- Mercedes execute the DHL Fastest Pit Stop for second time this season in the USA
- Valtteri Bottas turned around and sent back out in 2.28 seconds
- Red Bull Racing lead the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award
Mercedes complete the DHL Fastest Pit Stop in Austin
Mercedes completed the DHL Fastest Pit Stop in the United States GP for the second time this season following their success in Shanghai. Valtteri Bottas was equipped with fresh tires in 2.28 seconds on Lap 23, which was his only stop of the race – no other crew was faster at the Circuit of the Americas. The Finn finished fifth.
Unlike Bottas, teammate Lewis Hamilton utilized a two-stop strategy which made the race extremely exciting. Hamilton lost out to Kimi Räikkönen at the start and had to slot into second place. Mercedes then told him during a VSC period, that he should do exactly the opposite to Räikkönen. Since the Ferrari driver stayed out on track, Hamilton came in on Lap 11 as intended to change tires and opted for fresh softs.
“When we were running second with Lewis and the VSC came out, we took the opportunity to off-set ourselves in order to go for the win – because it was going to be very tough to win by mirroring Kimi ahead,” said Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff.
The strategy seemed to work, initially, because after Räikkönen’s stop on Lap 21, Hamilton was all over him once again due to time saved by pitting under the VSC and went into P1. Hamilton gradually pulled out a lead of some 17 seconds but had to stop once more on Lap 37 as his tires quickly began to degrade.
The Mercedes driver opted for another set of soft tires and rejoined the track in fourth place behind Räikkönen, Verstappen and Bottas. Obviously, Hamilton overtook his teammate without any problems and caught up with the front-runners within a few laps. He found Red Bull’s Verstappen a tough nut to crack, though, and was unable to find a way past either him or Räikkönen, who went on to secure his first victory since Australia 2013.
Although his rival Sebastian Vettel only finished fourth, Hamilton was unable to clinch the world championship title at this stage in the season but will get another chance next weekend in Mexico.
“Lewis managed to close the gap but we gave him too big a mountain to climb, and the tires no longer had the pace advantage he needed to pass in the final laps, in spite of giving it a pretty spectacular go against Max,” said Wolff. Technical Director James Allison added: “The absolute pace of the car remained strong, but we consumed our tires quicker than the others and that left us with a weak hand to play over the race distance.”
Ferrari, on the other hand, were naturally highly delighted with the way their race went. “The start was a key moment. In the first part of the race, we had the speed, I tried to take care of tires and save fuel,” said race winner Räikkönen. “Then the Mercedes stopped and came back on fresher tires: at that time, my target was to keep them behind, before we, too, stopped for tires. If Hamilton had passed us before our stop, it would have been a different story.”
Top-ten pit stops in the FORMULA 1 PIRELLI 2018 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) - 2.28secs
- Sergey Sirotkin (Williams) - 2.32secs
- Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) - 2.33secs
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 2.38secs
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) - 2.50secs
- Kevin Magnussen (Haas) - 2.50secs
- Brendon Hartley (Toro Rosso) - 2.53secs
- Sergey Sirotkin (Williams) - 2.54secs
- Marcus Ericsson (Sauber) - 2.67secs
- Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) - 2.69secs
DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award: Red Bull still in the lead
In the overall standings of the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award, Red Bull Racing are still in the lead with 409 points. Ferrari on 317 points are in second place, followed by Mercedes (297), Williams (247) and Sauber (206).