Button will pit two laps before Vettel (Spanish GP fuel weights and pit stops)

If Vettel can keep up with Button he's in a strong position to win

If Vettel can keep up with Button he's in a strong position to win

Jenson Button may be on pole position but he’ll have to pull away quickly at the start as four cars behind him on the grid are all carrying more fuel.

Sebastian Vettel looks set to stop two laps later and Felipe Massa has around four more laps of fuel on board.

Grid Qualifying Name Weight Fuel (kg) First stint (laps)
1 1 Jenson Button 646 41 17
2 2 Sebastian Vettel 651.5 46.5 19
3 3 Rubens Barrichello 649.5 44.5 18
4 4 Felipe Massa 655 50 21
5 5 Mark Webber 651.5 46.5 19
6 6 Timo Glock 646.5 41.5 17
7 7 Jarno Trulli 655.5 50.5 21
8 8 Fernando Alonso 645 40 16
9 9 Nico Rosberg 668 63 26
10 10 Robert Kubica 660 55 23
11 11 Kazuki Nakajima 676.6 71.6 30
12 12 Nelson Piquet Jnr 677.4 72.4 30
13 13 Nick Heidfeld 676.3 71.3 30
14 14 Lewis Hamilton 683 78 33
15 15 Sebastien Buemi 678 73 31
16 16 Kimi Raikkonen 673 68 28
17 17 Sebastien Bourdais 669 64 27
18 18 Heikki Kovalainen 657 52 21
19 19 Adrian Sutil 675 70 29
20 20 Giancarlo Fisichella 656 51 21

How the pit stop predictions were calculated: 1. Deduct minimum weight of 605kg. 2. Divide fuel load by average of 2.271kg per lap (source: Williams) 3. Deduct one lap of fuel to cover the drivers driving to the grid and doing their formation lap.

Other factors may alter the lap a driver pits such as changes in weather conditions, safety car deployment, variation in fuel use between different engines and cars, changes in setup, drivers’ ability to save fuel and reduced fuel use as the load decreases and a car becomes lighter.

Other points to note include:

  • Both Red Bulls are carrying the same fuel load
  • Heikki Kovalainen has fuelled lightly in a bid to make up places
  • Kimi Raikkonen has chosen the opposite tactic in a bid to make up places and is carrying a lot of fuel instead

Read more: Last-second lap puts Button on pole (Spanish Grand Prix qualifying)

Spanish Grand Prix pit stop strategies (click to enlarge)

Spanish Grand Prix pit stop strategies (click to enlarge)

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36 comments on Button will pit two laps before Vettel (Spanish GP fuel weights and pit stops)

  1. MJ4 said on 9th May 2009, 17:57

    Alonso was aiming for a made-for-the-home-crowd result, judging from his weight, yet only managed 8th.

    • He’s only 1kg lighter than Button — by Renault standards, this is emphatically not a run for pole. Probably a good thing, given that whenever they do that, they tend to slide backward over the race.

    • IDR said on 9th May 2009, 18:11

      I have seen his declarations after quali and he was not quite happy with the strategy. In fact, he said after third practice he was thinking to make a long first stint. I’m afraid Briatore doesn’t like how Renault is performing…

  2. Mikeman said on 9th May 2009, 18:12

    Hamilton is taking the other way around, choosing the normal Heikki tactics and starting with a full load. Since the soften tires look to work well – he could aim for only 1 pit stop, starting with soft tires and doing the rest of the race on harder… This is, of course… if with don’t have another ‘wet surprise’…
    I’m in Lisbon, Portugal and it’s Thunder Road out here and predictions for Barcelona, do include a little probability of rain for tomorrow, Sunday…

    What the well – crazy rules, crazy championship, lets mix it up even more and see some wild slides and crashes :)

    After all isn’t this a circus, or what ?!

  3. hitchcockm00 said on 9th May 2009, 18:15

    Massa’s probably going to get past Vettel at the start and ruin his race.
    Could be a good one if he can keep up with Button though.

  4. Lee said on 9th May 2009, 18:32

    I’m fairly sure Massa will be in the lead by the first corner. As he’s going longer as well he could well be a favourite for the race, he did a brilliant job in qualifying, to be pretty close to Button with four laps more fuel, fair play to him.

  5. Lee said on 9th May 2009, 18:39

    Here’s a fuel corrected top-ten, seems Ferrari have seriously improved with their B-spec car.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/f1mole/2009/05/bbc-f1s-fueladjusted-spanish-g.html

    • Patrickl said on 9th May 2009, 20:19

      Holy cow, most of the people who respond to that blog really don’t have a clue!

  6. Gman said on 9th May 2009, 18:45

    Correct me if i’m wrong, but dosen’t all this fuel strategy go out the window next year? I really hope so….

  7. Kanyima said on 9th May 2009, 18:47

    Everyone is talking as if Massa has suddenly found magic powers! Look, we haven’t seen how quick “the new” Ferrari is on long stints so save your breaths for flips sakes!

