Formula Legend Canadian Grand Prix strategy report

Roberto Merhi (ESP) Manor Marussia F1 Team makes a pit stop. 07.06.2015. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 7, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Race Day.

Formula Legend Strategy Report – Canadian Grand Prix 2015
Round 7 – 70 Laps – 4.361km per lap – 305.270km race distance – very low tyre wear
Canadian F1 Strategy Report Podcast click here
Round seven of the 2015 Formula 1 season took place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. It was a rather tame race by Canadian Grand Prix standards, with Lewis Hamilton taking a controlled victory for Mercedes.It was the Brit’s fourth win of the year, with Nico Rosberg finishing 2.2 seconds further back in second place. The German kept Hamilton in his sights throughout the race but just didn’t have the pace to challenge him. Valtteri Bottas was a fine third for Williams, scoring the team’s first podium of 2015.In terms of strategy, it was an interesting grand prix. We saw a mix of one and two-stop races and witnessed some great racing as quicker cars moved through the field after starting from the back of the grid.Here are the main strategy points from F1’s trip to Canada:

One stop rules the day

Lower tyre degradation at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve meant the majority of the race finishers stopped just once. This was the preferred strategy for F1’s tyre supplier Pirelli prior to the Canadian Grand Prix, despite a two-stopper working out slightly faster.

Starting on the super-soft and switching to the soft around laps 24 to 28 was the most common option, although Hamilton and Rosberg stayed out until the 29th and 30th laps before pitting, with the option tyre lasting longer than expected.

During the first pit stop phase, Rosberg actually gained time on his team-mate by staying out one lap later on the super-soft tyre. This again shows the durability of the compound, that he was able to push and gain more time – even with a slight off at the hairpin. Sadly for Rosberg his late fightback faded and he had to settle for second.

Bottas also pulled off a similar strategy to the top two, stopping just once on lap 28 and moving ahead of Kimi Raikkonen. Despite the Ferrari driver having better race pace, the Williams racer was able to maintain the gap to Raikkonen – another impressive drive by the Finn.

The spinning Finn

The 2007 world champion lost a considerable amount of time after his lap 26 pit stop, due to a spin at the hairpin. He was perplexed as to what happened after the race and suffered a similar problem in Canada last year. The mistake cost him several second and Bottas was able to move ahead of him when he pitted.

Raikkonen spun up his wheels and kicked up plenty of smoke as he recovered from the spin, which surely ruined his tyres. Did this prompt Ferrari to switch from one to two stops? It is likely, helped by the fact that at the time of his second trip to the pit lane, he was well clear of the next car and was able to re-join the track without losing track position.

On fresh super-soft tyres, he closed on Bottas but like Rosberg at the front of the field, his challenge slipped away and he eventually finished five seconds behind the Williams. Raikkonen was the highest placed two-stopper in the Canadian GP.

Vettel moves up the field

Sebastian Vettel put in a strong recovery drive from 18th on the grid, after a MGU-H problem in qualifying and a grid drop for overtaking during red flags in FP3. It was a tough place to be starting from, but he quickly made progress in the early stages and was helped by a more aggressive two-stop strategy.

Vettel was the first driver to make a scheduled stop on lap seven, switching to the soft tyre. He completed 28 laps on that set before pitting for a used set of the prime compound, to complete the race. He showed good pace on both tyre and would have definitely been in with a chance of a podium if he hadn’t started so far down the field.

He ended up less than 10 seconds behind Bottas and three seconds behind his team-mate Raikkonen, despite lining up 15 positions behind him on the grid. Quite an impressive drive through the field.

Massa ekes out his tyres

Felipe Massa also started out of position in 15th and soon moved up the order, helped by running the Mercedes power unit. Williams opted to start the Brazilian driver on the soft tyre and despite being on the less grippy compound, he was able to make good progress in the early laps.

However, he pitted for the one and only time on lap 37, which looked to be a little too early for someone attempting a one-stop race. However, the durability and lower degradation of the super-soft meant Massa was able to lap quickly throughout his impressive 35-lap option tyre stint.

It was the longest stint on the super-soft tyre, with Pastor Maldonado completing the most consecutive laps on one set of the soft compound – 53 in total for the Lotus driver, en route to his first points of the year.

Few pit stops

Typically Canada can throw up a race with quite a few stops, which adds to the excitement of the on-track action. However, this year it was different, with only 24 trips to the pit lane in total (not including retirements).

With limited track time in practice due to rain in FP2 and red flags in FP3, teams entered qualifying and the race more unprepared than usual, which would have made choosing a strategy even tougher.

Jack Leslie

Pirelli Strategy Infographics


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SCSafety Car
No Safety Car
Redbull3. Ricciardo
Start P9
Supersoft Qual + 23 laps Pit 23.997
Soft 46 laps
Finish P13 (-4)
Ferrari5. Vettel
Start P18
Supersoft 7 laps Pit 27.241
Soft 28 laps Pit 23.945
Used Soft 35 laps
Finish P5 (+13)
Merc6. Rosberg
Start P2
Supersoft Qual + 30 laps Pit 23.321
Soft 40 laps
Finish P2 (+0)
Ferrari7. Raikkonen
Start P3
Supersoft Qual + 26 laps Pit 23.630
Soft 14 laps Pit 24.578
Used Supersoft 30 laps
Finished P4 (-1)
Redbull8. Grosjean
Start P5
Supersoft Qual + 27 laps Pit 24.292
Soft 22 laps Pit (FIA Data missing?)
Soft 20 laps
Finish P10 (-5)
Sauber9. Ericsson
Start P12
Supersoft 28 laps Pit 24.149
Soft 41 laps
Finished P14 (+2)
FI11. Perez
Start P10
Supersoft Qual + 24 laps Pit 23.453
Soft 45 laps
Finished P11 (-1)
Sauber12. Nasr
Start P14
Supersoft 26 laps Pit 24.795
Soft 42 laps
Finished P16 (+2)
Redbull13. Maldonado
Start P6
Supersoft Qual + 17 laps Pit 23.660
Soft 53 laps
Finished P7
Redbull14. Alonso
Start P13
Supersoft 31 laps Pit 23.553
Soft 13 laps
Retired Lap 44
Williams19. Massa
Start P15
Soft 37 laps Pit 23.912
Supersoft 33 laps
Finished P6 (+9)
McLaren22. Button
Start P20
Soft 44 laps Pit 25.374
Soft 10 laps
Retired Lap 54
Redbull26. Kvyat
Start P8
Supersoft Qual + 27 laps Pit 23.681
Soft 42 laps
Finished P9 (-1)
FI27. Hulkenberg
Start P7
Supersoft Qual + 28 laps Pit 23.507
Soft 41 laps
Finished P8 (-1)
Redbull28. Stevens
Start P17
Soft 34 laps Pit 30.807
Supersoft 13 laps Pit (FIA data missing?)
Finish P17 (+0)
Toro33. Verstappen
Start P19
Soft 39 laps Pit 36.105
Supersoft 30 laps
Finished P15 (+4)
Merc44. Hamilton
Start P1
Supersoft Qual + 29 laps Pit 23.708
Soft 41 laps
Finished P1 (+0)
Toro55. Sainz
Start P11
Supersoft 27 laps Pit 24.277
Soft 42 laps
Finished P12 (-1)
Redbull77. Bottas
Start P4
Supersoft Qual + 28 laps Pit 25.541
Soft 42 laps
Finish P3 (+1)
Redbull98. Merhi
Start P16
Soft 35 laps Pit 26.986
Supersoft 22 laps
Retired Lap 57