Is pitting first the new way to get track position?

J

johnnoble1990

Guest
At melbourne, Brundle seemed to suggest that Lewis needed to go longer on his tyres than Vettel to "undercut" him. I couldn't understand this because Vettel was always going to be quicker on fresh tyres, so the longer Lewis went the further behind he would be. Sure enough, when Lewis pitted two laps later he was 5 seconds or so behind, having been 1.5 seconds.

It seems to me now that the optimum strategy is to be the first to pit and have a lap or two on fresh rubber. Of course, the earlier you go the more you compromise your strategy later in the race and the less degraded you opponents tyres will be.

This idea of pitting 2nd to undercut a driver seems to be left over from the days of refueling, where the team who pitted second would have a few laps on low fuel, against someone with high fuel. What we saw a lot last year was as soon as one driver pitted at the back of a bunch then they all pitted to cover him off.

It seems to me that Lewis could've jumped Vettel in Melbourne had he pitted just before Seb or the lap after. It seems like a strategy mistake and a lapse in logic to me?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Certainly with tyre degradation as it is now, pitting second isn't going to improve a driver's chances of closing the gap to the car in front; quite the opposite in fact as you have so rightly stated.

So now it becomes a game of who's going to flinch first.
As we know though, the teams have constant data and telemetry coming in from the cars so they will have a cut off time for the lap and once they go over that, they will bring the car in.

As you also say, come in too early and you risk having to do an extra stop.
As with most things, it will be a compromise based on lap time, number of laps in the race and the fewest possible number of stops.

What would be nice is if 3 stops worked out to about the same time as 4 stops, which would see the last few laps being fought between the guy on old rubbber being chased down by the guy on new rubber.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I reckon we'll find out this weekend. Somehow don't think Lewis would have been fast enough to catch Vettel now matter what the strategy in Australia.
 

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
I dunno FB, we saw the gap from Hamilton to Vettel shrink down to a second until the pit-stops
 
J

johnnoble1990

Guest
I think that is perhaps why he didn't pit. Maybe they thought his tyres might last long enough for a 1 stop and then bailed on the plan. It might have also had something to do with Webber because i remember hearing something over the radio that they were covering him off.
 

tranquility2k9

Podium Finisher
The posts in this thread so far are interesting and I generally agree. Last season, the pit strategy changed from the refueling days back in 2009, to the non-refueling and tyre conservation days of 2010. Saying this, in 2010, as Bridgestone tyres generally held up quite well, then a faster car behind a slower one, could sometimes conserve their tyres and then put in a real hot lap after the one in-front had pitted and then overtake them. This was generally possible due to the Bridgestone tyres lasting quite well and also because the Bridgestone tyres took a lap or two to warm up and get up to speed (especially the hard tyres). The Pirelli tyres, as we all know, have quite different characteristics and the drop off, out-weights the fuel load significantly. Therefore, you rely on someone switching onto hard tyres and having warm up issues. Another characteristic of the Pirelli tyres is that you can get heat into them quicker. All in all, everything points towards the optimal strategy being to pit before your opponent this year, which makes it very interesting as tyres are degrading so quickly and by pitting a few laps later you may be able to pit one less time than your main rival. This will hopefully create very interesting racing.
 
J

johnnoble1990

Guest
Completely agree about the Bridgestone tyres last year. Had one stop not been mandatory, we would've seen most teams trying to do 0 stops. Therefore, it became more about the optimum strategy, rather than just reacting to everyone around you. This year, as you say, i can see a split in strategies, particularly between team mates. It will be very interesting to see how teams react to Australia in terms of strategy. It normally takes a few races in a new season for teams to know exactly what is best. Unless, it rains and we will have to wait till China for all that. :D
 

P1

Podium Finisher
At melbourne, Brundle seemed to suggest that Lewis needed to go longer on his tyres than Vettel to "undercut" him. I couldn't understand this because Vettel was always going to be quicker on fresh tyres, so the longer Lewis went the further behind he would be. Sure enough, when Lewis pitted two laps later he was 5 seconds or so behind, having been 1.5 seconds.

It seems to me now that the optimum strategy is to be the first to pit and have a lap or two on fresh rubber. Of course, the earlier you go the more you compromise your strategy later in the race and the less degraded you opponents tyres will be.

This idea of pitting 2nd to undercut a driver seems to be left over from the days of refueling, where the team who pitted second would have a few laps on low fuel, against someone with high fuel. What we saw a lot last year was as soon as one driver pitted at the back of a bunch then they all pitted to cover him off.

It seems to me that Lewis could've jumped Vettel in Melbourne had he pitted just before Seb or the lap after. It seems like a strategy mistake and a lapse in logic to me?
So I guess this weekend we saw the problem with this logic.

This years situation benefits the smoothest drivers.

I think if McLaren were fast enough to beat Red Bull, Button might be the favorite.
 
