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

A clean race start with all cars through turn 1. As usual the Ferraris get away well, but this time Räikkönen makes the most of it moving up to P4 from P6.

Lap 1
Perez shunts and the safety car makes its first appearance. Grosjean and Sutil pit. Grosjean fits Prime tyres after starting on Options. It's a big ask to run the rest of the race non-stop and likely to be far slower than pitting again.

Hamilton is staying within a second of Rosberg. The small gap will elevate temperatures of the engine and brakes causing some problems on tyres.

Lap 8
Grosjean still can’t pass Ericsson after nearly 5 laps of trying, showing just how hard it is to overtake.

Lap 15
Tyre degradation looks low, 0.03 seconds per lap or so for the leaders. But Hamilton complains about the rear tyres starting to go away already. This is a concern if they are looking to one-stop.

Lap 17
The Mercedes could pit and rejoin into the gap ahead of Magnussen in P5. They are already in a very strong position.

Lap 19
Tyre degradation starting to hit a second phase for Mercedes and the lap times are getting slower now as the fuel comes down, as opposed to the slight improvement there was to begin with.

Lap 20
Hamilton complains to his engineer of ERS ‘derates’, which means the ERS not delivering the full 120Kw of power.

Stewards spot an error by Chilton and Bianchi for moving up on the grid before the start. They are penalised with the new 5 second pitstop penalty. Gutierrez also guilty. This is quite a basic error, but a set of circumstances that rarely occurs.

Lap 25
Turning point of the race: Sutil crashes at the exit of the tunnel.

Lap 26
Safety Car is deployed. Button saw it early and dives into the pits just before the deployment at the end of lap 25, hoping to gain places. He does not gain any places by this move, as it turns out.

Mercedes pit both cars and have to stack their cars. Hamilton loses some time but no positions, even as Räikkönen arrives to stop in the next garage and Hamilton is held as a result.

Vergne is released unsafely alongside Magnussen. Toro Rosso, showing what can happen if you are not careful, are penalised for unsafe release. This ruins Vergne’s race, he was heading for 6th place, possibly 5th with the later tyre problems of Hulkenberg.

Hamilton questions the Mercedes’ strategy. He asks the team on the radio why they didn’t call him in a lap earlier, when they saw the accident. It’s a good question!

Sutil’s accident was exactly when it would be expected to come from a strategy point of view: at the end of the first stint, with the driver pushing hard on worn tyres and the car just getting away from him under braking.

Lap 28
Hamilton is told that he is on a one-stop race with the Soft tyre as expected. His frustration at the missed opportunity is evident. When Sutil shunted, the team would probably have had around 30 seconds to consider pitting. Even without a Safety Car, Hamilton had nothing really to lose with this move unless his engineers were still considering the chance to somehow pass Rosberg with an undercut. That would be unlikely to be allowed to happen by Rosberg’s team though.

Hamilton says that “he knew he should have stopped” and “he knew the team would not call him in”.

Lap 29
Räikkönen’s race is destroyed by having to pit again behind the Safety Car. There must have been a problem of some nature with his tyres.

Lap 30
Safety Car comes in at the end of this lap.

Massa did not pit under Safety Car and is running P5 on Supersoft tyres. He was 11th when the Safety Car came out. It’s a big strategy gamble. It seems quite unusual not to have stopped him, with the optimum pre-planned one-stop strategy probably only being a few laps after the Safety Car.

Lap 42
Rosberg is told to start using longer gears in T1 and T3 to save some fuel. Clearly the team have been quite aggressive with their fuel loads. It would have been clear that they would lead the race after all.

Lap 43
In another 10 laps or so Mercedes will have a pitstop in hand over their pursuer Ricciardo in P3 especially if it is behind a Safety Car.

Lap 45
Massa pits after a very long stint, but as expected emerges 4.9s behind Räikkönen in P11.

Lap 47
Hamilton is informed that he doesn’t need to save fuel, unlike Rosberg. Hamilton has used around a lap less of fuel at this stage in the race according to the figures. 

Bianchi apparently served his 5 second penalty from the race start during his stop under the Safety Car. This is not permitted under the regulations, and it is a peculiarity of a one-stop race scenario that the driver should have a time penalty added at the end of the race instead.

Lap 61

Gutierrez spins at Rascasse but the car is cleared under Yellow Flags. There is no Safety Car.

Bianchi is now in the points, but can expect 5 seconds to be added to his race time due to his pitstop penalty and the way it was incorrectly served. Article 16 of the Sporting Regulations is complex and it appears the team made an error.

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