Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Copying Hamilton’s strategy “not our plan” – Vettel

2015 Spanish Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

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Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015Sebastian Vettel said it was not Ferrari’s plan to react to Lewis Hamilton changing his strategy during the Spanish Grand Prix.

A slow first pit stop for the Mercedes driver allowed Vettel to keep him behind as they began their second stints. But Ferrari decided against reacting when Hamilton made an early second pit stop, changing his strategy in a bid to get ahead of Vettel.

“We were on two stops, Lewis was on three stops, so I think covering him would have been difficult,” said Vettel after the race.

“Obviously in the first stop, I guess we reacted because Lewis has such a poor stop – I don’t know what happened to him – so we were able to cover him. That was a nice invitation and we took it. After that, as I said earlier, him pulling in so early was clear he’s diverting, or going on a three stop, which was not our plan today, so we stayed out.”

Vettel doubted Ferrari could have overcome Mercedes’ performance advantage by trying to keep track position over Hamilton. “All in all, they were probably a little bit too quick to really put more pressure on them,” he said.

However Ferrari did perform some of the fastest pit work of the race – three of their pit stops were among the four quickest of all.

Spanish Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3Stint 4
Nico RosbergMedium (15)Medium (30)Hard (21)
Lewis HamiltonMedium (13)Medium (19)Hard (19)Medium (15)
Sebastian VettelMedium (14)Medium (26)Hard (26)
Valtteri BottasMedium (15)Medium (27)Hard (24)
Kimi RaikkonenMedium (17)Hard (24)Medium (25)
Felipe MassaMedium (14)Medium (18)Hard (15)Medium (19)
Daniel RicciardoMedium (13)Medium (29)Hard (23)
Romain GrosjeanMedium (15)Medium (25)Hard (25)
Carlos Sainz JnrMedium (14)Hard (28)Medium (23)
Daniil KvyatMedium (11)Medium (27)Hard (27)
Max VerstappenMedium (13)Hard (24)Hard (28)
Felipe NasrMedium (12)Medium (27)Hard (26)
Sergio PerezMedium (19)Hard (17)Medium (29)
Marcus EricssonMedium (18)Medium (27)Hard (20)
Nico HulkenbergMedium (10)Medium (16)Medium (23)Hard (16)
Jenson ButtonMedium (11)Hard (16)Medium (17)Medium (21)
Will StevensMedium (16)Medium (16)Hard (15)Medium (16)
Roberto MerhiMedium (17)Medium (13)Hard (19)Medium (13)
Pastor MaldonadoMedium (14)Medium (1)Medium (28)Hard (2)
Fernando AlonsoMedium (21)Hard (5)

Spanish Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Sebastian VettelFerrari21.76214
2Kimi RaikkonenFerrari21.7890.02741
3Valtteri BottasWilliams21.8000.03842
4Sebastian VettelFerrari21.8360.07440
5Nico RosbergMercedes21.8700.10815
6Lewis HamiltonMercedes21.9650.20351
7Valtteri BottasWilliams22.0820.32015
8Felipe MassaWilliams22.1390.37714
9Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso22.1780.41642
10Felipe MassaWilliams22.2570.49547
11Daniil KvyatRed Bull22.2730.51138
12Sergio PerezForce India22.4260.66436
13Daniel RicciardoRed Bull22.4400.67813
14Nico RosbergMercedes22.4520.69045
15Sergio PerezForce India22.4680.70619
16Nico HulkenbergForce India22.5340.77226
17Nico HulkenbergForce India22.5450.78349
18Pastor MaldonadoLotus22.5750.81343
19Jenson ButtonMcLaren22.5890.82711
20Max VerstappenToro Rosso22.6070.84537
21Kimi RaikkonenFerrari22.6230.86117
22Felipe MassaWilliams22.6290.86732
23Nico HulkenbergForce India22.6590.89710
24Daniil KvyatRed Bull22.6670.90511
25Felipe NasrSauber22.6770.91512
26Lewis HamiltonMercedes22.7270.96532
27Will StevensManor22.7961.03447
28Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso22.8591.09714
29Marcus EricssonSauber22.8721.11045
30Will StevensManor23.0431.28132
31Roberto MerhiManor23.0701.30830
32Felipe NasrSauber23.1861.42439
33Romain GrosjeanLotus23.3091.54715
34Jenson ButtonMcLaren23.3271.56527
35Fernando AlonsoMcLaren23.7281.96621
36Jenson ButtonMcLaren24.0662.30444
37Roberto MerhiManor24.2002.43849
38Max VerstappenToro Rosso24.3962.63413
39Lewis HamiltonMercedes24.5862.82413
40Roberto MerhiManor24.6312.86917
41Will StevensManor24.6872.92516
42Daniel RicciardoRed Bull24.8843.12242
43Pastor MaldonadoLotus24.9763.21414
44Marcus EricssonSauber25.2723.51018
45Pastor MaldonadoLotus32.45910.69715
46Romain GrosjeanLotus33.25611.49440

