Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Montreal, 2012

2012 Canadian GP tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 Canadian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ferrari were once again the fastest team in the pits but despite that they chose not to risk a second stop for Alonso. Did that cost them a win?

Canadian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Sebastian Vettel Super soft (16) Soft (47) Super soft (7)
Lewis Hamilton Super soft (17) Soft (33) Soft (20)
Fernando Alonso Super soft (19) Soft (51)
Mark Webber Super soft (17) Soft (35) Soft (18)
Nico Rosberg Super soft (19) Soft (19) Soft (32)
Felipe Massa Super soft (12) Soft (46) Super soft (12)
Romain Grosjean Super soft (21) Soft (49)
Paul di Resta Super soft (13) Soft (31) Soft (26)
Michael Schumacher Super soft (13) Soft (30) Soft (0)
Jenson Button Soft (15) Super soft (18) Super soft (19) Soft (17)
Kamui Kobayashi Super soft (24) Soft (46)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (40) Super soft (30)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft (21) Super soft (21) Soft (28)
Daniel Ricciardo Super soft (17) Soft (41) Super soft (12)
Sergio Perez Soft (41) Super soft (29)
Bruno Senna Super soft (23) Soft (46)
Heikki Kovalainen Super soft (17) Soft (25) Soft (27)
Vitaly Petrov Super soft (18) Soft (25) Soft (26)
Jean-Eric Vergne Super soft (16) Soft (27) Soft (26)
Pedro de la Rosa Soft (24)
Timo Glock Super soft (24) Soft (32)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (29) Super soft (41)
Charles Pic Super soft (28) Soft (39)
Narain Karthikeyan Super soft (22)

Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Montreal, 2012The battle at the front hinged on McLaren’s commitment to a two-stop strategy, Ferrari’s commitment to a one-stop strategy, and Red Bull wavering between the two.

Lewis Hamilton’s slow pit stop on lap 50 appeared to hand the initiative to Fernando Alonso. But Ferrari kept him out – did they miss a chance to take a second pit stop and come out in front of Hamilton?

McLaren’s Sam Michael believed they had, saying after the race there was one lap when Ferrari could have pitted Alonso and taken the lead.

It wasn’t a clear-cut decision for Ferrari. Hamilton dropped 14.8s behind Alonso after he pitted. Earlier in the race when Vettel fell behind Hamilton in the pits he had dropped 15 seconds back, but there wasn’t much in it.

Alonso had been 2.6s behind Hamilton before the McLaren driver’s last pit stop. Given Ferrari’s faith in their car’s performance on a race stint, and the lack of certainty over whether Alonso would have come out in front had they pitted him, it’s not hard to see why they might have thought keeping him out in front was their best shot at beating the McLaren.

Canadian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Felipe Massa Ferrari 21.115 58
2 Felipe Massa Ferrari 21.128 0.013 12
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 21.133 0.018 19
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 21.179 0.064 38
5 Mark Webber Red Bull 21.199 0.084 17
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 21.222 0.107 19
7 Mark Webber Red Bull 21.254 0.139 52
8 Jenson Button McLaren 21.363 0.248 52
9 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 21.375 0.260 17
10 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 21.403 0.288 43
11 Sergio Perez Sauber 21.407 0.292 41
12 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 21.453 0.338 24
13 Paul di Resta Force India 21.489 0.374 13
14 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 21.534 0.419 40
15 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 21.558 0.443 58
16 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 21.639 0.524 16
17 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 21.689 0.574 17
18 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 21.704 0.589 42
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 21.733 0.618 17
20 Paul di Resta Force India 21.734 0.619 44
21 Jenson Button McLaren 21.748 0.633 15
22 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 21.807 0.692 13
23 Romain Grosjean Lotus 21.830 0.715 21
24 Jenson Button McLaren 21.845 0.730 33
25 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 21.888 0.773 18
26 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 22.278 1.163 16
27 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 22.428 1.313 63
28 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 22.524 1.409 43
29 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 22.530 1.415 50
30 Pastor Maldonado Williams 22.704 1.589 29
31 Bruno Senna Williams 22.781 1.666 23
32 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 23.163 2.048 43
33 Charles Pic Marussia 23.291 2.176 28
34 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 23.660 2.545 42
35 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 24.583 3.468 21
36 Timo Glock Marussia 25.520 4.405 24

It’s doubtful Ferrari’s reluctance to pit Alonso was due to any concerns about their pit crew’s performance. They were the fastest team on pit lane for the fourth time in seven races this year.

Ferrari’s performance in the pits has been enviable and so it was again in Canada. The three pit stops their drivers made were the fastest three of the race.

In a remarkable display of speed and consistency, the three pit stops were within 18 thousandths of a second of each other. Deeply impressive.

2012 Canadian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo