How Perez got to second place and the big gamble teams took in Monza: Analysis
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Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  11 Sep 2012   |  5:47 pm GMT  |  74 comments

The Italian Grand Prix was one of the most exciting races of the 2012 season so far, which is unusual for Monza. The track has a high-speed character and opportunities for overtaking, but doesn’t always provide excitement.

However this year’s race was brought alive by the strategy decisions made by some of the teams and the bold gamble taken by many of them to try to do the race with only one pit stop. It was marginal in terms of tyre life. Some of the tyres that came off the cars at the end had no more than a lap of life left in them.

Meanwhile Sauber, which has a far smaller strategy department than the F1 front runners with far less sophisticated tools, managed to play a blinder and sent its driver from 12th on the grid to 2nd at the flag thanks to a brilliantly planned and executed strategy and to an outstanding performance by the driver, Sergio Perez.

Pre-race expectations

Unlike recent Grands Prix, the teams were able to do extensive mileage on Friday in practice and learned a lot about the tyres. Before the race the simulations showed one stop to be faster than two by 10 seconds. However one notable limiting factor was the wear on the inside shoulder of the right front tyre. This was showing signs on some cars of wearing down to the nylon, so managing that was crucial.

Nevertheless most teams set out with the intention of stopping only once. The choice of medium and hard tyres by Pirelli was pretty conservative, by recent standards, something of a shift in approach. This may have been influenced by some lobbying earlier in the season by teams who were struggling to get the tyres to last and by some problems encountered last season at Spa and Monza, which Pirelli did not want to repeat.

The two cars with the best tyre wear this season are the Lotus and the Sauber. Here they had another chance to use this to their advantage as the others would be very marginal on tyre wear at the end of the first stint and in the last laps of the race. Lotus did not have the pace to exploit this in Monza, but Sauber did.


Perez turns the tables
Sauber did a similar strategy in Monza to the one which had brought Perez a podium in Montreal from outside the top ten on the grid; they took a new set of the harder tyres at the start, ran a long first stint and then stopped once.

Starting in Monza with Perez in 12th place on the grid, Sauber knew that many cars aiming to do one stop would be struggling to get to a stage in the race for the first stop, which would leave them a manageable number of laps to do on the hard tyre at the end. So at the end of the first stint and in the final laps of the race they would be vulnerable. Perez used the hard tyre at the start and had very good pace on it. He also helped his cause by passing Senna and Rosberg in the opening laps. He picked off Di Resta on lap six, Kobayashi a lap later and then waited in 8th place behind Raikkonen.

Once the cars in front, who were pushing to make it beyond lap 20 for a stop, started to struggle, he was able to capitalise and pick up places. Raikkonen had to stop on lap 17, as the tyres were going off, but Lotus knew that they could get to the finish without problems on the hard tyre.

Massa stopped, then Vettel and Alonso together, then Button and finally Hamilton. Perez was now leading on lap 24. He was aiming for lap 28 to make his stop, but was told that the wear was good so the new stop time was “Target plus 4” which would be lap 32. Sauber changed that, however, as it became clear that the tyres had gone, so he pitted on lap 30 for a new set of medium tyres, rejoining behind Raikkonen, who was 13 laps into a 36 lap stint.

Perez’ pace on the mediums was astonishing, once past Raikkonen; he was able to run a second per lap faster than the leader Hamilton. This continued into the phase Sauber had anticipated, where 10 laps from the end the Ferraris, which had stopped on laps 19 and 20, were two seconds slower than Perez. He passed them easily to take second place.

He was not able to catch Hamilton however. The McLaren driver had been taking it fairly easy in the second half of the race, as illustrated by the fact that from lap 39 onwards he was running on the same pace as Raikkonen, whose Lotus on worn tyres didn’t have much pace. Raikkonen, incidentally, did a very good job to manage the car with its ultra-low downforce set up for a fifth place finish.


Why Mercedes stopped twice

It was clear before the race started that one front running team was planning to do two stops. The Mercedes drivers had both saved a set of new medium tyres from qualifying, which would only be worth doing if you planned to stop twice, as the rules state that you must use one set of each compound and they were starting on the medium tyres from qualifying.

