Behind the scenes insight into key decisions which shaped British Grand Prix
Insight
Valtteri Bottas in the British GP 2014
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Jul 2014   |  1:18 pm GMT  |  126 comments

The British Grand Prix was up there with Bahrain and Canada among the most exciting races of this 2014 season. Although the victory was ultimately decided by a reliability problem for Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton was on a different strategy and here we will analyse whether he would have beaten Rosberg if the fight had gone to the chequered flag.

We will also analyse how Williams and Red Bull switched strategy to get Bottas and Ricciardo onto the podium, why strategy cost Vettel a podium shot and how Jenson Button should have finished ahead of Ricciardo.

XPB.cc
Pre race expectations
Based on Friday practice running the strategists were predicting a largely two stop race with most drivers going with medium, medium and then hard tyres at the end. Practice had shown the hards to be around 6/10ths of a second per lap slower than the mediums. A few teams, including Williams which had under performed in qualifying, were considering a one stop race. But all the strategists knew that this was a race for being dynamic and adaptable; perhaps more than any race in recent memory, this was a race for thinking on your feet.

This was a most unusual race, because the temperature rise of 7 degrees from Friday to Sunday led to the tyres performing very differently from expectations; the degradation was low, but the wear was also negligible. It was the teams who were alive to this and most adaptable, who came through. The podium reflects this; the winner came from 6th on the grid, the runner up from 14th and the third placed finisher started 8th!

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 15.28.46

Would Hamilton have beaten Rosberg in a straight fight to the flag?

Lewis Hamilton gladly collected the 25 points for the win, which closed him up to four points behind Rosberg in the championship. But he regretted that he didn’t have the chance to beat him on the race track, as he felt he was set up to do so.

So let’s analyse it and see if he would have beaten Rosberg to the flag, without the German’s gearbox problem.

The first thing to say is that Mercedes had a huge margin over the rest at Silverstone in pace terms, as big as at any stage of this season.

Both drivers started the Grand Prix on medium tyres and Rosberg stopped on lap 18, taking on a new set of mediums which committed him to stop a second time later in the race for hards. It was a clear two stopper for Rosberg.

Hamilton however, having started sixth but quickly risen to second in the opening stint, lengthened his run to lap 24. He was able to do this without losing much time. During this period the strategists had the chance to reflect on options. If they put him onto the hard tyre at the first stop, this would give them the possibility to convert him to a one-stop, or he could pit again late in the race for a new set of tyres and attack Rosberg.

Because Red Bull had taken the hard tyres at the start, everyone could see from Ricciardo’s performance how well they were working. It became clear that there was in fact very little difference between the hard and medium tyres.

What they quickly realised in the second stint was that Hamilton’s pace on the hards matched his pace on the mediums, so there was no need to go for the second option. He would one-stop from here, meaning he did not need to pit again. This would mean that he would have taken over the lead later in the race when Rosberg made his second stop, around lap 35. Hamilton would then have been ahead by around 17 seconds with as many laps to go and Rosberg would have had to catch and pass him. As Hamilton was getting good lap times out of the hard tyres, this would have been difficult.

So the improvement in tyre performance swung things Hamilton’s way. The gearbox problem for Rosberg spoiled what was shaping up to be a really thrilling final few laps. It’s not easy to say for sure who would have won, but one can say with some certainty that Rosberg would have had to overtake Hamilton to win.

(NB – Hamilton did in fact pit again but this was only a safety measure in case of a puncture or late race safety car)

XPB.cc

Bottas and Ricciardo – strategy switch reaps huge rewards

The red flag stoppage for the accident of Kimi Raikkonen allowed teams to change their strategies for the race; Red Bull put Vettel and Ricciardo on hard tyres thereby also completing a mandatory change and perhaps demonstrating where they expected their race pace to be relative to the cars around them. For Williams, Bottas fitted another new set of medium tyres whereas Hamilton did not change at all.

With Vettel, Red Bull went very aggressive and made an early stop on lap 10 to dispense with the hard and therefore commit to a two stop race. This turned out to be a mistake. At this stage none of the strategists knew for sure that a one stop was going to be as achievable as it later proved. If they and wanted to hedge their bets they would have gone to lap 20. But they were in attack mode on Vettel’s car, after he had dropped three places with a poor start. This was one case where fortune did not favour the brave.

Another mistake on Vettel’s car came when they pitted him on lap 33 into Alonso. The gap had been there, but he lost time on his in-lap as Bottas passed him. The resulting gap wasn’t sufficient and Vettel came out just ahead of Alonso who passed him at Turn 9.

Without this he would have been fighting Button and Ricciardo for a podium.

Daniel Ricciardo finishes 3rd in British GP 2014

Meanwhile, by lengthening his opening stint by five laps compared to his team mate, Ricciardo came into the window where he had the option to one-stop, while Bottas on the medium tyre did the same. As the laps ticked by and the teams realised one-stop was possible, this is what gave both of them a podium. Ricciardo’s was slightly fortunate as it relied on McLaren not maximising their race with Button and that opened a narrow window for Ricciardo to take advantage of.

What was really remarkable on Sunday was the pace that Bottas had on both tyre compounds. The Williams was very fast and he drove it very skilfully, passing many cars in the opening stint to pave the way for a podium and then once he was in clear air he was able to keep going at a strong pace and made the decision to stop just once very easy.

He was also providing very precise feedback on the performance of the tyres, correctly reading their race of wear.

XPB.cc

How Button narrowly missed chance of a podium

A fourth place from third on the grid, finishing ahead of a Ferrari and a Red Bull was a good result for Jenson Button and McLaren, but he caught Ricciardo at the end of the race on tyres that were 13 laps newer and arguably there was a podium there for him if he had found a little more pace early on in his second stint.

