Canadian GP debrief: Did Ferrari’s decision making cost Sebastian Vettel the victory?
Sebastian Vettel
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  14 Jun 2016   |  6:47 pm GMT  |  99 comments

Ferrari has had chances to win Grands Prix this year, but has not been able to take them. In Australia the race got away from them due to strategy and in Canada they made a big strategy call early in the race, which handed track position advantage to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes. But did this call cost Sebastian Vettel a win, as in Melbourne? Or were they right to try it, even though the result went Hamilton’s way?

We will analyse this and some of the other notable results, like Valtteri Bottas’ first podium of the season and Carlos Sainz’s recovery to the points from the back of the grid.

Max Verstappen

Pre-race expectations
After seven races it is already clear that the races are more enjoyable this year, due to the wider choice of tyres and as a result strategy is more important to the outcome than ever.

Canada has always been touch and go whether to choose a one stop or a two-stop strategy. One-stop gives you track position, but two stops is faster.

A two stop is invariably preferable if you can run in clear air, but on the tyres available this year, Ultra soft, Super Soft and Soft there were not many in the paddock that felt that a one stop was feasible. Force India, for example, a team that can normally get results from doing a stop fewer than its rivals, was not able to attempt a one stop strategy this year in Montreal.

The Ultra soft was the fastest qualifying tyre, so that was the starting tyre for the Top Ten, but the Super soft didn’t perform well in the Friday practice sessions, so few teams had any desire to use it in the race. Apart from the two cars that started on it and Perez, who had a nightmare with it, only Ferrari decided to use it for a stint in the race. It’s never good to be the outliers in a situation like that.

Ferrari did some practice running and data gathering on the soft tyre, mainly with Raikkonen on Friday; once again it turned out to be the best tyre for the race. It had less graining and degradation than the others and because it was longer lasting it gave better flexibility to the strategy.

Ferrari did use it for five laps in Saturday’s FP3 session, which meant that they did not have two new sets of softs available for the race if they were going for a two-stop plan. This was their first mistake.

Ferrari F1

Did Ferrari cost Vettel the win with the early strategy call to pit?

Having taken the lead from the Mercedes at the start, Vettel was in a strong position in the first stint of the race. He was able to hold Hamilton outside DRS range, in other words more than a second behind. And the bonus was that with Max Verstappen falling back and Nico Rosberg having gone off track in a close call with Hamilton at Turn 1, the second Mercedes was down in 9th place. So there was no threat from behind to the lead battle. Vettel and Hamilton were going to finish 1-2; the only question was which one would win?

Ferrari planned a two-stop strategy before the race. Hamilton said that Mercedes did too, but the reality was more subtle. Mercedes were more open minded about which way to go and they planned to take their clues from the early laps, tyre warm up and general performance of the soft and Ultra Soft tyres then decide.

The turning point moment was the retirement of Jenson Button’s McLaren on Lap 11. It was an engine failure, so there was no debris to clear. Therefore it was clear that this was likely to be a short-lived Virtual Safety Car period, when it was activated.

Ferrari were in a two stop mindset and they saw an opportunity with the VSC to take a stop and save some race time, as the saving is around 6 seconds compared to racing speeds. They didn’t get all of this saving because the VSC ended while Vettel was in the pit lane.

Ferrari F1

By stopping at least 8 laps before the optimum stop lap for a two stop strategy, they lost the track position to Hamilton, but also lost the levers to control the race. Stopping early meant that Vettel had to deal with traffic, whereas he would have had a gap to drop into if they had waited another 8-10 laps.

But the biggest problem was that they fitted the Super Soft tyre, which wasn’t performing that weekend. The ideal would have been to fit new softs, which would also have given more range and flexibility.

So what was the thinking? It’s clear that the thinking was rushed in the moment of the VSC. Certainly bringing Raikkonen in was a mistake, as the VSC had ended by then so he gained none of the time benefit and ended up in traffic on SuperSoft tyres, which was a double whammy for him. It was surprising that Ferrari didn’t hedge their best by splitting the strategies, but Raikkonen was slower than Vettel all weekend.

Ferrari clearly felt that the Mercedes was a faster car and that they needed to do something different and more aggressive, to beat Hamilton on the day. If they had stayed out, Hamilton would have likely undercut them at the second stop because the Mercedes can run longer in the final stint, so Mercedes would have pitted early for the second stop and won the race that way. Ferrari wanted to try to set a different agenda and you can understand that.

By stopping early, they knew that this would push Mercedes’ strategist into switching Hamilton onto a one stop strategy, without knowing for sure what state the tyres would be in at the end.

Pirelli F1

Pirelli had briefed that it was possible to do 50 laps on a set of softs, but wear life should not be confused with performance life. Pirelli’s note merely said that the tyre would not wear out for 50 laps, which did not mean that the performance wouldn’t drop off a cliff before then. The art of this game is in the tyre model you build through practice sessions and in how you adapt it to the varying conditions and temperatures.

The first indication Mercedes had that it was definitely going to work was when Rosberg was forced to pit on Lap 51 for a puncture. This allowed them to examine his soft tyres, which were 30 laps old and extrapolate the performance life. They knew then that Hamilton would be able to hold on and win the race.

Did Ferrari make mistakes? Yes, they handicapped themselves by not being able to run two new sets of soft tyres in the race and there are other things they could have tried that might have been more effective than pitting under the VSC. They also seem to have got locked into a pattern of thinking about pitting under the VSC that they were unable to switch out of when it became clear the VSC was ending. These are split second decisions, so it’s easy to criticise on hindsight, but at the same time, if it starts to feel wrong, there is time to abort a stop and stay on track, especially when leading.

Did it cost Vettel the win? The consensus is probably not as Mercedes had a slightly faster car and better tyre life, so the Mercedes strategist would always have had undercut opportunities and other levers he could pull to win the race.

Valtteri Bottas
Williams take a big risk to get Bottas his first podium of the season

Williams has traditionally gone well in Montreal and although they again qualified poorly behind Red Bull, they beat them to the podium with a very bold strategy. Effectively Bottas did the same strategy as Hamilton, stopping one lap earlier and thereby getting track position advantage over the two Red Bull cars. He also took advantage of the mistakes made on Raikkonen’s strategy.

Williams have been criticised in the past for not being bold enough, but they took a chance on the soft tyres holding out and it paid off.

A great deal of credit needs to be given to Bottas and Hamilton for not locking up and damaging the tyres, as other drivers did. When you make a bold call to do the 70 lap race with just two sets of tyres, it’s essential that the driver maintains strong pace while not damaging the tyres and the Ultra and SuperSofts were both very fragile to lock ups and graining. If that happened, performance went out of the window.

Carlos Sainz
Sainz and Toro Rosso pull off a great recovery

Carlos Sainz had looked competitive in practice but made a costly mistake in qualifying which damaged the car and put him 20th on the grid.

From here he managed to come through and finish in 9th place.

Ironically this came about due to an aggressive two-stop plan, whereby Sainz was pitted two laps after the VSC. Toro Rosso could see that it was ending so did not follow Ferrari down the pit lane, instead they left it two more laps and brought him in for Soft tyres, which gave them flexibility in the second stint length.

Their next play was a chess move; they made moves in the pit lane and brought in Danill Kvyat from 13th place aggressively early in Lap 17. The idea was to get Haas and McLaren to react and pit Grosjean and Alonso, which they did. This opened up the space for Sainz, whose tyres were now in perfect condition. So this took him up to 11th place. It was a classic Toro Rosso/Red Bull move, using one driver to the benefit of the other and it worked for a good team result.

Sergio Perez had started on softs and took the supersofts at his stop on Lap 30, but they did not perform. So this gave Sainz the chance to take another position. Massa’s retirement gave him another.

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

Report Sm Rect bann

Race History and Tyre Usage Charts

Kindly supplied by Martini Williams Racing. Click to enlarge

Illustrating the performance gaps between the cars during the race. A line which moves steeply upwards shows strong pace. Sharp drops indicate pit stops.

Compare Raikkonen’s (dotted red) pace in the second and third stints to Vettels (solid red). Also compare Red Bull’s pace to Vettel’s, which shows how strong the Ferrari improvement has been.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 18.17.39

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 18.20.34

Strategy Insights
Strategy Briefings
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

No - they made the right call based on the data available.

I thought pitting under the VSC was pretty canny.


There are a couple of problem with Ferrari's thinking. first, I think they lack confidence. Yes Mercedes is faster and everyone knows it, but I would like them to put the car in VET hands and have him try to win it on track rather than try to be cute with strategy. Would HAM be able to pass him with an undercut or on track? Maybe, but it not a certainty. Even if he was able to pass the result would be no different than what happened, but maybe VET makes a VES type defensive drive an holds of HAM with a weaker car. Personally I'd rather lose in a heads up fight than lose on a goofy strategy call.

Second, if you are going to gamble with the VSC, why not fit on a set of Softs and hedge your bet? That was an error not discussed above. At some point you have to use the softs. Why not use it for a long middle stint and come back and attack at the end on the ultra softs?


I don't think they had any new ultra-softs left to use.


But did they take into account all the data available? Like the data from previous years? It is well known that the track rubbers in over the weekend and even the race, resulting in tyre wear being much lower by the end of the day Sunday.


I couldn't agree more
Spot on.


I couldn't agree more


Yes, looking at the graph, it's the choice of super soft which is questionable. It wasn't particularly durable, nor especially fast. A bit of a half-baked tyre which basically everyone avoided.
It meant that they didn't get enough pace advantage to make up for the pitstop time, and take advantage of a small tyre offset. Nor go long enough to create a large tyre offset so that he could actually pass Hamilton, if he had caught up to him.

harvey bushell

I was thinking to myself as I was watching the race and saw that Button had pulled off the track very near a space in the fencing that this is going to be a very short Delay. The camera cut away after a few moments and when they came back the car was nearly off the track and the stewards were having no problems getting it completely clear. Then we saw Vettel's car pulling into the pits and I thought that this isn't going to work out well at all and sure enough the VSF was then lifted and that was that.

If I could have seen the problem ahead then I'm sure that Ferrari could have as well. I suppose if they were sort of stuck in a headspace of dealing with an old school safety car then Vettel's pit stop would have worked out but in a situation where the race could be and was continued quickly with a simple verbal order they lost out big time. I mean that's the whole point of a virtual safety car... just get back to racing asap. Ferrari just simply made a bad decision.


So it looks like Ferrari's early call on the vsc could have just as easily worked out as not. Good on them for giving it a go for the win.
Williams can reclaim 3rd in the wcc with strategy calls like this. Fast pit stops too,already need is a slightly better car and they could get lucky next year.......outside chance.


Ferrari just did realise how well the tyres lasted on the Mercedes.
Lewis controlled the race and kept his tyres clean.
Vettel pushed hard but then kept locking his front wheels in the heavy breaking zones. So took more out of his tyres.
Sainz did an amazing recovery.
Bottas had a great strategy that brought him 3rd place and added the icing on the Williams Team cake with Claire being awarded a Royal O.B.E. Gong .
James have you heard anything about the fact that FIA may change the testing regarding Front Wings as there seems to be a lot more flexing going on in the Red Bull camp again and another team ?


Testing done, passed


Whats the other team? ( part from RB)


Ferrari, but on the rear wing..




Ferrari apparently.


If we're to compare 2015 and 2016, it would seem it's not the strategists costing Ferrari wins but rather the cool weather.

Recalling Malaysia and Singapore 2015, it was the high track temperatures that saw Ferrari tyres working well whereas Mercedes tyres struggled

Therefore if Montreal had high track temperatures, Vettel's 2 stop would have won.

As for Williams' strategy, if a team has nothing to lose, they might as well throw caution to the wind and see what comes of the one stop strategy

Williams' problem is when they're in good position such as leading the race, this is when the team employs the conservative strategy

Sainz's strategy hinged on his overtaking prowess through the grid which made life easier for the pitwall boffins


"He was able to hold Hamilton outside DRS range, in other words more than a second behind."

Think that's a bit misleading, Hamilton closed up to within DRS range, couldn't overtake immediately so pulled back and was sitting outside the dirty air range.

And I'm shooting from the hip without statistics here, but how often does a strategy that requires you to close up to a car at the end of the race and overtake them for the win come off? I suspect that it's a pretty low %.


China 2011 - Hamilton on a 3 stop overtook Vettel on a 2 stop
Canada 2012 - Hamilton on a 2 stop overtook Vettel & Alonso on a 1 stop

Those are the only clear cut examples I can think of. Any more?


Didn't Hamilton do something similar at Canada in the past? He won if I recall. I'm guessing at Canada a decent tyre offset would usually be enough to pass.


So if it was clear to Ferrari that the Mercedes was faster had they gone with 2 stops, why did the Ferrari team principal say - to Ted - it was a mistake coming in that early? He wouldn't have called it a mistake if he knew the Merc would beat them on identical 2 stoppers, would he?


The problem was not the 2 stopper. It was coming in early and having to extend the other stints. This meant Seb couldn't push as hard (and when he did the tyres weren't up to it,hence the excursions at the final chicane!). Ferrari took a chance with the VSC which ended 10s too soon for them. That was their gamble and in hindsight a mistake. Had the VSC lasted longer,Vettel would have been closer to Ham and been able to push Ham to an earlier stop and maybe force Merc to consider the 2 stop.


I saw the interview. I got the impression he was saying in hindsight it was a mistake.


The wiz drongo's of Ferrari strategy team be it at Maranello or at the pit wall keep on making blunders & not for the first time this year either, they should be given a carrot and send to the greener pastures in search for the rabbits. bit surprised Of Jock Clear by not taking the decisions of the strategy from his gut feeling ,as for Arrivabene, Marchionne should buy him a cowboy hat & send him to Marlboro country , as for Raikkonen ? a used by date expired at Lotus.


I almost understood parts of that!

On balance I think I will go with James' analysis rather than yours.


If only we could do the same with the wiz drongo's on this forum, eh? Would you like a carrot sir?


Yes, to the armchair observer it sure seems like it.

I'm still not understanding the logic for the timing of the first pit stop. Vettel wasn't losing time to Lewis at that point so why blink first? Same sort of goes for the middle stint, Vettel was charging down Lewis's back .5-1sec per lap and then they pit while he still seemed to have pace in the tires and still leave him with a long stint to the finish. The timing just didn't really make sense both times he came in.


Mercedes may have been slightly faster especially in these cold temperatures but we have seen many races in the past like Vettel/Hamilton V Kimi in the in 2012/2013 seasons when they won on the same strategy despite being slower by pitting first. I don't think it's clear cut Lewis could have overtaken. The Ferrari seems to have very good top speed now, the new turbo doing the business.


Lewis wouldn't have needed to overtake as he could have done his stop earlier than Seb.
I know this because I read the article.


It is not impossible that Ferrari could have stopped Vettel earlier than Ham and kept track position.




Rosberg had DRS against a Williams and RB but still coudn't pass. The Ferrari was faster than both those cars. Plus Hamilton didn't really ever get close enough in the first 12 laps to have a go even when he did get DRS.


I'm glad that many people are beginning to realize that Merc engine perfomance can be attained.


It is not just engine, there is brake energy and separately heat energy harvesting and the battery systems they charge and the driver controlled deployment


Regardless of whether Ferrari made the right calls, lets just be thankful they were able to fight all the way.
Hopefully more to come


It's no surprise at all that Raikkonen struggled. He can't switch the tyres on when the temperatures are low. Vodka makes your driving style too smooth.


Doesn't seem to work for Kvyatt!


😀 😀 😀 .... I really shouldn't have found this so funny, yet I did.


I'm pretty sure Kimi was sober during the race.

Ricki Sanguinetti

Nice one there!


Kmag does 29 laps on the ultra soft tyre? Not really the point of a "qualifying tyre" is it?


NickH, that's what they said about the ultra soft! They have promised racier tyres for next year, so maybe the softest compound will only do 20 laps....


They should introduce a new 'bubblegum' spec quali tyre that falls apart after 3 laps.



Nice report especially in giving Hamilton and Bottas credit for their long stints.

In some reports it has all been about how Ferrari gifted the race to Mercedes/Hamilton without acknowledging the skill he showed in only making one small mistake the whole race.

This seem to be a constant when writing about Lewis. Reporters are happy to recognize his outright pace, but not his race-craft which is now obviously right up there with the best these days.

And when is Nico going to learn that Lewis is never going to allow an overtake around the outside of him. And Nico is supposed to be the one with the brains!


Rosberg was avoiding an accident, there was no racecraft involved from Hamilton. He is just used to getting his way at Mercedes, they are not reporting him to the race stewards after all. In Spain, neither Rosberg nor Hamilton avoided contact and see what happened then. Hamilton fans should be thankful to Rosberg, without Ros leaving Ham past in Monaco and avoiding another crash in Canada Ham would now be behind after Ric and Vet in the points.


As far as I saw the contract only came when Lewis lost control braking on the grass and hit the braking car of Rosberg


Ahhh , tantrums galore over the outcome of the Canadian gp . Ferrari cost Alonso the tittle in 2010 ,with the wrong strategy call, what's new. On matters Lewis vs Rosberg :by now, any fool should have spotted that whenever Lewis grabs the racing line,he ain't letting it go; if you wanna force the issue and crash into him,that's your pleasure. It is an unwavering principle he drives by. In
Valencia 2012,Lewis on worn tyres, was giving Maldonado a masterclass schooling in defensive capabilities .After the race, Maldonado said he was faster,and Lewis should have yielded to him to overtake ( ridiculous ). Maldonado, deliberately used his car as a weapon and took Lewis out;and some Hamilton haters heartily rejoiced. He he he.How desperate they are to see Hamilton sunk; but he has risen to 2 more devastating tittles . McLaren under
Witmarsh, yet again displayed their managerial incompetence. They should have demanded at the stewards that Maldonado be banned for a race


Put on a new record please ! Hamilton either crashes out or takes other drivers out or both of them out or leaves it always to the other driver to avoid a contact. Race after race after race after race .......
When you drive the fastest car and have no. 1 status you can afford this but lets get Ferrari and Red Bull closer and he will make some enemies not named Rosberg, but Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen and Raikkonen. And their teams will get the race stewards involved every single time ! His racecraft isnt better now than it was in 2011, he just gets away with it because he is screwing his teammate most of the time.


This year every team has made errors with strategy, it just seems Mercedes have made the fewest. In addition, the cooler than expected temperatures have hampered Ferrari's SF16-H, which just like last year's SF15-T delivers its optimum performances in at least very warm conditions. In cool dry conditions during 2015 (Austria, Britain & Belgium) the SF15-T was lackluster. It is imperative for the following races to be hot, as the SF16-H (especially in Kimi's hands) is deficient in warming its Pirelli tyres in less than ideal circumstances.


Yep, spot on. It's supposed to be warm in Baku at the weekend so there's a start.


Hence why Inaki, the Ferrari strategist should go. Blunders in Melbourbe from winning position, falls for Red Bull trick pitting Ricciardo for a 3-stopper in Barcelona to take Vettel out the game and hand victory to Max and blunders in Canada from winning position. We'll never know if Ham had the better car/longer tyre life because we were robbed of a straight fight. My guess is Vettel had the car under him and the competency to hold him off, with new engine and top end speed.


Canadian GP DRS zone is very effective. I don't Vet would have lasted for a very long time if he didn't have comparable pace with Lewis.


So much for the hypothesis that Lewis is hard on tyres. This race report, and that of the Monaco GP, clearly show that Lewis Hamilton has good tyre management. In both races, he stopped once and run longer than most on a set of tyres. He appears to be as gentle on the tyres as Sergio Perez.

These data debunk the common belief that the Merc chews tyres at a faster clip than the Ferrari. This was true during the 2013 season. It was also true during the 2015 Malaysian and Singapore GP. In the races held since, Ferrari typically pits before Mercedes.


Tyre management skills are not something permanent. The characteristics of the car, the changes in the tyre specs and driving style would mean that it could vary from season to season.
Vettel got the best out of Pirelli tyres in 2013, but struggled in 2014 in comparison to Ricciardo. Hamilton had issues in 2013 and 2015, but seems to get better in 2016.


Could Ferrari have used the softs at the first stop then after a longer stint used ultras at a the second stop, which might have been interesting, and did Hamiltons pace drop off after the VSC or was he in tyre management mode?


Had track position and the upper hand. Managing tyres.


I would like to have seen the fastest driver and car combination win.
This strategy business is for trainspotters and anorak wearers...


Watch sprint racing - this is Grand Prix racing and strategy had ALWAYS played a big part.


I understand strategy has always played a big part of an F1 race. But not to the extent it has got to today. just seems in the last few years strategy has dominated.
I was at Brands the first time Brabham decided to pitstop for fuel and tyres. 84 perhaps?

How many races this year have been won by thestrategists vs the driver effort.


"I would like to have seen the fastest driver and car combination win."

We did, didn't we?