Sometimes the call between one stop and two is marginal, but here with one stop being 10 seconds faster than two stops, that was quite a lot to give up unless you had to. Once again Mercedes were concerned with tyre wear.

Also they had a painful experience in Spa, which they did not want to repeat, whereby they attempted to one-stop but found that they couldn’t and lost track positions after the forced second stop. To do that at Monza would mean losing any chance of points, so they had to do two stops. The Mercedes was fairly competitive in Monza, certainly with Schumacher, and he was in the hunt for fourth place, but had to settle for sixth with the track positions he lost by stopping twice. That said he was catching Massa and Raikkonen at the end and another lap or two he would have passed them both for fourth place, perhaps he might have achieved that had he made his second stop a lap earlier..

ITALIAN GP TYRE CHOICES

M= Medium; H=Hard; N= New; U= Used; DT= Drive through penalty

Hamilton: MU HN (Lap 23) 1 Stop
Perez: HN MN (29) 1
Alonso: MU HN (20) 1
Massa: MU HN (19) 1
Räikkönen: MU HN (17) 1
Schumacher: MU HN (15) HN (37) 2
Rosberg: MU HN (14) HN (38) 2
Di Resta: MU HN (21) 1
Kobayashi: MU HN (20) 1
Senna: MN HN (24) 1
Maldonado: HN MN (13) MN (35) 2
Ricciardo: MN HN (24) 1
D’Ambrosio: HN MN (27) 1
Kovalainen: MN HN (17) MN (39) 2
Petrov: MN HN (19) MN (40) 2
Pic: MN HN (18) HN (35) 2
Glock: MN HN (7) HN (32) 2
De La Rosa: MN HN (22) 1
Kartikeyan: MN HN (23) 1
Webber: MN HU (21) 1 DNF
Hülkenberg: HN MN (27) 1 DNF
Vettel: MU HN (20) DT (34) 2 DNF
Button: MU HN (22) 1 NC
Vergne: MU 0 NC


The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from team strategists and from Pirelli.

RACE HISTORY GRAPH(courtesy of Williams F1)

Perhaps the most revealing one yet: look at Perez pace on the medium tyre in the second stint. Look also at how he had to stop on lap 30 as his tyre performance had suddenly fallen off a cliff. Also see how close Schumacher came to catching Massa and Raikkonen at the end. See the difference in pace between Alonso and Massa once Alonso passed his team mate.

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74 Comments
  1. Johnny Benerba says:

    Nice report. I’d like to see an F1 journalist do an in depth analysis on Sergio Perez. Yes the kid has talent and seems like a great guy who eventually move to Ferrari as is written every other day but what is he doing (or Sauber) that makes his car so light on tyre wear. Is it his driving style? Is it the car setup? Does he drive differently than other drivers/teammates? It would be interesting to know these things so we as fans can look for it during the grand prix.

    1. James D says:

      I think any top team will anjoy his services.

    2. Kay says:

      I like this guy. Whether it’s the car or his driving that’s pulling the results, I like his level-headedness and keeping his feet on the ground (unlike Hammy / Vettel who can get cocky at times). This guy is very mature in terms of his driving and character.

      Looking forward to the day he wears red.

      1. AlexD says:

        I hope he will not change….but in reality, they all do.

      2. Kay says:

        Hakkinen is still very nice and humble despite winning 2 WDCs and beating his greatest nemesis on the way :)

    3. Les says:

      Likewise, I’d really like to know more about what goes on behind the scenes with Perez because he’s a very interesting driver. In my heart, the romantic in me likes to believe we are on the verge of something very special indeed and that in 20 years’ time we’ll talk about Checo with the same hushed reverence as Fangio or Senna…

      …but on the other hand, he has been outqualified/outraced by Kobayashi a fair few times this year, and with all respect Kamui ain’t the quickest of drivers. I really hope it’s not the case that (kind of like Sutil) Checo can turn up at 5-6 tracks a year and be blisteringly quick, but not be able to explain why.

      Is there any ‘intel’ out there on Perez, e.g. does he make the strategy calls himself, how much influence did he have on the development of the C31 etc? He is turning into an amazing driver and I’d like to know more about how he does it!

  2. Fareed says:

    I count 5 cars DNF that were not directly related to a crash or other contact (Webber DNF due to flat spot caused by a spin). When was the last race that we had 4 cars fail due to engine or other mechanical failure?

    1. Bionor says:

      Monza is especially hard on the engine and brakes, so these kind of failures are more common here.

  3. SD says:

    James, you say that Perez stopped two laps later than planned. Given his pace towards the end of the race on the mediums did that potentially cost him a shot at the win or did Lewis always have him covered?

    1. James D says:

      Lewis always had him covered not to take anything away from Perez.

  4. Richardd says:

    James, given an extra lap or two would Perez have caught and overtaken Hamilton? Or did Hamilton have enough speed to cover him?

    1. James Allen says:

      He had enough speed, I believe. He would have reacted sooner too if the threat had been greater. They still had some life left in the tyres on the McLaren as he hadn’t stressed them much, being in clear air

  5. AJ says:

    What has appeared strange this year is the teams who know they are having to do more stops than others around them (eg 2 stop when others will do 1) don’t try Q3 qualifying on the harder tyre.

    This will cost them grid slots of course and they will struggle to gain positions in the early laps. Yet the payback is twofold

    1) They should still get a longer first run and
    2) this combined with a shorter final stint on a new softer faster tyre would surely mean they have a significant pace advantage at the end of the race (as demonstrated by Perez on his softer tyre).

    It’s as though they are obsessed with having to gain places early in the race to compensate for the extra stop. So they qualify on the softer tyre in an attempt to achieve this,

    When in fact on light fuel toward the end of the race and on new option tyres they could achieve lap times much quicker than those who qualified well and are concluding the race on the slower prime.

    1. Johnny Benerba says:

      I think that’s a valid point to bring up. Qualifying a la 2011 where cars would go out for one lap. I guess the only issue would be how specific cars handle tyre wear on the harder compound with a full load of fuel for it to benefit them going with that to start the race out of the top 10. My assumption would be that it’s not worth it seeing as the season is almost over and no one is doing that.

    2. Nathhulal says:

      What has appeared strange this year is the teams who know they are having to do more stops than others around them (eg 2 stop when others will do 1) don’t try Q3 qualifying on the harder tyre.

      This will cost them grid slots of course and they will struggle to gain positions in the early laps. Yet the payback is twofold

      1) They should still get a longer first run and
      2) this combined with a shorter final stint on a new softer faster tyre would surely mean they have a significant pace advantage at the end of the race (as demonstrated by Perez on his softer tyre).

      >> This has been done before as well. Remember all the instances where a driver qualifies for Q3, goes around gingerly, puts a token lap and settles for whatever grid slot he gets, and then goes deep in the first stint on fresh tyres?

      The fans are left in dismay at sham of Qualifier.

      Honestly, they should bring back the single lap qualifier system, that forced every driver to put on best possible lap and prevented all sorts of chicanery associated with the doctored tyre gambling formula.

      1. Martin says:

        if we assume the tyre wear is same and the team still has to make an extra stop, then if you start on the harder tyre there is going to be a penalty in the opening laps with the car slower off the line and a target to be overtaken. For every place lost, you can probably drop a second for field spread.

        When the first stop comes, it will probably be at a similar point in the race to those teams stopping one less time, but started on the option tyre. An undercut scenario is probably in play here, so our hard tyre wearing team possibly gets a spot or two back. Then the car is probably on the same tyres as the cars around it, has stopped a bit earlier and is slightly more advanced on the degradation curve, but is stopping earlier. Because the tyre wear on the car is worse – this being the reason for the whole scenario – it is unlikely that a huge amount of time will be made up.

        This means that before the second the car is about where it started in the race, but has an additional pitsop to make up. It becomes a difficult situation to make work. if you look back to Silverstone, you can see a good example where the softer tyre is not a good race tyre at the end of the race, so it is also very track specific.

        Cheers,

        Martin

  6. Seán Craddock says:

    Wow! On the graph you can really see how much time Perez lost when trying to get past Kimi! In both stints! Also it’s interesting that it looks like Button’s pace on the Hard tyres was better than Hamilton’s. Would’ve been nice to see how that ended

  7. James D says:

    Shame about Button. Hamilton actually took it pretty easy after lap 33 when Button retired evident by the change in slope of his line.

    McLaren has a scary speed advantage and I am not sure how Hamilton can claim that his car is not the best out there right now. It’s a good job he figured out how to set it up this week.

    I think Vettel would have had a go at Massa too had he not had problems.

    Mr. Allen, Button said he would not help Hamilton until he was mathematically eliminated from the WDC. Do you think he will give up race wins for Lewis if it comes down to it?

    Great race great report thanks James.

    1. Nigel says:

      “McLaren has a scary speed advantage and I am not sure how Hamilton can claim that his car is not the best out there right now.”

      I’m not sure about that. Alonso’s race pace was comparable, especially bearing in mind how much running he had to do in traffic. Pretty competitive in qualifying (apart from the roll bar problem), too.
      Had Alonso been able to qualify in second, it would have been a much closer race.

      Ferrari have certainly upped their game since the last race. McLaren probably still have the fastest car, but the advantage is a lot less than scary.

      1. Andrew says:

        “McLaren probably still have the fastest car, but the advantage is a lot less than scary”

        The Mclaren may have had a fast car in Monza although arguabley the Ferrari was the fastest car in quali (according to Alonso) and the Sauber was the fastest in the race due to it’s superior tyre conservation.

        Monza (and Spa to an extent) are fairly low downforce circuits, very different from some of the upcoming races. I expect to see the Red Bull’s, lotus’ and particularly the Ferrai of Alonso being extremely quick in Singapore. I agree the Mclaren advantage is much less than scary, I’m not sure it even exists.

      2. Kidza says:

        Why? Is that because the Red Bulls and the Ferraris were faster than Mclaren at the last high downforce track (Hungary)?

        The only car that has shown pace on all the last 4 circuits, hot, warm or cold weather, wet or dry, low, medium or high downforce, qualfying or race is the McLaren and perhaps more importantly, their tyre problems, relative to the other top teams are now a thing of the past as are the pit stop issues!

    2. KRB says:

      I don’t think LH claimed that McLaren wasn’t the fastest car. I think it clearly was at Spa and Monza. The Ferrari was very close to them at Monza, but I think the McLaren would’ve pulled away from them over the hard tire stint. Ferrari was the 2nd fastest car though (over the two cars I’m saying), with Perez’s Sauber in the sweet spot (and with two sets of new tires).

      As others said, Hungary was the last high-downforce track, and McLaren went very well there. But Singapore has even slower corners than Hungary, it’s more like Monaco with a few straights to let the engine out on. It’s also a return of the Soft-Supersoft combo, last seen in Canada (and Monaco).

      Alonso usually goes well around Singapore (his 4th last year was his first time off the podium there), and Lewis has won there too. Every Singapore GP to date has come within 4 minutes of the time limit! A gruelling race for the drivers.

      1. Paul says:

        >>> Alonso usually goes well around Singapore

        Defintely helps if you have a brazilian chump as a team-mate whose prepared to ‘take one for the team’ and write off his own race for your benefit.

        Could be his year again then?

  8. AlexD says:

    James, hot to assess Ferrari’s pace in Monza and their tyre degradation. Whether it would have been as good as Sauber’s we will never know. But..compared to McLaren?

    Massa, initially, was faster than Button but later on Button managed to pass him. Is it because it was Massa or because of tyres?

    1. James Allen says:

      Slightly heavier than RBR and McLaren’s, (Lotus and Sauber also, clearly)

      1. Dean says:

        McLaren have emerged on top since they introduced new brake ducts in Hungary, which allows them to influence the heating/cooling of the tires, depending on the environmental conditions. This is a key technical component which allowed them to overcome their tire wear issues. I’m surprised that Mercedes haven’t copied it yet, though maybe it isn’t adaptable to their conceptual design. (McLaren had extensively redesigned their side pods, and introduced that change at Hockenheim).
        I’m surprised that this hasn’t been mentioned by the professional analysts more than it has; to me it marks the emergence of the McLaren as the overall package to beat.

  9. thejudge13 says:

    Not only could MS have caught Massa and Kimi if he’d pitted earlier for his second stop…If you pit him a lap earlier for his first stop (where he lost a pile of time…went off a cliff) and then run the chart of his 2nd and 3rd stints from there…he’s ahead of Alonso.

    Of course Alonso’s 6 laps are almost identical, suggesting he was settling for 3rd – and he may have had some tyre wear left to fight MS

    But Massa was complaining of degradation late in the race and if pushed for a lap or so Alonso’s lap times may have peaked too.

    What if – Mercedes???

    1. floodo1 says:

      so easy to get it wrong in motorsport! One lap here or there and you lose the opportunity to move, instead falling behind.

      1. thejudge13 says:

        I agree, but prior to Mercedes 1st stop there are 2 1/2 laps where the cliff has clearly been reached. I can’t remember if they pitted NR one lap before MS at that time – this would explain MS doing 2 and a bit pretty slow laps just before his 1st stop.

  10. Esplanadist says:

    Raikkonen actually did a lot of duelling not just with Perez but also the two Mercs, but still managed to keep his tyres in good nick. They had so much more power in hand
    Rosberg put up quite a battle with Kimi, then as soon as he got past, he pitted..

  11. Tom says:

    Could Alonso have qualified (and started) on hard tyres, once he knew about the roll-bar problem in Q3?

    Easily said with hindsight, and the Ferraris seemed tougher on their tyres than Perez and Raikkonen in the race – but it would have given him more speed to defend (and attack Hamilton?) late in the race.

    1. Jim Dee says:

      No because he posted a time drafting Massa.

      1. KRB says:

        His first time was over 1:30 … he could’ve switched to hards and likely would’ve beaten that, to be able to start on hards. His whole race plan was to make a quick charge through the field though, and that would’ve been harder (initially) with the hards.

    2. JR says:

      I think he only knew after posting his first time in Q3 so no option to start on hards.

  12. Adam says:

    I’ve seen it written in a few places that prior to jensons retirement it was a nailed on mclaren 1-2. I think by looking at the graph it’s quite clear Perez would have overtaken him. You can tell that just by lookIng at the times when jenson retired he was 7 seconds behind Lewis and at the end of the race Perez was under 5 seconds away, I appreciate Lewis was taking it easy but still think Perez always had second. What u think james?

  13. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Maybe the Sauber original plan to pit in lap 28 was right, but do you think there is another circuit like Monza this season to apply this knowledge and get a win for Perez before the end of the calendar?

    1. Aurelian says:

      Suzuka – Japan

  14. John Kilmartin says:

    Shouldn’t the time difference be the time to the leader.

    The chart looks to need a little attention.

    1. Alex Pattison says:

      I am also confused by this – how is the “time difference” variable defined?

      1. Marco says:

        Alex,it seems there is an ideal frontrunner whose lap times are constant at mean lap time of the winner,in this case LH.
        The differences are taken from this theoretical front runner to the racers,lap by lap, creating this very nice graphics.

        As you see the drivers are slower than the frontrunner in first stint,as the cars are loaded,but they get faster and catch the frontrunner in the final one. the Winner is tied with the frontrunner at the end of the race, obviously.

  15. Kay says:

    Congratulations to both Perez and Sauber =)

    Happy to see someone else other than the big three on the podium.

    1. Valois says:

      Would them be 4 this season (McL/RBR/Fer/Lot)?

      1. Kay says:

        Certainly Lotus is joining the big boys group, but I don’t see that until they are consistently there with them.

  16. Robert Gunning says:

    I am intrigued by Ferrari’s pace drop off as a result of tyre degradation. Was this mainly thermal degradation, as the Ferrari generates a lot of tyre temperature (exacerbated by high wheel rotation speed), or was it wear related. As if prior form is examined; it suggests that the wear rate, particularly in Alonso’s hands, is second only to the Lotus and Sauber, and significantly better than the McLaren (for example Valencia and Hockenheim)

    1. James Allen says:

      Not quite as well balanced as RBR or McLaren, clearly

  17. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James any insight as to what makes the Sauber and Lotus kinder on their tyres than the other teams? Is this because they have more mechanical grip from their set up?

  18. Heinzman says:

    Off topic, but would like to say how appreciative as a fan I am for what the sport has become this year.

    I can’t remember a time where there has been so many quality drives from quality drivers and the professionalism of all of the teams is of such a high standard.

    We will look back to this year with fondness in the future. May the best package win.

    1. TheLollipopMan says:

      I tend to agree. It makes you wonder about all the awesome talent that went unnoticed during the Schumacher/Ferrari years of domination.

