German Grand Prix 2016

2 Aug 2016

Race 12 – 67 Laps – 4.574km per lap – 306.458km race distance – medium tyre wear

German GP F1 Strategy Report Podcast – our host Michael Lamonato is joined by Abhishek Takle – F1 journalist.

The Hockenheimring returned to the Formula 1 calendar as host to round 12 of the 2016 season, with the German Grand Prix being the final race before the summer break. Lewis Hamilton dominated after a strong start to take his sixth win of the year.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen put in strong performances to score Red Bull’s first double podium of the season, finishing in second and third. Nico Rosberg lost further ground in the championship race with a fourth place on home soil.

The race threw up plenty of interesting strategy headlines, with a variety of different options being used up and down the grid. Here are the main strategy stories to emerge from the German GP.

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 31: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer leads Nico Rosberg of Germany driving the (6) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO7 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 31, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY – JULY 31: Daniel Ricciardo of Australia driving the (3) Red Bull Racing Red Bull-TAG Heuer RB12 TAG Heuer leads Nico Rosberg of Germany driving the (6) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes F1 WO7 Mercedes PU106C Hybrid turbo on track during the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 31, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Two laps for Dany Ric

Tyre degradation was higher in Germany than at previous races, meaning any extra laps completed on a tyre in qualifying could have had an impact on the first stints of the race. Ricciardo had to go for two laps on his fastest Q2 run, with those super-soft tyres then being used at the start of the race.

This meant they weren’t quite as fresh as the tyres his rivals were running but it proved to not have much of an impact, as he was able to stop one lap later than Verstappen and Rosberg. It didn’t particularly help his fight to beat Verstappen but he ended up moving ahead of him later on.

Gutierrez starts on softs

Esteban Gutierrez qualified in the coveted 11th grid position, meaning he was the first to have free reign of strategy when it came to choosing a tyre compound to start on. Haas opted to do something different and put him on the softs – the Mexican was the only driver to start on this tyre.

But a disastrous start caused him to fall to as low as 18th place, which had a big impact on the rest of his race. The strategy brought him back into play for a more positive result but he ended up finishing just six seconds off his first point of the season, coming home 11th.

Three stop rules the day

When F1 last visited Hockenheim, a two-stop strategy was the way to go. The tyres were more durable back then and the cars have evolved a lot since, but Pirelli predicted it would be very close between a two and a three stop race this year.

The three-stop was a safer bet, due to the tyre wear rates, but a two-stop could still work well if drivers were in clean air and could manage the tyres. Three trips to the pitlane proved to be the most popular choice in 2016, due to the tyre degradation and warm temperatures at the Hockenheimring.

But with a three stop comes a more diverse mix of compound strategies, we saw the leading four cars on different tyres during the final two stints. The soft and super-soft were the only compounds used throughout the race, as expected after limited running on the hardest compound (the mediums – seriously, what’s the point in them anyway?).

Vettel makes his own calls

Sebastian Vettel proved to be very vocal on the radio during the race when it came to race strategy. Before his final stop the German was told to pit but he replied “negative”, saying the super-soft tyres he was on could last a few more laps and were in good shape. He ended up pitting on lap 46 but he couldn’t take advantage of the fresher tyres compared to his rivals and ended up finishing well clear of the top four in fifth place.

Perez does the undercut

Sometimes the undercut doesn’t work all that well but it proved to be pretty handy in Germany, Perez leapfrogged several cars with early stops. He had a poor first lap, describing it as the “worst start” of his career, but a strategy change from Force India helped him move up the order. All of his three stops were earlier than his rivals and he used his strong tyre management skills to move up to 10th place in the closing stages.

Ambitious Bottas

Williams tried a two-stop strategy for Valtteri Bottas but the brave move didn’t work, the Finnish driver pitted to change from super-softs to softs on lap 12 and then went for another fresh set of softs on the 33rd tour of the race.

The long final stint didn’t quite work and Bottas ended up losing ground and a position to Jenson Button in the final laps, just holding off the hard-charging Perez. It was a similar story for Fernando Alonso, he was on a three-stop race but McLaren struggled more with degradation and the Spaniard ended up falling out of the top 10 with a few laps to go.

Rosberg doesn’t have the pace

Rosberg picked up a five-second penalty for forcing Verstappen off the road at Turn 6 and it was served at his final stop, but a stopwatch problem – according to Toto Wolff – meant the wait before the pit crew got to work was eight seconds instead. This cost Rosberg time but he lacked pace throughout the entire race.

The German dropped from first to fourth on lap one and struggled to fight back early on. He at one stage found himself up in second place after a super-soft second stint and a third stint on the softs, but the penalty cost him dearly and he ended up closing in on Verstappen late on, coming within two seconds of third place.

Hamilton out front

But while he looked less comfortable compared to Rosberg in practice, it all came together for Hamilton on race day. He took the lead at the start, opened up an advantage and put in a straightforward three-stop race, pitting on laps 14, 34 and 47 – going for a super-soft/soft/super-soft/soft strategy. It worked well and he crossed the line well clear of Ricciardo.