Read the title of the this article again. ..
Strategy lost Vettel the win.
not a fluffed corner or braking point. Or a bad decision by the driver.
it was all down to some guys crunching numbers somwhere.
The weighting is out in f1 at the moment. Its ALL about strategy.
Sprint cars might have it right.


The Pirelli tyre situation is very confusing, an Ultra Soft (US) tyre that lasts 29 laps isn't really "ultra soft" and a Soft (S) tyre that outperforms a Super Soft (SS) tyre pace wise seems a lot like a misnomer. This is compounded by teams having to pick their tyre choices weeks before the race meeting. Logically for this track a 2 stop strategy (US, then 2 x SS) would be faster based on the average weather conditions. Not only were the tyre compounds not performing as the teams expected but the weather was far from average. Even allowing for the weather Ferrari made the most logical choice, but the tyres' performance let them down.

Pirelli really need to get their act together on their tyre compounds for both performance and life. Otherwise forcing teams to choose compounds weeks before the race meeting turns it into a lucky dip as to who wins and who doesn't.


I was eating lunch, trying to keep an eye on my kids, and listening to the wife all at once and as soon as I noticed the safety car I thought to myself "that won't last long".

And when I saw the Ferrari in the pits I said "that was a mistake". And then my kid noticed Raikkonen in the pits and said "two mistakes"

And then I noticed the tires they picked and said "those won't work in the cold- watch".

This from someone watching things unfold on TV...and not even listening to the commentators...why didn't they keep it simple? Stay in front and let others worry about catching you and passing you.


Good points...
Strategists lost Vettel the race.
They are killing the show...


Who says men cannot multi-task?


Yes. The first thought I had after they pitted during the VSC was that Ferrari made a mistake again and lost this race.


"Ferrari did little practice running and data gathering on the soft tyre, which turned out to be the best tyre for the race. It had less graining and degradation than the others and because it was longer lasting it gave better flexibility to the strategy. "

During FP2 Kimi did 25 laps of high fuel running on the soft tyre and Vettel did a low fuel run on the soft. He wasn't out as long as Kimi but I estimate he would have done about 15 laps.


U R doing it wrong Ferrari.
Vettel should have kept pounding trying to keep Lewis under his dirty air.
It would wear his tires more and cause his brakes to overheat... or even crash.

Even if Lewis managed to undercut Vettel in a one-stopper, Seb could dive bomb Lewis and I bet he wouldn't resist as his only enemy is Nico.

No risk, no reward.


Please explain how does VET pound it AND keep HAM in dirty air? The only thing SEB can dive bomb are the two seagulls


To me, it seems that the ultrasoft tyres are not really that much different to the supersofts. Ham was able to make them last 24 laps and Max got 24 on used ultras. Kevin made them last 29 laps!
The performance difference doesn't seem dramatic either. To me the ultras should be seconds quicker, but be very fragile as far as lifespan, maybe on
Yo last 10-12 laps, not 47 laps of Monaco.




reading through the comments, most fans are picking up on this now. We watched Monaco and accepted its the conditions, very little wear, but this is getting silly. We have yet to see the US tyre actually provide a significant lap time advantage that Pirelli talk about.


Strategy analysis and post-mortem are easy, in the split second when decisions are made is what counts. Akin like trading on the stock market - very easy to explain everything post-market hours 🙂

Anyway - you missed a point that Vettel was 4.1 seconds behind Ham with 10-12 laps to go. His 2 mistakes cost him else was there a possibility that HAM would have had to push and test his brakes and tires ? We will never know.

So !!!!


It's arguable that the only reason Vettel made the mistakes was that he was pushing hard and the tyres weren't up to it - he wasn't getting the consistent grip. So, he could have gone slower and definitely not caught Hamilton but stayed in the track or he could have done what he did: push and chance that he'd catch and pass.


He made mistakes because Hamilton's tyres and his pace was not dropping off as expected towards the end and 13 lap offset on the tyres was not good enough to catch the Merc. So he had to take a few risks. His mistakes do not impact race results in any way


Even if ferrari had left vet on a 1 stop strategy hamilton would still have one as the tyre life was much better on the hamilton driven mercedes, hamilton was cruising not on the limit


He was cruising because he was at the front. Had Ham still been behind Vettel after first round of pitstops, his tyres wouldn't be as fresh and Vettel would have benefitted from clear air.