2015 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2015 Spanish Grand Prix articles

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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8 comments on “Copying Hamilton’s strategy “not our plan” – Vettel”

  1. I think Mercedes’ pit stops are quite poor compared to Ferrari’s, and that’s quite a disadvantage now that they are racing them. Also, although I can understand Mercedes’ decision to try the undercut, it effectively ended Hamilton’s race against Rosberg, as Hamilton could not go off-strategy anymore, and would have older tyres than Rosberg.

    I wonder if Mercedes considered going a bit longer with Hamilton in the first stint, that way he could have attacked Vettel with different and/or fresher tyres. Now, with the failed undercut, they had less than nothing: still stuck, and on older tyres.

    Mercedes were lucky that Ferrari did not try to cover Hamilton (what did they have to lose?), and perhaps they could have stayed ahead at least for the third stint, as Hamilton pitted from 1.7s back, and had a slow 3.4s pit stop. Once Hamilton was in clear air, second place looked easy for him (although I did not expect he could simply come out ahead of Vettel).

    1. Without that 5.6s stationary pit stop for Lewis (or whatever it was) vs the 2.3-ish stop for Vettel, I think Lewis would have successfully undercut Vettel at the first pit stops, and there would have still been a race for first. I believe he came out about 2s behind Vettel, despite his pit stop being over 3s slower.

      But it seems to me that there would have been not much chance for Lewis to beat Nico even if he had got a good start and closely followed him throughout the race. Overtaking just seems very difficult this year – the turbulent air seems to have a much more significant effect on the following car’s aero performance than last year (perhaps due to the lower noses), and Barcelona is a tricky track to overtake at anyway – Nico couldn’t overtake Lewis here last year despite seemingly being faster and shadowing him closely, and the dirty air situation seems worse this year.

      We saw Lewis following Seb for half the race, unable to overtake despite a pace advantage of probably close to a second a lap early in the stint, and we saw a similar thing with Raikkonen stuck behind Bottas. There was also Vettel being stuck behind Bottas in Bahrain. The turbulent air greatly reduces aero effectiveness and therefore grip, so the following car has to use less throttle out of corners otherwise they will get wheelspin/snaps of oversteer, and so it is extremely difficult to get a better exit and overtake on the following straight. This reminds me of the Brazil last year, where the dirty air meant Hamilton dropped back in the downforce-reliant sector 2 and compromised his exit so he was too far away to make a move on the pit straight.

      There was overtaking in today’s race of course, but it only really seemed to happen when a car had a significant tyre advantage (softer compound or much fresher tyres) or straight-line speed advantage.

  2. Top 10 in pit stop times: 3 Ferrari’s, 4 Williams’s, 2 Mercedes’s

    1. And one of Toro Rosso’s!

  3. David (@ringridder)
    11th May 2015, 8:21

    Why did Toro Rosso use OPP on Ves? He’s the only one using two Prime sets. No wonder he couldn’t defend at the end.

    1. Good catch, strange.

    2. May be couldn’t get the mediums work.

  4. He also lost a combined 3 seconds in the pits compaired to SainzJR.

    Still about 3s ahead of SainzJR but lost time by letting the leaders through in a bad place (T2-T3) which put the Spaniard on Verstappens tail.

    Whatever the case, SainzJR outqualified and out raced Verstappen. I think its now 3-2 in Quali and 3-2 in races (counting Bahrain for VES as he only retired later) in favor of the Spaniard.

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