Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2010

Why Rosberg’s pit problems didn’t cost him

Brazilian Grand Prix analysisPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2010
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2010

Nico Rosberg made two pits stops within three laps of each other during the Brazilian Grand Prix without losing a place.

How did he manage it? Find out why in the Brazilian Grand Prix analysis:

Lap 1

Lap 1
Lap 1

Nico H???lkenberg’s lead lasted all of a few metres and by the end of the first lap he was third.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton crossed the line side-by-side at the end of lap one with Alonso a nose ahead, which is why he’s shown as having passed Hamilton on lap one. Hamilton held his position at the first corner but lost it a few turns later.

Behind them the usual ‘clean side’ advantage was much in evidence – the drivers who started from seventh, ninth, 11th, 13th and 15th all made up places.

Vitaly Petrov had a disastrous start, slipping back into the midfield and then losing more ground when he swerved to avoid Jaime Alguersuari.

Pit stops

Pit stops
Pit stops

Nico Rosberg managed to make two pit stops within three laps of each other yet only lose one place to his team mate. How?

The answer becomes apparent when you look at the race progress chart below. Zoom in around laps 51 and 54 when he made his two stops and you can see what happened.

The first dropped him behind Michael Schumacher and to the back of the pack of cars that were on the lead lap. That meant he could come in again three laps later and return to the back of the safety car queue without having lost a place.

Schumacher then let Rosberg past, aware his team mate was on much newer tyres, meaning his two pit stops cost him no places at all.

Race progress

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Adrian Sutil’s poor pace triggered the unusual situation with the safety car towards the end of the race.

From around the 20th lap he was falling back and holding up cars behind him who were then lapped, leaving just seven cars on the lead lap when the safety car came out. Among them was the fortunate Schumacher, who’d only just broken free of the Sutil train.

Jenson Button’s strategy worked like a charm though he was perhaps fortunate that the two drivers who pitted in reaction to his stop – Massa and Barrichello – had poor pit stops, leaving him free to carry on lapping quickly and pick up more places.

Lap chart

Lap chart
Lap chart

H???lkenberg was ill-equipped to keep the likes of Alonso and Hamilton behind for long, but he resisted the Ferrari driver’s attacks for several laps and Hamilton never found a way by on the track.

After his pit stop he withstood more pressure from Robert Kubica to the flag.

Fastest laps

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Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap of the race having changed to fresher rubber during the final safety car period.

However Alonso lapped just 0.004s slower than Hamilton’s best on the very next lap, despite having much older tyres, underlining how well the F10 treats its rubber.

Rank Driver Car Fastest lap Gap On lap
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’13.851 66
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’13.855 0.004 67
3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’13.932 0.081 71
4 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’14.047 0.196 69
5 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’14.184 0.333 65
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’14.283 0.432 70
7 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’14.748 0.897 65
8 Nico H???lkenberg Williams-Cosworth 1’14.985 1.134 70
9 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1’14.997 1.146 64
10 Nick Heidfeld Sauber-Ferrari 1’15.068 1.217 68
11 Robert Kubica Renault 1’15.161 1.310 61
12 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’15.219 1.368 71
13 Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1’15.227 1.376 69
14 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’15.330 1.479 69
15 Vitaly Petrov Renault 1’15.485 1.634 70
16 Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’15.695 1.844 68
17 Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’15.935 2.084 69
18 Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth 1’16.767 2.916 60
19 Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1’16.940 3.089 37
20 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth 1’17.161 3.310 69
21 Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth 1’17.316 3.465 69
22 Christian Klien HRT-Cosworth 1’17.690 3.839 63
23 Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1’17.695 3.844 66
24 Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth 1’17.731 3.880 66

2010 Brazilian Grand Prix

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