Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Singapore, 2016

Arrivabene defends Ferrari’s strategy for Raikkonen

2016 Singapore Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Maurizio Arrivabene defended Ferrari’s decision to bring Kimi Raikkonen in for a third pit stop despite the fact it cost him a podium finish.

“Considering the distance to cover to the end of the race, and tyre degradation, it made sense to call him to box one more time to cover Mercedes’ strategy,” said Arrivabene.

Marshal, Singapore, 2016
2016 Singapore Grand Prix in pictures
Ferrari were responding to Mercedes’ decision to bring Lewis Hamilton in for an extra pit stop. Raikkonen had passed Hamilton early on after the Mercedes driver went wide at turn seven.

“It’s fair to say that we drove an aggressive race today,” Arrivabene added. “Kimi’s move on Hamilton to pass him on track shows that he’s not a world champion by chance.”

Raikkonen said he was unsure whether Ferrari’s decision cost him third place.

“Obviously it was very difficult to overtake, but at one point Hamilton made a mistake and I managed to pass him, then after the pit stop he got the position back,” said Raikkonen.

“We lost the place there, I don’t know how and why they managed to jump us, and I don’t know what would have happened if we would have stayed out. Now we have to go through everything, see what happened and what we could have done better.”

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35 comments on “Arrivabene defends Ferrari’s strategy for Raikkonen”

  1. As the undercut clearly worked perfectly on this track, in this race, Kimi’s only chance to keep position, after Hamilton’s pitstop, was to stay out, as Rosberg did when Ricciardo made a pitstop. But would that have worked out? Hamilton should’ve gained app 28 seconds on Kimi before the end of the race and overtake.

    1. Correction the only way Kimi could have stayed ahead of Lewis was to pit on the same lap or the lap before… We all heard Ham’s radio call.

      1. Yes, this was the best way to stay ahead. Had they guessed when Lewis was comming in and pitted before or on that lap i don’t think Lewis on tires on compound harder could have past Kimi.

    2. no doubt Hamilton would have caught Kimi, but to what cost to his tires? And also with Hamilton’s brake issues, it might not have been so easy to overtake immediately after catching him. Running in the dirty air of another car kills the tires and ups the temperatures of brakes, engines, etc, so Kimi only needed a few laps to stay ahead to become favorite.

      On the other hand, a tire failure would have been a posibility for Kimi, so maybe the right call was to pit actually.

    3. Thinking about it again, I think it is not as clearcut that Ferrari got it wrong. The reason is that there must have been a decent chance for Kimi to actually stay ahead of Lewis. Kimi only came out just behind Lewis after his stop (maybe half a second behind), but his pit lane time was 0.6 second longer than Lewis’. So if Lewis’ stop would have been as long as Kimi’s, they would have come out right alongside each other. A computer doing various simulations would have come to the conclusion that there would have been a certain probability of Kimi staying ahead of Lewis taking into account variances in Kimi’s and Lewis’ in- and outlaps and the pitlane time. Say that probability was 25%, and that there would then have been a good chance that Kimi would have been able to stay ahead. The programme would also have calculated a probability that Lewis would have been able to catch and overtake Kimi at the end of the race if Kimi had not pitted. This probability may have been more than 75%, so overall, pitting would have been the right strategy ex-ante.

  2. Hind sight is 20-20. The Ferrari strategists may not be inspirational at times, but I feel that Kimmi would have been gobbled up if he didn’t stop. Track position is king but 2 seconds a lap quicker would have given Hamilton the superior delta he spoke about that is necessary for on-track passes. I feel for Kimmi. A good drive that deserved a podium.

    1. May have been over 3 seconds a lap. Ricciardo in a slower RedBull nearly had Rosberg in the dominant Merc. Hamilton in that Merc would catch and breeze by the slower Ferrari further disadvantaged by old soft tyres. The only way for Ferrari would be to pit the same lap as Hamilton as they had track position but they would need a crystal ball to know that.

    2. Why do you need hindsight? They should have told Kimi to pick up the pace and keep a gap around 4 seconds. If Hamilton stops, as we all knew the moment he picked his pace, we stop. Instead they were busy telling Kimi the gap to the guys ahead! It appears to me as they were decided that they wouldn’t stop at the time, and panicked the moment they saw Hamilton stops.

