Italian Grand Prix 2016

6 Sep 2016

Race 14 – 53 Laps – 5.793km per lap – 306.720km race distance – low tyre wear

Italian GP F1 Strategy Report Podcast – our host Michael Lamonato is joined by Luca Manacorda from

Nico Rosberg claimed his first win at the historic Monza circuit in dominant style, with his Italian Grand Prix success cutting the gap to his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship to just two points.

He benefitted from Hamilton’s poor start and was unchallenged, scoring his seventh victory of the year. Hamilton bounced back to finish second, with Sebastian Vettel pleasing the Tifosi by crossing the line third for Ferrari.

It was a pretty straight-forward race at Monza, but there were still some fascinating strategy stories to emerge from the weekend.

One stop for Mercedes

The track was always going to suit Mercedes. But I don’t think many of us were expecting the gap to the chasing pack to be quite so big. It looked to be around eight tenths in qualifying, up to one second in the race – well, from practice pace anyway.

In reality, that proved to be the case too. Mercedes had such an advantage and the W07 was kind on its tyres, meaning both Rosberg and Hamilton could make a one-stop strategy work and still finish clear of the Ferraris on softer and fresher tyres.

There were few drivers who completed a one-stop race. Despite the heavy braking zones and several quick corners, Monza typically produces fairly minimal tyre wear and degradation. It was higher in 2016, but Mercedes had such a pace advantage that they were able to make a one-stop work perfectly.

Two trips to the pits

Most of the field pitted twice, owing to the warmer temperatures in Italy for the race – conditions were slightly cooler than on Saturday, but still quite hot – and softer compounds compared to previous races at the track.

A few more drivers may have attempted a one-stop race but with such close racing, many had to react to those around them and that committed them to two-stops. In terms of complete race strategy, there were some unusual options, including Esteban Ocon starting on the mediums for a very long first stint.

Williams too conservative?

Valtteri Bottas enjoyed a pretty lively race, all things considered. He was up to fourth on lap one and ended up spending most of the Italian GP defending from Daniel Ricciardo. But Williams lost its edge with a conservative strategy call, which enabled Red Bull to overcut and give Ricciardo the advantage.

The Australian ended up making a great move on Bottas into Turn 1 to snatch fifth, helped by the fact he was on the super-softs for the final stint, whereas the Williams was on the softs.

Bottas was one of the early pitters but two final stints on the middle tyre of the three selected meant he couldn’t hold off Ricciardo and the earlier second stop was perhaps too soon, with a later trip to the pits and move to the super-soft being better to fend off the advanced of the Red Bull.


Double super-soft

Ferrari went for a more aggressive strategy on a two-stop race by putting both Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen onto a second super-soft stint after their first round of pitstops. The team was the only one to choose this option and it enabled them to run with a quicker pace in the first half of the race.

However, with the pace of Mercedes, Ferrari was always going to have both cars behind the Silver Arrows duo in Italy. Hamilton was certain to bounce back and the team experienced higher wear than Mercedes in practice, which was a slight indication of what was to come in the race.

It was a braver move, to have two super-soft stints, but in the end it didn’t count for much as the Mercedes car was just so dominant. Third and fourth was clearly the maximum.

Grosjean ekes out the tyres

Romain Grosjean did something different for Haas and it brought him into the mix for a point, but he ended up just missing out. He started on the soft tyre, like a few others, but stayed out far longer than his rivals.

He didn’t pit for the first time until lap 28 and then tried to get to the end on a set of super-softs. It worked out but his tyres lost their flair and edge in the final laps, which prevented his charge and meant he just missed out on a point.

Force India struggles slightly

The two Force India drivers are typically light on their tyres and can find more life than others, but we didn’t quite see that this weekend. If there was any team trying a one-stop, it would’ve been them.

But they struggled more than other races with tyre wear and this meant they had to settle for two stops for Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg. The car’s pace was good enough to complement the strategy and they finished eighth and 10th, but it would’ve been interesting to see what they could’ve done with a one-stop.

