Why Rosberg’s pit problems didn’t cost him

Brazilian Grand Prix analysis

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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Tick/untick drivers? names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom

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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40 comments on Why Rosberg’s pit problems didn’t cost him

  1. sumedh said on 8th November 2010, 10:49

    What a bizarre situation at Lap 55-56, you see FIVE sets of drivers, One set on lead lap, one a lap down, and Heikki and Trulli 2 laps down, Di Grassi some 6-7 laps down, Klien another lap down on Di Grassi.

    You have Massa, Buemi and Liuzzi fighting for position, while simultaneously lapping the slower cars and also being lapped simultaneously. Meanwhile, the cars that they are lapping – Trulli and Kova – are also lapping Klien and Di Grassi. F1 should do something to avoid creating such a mess.

    Letting drivers unlap themselves may not be the best solution, Klien – who is barely faster than the safety car itself, will take over 10 laps to cover up the extra 7-8 laps he is behind. You should let drivers unlap for only 1 lap. That is, if someone is one-lap down, he now comes on lead lap, and one who is 2 laps down comes to 1 lap down and so on, so that at the race restart, you don’t see drivers lapping each other. This way, all the drivers on lead lap will be at the front, the next cluster will be 1 lap behind, next cluster 2 laps behind, while that will still cause the chart to look bizarre as the one above, atleast, they won’t be mixing it up!!

    • Daniel said on 8th November 2010, 11:01

      Great Idea!

      And while we are at it, I say every time the leader comes up to lap a car he stops and then everybody stops behind him, so that everyone can catch up to everyone else, that way no one will have to lap any one and no one will feel bad about getting in anyone else’s way.

      • sumedh said on 8th November 2010, 11:17

        Oh come on!! At the race restart, who wants to see the order of drivers to be 1st, 5th, 6th, 2nd, 7th, 3rd, 8th, 9th, 10th, 17th, 11th, 12th, 4th!!

        This way atleast they will be in order in which they are supposed to fight, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.. and so on.

        It is obviously unfair to expect drivers to respect blue flags when they are racing for position. If we let everyone unlap for a single lap and get into position, then we would have no blue flags at the race restart.

        And don’t tell me blue flags should be banned. No sport should punish you for being fast.

        • Daniel said on 10th November 2010, 1:37

          No sport should punish you for being fast.

          That’s exactly what you are doing by letting the lapped cars go. You are punishing the leaders for being to fast to begin with. They’ve used more fuel and worn their tyres more, but their gap and the lapped cars they’ve put between them and the next car are removed. Punished for being fast.

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