Ferrari at the time done what they thought was best going by the data from friday practice, even mercedes were thinking of a 2 stop but only reverted to a 1 stop to cover vettle when he stoped


Hamilton confirmed that Mercedes switched to plan B (which was a one stopper) BEFORE Vettel stopped.

Wilma the Great

If I extrapolate the pace of Vettels last stint onto his second one, it would seem like he would have been able to get ahead of Hamilton with two sets of softs, even if one of them has been used. I can't understand, why Ferrari didn't put on the softs in the second stint to leave some options available.


"Ferrari did little practice running and data gathering on the soft tyre... 5 laps over the whole weekend." This was the prime tyre for the race which they would need to run for the majority of the race. Why on earth and who's decision was it to not gather any data on it?


No-no-no, they have had 3 new sets of softs, used one of them for data gathering, and after that made five laps run in FP3 session on a second set.
So, they had one completely worn out set, one completely new, and one 5 laps (7 with in+out laps) old.


Ferrari brought in Vettel early and dropped him back nicely right behind Ricciardo and Verstappen - what a great strategy!


Ferrari pitted Raikkonnen on the same lap and strategy as Vettel, even though the VSC had clearly ended. When will the lunacy end? #inakiruedaout


But the fundamental strategy mistake was in 2015 when Ferrari yet again developed a slower car. Everything else is smoke and mirrors. I notice commentators talking up the threat to Mercedes from Red Bull and Ferrari but the only issue is how big a mistake will Mercedes make in a race.

Hamilton is vulnerable to an engine change but we have seen that Hamilton doesn't just race for the result, he has mastered using as little car as he can thinking of the season. Rosberg hammered his car for a poor result.

If Mercedes can solve their clutch issues (clearly Ferrari have a bit of engineering magic that Mercedes haven't twigged) then they will run away with it. Hamilton most likely will then build enough of a lead that he can afford to take the hit of an engine penalty and settle for second at some point. - they've scrapped too many components to get him to the end. Rosberg isn't as sympathetic to the equipment and will not have the headroom on the engines to use them to the max at the end of the season having used them up fighting to recover from his problems.


James would like to hear you thoughts on how close the Ferrari is to the Mercedes after the Montreal update... With Lewis messing up qualifying, different strategies on the lead cars and Rosberg and Raikonnen having an evening to forget, how much the gap has closed was not very clear...

Looking forward to exciting races ahead...


Poxy race director had itchy VSC trigger finger. When watching Buttons car and seeing 2 marshalls were near it with a hole in the wall to push it through........why have a VSC? It was a ridiculous decision, and misleading to the teams, especially Ferrari.


Ferrari ability to make a lightening start is a worry for mercedes .
looking at the points table your cant assume its a mercedes 2 horse race as vettel has lost a lot of potential points.If Vettel starts winning KR needs to step up and finish at least 2nd.

Ricki Sanguinetti

Ferrari are busy learning an old Japanese art , Hara-kiri together with tyre data miscues.
Why do they continue to defend Kimi? To me,the answer is simple: they are using him to run tests on new parts!


The Mercs don't like dirty air. If you have them in it, keep them in it. Nico's breaks didn't like it.


"Italian confusion". Berger

"All pulling in different directions". Walker.

Vettel must really hate Alonso right now.


Ferrari lost because they didn't have the smarts Mercedes did with pitstop timing and tyre strategy and Vettel stuffed up too many times. Otherwise they could have easily won it. For the money these guys get paid l don't think they earned it in Canada. Marchionne better do something quick.


Very disappointing from Ferrari again. I actually think All the teams are now suffering from radio bans because constant 2 way feedback on car performance is making it tricky for the strategists to determine what the correct time is to bring them in. In the past we would never have seen RBR or Ferrari make questionable calls over several race weekends. I know they have telemetry but I think we heard Rosberg asking for more info but could not be told. Teams cant accurately judge driver feel and preference and its hard for a driver to "bridge the gap" whilst racing. I think the top teams are stuggling with this more as we are seeing some smaller ones making inspired decision like STR did at Montreal and FI at Monaco.

I understand at the time of the VSC it was absolutely the right call to try to bank some distance to Lewis and reality is they gained a few seconds out if it - possibly lost them back with the 2 stop, but the second the VSC stopped and Seb was rolling down the pit lane - that was exactly the time to keep Kimi out. Kimi was never in the fight for the win but he lost 7 positions in that move!!. Ridiculous!

