Valtteri Bottas’s pitstop was so fast at the Chinese grand prix, that he was able to outpace Sebastian Vettel at the pit entry to claim the lead role, the Mercedes team revealed.
Formula 1 introduced wider tyres in 2017 as a part of the new regulations. Due to the change in size of the tyres, the pitstop activity became slower.
But at the Shanghai race, the Mercedes team’s speed came close to its performance in 2016, while the rest of the grid was suffering from unsafe releases and were taking a more cautious approach.
On lap 19, Bottas went for his first pitstop and jumped the four-time world champion when he pitted a lap later.
It took the Silver Arrows team 2.15s to change the tyres and earned the DHL Fastest Pitstop award. But Mercedes says, its in-house record confirms the stop was even faster.
Speaking of the stop, chief strategist James Vowles said: “We were 3.3s behind Sebastian when we came into the pit lane in order to execute the undercut
“A few things came towards us perfectly all together at the same time.
“The first was that our pitstop was incredible. In this new era, we did a 1.83s time, based on our traffic light system. That’s very quick, since Austin 2016 with the smaller wheels and tyres, we haven’t done times around that.
“And Sebastian’s stop was round about 0.9s slower if you measure across the pitlane time, and the pit stop was around 0.7s of that. So already straight away you’ve eaten into his margin.”
Apart from the speed of the pit crew, Bottas was a big reason for that pass, Vowles acknowledged.
“Valtteri’s out-lap was extraordinary. We have a number of messages we gave to Valtteri, to make sure he knew what he needed to do, and it was like a qualifying lap, he executed it perfectly, he didn’t make any mistakes.
“That then contributed to a couple of seconds gained.
“The final element is on the in-lap you can see Sebastian really struggling on those old soft tyres. They were still in a good state, they weren’t completely gone, but you can see a few tenths’ loss for them on the way in as well.
“All of that came together beautifully to allow Valtteri to come out around 0.7s ahead of Sebastian. It was an undercut, it was a pitstop coming together at the same time, and it was a fantastic out-lap from Valtteri.”
1 comment on “The reason Bottas could jump Vettel at China”
Bottas should have won that race. RB got lucky but that’s F1 for you.