It was the move that had done us over… It got us good, real good.
The move that turned what was looking like our third Triple Eight family podium lockout into a 2-3-4 finish.
The move that saw Scott McLaughlin (DJR Team Penske) undercut us with an aggressive fuel strategy, which opened the doors for him to skyrocket up the grid from P13 to win the race.
Remember that move?
Yeah, we don’t want to remember it either…
It was a simple yet very strategic move that no one saw coming, including Red Bull Holden Racing Team Manager Mark “Dutto” Dutton.
So we asked him to run us through it all… Aren’t we nice?
“Basically we went for full grunt, so we could race harder and stronger with the ultimate lap time in mind,” he said.
“And that’s what bit us.
“The difference in lap time by running full power from being rich on the engine mapping was outweighed by the pit lane time saved by running leaner.”
Basically, we didn’t balance the on-track performance, and ultimate lap time, with pit lane stationary time.
It’s a delicate ratio where it’s quicker to have less power but transfer less fuel.
“Effectively we were passed in pit lane and not on the track.
“We should’ve foreseen this,” Dutto said.
“And the mistake starts with me.
“In pre-brief I didn’t identify and highlight the fact that there’s a difference with this race compared to almost all other races of the year.”
At the end of the day, you can’t foresee someone else’s strategy; however you can have various plans of attack in place to react to these differently.
It’s something we just didn’t have in mind.
But it’s also something we just couldn’t risk at this point in time.
“We couldn’t have comfortably stopped on the same lap as Scott did, without damaging some of our engine components,” Dutto said.
“We know if we did what they did, we would’ve been over the safe limit, putting ourselves in too much of a risky position.
“That being said, we didn’t get the balance right in being safe on the engines whilst also being as lean and as aggressive as we could’ve been.”
Unfortunately we made a few little mistakes on car #88, any one of them the difference between first and second.
At the end of the day, it came down to a balancing act.
“We should’ve done a better job, and converted the amazing qualifying efforts of all three team cars into one step higher results.
“It was my fault; I didn’t get the balance right for the team as far as pit lane time versus on track time is concerned.”
It seems we’ve learnt our lesson here!
And don’t worry, Dutto, we’re all in it together.