2012 Korean Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 Korean Grand Prix

McLaren may not be screwing their cars together very well at the moment but when it comes to pit stops there’s none faster.

Korean Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Mark Webber Super soft (14) Soft (18) Soft (23)
Sebastian Vettel Super soft (15) Soft (20) Soft (20)
Lewis Hamilton Super soft (13) Soft (13) Soft (16) Super soft (13)
Fernando Alonso Super soft (15) Soft (19) Soft (21)
Kimi Raikkonen Super soft (14) Soft (21) Soft (20)
Felipe Massa Super soft (14) Soft (21) Soft (20)
Romain Grosjean Super soft (13) Soft (18) Soft (24)
Nico Hulkenberg Super soft (13) Soft (19) Soft (23)
Nico Rosberg Super soft (1)
Michael Schumacher Super soft (13) Soft (19) Soft (23)
Jenson Button Soft
Sergio Perez Soft (18) Super soft (15) Soft (22)
Kamui Kobayashi Soft (1) Soft (15)
Paul di Resta Soft (15) Super soft (13) Soft (27)
Pastor Maldonado Super soft (21) Soft (34)
Jean-Eric Vergne Soft (13) Soft (25) Super soft (17)
Bruno Senna Super soft (14) Soft (18) Soft (23)
Vitaly Petrov Super soft (14) Soft (18) Soft (22)
Heikki Kovalainen Super soft (13) Soft (20) Soft (21)
Timo Glock Super soft (14) Soft (17) Super soft (23)
Daniel Ricciardo Super soft (14) Soft (20) Soft (21)
Pedro de la Rosa Soft (16)
Narain Karthikeyan Super soft (18) Soft (35)
Charles Pic Super soft (17) Soft (17) Super soft (19)

Two pit stops were the preferred strategy for most drivers. Lewis Hamilton, struggling with a broken rear anti-roll bar, couldn’t make his tyres last in the second stint and was the only driver to make three visits to the pits.

There were two drivers who finished the race with a single pit stop: Pastor Maldonado and Narain Karthikeyan.

Maldonado finished ahead of his two-stopping team mate: “At the beginning of the race, we were too hard on the front tyres which meant that we couldn?t go as fast as we would have liked,” he said. “After the pit stop things were better and we were able to do 30 laps on that set of tyres.”

Korean 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 19.447 42
2 Mark Webber Red Bull 19.616 0.169 32
3 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 19.638 0.191 13
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 19.801 0.354 35
5 Mark Webber Red Bull 19.811 0.364 14
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 19.830 0.383 15
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 19.930 0.483 15
8 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 20.087 0.640 13
9 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 20.090 0.643 34
10 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 20.151 0.704 14
11 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 20.211 0.764 14
12 Paul di Resta Force India 20.218 0.771 28
13 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 20.276 0.829 32
14 Timo Glock Marussia 20.494 1.047 31
15 Felipe Massa Ferrari 20.607 1.160 14
16 Sergio Perez Sauber 20.767 1.320 33
17 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 20.777 1.330 26
18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 20.804 1.357 34
19 Paul di Resta Force India 20.805 1.358 15
20 Felipe Massa Ferrari 20.855 1.408 35
21 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 20.865 1.418 13
22 Romain Grosjean Lotus 20.935 1.488 31
23 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 20.982 1.535 32
24 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 21.012 1.565 35
25 Pastor Maldonado Williams 21.137 1.690 21
26 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 21.188 1.741 38
27 Charles Pic Marussia 21.302 1.855 17
28 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 21.489 2.042 33
29 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 21.581 2.134 32
30 Romain Grosjean Lotus 21.681 2.234 13
31 Bruno Senna Williams 21.886 2.439 14
32 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 21.896 2.449 13
33 Charles Pic Marussia 22.019 2.572 34
34 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 22.125 2.678 13
35 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 22.278 2.831 14
36 Timo Glock Marussia 22.334 2.887 14
37 Narain Karthikeyan HRT 22.749 3.302 18
38 Bruno Senna Williams 22.813 3.366 32
39 Sergio Perez Sauber 24.408 4.961 18
40 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 33.003 13.556 1

Korea was the seventh time in the last nine races McLaren produced the quickest pit stop. Only Red Bull are up with them on sheer speed at the moment, and they were more consistent in this race too.

2012 Korean Grand Prix

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4 comments on 2012 Korean Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

  1. Jacob Larsson said on 14th October 2012, 20:26

    Red Bull have really stepped up their game lately when it come to pit stops.

  2. David Livingstone said on 15th October 2012, 0:10

    One must really wonder if the hyper fast pit stops are worth it for McLaren when race after race we see them making small errors.

    In the above data we can glean that while McLaren and Lewis had two of the three outright fastest pit stops, Red Bull actually averaged a faster time. More importantly however, we only need look to last race to find the last time that McLaren had an issue in a pit stop. It would be interesting to see the frequency of these issues compared to Red Bull (or, in fact, any other team).

    It appears to me the the one or two tenths they gain in the pits:

    Firstly, comes at the expense of sometimes bungling the whole thing.

    Secondly, isn’t really worth the risk. The number of times two cars are separated at the pit exit by 0.1-0.2s is very very low. Mostly we see fast in/outlaps and outright overtakes in the pits. McLaren should evaluate whether they really need to be pushing quite as hard, given that the payoff is minimal if it even exists, but the cost is potentially huge.

    • Agree with the observation that going for the lowest possible time is a fool’s errand. Consistency is more important. But remember after the series of debacles, McLaren stated they were going to shock the world with quick stops. That’s how they are. We’ll that’s what they did, but so what? Is it bringing in more points to do a 2.6 stop? How about if they decided simply to cut out the dumb pit mistakes —leaving the removed tire in the car’s path, etc.—and focus on reliability of key components.

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 16th October 2012, 13:37

      Thing is, I think they had to show that they could improve after all the calamities at the beginning of the season but yes, you may be on to something with them perhaps going too far. That said, they’ve had very few problems in the pits since the beggining of the season.

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