2012 German Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 German Grand Prix

McLaren serviced Jenson Button’s car in a record-breaking 2.31 seconds to help him move ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

German Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4 Stint 5
Fernando Alonso Soft (18) Medium (23) Medium (26)
Sebastian Vettel Soft (20) Medium (21) Medium (26)
Michael Schumacher Soft (14) Soft (22) Medium (16) Soft (15)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft (12) Medium (19) Soft (15) Medium (21)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (13) Medium (25) Medium (19) Soft (9)
Jenson Button Soft (19) Medium (21) Medium (27)
Lewis Hamilton Soft (3) Medium (28) Medium (16) Soft (9)
Mark Webber Soft (12) Medium (28) Medium (27)
Paul di Resta Soft (10) Medium (29) Medium (28)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (11) Soft (27) Medium (29)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (19) Medium (19) Medium (29)
Kamui Kobayashi Medium (22) Medium (21) Soft (24)
Felipe Massa Soft (1) Medium (23) Medium (23) Soft (20)
Bruno Senna Soft (1) Medium (24) Medium (22) Soft (19)
Jean-Eric Vergne Medium (6) Medium (21) Medium (18) Soft (22)
Heikki Kovalainen Soft (13) Medium (18) Medium (13) Medium (9) Soft (12)
Sergio Perez Soft (17) Medium (23) Medium (27)
Vitaly Petrov Soft (14) Medium (18) Medium (18) Medium (16)
Romain Grosjean Soft (1) Medium (23) Medium (18) Soft (24)
Charles Pic Medium (21) Soft (22) Medium (22)
Nico Rosberg Medium (12) Soft (20) Soft (18) Soft (17)
Timo Glock Medium (19) Soft (21) Medium (24)
Pedro de la Rosa Soft (20) Soft (25) Medium (19)
Narain Karthikeyan Soft (22) Medium (24) Medium (18)

With little to choose between the tyres on performance and the medium compound offering better durability, most teams opted to start on the softs but spend most of the race on the mediums.

Kimi Raikkonen was one of the drivers to buck the trend, running softs in the middle part of the race. He used their early grip to pass Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher, but shortly after clearing the Mercedes his lap times dropped off and he dropped back quickly from Button ahead of him, losing up to a second per lap.

Some of those who found themselves unable to get through the race with two stops, such as the Mercedes pair and Nico Hulkenberg, incorporated another stint in the softs later on in the hope they might find a bit more performance.

The other Force India of Paul di Resta might have three-stopped but he admitted on Twitter there had been “slight confusion at the first stop with which tyres we wanted” and they “changed strategy”.

German Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Jenson Button McLaren 16.831 40
2 Mark Webber Red Bull 17.290 0.459 40
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 17.512 0.681 20
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 17.570 0.739 18
5 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 17.598 0.767 31
6 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 17.735 0.904 38
7 Charles Pic Marussia 17.821 0.990 21
8 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 17.859 1.028 41
9 Jenson Button McLaren 17.867 1.036 19
10 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 17.894 1.063 32
11 Paul di Resta Force India 17.899 1.068 10
12 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 17.928 1.097 36
13 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 17.942 1.111 41
14 Paul di Resta Force India 17.968 1.137 39
15 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 17.990 1.159 38
16 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 18.002 1.171 11
17 Pastor Maldonado Williams 18.085 1.254 57
18 Sergio Perez Sauber 18.143 1.312 17
19 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 18.163 1.332 52
20 Sergio Perez Sauber 18.199 1.368 40
21 Mark Webber Red Bull 18.253 1.422 12
22 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 18.286 1.455 31
23 Bruno Senna Williams 18.313 1.482 47
24 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 18.323 1.492 32
25 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 18.354 1.523 50
26 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 18.365 1.534 46
27 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 18.374 1.543 19
28 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 18.395 1.564 12
29 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 18.425 1.594 27
30 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 18.442 1.611 12
31 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 18.497 1.666 14
32 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 18.741 1.910 50
33 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 18.801 1.970 31
34 Bruno Senna Williams 18.822 1.991 25
35 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 18.877 2.046 47
36 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 18.901 2.070 6
37 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 18.904 2.073 22
38 Timo Glock Marussia 18.952 2.121 40
39 Felipe Massa Ferrari 19.137 2.306 24
40 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 19.177 2.346 43
41 Pastor Maldonado Williams 19.210 2.379 38
42 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 19.233 2.402 44
43 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 19.382 2.551 46
44 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 19.385 2.554 13
45 Charles Pic Marussia 19.391 2.560 43
46 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 19.535 2.704 22
47 Pastor Maldonado Williams 19.646 2.815 13
48 Felipe Massa Ferrari 19.680 2.849 47
49 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 19.802 2.971 14
50 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 19.850 3.019 20
51 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 19.949 3.118 45
52 Romain Grosjean Lotus 20.388 3.557 24
53 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 20.664 3.833 45
54 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 21.012 4.181 3
55 Timo Glock Marussia 21.399 4.568 19
56 Romain Grosjean Lotus 22.743 5.912 42
57 Felipe Massa Ferrari 23.049 6.218 1
58 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 28.988 12.157 53
59 Romain Grosjean Lotus 32.766 15.935 1
60 Bruno Senna Williams 47.942 31.111 1

Jenson Button, McLaren, Hockenheim, 2012During Button’s final pit stop McLaren whisked his wheels off and replaced them in in just 2.31 seconds – a new record time. It further underlines the progress they have made from earlier in the season when they made a series of costly mistakes in the pits.

The quick turnaround meant Button’s entire pit stop from entering to exiting the pits took less than 17 seconds.

That was one second less than Vettel’s corresponding stop, despite Red Bull producing the eighth-quickest complete pit stop of the race on that occasion.

That combined with a rapid out-lap from Button allowed him to take second off Vettel and go after Alonso.

2012 German Grand Prix

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16 comments on 2012 German Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

  1. HoHum (@hohum) said on 22nd July 2012, 23:11

    As I have observed before this is the worst combination of tyres and the mediums are the worst tyre in the range. The softs only perform well for less than a quarter of a race unless they are in clean air and being driven conservatively and the mediums take a couple of laps to start working, are slower than the softs and the hards and become even slower after only one third race distance. The result is that any 2 stop strategy with these tyres requires a lot of careful sub-optimal speed running while a 3 stop strategy means the tyres degrade even faster due to the need to re-pass cars and run in heavy traffic.

  2. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 22nd July 2012, 23:37

    Hats off to those responsible for the pits stops at McLaren. The improvement has been enormous in such a short period of time.

    Not only they got the fastest ever time, they were also very reliable. Didn’t they do the same last race too? Again, hats off!

  3. schooner (@schooner) said on 22nd July 2012, 23:42

    That 2.31 second pit stop was crazy fast! It hardly looked like Button’s car had come to a complete stop before he was off again. I halfway expected to see wheels to come flying off before he exited the pit lane!

  4. infy (@infy) said on 22nd July 2012, 23:55

    Its a pity all the (so called) Mclaren supporters ripped their own team a new one after the failed pit stops in the first few races. Obviously they were onto something and like most new things, had to sort out reliability.

  5. Chris_H said on 23rd July 2012, 0:01

    I was genuinely gob smacked when I saw Button’s pit. Such an impressive pit stop, massive congratulations have to go out to all the pit crew, they are heavily under acknowledged for the role they play in a race, and deserve a little time in the limelight.

  6. Eggry (@eggry) said on 23rd July 2012, 1:45

    This time Ferrari did it right. At least they seems to learn from what they’ve done.

    And what a pit stop from Mclaren!

  7. Bradley Downton (@bradley13) said on 23rd July 2012, 9:32

    Before the second stops, Perez was ahead of both Kobayashi and Hulkenberg, yet, after the stops, he came out behind both of them, can I ask if anyone knows how this happened? :/

  8. F1Rollout (@f1rollout) said on 23rd July 2012, 11:26

    “He used their early grip to pass Nico Hulkenberg and Michael Schumacher, but shortly after clearing the Mercedes his lap times dropped off and he dropped back quickly from Button ahead of him, losing up to a second per lap.”

    Raikkonen passed Webber in the pits. Did he pass Maldanado in the first stint? I only recall him passing DI resta in the first stint. I am confused.

    Raikkonen took advantage from the battle between Hullk and Schumi to get closer. Had he switched to Mediums instead of softs. He had a chance to take the podium on track. Remember he was 5 seconds behind Button at one point. Soft wasnt significantly a faster tyre on heavy fuel load. He was doing same lap times as Button. Again Lotus didnt put it all together.

    • q85 said on 23rd July 2012, 21:58

      you fear with ferrari, red bull and mclaren getting their act together lotus will miss their chance for that win

  9. Sundar SV (@ssvracing) said on 23rd July 2012, 11:34

    I think it would be a good idea to rearrange the order of drivers in the tyre strategy table, to the race finishing order rather than qualifying. It might show certain strategies that failed and some that were brilliant.

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