Tires & Strategy Difference in Shanghai
German Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took his first Formula 1TM checkered flag while Sauber-Ferrari driver Kamui Kobyashi set the fastest lap as this thriller of a race proved just how important it is for car, driver and team to work seamlessly together.
Fans were treated to an exciting Sunday in Shanghai last weekend at the 2012 Formula 1TM UBS Chinese Grand Prix. Although Nico Rosberg was in control Sunday, race strategy and tire wear proved to be the deciding factors as a fantastic battle behind him ensued.
The battle started early on in the race as drivers pitted to ditch Pirelli’s soft tires for mediums somewhat earlier than their originally calculated line of attack. Red Bull’s Mark Webber was the first to make the move in Lap 10 and he immediately became the fastest man on the circuit, albeit back in 20th place.
As many as nine cars were vying for second place at one point. Nose-to-nose, side-by-side, wheel-to-wheel – it was exciting stuff!
In the end, pit-stop strategy and teamwork made the difference. Some teams held brief advantages on fresh tires, while others were forced to nurse their tires to the finish. After it appeared in the latter half of the race that Team Lotus-Renault driver Kimi Räikkönen was going to hold off the pack for second, his tires “fell off a cliff” as he put it and second place was up for grabs once again.
When all was said and done, Kobayashi held on to fastest lap bragging rights, after turning out a time of 1:39.960 just out of the pits in Lap 40. Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne was literally a nanosecond behind at 1:40.019. The Team Toro Rosso driver put on a great show mid-race after a tire stop, setting a series of fast laps, but it was not enough to catch the Japanese Sauber pilot.
As it stands three different drivers have claimed a Fastest Lap so far this season: Jenson Button, Kimi Räikkönen and now Kamui Kobayashi. It appears the 2012 race for the DHL Fastest Lap is setting up to be as much a thriller as this year’s Grand Prix in Shanghai.
DHL understands only too well how important it a well-oiled strategy is to be the fastest driver on the global logistics circuit. And our pit crew is always ready when a fresh set of tires can make the difference.