Button had the track position and the pace overall to finish ahead of Ricciardo at Silverstone. He lost the chance of third place by doing a couple too many laps on the medium at the end of the first stint, losing time, and also at the start of the second stint from lap 28 onwards when he took the hard tyres his pace took time to come in for four laps. This gave Ricciardo enough breathing space, so when Button closed on him it was too late to pass.

Report Sm Rect bann

The UBS Race Strategy report is written by James Allen with input and data from several of the leading teams’ strategists and from Pirelli

Race History Graph, Kindly Supplied by Williams Martini Racing

Note the first few laps of Button’s second stint and how the pace picks up from there. Note also the pace throughout of Bottas, clearly best of the rest behind the Mercedes.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 13.13.31

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126 Comments
  1. Rohind says:

    This report for once should put to rest many comments as to how Ricciardo floored Vettel.
    Team made a mistake in terms of strategy with Vettel and Button.

    James, expected to have a detailed analysis of Alonso-Vettel dual in the report

    1. Ace says:

      So are you saying this report applies to all the other races Ricciardo has beaten Vettel?

      1. Steve S says:

        Yes. In the other races where Riccardo has beaten Vettel (excepting the races where Vettel has had mechanical problems) he’s done so by getting advantageous strategy calls and/or team orders.

      2. KRB says:

        Huh? Ricciardo clearly beat Vettel in Bahrain and China. Sure, the team got on the radio to Vettel, but Ricciardo passing Vettel in both cases was a formality.

        Vettel was unlucky in Canada to be stuck behind Hulk at the wrong time. In Britain, he was trying to do the same thing that worked for him so well in Spain. This time it didn’t come off. Can’t blame Ricciardo for that.

        Vettel’s been in the wrong place, wrong time a few times this year. Considering how much he’s been in the right place, right time the last four years, I’m sure Vettel is at peace with it. It’s not like the Red Bull drivers have a chance this year, and the bad luck is costing Vettel a title shot. Better to get the bad luck out of the way this year.

      3. Rohind says:

        Ricciardo has beaten Vettel on track exactly twice ie in China and in Bahrain as per my knowledge
        In Bahrain you had safety car intervention and power problems reported by Vettel.
        So that leaves only China. And I’m sure he could have toyed with him and kept him behind for few more laps if he wanted to,but for the team orders from Red bull.

        Take away all the troublesome weekend and strategy errors ( Canada & in Silverstone),I dont see many races where Ricciardo has ‘beaten’ vettel.

        But I agree that Ricciardo is very fast and as of now Vettel doesnt seem to hold any advantage over him as he used to over Webber.But judging by their pace for last 2-3 races, this situation could soon change in the second half of the season

    2. DanT says:

      Also Mercedes appear to have made a mistake with Rosberg although not relevant in the end.

    3. Pat M says:

      To be fair, Vettel’s second stop wasn’t really a strategy error. As James says, when they made the call he had a gap to Alonso but lost it with a slow inlap. But since Alonso was slowly gaining on him at that time anyway, delaying the pit stop wouldn’t really helped – it may have been a no win situation and they would have lost track position either way. Perhaps if they had waited to pit the wider difference in tire wear would have made getting by Alonso a little easier though, but he was going to have to get by him on track because of the time lost battling Bottas.

      1. Steve S says:

        “To be fair, Vettel’s second stop wasn’t really a strategy error”

        No, but to be fair the first stop was a huge strategy error.

      2. Brad says:

        To be fair to the strategists, their decisions would’ve been based on Vettel losing the three places at the start, if Vettel hadn’t dropped those positions they probably would’ve have had more options to consider

      3. James Allen says:

        Correct, he would also not have been in the traffic he was in

    4. FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar) says:

      As the report explains, most drivers were going to be on a 2 stop strategy. Given that Seb has been worse at looking after his tyres all season long than Ricciardo has been, it’s no surprise they had to commit to a 2 stop early on.

      1. Horoldo says:

        Yep, Dan has looked after his tyres better all year, just like Seb looked after his better on the previous spec car/tyres than Web, and this gave him a strategic edge when he needed it. Now Dan has this edge and deserves the credit where its due.
        Give it up, The kid is good!

      2. FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar) says:

        Well said.

      3. Steve S says:

        “Given that Seb has been worse at looking after his tyres all season long than Ricciardo has been”

        There is no truth whatsoever to that assertion. He was not pitted after just nine laps on the hard tyre, and so forced into an extra stop compared to everyone else, because he had worn them out. It was a dumb strategy call by RB and had nothing to do with the condition of Seb’s tyres.

      4. KRB says:

        He was definitely worse in Bahrain and China. He just couldn’t get them into the window in China, that’s why he was so slow.

      5. RacingFanatic says:

        Steve why are you so relentless in your pursuit to degrade Ricciardo? Can you not just admit that he is good!!! He has been consitently faster than Vettel in qualifying this year, clearly beaten Vettel on a few occasions and is 28 points ahead of him! Yes Vettel has had bad luck, but Ricciardo didn’t end up on the podium 4 (should have been 5) times by twiddling his thumbs. I would say Ricciardo has had a bit of bad luck too, he has been stripped of a 2nd place podium (at his home race!!) through no fault of his own, plus had a massive team blunder in the pits while he was in the top 5 so you cannot say it is all one way.

        Besides, for the last few years you have been the one claiming that Vettel should not be considered lucky and that his achievements should not be tarnished because of his good luck, and I 100% agree with you, but neither should Ricciardo’s.

        My point is you cannot just pick and choose your attitude philosophies toward motor racing when your favourite driver is winning/losing.

      6. Rohind says:

        True for other races perhaps, but not for this one. There is no evidence to suggest that he was suffering from tyre graining and I believe all drivers could have made one stop work at Silverstone last sunday.