    • Maurice Henry said on 10th May 2009, 0:40

      Check out the Ferrari FP2 times at the FIA site
      http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Pages/timing.aspx
      (be quick because I don’t know how long this info is there once the race is over) They consistently ran 1m22s and low 1m23s doing 10-12 flying lap runs at a time. By contrast Renault ran Alonso in 5 lap bursts. Even the Brawns did 6-8 lap runs in the same session. Massa could spring a big surprise.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th May 2009, 10:05

      Interesting – perhaps they did longer stints because they have made so many changes to their car, whereas Renault and Brawn could get a better idea how they would perform based on fewer laps?

  8. Mahir C said on 9th May 2009, 18:52

    Damn, i was wrong saying Massa was light. They have improved massively it seems. They were almost 1 sec off the pace at Bahrain, if we consider Brawn and others also improved they found smth like 1.3-1.5 secs since Bahrain.

  9. Robert McKay said on 9th May 2009, 19:01

    I’m surprised at Massa, I thought he was lighter than most. Good job there. With a KERS start he could be a real factor in the race.

    Also Button’s pole lap is ever so slightly less shiny when you see he was lighter than both Barrichello and Vettel. Having said that though I think Button will take a slightly lighter pole over second/third and do what he can to build enough of a gap to negate that disadvantage if possible.

  10. F1Yankee said on 9th May 2009, 19:01

    will we see another trulli train? he’s pitting in the middle of everyone.

  11. pSynrg said on 9th May 2009, 19:10

    Lewis brimming it. Must admit it comes across as a fairly desperate move. He wasn’t at all happy post quali.
    Vettel/Button have got to be favourites though. Somehow I get the feeling Ferrari will throw an opportunity, although I hope not, just for Massa’s sake.

  12. mattclinch said on 9th May 2009, 19:48

    so the red bulls are coming in on the same lap? what are they going to do? queue? or are they going to alter strategies if massa upsets vettel at the front…

    • Patrickl said on 9th May 2009, 20:27

      Don’t they do this almost every race? Guess they don’t want to play favorites and give the drivers the same strategy and see where the chips land.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th May 2009, 10:08

      Yeah it’s a strange situation because it dooms one of their drivers to coming in earlier than the other with extra fuel on board. Although is does avoid them having to ‘favour’ one or the other (and we know what problems that has caused other teams in the past!)

      That said, Vettel has proved quite handy at saving fuel – so perhaps he can eke out another lap. In fact, the Renault-engined cars at Bahrain were the ones that went much further than I expected them to. Perhaps they use their fuel less quickly than their competitors?

  13. I feel Ferrari still have a very goo chance of winning since they are the only ones in the top running KERS.

  14. Brawn said on 9th May 2009, 20:13

    I wish we could of seen Kimi making it an even more exiting front of the field. I still think button can do it. Hoping Vettel will be busy battling with Rubens and Massa. Also really want to see Kimi take Lewis. Cant wait til the race.

  15. How much does this actually tell us? The starting fuel loads have proved to be a rather inaccurate method of when a driver’s first pitstop is going to be thus far. For example, at Bahrain we thought that Button would only run one lap longer than Trulli, but he turned out to be running three laps longer. In Malaysia, Button ran four laps longer than Rosberg despite the fuel loads indicating that the difference would only be a single lap. In both cases the differential proved crucial to the outcome of the race. I don’t think we can assume that Button will be stopping earlier than Vettel tommorow.

    • Maurice Henry said on 10th May 2009, 0:28

      I don’t know how many people picked up on the point Christian Horner made in Bahrain during the BBC Forum, but Vettel managed to save three laps of fuel during the middle stint behind the Trulli-train. I think the important point is that tyre and fuel conservation will be key. Quite a few of the calculations on net fuel load and max number of laps they can complete come out with a decimal fraction so some of them aren’t too far off squeezing an extra lap in here and there. By the way Keith, the lap to grid and parade lap fuel consumption is 20% less than a normal racing lap (Source – Piola Tech Analysis 2000-2005).

    • Prisoner Monkeys said on 10th May 2009, 1:26

      The problem is that fuel weight calculations assume that all cars will consistently burn the same amount of fuel at the same rate, adn we already know that’s not the case. By the looks of things, the Brawns have the best fuel consumption, whereas we know that the Ferrari F60 is thirstier.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th May 2009, 10:11

      Vettel managed to save three laps of fuel during the middle stint behind the Trulli-train.

      That’s what I was talking about in the earlier comment.

      Best to treat these fuel loads as a snapshot of where the cars are right now, but remember they have flexibility to adapt their strategy once the race starts.

      (And it’s another reason why it’s a good thing that refuelling is going next year. What more proof could you need that refuelling mitigates against on-track racing than to know Vettel had turned his engine down and was saving fuel while behind Trulli?)

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