SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 13: Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer in the Pitlane during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 13, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // P-20161113-01234 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to for further information. //

Brazilian Grand Prix: Strategy report

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - NOVEMBER 13:  Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer in the Pitlane during the Formula One Grand Prix of Brazil at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace on November 13, 2016 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool  // P-20161113-01234 // Usage for editorial use only // Please go to for further information. //

Race 20 – 71 Laps – 4.309km per lap – 305.909km race distance – medium tyre wear

Brazilian GP F1 Strategy Report Podcast coming soon – our host Michael Lamonato is joined by Fernando Campos.


The 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix will be one of those races we’ll all remember for many years to come. Lewis Hamilton took victory in the heavily disrupted race, which took place in wet conditions and included several safety car periods and red flags.

The chaotic and action-packed Brazilian GP saw Nico Rosberg finish in second place, meaning the title fight between the Mercedes duo will go down to the 2016 finale in Abu Dhabi. But all eyes were on Max Verstappen as he swept up the order to third.

But with wet weather came limited strategy, especially with the red flags meaning cars could change tyres if needed. Nevertheless, we’ve picked out the major strategy headlines to emerge from the Brazilian GP as there’s still plenty to be discussed.

Track drying out?

The weather at Interlagos is notoriously difficult and there were several moments where it looked like things would dry out enough for some quicker and more trouble-free running. This tempted several drivers to go onto intermediates, with some gambling in the early stages after the safety car start.

But the rain never really went away and remained quite constant throughout, which meant the inters proved to be the wrong tyre to be on throughout the race. Many did go for inters in that early period, before ending up changing back to the wet compound later on.

No pit stop

Lewis Hamilton became the first driver since Alain Prost at the 1993 German Grand Prix to win a F1 race without making a proper pit stop. Technically he did change tyres twice during the red flags, going for a new set of wets first and then a used set afterwards, but a proper pit stop was never completed by the Mercedes crew on Hamilton’s car.

Strategic tension

One of the main interesting strategic points from the race was the tension and vibe at Mercedes, Hamilton and Rosberg both didn’t want to stop for wets and lose track position, in case of a safety car or red flag – or to lose out to one another.

With the title fight being so close and the stakes being so high, each driver seemed a little wary of what was going on. Pitting could mean being stuck behind the other or losing ground and especially for Hamilton, that would’ve had an impact on the championship. In the end though, both managed to change tyres during the red flags.

Incidents, everywhere

There were quite a few incidents during the race, as you’d expect from the heavy rain and tricky conditions. Romain Grosjean binned his Haas on his way to the grid and didn’t even make the start, while Marcus Ericsson then crashed towards the end of the lap after 14 laps and deployed the safety car.

Kimi Raikkonen smashed his Ferrari on the pit straight, which ended up bringing out the first red flag on lap 20. These incidents and crashes proved to be quite important in the race outcome and the flow of the race too, making it especially stop-start.

Verstappen loses win?

Undoubtedly, Verstappen excelled in the wet conditions and he proved to be quick from the start. He was as high as second at one point in the race and was one of the drivers to pit for intermediates after Ericsson’s crash, ending up going back onto the wets.

Red Bull opted to pit Verstappen for inters once again on lap 43, going for the gamble. It failed and the subsequent pit stop to go back to wets dropped him well outside the top 10 – as low as 15th. But the feisty and phenomenal way he moved his way back up the grid was truly incredible and will surely be talked about for years.

The pit stop proved to be a mistake and lost him a huge amount of track position. His new wet tyres gave him an advantage but he certainly looked quick all the way through the race, particularly on the wets. You have to think a win could’ve been possible in those conditions after such a fightback.

Button tries something different

Jenson Button is usually brilliant in wet conditions but the two switches he made to inters backfired and he ended up finishing last of those who made the chequered flag. There was simply too much water and too quickly a changing environment on track for the inters and this proved to be costly for track position and the end result.

Wet tyre lasts

It wasn’t particularly surprising but the wet tyre held up decently in the conditions, especially in terms of the life of the tyre. Drivers weren’t happy with how they performed in terms of getting rid of the water, especially with the amount of aquaplaning going on.

But in general the wets did last quite a while without too much wear or degradation, with the longest stints on it being 43 laps (for Hamilton, Rosberg, Sergio Perez, Felipe Nasr and others). The inters held up quite well too, with Bottas going for the longest stint (33 laps). It’s a shame they didn’t quite work as well as the wets too….

Jack Leslie @JackLeslieF1

Longest Stints

Intermediate: Bottas (33 laps)
Wet: Vettel, Rosberg, Perez, Nasr, Alonso, Kvyat, Hulkenberg, Ocon, Hamilton, Sainz (43 laps)

All the Data

Thanks to Pirelli Motorsport for the detailed infographics


Stints by Driver

SCSafety Car
Lap 1-6
Lap 12-31
Lap 47-55
RedAss-Black-top3. Ricciardo
Start P6
Wet13 lapsPit 24.623
Intermediate7 lapsPit 33:28.600
Wet8 lapsPit 24:44.725
Used Wet12 lapsPit 29.621
Intermediate12 lapsPit 24.521
Used Wet19 laps
Finished P8 (-2)
Stallion-Black-top5. Vettel
Start P5
Wet10 lapsPit 29.981
Intermediate10 lapsPit 33:30.637
Wet8 lapsPit 24:43.923
Used Wet43 laps
Finished P5 (+0)
Mercury-Black-top6. Rosberg
Start P2
Wet20 lapsPit 33:29.747
Wet8 lapsPit 24:41.624
Used Wet43 laps
Finished P2 (+0)
Stallion-Black-top7. Raikkonen
Start P3
Wet19 laps
Retired L19 (DNF)
Hars-Black-top8. Grosjean
Start P7
Wet1 laps
Retired L1 (DNF)
Saucer-Black-top9. Ericsson
Start P20
Wet9 lapsPit 25.395
Intermediate2 laps
Retired L11 (DNF)
RageR-Black-top11. Perez
Start P9
Wet20 lapsPit 33:28.398
Wet8 lapsPit 24:42.290
Used Wet43 laps
Finished P4 (+5)
Saucer-Black-top12. Nasr
Start P21
Wet20 lapsPit 33:28.206
Wet8 lapsPit 24:43.214
Used Wet43 laps
Finished P9 (+12)
McLaren-Black-top14. Alonso
Start P10
Wet9 lapsPit 24.821
Intermediate11 lapsPit 33:28.789
Wet8 lapsPit 24:43.818
Used Wet43 laps
Finished P10 (+0)
Franks-Black-top19. Massa
Start P13
Wet9 lapsPit 29.421
Intermediate11 lapsPit 33:29.630
Wet8 lapsPit 24:45.969
Used Wet3 lapsPit 29.754
Intermediate15 laps
Retired L46 (DNF)
Renboat-Black-top20. Magnussen
Start P18
Wet7 lapsPit 24.986
Intermediate13 lapsPit 33:28.979
Used Wet8 lapsPit 24:44.474
Intermediate13 lapsPit 24.265
Used Wet30 laps
Finished P14 (+4)
Hars-Black-top21. Guttierrez
Start P12
Wet12 lapsPit 25.147
Intermediate8 lapsPit 33:31.147
Wet8 lapsPit 24:44.444
Used Wet19 lapsPit 17.835
Used Wet13 laps
Retired L60 (DNF)
McLaren-Black-top22. Button
Start P17
Wet8 lapsPit 24.192
Intermediate12 lapsPit 33:30.062
Wet8 lapsPit 24:44.987
Used Wet6 lapsPit 25.006
Intermediate10 lapsPit 24.754
Used Wet27 laps
Finished P16 (+1)
Burro-Black-top26. Kvyat
Start P14
Wet9 lapsPit 25.758
Intermediate8 lapsPit 25.355
Intermediate3 lapsPit 33:31.266
Wet8 lapsPit 24:44.388
Used Wet43 laps
Finished P13 (+1)
RageR-Black-top27. Hulkenberg
Start P8
Wet20 lapsPit 33:28.504
Wet2 lapsPit 24.282
Used Wet6 lapsPit 24:45.304
Used Wet43 laps
Finished P7 (+1)
Renboat-Black-top30. Palmer
Start P16
Wet9 lapsPit 24.745
Intermediate8 lapsPit 24.656
Wet3 laps
Retired L20 (DNF)
RedAss-Black-top33. Verstappen
Start P4
Wet13 lapsPit 24.186
Intermediate7 lapsPit 33:29.643
Wet8 lapsPit 24:41.433
Used Wet15 lapsPit 24.435
Intermediate26 lapsPit 24.041
Used Wet2 laps
Finished P3 (+1)
Mercury-Black-top44. Hamilton
Start P1
Wet20 lapsPit 33:30.361
Wet8 lapsPit 24:42.048
Used Wet43 laps
Finished P1 (+0)
Burro-Black-top55. Sainz
Start P15
Wet20 lapsPit 33:28.828
Wet8 lapsPit 24:43.053
Used Wet43 laps
Finished P7 (+8)
Franks-Black-top77. Bottas
Start P11
Wet9 lapsPit 24.724
Intermediate11 lapsPit 33:28.595
Wet17 lapsPit 24:43.957
Used Wet1 lapsPit 24.994
Intermediate33 laps
Finished P11 (+0)
Manner-Black-top31. Ocon
Start P22
Wet20 lapsPit 33:29.052
Wet8 lapsPit 24:45.092
Used Wet43 laps
Finished P12 (+10)
Manner-Black-top94. Wehrlein
Start P19
Wet20 lapsPit 33:28.464
Wet8 lapsPit 24:44.979
Used Wet24 lapsPit 25.509
Used Wet19 laps
Finished P15 (+4)