Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2012

2012 Abu Dhabi GP tyre strategies and pit stops

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Did Ferrari and Red Bull use Felipe Massa and Mark Webber tactically to help their team mates in the drivers’ championship?

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Lewis Hamilton Soft (19)
Mark Webber Soft (30) Medium (7)
Pastor Maldonado Soft (29) Medium (26)
Kimi Raikkonen Soft (31) Medium (24)
Jenson Button Soft (29) Medium (26)
Fernando Alonso Soft (28) Medium (27)
Nico Rosberg Soft (1) Medium (6)
Felipe Massa Soft (26) Medium (29)
Romain Grosjean Soft (1) Medium (8) Soft (28)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft
Sergio Perez Soft (30) Medium (8) Medium (17)
Paul di Resta Soft (1) Medium (8) Medium (30) Soft (16)
Michael Schumacher Medium (27) Soft (14) Soft (14)
Bruno Senna Medium (32) Soft (23)
Kamui Kobayashi Soft (25) Medium (30)
Daniel Ricciardo Soft (26) Medium (12) Soft (17)
Jean-Eric Vergne Soft (9) Medium (24) Soft (22)
Heikki Kovalainen Soft (28) Medium (27)
Charles Pic Soft (26) Medium (15)
Vitaly Petrov Soft (27) Medium (28)
Timo Glock Soft (27) Medium (28)
Pedro de la Rosa Soft (28) Medium (27)
Narain Karthikeyan Soft (7)
Sebastian Vettel Medium (13) Soft (24) Soft (18)

For the second race in a row one-stop strategies were the order of the day for most drivers. Sebastian Vettel pitted twice having been forced to make an early first stop after damaging his front wing.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2012Later in the race he arrived on the tail of team mate Mark Webber, who quickly made for the pits. Did Red Bull bring Webber’s pit stop brought forward to keep him out of Vettel’s way?

It doesn’t appear so – it seems to have been a response to Pastor Maldonado’s pit stop one lap earlier and an attempt to get him back in front of the Williams following his unsuccessful earlier attempt to pass. And it worked: Webber came out ahead of Maldonado.

What about the timing of Ferrari’s pit stop for Felipe Massa? This is curious as there were at least two radio messages from Rob Smedley to Massa telling him to stay out as Massa apparently grew more concerned about his tyres.

On lap 23 Massa lost over a second to Alonso and Sergio Perez passed him on the next lap. It seems most likely Ferrari kept him out in the hope of getting him out in front of Heikki Kovalainen’s Caterham.

However keeping him on track also had tactical value in their battle with Red Bull. He could potentially delay Webber and keep him from getting back within range of Alonso. Nor was Vettel far behind Massa at this point, and he was gaining quickly.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Mark Webber Red Bull 19.066 30
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 19.368 0.302 28
3 Jenson Button McLaren 19.455 0.389 29
4 Sergio Perez Sauber 19.486 0.420 30
5 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 19.529 0.463 25
6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 19.585 0.519 26
7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 19.701 0.635 27
8 Paul di Resta Force India 19.829 0.763 9
9 Timo Glock Marussia 19.884 0.818 27
10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 19.885 0.819 33
11 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 19.918 0.852 37
12 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 20.122 1.056 26
13 Paul di Resta Force India 20.265 1.199 39
14 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 20.278 1.212 31
15 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 20.319 1.253 9
16 Pastor Maldonado Williams 20.723 1.657 29
17 Vitaly Petrov Caterham 20.769 1.703 27
18 Romain Grosjean Lotus 21.017 1.951 9
19 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 21.231 2.165 38
20 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 21.270 2.204 41
21 Charles Pic Marussia 21.941 2.875 26
22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT 22.272 3.206 28
23 Bruno Senna Williams 22.587 3.521 32
24 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham 23.032 3.966 28
25 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 24.962 5.896 13
26 Romain Grosjean Lotus 26.057 6.991 1
27 Paul di Resta Force India 26.670 7.604 1
28 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 29.277 10.211 1
29 Sergio Perez Sauber 33.431 14.365 38

Red Bull were the quickest team in the pits for the fifth time this year.

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo