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Saubers have performed poorly in qualifying this year and Germany was no exception. Kobayashi and Perez qualified in 12th and 17th place but both the drivers managed their tyres brilliantly in the race to finish in 4th(after Vettel's penalty) and 6th place respectively. We analyse their race strategies.
An important thing to note is that since qualifying was done in wet conditions, everyone had new tyres for the race.
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Kobayashi's drive to 4th on a different startegy
While most drivers started the race on soft tyres and then did two stints on medium tyres, Kobayashi chose the opposite strategy - medium/medium/soft. Saubers have always been light on tyres and he used it to the most in the race.
Kobayashi had a very strong first stint overtaking a number a drivers; he ran as high as 3rd place before pitting on lap 22. He came out in 10th place and overtook Di Resta the following lap. He overtook Webber and Hulkenberg in the second stint and pitted for soft tyres on lap 43.
He overtook Schumacher on the final stint to take 5th place which turned into 4th place after Vettel's post race penalty. His tyres started to degrade in his 24 lap stint on soft tyres which meant that he could not challenge Raikkonen.
Perez - 17th to 6th
Perez's drive was equally amazing, however, unlike Kobayashi he sticked to the conventional soft/medium/medium strategy. He started the race from 17th place and gained 3 places on the very first lap to take 14th place. His charge continued and he ran as high as 4th before pitting on lap 17.
He switched to prime tyres and came out in 10th place and gained 2 places in next two laps. His pace on prime tyres was impressive as he completed two stints of 23 and 27 laps respectively on the same to finish in 6th place.
However the Mexican said that he could have finished higher had he not picked up damage at the start of the race.
“My strategy was a little bit compromised because I had to do my first pit stop a bit earlier than planned. I felt something strange on the left hand side of the car – perhaps it was a puncture – but I don’t’ really know yet what it was. This obviously meant we had to extend the later stint and I ended up with quite old tyres.” he said.
GERMAN GRAND PRIX, Tyre Choices
Alonso: SN MN (18) MN (41) 2
Vettel: SN MN (20) MU (41) 2
Button: SN MN (19) MN (40) 2
Räikkönen: SN SN (11) MN (38) 2
Kobayashi: MN MN (22) SN (43) 2
Perez: SN MN (17) MN (40) 2
Schumacher: SN SN (14) MN (36) SN (52) 3
Webber: SN MN (12) MN (40) 2
Hülkenberg: SN MN (12) SN (31) MN (46) 3
Rosberg: MN SN (12) SN (32) SN (50) 3
Di Resta: SN MN (10) MN (39) 2
Massa: SN MN (1) MU (24) SN (47) 3
Ricciardo: SN MN (19) MN (38) 2
Vergne: MN MN (6) MU (27) SN (45) 3
Maldonado: SN MN (13) MN (38) SN (57) 3
Petrov: SN MN (14) MN (32) MN (50) 3
Senna: SN MN (1) MN (25) SN (47) 3
Grosjean: SN MN (1) MU (24) SN (42) 3
Kovalainen: SN MN (13) MN (31) MN (44) SU (53) 4
Pic: MN SN (21) MN (43) 2
De La Rosa: SN SU (20) MN (45) 2
Glock: MN SN (19) MN (40) 2
Kartikeyan: SN MN (22) MN (46) 2
Hamilton: SN MN (3) MN (31) SN (47) 3 NC