Jack Leslie @JackLeslieF1

Longest Stints

Medium: Ocon (32 laps)
Soft: Grojean (28 laps)
Supersoft: Grojean (24 laps)

Most Stops

Nasr, Alonso (3)

All the Data

Thanks to Pirelli Motorsport for the detailed infographics


Stints by Driver

SCSafety Car


RedAss-Black-top3. Ricciardo
Start P6
Used Supersoft 16 laps Pit 23.745
Used Soft 21 laps Pit 23.633
Used Supersoft 16 laps
Finished P5 (+1)


Stallion-Black-top5. Vettel
Start P3
Used Supersoft 16 laps Pit 25.472
Used Supersoft 17 laps Pit 25.033
Soft 20 laps
Finished P3 (+0)


Mercury-Black-top6. Rosberg
Start P2
Used Soft 24 laps Pit 25.55
Medium 29 laps
Finished P1 (+1)


Stallion-Black-top7. Raikkonen
Start P4
Used Supersoft 15 laps Pit 24.116
Used Supersoft 19 laps Pit 24.279
Soft 19 laps
Finished P4 (+0)


Hars-Black-top8. Grosjean
Start P17
Soft 28 laps Pit 25.34
Supersoft 24 laps
Finished P11 (+6)


Saucer-Black-top9. Ericsson
Start P19
Soft 23 laps Pit 25.145
Medium 29 laps
Finished P16 (+3)


RageR-Black-top11. Perez
Start P8
Used Supersoft 15 laps Pit 24.537
Soft 13 laps Pit 24.033
Soft 25 laps
Finished P8 (+0)


Saucer-Black-top12. Nasr
Start P18
Soft 2 laps Pit 27.786
Medium 2 laps Pit 13:30.454
Soft 1 laps Pit 36.594
Used Soft 1 laps
Retired L6 (DNF)


McLaren-Black-top14. Alonso
Start P12
Supersoft 13 laps Pit 26.843
Soft 20 laps Pit 23.694
Soft 16 laps Pit 24.082
Used Supersoft 3 laps
Finished P14 (-2)


Franks-Black-top19. Massa
Start P11
Soft 16 laps Pit 23.94
Soft 20 laps Pit 23.822
Supersoft 17 laps
Finished P9 (+2)


Renboat-Black-top20. Magnussen
Start P21
Supersoft 14 laps Pit 24.505
Soft 16 laps Pit 23.757
Supersoft 22 laps
Finished P17 (+4)
Hars-Black-top21. Guttierrez
Start P10
Used Supersoft 16 laps Pit 25.15
Soft 18 laps Pit 25.515
Used Supersoft 18 laps
Finished P13 (-3)


McLaren-Black-top22. Button
Start P14
Supersoft 15 laps Pit 26.427
Soft 23 laps Pit 24.418
Used Supersoft 14 laps
Finished P12 (+2)


Burro-Black-top26. Kvyat
Start P16
Supsoft 13 laps Pit 25.183
Soft 20 laps Pit 24.363
Supersoft 3 laps
Retired L36 (DNF)


RageR-Black-top27. Hulkenberg
Start P9
Used Supersoft 14 laps Pit 24.043
Soft 19 laps Pit 24.553
Soft 20 laps
Finished P10 (-1)


Renboat-Black-top30. Palmer
Start P20
Soft 1 laps Pit 33.275
Medium 6 laps
Retired L7 (DNF)


RedAss-Black-top33. Verstappen
Start P7
Used Supersoft 13 laps Pit 24.61
Soft 22 laps Pit 23.827
Used Soft 18 laps
Finished P7 (+0)


Mercury-Black-top44. Hamilton
Start P1
Used Soft 25 laps Pit 23.633
Medium 28 laps
Finished P2 (-1)


Burro-Black-top55. Sainz
Start P15
Soft 23 laps Pit 25.301
Used Supersoft 16 laps Pit 24.341
Supersoft 13 laps
Finished P15 (+0)


Franks-Black-top77. Bottas
Start P5
Used Supersoft 13 laps Pit 24.161
Soft 17 laps Pit 23.899
Soft 23 laps
Finished P6 (-1)


Manner-Black-top31. Ocon
Start P22
Medium 32 laps Pit 25.539
Soft 19 laps
Finished P18 (+4)


Manner-Black-top94. Wehrlein
Start P13
Soft 16 laps Pit 25.962
Used Medium 10 laps
Retired L26 (DNF)