- Red Bull Racing perform DHL Fastest Pit Stop in Japan
- Max Verstappen’s car equipped with new tires in 2.29 seconds
- Mercedes extend their lead in the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award
Red Bull take DHL Fastest Pit Stop in Suzuka
The Red Bull Racing pit crew are currently in peak form. Red Bull completed the DHL Fastest Pit Stop in the Japanese Grand Prix, just as they had done one week previously in Malaysia. Max Verstappen was sent on his way in 2.29 seconds – faster than any other driver at Suzuka.
Verstappen fought a close-run battle with Lewis Hamilton for the victory, in which he ultimately had to settle for a second place. The Dutchman stopped on the 21st lap, switching from supersoft to soft. One lap later, Hamilton also came to the pits. His stop lasted 2.33 seconds, only marginally longer than that of Verstappen.
The gap between the two drivers had initially stabilized at a steady three seconds, but during the final stage of the race, Verstappen closed in on Hamilton and had the Mercedes driver in his sights. But the decisive attack failed to materialize, as Verstappen got caught up in a bunch of lapped cars, which allowed Hamilton to pull away again and wrap up the 61st victory of his F1 career.
“The degradation on the soft was really good and the balance felt good throughout the race, which is really positive in terms of finishing the season strongly,” said Verstappen. “Lewis had some difficulties when he had traffic in front, but at the end of the day he was controlling it. The traffic gave me a bit of a chance to close up and potentially take him. It was a shame the back‑markers came into play, but I don’t think it made a big difference; once Lewis had clean air, I would have struggled to pass him.”
Because of the low level of tire degradation at the Suzuka International Racing Course, most of the drivers went for a one-stop strategy. Only Lance Stroll, Stoffel Vandoorne, Pierre Gasly and Pascal Wehrlein opted to call in at the pits more than once. There were 22 tire changes in the 2017 Japanese Grand Prix, of which 13 were completed in under three seconds, much to the credit of the pit crews involved.
Fastest pit stops: 2017 FORMULA 1 JAPANESE GRAND PRIX
01 Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 2.29s
02 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - 2.33s
03 Lance Stroll (Williams) - 2.42s
04 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - 2.43s
05 Romain Grosjean (Haas) - 2.44s
06 Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) - 2.54s
07 Sergio Perez (Force India) - 2.68s
08 Felipe Massa (Williams) - 2.71s
09 Lance Stroll (Williams) - 2.78s
10 Nico Hülkenberg (Renault) - 2.83s
Mercedes extend lead in DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award
Mercedes have further extended their lead in the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award. The Silver Arrows top the leaderboard in this classification on 393 points, followed by defending champions Williams on 349. Completing the Top Five are Red Bull (266), Ferrari (166) and Force India (139).
Next race: 2017 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
The 17th stopover on the 2017 Formula 1 itinerary is in the United States in two weeks’ time. Red Bull performed the DHL Fastest Pit Stop at the Circuit of the Americas in the last two seasons. In 2016, Max Verstappen was serviced in 2.10 seconds, and the year before that, Daniel Ricciardo’s tire change took 2.17 seconds.