Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Albert Park, 2017

2017 Australian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2017 Australian Grand Prix

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F1’s return to more durable tyres was widely predicted to reduce the number of pit stops seen during the race, and so it proved.

Every driver who finished in the top ten only needed to make a single pit stop for tyres: Daniil Kvyat’s additional stop was for an engine air top-up. Prior to that he had done 37 laps – more than half the race distance – on a set of ultra-soft tyres which he had already used in Q2.

2017 Australian Grand Prix in pictures
Before the season began Pirelli predicted we might see drivers run virtually the entire distance on a single set of tyres. It already seems to be a case of when rather than if that will happen.

Teams’ simulations indicated a two-stop strategy would have been quicker by around eight seconds, but only if the car avoids traffic. As Lewis Hamilton’s race showed, getting stuck behind another car following a pit stop is a greater problem now that it was 12 months ago. The increased turbulence makes overtaking more difficult and the performance advantage from a fresh set of tyres has diminished.

Mercedes defended the strategy they used during yesterday’s race saying they had little choice other than to pit Hamilton when they did. But the lesson they and other teams will have learned is that it’s more important than ever to ensure a driver can rejoin the track in clear air after a pit stop.

2017 Australian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1Stint 2Stint 3
Sebastian VettelUltra soft (23)Soft (34)
Lewis HamiltonUltra soft (17)Soft (40)
Valtteri BottasUltra soft (25)Soft (32)
Kimi RaikkonenUltra soft (26)Soft (31)
Max VerstappenUltra soft (25)Super soft (32)
Felipe MassaUltra soft (20)Super soft (37)
Sergio PerezUltra soft (17)Soft (39)
Carlos Sainz JnrUltra soft (18)Soft (38)
Daniil KvyatUltra soft (34)Super soft (15)Ultra soft (7)
Esteban OconUltra soft (15)Soft (41)
Nico HulkenbergUltra soft (16)Soft (14)Ultra soft (26)
Antonio GiovinazziSoft (15)Super soft (40)
Stoffel VandoorneUltra soft (9)Soft (46)
Fernando AlonsoUltra soft (16)Super soft (34)
Kevin MagnussenSoft (1)Super soft (43)Ultra soft (2)
Lance StrollSuper soft (5)Ultra soft (24)Ultra soft (11)
Daniel RicciardoUltra soft (25)
Marcus EricssonSuper soft (21)
Jolyon PalmerSoft (15)
Romain GrosjeanUltra soft (13)

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2017 Australian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

DriverTeamPit stop timeGapOn lap
1Valtteri BottasMercedes21.44025
2Felipe MassaWilliams21.5680.12820
3Lewis HamiltonMercedes21.7090.26917
4Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso21.7620.32218
5Sebastian VettelFerrari21.9880.54823
6Kimi RaikkonenFerrari22.0330.59326
7Sergio PerezForce India22.0450.60517
8Esteban OconForce India22.1540.71415
9Kevin MagnussenHaas22.1890.74944
10Max VerstappenRed Bull22.2080.76825
11Lance StrollWilliams22.2930.8535
12Lance StrollWilliams22.3800.94029
13Fernando AlonsoMcLaren22.4841.04416
14Nico HulkenbergRenault23.1301.69016
15Nico HulkenbergRenault23.1591.71930
16Daniil KvyatToro Rosso24.0262.58649
17Daniil KvyatToro Rosso25.5594.11934
18Antonio GiovinazziSauber28.5917.15115
19Kevin MagnussenHaas31.3369.8961
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren39.56218.1229

2017 Australian Grand Prix

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Author information

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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9 comments on “2017 Australian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. No coincidence that Bottas former Williams and Massa tops the pit-stop chart.

  2. Its very interesting that despite the larger, heavier tyres, total pit stop times (entry to exit) were no slower than last year. In fact some teams were actually slightly faster than 12 months ago.
    Impressive.

  3. I was surprised Red Bull didn’t bring Verstappen in for a 3rd stint on fresh ultras towards the end (if he had them). I thought it would have been on strategy-wise with 15 laps to go and the 40 second gap behind to Massa.

    I guess it would have been hard to catch back up to Raikkonen but there was nothing to lose really.

    1. His Super Softs were holding up better than expected; he even did a FLAP after your suggested 2nd stop.

      PS KVY did more laps on the Ultras than VER on the Supers.

  4. in a review of the race one of the studio guests stated the pit stop call was made by Hamilton himself. Not by the team.
    Any confirmation?

    1. That’s true. Hamilton himself said so. But I’d imagine the team at least had some input.

    2. Speaking to the BBC after the race (you can hear it on their podcast) he said something along the lines of “it’s my job to tell the team how the tyres are doing”. So he told the team they were done and they pulled him in, but it was actually only a lap earlier than they originally planned.

      If that is the case, he probably still would have got caught behind Verstappen and lost out to Vettel in the pitstops.

  5. Still one pit stop too many.

    1. Ditching the mandatory pit stop would make for some interesting racing, wouldn’t it?

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