Williams may have dominated the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award in the first three races of the season so far, but it was now the turn of a different team, Red Bull Racing, to complete the fastest tire change of the2017 Russian Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen’s pit stop on Lap 29 lasted only 2.33 seconds, putting Red Bull in front of Mercedes by a whisker. World championship-winning team Mercedes turned around Valtteri Bottas in 2.36 secs on his only stop and were only narrowly beaten.
Williams, the dominant force in the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award, secured the third- quickest stop by servicing Lance Stroll’s car in 2.54 secs. He then went on to take the checkered flag for the first time in his fourth grand prix.
All in all, there were only 20 pit stops in Sochi, as most drivers were on a one-stop strategy because of low tire wear. Nine of these stops lasted less than three seconds.
Pit Stop Summary
Vettel’s late stop almost pays off
Low tire wear limited the range of strategic possibilities, but Sebastian Vettel tried to gain an advantage with a later pit stop than the other top drivers by switching from ultrasofts to supersofts on Lap 34.
“I felt more comfortable at the end of the first stint. I’d had problems with the front tires but was able to close the gap on Bottas a little,” said the Ferrari driver. The strategy seemed to pay off, because Vettel was able to hunt down Bottas in the final stages of the race thanks to fresher tires.
“I had fresher tires in the end and was much faster, but it’s incredibly difficult to get close enough here,” said Vettel. Problems with overtaking ultimately prevented the German from attacking Bottas, and Vettel had to be satisfied with second place.
Pit Stop Times
Fastest pit stops: FORMULA 1 VTB RUSSIAN GRAND PRIX 2017
01 Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 2.33s
02 Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 2.36s
03 Lance Stroll (Williams) – 2.54s
04 Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) – 2.64s
05 Felipe Massa (Williams) – 2.68s
06 Felipe Massa (Williams) – 2.72s
07 Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso) – 2.76s
08 Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) – 2.79s
09 Sergio Perez (Force India) – 2.88s
10 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 3.00s
Pit Stop Analysis
Williams lead DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award
Despite missing the win on the day for the first time this season, Williams still comfortably lead the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award. The team from Grove are now on 121 points after four races while their immediate rivals, Red Bull, are on 77. Mercedes and Force India are behind them with 55 and 52 points respectively.