2012 Australian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stop times

2012 Australian Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2012Ferrari may be struggling with their car but they were by far the fastest team in the pits in Melbourne.

Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa’s five visits to the pits were the five quickest pit stops of the race.

Ferrari made an effort to improve their pit stops in the second half of last year. But although they were able to turn their cars around more quickly, they struggled to achieve consistency. Today’s performance shows they’ve done that now.

Stefano domenicali congratulated his team’s performance in the pits, saying: “I want to highlight the performance of the crew during the pit stops: looking at the figures, we were the fastest both in terms of outright performance and on average.

“I am keen to mention this, because we have worked a great deal on this front: already in the second part of 2011, the situation was better and today we have taken another step forward.”

Red Bull and Mercedes were the fastest crews in the pits last year, but they couldn’t match Ferrari today.

2012 Australian Grand Prix pit stop times

Here are all the pit stop times (pit entry to pit exit) from the Australian Grand Prix:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 21.910 34
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 22.035 0.125 13
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari 22.103 0.193 37
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 22.313 0.403 11
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 22.528 0.618 28
6 Jenson Button McLaren 22.837 0.927 36
7 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 22.862 0.952 17
8 Mark Webber Red Bull 22.915 1.005 37
9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 23.017 1.107 31
10 Pastor Maldonado Williams 23.166 1.256 37
11 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 23.203 1.293 12
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 23.203 1.293 19
13 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 23.257 1.347 22
14 Jenson Button McLaren 23.275 1.365 16
15 Mark Webber Red Bull 23.302 1.392 14
16 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 23.310 1.400 37
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams 23.427 1.517 16
18 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 23.464 1.554 36
19 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 23.569 1.659 37
20 Bruno Senna Williams 23.777 1.867 30
21 Sergio Perez Sauber 23.882 1.972 24
22 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 24.131 2.221 37
23 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 24.162 2.252 36
24 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 24.256 2.346 16
25 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 24.348 2.438 38
26 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 24.397 2.487 14
27 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 24.579 2.669 18
28 Paul di Resta Force India 24.579 2.669 33
29 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 24.580 2.670 34
30 Bruno Senna Williams 24.599 2.689 1
31 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 24.881 2.971 19
32 Paul di Resta Force India 24.933 3.023 13
33 Timo Glock Marussia 25.046 3.136 36
34 Charles Pic Marussia 25.303 3.393 21
35 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 25.346 3.436 13
36 Timo Glock Marussia 26.322 4.412 20
37 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 28.888 6.978 37
38 Bruno Senna Williams 30.888 8.978 47
39 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 32.319 10.409 1
40 Charles Pic Marussia 48.984 27.074 35

NB. A complete list of stationary times is not available.

2012 Australian Grand Prix tyre strategies

A two-stop strategy was the preferred approach this year. The durability and performance of the medium tyre led most drivers to switch to it at the first round of pit stops.

This shows that, despite Pirelli producing a softer range of tyres this year, the teams are better-equipped to make them last. The preferred strategy last year was three stops, with some drivers making four.

The safety car period in today’s race may also have aided some teams in making their tyres last longer.

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Lewis Hamilton Soft (17) Medium (19) Medium (22)
Jenson Button Soft (16) Medium (20) Medium (22)
Romain Grosjean Soft (1)
Michael Schumacher Soft (10)
Mark Webber Soft (14) Medium (23) Medium (21)
Sebastian Vettel Soft (16) Soft (21) Medium (21)
Nico Rosberg Soft (12) Soft (19) Medium (27)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (16) Soft (21) Medium (20)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (1) Medium (21) Soft (16) Soft (20)
Jean-Eric Vergne Medium (19) Soft (18) Soft (21)
Fernando Alonso Soft (13) Medium (21) Medium (24)
Kamui Kobayashi Soft (13) Soft (23) Medium (22)
Bruno Senna Soft (1) Medium (29) Medium (17) Soft (5)
Paul di Resta Soft (13) Soft (20) Medium (25)
Felipe Massa Soft (11) Soft (17) Medium (9) Medium (9)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (19) Soft (18) Medium (21)
Heikki Kovalainen Soft (14) Medium (20) Medium (3) Medium (1)
Vitaly Petrov Medium (18) Medium (16)
Timo Glock Soft (20) Soft (16) Medium (21)
Charles Pic Soft (21) Soft (14) Medium (18) Medium
Sergio Perez Medium (24) Soft (34)

2012 Australian Grand Prix


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28 comments on 2012 Australian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stop times

  1. Slr (@slr) said on 18th March 2012, 13:06

    Great job by Ferrari’s pit crew, Alonso and Massa must be really happy with them.

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th March 2012, 13:07

    I think that without the SC Perez couldn’t have made a 1 stopper and Alonso and other would have had to stop again as well.

    But Its good to see that Ferrari did manage to make the improvements they were targeting in some areas. I also think that the McLaren doing those two stops right in tandem might become more of a trend. Had Red Bull done that more often for Webber in the past, he would have been closer to Vettel in many occasions.

    Interesting to see how far Mercedes have dropped in that aspect though. Is that due to the small changes with the airguns, or just the fact that they only did 20 stops and neither Rosberg nor the team seemed to be entirely concentrated on it after the shock of their speed going for a walk in the park outside the track.

    • Karthikeyan (@ridiculous) said on 18th March 2012, 13:41

      Excuse my poor memory, but weren’t RedBull the team that allows the trailing driver to pit first as evidenced in Australia, Spa etc an not to mention the British Grand Prix during which Mark Webber gained 11 seconds on Vettel. Also, I’m pretty sure that ‘McLaren doing those two stops right in tandem might become more of a trend’ was done even last year by RedBull

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 18th March 2012, 13:46

        Yes, after having Webber fall back due to poorly timed pitstops Red Bull did start to do that last year and it helped a lot to solve that problem.

