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GP Brazil 2015 - race analysis: which tactic was the better?

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Race analysis GP Brazil 2015
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Was two or three stops better?

D he majority in the field opted for a three-stop strategy. Kimi Raikkönen, Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hülkenberg, Daniil Kvyat, Pastor Maldonado and Felipe Nasr only came to the pits twice for service.

On paper the three-stop variant was six seconds slower. As is so often the case, paper is patient. Because the higher track temperatures and the faster race pace forced the strategists to be flexible. The tire wear was higher than expected. In the end it was a zero-sum game. With two stops you had to slow down and couldn't attack as aggressively.

Mercedes changed their tactics because Vettel stopped three times in front of the garage anyway. 'It was no longer a risk for us,' said Mercedes Motorsport Director Toto Wolff. Ferrari drove in two directions. Kimi Raikkonen was allowed to continue driving with the two-stop strategy. In retrospect, the Iceman says: 'A different strategy would not have led to any other result.'

Has Ferrari really caught up?

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene never tired of emphasizing that they had made a big step forward. The gap to Mercedes would never have been so small in any race. Without rain and without a safety car, Vettel was 14 seconds off Rosberg, 6 seconds on Hamilton.

'We have to look at the distance to Nico,' said Vettel. 'I think they lost a bit of pace, I was able to catch up, but we're much closer than in the previous races. The pace has been strong since Mexico, even though the race wasn't going so well for me there.'

On one lap, the four-time world champion was actually with the music, 0.214 seconds behind the fastest race lap that Hamilton delivered. Vettel drove them like the Silver Arrow pilots on medium tires.

In terms of performance over the entire race, Vettel was only occasionally faster than Rosberg in the last twelve laps. Logically he slowed down a bit. If you look at the lap times before that, he was usually between two and five tenths missing. This distance was also common in previous races. On a route as short as Interlagos, that doesn't speak for an improvement in this case.

Why did Felipe Massa stay so pale?

He was celebrated by the fans and besieged by the media. Felipe Massa was the local hero in Sao Paulo. He has his home race but certainly presented a little differently. The Brazilian had to let his team-mate Valtteri Bottas show him. That started in the first practice session on Friday, when he was only 17th and complained of problems with the rear He was still fighting with the same bitches of Williams in qualifying, especially in sector two he lost most of the time. 'Actually, I never have any problems here, but for some reason it doesn't work,' said Massa. In the race it turned out rock-solid. Bottas turned out to be Fifth, Massa eighth. After the race, however, this place was revoked because the temperature in the right rear tire exceeded Pirelli's maximum values.

Did the Red Bull experiment t worth it with the new Renault engine?

It's a constant back and forth between Red Bull and Renault. At first the signals were for radio silence, then they approached again. In 2016, Red Bull will drive with Renault engines again - more of a stopgap solution. Before the Brazilian Grand Prix, they tried to talk about marriage with the French again. They had a new stage of the engine with them, which should bring one to two tenths.

But the disillusionment came after qualifying. Daniel Ricciardo only managed the ninth fastest time. Even Daniil Kvyat was faster with the old version. He finished seventh. The bitter aftertaste: The Australian had to move ten places down to change the engine. The race then gave a clear picture. Kvyat finished seventh, Ricciardo eleventh - but still benefited from Felipe Massa's disqualification. The experiment was therefore not worth it at all. But on the contrary. With the old version, Kvyat showed a good performance with the old version, only five seconds behind Nico Hülkenberg with Mercedes power in the rear, considering that performance counts in the uphill sections.

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