Intermediate Tyre Life Key To Pace Today

One of the main contributing factors in todays race was the life of the intermediate tyres. Those that pitted the latest in the first stint found that they were able to carry more pace into the further stints, and thus gain more track position on their rivals. This is the strategy that race winner Lewis Hamilton was able to exploit, in order to have the rear tyre life at the end of that stint compared to Nico Rosberg, who was four tenths a lap slower once they were eighteen or so laps old.

Another driver who was also able to make use of that was Nico Hulkenberg, who in the opening stint stayed out on the wets whilst everyone else pitted, allowing him to get into P8 – five positions from where he started. He eventually went on to finish in P6 once the Safety Car was deployed.

Vettel_Suzuka_2014_F1WeekendsThe strategy could have also went your way if you used the undercut to your advantage, something we saw Jenson Button do instantly once the Safety Car came in. He pitted for Inters and had the pace to catch up the back of the pack, allowing him to jump them all and get into P3 as they reacted to his pace on the Inters.

Sebastien Vettel also made use of the undercut to get past Button in the third stint using his fresher rubber, eventually going on to set the fastest lap of the race on lap thirty three. Of course to be fair to Button McLaren had to change his steering wheel in his final pitstop before the Red Flag due to electronics issues he was suffering with, so he lost a lot of time. But looking at the lap times, it would have been close between the two at pit exit.

Sergio Perez was also able to make use of this strategy battling for P9, pitting on lap twenty seven and getting up to that position once Kvyat pitted at the end of that stint.

Kvyat_Suzuka_2014_F1WeekendsA driver that perhaps had a fairly stagnant race was probably Kimi Raikkonen. The Ferrari driver started in P9 and finished in P11. Didn’t really move about much during the race, and mostly set lap times that were around three seconds off the leaders. Kvyat probably had one of the worst races, having to relinquish his points scoring position again at the end due to worn down tyres.

His teammate however Jean-Eric Vergne had a good race, becoming the biggest move by finishing in 9th place overall after starting in P19 with his engine penalty. He managed to make use of his tyres early on and get past a couple of drivers on much fresher rubber whilst they scrapped around him. The Toro Rosso driver got as high as eighth place, however that was counted back to ninth after the Red Flag due to the fact that he passed Jenson Button when he pitted.

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