Today in the race there will be many blaming Ferrari’s strategy. Here’s my analysis explaining how Ferrari rolled the dice. High risk for high reward.
However, let me refer to a tweet Ferrari posted shortly after I posted my own:
We try to race for victory but the bet did not pay.— Scuderia Ferrari (@InsideFerrari) June 10, 2012
Ferrari is a winning team. The mentality is to take a win if where is a whiff of a chance exits. Let’s analyse the two scenarios.
If they pitted, reacting to Hamilton
Alonso was crusing behind Hamilton running P2 and if they reacted to Hamilton’s stop, they would come out P2 and stay P2. Surely the way to go right?
They would be nailed at P2. P2 is not good enough for a team like Ferrari. Vettel was closing in so they might even lose a place to Vettel depending on how the stop itself goes. The difference between P1 and P2 is 7 points. In this scenario, they certainly lose 7 to Hamilton.
High risk but high reward. It wasn’t entirely crazy. Grosjean and Perez did more laps on a higher fuel load. They gambled and four scenarios were possible:
Both Alonso and Vettel’s tyres last and they finish ahead of Hamilton. Alonso scores 10 points more than Hamilton and 7 more than Vettel. Ideal scenario.
Alonso just hangs on to P1, Hamilton P2 and Vettel P3. Still better.
Hamilton overtakes. P1 Hamilton P2 Alonso but definitely P3 Vettel – Still better than pitting.
What actually happened
Alonso ended up P5. Vettel’s stop was critical to that. Red Bull realised that the miracle plan to make the tyres last 50+ laps wouldn’t work and Vettel pitted for SuperSoft tyres. He lapped 4 seconds faster and overtook Alonso.
Nightmare scenario. However, The difference between P5 and P2 is loss of 8 points. They were going to lose 7 points to Alonso anyway. It was a gamble between +7/10 (if strategy worked) or -10 if it didn’t. Ferrari chose to take that gamble and you have to respect that.
Note that I feel these 8 points they gambled away will be crucial for the championship. However, hindsight is a wonderful thing. Had it paid off (such as Vettel in Monaco last year. Note Safety Cars are a very strong possibility in Canada), people would have marvelled it as a stroke of genius.
I applaud their risk taking. As a fan this gave us a brilliant, off-the-edge-of-the-seat thrilling action to the end but as a team, the fought for the win. In Formula One things can go one way or the other but trying and failing is better than just accepting defeat.
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