J

johnnoble1990

Guest
So I guess this weekend we saw the problem with this logic.

This years situation benefits the smoothest drivers.

I think if McLaren were fast enough to beat Red Bull, Button might be the favorite.
Hmm...maybe. Although i don't think that was the reason for Hamilton's undoing. As you say, my fault in my logic was that if a driver pits too early he may need an extra stop, which Hamilton did. Hamilton clearly had a problem with his car though, so i'm not sure about Jenson being the favourite.
 

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
But Hamilton had no pace before he got nerfed by Alonso and he wasn't particulary far into his stint.
 
R

Reece Armour

Guest
I agree with MCLS he was not going anywhere very fast however I do not think he would of dropped as far down as he did.
 
J

johnnoble1990

Guest
I think Hamilton had a problem well before contact with Fernando. It seemed like from lap 1 of his stint that Lewis clearly had a problem. I don't think the contact with Alonso had any real effect on him.

Lewis was strong in stint 1, 2 and then in 3 i was beginning to think he might win the race because he was keeping pace with Seb despite being on the harder tyre. Then he came in early and had to go on the hard tyre again, when he could've waited and gone on the soft and then instantly after that he was a couple of seconds of Jenson's pace - on tyres with 1 lap difference and both hard. Can anyone realistically believe there wasn't a problem with Lewis' car.
 
J

johnnoble1990

Guest
Just to show some context. In Lewis' and Jenson's 4th stint, Lewis pitted only 1 lap earlier then Jenson.

Jenson came out 1 second in front.
3 laps later 5 seconds.
3 laps after that, when Alonso made contact, he was 10 seconds behind.
3 laps after that, 16 seconds difference, but this includes time lost due to the contact.

Pirelli's degrade quick, but not that quick.
 

snowy

Champion Elect
Lewis was limited to two sets of soft tyres as he had damage a set in qualifying. He came out after his 3rd stop on used hard tyres with the intention of going the distance. However he had Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso on soft tyres hunting him down, Lewis was unable to conserve the tyres or switch them on. This resulted in him being two-three seconds slower than he should have been.

What Lewis needed was another set of soft tyres for the race or perhaps a lap more life on his second set of tyres. It was the fact that Mark Webber had pitted on lap 32 and was setting 1m41s that force Lewis to pit when he did, he was being undercut by Mark.
 

RickD

Pole Sitter
Seems to me like Jenson was faster than Lewis on the stint before, but wasn't going to go for an overtake (perhaps he knew Lewis would come in) and saved his tyres a little (he had been catching Lewis for quite a few laps and Lewis was actually holding him up if you look at the times). Once Lewis pitted, Jenson picked up his pace and started dropping Alonso again. It would seem that having fresh tyres and not destroying them in qualifying is more important than ever and Lewis may need to learn this lesson..

Just wish Jenson had a bit longer at full speed (Lewis had let him go a few laps earlier), he may have caught Vettel and made the battle at the front a bit more interesting..
 

snowy

Champion Elect
Lewis (Hard) Jenson(Soft)
23 1:43.009 P 1:45.666
24 P 1:45.618 1:59.681
25 2:02.238 1:42.170
26 1:43.322 1:42.592
27 1:42.733 1:42.589
28 1:42.258 1:42.133
29 1:42.457 1:42.081
30 1:42.732 1:42.618
31 1:42.333 1:42.427
32 1:42.617 1:42.417
33 1:42.525 1:42.482
34 1:42.782 1:42.874
35 1:43.144 1:43.437
36 1:43.610 1:43.595
37 P 1:46.927 1:44.183
38 2:04.636 P 1:47.026

Lap 26 the gap was 2.2s and on lap 32 Jenson closed to within one second.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Reading many of the blogs on the teams websites (I don't know if this is tue of McLaren) they all ran longer stints than planned on at least the first two sets of tyres as they were expecting rain. The peculiar thing about this is they all claim this is why they didn't finish as high as they should but if they were all in the same boat it doesn't make any difference, does it?
 

snowy

Champion Elect
Both Jenson and Lewis came in two laps too soon for their second stop, I suspect they were prompted by Mark Webber stopping on lap 22. At the time they stopped they were catching Sebastian by half a second a lap and he didn't pit until lap 25.

They should have remembered that the Red Bull drop off was a lot more severe than the McLaren at Melbourne and banked on that being repeated.

Lewis's laps just before his second pit stop do not suggest that he should have been in any rush
20 1:43.299
21 1:42.919
22 1:42.966
23 1:43.009
24 P 1:45.618

Especially when compared to Seb's
20 1:43.393
21 1:43.520
22 1:43.500
23 1:43.447
24 1:43.435
25 P 1:45.734
 

snowy

Champion Elect
It has just clicked why they called them in!

Because the first set of tyres went off after 11 laps, naturally the second set of tyres were only going to last 11 laps. The fact that they were lasting longer was just an inconvenience. :givemestrength:
 
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