Spanish GP: Tyre and Pit Stop Strategy
Another fascinating race has unfolded and we’ve now had five different winners stand on the top step of the podium. The three stop strategy was optimal at Catalunya with only Hamilton choosing a two stop model in order to recover from starting at the back of the grid – he eventually made up 16 places. Meanwhile, Pedro de La Rosa made four stops (three stints on soft tyres and two on the hard) on his way to finishing last of the finishers.
Fernando Alonso came tantalizingly close to stealing Maldonado’s maiden win but his plans may have been ultimately scuppered by lack of new tyres, all four of his stints were on used tyres.
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A closer look at the lap times of the three front runners is worth a look considering the different tyres in play. Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus opted to use a second set of soft tyres for his second stint compared with hards for Maldonado and Alonso. In hindsight it may have been the wrong decision as he lost ground through this stint whereas his pace on the prime compound was much better relative to his rivals – it may have allowed the Finn to have caught and challenged Alonso in the closing laps. He may have stayed out too long on his third stint too, losing one and half seconds on his last lap before pitting for the final time.
Meanwhile, Maldonado’s start to his third stint is noteworthy. Having pitted early he put in some phenomenal laps in order to undercut Alonso – regardless of the Ferrari driver losing time behind Charles Pic’s Marussia.
Data: Pirelli Tyres