Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2016

2016 Australian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops

2016 Australian Grand Prix

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The outcome of the Australian Grand Prix hung on Ferrari’s decision not to put fresh tyres on either of their cars when the race was suspended.

Mercedes did take advantage of the opportunity and their call to put Nico Rosberg on the medium compound tyres arguably won him the race while Ferrari’s decision not to change Sebastian Vettel’s five-lap-old super-softs cost him victory. However Ferrari were not the only team unwilling to commit to the hardest tyres available – a compound which had seen little action in practice.

Of the 16 other drivers running at this point five were already on mediums and six more switched to them. But four put on softs and Jenson Button, uniquely, opted for a new set of super-softs.

Vettel’s lap 13 pit stop was the quickest of the race. Significantly two of the next three fastest tyre change times were achieved by Williams, who often struggled to achieve competitive pit stops last year. It seems the Grove mechanics have been working hard on their pit stop drills over the winter.

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2016 Australian Grand Prix tyre strategies

The tyre strategies for each driver:

Stint 1 Stint 2 Stint 3 Stint 4
Nico Rosberg Super soft (12) Soft (6) Medium (39)
Lewis Hamilton Super soft (16) Medium (41)
Sebastian Vettel Super soft (13) Super soft (22) Soft (22)
Daniel Ricciardo Super soft (12) Super soft (6) Soft (24) Super soft (15)
Felipe Massa Super soft (11) Soft (7) Medium (39)
Romain Grosjean Soft (18) Medium (39)
Nico Hulkenberg Soft (16) Medium (41)
Valtteri Bottas Soft (17) Medium (40)
Carlos Sainz Jnr Super soft (8) Soft (10) Soft (13) Medium (26)
Max Verstappen Super soft (13) Soft (5) Soft (14) Medium (25)
Jolyon Palmer Super soft (12) Soft (6) Medium (39)
Kevin Magnussen Super soft (1) Soft (17) Medium (39)
Sergio Perez Soft (16) Medium (41)
Jenson Button Soft (15) Soft (3) Super soft (12) Medium (26)
Felipe Nasr Super soft (10) Soft (8) Medium (38)
Pascal Wehrlein Super soft (11) Soft (7) Soft (14) Medium (24)
Marcus Ericsson Super soft (11) Soft (7) Medium (20)
Kimi Raikkonen Super soft (16) Super soft (5)
Rio Haryanto Super soft (12) Soft (5)
Esteban Gutierrez Soft (16)
Fernando Alonso Super soft (12) Soft (4)

2016 Australian Grand Prix pit stop times

How long each driver’s pit stops took:

Driver Team Pit stop time Gap On lap
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 21.339 13
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams 21.376 0.037 17
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 21.531 0.192 12
4 Felipe Massa Williams 21.550 0.211 11
5 Fernando Alonso McLaren 21.796 0.457 12
6 Jenson Button McLaren 21.837 0.498 30
7 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 21.940 0.601 16
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 21.981 0.642 42
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 22.167 0.828 16
10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 22.245 0.906 12
11 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 22.303 0.964 13
12 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 22.357 1.018 11
13 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 22.392 1.053 31
14 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 22.414 1.075 8
15 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 22.508 1.169 16
16 Jenson Button McLaren 22.616 1.277 15
17 Felipe Nasr Sauber 22.701 1.362 10
18 Rio Haryanto Manor 23.224 1.885 12
19 Jolyon Palmer Renault 23.286 1.947 12
20 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 23.895 2.556 32
21 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 24.548 3.209 35
22 Sergio Perez Force India 24.719 3.380 16
23 Pascal Wehrlein Manor 26.206 4.867 11
24 Kevin Magnussen Renault 27.831 6.492 1
25 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 29.066 7.727 32

NB. Pascal Wehrlein, Felipe Nasr, Jenson Button, Marcus Ericsson, Jolyon Palmer, Nico Rosberg, Max Verstappen, Romain Grosjean, Felipe Massa, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz Jnr all changed tyres when the race was suspended on lap 18.

Update: The data initially issued after the race indicated Magnussen had put medium tyres on at his first pit stop, rather than softs. The article has been revised accordingly.