  3. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? Let’s just assume Kimi stayed out, I don’t think he would’ve had any chance to keep P2 after Ricciardo’s and Hamilton’s pit stops. My guess is he would’ve dropped like a stone in water. By covering the strategy they conceded position to Hamilton but that left him at least with a chance of picking up the pieces in case the trio ahead of him were clashing. The only accusation you could make towards Ferrari is they didn’t anticipate Lewis’ third stop. I think Mercedes hinted at that very early in the third stint when they told him to pick up the pace. Crofty and Brundle kind of anticipated that on Sky during the race. In the end, this race wasn’t about outright pace but just about the perfect strategy call at any given time.

    1. A few years ago Canada, comes to mind? superior RB of Vet and Web dropped like stone water when they thought staying out was a better idea… Ham 2012 jumped front runners quite easily towards the end… Front runners ended up pretty bad…

      1. are you seriously comparing Canada to Singapore for overtaking posibilities? In Singapore the DRS is almost non-existant, while in Canada is pretty much over-powered with 2 long straights back-to-back.

    2. @wallbreaker the dead giveway was the radio message to Hamilton “switching to plan B”. It should have been obvious to anyone that, as he was on the softs at that moment, it would mean they would not carry on with the softs and he would make another stop for supersoft or ultrasoft tyres. That was my immediate conclusion when that signal was given.

      Should’ve just moved when Merc did. See the Merc team running out/hear Hamilton getting the box signal, then come in. Even if Hamilton would then stay out, Raikkonen on ultrasoft tyres would still have easily closed the gap with Hamilton. It’s not like Raikkonen on those softs was going to overtake Hamilton on the softs anyway.

  4. I don’t think Ferrari can be blamed for this one. What if there was a safety car after Hamilton pitted and Raikkonen missed the pit entry due to unlucky timing like Rosberg, Vettel, Bottas and Alonso did in Hungary 2014?

    1. Safety car could also have been Kimis saviour if the race would be driven behind it until the end.

  5. As soon as hamilton pitted, raikonnen lost the position. The decision of pitting right away with ultra soft was a good one, but Ferrari never seem to take the chance. Keep kimi out there. Worst case, you also lose a place to vettel. And that isn’t a big deal. But you do have a chance of getting on the podium.

    1. Vettel was too far away to ever catch Raikkonen even if Kimi had stayed with softs, so worst case scenario would have been 4th place.

  6. Hamilton had problems with brakes, so making supersofts last 15 laps while driving flat-out every lap and finally overtaking is far from easy. Knowing that Hamilton was under 2 seconds from Raikkonen, had a good pit stop and new supersofts, undercutting was almost certain. Staying out had a big risk of Hamilton catching Kimi and overtaking, but pitting was almost certain to end up with no podium because there was no way to prevent undercutting, and Ferrari only had used ultrasofts left.

    1. Agreed. Something else that puzzles me is having decided to pit him, why they decided to use used US when he had new SS? The same compound he was setting FL with previously?

  7. Kimi was on softs and would have easily made it to the end. Pitting after Lewis meant surrendering a position which, despite the softer rubber, was always going to be hard to earnagain. Staying out would have meant being slower than Hamilton and Lewis would have probably caught up, but track position would have been in Kimi’s favour in this scenario. This has already happened often with the same consequences. I was against pitting as soon as Hamilton did.

    1. Another thing is that they knew Hamilton was going to stop again, yet they didn’t tell Kimi to speed up (was driving in the pace that would get him to the flag) and suddenly panic when Hamilton does pit!

      1. yeaa i have a feeling kimi was nursing his tyres and had more pace before they suddenly decided to pit him

  8. I cannot understand how Ferrari manages to throw away positions, time and time again this season. Fifth place was in no danger of catching them, regardless. And to pit after Hamilton was sheer folly. The Ferrari is slower, and on older, harder tires, so how could they have expected to stay in front? That, and they didn’t pull him in immediately. If they’d pulled him in on the next lap, it still would have been too late, yet they still did it after keeping him out a few laps longer. Incomprehensible. Defending is always easier than overtaking. Of course whether or not he could have held the position, had he stayed out, is a toss up, but certainly would have had at least a chance at the podium.

