2014 FORMULA 1 UBS CHINESE GRAND PRIX
Race Strategy Report

The race history chart and accompanying text recap of the key moments of the race, are together designed to offer a unique review and insight into the strategic who, what, why and how that decided the latest race result.

The graph illustrates the relative performances on each stint of the cars and the gaps between each driver on a lap by lap basis. Use the control to show/hide different drivers and click on the pins for more details of race incidents.

The ‘as it happened’ key talking points, provide a more in-depth accompanying commentary and analysis of the key decisions on the pit wall and in the cockpit decisions that again ultimately helped determine the final race outcome.

James Allen's key moments, as they happened

As a result of the continuous rain on Saturday and resultant ‘green track’, front graining (especially the left) is more of an issue than the Teams would have liked. The 2 stop strategy is quicker than the 3 stop strategy by about 5 to 6 seconds but the drivers need to handle the tyres carefully. With the wet qualifying everyone starts on new tyres and all the front runners will use the option (soft) tyre.

On the formation lap Rosberg is told that they have no telemetry – this will compromise his race as they will have no data (race start optimisation, tyre temps, fuel usage, vehicle health etc.) bar radio messages, teammate information and lap times on which to manage his race.

Lap 1
Massa has another great start but is pretty aggressive and makes contact with Alonso whilst Rosberg makes contact with Bottas. Further down the grid Magnussen makes contact too and looks to have damaged his car.

Lap 3
By the start of this lap, the gap is 2.4 seconds between Hamilton and Vettel.  The speed differential will allow the Mercedes of Hamilton to control his pace and therefore tyre usage to minimise the graining and keep the tyre energy levels low, whereas Rosberg who is out of position and trying to fight his way through the pack, will suffer more tyre graining.

Lap 6 
Rosberg told that they are unlikely to get telemetry back again and that he’ll need to give the team fuel usage information. Telemetry failure is an uncommon fault to occur. Bottas’ telemetry has also failed.

Lap 8
Drivers starting to complain about heavy graining but the teams are keeping their drivers out.

Lap 9
Hamilton is taking almost 1 second out of Vettel per lap (+8.6 seconds to Vettel).

Lap 11
Massa pits from 6th and Räikkönen in 9th follows him in (7 seconds behind Massa). Massa has a disaster of a stop with no rear Medium tyres ready and when they do get them the rear left is difficult to get on (potentially the result of his contact earlier). Massa joins back in 21st and last position, with the entire stop costing him nearly 80 seconds in total race time.

Everyone who has pitted so far has gone for the Medium tyre.

Another reason to qualify at the sharp end of the grid is given by Rosberg who complains over the radio about poor performance from his front wing which appears to have been clogged with tyre rubber. There are a lot of tyre marbles on the track with the heavy graining, accentuated by starting the race on brand new Soft tyres. The team will use what is effectively a spatula to clean out the debris from the front wing’s slot gaps but with multiple elements it is sometimes difficult to clean out fully. Most teams coat the front wings with a lubricant that prevents rubber sticking to the surfaces.

Lap 16
Ricciardo pits from 2nd coming out in 5th position.

Lap 17
Hamilton makes a mistake, probably the result of the tyres going off, which triggers the pit stop but with his 2.9 second stationary stop he can easily re-join back in the lead.

Lap 22
There is a great fight for position between Vettel and Rosberg, with Rosberg using his straight line speed advantage to great effect. The jostling for position allows Ricciardo to catch Vettel and with his tyres being 3 laps younger than Vettel’s this should allow him to overtake.

Vettel asks his engineer which tyre Ricciardo is on. When told the same as his, he responds “tough luck”, meaning that he will fight for his position. Previously, when asked to move over for Ricciardo, Vettel was on a different strategy and tyre. Vettel is then told that Ricciardo is on a 2-stop strategy and moves over, implying that he is on a 3-stop strategy.

Lap 23
Massa comes on the radio to say Bottas’ rear tyres are going. Both Force India are sitting behind the two Williams as Massa and Bottas fight it out. Bottas asks to pit immediately and does. Perez and Hulkenberg fight it out for the right to attack Massa.

Lap 28
Grosjean informed by the team that he has an issue with 4th gear and not to use it. He retires one lap later.

Lap 34
Alonso pits from 2nd for another set of Medium tyres leaving Rosberg out.

Lap 35
Kobayashi un-laps himself from Vettel sparking Vettel to pit. Vettel’s delayed stop places him back on a 2-stop strategy

Lap 43
Rosberg takes Alonso relatively easily for second.

Lap 44
Hamilton told very sensibly to manage his pace just in case there is a late safety car.

Red Bull Racing tell Ricciardo to keep pushing to put pressure on Alonso who is driving supremely, albeit in 3rd behind both Mercedes.

Lap 54
Flag mistakenly drops 2 laps prior to the scheduled finish of the race. Nevertheless, it’s all too easy for Hamilton winning by over 18 seconds from Rosberg, with Alonso in 3rd, 25 seconds behind.

McLaren will not be happy. This track showed up the limitation of the front end of their car with Button finishing in 11th and Magnussen in 13th

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Fuelled for success - F1's all-consuming strategy challenge

David Coulthard
on F1®