Ferrari says hindsight is easy, gamble was right

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Ferrari’s mid-race call to stick with a one-stop strategy versus a two-stop strategy cost Fernando Alonso a possible podium finish and many fans are wondering why the team chose the tactic. It’s not that easy says team boss Stefano Domenicali:

“Of course with hindsight it is easy; and my kids, who are seven and eight years old, could do the right thing,” he told Autosport.

“Honestly when we did the first pitstop, we did the right choice because we jumped one position, but it was not clear at that moment if it would have been one or two stops – because otherwise we would have kept Fernando longer on the track.

“Then, considering the pace and considering the way that Fernando was managing the tyres, we discussed with Fernando and apparently the tyres were keeping up a pace that was good in terms of having a one-stop strategy.

“Then, when you arrive at a certain moment, you have to go for one solution or another one, so at that stage the situation – the elements that we had – were okay so we kept going in that direction. After that, I cannot say anything more than with hindsight of course it was the wrong thing to do.

“But the real mistake was not to cover Vettel, because we were not expecting for him to catch up so quickly or the other way around, the tyres [on Alonso’s car] going off the cliff in such a strong way.”

Covering Vettel might have saved a 4th place finish for Fernando but that’s speculation. What really happened is the team took the gamble, threw the dice and it didn’t work. Of course no one counted on Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean to be as fast as they were on a one-stop. Fernando Alonso eluded to that as well:

“I don’t agree that it was the wrong strategy. Grosjean nearly won the race with one stop, so one stop was the right strategy,” he said.

“If I stopped behind Hamilton I would finish second behind Hamilton, but if I had the degradation of Grosjean, I would have won the race, Vettel would have been second, Grosjean third and Hamilton fourth – and now you [the media] would be in the McLaren garage saying two stop is the wrong strategy.

If hindsight is 20/20, then the strategy didn’t play out but there was the cliff-edge moment when the call had to be made and as an armchair team manager, when and what timing/scoring indicators would you point to to have made a different call?  When Lewis made his second stop, Fernando was running deep once again but was several seconds shy of what he needed to pit and come out ahead of Hamilton. Would you have come in anyway? Easy to say in hindsight but the timing was interesting on all fronts with Grosjean, Perez and Vettel all running one-stop’s as well.

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