2012 Hungarian GP tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2012Lewis Hamilton’s dominant pole position on Saturday allowed him to save new tyres for the race which was crucial to his strategy.

Hungarian Grand Prix tyre strategies

On a day when overtaking was nigh-on impossible, tyre strategy took on utmost importance.

For the front runners the key was avoiding the seductive but deadly trap of the three-stop strategy, because even with the advantage of new tyres overtaking was terrifically difficult.

Hamilton’s superb performance in qualifying yesterday allowed him to stockpile fresh tyres and run the best strategy available to him. He started on his used softs from Saturday, and then two sets of new medium tyres saw him to the end of the race.

Soft-medium-medium was the preferred strategy, chosen by almost half the competitors. A significant exception was the Lotus drivers, who preferred soft tyres for their middle stint

McLaren opted to break up Jenson Button’s two medium-tyre stints with a short stint on softs. This was a disaster: he got stuck behind Bruno Senna and a potential podium finish turned into a disappointing sixth.

Here are the tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4 Stint 5
Lewis Hamilton Soft (18) Medium (22) Medium (29)
Romain Grosjean Soft (19) Soft (20) Medium (30)
Sebastian Vettel Soft (17) Soft (21) Medium (20) Soft (11)
Jenson Button Soft (15) Medium (19) Soft (11) Medium (24)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (20) Soft (25) Medium (24)
Fernando Alonso Soft (17) Medium (26) Medium (26)
Felipe Massa Soft (18) Medium (25) Medium (26)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (15) Medium (26) Medium (28)
Bruno Senna Soft (16) Medium (26) Medium (27)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft (15) Medium (24) Medium (30)
Mark Webber Medium (20) Medium (19) Soft (16) Soft (14)
Paul di Resta Soft (16) Medium (22) Medium (31)
Nico Rosberg Soft (16) Medium (24) Medium (29)
Sergio Perez Soft (21) Medium (26) Medium (22)
Kamui Kobayashi Soft (8) Medium (32) Soft (27)
Jean-Eric Vergne Soft (12) Soft (18) Soft (16) Medium (18) Medium (4)
Michael Schumacher Soft (1) Medium (31) Medium (26)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (14) Soft (20) Soft (13) Medium (21)
Heikki Kovalainen Soft (17) Medium (19) Medium (20) Soft (12)
Vitaly Petrov Soft (18) Medium (17) Medium (16) Medium (16)
Charles Pic Medium (20) Soft (19) Medium (28)
Timo Glock Medium (18) Soft (22) Medium (26)
Pedro de la Rosa Medium (22) Medium (19) Soft (25)
Narain Karthikeyan Soft (18) Medium (21) Soft (21)

Hungarian Grand Prix pit stop times

For only the second time this year Red Bull were the fastest team in the pits. They were also supremely consistent – all six of their pit stops ranked within the top 11 times.

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 18.964 58
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 19.059 0.095 40
3 Jenson Button McLaren 19.083 0.119 34
4 Mark Webber Red Bull 19.175 0.211 39
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 19.331 0.367 38
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 19.365 0.401 43
7 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 19.380 0.416 17
8 Mark Webber Red Bull 19.386 0.422 55
9 Jenson Button McLaren 19.408 0.444 15
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 19.600 0.636 64
11 Mark Webber Red Bull 19.611 0.647 20
12 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 19.630 0.666 34
13 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 19.644 0.680 46
14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 19.669 0.705 17
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams 19.755 0.791 41
16 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 19.772 0.808 45
17 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 19.858 0.894 30
18 Felipe Massa Ferrari 19.917 0.953 43
19 Felipe Massa Ferrari 19.981 1.017 18
20 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 20.027 1.063 47
21 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 20.065 1.101 40
22 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 20.087 1.123 20
23 Bruno Senna Williams 20.213 1.249 16
24 Sergio Perez Sauber 20.216 1.252 47
25 Romain Grosjean Lotus 20.231 1.267 39
26 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 20.234 1.270 8
27 Pastor Maldonado Williams 20.304 1.340 15
28 Sergio Perez Sauber 20.320 1.356 21
29 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 20.352 1.388 16
30 Paul di Resta Force India 20.352 1.388 38
31 Jenson Button McLaren 20.355 1.391 45
32 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 20.363 1.399 12
33 Timo Glock Marussia 20.383 1.419 40
34 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 20.436 1.472 18
35 Paul di Resta Force India 20.460 1.496 16
36 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 20.503 1.539 32
37 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 20.510 1.546 14
38 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 20.515 1.551 51
39 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 20.567 1.603 56
40 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 20.592 1.628 35
41 Bruno Senna Williams 20.604 1.640 42
42 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 20.607 1.643 39
43 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 20.632 1.668 40
44 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 20.736 1.772 15
45 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 20.780 1.816 17
46 Charles Pic Marussia 20.915 1.951 20
47 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 21.070 2.106 18
48 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 21.259 2.295 18
49 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 21.336 2.372 1
50 Timo Glock Marussia 21.337 2.373 18
51 Charles Pic Marussia 21.378 2.414 39
52 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 21.855 2.891 36
53 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 21.877 2.913 41
54 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 22.031 3.067 39
55 Romain Grosjean Lotus 22.151 3.187 19
56 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 22.332 3.368 22

