Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2016

2016 United States Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2016 United States Grand Prix

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A potentially crucial moment for the championship occurred on lap 31 when points leader Nico Rosberg made the pit stop which secured him in second place – the minimum he needs from the remaining races to guarantee the title.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit of the Americas, 2016
2016 United States Grand Prix in pictures
Rosberg had been running third behind Daniel Ricciardo when the Red Bull driver made his final pit stop on lap 25. It cost Ricciardo just over 18 seconds but within the following five laps he reduced his deficit to Rosberg to 15 seconds.

Therefore when Rosberg made his pit stop he was certain to emerge behind Ricciardo. However a Virtual Safety Car period – triggered by Ricciardo’s team mate – changed the arithmetic. Because drivers lap more slowly during a VSC period the time lost making a pit stop is reduced. Instead of coming out five seconds behind Ricciardo, Rosberg ended up two-and-a-half seconds ahead.

He was on fresher tyres too, meaning Ricciardo’s hopes of second place were gone. And crucially it ensured Rosberg took an extra three world championship points.

Sergio Perez enjoyed the fastest complete pit stop of the race thanks to his Force India pit crew. Red Bull did two of the quickest five pit stops of the race, but Max Verstappen’s unplanned arrival on lap 26 was the slowest of the day save for Daniil Kvyat’s, which included a ten-second time penalty.

2016 United States Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4
Lewis HamiltonSoft (11)Soft (20)Medium (25)
Nico RosbergSoft (10)Medium (21)Medium (25)
Daniel RicciardoSuper soft (8)Soft (17)Medium (31)
Sebastian VettelSuper soft (14)Soft (15)Medium (24)Super soft (3)
Fernando AlonsoSoft (11)Medium (19)Medium (26)
Carlos Sainz JnrSuper soft (11)Soft (19)Soft (26)
Felipe MassaSuper soft (11)Soft (18)Medium (25)Super soft (1)
Sergio PerezSuper soft (10)Medium (17)Medium (28)
Jenson ButtonSuper soft (10)Medium (18)Medium (27)
Romain GrosjeanSuper soft (10)Soft (17)Medium (28)
Kevin MagnussenSoft (13)Soft (14)Medium (16)Super soft (12)
Daniil KvyatSoft (21)Medium (34)
Jolyon PalmerSoft (15)Soft (11)Medium (29)
Marcus EricssonSoft (17)Medium (38)
Felipe NasrMedium (29)Soft (26)
Valtteri BottasSuper soft (1)Soft (19)Medium (35)
Pascal WehrleinSoft (13)Medium (17)Medium (25)
Esteban OconMedium (17)Soft (9)Soft (18)Super soft (10)
Kimi RaikkonenSuper soft (8)Soft (16)Super soft (14)
Max VerstappenSoft (9)Soft (17)Medium (2)
Esteban GutierrezSoft (13)Soft (3)
Nico HulkenbergSuper soft (1)

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2016 United States Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Sergio PerezForce India23.35010
2Felipe MassaWilliams23.4640.11454
3Max VerstappenRed Bull23.4890.1399
4Nico RosbergMercedes23.5260.17610
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull23.5340.18425
6Lewis HamiltonMercedes23.5750.22531
7Lewis HamiltonMercedes23.6010.25111
8Jenson ButtonMcLaren23.6130.26310
9Fernando AlonsoMcLaren23.6830.33311
10Sebastian VettelFerrari23.8120.46229
11Kimi RaikkonenFerrari23.8450.49524
12Kevin MagnussenRenault23.8980.54843
13Felipe MassaWilliams23.9030.55329
14Daniel RicciardoRed Bull23.9560.6068
15Kimi RaikkonenFerrari23.9890.6398
16Jolyon PalmerRenault24.0710.72115
17Felipe MassaWilliams24.0930.74311
18Kevin MagnussenRenault24.1030.75327
19Nico RosbergMercedes24.1490.79931
20Sebastian VettelFerrari24.1560.80653
21Felipe NasrSauber24.2440.89429
22Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso24.2810.93130
23Kevin MagnussenRenault24.3100.96013
24Sebastian VettelFerrari24.4331.08314
25Sergio PerezForce India24.4671.11727
26Esteban GutierrezHaas24.4701.12013
27Romain GrosjeanHaas24.5231.17310
28Esteban OconManor24.6651.31544
29Jolyon PalmerRenault24.7661.41626
30Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso24.7781.42811
31Pascal WehrleinManor25.1821.83230
32Esteban OconManor25.2161.86617
33Valtteri BottasWilliams25.2221.87220
34Marcus EricssonSauber25.2291.87917
35Fernando AlonsoMcLaren25.3001.95030
36Kimi RaikkonenFerrari25.3842.03438
37Jenson ButtonMcLaren25.6352.28528
38Romain GrosjeanHaas26.0562.70627
39Pascal WehrleinManor26.0592.70913
40Valtteri BottasWilliams27.0983.7481
41Esteban OconManor27.5324.18226
42Max VerstappenRed Bull36.11212.76226
43Daniil KvyatToro Rosso37.83714.48721

2016 United States 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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6 comments on “2016 United States Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. 38 laps on mediums for Ericsson and 26 on Soft for Nasr. Impressive, but it didn’t look like the right strategy. Ericsson was running P11 with less than 10 laps to go before ending up P14.

  2. Well it looks like Ferrari was on a mission to make mess of strategies every weekend very intelligently.
    only if they can use their intelligence to make a better strategy

  3. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
    24th October 2016, 11:14

    Anyone know what Ricciardo called Rosberg over the team radio when he learned he had lost the place?

    I don’t blame him! This guy’s sheer luck is so irritating this season.

    1. I’m sure you can work it out.

      Rosberg obviously heard about it to because he asked him what he said in the room before the podium. ( with a smile on his face)

  4. Very unlucky timing of Massa’s 2nd pit stop – just as Verstappen was breaking down. Sainz got the freeby next lap to come out just in front, and Massa went from a well-deserved 5th to a disappointing 7th.

  5. If Hamilton had pitted sooner, as Ricciardo did, Rosberg could have emerged from the pits under VSC in the lead.

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