VETTEL TRIUMPHS AT HOME AFTER A CLOSE FINISH WITH PLENTY OF STRATEGY
Red Bull Racing driver Sebastian Vettel has extended his championship lead with a hard-fought victory at the German Grand Prix, adopting a three-stop strategy with one stint on the P Zero Yellow tyre at the start of the race followed by three longer stints on the P Zero White medium tyre.
The championship leader started from second on the grid and made an excellent start to take the lead at the first corner. There were several strategies at work right from the beginning, with both Ferraris starting on the medium compound tyre, as well as the McLaren of Jenson Button and the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg. From 11th, Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) was also one of the seven drivers to start on the medium tyre.
A safety car with 36 laps to go prompted most drivers to make their second stops, with the final stops coming in the closing stages of the race. As different drivers were using varied strategies, the podium was only settled in the final laps. Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen completed a long middle stint to lead the race, before pitting for soft tyres with 11 laps to go. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Button also completed the race on the soft tyre. The top five finishers all used a three-stop strategy, with Button the highest-placed two-stopper in sixth.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “This had all the ingredients for a brilliantly strategic race from the beginning, with some drivers starting on the medium tyre in order to go longer in the first stint than the cars on the soft tyre. For many teams, this was almost a qualifying tyre – which gave the tactics an interesting edge. There were different strategies in play, which meant that the finish was extremely close. Overall performance and durability of our tyres were in line with our expectations while thermal degradation was perhaps a little higher than expected today, due to the high track temperatures, but wear was as we predicted. It would certainly have been possible to complete the race with two pit stops, as many of the competitors showed. However, the safety car slightly altered things. Last but certainly not least I would like to thank our staff at the factory in Izmit in Turkey who have worked tirelessly after Silverstone to produce the required amount of new rear tyres, and our logistics team who made sure that the tyres were here on Tuesday. It was a big team effort, for which I would like to thank everyone.”
Fastest times of the day by compound:
|First||ALO – 1.33.468||HAM – 1.34.156||N/A||N/A|
|Second||RAI – 1.33.767||VET – 1.34.164||N/A||N/A|
|Third||BOT – 1.33.972||GRO – 1.34.576||N/A||N/A|
Longest stint of the race:
|Soft||13 laps||(BUT, GRO )|
|Medium||36 laps||(DIR, PER )|
We predicted a two-stopper: start on the soft tyre, change to the medium on lap five or six, and then to the medium again on lap 32 or 33. However, the split strategies, higher temperatures and safety car intervention altered the complexion of the strategy. Vettel started on the soft, went to the medium on lap seven, used the safety car to go for mediums again on lap 24 and took a final set of mediums on lap 41.