Pirelli say “extremely low degradation” allowed the drivers to one-stop today, despite the tyres coming under high loads due to the top speeds and warm temperatures. Race winner Lewis Hamilton along with a number of other drivers including his teammate went on the one-stop strategy of running the Medium until around lap 19 – 23, then on the Hard tyre for the last thirty or so laps.
Nico Hulkenberg was the highest placed driver to start on the Hard tyre in 13th on the grid, however he never really gained any track position out of it, much like the other driver who started on the Hard including Adrian Sutil, Romain Grosjean, Daniil Kvyat, and Marcus Ericsson. Kvyat was really the only driver to make his strategy work, starting from 21st and getting as high as 4th before pitting on lap 31.
He then came out in P13 after building up the gap to those who lost time pitting early on the Hard tyre, which put him behind his teammate who was on seven lap old Hards, and Huldenberg on thirteen-lap old Mediums. The Toro Rosso driver then posted lap times which were around two seconds a lap faster than the Hard tyre runners in the points-paying positions, and with them racing eachother he was able to get onto the back of Raikkonen at the end.
Of course with his brake issues, it was unfortunate that Kvyat wasn’t able to nab a point at the end – something Ferrari were worried about. And with Magnussen’s penalty, he was probably on course for a ninth place finish.
Another strategy that made his strategy work well was Daniel Riccardo, who after loosing four places at the start managed to stretch his first stint out like Kvyat, so he had the tyre life at the end to challenge for all the positions. In the end he lost too much time at the start to challenge Bottas for P4, but he did well to pass the early stoppers and his teammate which Red Bull didn’t think he had the pace to do initially.
Perhaps the worst strategy of the day came from Esteban Gutierrez, two-stopping and loosing a net 40 seconds to the leaders which put him out in P17 behind Grosjean. Then as he attempted to make a move on him at the second-to-last lap, the Sauber driver had brake issues and clipped the front wing of the Lotus, causing him to sustain a puncture. After he pitted on the final lap, he ultimately ended up in P19 the line, and was later given a 20 second penalty for the contact which put him plum last in the official classification.