        The only time it was done almost that close was in Monaco, and that was partly due to one of them having a problem at their pit stop, making the other one wait in line. Exactly what McLaren were afraid of now, I guess.

    • I don’t think so, it can easily backfire if the first stop is slow and it puts a lot of pressure on the mechanics to get both stops right. Good work by Ferrari, at least they’ve done something right this season!

  3. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 18th March 2012, 13:07

    They looked visibly quick during their pit-stops. Good to know that Ferrari have improved somewhere! :D

  4. jamesl91 said on 18th March 2012, 13:40

    very impressive from perez with only 1 stop. Alonso did well to get his Ferrari to 5th place however, I believe Massa wont be at Ferrari next year hes not good enough anymore, he has never fully recovered from his accident in Hungary 2009.
    It was a great win for button, I honestly thought Lewis would drive off into the distance but he was just unlucky today.

    • q85 said on 19th March 2012, 0:47

      i dont thin 09 has much to do with it. alonso is just that good in all areas.

      kimi was brilliant but fernando makes sure he is as good as he can be across the board. like michael used to be.

      tough times for massa

      • James said on 19th March 2012, 16:57

        Fair point. what I meant was that Massa was fighting for the championship in 2008 and since 09 he has been no where near what he used to be, maybe its Fernando’s influence.
        as we all new Mclaren were quick specially lewis with the 1 flying lap (that was vettel style)
        but I was expecting the 1 of the 2 mercs on the front row, mainly schumi but sadly not this time. however Malaysia looks like its going to be a wet race, saw the weather report earlier. so we are in for another great race by the looks of things

  5. Estesark (@estesark) said on 18th March 2012, 13:57

    Keith, would you consider sorting the tyre strategy table by finishing position, rather than starting position? And/or include a column that shows how many places they gained/lost during the race. It would help us to analyse which tyre strategies were most effective. If it’s not too much work, of course.

  6. Atanu (@ilovevettel) said on 18th March 2012, 17:53

    Keith, last year there was a graphic showing how many laps a driver drove in each stint. Will it be not there this year?

  7. Palle (@palle) said on 18th March 2012, 22:46

    If You compare Vettel and Buttons time consumption in the pits, then Vettel used 2.275 sec more, and he finished only 2.1 sec after Button.

  8. Enigma (@enigma) said on 18th March 2012, 23:22

    Interesting how slow Force India were in the pits. If I remember correctly they were 4th fastest last year.

  9. Eggry (@eggry) said on 19th March 2012, 0:33

    at least now they certainly fixed pit problem!! now it’s turn for car…

  10. kenneth Ntulume said on 19th March 2012, 7:36

    Typically most times when though Lewis is leading Button, Button easily gets to be allowed to pit first on a need to basis, This time Lewis needed the tyres more than the so called “smooth” driving Button. Why couldn’t Mclaren let Lewis pit???????

  11. smudgersmith1 (@smudgersmith1) said on 19th March 2012, 16:18

    Most impressive, compare Jensons times on the mediums compared to Vettels on the softs, (FIA timing sheets show he more than matched him for lap after lap)

    • Alejanddro said on 19th March 2012, 18:11

      I’m a bit worried that Vettel was able to get those softs to last that long. I couldn’t hear what Lewis said but it seemed to me he was wanting to end his second stint on mediums due to wear while Vettel was still doing well on softs…
      On the other hand Jenson looked ok

      • He made them last but didn’t gain any performance when they should have been at there best, maybe if he used them on his last stint on low fuel he could have had a shot at the lead

  12. volvo said on 19th March 2012, 16:49

    Perez did 34laps on softs, wow!

  13. OOliver said on 19th March 2012, 21:05

    @Kenneth Ntulume,
    That was the trick Mclaren was using to get Button close to Hamilton last year.
    Only when Button could manage his tyres did he pit later, but if his tyres were about to go off, they’d pit him first despite if Hamilton is leading. At other times they’d pit Hamilton much ealier while he still has life in his tyres, just so Button gets the optimum stop.
    I have obseved closely all of Mclarens stop and have noticed the trend.
    Perhaps Button has it in his contract that he can choose when he stops.
    Lets see if they continue with the trend again this year.

    • So when Martin Whitmarsh states they have equal treatment is he lying ? I honestly think its as simple as, ‘the guy in front has first call’ I think it’s realistic to say Lewis is faster over one lap, but over a race distance JB is a match for him and a tad more intelligent in the decisions he makes but then he has far more experience

      • OOliver said on 21st March 2012, 11:32

        David, the argument is not if Button is faster or if it’s Lewis.

        The argument is Mclaren are incocnsistent with the leading driver dictates the pit schedule policy.
        It just seems that policy is only used when Button is the driver leading.

        The races I have seen when Button has damaged his tyres, he is usually stopped first even if he is in 6th or further back.

        I had made this observation repeatedly since Button joined Mclaren.
        It doesn’t matter which one of them is faster what matters is that they extract the maximum from both drivers. And not seem to give the besdt treatment to one.

        Look at the races Hamilton was in contention to win last year. The team failed to focus on the driver ahead.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st March 2012, 12:03

      I have obseved closely all of Mclarens stop and have noticed the trend.

      Go on then, give us details.

  14. Ritesh (@rits) said on 20th March 2012, 16:16

    Force India were one of the fastest in pit stops for the last 2 years.. what happened to them? I think apart from Ferrari, Force India has had the worst start to the season (performance-wise).

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