16Jenson ButtonMcLaren22.2800.89610
17Max VerstappenRed Bull22.3480.96434
18Max VerstappenRed Bull22.3690.98512
19Jolyon PalmerRenault22.3971.01333
20Esteban GutierrezHaas22.4301.04630
21Valtteri BottasWilliams22.4431.05939
22Felipe MassaWilliams22.5681.18425
23Jenson ButtonMcLaren22.5901.20636
24Sebastian VettelFerrari22.6171.23329
25Sergio PerezForce India22.6791.2959
26Daniil KvyatToro Rosso22.7691.38551
27Marcus EricssonSauber22.8401.4569
28Kevin MagnussenRenault22.8431.45910
29Romain GrosjeanHaas22.8441.46029
30Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso22.8741.49010
31Marcus EricssonSauber22.8971.51340
32Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso22.9371.55338
33Felipe NasrSauber22.9761.59212
34Fernando AlonsoMcLaren22.9871.60339
35Felipe NasrSauber23.0901.70636
36Marcus EricssonSauber23.1221.73824
37Daniel RicciardoRed Bull23.1331.74965
38Kevin MagnussenRenault23.1651.78130
39Romain GrosjeanHaas23.1871.80315
40Esteban GutierrezHaas23.2061.82216
41Daniil KvyatToro Rosso23.2771.8939
42Jolyon PalmerRenault23.2831.89911
43Pascal WehrleinManor24.3873.00333
44Pascal WehrleinManor24.5543.17011
45Rio HaryantoManor26.1864.80248
46Rio HaryantoManor28.7537.36922
47Romain GrosjeanHaas34.83213.44837

2016 Spanish 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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14 comments on “2016 Spanish Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. Paul Hembury himself said that three stops was the best strategy. Slightly disingenuous to suggest it wasn’t: it wasn’t on the day, but it was in every prognosis and strategy. Verstappen and Kimi just managed to really make them last, and on a track where track position is important, and where Ricciardo had a weakish second stint behind a backmarker, and Vettel had too short a stint on softs, two stops worked better this time. Still not the optimal strategy.

  2. Ben (@scuderia29)
    15th May 2016, 22:57

    Vettel spent just 8 laps on the soft tyres..i mean, ferrari do like to shoot themselves in the foot, what was the thinking behind that stint?? if he had just put on the mediums he would have saved himself a whole pitstop and would have surely won

    1. He followed ricciardo cause otherwise he would have lost time after max. The net undercut actually worked out as he was in a position to hold of ricciardo. Of course like vettel said, they were stronger on softs, so it sees a bit weird to use two sets of mediums.

    2. Ferrari’s strategy was a bit weird indeed. They sacrificed Vettel’s strategy to keep both Ferraris ahead of Ricciardo, but it also meant that Vettel lost out to Räikkönen. In the final stint his tires were only two laps fresher than Räikkönen’s, so there was no way that he could regain second place. His pace in the last stint was quite poor anyway. I was a bit surprised that he wasn’t too unhappy to have lost out to his teammate.

  3. Honestly baffled by the decision to put Ricciardo on a three stopper, particularly as track position is so key at Catalunya. Vettel’s decision made more sense, they were covering the car they were racing. As soon as Verstappen didn’t follow him i and carried on lapping at a good pace it was clear the race was Max’s. If I was Daniel I would be demanding answers.

    1. For the team it doesn’t matter which driver wins. By switching one driver to a three stopper and leaving the other driver on the two stopper, they secured the win, because both drivers had track position.

      Leaving RIC on the two stop strategy would’ve been worse for RB. Ferrari would’ve probably just undercut them.

      1. +1. red bull played a great strategic game. it just happened to be at the expense of ricciardo but circumstances made it more sensible to put verstappen on the 2-stop.

        1. They chose to put Riciardo on the weakest Ferrari driver (Vettel). Could not even pass him eventho the RB12 has better exit into the strait then Ferrari and DRS. So Riciardo cannot complain. If he had passed Vettel he had (more) richt to complain. But he couldn’t and would never have been winner even on 2 stop.

  4. It was very marginal for both Verstappen and Raikkonen.
    If you look at the laptimes of Gutierrez, who went on the Mediums in lap 30, he did a string of 1:30’s, then steadily dropped through the 1’31’s and ended the race with 4 laps in the mid 1:32’s.
    Verstappen and Raikkonen went on the mediums in lap 34/35, started with 1’29’s and were in the process of dropping through the 1’30’s. Just as the flag dropped they were about to ‘hit the cliff’ (like Gutierrez).
    Ricciardo went on the mediums in lap 43 and had Vettel not been in the way (or if Ricciardo had quickly cleared him) then he would have easily caught (and maybe passed) the two leaders.
    Vettel was never a threat for victory after his last stop. His tyres were only 2 laps newer and the gap to the lead too big. He only took the undercut on Ricciardo for third place.

    1. Had Ferrari got the undercut on Max, Ferrari would have won. On high degradation circuits the cars behind should always get the advantage as they can overtake via the undercut, Ferrari missed that chance on Rai’s 2nd stop. Great story though.

  5. Riciardo would not have won on a 2 stopper. Because he couldn’t pass Vettel.
    Vettel was not even the best Ferrari driver of the day.

    1. Ahem… after the 4 leaders had both their 2 pitstops, on lap 36 to be precise, the board reads:
      RIC
      VET +1.189
      VER +12.416
      RAI +16.332
      BOT +22.849 (1 pitstop)
      now if RIC had kept MED instead of SOF tell me who he had to overtake to win?

      Of course at the time it looked like a gamble to keep both drivers on 2 stops strat, but with hindsight the win was there to take.

      1. Max said in an interview on dutch TV that Riciardo’s tyre degregation was worse then his, so a 2 stop for Riciardo didn’t look good.
        So Riciardo: better manage your tyres if you want to beat Max. He will set the new standard.

        Actually will bring a new aspect to the battles between drivers and teams. Pretty cool stuff.

  6. Great stops on Haryanto…

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