- Ferrari take the DHL Fastest Pit Stop in the Bahrain Grand Prix and lead the overall classification
- Sebastian Vettel gets fresh tires in 2.24 seconds
- 33 pit stops in second Formula 1 race of season
Ferrari take DHL Fastest Pit Stop in Bahrain
Sebastian Vettel’s second race weekend of the 2018 Formula 1 season in Bahrain was just perfect. Contesting the 200th grand prix of his career, the Ferrari driver won from pole position and now leads the world championship standings with a maximum score of 50 points.
The Ferrari driver crowned his success by taking the DHL Fastest Pit Stop. Vettel completed his only pit stop on lap 18 when he switched from supersoft tires to softs. The Ferrari pit crew turned the German driver around and sent him back out on his way in 2.24 seconds – best time in the desert.
Like Vettel, Valtteri Bottas also opted for a one-stop strategy but bolted on the medium compound for his second stint, which led to the final segment of the race taking a very exciting turn, as Vettel’s softer tires degraded faster than those on Bottas’s car, enabling the Mercedes driver to gradually close the gap on the lead.
Ultimately at the finish line, Vettel had a lead of 0.699 seconds on Bottas, who was stuck up the German’s gearbox but was unable to get past despite having better tires and DRS assistance.
"We had targeted two stops and that's why we had chosen Soft tires. But then we had to change strategy; the tires were already wearing out, but then it seemed everything was ok", said Vettel. "But after 10 or 12 laps, the tires got worse and the last five laps were very tricky."
While Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin completed the second-fastest pit stop in 2.40 seconds, the third-fastest tire change of the race went to Mercedes. The Silver Arrows crew furnished Lewis Hamilton with fresh tires in 2.53 seconds when the British driver switched from softs to mediums and he subsequently took advantage of this strategy to go on a successful charge which brought him up into third place. Hamilton had only been in ninth place at the start following a gearbox change.
Apart from the top drivers, most of the drivers in the desert opted for a two-stop strategy in contrast to the situation at the start of the season as in Melbourne, where low tire wear allowed them to drive through on just one stop. A total of 33 pit stops were completed in Bahrain, eleven in less than three seconds.
Top-ten pit stops in the 2018 FORMULA 1 GULF AIR BAHRAIN GRAND PRIX
- 01 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari): 2.24s
- 02 Sergey Sirotkin (Williams): 2.40s
- 03 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): 2.53s
- 04 Nico Hülkenberg (Renault): 2.68s
- 05 Esteban Ocon (Force India): 2.68
- 06 Esteban Ocon (Force India): 2.75s
- 07 Sergio Perez (Force India): 2.87s
- 08 Nico Hülkenberg (Renault): 2.95s
- 09 Charles Leclerc (Sauber): 2.98s
- 10 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari): 2.99s
DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award: Ferrari take the lead
Ferrari took the lead from Red Bull Racing in the overall standings of the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award and now head the classification with 51 points. Red Bull are on 40 points, followed by Williams with 30. Title defenders Mercedes (16) are in fifth place behind Force India (20).