Jack Leslie @JackLeslieF1

Longest Stints

Medium: Not used
Soft: Magnussen (34 laps)
Supersoft: Grojean (23 laps)

Most Stops


All the Data

Thanks to Pirelli Motorsport for the detailed infographics



Stints by Driver

SCSafety Car


RedAss-Black-top3. Ricciardo
Start P3
Used Supersoft 12 laps Pit 18.964
Soft 21 laps Pit 18.738
Used Supersoft 13 laps Pit 18.979
Supersoft 21 laps
Finished P2 (+1)


Stallion-Black-top5. Vettel
Start P6
Used Supersoft 13 laps Pit 19.23
Soft 18 laps Pit 19.472
Used Supersoft 15 laps Pit 19
Soft 21 laps
Finished P5 (+1)


Mercury-Black-top6. Rosberg
Start P1
Used Supersoft 11 laps Pit 19.693
Supersoft 16 laps Pit 18.936
Soft 17 laps Pit 28.364
Used Soft 23 laps
Finished P4 (-3)


Stallion-Black-top7. Raikkonen
Start P5
Used Supersoft 14 laps Pit 22.393
Soft 18 laps Pit 19.142
Used Supersoft 15 laps Pit 19.525
Soft 20 laps
Finished P6 (-1)


Hars-Black-top8. Grosjean
Start P20
Supersoft 17 laps Pit 20.301
Soft 26 laps Pit 19.863
Used Supersoft 23 laps
Finished P13 (+7)


Saucer-Black-top9. Ericsson
Start P22
Supersoft 16 laps Pit 20.148
Supersoft 17 laps Pit 19.318
Soft 32 laps
Finished P18 (+4)


RageR-Black-top11. Perez
Start P9
Used Supersoft 8 laps Pit 19.233
Soft 19 laps Pit 19.223
Used Supersoft 16 laps Pit 19.379
Soft 23 laps
Finished P10 (-1)


Saucer-Black-top12. Nasr
Start P21
Supersoft 7 laps Pit 29.865
Supersoft 12 laps Pit 19.944
Soft 23 laps Pit 19.755
Soft 15 laps
Retired L57 (DNF)


McLaren-Black-top14. Alonso
Start P13
Supersoft 14 laps Pit 19.258
Soft 14 laps Pit 19.44
Supersoft 19 laps Pit 19.127
Used Supersoft 19 laps
Finished P12 (+1)


Franks-Black-top19. Massa
Start P10
Used Supersoft 9 laps Pit 18.59
Soft 17 laps Pit 36.395
Soft 10 laps
Retired L36 (DNF)


Renboat-Black-top20. Magnussen
Start P16
Supersoft 11 laps Pit 19.034
Supersoft 21 laps Pit 19.159
Soft 34 laps
Finished P16 (+0)
Hars-Black-top21. Guttierrez
Start P11
Soft 25 laps Pit 20.099
Supersoft 22 laps Pit 19.326
Used Supersoft 19 laps
Finished P11 (+0)


McLaren-Black-top22. Button
Start P12
Used Supersoft 13 laps Pit 19.427
Soft 18 laps Pit 19.124
Used Supersoft 15 laps Pit 19.268
Supersoft 20 laps
Finished P8 (+4)


Burro-Black-top26. Kvyat
Start P18
Supersoft 7 laps Pit 23.243
Soft 21 laps Pit 20.227
Supersoft 21 laps Pit 19.264
Supersoft 17 laps
Finished P15 (+3)


RageR-Black-top27. Hulkenberg
Start P8
Used Supersoft 12 laps Pit 19.608
Soft 20 laps Pit 19.144
Used Supersoft 12 laps Pit 19.907
Soft 23 laps
Finished P7 (+1)


Renboat-Black-top30. Palmer
Start P14
Supersoft 2 laps Pit 19.298
Soft 23 laps Pit 26.688
Used Supersoft 20 laps Pit 19.725
Used Supersoft 20 laps
Finished P19 (-5)


RedAss-Black-top33. Verstappen
Start P4
Used Supersoft 11 laps Pit 19.017
Supersoft 17 laps Pit 19.137
Soft 17 laps Pit 18.967
Used Supersoft 22 laps
Finished P3 (+1)


Mercury-Black-top44. Hamilton
Start P2
Used Supersoft 14 laps Pit 18.65
Soft 20 laps Pit 18.504
Supersoft 13 laps Pit 18.475
Used Soft 20 laps
Finished P1 (+1)


Burro-Black-top55. Sainz
Start P15
Used Supersoft 9 laps Pit 22.751
Supersoft 20 laps Pit 19.747
Soft 22 laps Pit 19.547
Used Supersoft 15 laps
Finished P14 (+1)


Franks-Black-top77. Bottas
Start P7
Used Supersoft 12 laps Pit 18.796
Soft 21 laps Pit 19.183
Soft 33 laps
Finished P9 (-2)


Manner-Black-top88. Haryanto
Start P19
Supersoft 13 laps Pit 31.317
Soft 19 laps Pit 20.919
Used Supersoft 17 laps Pit 21.186
Used Supersoft 16 laps
Finished P20 (-1)


Manner-Black-top94. Wehrlein
Start P17
Supersoft 12 laps Pit 19.813
User Supersoft 14 laps Pit 19.626
Soft 20 laps Pit 19.658
Used Soft 19 laps
Finished P17 (+0)