2012 Bahrain Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix

All the pit strategy data, including how new tyres helped Kimi Raikkonen catch Sebastian Vettel, and how much time Lewis Hamilton lost in the pits.

Bahrain Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4 Stint 5
Sebastian Vettel Soft (11) Medium (14) Soft (14) Medium (18)
Lewis Hamilton Soft (9) Medium (14) Medium (13) Medium (21)
Mark Webber Soft (9) Medium (14) Soft (16) Medium (18)
Jenson Button Soft (8) Medium (14) Medium (15) Medium (16) Soft (2)
Nico Rosberg Soft (8) Soft (14) Medium (14) Medium (21)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (7) Medium (16) Soft (15) Medium (18)
Romain Grosjean Soft (10) Medium (15) Medium (15) Medium (17)
Sergio Perez Soft (9) Soft (12) Medium (16) Medium (20)
Fernando Alonso Soft (9) Medium (14) Medium (14) Medium (20)
Paul di Resta Soft (14) Medium (19) Medium (24)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (11) Soft (13) Medium (15) Medium (18)
Kamui Kobayashi Medium (14) Medium (17) Soft (19) Soft (7)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft (9) Soft (10) Medium (17) Medium (21)
Felipe Massa Soft (8) Medium (14) Soft (16) Medium (19)
Bruno Senna Soft (9) Soft (15) Medium (14) Medium (16)
Heikki Kovalainen Soft (1) Soft (12) Soft (12) Medium (13) Medium (18)
Jean-Eric Vergne Soft (10) Medium (15) Medium (15) Soft (17)
Vitaly Petrov Soft (10) Soft (13) Medium (16) Medium (17)
Charles Pic Soft (12) Soft (12)
Pedro de la Rosa Soft (9) Medium (13) Medium (16) Medium (17)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (11) Soft (12) Medium (2)
Michael Schumacher Soft (9) Soft (14) Medium (14) Medium (20)
Timo Glock Soft (10) Medium (13) Medium (15) Soft (17)
Narain Karthikeyan Soft (10) Medium (11) Medium (11) Medium (13) Soft (10)

Sebastian Vettel built up a gap of 4.9 seconds in the first six laps – which proved highly valuable later in the race.

“A good start was crucial and I was able to pull away from the pack,” he explained, “which was a big advantage as we always had to go on scrubbed tyres due to the fact we had used almost all of them in qualifying yesterday.”

Kimi Raikkonen, who emerged as his leading pursuer, had the advantage of fresh tyres for every stint of the race. Vettel, meanwhile had used tyres for every stint bar the last one.

This also helps explain why Raikkonen was able to catch and pass team mate Romain Grosjean during the second stint. Grosjean had used tyres for the first two stints whereas Raikkonen, who did not make it into Q3 on Saturday, was not.

Bahrain Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Mark Webber Red Bull 21.705 39
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 21.800 0.095 39
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 21.888 0.183 36
4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 21.938 0.233 38
5 Felipe Massa Ferrari 21.963 0.258 22
6 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 21.979 0.274 9
7 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 22.017 0.312 11
8 Paul di Resta Force India 22.069 0.364 14
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 22.094 0.389 9
10 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 22.105 0.400 23
11 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 22.192 0.487 37
12 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 22.228 0.523 8
13 Mark Webber Red Bull 22.236 0.531 9
14 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 22.241 0.536 40
15 Jenson Button McLaren 22.270 0.565 22
16 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 22.295 0.590 23
17 Bruno Senna Williams 22.310 0.605 24
18 Pastor Maldonado Williams 22.330 0.625 23
19 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 22.362 0.657 24
20 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 22.412 0.707 11
21 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 22.413 0.708 9
22 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 22.446 0.741 19
23 Paul di Resta Force India 22.483 0.778 33
24 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 22.495 0.790 38
25 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 22.560 0.855 36
26 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 22.597 0.892 39
27 Jenson Button McLaren 22.616 0.911 37
28 Mark Webber Red Bull 22.649 0.944 23
29 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 22.717 1.012 25
30 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 22.758 1.053 14
31 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 22.763 1.058 10
32 Romain Grosjean Lotus 22.763 1.058 40
33 Bruno Senna Williams 22.796 1.091 38
34 Pastor Maldonado Williams 22.868 1.163 11
35 Romain Grosjean Lotus 22.896 1.191 25
36 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 22.903 1.198 22
37 Sergio Perez Sauber 22.924 1.219 37
38 Timo Glock Marussia 22.933 1.228 38
39 Jenson Button McLaren 23.016 1.311 8
40 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 23.167 1.462 39
41 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 23.173 1.468 38
42 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 23.207 1.502 37
43 Romain Grosjean Lotus 23.246 1.541 10
44 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 23.323 1.618 13
45 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 23.353 1.648 25
46 Bruno Senna Williams 23.405 1.700 9
47 Sergio Perez Sauber 23.408 1.703 9
48 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 23.411 1.706 10
49 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 23.420 1.715 22
50 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 23.421 1.716 23
51 Timo Glock Marussia 23.423 1.718 10
52 Sergio Perez Sauber 23.428 1.723 21
53 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 23.449 1.744 23
54 Felipe Massa Ferrari 23.557 1.852 8
55 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 23.639 1.934 25
56 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 23.696 1.991 36
57 Jenson Button McLaren 23.943 2.238 53
58 Charles Pic Marussia 24.020 2.315 12
59 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 24.241 2.536 9
60 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 24.317 2.612 45
61 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 24.520 2.815 38
62 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 24.674 2.969 50
63 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 25.047 3.342 1
64 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 25.204 3.499 21
65 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 25.590 3.885 31
66 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 25.829 4.124 7
67 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 25.896 4.191 10
68 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 26.417 4.712 32
69 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 28.341 6.636 9
70 Timo Glock Marussia 29.648 7.943 23
71 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 30.622 8.917 23

