Jenson Button, McLaren, Valencia, 2012

2012 European GP tyre strategies and pit stops

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

As Sam Michael forecast, McLaren did do the quickest pit stops in Valencia. Unfortunately for Lewis Hamilton, they also did one of the slowest.

European Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4 Stint 5
Sebastian Vettel Soft (16) Soft (13) Medium (4)
Lewis Hamilton Soft (13) Medium (15) Medium (27)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (14) Medium (14) Medium (29)
Romain Grosjean Soft (16) Soft (12) Medium (12)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (14) Soft (14) Medium (29)
Nico Rosberg Soft (20) Medium (26) Soft (11)
Kamui Kobayashi Soft (14) Soft (6) Medium (13)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft (14) Medium (14) Medium (29)
Jenson Button Soft (10) Medium (16) Medium (31)
Paul di Resta Soft (23) Medium (34)
Fernando Alonso Soft (15) Soft (13) Medium (29)
Michael Schumacher Medium (19) Soft (22) Soft (16)
Felipe Massa Soft (11) Medium (16) Soft (7) Medium (19) Soft (3)
Bruno Senna Soft (20) Medium (37)
Sergio Perez Medium (10) Soft (15) Soft (32)
Heikki Kovalainen Soft (12) Soft (15) Medium (30)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (14) Soft (23) Medium (20)
Jean-Eric Vergne Medium (17) Soft (9)
Mark Webber Medium (19) Soft (19) Soft (19)
Vitaly Petrov Soft (13) Soft (12) Soft (3) Medium (19) Medium (10)
Pedro de la Rosa Soft (14) Soft (14) Medium (28)
Narain Karthikeyan Soft (15) Soft (14) Medium (27)
Charles Pic Medium (11) Soft (17) Medium (29)

Two-stop strategies were the order of the day in Valencia – the deployment of the safety car leading teams to converge on tactics.

The key difference was in timing: the likes of Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber delayed their second pit stops until after the safety car.

Paul di Resta was a notable exception, running a one-stop strategy. This was despite his lap times rising by four seconds during his first stint.

European Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 19.355 13
2 Jenson Button McLaren 19.640 0.285 26
3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 19.789 0.434 15
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 20.023 0.668 29
5 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 20.041 0.686 41
6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 20.115 0.760 46
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 20.126 0.771 27
8 Mark Webber Red Bull 20.222 0.867 38
9 Jenson Button McLaren 20.246 0.891 10
10 Mark Webber Red Bull 20.246 0.891 19
11 Paul di Resta Force India 20.295 0.940 23
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 20.332 0.977 28
13 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 20.357 1.002 16
14 Felipe Massa Ferrari 20.476 1.121 53
15 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 20.477 1.122 19
16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 20.479 1.124 16
17 Felipe Massa Ferrari 20.498 1.143 11
18 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 20.625 1.270 20
19 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 20.718 1.363 28
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 20.726 1.371 13
21 Sergio Perez Sauber 20.904 1.549 25
22 Sergio Perez Sauber 21.032 1.677 10
23 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 21.040 1.685 12
24 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 21.103 1.748 28
25 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 21.198 1.843 14
26 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 21.209 1.854 14
27 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 21.224 1.869 25
28 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 21.303 1.948 17
29 Pastor Maldonado Williams 21.342 1.987 14
30 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 21.407 2.052 28
31 Pastor Maldonado Williams 21.525 2.170 28
32 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 21.879 2.524 14
33 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 22.597 3.242 37
34 Charles Pic Marussia 22.838 3.483 28
35 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 22.930 3.575 15
36 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 23.071 3.716 14
37 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 23.125 3.770 28
38 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 23.127 3.772 14
39 Romain Grosjean Lotus 23.183 3.828 28
40 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 24.445 5.090 27
41 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 25.719 6.364 20
42 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 26.370 7.015 29
43 Bruno Senna Williams 28.440 9.085 20
44 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 30.800 11.445 47
45 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 31.081 11.726 28
46 Charles Pic Marussia 31.636 12.281 11
47 Felipe Massa Ferrari 39.041 19.686 34

For the first time this year McLaren were the quickest team in the pits – Lewis Hamilton’s first visit was the fastest of the race and Jenson Button’s pit stop was almost as quick.

But if McLaren have made progress on speed, consistency remains a concern. Hamilton’s second visit was some 11 seconds slower.

2012 European Grand Prix

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Image ?? McLaren/Hoch Zwei