Mark Hughes analyses the relative performance of Red Bull drivers, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, in last Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix, and points out that Webber was doomed from the moment he allowed Vettel to assume the inside line into the first corner. Even the pit-stops offered Webber no chance of redemption, and for the following reason:
"Within the team, the leader gets strategic preference on the timing of the stops i.e. he will be brought in first, allowing him to use the grip of his new tyres to pull further clear while his team-mate is still on his worn rubber."
This, however, raises the possibility that a driver, if closely pursued by a team-mate, could postpone his own pitstop for as late as possible, and thereby ensure that his team-mate, stopping one lap later, is guaranteed to lose track position. Doing so would allow the lead driver to pull clear whilst his team-mate struggles to extricate himself from the rest of the pack.
Curiously, in the Australian Grand Prix, just seven days previously, whilst the majority of the field pitted on lap eight, the leader, Sebastian Vettel pitted on lap nine, forcing second-placed Webber to pit on lap ten. The belated timing of Webber's stop dropped him into the pack, from which his increasingly aggressive attempts to extricate himself simply dropped him further and further behind.
Red Bull claimed after the Australian Grand Prix that they were simply being conservative with the timing of Vettel's pitstop, but the opportunity is certainly there for a driver to exploit this system to enforce dominance over a team-mate.