How the Canadian Grand Prix got away from Alonso and Vettel
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  12 Jun 2012   |  10:04 am GMT  |  144 comments

The Canadian Grand Prix was always set to be a close finish because of the nature of the track, the options for race strategy and the effectiveness of the DRS rear wing for overtaking.

And the data shows that the performance of the McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari on race day was remarkably close, perhaps only a tenth or two of a second in it. The difference was tyre management and, more importantly, strategy.

Post race, Red Bull and Ferrari have been accused of making strategy errors which cost the race, but is it true?

Here is our customary in depth analysis of how – and why – the big decisions got taken, with input and data from some of the decision makers.

The race had three leaders, any one of whom could have won: pole sitter Sebastian Vettel finished fourth, Fernando Alonso led with seven laps to go and finished 5th, while Lewis Hamilton was the only driver to make a 2 stop strategy really work and he won.


The danger with doing one stop in Montreal is that, although you are in front of a two stopper when he comes out from his second stop, he’s on fresh tyres and with the DRS wing he will find it easy to pass you. However with a 71% chance of a safety car, which would swing the race to the one stoppers, it can be worth a gamble for midfield runners looking to make up places.

To gamble from the front row of the grid, however is a different matter.

Practice on Friday had shown the teams that the tyre degradation was not a problem and that it would be possible to do one stop effectively, even if it would mean a fair amount of nursing the tyres. However McLaren were convinced that they needed to do two stops, so it would be an attacking race for Lewis Hamilton. They believed that a two stop would be around 10 seconds faster than a one stop.

McLaren only really had one car running on Friday, as Jenson Button lost most of the day to an and oil leak and double gearbox change. Meanwhile Ferrari didn’t really do any long running, the longest run was a 12 lap stint by Massa, but this was punctuated by slow laps. And this may well have contributed to what happened on Sunday.

But the track temperature on race day was 15 degrees hotter than Friday and going into the race even teams who had plenty of data on the long run performance of the tyres could not be sure that one stop would turn out better. The only way to find out would be to try it and to monitor the heat degradation, because when it comes in with these Pirelli tyres it is very sudden and the lap times drop off straight away.

The rear tyres were the limitation, and the soft tyre looked like the preferred race tyre.

How the race got away from Alonso and Vettel and went towards Hamilton
The leaders got away in grid order with Vettel leading Hamilton and Alonso. But at the first round of stops, where they all switched from used supersofts to new softs the order changed: Vettel pitted first on lap 16, Hamilton on lap 17 and Alonso on lap 19. Hamilton jumped Vettel in the stops and Alonso jumped both of them. But it took Alonso’s Ferrari time to warm up the tyres and Hamilton attacked and repassed him for the lead.

So for the second stint the order was Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel. At this point all three had the option to stop again.

Only Hamilton knew for sure that he would be doing that and so, with clear air ahead of him, he kept pushing. He opened out a gap of four seconds on Alonso and maintained it. For Alonso and Vettel the problem was not knowing how hard to push, as they didn’t want to find themselves one stopping and have the tyres go off at the end, but equally they didn’t want to do too little and find at the end that the tyres still had plenty to offer.

Decision time
Hamilton noticed that the other two were not staying with him and asked his team if they were certain that Alonso and Vettel were not one-stopping. The team reassured him. This confirmed to Red Bull and Ferrari that Hamilton was stopping again and they will have recalculated their race model based on this information. It will have shown them ahead of him after his second stop, but the unknown was still the tyre degradation on this warm day.

In the laps leading up to Hamilton’s stop, Alonso’s pace was consistent; in the high 1m 17s and low 1m 18s. Vettel’s was a few tenths slower and he sat 3 seconds behind Alonso.

When Hamilton pitted on lap 50 Ferrari and Red Bull had a decision to make. Should they react and pit too? In Vettel’s case he would not have got ahead of Hamilton by doing that, but he may have got Alonso.

Ferrari’s decision was more finely balanced. As he came down the back straight, Alonso had a lead of 14.8 seconds over Hamilton, about the time it takes to make a four second pitstop. With Ferrari’s strong pit stop performance there was every reason to believe that Alonso would be at least side by side with Hamilton as he exited the pits, but more likely just ahead. However they knew from the first stops that Hamilton might be able to pass them again as they struggled to warm the tyres.

But they were concerned about Vettel too. So they did not pit Alonso on lap 51. But they had perhaps also taken their eye off the other cars coming through from behind, especially Grosjean.

At this stage Alonso could have pitted and rejoined ahead of Grosjean, consolidating his position. However they had some time to reflect, because even if they were to pit and come out behind Grosjean, the Ferrari on fresh tyres and with DRS would have no problem passing the Lotus on worn tyres.

The longer they and Red Bull left it, the more other cars came into the picture, like Perez, who’s signature strategy seems to be to get to the flag quickly on one stop. So even a delayed pitstop in the laps after Hamilton’s would still have given both Alonso and Vettel a podium, but they didn’t do that either.

This is one of those situations where it is easy to say with hindsight that they made a mistake. Ferrari argues that they thought they would get similar tyre performance to Lotus and Sauber and make a one stop work.

However what puzzles rival strategists is that by the decisive moment around lap 51/52, the other Ferrari driver Felipe Massa’s tyres were 40 laps old and already showing signs of going off. Perhaps Ferrari estimated that Alonso would have better wear, but they were looking to get 51 laps out of Alonso’s tyres, ten more than Massa had done to that point.

So it’s hard to see where their confidence to stick with one stop came from.

Even as late as lap 60, when Grosjean was just 10 seconds behind Alonso, the models showed that Ferrari could have pitted Alonso, who would have rejoined 5 seconds behind the Frenchman and on fresh tyres Alonso would have been able to pass him in the 10 remaining laps, as Vettel did with Alonso when Red Bull realised their mistake and belatedly brought Vettel in with seven laps to go.

Lessons from Canada
Grosjean’s result shows that the Lotus has the potential at times to do one stop less than some of its rivals and still be competitive. It’s weakness lies in single lap qualifying pace; if Grosjean or Raikkonen could start in the front five, ahead of Rosberg for example, then they could really make their tyre advantage pay.

Perez’ excellent podium again highlights his ability to keep the pace up while also protecting the tyres. It must be a combination of many details in his driving, that he has brought with him into F1, because Kobayashi in the other car can rarely stretch the tyres out in the same way.

Perhaps more worryingly, this was the second race which could be done by cruising around on a one stop strategy and although the climax was exciting due to Hamilton’s strategy, the majority of the race was quite dull and processional.

These cars and tyres work best in two or three stop races, where the drivers are able to have periods when they can push more.

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists and from Pirelli

Tyre Choices, Canadian GP

SS= Supersoft; S= Soft: N= New; U= Used, DT= Drive through penalty; (17) = Pit Stop lap

Hamilton SSU SN(17) SN(50)
Grosjean SSU SU(21)
Perez SN SSN(41)
Vettel SSU SN(16) SSU(63)
Alonso SSU SU(19)
Rosberg SSU SN(19) SU(38)
Webber SSU SN(17) SN(52)
Raikkonen SN SSU(40)
Kobayashi SSN SN(24) SN(25)
Massa SSU SN(12) SSU(58)
Di Resta SSU SN(13) SN(44)
Hulkenberg SN SSN(21) SN(42)
Maldonado SN SSN(29)
Ricciardo SSU SN(17) SSN (58)
Vergne SSN SN(16) SN (43) DT (47)
Button SU SSU(15) SSU(33) SN(52)
Senna SSU SN(23)
Kovalainen SS SN(17) SN(42)
Petrov SSN SN (18) SN(43)
Pic SSN SN (28)

RACE HISTORY, Supplied by Williams F1 Team

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James, great detailed stuff for the real fans. Thankyou !!

RedBull put Webber on Softs on lap 53, when he was inside the window for Supersofts.

I've seen Redbull do this to Webber several times before, eg putting him on Whites for his last stint at Spa last year, when he was well inside the window for the softer tyre.

Its clear from the chart that on Supersofts he could have been P5.

Why do they do this? Does Mark Webber ask for the harder tyre? Do RedBull go for the safe points with their second driver while the lead driver takes the gamble?

I'm keen to know, this has happened a few times now


I meant (ala McLaren in Australia) - that was where they changed tyres for both Button and Hamilton on the same lap, if my memory serves me correctly.


Remember, that prior to Webber's second stop he was in front of Grosjean. Both on a worn set of new soft tyres, and it did not appear that Grosjean was going to be able to overtake Webber anytime soon. So if Vettel pitted again, he would end up behind both Grosjean and Webber. Grosjean would then likely get the advantage of DRS (as he would be right behind Webber) - making it harder for Vettel to overtake Grosjean, and once he overtook Grosjean (if he could, which is by no means guaranteed considering the straightline speed of the Lotus relative to the Red Bull) he would then waste time getting around Webber. In otherwords, pitting Webber gave Vettel the option for a second stop without the need to get around the Grosjean/Webber battle.

The key for Hamilton was that he emerged in front of the Webber/Grosjean battle after his second stop. (Remember that Webber had not pitted at this stage and was in front of Grosjean - and it appeared Webber was going for a one stop).

So, I've given some reasons to think about why Webber stopped when he did. Perhaps he himself decided at Lap 52 his tyres were not going to last. Webber drove a superb race, his pace, when free from engine problems and traffic was faster than the leaders, his strategy that Red Bull gave him, just did not work out, simple as that.


Good question Mr Squiqqle. Hopefully everyone remembers my posts in the strategy report from Monaco, so everyone knows I'm a decent analyst.

With Webber it was very interesting, and appears that for the upteenth time, they were interested in what would help Vettel and any points Webber got were just a bonus.

Initially Webber settled into 4th position, and at about Lap 15, closing into the window for removing the SuperSofts, as they were degrading, he was around 4-5 seconds behind Alonso and about 9-10 seconds of the leader Vettel. Apparently Webber being 4-5 seconds behind Alonso was due to an engine problem he experienced for the opening stint. At around this time, it was clear the tyres on both Red Bulls were going off, and they needed to pit both cars as both were losing time to the chasing pack. Seb got to pit one lap earlier than Mark, even when it was clear it was in Mark's best interest to pit (on Lap 16), but as Seb was in the lead, this is understandable, and it would've been two risky to double swap the tyres (ala McLaren in Spain).

Webber's stop dumped him in traffic initially, but everyone on the SS tyres pitted around this time, so then Webber had clear air. Now, Webber got the hammer down, and started to close into the 3 leaders (Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel). By Lap 30, the gap between Webber and Vettel was under 5 seconds and closing, but then disaster for Webber. He had caught up the one stoppers of Perez and Raikkonen (both on soft tyres).

He was stuck behind the one stoppers of Kimi and Sergio for a around 8 laps. Each lap costing him 1 second relative to the leaders and Rosberg behind him. His 7 second lead over Rosberg behind him was getting eaten up very quickly. Clearly Red Bull were waiting for the one-stoppers to pit, as Webber was losing a lot of time behind them.

It was here, about Lap 35, I made the call to pit Webber again for another set of new softs and then run to the line. He would only lose track position to Rosberg and Massa. As a big gap had opened up behind Massa, so Webber would have no traffic. I could not believe it when Red Bull were not pitting Mark - considering the gap he would drop into after the pitstop. Mercedes recognised, everything I've said and immediately pitted Rosberg when he closed up to Webber. Now on Lap 38, Red Bull had to react to Rosberg to ensure Webber was in front of Rosberg after Webber's stop. But again, they did not.

Now, fast forward to Lap 45, and it looks like the tyres can go the whole race distance. Now, I see why Red Bull did not stop Mark when it was obvious to do so, they are doing a one-stopper. Okay. But then Hamilton pits and the very next lap Webber pits too - it almost seemed as if the reason Webber pitted, was that, just in case Vettel had to pit, he would not end up behind Webber (and waste time repassing Webber).

In conclusion, I would say again, that Red Bull are only interested in Vettel winning the championship, and any points Webber get are useful of course for the constructors, which they also very much want, but not at the cost of Vettel.

Again, I made a call, which would've given Mark Webber a podium and possibly more. It was a bit risky, in that, if the tyres did not degrade Webber would lose out to both Grosjean and Massa and come 6th, rather than the 4th position he would have (once the one-stoppers pitted). But it was the percentage decision to make. Time, and time again, we see Webber get some weird pit calls from Red Bull. I hope Webber leaves Red Bull, because they always give strategy preference to Vettel. Whereas McLaren is a team which gives both drivers equality.

By the time Webber came in on Lap 52-53, it was touch and go whether to use the supersofts or the softs. I would have gone with the softs to be honest. It is not the strategy bungle like previously in Spa, when Webber would've beaten Vettel if they gave him the appropriate tyres. Like we've seen time and time again, Red Bull want Webber to do well - they want him to win races - BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF VETTEL.


I could understand the strategies of the other cars, but Webber's didnt make much sense at all. So what you've said I completely agree with. I just couldnt understand why RB didnt pit Webber as soon as he got up behind the one stoppers. This would have kept him in front of Rosberg who proved there was a gap in traffic to slot into after the pitstop.


I think the question here is, is a new set of softs better than a scrubbed set of super softs? Given that the ultimate pace differenc between the two tyres was only a few tenths, I suspect it might have been the latter.


I too noticed this watching the race. Do you have any more info on this James?


I wonder if it's just a case of having no real clue how the tyres will perform and they therefore, on those occasions where the uncertainty is considerable, they just split their strategy.

What I would like to know is why on earth, with a completely blank sheet of paper, F1 is totally incapable of designing, commissioning and building new race circuits that promote great racing and natural overtaking like we see in Canada, Spa and Turky etc. What is stopping them designing a great modern racing circuit for F1 cars?


The new Circuit of the Americas in Texas could very well turn out to be this track you speak of.


I doubt it based on what i have seen of it so far. It looks like multiple sweeping bends, followed by a dreadful "arena area" followed by a fast bend long straight and tight corner. It looks fussy and very fiddly. Hardly helpful for over taking!


Fingers crossed! I desperately want to be wrong.


The Russian one looks interesting too. Plus India last year was pretty good


Your answer may come down to tire management which starts in Q1 on satday. Webber used all his supersofts in qualifying so would have had to bolt on a used set. Other midfield runners who didn't make Q3 may have had a new set (but not necessarily).

The question then becomes 'is a used set of s/softs quicker for a 17 lap sprint to the flag than a new set of softs?'


Hey Rod, what's your source for this?

I didn't notice MW burning up an extra set of Super Softs in qualy..., is it on the record somewhere?

If Redbull only had used supersofts available with 10 laps to go, that could help explain Vettel staying out


At the start of qualy, teams have 3 sets of primes and 3 of options left for the remainder of the weekend.

Ideally, teams (and Red Bull in particular) would try to get through Q1 on primes, have a single run on options in Q2, and then have two bites of the cherry with options in Q3. This strategy left Webber high and dry in Spain, for example, when he was one of the quickest cars on track but avoided a second run in Q2 when the track was getting quicker and they missed the cut. It was all due to trying to save an extra set for two runs in Q3.

There are all sorts of variations to this strategy of course, depending on all sorts of variables. For example most teams have to use a set of options just to get out of Q1 safely, and many also use the remaining two sets to try and get past Q2. Vettel had to do this in both Spain and Monaco, which is why he didn't bother setting a fast time in Q3, he had no fresh options left.

In Canada the options and primes were very similar in performance and track evolution was not significant throughout qualy, so many of the front runners including Vettel and Webber got through to Q3 with two sets of options left. They both then did two runs in Q3, using up all of their remaining sets of options. This wasn't a problem as they had to start on the used set they qualified with, and then had two fresh sets of primes left for the race to run either a one or two stop strategy as necessary.

When Webber pitted with 17 to go the team rightly or wrongly thought that new primes would be quicker than used options. Vettel only had a handful of laps to the flag so clearly his used options would serve him better.

I find tire management through the entire weekend is not communicated by the broadcaster or commentators quite as clearly as it could, because it is pivotal to what we see throughout both qualy and the race. In Monaco some commentators were criticising Vettel's decision not to run in Q3 as if he did it by choice oblivious to the fact he had no tires left..!

I think a simple graphic showing 3 options and 3 primes next to a drivers name with a red cross through 'used' sets could be put up at the end of each qualy session, and then during the race, and would be a great way for everyone to keep track of what is happening in this vital part of race strategy.


This chart is weird. It looks like for most of the race the leader was several seconds behind something. But what?


If memory serves the zero line on e horizontal axis represents a car doing the winners average laptime every lap. So at the start all cars drop behind the average laptimes and by mid race, when the fuel has burnt off, they start catching up again.

As you would expect Hamilton ends up bang on the zero line at the end, because the total of his actual laps and his average laps are the same.


I don't get it.

If the 0 line is the average of Lewis's time..shouldn't Lewis's line be above that 0 line at some point in the race? It's always below that line, so that cannot be the average.


/ \

/ \





Something like this.

From the graph, to me it looks like the average lap time for Lewis & Alonso would be somewhere along the -20 horizontal line.

I don't even know why there is that 0 line there. It confuses people more than it helps clarify things.


Thanks Darren. It did help.

This is why I love this website.. On top of very good and first hand articles from James, you get to interact and change opinions with hardcore, passionate and knowledgeful fans.

Thanks again.


I'll admit it is a little confusing for a start but if you learn to understand it its actually a very powerful tool for analysing the race.

Lewis never exceedes 0 because the graph is based on his total race cumulative time. The 0 line is just a base line based on the winners race time, its kind of like an average but not really.

I worked out from the race time that Hamiltons average lap time for the whole race (total time 1:32:29.586 / 70 laps) was 1:19.2 (give or take). If at any point in the race anyone is slower than this their line on the graph goes down, if they are faster than 1:19.2 it goes up.

For example if Hamilton did a 1:22.2 on lap 1 the graph would show -3s, if he then did a 1:21.2 on lap 2 it would show -5s. Now say on lap 3 he did a 1:18.2 the graph would show -4s. And so on until the end of the race, he cant ever exceed 0 because 0 is the time he took for the race and he cant be any quicker than he actually was, that would be impossible!

Now you can see when they pit for new tyres they get faster and they get much faster at the end of the race when most of the fuel has burnt off. You can also see just how slow Button was for the whole race and how much time Alonso lost at the end of the race.

If you are wondering why Hamiltons line hits 0 on the lap before the end it will be because his last lap was 1:19.2 (ish) I havent checked but I bet anything you like it will be.

Hope this helps!


Just ignore the oblic looked diferent when I was typing the message and after I pressed "submit" it moved those lines all over the place.


Button's line on the graph looks very downward!


he was behind a mean (average) version of himself. The chart shows each driver's relative position on track to a ghost car that is lapping at the winner's average time for the whole race.


Took me quite a few attempts to get it when they first started using these charts.

The "time difference" is a cumulative delta: difference in lap time compared to the zero time, which is if they drove the same speed for the entire race (ie winners race time/number of laps).

At the start the cars are heavy, so lose a few seconds every lap (graph heads down). Towards the end the cars get lighter and so actually start lapping faster than the average lap time, meaning they are adding to the cumulative time point. This means the graph starts to head back to zero. The interesting parts are the dips/peaks vs other cars as these are the areas where they've stayed out on old tyres too long (look at the dip at the end of Alonzo's race, where everyone else was improving on their lap time Alonzo was losing time (cf average lap time) every lap).

Might not be the best explanation, but hope it helps.



Nice explanation but why are we given such a confusing chart anyway. This is the second season and still nobody really knows what it shows.

Why not a chart that shows the actual lap times?


It's not confusing -- but a chart of lap times for every car would be very confusing.

Sure it requires a bit of effort to understand, but then this is a technological sport -- probably the most technological sport -- so let's not dumb it down.

Push the boundaries, James, and don't worry about a few people being lost along the way.


This is actually an explanation that I can make sense of, thanks. The zero line is not an average, if it were, a given graph line would have equal areas over and under the average line (and not simply dip under).


Actually it is an average, as aezy_doc explains below. Interestingly if refuelling was allowed again, the winning car would go over and under that line as you describe.

The big 'sag' in the line is because of the cars being considerably heavier -- and therefore slower -- at the start and then gradually becoming lighter as they steadily burn off the fuel they're carrying.


The dashed line at the top represents the average lap time of the race winner over the entire race distance, so due to pit stops, they only meet as they cross the finish line on the last lap.


Sorry, not dashed line but the horizontal line at zero.


Along with 'Lotus' being in the article headline, the 'Strategy Report Graph' consistently generates the most confusion on this website!

Next year, maybe Lotus should sponsor the Strategy Reports?

Just look at the graph, and it tells the story of the race! Don't worry about that flat line at the top....


Sorry to be a pedant

"So for the second stint the order was Hamilton, Alonso, Vettel. At this point all three had the option to stop again.

Only Hamilton knew for sure that he wouldn’t be "

Only Hamilton knew for sure that he *would* be or

All three had the option to one-stop


James meant that all three (Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel) had the option to make a second stop at that time (after the first stop).

Hamilton knew for sure that he was going to stop... just by the messages in the radio: "keep pushing" also when he came out of the first stop he was told to pass Alonso asap, knowing possibly that Ferrari will not make a second stop.

Right after their first stop, both Alonso and Vettel had still the option to do second stop... which could mean: both will push knowingly that they will do a second stop... but because they knew they were not going to stop for second time, both of them took care of the tires... just look at the lap times, they were not trying to go as fast as Hamilton, Just cruising.

Perez pitted Lap 41

Grosjean pitted Lap 21

Alonso pitted Lap 19

So Grosjean tires where at least 2 laps younger than Alonso... but Alonso is defending a second position, why on earth would you put this result in jeopardy trusting the tires will last longer? unless of course Ferrari is afraid of Lotus... and knowing what happen in 2010 Abu Dhabi, maybe Alonso would have stayed behind Grosjean after a second stop and probably even crash knowing that Grosjean is famous for his DNFs?

Anyhow at the end of the day: it was a fun Grand Prix with some controversy and Ferrari gave us more to talk about... I guess lesson learned for them and RedBull!


Thanks, I've tidied up the typo


Thx for explanation James..

I think we are starting to understand the weekness and strongness of the teams. In my opinion the best car out there using the tyres is sauber, particulary in race, they can generate heat into those tyres and make them last a whole of laps, particulary in perez hands. They are making a lot of mistakes in qualifying or else they should have a couple a race wins at this time. Perez was by large margin the faster in Monaco, and on Sunday he was too one of the fastest even on one stop strategy, is fastest lap was on 26 lap of his Supersoft new tyres, losing only to Vettel fresh ones. The same for Kimi who fastest lap was on last lap, 30th lap of a SS used tyre. So lotus in underusing the tyres, particulary with Kimi (not a new problem, remember 2005 or 2008?), and that is hurting him in qualy, but also in race. With this Pirellis the fastest lap should be in the first laps out of the box not on lap 30. Mclaren is the best qualifyng car because they can pute lots of heat and energy into the tyres, but in race they must go for attack using all the advantage of frseh tyres even if that implicates one more stop.It seeems Mclaren (Victory in Australia and Canada), Red Bull (Monaco and vettel was in class of his own in Bahrain) and Sauber prefers the low degradation rate tracks, Ferrari and and Mercs stand in a Middle point, and Lotus defenitively the high degradation tracks where they can heat those tyres and also nursing them. That´s my view in terms of using the tyres, of course each individual setup is another factor, Hamilton and Alonso seem they heat the tyres out of the box, and kimi needs lots of laps to make them warming-up.

Thank you for reading


Rui , who said you must do your fastest lap on you first during a race??
1. Do you understand that the cars start with 150kg of fuel- if you notice cars are 5 sec slower at the start of a race.!
2. Do understand that cars running nose to tail in the first few laps can't run flat out. Only when you have clear air can you maximize your performance. did you see how many fastest lap times Vettel set in last few laps in 2011 with really low fuel and No one in front of him.??
3. Do you understand that in 2005 and 2008 bridgestones needed much more laps to reach their peak and the cars only had carried 30-50 kg of fuel per stint
4. Have you ever seen how many fastest qualifying times Kimi has set prior to 2009 ?
No two ways about it Sauber do look after tyres well as do Lotus. [mod]


I´m not saying the fast lap would be on the start of the race of course, they are too heavy for that, but after the last pit stops with Pirelli tyres, the majority of the teams are faster with fresh tyres and still a significant amount of fuel, then low fuel and worm tyres, what i´m refering is that Kimi and also Perez did the best lap on lap 30th and 26th respectively with one big diference, Perez was fastest out of the pits and kimi took a hole of laps before making them work. All the others cars/teams/drivers did thy best laps in average at lap 18 and 20 after there last pit stop here in canada. Kimi did in lap 30, thats a huge diference. In normal circuits, Bahrain, Spain, China, Malasia was wet, can´t make a point, the best lap of the race was in average 2 LAPS AFTER THE LAST PIT STOP. Can you see my point? China, 2 laps after, Bahrain, first lap after pit, Spain, first lap after last pit.

So my conclusion is, in comparation with all the other circuits the tyres for this grand prix were too durable, that´s why so many one stop strategies. When this happens, the lotus seems to struggling cause they can´t heat properly the tyres, specialy KIMI. My conclusion is based in the fact that when the track is too smooth that benefit Mclaren, RedBull and also Sauber and mercedes. When we see high levels of degradation we see Lotus as the main threat in race, but unfortunately for them they still play caatch up in qualy because they can´t produce the best lap on there first lap.

This is my point.

Thank you for your comment


"Kimi is not a robot"

Sorry, Jorge, but yes he is.

Haven't you seen any of his interviews?


I think you guys have to consider the HUMAN factor... Kimi is not a robot, every lap requires concentration (brake, accelerate, steering, tire degradation, less fuel as more laps are done, radio comm, traffic, fan girls as there are very pretty nice girls at the stands, etc.) See you @ next race!


Yeah obviously Lotus need to improve on qualifying, especially for Kimi- then he would not be in so much traffic and his quick lap times would come sooner. Also car set up, strategy, new or used tyres. But yes in general Lotus works better on worn tyres and lighter fuel than most of the opposition (except Sauber).also the track temp- not just surface type.


The fastest lap in a race on a new set of tyres wont necessarily be the first one out of the pits. The drivers have all found that you've got to hold back a little on the first few laps out to make them last. There's also the fact that the waight comes down as the fuel burns off, so it's hardly a surprise that they can set ther fastest lapstowards the end of a stint rather than at the start.


James thanks for the analysis. It is clear from it that during the last 20 laps of the race, Ferrari had plenty of chances to reconsider their strategy and pit Alonso and get the second place at least.

It is puzzling to me how they failed to do that. And I don’t think you needed hindsight to realise that their gamble was unnecessary and against all odds. They chose to try and win using strategy rather than fighting for it on the race track. What happened in Montreal had too many similarities with the infamous Abu Dhabi race.

Not need to beat themselves over it though, simply learn. Thay ve come a along way since the start of the season. The championship is there for the taking.


Agree with you guys, Alonso should have pitted. Period... Why they chose not to? We probably will never know... maybe Alonso felt very comfortable with how the car was doing... or maybe they did not want to have an Abu Dhabi repeat... meaning stuck behind Lotus/Renault forever. I guess someone at Ferrari will get a reprimand


I don't know if it was similar to Abu Dhabi - it was perhaps worse! In AD they were stuck behind Petrov unable to overtake. In Montreal there was definitely the possibility to overtake Grosjean and Perez and cover off Vettel. Could have and should have pitted.


Thanks James. Always a good read. I thought Sunday's race was quite boring, except for near the end. Do you think the races (the ones without rain or a SC) are going to be as boring for the rest of the year? If so, what would you do to change that?


No, I think there will be some good ones.


As always, great analysis James.

For Red Bull, if Vettel's first pit stop would have been a lap earlier, he would have re-joined in front of Rosberg. Vettel had a slow pit stop which didn't help either. The second opportunity for them was, the moment they noticed that Hamilton was more than a second faster after the second pit stop. I have a feeling that Vettel probably didn't have enough fuel to push after his first pit stop.

At least Red Bull reacted when they realised their mistake to rectify the situation otherwise Vettel would have been overtaken by Rosberg and Webber.

Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari never expected a challenge from the likes of Lotus and Sauber, hence didn't keep an eye on Grosjean and Perez's times. Also, tyre degradation is not entirely car specific but more driver specific. Good examples are Hamilton vs Button, Perez vs Kobayashi etc. You can't blame the car for cooking up the tyres.

It would have been better if Ferrari had put their hands up and said 'yes we goofed up' instead of defending their strategy which went horribly wrong. Shame!


Yesterday you blamed the Ferrari drivers instead of the strategy for cooking their tyres. Today you blame the strategy. I'm a bit confused.


OK, let me explain. We are talking about two different things here - tyre management skills and strategy.

The expected race win was lost due to lack of tyre management skills which could have been averted by the right strategy call.

Before the race itself, McLaren knew neither Hamilton nor the car can manage the tyres hence their plan A - a two stop strategy which worked.

Red Bull were unsure if one stop will work but went for it. Once they realised they were in trouble, they reacted and limited the damage.

Ferrari were too proud and paid the price.

If Vettel had pitted soon after Hamilton, then Ferrari too would have done the same. This didn't happen. Ferrari thought Vettel will hold Hamilton for a while so Alonso can get away. But Vettel was too smart. He let Hamilton pass without a fuss.

Ferrari knew their car can handle the tyres because they had the numbers from the wind tunnel and the strategists. But what they didn't know was, their driver can't manage the tyres for that number of laps.

They are saying their strategy was right because it was agreed between the driver and the pit wall - in Italian.

Hope this clarifies.


I think you're missing an important factor, track temperature that day. It was hotter than on Friday practise. On Friday, many teams thought one pit stop could be enough, however on Sunday it was hotter and with hindsight we can say now two pit stops was the winning strategy as Lewis proved. Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso were racing each other and their cars are not as gentle to their tyres than Lotus or Sauber. Perhaps Ferrari paid the price, but to say Alonso is not good managing his tyres is just not accurate.


"Ferrari thought Vettel will hold Hamilton for a while so Alonso can get away."

Vettel on old tyres or any other driver under the same conditions could only hold Hamilton until the DRS zone. Thats max any team would hope for.

No team makes plans over such a nonsense hope.


Yes, the Ferrari call was a real puzzle. As I watched, while the laps ticked by after Hamilton's final stop it became clear how Red Bull and Ferrari eventually became compelled to stay out and wait and see. At this point, it began to look more and more certain that Hamilton would catch and pass them *unless* there was a safety car.

What I didn't expect, though, and clearly nor did Ferrari, was that Alonso's tyres would go off so massively while Grosjean's stayed fairly consistent. As you say, though, they should have seen from all Massa's info that they had to cover Hamilton and pit, even if it meant a straight race to the line.

As it is, they threw away a podium. Good on Red Bull for rectifying their mistake and pulling Vettel in. At least they salvaged a 4th.


Surely if a Safety car had happened after Hamilton had pitted, it would of made passing Vettel & Alonso even easier. As they would of all bunched up behind Alonso, and once the safety car had pulled in, Hamilton would of probably passed both of them in 1 or 2 laps straight, and then pulled away. The only time a safety car would of helped, would be if it stayed out for the rest of the race!


A safety car would have helped the chasers in 2 situations:

If it came out a few laps before the leader had to pit - ie bunching the cars back together

or, as you say

If it came out after the leader pitted, before he'd regained position, and remained out until the end of the race


True, and perhaps I'm getting my timeline muddled up, but a few laps before the end it's not inconceivable that they would have to trot around behind a safety car either until the finish or until with only one or two laps to go. They'd all have cold tyres, and Alonso's tyres would not have been so beaten up, so it's not too unlikely that Ham will either not have had time to pass anyone, or perhaps only enough to pass Vettel.


Fascinating information here, thank you for this.

I notice not that Alonso not only did the long stint on the Soft tyre, but it was one already used in qualifying too!! Why was this? Did he have no new ones left, or did they think a used one might warm up quicker and keep Hamilton behind him?


I think Grosjean was on used softs for his long second stint, too. Can you confirm this, James ?


[mod - tyre charts are printed at the foot of the strategy report]

Interesting that Grosjean and Alonso are the only drivers who appear to have opted deliberately for used Primes. (Do you know if Button used new or scrubbed Primes in Q3 ?)

Clearly it seemed to work for Grosjean, but can you explain why they would do that ?
Does the extra heat cycle make the harder tyres last longer (seems unlikely) ? Or is it that they might be faster on the out lap ?


I have to disagree with you James, I quite enjoyed the race even before the lst 20 lap dash, a big improvement over the dull Monaco GP which had nobody trying anything.

Any Idea whats going on with Jensen, I know the team said he had a new suspension set up in Canada which with the problems on friday was untested before the race, but still this is the third race in a row that he's been slow and overused the tyres. It's very strange as he's Mr Smooth and as Australia and China proved, he wasn't having any real problems with the tyres at the start of the year.


Could it be related to McLaren changing to using a higher nose?


It's just him needing too precise a car setup to deliver.

Hamilton ain't having same problems with the same car.


I doubt it's going to be any one thing, particularly something so small.


I thought Ferrari had the race pace to beat Mclaren doing a two-stop, Hamilton had only made a 2.5 second gap after pushing on his middle stint whereas Alonso has been nursing his tyres.

Hamilton might of retaken the lead during the tyre warming phase, but don't see Alonso couldn't of then taken him.


I don't quite understand how it is a pitstop of around 15 seconds. Whenever a car pitted, the timing clock showed around 21 seconds which includes the 4 seconds or so it take to change the tyres.

So surely, if anyone wanted to pit and come out in front of the guy behind them, they would need to be at least 20 seconds in front.

Please correct me if I am missing something here.


Cars don't enter and exit the pits at the same place. The time lost is the time spent in the pits/pit lane, less the time it would take to cover the same stretch if on the racetrack.

If the loss time is 15 seconds and the pitting time is 21, that's implying cars on the track take 6 seconds from pit entry to exit.


And they get a faster bypass of the chicane on the pit entry-- no braking until the pit speed limit, compaired to heavy braking for cars staying out..


The timing clock showed the time the car took to do the full stop from pit lane entry to exit. That was about 21 seconds as you say.

But the cars on track also take time to do that same distance, which in Canada included the last chicane and first corner, hence the time lost is less than the 21 seconds.


Exactly. It's known as the "loss time" ie the time differentia between coming in and staying out, plus the stop time


I think you're forgetting that the other cars also need to drive down the Pitt straight and also take two corners that the pitting car avoids. This would bring the length of time _lost_ to ~15 seconds.


Isn't it that it takes 21 seconds to stop, but only costs 15 as the cars on the track have to negotiate the final corner and then turns 1 & 2?


You're missing the time it takes the car not stopping to get from the pit entrance to the pit exit.


The difference from most other tracks is that in Canada, after the clock is stopped at those 21s, the car coming from the pits goes straight ahead into the middle of turn 2 while the car on the track spends around 6 extra seconds taking turn 1 and a slower turn 2.

Checking the circuit diagram helps understand what I wrote:

As far as I remember, this (the pit road being faster than the track road) doesn't happen in any other currently track in F1, ergo the time in the clock matches the time wasted.


The driver takes around 20 seconds on the pit lane, but the other drivers take around 5 seconds on the pit straight, so the total lost time is 15 seconds.


It also takes a few seconds to drive through the pit-entry and pit-exit points along the racing track, so though the total time in pits may be 21 seconds, they have only lost about 15 seconds compared to a regular lap.


Not at this race. It was 15 seconds to make a stop in Montreal. Most races it is around 20 secs


Lovely stuff, as always. You know, if Grosjean hadn't been caught up battling and stuck behind Rosberg after his stop, he may have had a very strong chance to have won. Hamilton would have come out behind and sure, had better tyres, but Grosjean's pace was strong throughout so I think, even with DRS it would have been tough to have overtaken him, especially considering that in general it was quite a procession for similarly matched cars even with DRS.


James, are you sure Grosjean and Alonso had "used" soft tyres? They should both have had at least one new set of soft tyres surely.

Great analysis by the way!


That's the data Pirelli gave


James let me have your opinion on this one. I personally think that Ferrari were not trying to win at all. It was clear from the first couple of laps after Hamilton's pit stop that he would catch and pass both Fernando and Vettel. The reason they did not pit in my opinion was Vettel. Once more (after Abu Dhabi) they took their eyes off the greater picture and tried to cover Vettel, knowing that their target was finish ahead of him.

What they were using was a conservative strategy and not a bold one, they were doing damage limitation, but completely ignored any other driver coming from the back.

A similar mistake cost them a championship. I hope it doesn't cost them another one.


What I would say is this: the F1 WDC this year will be the guy with the most consistent results. Alonso was leading the championship,( in the slowest car of the front runners) due to consistency.

In Canada they believed they could win and gambled at the end, rather than playing the percentage game, pitting a second time and covering off Grosjean. They didn't know what Vettel's tyres would do, but Hamilton's pace on fresh tyres showed that Alonso on fresh rubber would be at least 3rd and probably would pass Vettel for 2nd. Points difference = 8pts. Could be valuable at the end of the season.


That's gonna worth several millions lol.


Anyone have an idea of what happened to Button? I know he's more sensitive to how the car feels than most, but the gulf here is dramatic.

I have a vague memory of Barricello complaining that Jenson kept taking his car setup while at Brawn. Do you think that Jenson is dialing himself into the wrong setup, or is it a fundamental change in the car that doesn't suit Jenson's style?


Hammy's style is totally opposite to Button and ain't suitable for him. Button would be stupid to take Hammy's.

Wrong setup or change in car, either way it's Jenson, not the car. Hammy delivered in the same car.


Could it be related to McLaren changing to using a higher nose? Sorry, I can't remember when they introduced the new nose, but I am sure that it was after the first 2 races, which Jenson did well in. Maybe it is just a coincident?


James, how much could Lotus be benefiting from the fact that Grosjean and Heidfeld who have both driven for them have been Pirelli test drivers as well?


Of course, it's helping RG to know how to race these tyres and get single lap pace out of them.

I'm told by insiders that he's a very quick driver. Once he gets some more experience and avoids trouble at starts he could be quite a force, certainly on this generation of tyres


Mr Allen,

Thank you for a very fine detail of a race.

That is why JA on F1 is a numero uno of sites

Thank you again and keep it up.


Numero uno - I like that!



Is it possible that Alonso picked up marbles on the main straight when 'defending' from passing drivers and did this affect his tyre wear in a similar way to Kimi's drop off in China. I notice from the Graph that there is an increased drop off in lap time just after hamilton passed him. I wonder how he would have faired if he had stayed on line like Vettel had.


Massa has the same droppoff at about lap 40 - it only shows, that on the ferrari these tires really go off, when the go ....

i dont think it because of marbles - the are normaly gone after the next turn ...


Great analysis, James, thanks a lot.

A question: what do you think about the way Lewis read the race through Fernando and Vettel´s pace?

He was very atemptive and sensitive to the way the race was evolving strategically and even his engineer — who have all the data at his disposal — couldn’t get what was happening at that moment.

Don´t you think Lewis has been handicapped by Latham´s inexperience, as we saw at Monaco, when he left Lewis misinformed and exposed to Vettel´s strategy?


He has said after the race that the information the team was giving him was perfect and that the team executed the race perfectly. After some problems in recent races that's good to see


Yeah how ironic of Ferrari for they went into the race knowing they were out and out contenders . Yet when it

really counted they reverted back to being defensive. Seem old habbits in 2012 die hard!

Also The way Sergio passed Nico and others was absolutely fantastic . If Ferrari don't snap him up quickly Mclaren better do it. That has to be one of the best drives so far .


I still think perez will be a Ferrari driver next year

The Kitchen Cynic

A one-stopper seems to be as much a Sauber MO as specifically Perez. I seem to remember HHF always cruising round full of fuel in the mid 90s when everyone else was 3 stopping.


HHF was great at doing this, shame he didn't get the chance to win more.

I remember when he won the French GP, he had to save lots of fuel.


"...the Lotus has the potential at times to do one stop less than some of its rivals and still be competitive. It’s weakness lies in single lap qualifying pace..."

Surely both characteristics are likely to be dependent on the car's setup ?

If they improve qualifying speeds, they're likely to degrade their ability to run extended stints.

"Perhaps more worryingly, this was the second race which could be done by cruising around on a one stop strategy..."

Agreed. It doesn't matter so much at a track like Montreal, where both strategies are feasible, and the interaction of the two can be compelling. At tracks where it's difficult to overtake, then tedium does indeed threaten.

Perhaps the answer is to redesign the tyres with greater wear, but less degradation ?


Following a comment I made in a previous post, I'd like to say I loved the alternatives of the race and I'd much rather watch races like this being won by the same two or three drivers than six different drivers winning straightforward races.

The great trade off in racing, imo, is having the option to be slower but deriving some advantage from it, such as making less pit stops. It's the old turtle vs hare thing.

I feel the old Indy/CART from the early to middle 1990s was great at that, with fuel mixture and turbo power options that would let drivers keep quiet and pop up ahead of everybody who pitted near the end of a race. And there was no huge difference between the cars, as the fuel load to finish the race was similar (the turtle might have a little less) and the tyres were also similar (the hare could have slightly newer ones).

With turbos and ERS in the horizon, introducing this sort of thing might be interesting. Perhaps reconsider refueling?


James, once we had allready seven GP´s and seven diferente winners on seven pretty distints race tracks, can you give us your opinion on tyre managment and use of them in terms of the caracteristics of the asphalt. Because i´m not seeing proper diferences on the car performance in terms of the layout of the track, i´m seein much more diference and starting making a point if the asphalt is abrasive or smooth.

Thank you


Hi James, Strategy Report is a must! thank you..

We were told by italian tv that Alonso had a supersoft set with only a lap on it for the race. Do you think his Ferrari could be eventually faster than Hamilton's McLaren with it on, in the last 20 laps? Thx!


"So it’s hard to see where their confidence to stick with one stop came from"

Exactly,that is my point. I believe Alonso does not want the italian media to kill the team and said what he said after the race to made it look like 1 stop was always their strategy. Congrats to RB for swallowing their pride and fix the mistake. In a close season like this 1 or 2 points could be what you need to win the championship.

Bring Back Murray

To James. Exactly how many seconds per lap was Massa down on his prime lap time after 40 laps? Was it a noticable drop off in pace, enough for them to really anticipate such an extreme drop off in Alonso's pace during the last few laps?

Great website BTW.


After 40 laps on primes Massa was doing 1m 18.8s laps. Alonso's pace at that time was 1m17.9 on 33 lap old primes


Great detailed analysis. I'm afraid whatever you say in defence of Ferrari's strategy it was just a mistake, and that's not hindsight talking, it was obvious Lewis was going to catch Alonso with a good handful of laps left from a long way out. At the very least when Vettel pitted Ferrari should have covered this off.

A question - would it be possible with the qualifying report to include a table similar to the one above, showing what tyres everybody used and (in the case of the top 10) will start the race on?


"So it’s hard to see where [Ferrari's] confidence to stick with one stop came from."

Maybe they thought Alonso would maintain the tires better than Massa at a similar stage in the race.

James, I'd like to hear your opinion on this. How do you think Gilles Villeneuve or Senna would have done with these tires? I agree that great drivers adapt the best but do you think any other drivers from the past would have done better with these tires?


Villeneuve I don't know, great driver but before my time so no idea how adaptable he was.

Senna would have found a way, he was obsessive about figuring out the secret to getting tyres to work. He figured out a technique for getting the release agent (from when tyres are in the mould) removed before mounting the Goodyear tyres which gave him an edge for a while until someone spotted his mechanics shaving tyres...


Villeneuve for me was the best driver of all BUT for sure he would have struggled with this tyres because his way of driving was way too agressive/attack mode and "sliding", something that he gained from his racing on snow...he was a kind of Collin Mcrae racing on a Formula 1


That is very interesting. Thank you!

"Martin" one time F3 driver

"until someone spotted his mechanics shaving tyres…"

As was common practice in 1970's FF....


Spot on with the analysis James. And frankly I'm tired of Ferrari using hindsight as an excuse. At least Red Bull made the right call after. In my opinion, Ferrari failed twice. I'm not sure about fuel remaining, but Alonso was fast on super softs, so there is every reason he could have been as fast as Vettel and even faster. I'm no expert, just been a fan for a long time, and even after Vettel pitted I felt Alonso should have automatically pitted on the next lap. As each lap went on I still felt he should. While I don't begrudge Grosjean and Perez, they were gifted podiums.


HI James,

It was hard to watch Alonso 10 laps from glory. If Ferrari wanted to gamble they should have put Alonso on super softs. Whats your opinion on that move?

Tornillo Amarillo

Hi James, can we have some more analysis about Grosjean? Why in the graphic his line is not falling down like Alonso's?

And if the answer is because he hasn't had a high degradation, why some few laps before the end did not speed up to try a win?


Looking in his mirrors to keep ahead of Perez?


I've read a few articles analyzing what happened on the last 20 laps of the race and to me it was at the time and still is now pretty straight forward. Once Hamilton pitted the second time, he was almost immediately one second per lap faster than Alonso and Vettel. That should have been the only relevant indicator at that point as to what to do and the only reasonable answer was to pit again. Period. What Horner and Domenicali are arguing today doesn't make sense.


perhaps so ; but they didn't know for how long the tyres would be that fast as hamilton was clearly going for it

not that obvious therefore , as it happened hamilton was told he had time to cruise up behind the leaders , and the tyres lasted easily


Exactly. You don't need an Einstein to figure that out.


Thanks, James, now I can see the race a lot better!

"So it's hard to see where their confidence to stick with one stop came from"

Ferrari [mod] greed, I suppose! They were suddenly leading the championship. I was surprised Felipe didn't crash when Hamilton was getting closer to Fernando. LOL

What if Hamilton went for the super-soft on his 2nd stop -- was he able to win the race, would the tyres have made it 20 laps long?


Compare the last portion of the graphs for Vettel, Alonso, and Massa.

Red Bull pitted Vettel precisely at the point were his laptimes just started to flatten out. Ferrari did the same for Massa. But if you look at Alonso, his graph has the same shape at the end as Massa and Vettel in terms of where it first starts to faltten out due to tire wear. The difference of course is that Ferrari chose not to pit Alonso. When I was watching the race I thought it was unfair to criticize Ferrari as it was only with hindsight that it looked like a mistake. However, now by looking at the graph data I think it is clear that the info was there to show that pitting late would have been better, but for some reason Ferrari missed or ignored the data.


Hi James, Just to clarify did both Mclarens use different suspension's?

As Jenson felt that the 'electronic trickery' used on the rear suspension to control the car's adjustable roll control was confusing his feel for the car and causing him to make poor set up choices.

However Lewis's car has a suspension set up that uses less anti squat built into its geometry. Therefore allowing his car to squat under acceleration and dive under braking to provide the driver with traction.

As Jenson's car does not have the Lewis spec suspension, as he was trying to understand his problems during the last three GP's. More important Jenson lost valuable time on Friday due to the oil leak on his gearbox and more work required during the whole practice session.

Now moving forward, I believe Mclaren will have solved the handling problems for race pace as shown by Lewis's car.

Another key question James, will the suspension geometry be key in generating traction and to help with ride over tight corners, apexes, and fast flowing corners?.

Time will tell, as these tyres require a could sweet spot to work with as demonstrated with all the victories this year, 7 different winners, now who win the 8th GP?......

Thanks in advance.


Ron Dennis said both cars were technically same on Qualifying and Race.


It just seems strange that both cars were well off the pace, must be that Jenson did not get the available time to perfect the set up. But I do believe Mclaren are on to something with regards to the suspension setup i.e. to squat under acceleration and braking as seen by Lewis on Sunday. If the engineers can set their cars to the drivers liking i.e. to carry speed over corners etc and to minimise tyre wear but to slow this process down.



It's believed McLaren was taking advantage of the production tolerance allowed for the floor - which has to be flat but which is allowed a few millimetres tolerance - by considering the splitter as part of the floor. The clarification put a stop to this. McLaren insists this had no serious impact upon the car's aerodynamic performance, but others are less sure. Could it have allowed just enough rake on the car for even Jenson to get the front tyres up to temperature? It's only a theory. But at the time of writing, theories were all even Button and the team had.'


Hamilton deserved the win more than anyone because of his overall performance this year.

Fernando was 3 seconds slower on his next lap after the pits while Hamilton vetted and even Massa were only 1 second slower.

At the same time the super soft was proving also slower from on its first lap. This meant that the undercut was impossible.

This also opened 2 windows for Hamilton to win the race. Stay out and react to cover only if someone else pits, or continue with plan A (2stops). But Ferrari and Redbull had only the option of a 1 stop race to win in case something bad happened to Lewis.. MacLaren seemed sure though that 2 pits was the way to go. Their pit stop errors also did not made them wanna try their luck.

So for me whoever came out in front after the first pit stop would also have been the rce winner.

Fernando lost as he failed to heat his tyres quickly after the first stop.


The "X" factor in all of this was Lewis Hamilton putting in a really great drive. That cannot be discounted. He did an outstanding job! I wasn't watching live timing along with the race but our excellent announcers on Speed in the USA kept saying "Lewis is purple in sector 1" . 5 minutes later "Lewis is purple in sectors 2 & 3" ect. You could see it too, on screen. He really pushed.





it Would have been nice if the article read

"How Hamilton/Mclaren won the Race" rather than how another team lost it.

Especially considering that even had Alonso pitted he was not guraunteed the win anyway.

Ignores Hamilton keeping Vettel honest in the first stint ( all Vettel Hamilton had little to do with things), Mclaren able to get him in front of Vettel or Hamilton, on cold tyres, keeping Vettel, on warmed up tyres, at bay.

it ignores Hamilton snatching the lead back from Alonso (if it was only down to Alonso's colder tyres how come Vettel had not been able to do the same to Hamilton earlier?).

it completely ignores the series of purple sectors Hamilton kept banging in to reel them both in.

reporting the race from the perspective of other teams ignores Hamilton's effort completely.


We did the race report on Sunday. This is a strategy analysis answering a question about Ferrari and Red Bull's decision not to pit


Why are the Red Bulls so slow (top speed)? - from the graphics they looked almost 20kmh slower than other cars.

Same max rpm, same size tyres - all it can be is shorter top gear - so its not 'to get the power down on corner exit'.

Why make it easy for everybody else to pass you when they can just increase the gap between 6 & 7th (like everybody else)


It's drag. Red Bull have chosen a setup that is draggier than other cars, but it gives them more downforce too, making the laptime in the corners rather than on the straights.

Bring Back Murray

Perhaps its time for Red Bull to have a re-think on this. They aren't flying around at the front as regulary as they were for the last two seasons. They'll need a bit more top end speed to overtake people!


Hi James,

Can you please clarify how a safety car would have helped the 1 stoppers? I thought it would help the 2 stoppers as they get to pit while the others are circulating at reduced speed, then they get to bunch up after rejoining. As you pointed out, Montreal has one of the shortest pit lanes and is also easy to pass on, so surely a 2 stopper would have the advantage of fresh tyres and DRS to pass 1 stoppers after the saftey car pulls in? Add to this the new rule allowing lapped traffic to unlap themselves, would also mean less backmarkers between the leaders and 2 stoppers.




A safety car would have helped in the sense that after Hamilton's second stop Alonso and Vettel could have pitted under safety car conditions, come out still second and third with the grid bunched up but on much fresher rubber to be able to attack for the win.


It would have to come in the first or second stint. An early SC period would mean the 1-stoppers can prepare their tyres for the upcoming brutality, while the 2stoppers will have less "racing laps" to make up the gap.

David from Sydney

Hi James,

Just wondering, in Montreal we saw the soft tyres last in some cases about half race distance, yet on a circuit like Melbourne they only lasted a quarter of the race distance. Any explanation?


No long high energy corners and lower roughness of asphalt track surface


James - in my view since the end of refuelling in 2009, and race-lasting tyres in 2010, tyre information should be published post qualifying. In 2009 they had fuel weights of the Q3 runners. Why not do something similar (maybe just for Q3, or maybe for the entire grid) which tells people which drivers have used/new option/prime sets?

It could be as simple as just, SSU SSU SSN SN SN SU

or some such. I mean just saying which tyres have/haven't been used. I think it's only fair given that they used to publish the Q3 fuel weights in 2008/2009, and as consolation for the lack of running teams do for tyre saving in qualifying now.


Also, given that there really are two values for "top speed" of each team - I think FOM should release two datasets instead of 1 - 1 where DRS was used, and the other one is their non-DRS topspeed for each driver.

You could probably add in a simple telemetry filter - if the guy doesn't activate DRS in any way after the last braking point, then the data goes into the non-DRS speedtrap.

Would you bring these suggestions up James? Pretty please?


After the first pitstop I think it became clear that McLaren had got the set up and balance of Hamilton's car near perfect for this race. That coupled with the fastest strategy (2 stop) meant that Hamilton was always going to win. A safety car of course could have upset the applecart, but it of course it depends when in the race it came out.

The middle part of the race was fairly processional, but Hamilton's final stint made up for that. These tyres do mix up the order though as midfield cars are promoted with good set up and strategy, and front running cars demoted if the set up and balance relative to the tyres on a particular circuit has proven elusive. The car and drivers relative peformance becoming secondary to that condition means that the result is not always representative.


Hi James,

From the data displayed during the race, it took an average of 21 seconds to complete a pit-stop. I am not sure how you are arriving at the 15 second window mentioned in your article.




It's the difference between the time it takes to come in, make a stop, rejoin and the time it takes to stay on track and go across start line to Turn 1.


i really dont understand james allens conclusion here - he says that the race was dull and processional because they were cruising around and it was only 1 stop.

why does he conclude that the drivers are pushing if it was 2 or 3 stops?

the only reason why they 1 stopped in monaco and canada is because they could - both circuits have very low tyre deg, compared to any other circuit encountered so far.

but in all cases, the drivers have always been cruising around. Just because the races we've seen up to now have been 2 or 3 stops, does Not mean that in those races the drivers have been pushing.

They visibly haven't been. And that is why theres an argument over these tyres.

This was actually the 1st race all year, where drivers COULD push - you had the option to conserve and do 1 stop, or push and do 2 stops - in that sense it was very much like Classic F1.

Hamilton had to push, to make his strategy work.

So actually i completely disagree with James Allens conclusion. It's the other way around. More durable tyres have meant 2 clear strategic options. Less durable tyres means 1 very clear strategy, and dull racing where drivers aren't pushing at all, in any stint.

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