Why Marco Andretti Lost Detroit Race #1

Marco Andretti exits Turn 7 during Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park — Photo: Chris Owens

The first race for the doubleheader in Detroit was a strategy showdown as rain plagued the early parts of the race and threatened again in the closing laps.

Carlos Munoz secured his first win in the Verizon IndyCar series and led eight laps on Saturday. His teammate, Marco Andretti, came in second place – but that wouldn’t have been true if Munoz hadn’t have been able to stay out two extra laps after Andretti pitted. 

Andretti came in on lap 40 leading the race by around a second, and he had a 20+ second gap to the main field. On his black tires he was lapping two to five seconds a lap quicker than the main field who had switched onto rain tires eight laps earlier.

Munoz had followed suit with Andretti, partly because they are teammates, and ran the same strategy. When Andretti came in to pit (his fuel was low or else he would have stayed out longer, to gain a bigger lead), Munoz made the move to follow, but was blocked from the pits by a slow lapped car. He was forced to do another lap on his black tires, but it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to Munoz. 

In just those extra two laps, Munoz gained an astonishing 23 second lead on Andretti. His black tires were lapping 10 seconds quicker than Andretti’s new wet tires. 

If Andretti had been able to stay out as long as Munoz did (even though Munoz’s longer stint was party due to luck), he would have surely won the race. He had the lead, and barring any pit-stop problems, he would have rejoined in front of Munoz – and the rest of the field.

Andretti himself made a great call in staying out on the slick tires when the rest of the field was pitting for wets.  But his early pit-stop on lap 9 meant that he didn’t have the fuel to stay out as long as he would have liked during the second stint.

And win the race. 

Data provided by Firestone Timing

A Look At Daniil Kvyat’s Alternative Pit-Stop Strategy in Monaco

Daniil Kvyat on track during Sunday’s race. — Photo: Red Bull

Daniil Kvyat finished in fourth place at Monaco after being let through by his teammate on the final lap of the race. The result was Kvyat’s best of the year.

Kvyat let Daniel Ricciardo by on lap 73 after the safety car came in so he could chase down the leaders for a shot at a podium position. The Aussie was on fresh super soft tires and had a fair shot at attacking some of the front runners – when it was clear he wouldn’t catch them, the team ordered him to let Kvyat back through. 

“He [Ricciardo] was meant to overtake the people in front, the Mercedes and Ferrari, but it didn’t happen,” Kvyat said after the race.

The tire strategy of Kvyat was an interesting one on Sunday – he ran a completely different strategy than the rest of the top eight finishers. Like the rest of the drivers who qualified at the front, Kvyat started on the super soft tires that he set his fastest time on. The difference, however, came at the time of his first and only pit-stop.

Kvyat came in on lap 28 to switch on to the prime tires – nearly 10 laps earlier than the rest of the field. This early stop dropped him down to eighth place but he recovered to fourth when the rest of the field came in around lap 37 – the top eight were +/- two laps of that. 

His soft tire stint of 50 laps was the longest of any of the top eight drivers. Vettel had the second longest stint of the top eight crew with 42 laps; Sainz Jr. had the longest soft tire stint of any driver with 66 laps. 

Kvyat was able to stretch his prime tire stint to the end of the race and maintain ahead of the field who were on fresher tires in the closing laps. 

“This race seemed to come in our favour a little bit more, this track more adapted to us. But hopefully now we can carry on this momentum on the next races. So all in all it was a very positive weekend.”

All data obtained from F1 Fanatic.