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

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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.

GridQualifyingNameWeightFuel (kg)First stint (laps)
11Jenson Button6464117
22Sebastian Vettel651.546.519
33Rubens Barrichello649.544.518
44Felipe Massa6555021
55Mark Webber651.546.519
66Timo Glock646.541.517
77Jarno Trulli655.550.521
88Fernando Alonso6454016
99Nico Rosberg6686326
1010Robert Kubica6605523
1111Kazuki Nakajima676.671.630
1212Nelson Piquet Jnr677.472.430
1313Nick Heidfeld676.371.330
1414Lewis Hamilton6837833
1515Sebastien Buemi6787331
1616Kimi Raikkonen6736828
1717Sebastien Bourdais6696427
1818Heikki Kovalainen6575221
1919Adrian Sutil6757029
2020Giancarlo Fisichella6565121

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)

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

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

    1. 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.

    2. 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. 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
    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. 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. Here’s a fuel corrected top-ten, seems Ferrari have seriously improved with their B-spec car.


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

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

    1. Yep proper qualifying is back next year :-)

    2. Yeah would be nice if we finally got rid of people complaining about fuel strategies at every race.

  7. 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!

    1. Maurice Henry
      10th May 2009, 0:40

      Check out the Ferrari FP2 times at the FIA site
      (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.

    2. 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. 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
    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. will we see another trulli train? he’s pitting in the middle of everyone.

  11. 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. 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…

    1. 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.

    2. 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. 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.

    1. Maurice Henry
      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).

    2. Prisoner Monkeys
      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.

    3. 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?)

  16. Andrew White
    9th May 2009, 21:14

    I can’t help but think that Massa will suffer from either a strategical error or a mechanical problem tomorrow. The car may be quick enough to challenge for the win but are the team good enough?

    1. Good point Andrew,even if Massa has a good charge the Ferrari guys seem to bungle things up as of lately.Massa seems to be the one who has his head on tightest in the Ferrari garage at the moment.

  17. According to Bob, Steve, and David, only RAI was running the “b-spec” 15kg lighter chassis. And RAI was nowhere. So the story about Ferrari’s great leap forward seems more complex. I think Massa has found balance and motivation. He’s actually a remarkable driver on his day.

    1. According to Bob, Steve, and David, only RAI was running the “b-spec” 15kg lighter chassis. And RAI was nowhere.

      That was as much a tactical failure as a lack of pace.

  18. What’s interesting to me is that most teams are running two different strategies for their two drivers. This tells me that the optimum strategy isn’t clear, and there’s quite a bit of uncertainty in the outcome.

    Drivers 1- and 2-stopping: McLaren, Ferrari, BMW, Williams.

    Drivers 2- and 3-stopping: Toyota, Force India.

    Drivers 1- and 3-stopping: Renault.

    Toro Rosso: Both drivers 1-stopping.

    RBR and Brawn: Both drivers 2-stopping, short first stint.

  19. Maurice Henry
    10th May 2009, 12:34

    “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?”

    Keith – And you don’t think that will happen next year?

  20. Actual pit stops (hope this works):

    Grid . . kg . .Est . Actual . . . . Fin
    . . . . . . . . . T LL T LL T LL T 66L
    01  BUT  41.0  17  s -- - 19 s 49 h 01
    02  VET  46.5  19  s -- - 20 s 44 h 04
    03  BAR  44.5  18  s 20 s 32 s 50 h 02
    04k MAS  50.0  21  s -- - 20 s 44 h 06
    05  WEB  46.5  19  s -- - 20 - 50 - 03
    06  GLO  41.5  17  s -- - 18 s 48 - 10
    07  TRU  50.5  21  s 01!- -- - -- - RET
    08  ALO  40.0  16  s -- - 19 - 45 - 05
    09  ROS  63.0  26  s -- - 26 s 50 h 08
    10  KUB  55.0  23  s -- - 24 s 47 - 11
    11  NAK  71.6  30  s 02 - 37 - 52 - 13
    12  PIQ  72.4  30  s -- - 22 - 47 h 12
    13  HEI  71.3  30  s -- - 32 s 51 - 07
    14k HAM  78.0  33  s -- - 32 s 50 h 09
    15  BUE  73.0  31  s 01!- -- - -- - RET
    16k RAI  68.0  28  s -- - 19*- -- - RET
    17  BOU  64.0  27  s 01!- -- - -- - RET
    18k KOV  52.0  21  s 07*- -- - -- - RET
    19  SUT  70.0  29  s 01!- -- - -- - RET
    20  FIS  51.0  21  s 01*- 31 - 53 - 14

    Safety Car lap 1 to lap 5.
    Lap 1 crashes: Trulli and Sutil; Buemi and Bourdais
    Unscheduled: Fisichella (1) fuel; Nakajima (2) wing
    Retirements: Kovalainen (7) gearbox; Raikkonen (19) throttle linkage

  21. Go back to renault engine and dark blue colour.

  22. Williams were almost invincible with renault engines and lucky with dark blue colour.They should try this combination again.

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