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.
Verstappen said, “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. 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,” explained Verstappen.
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.