        As the report clearly says, Red bull made two mistakes

        1. Pitting Vettel after just 10 laps that would take him out of considering a one stopper
        2. Pitting him at lap 33 when his inlap was ruined when faster Bottas overtook him.

        In any case, I’m happy in a way that Red bull made that mistake. Otherwise we would not have seen the fantastic battle between Vettel and Alonso
        Since Red bull is not fighting for the championship in any case, it doesnt matter if he finishes 3rd,4th or 5th. Ricciardo can keep all the podiums and the luck that he’s getting right now.

      7. C63 says:

        it doesnt matter if he finishes 3rd,4th or 5th….

        You honestly don’t think it matters if one team mate consistently out performs another, because neither is competing for the title?
        Ok, if you say so :-)

    5. skidjitsu says:

      I don’t think it is fair to use strategy to undermine Ricciardo’s performance in comparison to his teammate this year. As a couple of others have already alluded to, it is important to consider how strategy calls are impacted by the driver’s performance on track (such as Vettel’s poor start at Silverstone).

      The fact of the matter is that Ricciardo has managed to (very quickly) acclimatise to a new team. Even with all of the limited pre-season testing mileage, he has appeared more comfortable in the car than Vettel from Day 1 in Melbourne. Perhaps Vettel will improve and begin to outperform Ricciardo consistently, but what Daniel has achieved against his four-time WDC winning teammate so far this year is no mean feat.

  2. goferet says:

    Oh I see, so Lewis was going for the one stop whilst Rosberg was on the two. For sure, it appears Lewis’ name was on the trophy all along as I don’t think Rosberg has made a passing move on Lewis stick as far back as Malaysia 2013.

    Yes I think Mercedes’ split strategies are fun for they give the fans a grand finale, it’s a shame it didn’t work out this time >>> though a Rosberg DNF was a psychological gift to Lewis as it means he heads into the summer break not worrying about closing a big points lead.

    Top job from the Williams strategists on getting Bottas on a one stop just goes to show qualifying out of Q3 has it’s advantages as teams are forced to throw caution to the wind.

    However, it’s unfortunate Perez had a first lap incident as he would have been another driver who would have taken advantage of the improved Silverstone conditions.

    Regards Vettel, I think the 2014 cars are adversely affecting his confidence for not only did he have a poor start but also had a slow in-lap and thus drawing him into Alonso’s clutches.

    On the other side of the scale, Ricciardo not only inherited Vettel’s luck but also was able to make the chips fall in his favour by making his mediums last a whole lot longer than was thought possible and thus avoid Jenson’s advances.

    Overall, the race showed Williams have officially arrived and will pounce of leading team Mercedes should the opportunity present itself.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Imagine if Williams had started in their natural position of the Top 6? Is it possible Bottas and Massa could have given Lewis an honest day’s workout? We’ll never know because of a rain affected qualifying, but assuming Hockenhiem and the Hungaroring are bone dry all weekend we’ll see if Williams have the ability to challenge the Mercs for victory on sheer merit.
      I bet a certain Mr M is punching the walls of his motorhome as we speak……………….perhaps if he had handled his relationship with Frank and Claire better he might be celebrating a string of podiums this summer season. Alas………………what’s that cliche, don’t burn your bridges and all that????

      1. James Allen says:

        No, look at the race history graph

        Mercs were much faster than anything else

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        Thanks James – yes, you are right Merc F1 still have a lap time advantage.
        Having said that, Williams pace was still impressive, and if they can keep on finding the incremental gains they have, then at the very least they can be challenging for 2nd place in the constructors championship.
        Very impressed with Williams progress – they are on an upward trajectory!

      3. Horoldo says:

        James, Bottas made many more passes than either of the Merc’s, did he not? Clear air would surely have altered this graph, yes?

      4. James Allen says:

        Yes but if you look at his trave when he is in clear air, he’s faster than any non-Merc but still not as fast as them

      5. Sebee says:

        >Mercs were much faster than anything else.

        Understatment of this season. If only Thrust SSC could handle a corner than maybe we’d have a contest.

      6. Duncan says:

        Looking at the slope of the graph for Bottas immediately after his one and only stop, on fresh tyres and in clean air (and admittedly a lighter fuel load), Williams may have been able to give the Mercs a hard time had they started from representative grid positions.

        The relative (compared to the Mercs) slow pace midway through the first stint when Bottas had clean air may have been due to fuel and tyre strategy as by that time Williams knew i) they weren’t going to beat the Mercs and ii) they were doing a one stop.

      7. goferet says:

        @ Gaz Boy

        Lol… but to be fair to Maldonado, last season the Williams seat was a burden whilst Lotus was the place to be but as always, life throws us curve balls we didn’t see coming.

        On the topic of Williams, it appears they’re now even more capable of qualifying higher than P6 as shown in Austrian but Mercedes still have the race pace.

        Now should Mercedes have any issue again, Williams will be there to capitalize.

      8. Gaz Boy says:

        Do you know what, one of the great abilities of a racing driver has to be able to predict a team’s future – something of a clairvoyant! The ability to anticipate whether a team is bubbling towards championship maturity is just as important as doing the business on the track.
        For example, when N Lauda had a chat with Lewis about joining Merc in September 2012, lets face it, Merc were a busted flush. Now look at them…….and at the time Macca were highly competitive. And now look at them too…………..
        Having said that, regulation changes always have the opportunity to turn hero’s to zero’s and vice versa. Remember 2004, Michael and Ferrari couldn’t stop winning; thanks to that one set of tyre reg, in 2005 Michael and Ferrari couldn’t stop loosing……………….
        Actually, in a way, Vettel and Red Bull are having a similar season to Michael and Ferrari in 2005 – in fact, it is spookily similar. In 2004 and 2013 their star German driver won 13 GPs and utterly dominated the season. The following year……………..reduced to a bit player on the world championship stage. Weird coincidence or what???

      9. f1Jay says:

        I do feel for Maldanado – he’s having a rotten year. As I mentioned before, he and his management team were clearly not on the ball about Wiliiams’ plans for 2014. Pity, 2 very quick driver are not able to show their talent.
        I don’t quite understand why RedBull seem to be progressing but Lotus are in a mess.

      10. goferet says:

        @ f1Jay

        I agree it’s a shame about Maldonado and Grosjean for they both have the speed but not the tools.

        I guess Maldonado just got frustrated with Williams form that he wasn’t willing to hear any future plans.

    2. Sebee says:

      goferet,

      What’s the engine situation between Lewis and Nico?

      I think Lewis lost a unit in Australia right, or is that one back in circulation?
      And then in Canada, what that a PU loss? But it was just the gearbox here for Nico at Silverstone, so PU is OK.

      My point is, is Lewis at a PU count disadvantage at this point heading into the second half since Nico has not had PU issues?

      1. Robb says:

        Lewis’s whole engine didn’t fail, just a small external part, so it didn’t affect his engine count.

      2. Sebee says:

        That makes sense. I just wasn’t sure if they could replace without braking seals or whatever controls are in place.

      3. grat says:

        If I recall, it was the boot around a spark plug that failed, causing intermittent firing.

      4. goferet says:

        @ Sebee

        No, I don’t know about Mercedes engine situation.

        All I know is Lewis didn’t lose the Australia engine as the team told him to park it in a bid to save the engine

        Also not sure if the Canada unit got binned likewise, have no idea which unit gave up the ghost during Silverstone free practice.

      5. Sebee says:

        Truth is both had issues with Canada PU, but since Nico got something out of it, that can’t count against him.

        Totally forgot about that FP engine. But it probably was through a few GPs.

        Anyhow, it absolutely looks like Lewis is behind on the count here, and this could be crucial end of the season.

      6. Sebee says:

        Didn’t FOM have a thing about engine use updates on f1.com? I couldn’t find it.

      7. Bob says:

        Australia was a damage to the rubber tube which contained the spark plug on one cylinder if I remember right.
        With that replaced engine is good as new and actually giving lewis a mileage advantage on at least one of his engines.

        As for Canada Nicos’ engine had the same problem with the Kinetic energy recovery system but he managed not to overheat his brakes which were what failed on Lewis’ car.

        In terms of the engine it was an electrical rather than mechanical problem and as such it is likely that either both engines are repairable or both have been scrapped.

        Both drivers should still have the same number of engines unless I’ve missed something.

      8. C63 says:

        @Sebee

        Nico and Lewis are ‘evens stevens’ on usage of all PU parts (LH PU in Australia was not scrapped). Nico, however, has now cooked a gearbox and is presumably facing a grid penalty at the next race if the gearbox has to be replaced :-)

      9. Peter says:

        Nah, no gearbox penalty for Nico – rule is that you can’t use no more than one gearbox for six consecutive events however If a driver fails to finish a race due to reasons beyond his or his team’s control, he may start the next meeting with a different gearbox without incurring a penalty. So if the gearbox failed in practice or qualy you get the penalty but since it failed you in the race you can change the box for the next meeting.

      10. Sebee says:

        Where do you get the info C63? Do you get updates on your on board AMG computer or from a link you can share?

      11. C63 says:

        ps
        I should add this info’ is accurate up to and including Austria.

      12. KRB says:

        Sebee, just go on the FIA site for the particular event.

        http://www.fia.com/championship/fia-formula-1-world-championship/2014/british-grand-prix-event-timing-information

        All the doc’s are under Event & Timing Information.

      13. Ahmed says:

        Sebee,
        Does it really matter if any of the Mercs go over their allocation of engines & gearboxes? They have such a pace advantage (which is not closing by the way), that they could start 10th or 11th in every race and most likely still finish 1st or 2nd.

      14. Nickh says:

        It matters in terms of who will win the championship out of either of them. So yes it matters quite a lot

      15. Sebee says:

        I think it matters. But you’re right, they will still get P2 even if they start P7.

        What’s this I’m reading about FRIC suspension being outlawed ASAP and possibly hybrid power flow being controlled – which apparently is the main source of Mercedes advantage.

        Could the FIA be trying to bring Mercedes back under control to not have Renault leave and to not bore the heck out of fans the remainder of this season?

      16. KRB says:

        Nope, they’re on the same for all components, except for the Energy Store, where Lewis has used one more.

        http://tinyurl.com/PUs-GBR14

        I don’t really get it, as Document 16 at the same event said that Lewis would use another Energy Store, and that he had used 2 previously. These FIA documents don’t make sense, sometimes.

      17. krakinho says:

        Hi,

        Here is the official report ot PU elements used prior Silverstone: http://184.106.145.74/f1-championship/f1-2014/f1-2014-09/Formula%20One%20British%20Grand%20Prix%202014%20Document%20-%204.pdf

        The rest of the info on what happened during the weekend is here: http://www.fia.com/championship/fia-formula-1-world-championship/2014/british-grand-prix-event-timing-information

        What is interesting to me is software variations teams are using. One would thing that they would use the latest and greatest. :-)

        A question for James, or anyone in the know, if cars are subject to parc ferme, and are not allowed to be tweeked overnight, nor prior the race, how’s possible that top speed through speed trap for many drivers can vary so much. For example Rosberg top the list on Saturday with 325,3 Km/h, while he managed only 306,8 and was faster by 0,1 Km/h then the slowest guy (Chilton) Km/h on Sunday??
        Or Bottas did 316,0 Km/h on Saturday, but was the fastest on Sunday with 329,5 Km/h.
        Let’s not forget that Saturday was mostly wet, with some dry spells.

      18. krakinho says:

        Sebee,
        It’s not only engine count that counts, it’s all major PU elements that counts as well (check the link I posted earlier).
        So any of those (not only engine itself) exceeding count of 5 will result in grid penalty.

    3. Jonathan says:

      I beg to differ. Williams have not arrived. You are showing your age!! Williams have returned.

      1. Aljo says:

        Excellent !

      2. goferet says:

        @ Jonathan

        Lol… touché

  3. P King says:

    AMuS claim that Mercedes would not have allowed Hamilton to finish on one stop if Rosberg was still racing.

    http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/formel-1/rosberg-ausfall-rettet-teamfrieden-einstopp-verbot-fuer-hamilton-8452983.html

    “Lewis Hamilton would probably have to switch to lower a one-stop strategy to beat Rosberg. But that would have been forbidden.”

    1. NFR says:

      Reading the article I think the writer was making a jump to say that it was forbidden, as the quote from Wolfe and Laude is that to that point, a discussion to change strategies had not taken place. Not that it was forbidden to take place. I have a hard time believing Hamilton’s race engineers would have seen the gap and not pressed for the advantage by keeping him out.

      Furthermore, I disagree with the idea that the one stopper was Hamilton’s only chance. Even though Rosberg’s tires weren’t as worn as they thought, at the end of his first stint it was very clear that he was losing time to Hamilton. At the time he pitted his 6 second lead was down to 2, and Hamilton was still putting in fast times. That more than adherence to strategy is why they brought him in. No way you can keep him out there with Hamilton reeling him in. Could have it been the gear box? Possibly, but Rosberg didn’t radio in about downshift issues until after the 1st stop.

    2. David says:

      A question for James Allen: is that correct, do the Mercedes drivers have to match each other in number of stops in a race? Worth knowing as this scenario seems a high probability during the rest of the season.

      1. James Allen says:

        No, they don’t. Here they were headed for 2 stop ROS and 1 stop HAM.

        The rule is that the lead car on track at the time has stop preference. The other one needs to find another plan to beat him, that’s how it has been all season.

      2. David says:

        Thanks James for clearing that up, the German news report certainly didn’t match my understanding. However it’s possible Mercedes could introduce changes as the season progresses, hopefully not.

      3. KRB says:

        Did Rosberg have the choice of whether he would put on options or primes at his first stop? If the team didn’t give him the choice (b/c they wanted to spread the cars in the 2nd stint), then it really wouldn’t be fair for him to be hindered by that strategy. If he made the call, then he was in control of his strategy, and then Lewis should be free to pick the best strategy for himself.

    3. alexander supertramp says:

      Intresting article! I think Merc is going a bit far on this one, tyre management is part of the game, Nico pitted because Lewis started reeling him in, his tyres had some life left and he should have known/felt this and drive faster. Lewis should not be penalised for managing his tyres better.

    4. james encore says:

      It was pretty clear to me when watching the race that HAM had gone far enough on the softer tyre with heavy fuel that he could go to the end on the harder tyre with light fuel. When Hamilton made that precautionary stop (having radio’d that the tyres were looking good shortly before) I was astonished they took the risk of something going wrong in the pits.

      To me, it seems odd when teams start on options and *don’t* switch to the prime at the first stop (or having run both put the prime on at the end of the race when the option might gain you a place) maybe Rosberg’s stop was too soon and they figured even with the prime he’d need another stop. [My view would be always put the prime on first and see] Since – even before Mechanical trouble – he clearly wasn’t going to pull enough margin it looked like HAM’s race.

      Would Merc have *ordered* HAM to come when he felt the tyres were good enough to stay out , and gifted the race to ROS ? It would have been out of character. If they’d let it be and ROS hadn’t broken down, the talk would be of the strategic error on Nico’s side of the garage or conspiracy theories would be going wild.

  4. Panayiotis says:

    Not a word on Alonso and Ferrari? What did he gain from starting a couple of metres ahead, and what did he loose with the 5 sec penalty?

    Also, he made a one stopper work while fighting all the way through. He seemed to have the pace to beat everyone except Mercedes and Williams, if only they had managed to qualify a bit higher. So, in my opinion, a podium would have been possible…

    1. deancassady says:

      So I guess Alonso was NOT getting the maximum out of the car after all (neither did he drive it at “110%”!), since, in your opinion, “a podium would have been possible.” Alonso clearly did not receive a podium, though he may have qualified for first place in the Whinge-fest (a narrow but deserved victory over Sebastian Vettel).

      1. Panayiotis says:

        Where did I say that he was not getting the max out of his car. Exactly the opposite.

        All I said is that if he had qualified in the top 10 (as he should have), he would not need to waste so much time and tyres to pass the whole field, so maybe he would have a shot at the podium.

    2. Bullish says:

      He didn’t really gain much but rules are rules and you don’t want to start precedents.

      1. Panayiotis says:

        No but he lost a lot with the penalty (which was totally fair btw)

  5. Sebee says:

    Those 18s sure as heck look good. Are there some pictures coming today? I think I may have to change my mind about 18″ tires for next year.

    If they put these 18s on, dump those doppy ant or you know what like looking noses, and add 20db to the engine sound, we may actually have a car worth of an F1 name.

    All that will be left is to….yup….make them go faster so that GP2 cars aren’t qualifying for F1 races for crying out loud.

  6. Kev says:

    Surely at the time though mclaren were focused on alonso and vettel. Alonso was all over button in the first stint but button stayed ahead. Alonso’s 5s penalty allowed button an offset on the hard tyres compared to alonso’s medium tyres. Also they would have fresher tyres to defend from vettel who was two stopping. They could not have predicted ricciardo doing 37laps on the mediums. 4th place and ahead of alonso and vettel is a good result

  7. Sebee says:

    ManOnWheels, you called it right. Let’s start with 100 jobs at Caterham, like they have a 100 to spare really.

    http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns28435.html

  8. Gaz Boy says:

    I was very surprised at the durability and consistency of both tyre compounds – and as the essay above explains, teams which had pre-empted the longevity of both tyres were able to finish well by only stopping once.
    I was also amazed at the pace of the Williams, but of course I forgot Williams have an excellent wind tunnel facility, they’ve got Pat Symonds able to give the team a clear direction on the aero development and of course Rob Smedley to marshall the troops back at base! If a car works well at Silverstone with its demanding of clean, consistent downforce and good high speed change of direction via good aero balance and aero stability, it bodes well for downforce heavy tracks such as Hungary, Singapore and Suzuka. And we know how fast that Williams is in a straight line for raw speed circuits such as Spa and Monza……………
    I really do think Williams-Merc have turned the page performance wise. Like they did in the summer of 2003, or Macca did in the summer of 2005, Frank and Claire’s team have possibly unleashed the potential of a very fast machine for the 2nd half of the season. We’ll see…….
    Williams to challenge for 2nd in constructors championship???

    1. NFR says:

      That’s a great point. The Williams has consistently been putting in some of the fastest times in the speed traps at each track. Will be very interesting to see them at Spa and Monza. They should be thinking podium for sure at those tracks.

    2. f1Jay says:

      Most definitely. Though I’m still staggered that the mercs were still a 1sec+ faster per lap. I’m hoping to see a Massa win before the year’s out.

    3. alexander supertramp says:

      said the same thing yesterday about Williams, they really have a proper race car and Silverstone was a great test. With this performance they really need to aim for P2.

    4. Rott says:

      If some of Williams engineers poached by Ferrari or Redbull, it could be a different 2nd half. Look at lotus from last to this season..

    5. Ben says:

      I have been saying the same thing. It was the thought that Austria and Canada were a couple of circuits that flattered the Williams car but Silverstone has sown that they are definitely the 2nd fastest car. If you’d asked me nearer the start of the season if they could have got 2nd in the constructors I would have complimented you on having a vivid imagination now I’d say that they should be disappointed with anything less than 2nd! There are enough races left for them to overturn the points deficit to Red Bull and they have the drivers to do it. The only worry I have is that they are too conservative on strategy. I understand at Austria they were being careful because they needed to bank the points after the previous few races that had not gone to plan… But now they can see Red Bull are firmly in their sights and need to go for it as if they are trying to win!

  9. Neil Jenney says:

    Based on radio transmission we heard in the world feed, my read on Button’s situation was that he was asked by the team to protect his tires in preparation for a late race charge from a two stopping Ricciardo. When the team realized that Ricciardo was in fact one stopping they let Button loose but it was a few laps too late for the podium.

    1. Horoldo says:

      There was an obvious call via radio on the world feed from RB to RIC, ” We just jumped alot of people” Alarm bells should be ringing now McLaren.

  10. IJW says:

    Wow, look at the gap in that graph between the Mercedes and the rest. Talk about “clear air”.
    James, that graph isn’t clickable so we can “zoom in”? Your last few were, and I liked that. Is it possible to make this one clickable? Thank you.
    Oh, and please change the font used in the comments box. I am partially sighted and it is hard to read what I am typing.

    1. Aljo says:

      Press ctrl shift and + to magnify, ctrl shift 0 takes you back to normal

  11. aveli says:

    I thought i heard hamilton say over the radio that his tyres were shot on lap 24. this tells me that they had planned for hamilton to stop twice. the hard tyres would’ve struggled to complete 28 laps. finally hamilton said his plan was medium hard medium, a 3 stint strategy for sure.

    1. James Allen says:

      AS the second stint went on it became clear one stop was the way to go. Rosberg dropped out. They pitted him a second time as a safety measure – worn tyres cut more easily and also he’d have been vulnerable if there was a late race Safety Car. It wasn’t necessary to stop, more what we call “Belt and Braces”

    2. Aljo says:

      He got to lap 24 on mediums with a heavy car, by extending his planned stint.
      On the more durable hards and with a lighter car, 28 laps looks very possible and original plans get changed.

      1. KRB says:

        24 on used mediums (from Q2), so 28 on new hards would’ve been a cakewalk. Ricciardo did 37 laps on the mediums!

  12. Adam W says:

    Very interesting analysis as always James. I think Merc may have dodged a political bullet with Rosberg’s gearbox failure. If they had allowed Lewis to one stop they would have been accused by Nico’s fans of favouring Lewis. If they had put Lewis on a two stop they would have been accused by Lewis’ fans of favouring Nico. With the retirement they were not forced to make a choice.

    1. James Allen says:

      It will be like that all year

      The important thing is that they continue to give both drivers a chance to win, regardless of qualifying position

      At this rate they will clinch the Constructors around Singapore and that will make the rest of the races very interesting because they won’t care who wins the WDC, and will have secured the prize they want for the team the WCC

      1. FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar) says:

        They deserve huge respect for letting their drivers race and take alternate strategies. The last thing we want to see is both drivers on the same strategy with the driver ahead getting the preference at every pitstop.

      2. Rohind says:

        Mercedes deserves the praise for their excellent management of both the drivers.
        Never would have happened if Ross Brawn was still in charge. All credits to Lauda and Wolffe.

        Red bull and Ferrari could learn a thing o two from them.

      3. GRLap says:

        James,

        You say Merc won’t care about which driver wins WDC once they have clinched WCC; officially that will certainly be the line. However, do you have a sense about where various members of Merc management have preferences? For example, because Niki recruited HAM is he partial to Lewis? Is “ToTo Vulf” biased towards Nico “Weil err Deutsch ist!” Is Paddy Lowe partial to Lewis because they are both royal Subjects? Not suggesting any of these folks would act on their preferences, just curious if you can detect them. Is the team more broadly, e.g. Engineers and mechanics, biased towards Lewis as most live and work in the UK?

      4. James Allen says:

        Of course people on the outside have their conspiracy theories about this

        I know the team management people pretty well and I can see that they don’t care who wins

        I cannot speak for Daimler board etc as I don’t know them or what they say behind closed doors. It would be very difficult for them to set out to favour one driver over the other these days as everything is so closely scrutinised

        Like I said, the first objective is to win the Constructors’ title. Once that is achieved they will not mind what happens in races and there will be no orders

      5. Nickh says:

        I can imagine the engineers will be slightly happier when Lewis wins, as most of them are British and live there. That’s totally normal of course.

  13. Steve S says:

    “why strategy cost Vettel a podium shot”

    More a sure-fire podium place than a shot. It’s curious how frequently Red Bull’s strategy calls have the result of promoting Riccardo and demoting Vettel. It’s a good thing the former is Australian and the latter German rather than the other way around, or people would be making a huge stink about this.

    1. Rohind says:

      It’s pointless for Vettel to continue in Red Bull. Newey’s not gonna design any cars in the future and Renault is not gonna improve their power unit any time sooner. Time to jump the ship

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        @ rohind….what a great idea. can’t wait for it to happen but it’s my guess that he won’t leave red bull. he is making too much money where he is besides his ‘share value’ has dropped since ricciardo has proved to be a formidable competitor and not easily beaten. that is not to say that vettel won’t have a second half resurgence. i have been expecting him to make a serious comeback and get on top of ricciardo but to date it hasn’t happened. i guess the point is, will it happen at all?

      2. Nickh says:

        Well yes Steve it would have happened at silverstone wouldn’t it not for an own goal strategy by RB.

      3. Nickh says:

        *Ken not Steve sorry

    2. kenneth chapman says:

      @ steven s…….’why strategy etc etc etc’, / ‘more a sure fire podium’ etc etc etc. give it a rest. at best your prognosis can only be speculation.

      ricciardo has the points on the board and the skill to get them in the first place. nothing in F1 is guaranteed and if you know anything about F1 you would acknowledge that very point.

      1. Rohind says:

        If that is the case, people should stop with Alonso/Hamilton ‘Would have’ ‘Could have’ won more if they were driving Red Bull for last 5 years. Like you said, nothing is guaranteed.is it?

      2. Nickh says:

        It was a sure podium though, as RB said after the race and apologised to Vettel after the race. Maybe you missed those bits.

      3. kenneth chapman says:

        @ nickh…. no i didn’t miss those bits. it may have looked like it was a ‘certainty’ by red bull but even they were speculating,were they not?

      4. Nickh says:

        @ Ken. Perhaps they were, still there was a good chance he would have got 3rd. Seb was definitely more on it at Silverstone anyway, he seems to be adapting to the new car now. He’s had to because of how impressive Ric has been. Actually it would have been interesting to see if Massa could have challenged Ricciardo for 3rd had he been in the race. I imagine he probably would have based on Williams pace

    3. GWD says:

      It appears to me that in the Webber years the plan was a primary strategy for SV and a secondary strategy for MW. This was pretty much an unalterable plan short of early dropout of SV, where MW would inherit the primary strategy. This year it appears that in some races both are on a primary strategy up to some point in the race for each to prove who’s faster/better positioned/best tyre condition/etc. and then primary/secondary strategies are assigned. It also appears from earlier in the race weekend that SV has closed the gap to DR to be within or near that 1/10th of a second, meaning SV is improving his ‘relationship’ with this years RB. I just feel it’s taken SV too long to come to the adjustment he should have been able to make earlier given his experience level. It will now be up to DR to find more performance himself to maitain or increase the gap between them, because if he doesn’t, it will look to me that SV could move past him before season’s end. Post-race testing results from Day 1 for DR certainly don’t hurt that, though.

  14. Van says:

    We never got a chance to see the fuel usage, but we know that Hamilton has been better than Rosberg all season, and we know from the radio message that Nico didn’t have fuel to spare, so I really do think that had it come down to the wire, Hamilton would have had plenty in hand to repel a late challenge.

    1. James says:

      Rosberg would’ve had a challenge. He’s a bit rubbish wheel to wheel.

      1. Rohind says:

        I dont think he’s rubbish. But yes. He doesn’t seem to push hard and take risks like Hamilton,Vettel and Alonso. But this could change when championship race tightens up.

        Nobody is a born champion. U learn to become one

      2. C63 says:

        I dont think he’s rubbish..

        I agree, rubbish is a bit harsh. But tell me, after Bahrain, would you say Nico was good when it comes to wheel to wheel racing?

    2. KRB says:

      There was a brief graphic, different than before. IIRC, it showed Nico as using 1.57 kg/lap, while Lewis was a 1.50 kg/lap. He was closer than at previous races, but still around 2% worse than Lewis.

      1. Nickh says:

        Funny that, before the season there were so many ‘experts’ claiming professor Rosberg would be a genius at saving his fuel.

  15. deancassady says:

    Even though your article has clearly (and admirably, it should be said), identified the possiblility of a Hamilton one-stop strategy, and therefore Hamilton’s potential capability to win the race, HAD Rosberg continued, in actual application, we just don;t know what would have happened.
    We don;t even know, for sure, whether Hamilton could have completed the race on his second set of tires (I know, I know, it is fairly presumed, but this represents probability only).
    I’m on the record here, as stating that there is likely more going on than ‘potential capability’.
    It was an interesting posit, above, somewhere, that Mercedes would have ‘forced’ Hamilton to second stop. If he had, I would like opinion, preferably backed by data and equivalent analyses, whether he would yet have had a possibility of victory, assuming no game-changing events to Rosberg.

    Also, James’ ruminations on a post-consolidated WCC and forgone WDC stage of the season, easily estimateable for Singapore; I am interested to read opinion on how that may go, should the two be in a similarly close contention, as they are now (separated by 4 points).

    1. James Allen says:

      No. He was one stopping. The way was clear to do it

      That’s racing

    2. Nickh says:

      Hamilton said on radio his tyres were fine with 10 laps to go

  16. Lohani says:

    The graph shows Rosberg losing pace from lap 9 up until he pitted around lap 18. It seems he picked it up in the in-lap as did Lewis. Was the dip car management related, tires going off or the phase where the gearbox started acting up?. This is the time when Rosberg’s 5 sec gap came down to 2.8 or so. After pitting, he seems to have done consistent lap times, and then the sudden dip from DNF.

    I noticed in the race (after both Mercs had pitted once) Nico getting past a backmarker by speeding up close behind, and then shifting down hard and attacking the apex on the right (don’t recall which turn) to try not losing time to a closing Lewis behind. Any ideas whether the engine braking from down shifting on high revs caused the final blow on his gearbox?

    Lewis had good pace throughout his first stint as can be seen, and then doing good lap times on the hards. After Nico retired, he was coasting more or less, so can’t tell what his pace would have been at that time. It could have been a good battle in the end.

  17. GoOnSon says:

    Fabulous insight James.
    Do you think Alonso or Vettel could get a seat at Williams next year?

  18. Msta says:

    It seems many are certain that had the race been a couple of of laps longer Button would definitely have been able to pass Ricciardo for third place on tires which were 13 laps fresher. Yet according to this analysis Rosberg (assuming no retirement) would have pitted around lap 35 and with 11 lap fresher option tyres wouldn’t have been able to pass his one stopping team mate. Conflicting conclusions?

    This win for Lewis is being too hyped up in terms of momentum shift, for sure it is huge for the championship in that it has reduced the deficit to just 4 points but his victory was due to Nico’s retirement. Even without the DNF, his win (if it eventuated) would have come through Nico being on the wrong strategy.

    1. Gazza says:

      Lewis is ahead 5-3 in race wins, if anything Nico,s advantage has been overhyped. I haven’t seen him drive off into the distance in any race yet. Austria was his most impressive when he beat Lewis by 1sec.
      Its going to be very tough for Nico, he has to rely on Lewis making mistakes or having a DNF because he certainly can’t rely on being faster.

    2. KRB says:

      Nico would’ve had to take on the prime tire in his last stop. He went option-option to start. I know JA said lap 35, but that’s only a 17-lap 2nd stint. I would expect a 21-lap stint (equal stint to first, plus 2 for new tires, plus 1 for lower fuel weight). But as JA said, the hards were not as bad as first thought. Either way though, it would’ve meant Nico appearing on Lewis’ tail on prime tires that he’d just wrung the life out of trying to erase the gap to Lewis.

      So, uh, not really conflicting at all.

    3. krakinho says:

      For the last stint Rosberg would be on hard tires, so prime, not option, and the same tire as Hamilton, although 11 laps younger.

  19. IP says:

    Is Bottas turning out to be the next big thing? I know Frank Williams said he’s a superstar, and he’s pretty good at dealing with talent. Seems to me he’s got some brains to go with his speed. Between him, Ricciardo, Magnussen and Kyvyat, F1 has some superb talent coming thru. Pity the regulations are ruining the spectacle. I don’t mind the quiet engines so much as the ugly noses and the budget gap

    1. GRLap says:

      If Bottas is a superstar, Frank will fire Bottas the year after he wins the WDC.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        hahaha yes history would validate your theory.

      2. Bill says:

        If Bottas is still with Williams and takes until the year 2025 to win his first WDC then I guess that might happen.

        Mansell, Prost & Hill were all over the age of 35 when they departed Williams as world champions.

        At least we won’t have to witness the use of the dreaded car “0″

  20. Pkara says:

    Lewis had a brilliant strategy.
    Saved fuel unlike Rosberg who was near stage of having to save fuel…but not at critical stage.
    Tyre deg on 1st stint even in overtaking Lewis saved tyre wear, went further in laps.
    2nd stint on hard tyre Lewis up on track times even after the usual slow pit (as always crew mess up).
    Shows the hard tyre is just as quick reels in Rosberg.
    Rosberg would’ve had to pit & no chance of overtaking Lewis as Rosberg would have to up engine mode. No way even for a few laps as he won’t make it to the end of the race.
    So well played Lewis ” Brit on top of British Grand Prix”….Job well done.
    Would be nice to have Button up on podium also after he didn’t hold up Lewis in the early overtake. Button left plenty of space for Lewis so that was helpful.
    Great day for the home crowd. Big attenence as always at Silverstone. Shows how low spectators at other G.P.s create a ghost town effect on race day & no atmosphere.
    Well done Silverstone & the BRDC :-)

  21. GP Back To Adelaide says:

    It was ultimately Ricciardo’s call to run to the end of the race on the mediums.

    Also, the fact that Ricciardo completed so few laps in FP2 seems to indicate that they were really “flying blind” with regards to race strategy. A brilliant result, all considered.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      how very true that is.

  22. Colin Stone says:

    LH said he conserved his tyres in the early laps before closing the gap before NR’s first pit stop. Hence he had good tyres, fast times and could convert to 1 stop. He did say his tyres were getting shot before his stop, but that might have been an element of mind games. He was still doing pretty good times.

  23. Iestyn Davies says:

    James.. I like that now Williams are back near the front, they leave off everyone below the points! I can understand leaving off Caterham/Marussia after the first stops for clarity higher up.

    PS. Units of 15 seconds would make more sense, especially for calculating lap-times by the minute and when people are getting lapped.. unless the Mercedes cars regularly can get 15 seconds ahead of their average race speed.. i.e. drive a full race at full pace.. and the engineers have a better reason for making it 25 second intervals :)

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