  9. From my observations (I’m not an F1 strategist so correct me if I’m wrong), Kimi’s first and last stops were both too late. I feel it’s almost as though Ferrari are underperforming and the strategists don’t want to run the risk of pitting in case lose more time. They’re just hanging back too long, rather than being the first to dive in. It’s something they’ve got a history of, but I’ve noticed it a lot this year, and this race was a prime example.

    1. And at least in the first round of pit stops, Kimi said he wanted to go sooner rather than later.

    2. The timing of the first pitstop was ok. He got a clear track after the stop and he had slightly fresher tires so he could go after Hamilton. The last pitstop was just plain stupid. Räikkönen’s pace in the final stint was similar to Rosberg’s and probably quick enough to keep Hamilton behind.

  10. Ferrari ruined Kimi’s race. You can’t have it both ways Arrivabene. Either, if you so believe in aggressive strategy over track position, you should pit first, knowing Hamilton is in undercut range. Otherwise if you’re afraid to lose track position you should stay out and hope track position wins over pace. You’ve done neither of those things. You’ve lost the initiative and you’ve lost the position.

    At least they didn’t screw up with Vettel

  11. The strategy for Kimi was perfect until the last call, the first long stint was a good idea, having faster and fresher tyres than Hamilton, as a result Kimi managed to be in front of Lewis for the third stint. Afterwards Ferrari were just scared to have the opportunity to beat Ham, it’s not the first time making wrong choises during this season.
    There were 28 laps to go, and Seb did 25 laps on softs with a much heavier car and he showed a decent pace, furthermore he also had to struggle in some traffic that clearly didn’t help the tyres. Also, we shouldn’t forget that Kimi is a typical master of managing long runs, having such great races with Lotus by doing less stops than others. In addition, making the call after Hamilton pitted was just insane, it was 100% that Lewis will be able to jump him. Ferrari just didn’t have anything to lose by staying out and try the long stint in stead of giving the position back into Hams hand, at least we could have watched an action and excitement in the end.

    So Ferrari please, why are you doing this?

    1. Guess with the extreme pressure on getting results – the Ferrari racing team has become complete risk adverse.

  12. Everybody here seems to be missing the real point, as well as everybody at Ferrari did (but they should have figured it out by now): the key was that radio message to Hamilton saying that they wanted to induce Raikkonen to come back to the pits, and therefore adopted their B Plan. Well, if I am Ferrari and I hear Hamilton being told to switch to plan B to induce me into the pits, and next lap I see Hamilton going as fast as he can to recover the distance (and therefore try the undercut) well clearly I should be telling the driver to keep the distance! When you are doing the same thing that they wanted you to do (coming back to the pits) you already should realize you’re doing their game.
    No point in saying he should’ve stayed out / should not have. Ferrari should have kept the gap to Mercedes about 4 seconds, that was the only way to stay ahead.

    1. Yup, I thought about this too: things can go at least 2 ways. I mean it could be that the radio message to HAM was the bait to fool Ferrari (and pit RAI)… and not just a simple message to inform HAM about their plans.

  13. If I think about it now, Ferrari could have left Kimi out. At max they would have lost it if Hamilton overtook them using the fresh tires. But by pitting, they lost that to them already.

    They should use that software/screen that Merc used to get Rosberg stay on track. Not sure if they have it yet and if they do, they suck for not checking it.

    1. Another problem I didn’t take into consideration is that Kimi had one set of softs for the weekend. Yet he ends up using that used tires. Where is the logic in that?

      This is where Ferrari are failing most weekend I guess.

  14. A major screw-up by Ferrari. HAM would more likely than not have destroyed his tyres and/or brakes in the pursuit.

  15. Well, in my opinion, Ferrari screwed up again their strategy for 1 of the drivers. They, again, gave up the position to Mercedes, who are known by now not to have the best car in dirty air. On the other hand, Ferrari did not have a strong car for this circuit anyway, so the chances to overtake HAM on-track were almost inexistent from the start. There’re big chances indeed HAM would have caught and overtook RAI if not pitted, but at least they would have given RAI a real chance to fight for the 3rd place. Conclusion: yeah, Ferrari screwed up RAI strategy with the last pit-stop.

    1. I truly believe RAI would lose to HAM either way, no matter RAI pitting or not, and Ferrari would be blamed for the poor strategy call either way.

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