I think Ferrari robbed themselves of at least a car length win to Lewis , maybe the other way round if they stopped within a lap of each other on a one stop. I think Ferrari were also better in the Softs as Kimi showed on Fridays long runs - he would certainly have challenged for 4th if not 3rd.

I know Ferrari are closer in outright pace but if you look carefully the Mercedes is much easier to drive on the limit with both drivers the Ferrari is still handful on the absolute limits and that means tyres wear / fuel consumption is a challenge on the edgier circuits..



I totally agree with this great analysis, I have anything wrong to notice. Knowing the pace advantage of siver arrows car, Ferrari saw an opportuniy to reduce their pit stop time and did the right thing. Ferrari also forced mercedes to a sole stop strategy. It was a good move mainly because as you mentioned any team was convinced that the yellow tire, I mean the soft compound, could last so much laps. If the tires wasn't last Ferrari had proably a 15 seconds win gap advtantage to Lewis Hamilton.
The only thing I can blame Ferrari is the could go the other way too by staying out and cover / copy paste Hamilton strategy as at that point in the race they were the leading car. Mostly knowing the fact that mercedes car fear dirty air and could damage his tires by following Vettel with 1-2 seconds gap. Secondly, we could have a great track battle between the two.

Tornillo Amarillo

I think Ferrari was pretty OK in strategy, but it was VETTEL's errors (I think 3 times) than put him from 4 seconds to 7 seconds behind HAMILTON, don't you think? Including the "seagull-gate". Come on, if HAMILTON had put a foot wrong it had been a closer fight at the end.


Firstly, Pirelli needs to come up with a fifth tyre compound for dry weather- SUPER DUPER “this time it’s for real” MEGA ULTRASOFT compound.

Secondly, Ferrari’s pit-call had “disaster” written all over it. My first reaction, watching Vettel dive into the pits was, has he picked up a puncture ? But no, apparently Ferrari were working on a “cunning” plan.

A plan, which as per James Allen, was intended to force Merc into one-stopper. So, surely Ferrari would have calculated by pitting that early, they would force Vettel to overtake both RedBull’s on track (which he did). And on top of that he would need to overtake Hamilton towards the end of the race !!!

A plan, which would present Hamilton track position and running in “clean air”.

Before VSC, it was visible to all that Vettel was able to keep Hamilton behind and that too outside DRS zone or you can argue, Hamilton was nursing is tyres.
So why be creative.? Let Merc do the hard work, and try to find the strategy to overtake Vettel.

If indeed, as per Ferrari strategist Merc was the faster car, their only chance of win would have depended on Vettel keeping Hamilton running in dirty air and compromising his tyre life and fuel consumption and NOT by calling Vettel to the pits at least 6 laps before the optimum 2 stop strategy.

Tornillo Amarillo

James, if we can say the winner combination was 1 STOP - SOFT - MERCEDES PU...

why HULK did 2 stops for softs? What was wrong for not bettering P8 ?


I watched the race in a foreign language and didn't understand anything, and it was actually much more exciting because I didn't realise Ham was 1-stopping. For much of the race I thought Ferrari had got the jump on strategy and I kept expecting Merc to bring Hamilton in for a short stint on the ultrasoft at the end, where he would have needed to be a second a lap quicker than Vettel to catch him. Once it got past lap 55 it suddenly dawned on me that he was going to stay out, and then I realised how Merc had outfoxed Fezza.


It is interesting that for the last 3 races in a row we have seen, the driver leading the race has blinked 1st and made a move giving away the most important thing in F1 - strategic leading position.


James, how much of Ferrari strategy gaffs are being caused by not having good data feedback from both cars/drivers. RAI has struggled this year. In FP2 RAI said he couldn't make any sense of his Ferrari. There is precious little time to gather data leading up to the race. A lot of teams run split programs to maximize pre-race intelligence. Is RAI contributing his fair share?

I think one of the reason that VET was so successful in the past was the combined input that WEB and VET provided in setting up the car. I also thin it is a component of the success at Mercedes. Both drivers are extracting a lot from the car (albeit HAM more so that ROS, but only marginally so) HAM wins because he can extract the addition few hundredths out of the car in qualifying and because he has better race craft.

Top Tags
SEARCH Strategy
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!