  19. Tony says:

    Probably a dumb question, but what exactly is the zero line on these graphs?

    1. James Allen says:

      Think of it as a ghost car which is doing the average lap time of the winner every lap

      1. abashrawi says:

        James, maybe you can add that to a newly created FAQs section ;p

      2. Tony says:

        Sorry, I must be dumb, I still don’t get it. How can Hamilton be slower than his average on every lap except the first and last? Surely his first and last laps weren’t both the same and his quickest?

      3. James Allen says:

        early laps were with full tanks so well off the low fuel pace, then as fuel burns off the laps are faster than the average.

      4. KRB says:

        LH’s average lap time over the whole race (1:19:41.221 total race time / 53 laps) was 1:30.212/lap. His worst lap was his out-lap at 1:46.587, and his best a 1:28.427.

        His first lap (slowed b/c of the standing start) was 1:33.417, so after the first lap he is 3.205 sec’s behind his average lap time, as shown on the graph.

      5. Tony says:

        @KRB, sorry to come back to this but the graph shows LH as 0 secs behind the ghost after the first lap not 3.205 secs. Or perhaps the bottom scale on the graph is wrong and the first data point should be ’0′ as in the start of the race.

      6. KRB says:

        Tony, you’re right, they start it from lap 1.

        Hamilton’s lap times for laps two and three were 1:31.131 and 1:30.429, a combined 3:01.560. The ghost laptimes for laps 2 & 3 were a combined 3:00.424, and the difference would be 1.136 sec’s, which you see at the lap 3 grid point.

        So yeah, they just haven’t included the lap 0 points on the grid, which makes sense, as they would just show steep dips to the zero line (or I suppose the start-line offsets).

  20. chris green says:

    lotus are a real enigma – huge top end speed and easy on tyres but not quite there.

    perez’ approach highlights a possible problem with the rules. sometimes it’s better to start 12th than 7-8-9-10 because a driver gets some freedom on tyre choice. at tracks where it is relatively easy to overtake it’s a no brainer.

    1. abashrawi says:

      Not very puzzling if you come to think about it, they obviously scarified loads of down force (more than others) for the top speed. I think it was them over reacting to their lack of pace on their higher downforce setup in SPA. Unfortunately for them, the Renault engine is down on power relative to Mercedes and Ferrari engines and therefore took longer to get to that top speed. They were a sitting duck and easy targets on their way to their top speed.

      Correct me if I’m wrong.

    2. Valois says:

      Agreed. and, if the driver is a natural good starter, maybe earning 2-3 positions just when red lights go off, it is an evenmore attractive strategy.

    3. Vantro says:

      The other cars reached top speed much quicker than the Lotus.

  21. Richard D says:

    The Perez strategy demonstrates the unfairness of the current tyre rules when the top 10 qualifiers have to start the race on their qualifying tyres. Those, like Perez, from 11th to 15th have a distinct advantage over those 5th to 10th. This is even worse where grid penalties push top 10 qualifiers out of the top 10 but are still tied to their quali tyres whilst those promoted to 9th or 10th still have a free choice. High time for this rule to be changed.

    1. Bernard says:

      Take it a step further and ask why this stupid rule about using both compounds? Or why have DRS? When does F1 become wrestling? Should the teams be free to choose their own strategy? And drivers have to fight to get past the guy in front?

      Basically it all seems to be there to “spice up the show”, and while Sergio is undoubtedly good, he was handed something of a gift by just missing Q3 and being able to use the hard rubber when the fuel load was heaviest.

    2. abashrawi says:

      To a certain extend, yes. But I remember that PER was ahead of KUB before their first pit stops so there is more to it in this specific occasion.

  22. Kay says:

    I really wanna ask, why can’t the big guys like Toyota, Honda, BMW learn something from Sauber, rather than being stubborn and stick to their own proven-fail methods. Toyota being the biggest idiot of them all.

    Big congratulations to Sauber again.

  23. Valois says:

    Great race and great article as usual, James… Thanks a lot. I’m looking forward to Singapore, where we should have back pirelli’s supersoft+soft combination. By the way, I found this interesting infographics at Pirelli’s HP:
    http://www.pirelli.com/tyre/ww/en/f1/nfeeds.html

    Cheers!