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Bahrain, 2012McLaren have had pit stop problems in the last two races. Today consecutive problems for Lewis Hamilton in his first two pit stops went some way towards wrecking his race.

How much time did he lose? Team mate Button’s average pit stop time was 22.961s to Hamilton’s 27.553s. Based on this, Hamilton lost 13.7s over his three pit stops.

Simply subtracting that lost time from his race time suggests he would have easily finished fifth. But of course those slow stops meant he spent more time in traffic, losing even more time.

Once again this year, we saw very little of what Hamilton was capable of when not in traffic. But it seems likely he would have finished behind the Lotuses and probably Webber too.

Hamilton said: “By rights we should have been fighting to finish in the top four today, but it didn?t work out like that in the end.

“The delays in the pits were a big part of that, of course. For the driver sitting in the car, that?s always frustrating, because you?re just waiting and there?s nothing you can do to help.”

2012 Bahrain Grand Prix


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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei

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25 comments on 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

  1. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 22nd April 2012, 20:19

    Shocking performance by McLaren in the pits. Their best time was just 15th fastest…! 5 of Mercedes’ 6 pit stops were better than that. That’s a huge loss…

    Question/Suggestion: wouldn’t it be better if the tyre strategy chart is arranged with the positions after the race instead of grid position? it’d be easier to make a comparision, I think.

  2. Bernard (@bernard) said on 22nd April 2012, 20:34

    McLaren – a truly abysmal race team supported by top notch engineering.

  3. Todfod (@todfod) said on 22nd April 2012, 21:04

    Yep. Mclaren has really been squandering opportunities consistently, and a lot of them result in Hamilton ending up behind his teammate. (I dont believe in any conspiracy theories in the Mclaren garage, but its funny how often it’s happened). Gotta thank Mclaren for the mistakes though, as the points table look’s really interesting.
    I was surprisingly underwhelmed by Lewis’ drive as well today. I expected him to overtake more cars as well as keep in touch with Vettel during the 1st stint.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 23rd April 2012, 6:08

      @todfod,

      I was surprisingly underwhelmed by Lewis’ drive as well today

      The McLaren was just slow yesterday. Jenson Button, running without any problems (until he hit problems, that is) and in clear air was just a couple of seconds ahead of Alonso (and around 50 behind Vettel!), whose car has been called a dog and all kinds of worse things as well.

  4. Todfod (@todfod) said on 22nd April 2012, 21:17

    What happened to Ferrari’s lightning fast pit stops?? They were hands down the fastest pit crew first 2 races of the season.

  5. Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 22nd April 2012, 21:17

    The pit stops are one thing, but the sheer lack of pace from both of the Mclaren’s today is a big worry.
    I hope this performance was just a one off error in set up, because it looked alarmingly similar to 2011; Hamilton had no chance of keeping up with Vettel at the start of the race, then didn’t seem to make any impact at all on Alonso whom he must have followed around within 2 sec for the last 15 laps.

  6. mclarenn pit crew were a joke, a 9.9 stop and 12sec stop was disgraceful, lewis should have easily finished 5th, completley ruined hamiltons race. they really need to sort out thier pit stops because it is proving to be very costly. Mclaren didnt have pace today so a 5th place would have been a decent result and would have still lead the championship.

    • mervyn said on 22nd April 2012, 21:56

      Dan: disgraceful?? Steady on. Something went wrong with the same thing on consecutive pit-stops suggesting the error is not just habitual but – therefore – solvable, given time and the right sort of analysis. Cross-threads are common on pit-stops, even with modern technology. It isn’t disgraceful to make mistakes. Think about that the next time you make an error at work.

      • mrargh said on 22nd April 2012, 22:16

        Yes, but something went wrong in 2 of the last three races as well – McLaren seem to have a major issue with pit stops this year and they need to analyse why and fix it, fast, because they threw away a fistful of points today.

