Early Safety Car Allowed For One-Stop Strategy

The early Safety Car brought out by the crash between Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso influenced the strategy in todays Austrian Grand Prix.

Whilst the two-stop strategy was an option for teams – albeit with the risk of traffic – after the Safety Car period went on for four laps it enabled more teams to switch to the one-stop. This was despite there being 0.7 seconds between both compounds of tyre, which meant the two-stop probably would’ve ended up being the same if not more time consuming.

Kvyat_Verstappen_2015_Austria_F1WeekendsThe highest placed driver on the two-stop strategy was Kvyat, who lost a lot of time in the middle stint to the one-stoppers who had fresher rubber having stopped just a couple of laps previously. Race winners Mercedes managed 37 laps on their set of Super Softs before pitting for the Soft tyre.

Mercedes actually opted to pit Hamilton two laps later from Rosberg, which was significant because Rosberg’s inlap was slow and lost him around two seconds, which would’ve been enough for Hamilton to pit the next lap and come out side-by-side rather than the three seconds he was when Rosberg had got heat into his tyres and set the fastest lap of the race. Of course the five-second time penalty all but confirmed his fate, unless Rosberg was to have any issues.

Daniel Riccardo did the most laps on his original set of Softs, ending up in 10th at the chequered flag after starting in 18th. His pitstop late on into the race allowed him to lap two seconds faster than Nasr and Perez in the closing stages, however it seems like he ran out of laps to nab ninth from the Force India which was running a very low downforce setup.

Elsewhere Bottas did well to recover the ground he lost in the opening laps and work his way up into fifth place, saving his tyres initially before turning up the pace near towards his pitstop window. Vettel didn’t seem to have the pace to challenge the Mercedes, and with the slow pitstop it meant he came out behind Felipe Massa. The Ferrari driver was lapping a second quicker, although it seemed as though Massa was able to respond when it mattered.

Maldonado had a good drive from 11th to 7th, finishing the race on the Super Soft after spending his first stint on the Soft for 34 laps. The driver to go the longest on a set of tyres was Ricciardo who went 50 laps on his set of Soft tyres, whilst Vettel managed 36 laps on the Super Soft in relatively low track temperatures.

There was suggestions that drivers could’ve done the entire race on one set of tyres, however Verstappen complaining about his tyre life at the end of the race having done 44 laps on his Soft’s confirmed that it would’ve been too much for the drivers to go the extra 20 or so laps.

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