    1. Valois says:

      And, if these graphics aren’t thaaat useful, at least they’re neat! :-)

  24. Dougel says:

    As much as I’m pleased for Sauber they are ideally placed to benefit from, and are being flattered by, the current quali/tyre regs. They are typically just competitive enough to qualify outside the top ten, which then gives them the option to choose which tyres they start on. Those immediately ahead of them of the grid are hindered by having to start the race on the tyres from Q3. As a result Sauber are typically contrary with their tyre strategy so whenever a contrary strategy is the optimum strategy and by default they reap the benefits. Haivng said that, It would’ve very interesting to see how things panned out from them in Spa when they did show genuine pace in quali.

  25. jay harte says:

    james
    who do you fancy for singapore .
    i have a feeling vettel and alonso are going to be very strong there , any thoughts ?
    cheers

    1. James Allen says:

      I agree with you. But McLaren has won the last three races from pole on three very different tracks so they are the team to beat

      1. Dean says:

        JA comment about McLaren is germaine, but it may be a bit more interesting in Singapour.
        We saw that blinding speed by Vettel in Spa, and it was probably the best drive I’ve seen by him, demonstrating a new personality characteristics for Seb, grittiness; it raised his esteem, in my opinion.
        None of the Renault-powered cars did well at Monza; Kimi was the highest in fifth, and they expected sixth or seventh, and Kimi is the best racer on the grid; Monza is a worst-case scenario for Renault power.
        But Singapour is close to a sweet spot for both of these kind-on-the-tire cars, and it is quite likely at the equniox, at the equator, that is is going to be hot on the race track. McLaren were not the fastest on race pace in Budapest, it was Lotus.
        While McLaren have demonstrated the lead in the development race, and balance between single lap speed (qualifying) and race pace, it is so close this year, and all of the contending teams will be coming with new bits and new approaches; it will be the rolling of the dice again on a track that should favour Red Bull and Lotus with their drivable Renault power.

      2. Elie says:

        Mclaren and Ferrari will win most of the remaining races maybe Red Bull or Lotus might steal one or two-Suzuka, USA or Brazil. Mclaren will most likely win at Singapore

    2. KRB says:

      Well, Singapore is a lot of stop and start, and slow corners. I can’t help but think how good Mercedes went around Monaco (Schumi with provisional pole, and Rosberg 2nd in the race), and think they might go pretty well around Marina Bay. Of course, they have gone backwards in terms of pace vis-a-vis the others compared to where they were at in Monaco.

  26. Dean says:

    Great analysis, again, JA.
    There are a couple things going on in the comments, worth addressing.
    1. Perez and Perez to Ferrari:
    Perez looks as close to the real deal as you’re likely to see; with minimal doubt, he looks like a potential future world champion.
    But why would he go to Ferrari?
    Yes, it is the marquee team/brand in the sport, and maybe even in the world!
    But if you want to be world champion, it is NOT the place for Sergio to go.
    Here is why: It is pretty clear (as clear and predictable as it gets in F1), that Ferrari want Sebastian Vettel for 2014; they will get him if they can, and, they can. As much as you can predict anything in F1, Vettel is going to Ferrari in 2014.
    Alonso is at the prime of his career right now! Do you think he’ll be leaving the top team in the top category of car racing, where he is adored and has the full support of the team behind him? Duh… not too likely, bub. Anyhow, why would you want to go onto a team, that belongs to your adored future team mate?
    I don’t think that Sergio is a character that would be a number two, and I don’t know why he would accept that, with his talent.
    Prediction: Perez will win a grand prix this year, in the Sauber!
    If a spot were to be open, a seat in a McLaren would be a win-win scenario for Perez/McLaren (but too bad for Sauber).
    2. About Kamui Kobayashi and Sauber:
    I’ve written it before, and I’ll write it again, Sauber have the most exciting team on the grid, and have made the best with what they have, bar none.
    Kamui has indeed kept within range of Perez; in contrast to some writers, I think this is big tribute to Sergio. Kamui is underrated, and I predict he’ll get a podium, possibly even a win this season, look for him in Japan!
    The Sauber win does NOT evidence unfairness in current tire rules; it was good car, good strategy with great driver.

  27. Kidza says:

    It’s a night race, so I doubt the track temperatures will be that much higher than the ambient night time temperatures!

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