2016 Australian Grand Prix – Race
NICO ROSBERG WINS FIRST RACE OF NEW TYRE REGULATIONS
TOP SIX DRIVERS USE FIVE DIFFERENT STRATEGIES
EIGHT DRIVERS USE ALL THREE COMPOUNDS AVAILABLE
Melbourne, March 20, 2016 – Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the first race of the new 2016 tyre regulations, with three compounds available per race and teams allowed a large element of choice in their allocations. Eight drivers used all three compounds available, in a race that was characterised by a red flag stoppage after 18 laps. A variety of strategic choices – which was the intention of the new regulations – were possible at the re-start, with Mercedes and Ferrari notably opting for opposite tactics. Nonetheless, the top three were separated by less than 10 seconds at the finish: underlining the closeness of the competition under the latest tyre rules.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “The grand prix started and ended with a tactical tyre battle, but a red flag after 18 laps reset the race, giving it a very different complexion with tyre changes allowed. After starting with the same used supersoft compounds, Ferrari and Mercedes chose opposite strategies in the second part of the race, with Mercedes running two-thirds of the total distance on the medium tyre but closely challenged by Vettel on the soft. This goes to show how the new regulations have helped to open up a number of different approaches to strategy, with nine of the 16 finishers taking advantage of all three compounds on offer and five completely different strategies covering the top six places. As well as the expected battle at the front, Romain Grosjean finished an excellent sixth for the Haas team on its debut by effectively not making a pit stop at all: instead swapping from soft to medium during the restart, which was an inspired decision. The same strategy was used by Valtteri Bottas”.
Truthometer: We predicted a two-stop strategy as being fastest, starting on supersoft and then switching to soft on laps 16 and 37. Instead, also due to the red flag, Rosberg won after starting on supersoft and then changing to medium during the restart. Hamilton used the same strategy, pitting before the red flag.
Fastest times of the day by compound:
Longest stint of the race:
A new era of qualifying began today in Melbourne, with drivers being eliminated one-by-one. The new format gave everybody plenty to get used to, as drivers and teams worked out the best compromise between setting a quick time and managing the tyre allocation in order to maximise opportunities for the race. Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time for Mercedes (the 50th of his career) was close to 2.5 seconds quicker than his pole last year and three-tenths off the pole record: a clear indication of the performance increase from the latest-generation cars.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “More so than ever, today was all about learning and thinking on your feet. The teams headed into a brand new qualifying format with relatively little tyre data, as a result of the rain that limited running yesterday. More detailed work was done in the dry conditions of FP3 today, with some drivers only trying the supersoft compound for the first time. When it came to qualifying, the aim of the game hasn’t fundamentally changed: it’s still to get through the session using as few sets of tyres as possible. However, we already saw a number of different ways of achieving that goal, which will make for some interesting strategies tomorrow: especially for those outside the top eight, who will have a free choice of starting tyres.”
How the tyres behaved today:
Medium Not used that much so far this weekend. It is one of the two mandatory sets in the race together with the soft.
Soft The favoured race tyre: will generally be chosen for the longest stints tomorrow. Around 1.2s faster per lap than the medium*
Supersoft The only tyre used in qualifying, around 0.7s faster per lap than the soft*
*Data to be confirmed after full analysis
Race strategy: The rain and limited running yesterday, as well as a brand new set of tyre regulations, mean that race strategy is hard to predict. More information will follow after full data analysis.
F 3 – TOP 3 TIMES
|1.HAM – Mercedes||1m25.624s||Super Soft – New|
|2.ROS – Mercedes||1m25.800s||Super Soft – New|
|3.VET – Ferrari||1m25.852s||Super Soft – New|
QUALIFYING TOP 8
LONGEST STINTS SOFAR
**Nearly unused sofar
BEST TIME BY COMPOUND SOFAR
Mercedes drivers went first and second in both free practice sessions at Interlagos, with Lewis Hamilton using the P Zero White medium tyre to go quickest in the morning and Nico Rosberg setting fastest time of the day on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre in the afternoon.
Today was the first opportunity that the teams had to assess tyre wear and degradation on each compound heading into the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend: traditionally a key factor, due to the constant cornering during a short but frenetic and bumpy lap.
As is often the case at Sao Paulo, the weather conditions were inconsistent, with warm track temperatures in the morning but light rain at lunchtime, which dried up before the start of FP2.
The drivers used the morning FP1 session to reacclimatise to the track and determine the behaviour of the medium tyre, in ambient temperatures close to 30 degrees centigrade. In the afternoon, both the medium and soft tyres were used during FP2: complete with some long runs to assess wear and degradation on each compound with different fuel loads. With a high risk of rain returning, the teams were all straight out on track in FP2, aiming to maximise the opportunity of collecting useful data.
The session times were slower than their equivalents in 2014, due to a dirty surface and some damaged kerbs to last year, which meant that the drivers modified their lines in order to avoid them.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: “Friday’s two free practice sessions followed the established pattern of running, although the threat of rain – which never really materialised – perhaps added a certain pressure on teams to gather as much information as quickly as possible. We’ve certainly got plenty of data to analyse now, and while wear and degradation is typically high in Brazil, we are not noticing anything out of the ordinary from a tyre perspective so far. The track is still evolving so tomorrow’s comparative data will be interesting too, but we should be in for a busy race with plenty of strategies and pit stops. As always, the unknown factor seems to be the weather.”
|1.Hamilton||1m13.543s||Medium new||1.Rosberg||1m12.385s||Soft new|
|2.Rosberg||1m14.062s||Medium used||2.Hamilton||1m12.843s||Soft new|
|3.Vettel||1m14.168s||Medium used||3.Vettel||1m13.345s||Soft new|
Tyre statistics of the day:
|kms driven *||4454||1353||0||0|
|sets used overall **||60||19||0||0|
|highest number of laps **||34||24||0||0|
* The above number gives the total amount of kilometres driven in FP1 and FP2 today, all drivers combined.
** Per compound, all drivers combined.
Nico Rosberg has won the first Mexican Grand Prix in 23 years from pole, with a two-stop strategy. Using a soft-medium-medium strategy, he beat his team mate Lewis Hamilton to secure a 10th one-two of the season for Mercedes and move back to second in the driver points standings.
Behind them, the race strategies were affected by a safety car with just 20 laps to go. This effectively allowed a ‘free’ pit stop, which meant that those contemplating another stop could do so without a big penalty.
The exception was local hero Sergio Perez, driving for Force India, who stopped only once and finished in a points-scoring eighth: reinforcing his reputation for excellent tyre management. Perez was the only one-stopper in the race, with the vast majority of drivers stopping twice and a handful stopping three times: although none of the three-stoppers managed to score points.
An extra dimension to today’s race was added by the highest track temperatures seen all weekend, despite earlier predictions of rain. With 46 degrees of track temperature and an increasing amount of rubber on the new surface, the pattern of wear and degradation seen in practice and qualifying was altered. The extra traction also helped to increase the very high top speeds seen in the thin air of Mexico, with Sebastian Vettel recording 366kph on the straight. Williams driver Felipe Massa clocked 352kph on the straight even without DRS assistance.
As the race went on and the track evolved, the medium tyre in particular came into its own, with the fastest lap being set by Rosberg (lap 67) on this compound at a pace about one second off the pole position he had set on soft tyres.
All the drivers started on the soft tyre compound, apart from the two McLarens as well as Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, who started on the medium compound.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “As expected we saw two stops for the majority of competitors, at what turned out to be quite a complicated race strategically because of a surface that kept on evolving, track temperatures a full 12 degrees higher than we experienced yesterday, and a safety car towards the end of the race. Formula One’s return to Mexico has been a spectacular success, with an amazing and vibrant atmosphere from start to finish. As Nigel Mansell said when he interviewed the drivers on the podium: Viva Mexico! It’s good to know that some things don’t change: when Mexico last returned to F1 in 1986 a Pirelli-equipped car won, thanks to Gerhard Berger and Benetton, and the fans are still brilliant.”
Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel has sealed his third victory of the season for Ferrari, using a two-stop strategy at night on the streets of Singapore to clinch his 42nd career win. The race was characterised by a lengthy safety car period a third of the way into the race, which added a new dimension to the already complex strategy calculations, followed by a second safety car period 20 laps from the finish. During the second safety car, the drivers made their last stops, with a final sprint to the finish that produced plenty of entertaining battles.
The entire field started the grand prix on the P Zero Red supersoft tyre, nominated together with the P Zero Yellow soft this weekend. But there were already some different ideas about strategy from the first round of pit stops onwards. Some drivers – including the top three – stuck with the supersoft, while both Mercedes drivers switched to the soft tyre for the second stint. The same strategy was used by Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen, who went from a lap down at the beginning, following a problem at the race start, to a points-scoring eighth. The 17-year-old then used the rapid supersoft at the end of the race to make up positions. The fastest lap was actually set on the soft tyre on lap 52 by Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, who finished second.
Singapore kept up its 100% record of having at least one safety car during the race, going to the full two-hour time limit for a grand prix. Despite this being the longest race of the year, the vast majority of the field used a two-stop strategy. The highest-placed three-stopper was Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, who ended up ninth at the finish.
The Singapore Grand Prix was run in hot and humid conditions, with ambient and track temperatures of 30 and 33 degrees respectively, which fell gradually as the race went on.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “Tactics and tyre management played an important role during this evening’s race. Conditions were as tough as ever in Singapore, with the heat, humidity and sheer length of the race, but Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel were able to get the very best out of the tyres and the strategy, knowing when to push and when to keep something in reserve. It was a perfect race from him. The strategy for every team was obviously affected by the two safety car periods, which had the effect of stretching out the stints. As a result, we saw more drivers moving towards a two-stop strategy rather than a three-stopper. All the way down the field though, there was some different thinking about which order would be the best one to use the tyres in. With such a long race distance, looking after the tyres most effectively was crucial to success, especially in the closing stages.”
Fastest times of the day by compound:
|First||MAL 1m50.175s||RIC 1m50.041s||0||0|
|Second||VST 1m50.298s||VET 1m50.069s||0||0|
|Third||SAI 1m50.401s||RAI 1m50.341s||0||0|
Longest stint of the race:
|Supersoft||Max Verstappen 25 laps|
|Soft||Romain Grosjean 33 laps|
We predicted a three-stopper as theoretically the fastest scenario for the 61-lap race, but we also thought that most teams would opt for a two-stopper because of traffic. In the end, the strategy was mainly affected by the two safety cars, plus one virtual safety car period. The two-stopper we expected was: start on supersoft, switch to supersoft again on lap 24 and soft on lap 43. Vettel followed the pattern we expected but the timing of his stops was influenced by the safety car. He made his two pit stops on laps 13 and 37.