2016 Australian Grand Prix

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “2016 Australian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops”

  1. Wow, I didn’t realise that KMag did the whole race on one set of mediums. Also I still find it weird that a points scoring team (Haas) have still never done a proper F1 pit stop before.

    1. He (and Hamilton) had only one medium set in their allocation.. Had they damaged their tires in the ALO/GUT accident debris it would have made their race difficult..

  2. So pleased for Williams their pitstops were great today and after a lot of criticism last year they’ve really upped their game.

  3. What’s the veredict on having 3 different compounds to chose from? I think it adds a lot to the game! it was very interesting how each team took different routes!

    1. Yes, the tire strategies were really interesting, but the circumstances helped too. The race stoppage meant that the teams were in unknown territory, and therefore some of them didn’t find the optimal strategy.

      1. Hamilton was already on the Medium before the stoppage so he was trying something different anyway.
        The stoppage made more cars switch to the medium but without the Red it could have been interesting and the 3 compounds certainly gave Mercedes an extra option to try.

  4. Did Vettel simply not change tyres under the red flag period then? That’s completely foolish? I though they had just put on another set of the red walled tyre…?

    1. I think he was fitted a brand new set few laps before (the one he saved in Q3), I assume all his other sets were more worn from qualification or practice.

      Hamilton continued with his only set of mediums as well after red flag.

  5. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    20th March 2016, 19:37

    That stint from Magnussen is impossible.

  6. Joao Pitol (@)
    20th March 2016, 20:21

    Something does not add up here Keith, danish tv said Magnussen had a pit stop just before safety car, and the Pirelli stats of the race says he did 41 laps on the mediums..

    1. Joao Pitol (@)
      20th March 2016, 20:24

      After fist pitstop he was running soft per Renault tweet

          1. The yellow markings in that picture are from the tyre warmers.
            Magnussen did make a pitstop in the lap before the safety car (that’s not in the Pirelli graph) and the ticker tape showed him on soft tyres. I guess they switched him back to his only set of mediums at the red flag.

    2. @dantheman FYI I brought this up with Pirelli yesterday, not got to the bottom of it yet.

      1. Just watched the race replay, you can see that Magnussen was fitted with yellow marked tyres on his first stop. Race graphics & the f1app show softs for him as well.

  7. I can’t say I’m a fan of the free pit stop under red flag conditions. It worked well for Grosjean, but it spoils the strategy element by splitting the race into two sprints rather than an endurance race.

    Interestingly it backfired on Bottas as he stopped the lap before (under safety car) and needlessly lost positions.

    1. Hamilton stopped just before the Red too !

  8. I think the 3 compounds available made a great difference, and could be an almost perfect solution to processional races. Show me a race in the last 5 or even 10 years where there was such a variance in tyre strategies.

    When there are only 2 compounds with a large performance gap, there is only one way to race. 3 with a smaller gap means there is much more scope for changing strategy and even gambling on a result if way down the order.

  9. I wonder if there’s a list available online of the 7 sets of tyres each driver has left before qualifying?

  10. Go Rio, Go Rio, Go!!
    We all..Indonesia proud of u, Rio! ^o^

  11. Did anyone notice the tyre logo on the TV overlay variated? I.E. de soft tyre icon was either a solide yellow circle with a transparant S inside or an yellow circle with no filling and a yellow S inside.

    1. @Bustertje
      That variance is there to show whether the set was used (transparent circle) or a brand new (solid circle) at the time it was fitted on to the car in the race.

      1. I saw that too and guessed that might be the case, but another classic example of keeping things simple for the viewer!
        Also, there was talk that no one had run the medium all weekend before Hamilton in the race, yet I definitely saw someone running Mediums where the graphic was transparent.

  12. You should give pit-stop time as the actual pit-stop and the total combined (Stop and pit lane) time.

  13. Having a choice of three types of tyre has resulted in the retirement of PRIME and OPTION so now tyres are described by their real names which is a real step forward.

  14. F1 casual viewer
    5th September 2016, 7:49

    THANK YOU for helping unscrew the inscrutable regarding those non-solid tire icons! I catch F1 via UniMAS — en espanol, of which I understand maybe 2% — and that visual variable was one head-scratcher too many for me…

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