      • Jack-al said on 22nd April 2012, 22:54

        Same wheel all 3 times counting the button pitstop last week. Mechanic should step aside. There were 3 other wheels that went on just fine each time.

        • mervyn said on 23rd April 2012, 0:12

          You have absolutely no idea whether it was the wheel, the wheel gun, the mechanic or something else. Imagine if you were criticized in the same way for something at work which wasn’t your fault. You shouldn’t hurl approbation at people when you’re not in full possession of the facts. And even *even* if it was his fault, he made a *mistake*. This weekend – of all weekends – it would perhaps be nice if we got our perspectives right about who deserves criticism and who our anger. This Mclaren mechanic does not deserve the latter.

          • Gossamer said on 23rd April 2012, 23:58

            It doesnt matter whether it was the wheel, the wheel gun, the mechanic, it is the team responbility and these kind of mistakes impact revenue and business prospect which in turn help to run the team. Though no one is safe from public critism, and they do say, sh$t rolls down hill.

  7. Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 22nd April 2012, 21:45

    About McLaren’s pitstops, okay, they were by all means slow, but didn’t Hamilton have a problem on his rear-left wheel nut? I mean, those abysmally slow stops were a technical fault, and not because the crew is as bad as that of HRT.

    Still, they have as much as half a second to improve if they want to reach Red Bull and Ferrari.

    • OOliver said on 22nd April 2012, 22:27

      Normally there is a spare wheel nit on the other gun, and I’ve seen other teams, even in GP2, changen guns ans wheel nuts.

      Hamilton’s problem didn’t start with his wheel nut though. The team were already set to drop him behind Button, as Button stopped first. So the Pit error just made him fall further back. Even at that he was still right behind Button, until they made sure the second time.
      Why the leading driver doesn’t get the best strategy, is the issue, not the nutty nut.

      • zicasso (@zicasso) said on 22nd April 2012, 23:03

        As much as I hate to think McLaren would do this on purpose… this is probably the fourth time, this season, Hamilton gets into the pit with an advantage over Button and leaves the pit behind Button and other drivers. Karma is what’s keeping Button behind Hamilton on points. Poor, very poor stuff from McLaren this year. The pit mess, human or mechanical, it has to be addressed as they are losing vital points.

  8. Boycott Bahrain GP said on 22nd April 2012, 23:53

    McLaren`s issues are probably due to bad ” karma “, for the team being associated with the brutal Bahraini regime ! ;) So happy Macca didn`t win and got problems during the race, otherwise it would have been another score for the Bahraini regime.

  9. Terrible pit-stops for Hamilton. Without these problems he would have got fourt or fifth place in this race.

    McLaren really should be concerned about their pit-stops.

    But the team should be even more concerned about their race pace. McLaren wasn`t even in contention for the podium in this race. Even with faultless pit stops Hamitlon would have been way behind Vettel, Taikkonen and Grosjean.

    McLaren didn`t stand a chance of winning in Malaysia, China or Bahrain despite being very fast in qualifying. I wonder whether this is down to the configuration of the car. Maybe the car`s with a “stepped-nose” configuration have more potential than McLaren. If that`s the case, McLarens strong form at the beginning of the season might be down having a car more similar to last year and a better idea of how to set up the car for the first races. As the other teams get to grip with their “brand-new” configuration McLaren is loosing ground.

  10. kenneth Ntulume said on 23rd April 2012, 15:21

    Hamilton wants an investigation in these rueful pitstops
    http://totalf1.com/details/view/414727/Hamilton_calls_for_pit_stop_investigation_at_McLaren/

  11. TED BELL said on 23rd April 2012, 16:57

    Dear Pirelli,

    Time to accept the criticism of your tires and how their failings are affecting Grand Prix racing. When the greatest driver in the world comments that your product needs change because of how poorly it performs suggests that maybe there is some truth in what I and many others have said. If the solution is to continue with the same type of tire then they must be given unlimited numbers of them for race weekends so that this disturbing pattern of drivers not even trying to qualify due to not having enough tires for a weekend.
    Hearing that a set of tires might last about six laps during the past weekends Grand Prix reflects the Pirelli Tire Companys continued being in over their heads with regards to being able to produce suitable racing tires.

    Figure it out or just get out…

    TED BELL

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 24th April 2012, 13:07

      Once again, Ted, the teams asked for degradation. I don’t think any team would like to go back to the Bridgestones. Of course Schumacher is going to vent his frustration if it affected him badly at one particular race but you can bet your bottom dollar that he would heap praise on them if they helped him score some valuable points.

      Swings and round-abouts.

  12. PJA (@pja) said on 25th April 2012, 19:18

    It isn’t just the mistakes in the last two races for McLaren at pit stops I seem to recall Hamilton had a long pit stop in one of the first two races due to a problem with the rear jack.

    This season looks like it could be a very close one and if McLaren get on top of their pit stop problems it may cost them a title.

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