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix

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10 comments on 2012 Hungarian GP tyre strategies and pit stops

  1. Venkman said on 29th July 2012, 21:21

    Its unreal how Kimi managed to put on a string of fastest laps on the set of Soft tyres during the second stint. And he was the only driver to stay on a set of softs for 25 laps!
    I think this worked for him because unlike the other drivers, he was in fresh air after his first pit stop.
    This call from the pit lane by Lotus I believe helped both their cars on the podium. Good on them!

  2. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 29th July 2012, 21:30

    Lewis Hamilton’s dominant pole position on Saturday allowed him to save new tyres for the race which was crucial to his strategy.

    But didn’t all the front runners have two new sets of mediums left? His dominance on Saturday might have saved him a set of options in case his first run in Q3 had been better, although that might only have served to lure him into the three-stop-strategy trap as well.

    I have often advocated an aggressive, extra-stop strategy, but today the three-stopper didn’t work, especially for Button. What’s more surprising is Button’s comments after the race, in which he stated that the team called him in early for both his first and second stop on strategic grounds, only to find himself dropped into traffic. And his pit stops were pretty fast, too, so they cannot have hoped to get him out well clear of Senna. On a two-stopper, Button may not have ended up on the podium, as Vettel was quite a bit faster behind him, and Raikkonen’s fast second stint passed all bar Hamilton, but at least he would have finished ahead of Alonso.

    • OOliver said on 29th July 2012, 23:30

      I don’t know why Button was complaining about the strategy, he was struggling on the tyres his first 2 stops. He may have finished ahead of Alonso, but then again, his tyres may have gone off completely and he would have dropped too far back.

  3. OOliver said on 29th July 2012, 23:49

    Mclaren are really amazing with their stops.
    Despite the error in Button’s stop, it was actually faster than Hamilton’s slow stop.
    And their slowest stops were not all that slow in the end.
    Amazing. I hope they maintain the consistency.

  4. DaveW (@dmw) said on 30th July 2012, 1:28

    Note that mclaren put the race on a platter for lotus with their 4.2s first stop for Hamilton. Grosjean was about 2s behind at the time. Of course lotus choked and did a 4.9. Mclaren are patting themselves on the back for quick stops but if that was rbr or ferrari behind they would have punished them for another bad stop.

  5. sic_j02 said on 30th July 2012, 6:14

    The lotus are quick and gentle on tyres. Hopefully they can keep up and mess up with the frontrunners.

  6. Although I can understand why they didn’t risk it, having had no long runs on the option in practice, could McLaren have put Hamilton out on softs for his second stint ?
    He managed to run a first stint of 18 laps with full tanks on used softs, after locking his fronts quite badly on the first corner. I suspect he could have managed a second stint of 22 laps quite easily.

    If nothing else, it would have given Grosjean second place.

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 30th July 2012, 12:57

    Looking at the pit-stop times there doesn’t seem to be any significant blunders by any team. Looks like everyone was relatively on the ball.

  8. sato113 (@sato113) said on 30th July 2012, 13:42

    its no coincidenc that lotus were fast at another very HOT track. (see bahrain and valencia). so maybe the hype around their pace will die down from now on as there arent any other sweltering heat tracks left. (apart from Austin i guess!)

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