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.

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 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Lewis Hamilton Soft (11) Soft (20) Medium (25)
Nico Rosberg Soft (10) Medium (21) Medium (25)
Daniel Ricciardo Super soft (8) Soft (17) Medium (31)
Sebastian Vettel Super soft (14) Soft (15) Medium (24) Super soft (3)
Fernando Alonso Soft (11) Medium (19) Medium (26)
Carlos Sainz Jnr Super soft (11) Soft (19) Soft (26)
Felipe Massa Super soft (11) Soft (18) Medium (25) Super soft (1)
Sergio Perez Super soft (10) Medium (17) Medium (28)
Jenson Button Super soft (10) Medium (18) Medium (27)
Romain Grosjean Super soft (10) Soft (17) Medium (28)
Kevin Magnussen Soft (13) Soft (14) Medium (16) Super soft (12)
Daniil Kvyat Soft (21) Medium (34)
Jolyon Palmer Soft (15) Soft (11) Medium (29)
Marcus Ericsson Soft (17) Medium (38)
Felipe Nasr Medium (29) Soft (26)
Valtteri Bottas Super soft (1) Soft (19) Medium (35)
Pascal Wehrlein Soft (13) Medium (17) Medium (25)
Esteban Ocon Medium (17) Soft (9) Soft (18) Super soft (10)
Kimi Raikkonen Super soft (8) Soft (16) Super soft (14)
Max Verstappen Soft (9) Soft (17) Medium (2)
Esteban Gutierrez Soft (13) Soft (3)
Nico Hulkenberg Super soft (1)

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2016 United States Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Sergio Perez Force India 23.350 10
2 Felipe Massa Williams 23.464 0.114 54
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 23.489 0.139 9
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 23.526 0.176 10
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 23.534 0.184 25
6 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 23.575 0.225 31
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 23.601 0.251 11
8 Jenson Button McLaren 23.613 0.263 10
9 Fernando Alonso McLaren 23.683 0.333 11
10 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 23.812 0.462 29
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 23.845 0.495 24
12 Kevin Magnussen Renault 23.898 0.548 43
13 Felipe Massa Williams 23.903 0.553 29
14 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 23.956 0.606 8
15 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 23.989 0.639 8
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 24.071 0.721 15
17 Felipe Massa Williams 24.093 0.743 11
18 Kevin Magnussen Renault 24.103 0.753 27
19 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 24.149 0.799 31
20 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 24.156 0.806 53
21 Felipe Nasr Sauber 24.244 0.894 29
22 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 24.281 0.931 30
23 Kevin Magnussen Renault 24.310 0.960 13
24 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 24.433 1.083 14
25 Sergio Perez Force India 24.467 1.117 27
26 Esteban Gutierrez Haas 24.470 1.120 13
27 Romain Grosjean Haas 24.523 1.173 10
28 Esteban Ocon Manor 24.665 1.315 44
29 Jolyon Palmer Renault 24.766 1.416 26
30 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 24.778 1.428 11
31 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 25.182 1.832 30
32 Esteban Ocon Manor 25.216 1.866 17
33 Valtteri Bottas Williams 25.222 1.872 20
34 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 25.229 1.879 17
35 Fernando Alonso McLaren 25.300 1.950 30
36 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 25.384 2.034 38
37 Jenson Button McLaren 25.635 2.285 28
38 Romain Grosjean Haas 26.056 2.706 27
39 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 26.059 2.709 13
40 Valtteri Bottas Williams 27.098 3.748 1
41 Esteban Ocon Manor 27.532 4.182 26
42 Max Verstappen Red Bull 36.112 12.762 26
43 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 37.837 14.487 21

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.

Comments are closed.