Schumacher and Rosberg boosted by Mercedes’ rapid pit stops

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Nico Rosberg's pit stop in Sepang was the fastest of the race
Nico Rosberg's pit stop in Sepang was the fastest of the race

The Mercedes W01 may not be the quickest car on the track – but the team are the fastest in the pit lane.

Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg have enjoyed the fastest pit stops of the race in four of the eight rounds so far this year.

Championship-leaders McLaren, meanwhile, are the sixth-quickest team in the pit lane. They lost positions in pit stops in the last two races – though that didn’t stop them winning both of them.

Teams pit stop times

The table below show how much slower each team’s pit stop was than the best pit stop of the race. (If they were quickest, the difference is zero).

Team Avg Bah Aus Mal Chi Spa Mon Tur Can
1 Mercedes 0.211 0.900 0.473 0.000 0.041 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.275
2 Red Bull 0.543 0.000 0.000 1.300 0.815 0.456 0.201 0.861 0.711
3 Renault 0.805 0.906 0.671 1.156 1.309 0.346 0.887 0.505 0.659
4 Ferrari 0.816 0.780 3.304 0.548 0.325 0.210 1.200 0.161 0.000
5 Williams 0.930 1.411 0.612 0.527 0.754 0.979 1.534 1.005 0.622
6 McLaren 1.118 0.941 0.510 1.241 1.246 1.956 1.823 0.669 0.554
7 Toro Rosso 1.391 1.077 1.756 1.026 0.502 3.277 1.449 1.654 0.390
8 Force India 1.488 1.209 2.229 1.640 0.000 0.960 1.206 4.192 0.468
9 Sauber 1.832 0.646 3.552 1.731 0.814 2.419
10 Virgin 2.846 4.176 3.047 3.631 2.098 1.280
11 HRT 3.150 3.251 3.949 2.860 3.070 2.530 3.242
12 Lotus 4.345 4.134 4.284 2.393 4.734 8.318 2.209

Red Bull had the quickest pit stops in the first two races, Force India edged Mercedes in China and Ferrari’s stop which got Fernando Alonso ahead of Lewis Hamilton was the quickest in Canada.

The FIA only lists the total time spent in pit lane for each car – it does not produce complete data on the stationary times for every pit stop. FOM’s on-screen graphics suggest the best pit stops this year have been around three seconds.

The times above therefore reflect not only how quickly the team performed the tyre change (typically around three seconds), but also how well the driver stopped on his mark and accelerated away again. But this is every bit as important as how quickly the wheels go on and off.

If a driver fails to stop on his mark accurately, precious seconds can be lost as the mechanics have to move to swap the wheels.

And, as we see at the start of every race, there’s a lot of time to be won and lost in making a quick getaway. Surface conditions in the pitlane are often different to those on the track, especially in wet races where the track dries more quickly.

At Shanghai Lewis Hamilton had wheelspin on the wet pit lane while leaving his box during the race. The time lost meant he rejoined alongside Sebastian Vettel and had to fall behind the Red Bull, having entered the pits ahead of his rival.

McLaren’s pit lane problems are reflected in the data above. Hamilton also lost a place to Vettel at Istanbul (though his was partly because Vettel had the advantage of pitting first) and Fernando Alonso at Montreal last weekend.

At the Circuit de Catalunya Jenson Button had a slow pit stop, losing a place to Michael Schumacher who had the quickest pit stop of the race. Button’s pit stop was delayed because his dash had died earlier in the race and he wasn’t able to manage his revs properly to get an optimum start.

The difference between a good and bad pit stop can be just a few tenths of a second. But that can make the difference between winning and losing a place.

Drivers pit stop times

Here’s the same data as above broken down by driver:

Bah Aus Mal Chi Spa Mon Tur Can
Jenson Button 1.283 3.778 1.604 1.784 5.934 0.669 0.623
Lewis Hamilton 0.941 0.510 1.241 1.246 1.956 1.823 3.175 0.554
Michael Schumacher 0.900 0.895 0.041 0.000 0.000 0.378 0.275
Nico Rosberg 2.035 0.473 0.000 2.699 0.752 0.226 0.000 0.529
Sebastian Vettel 0.000 1.010 1.300 0.815 1.654 0.201 0.861 0.903
Mark Webber 2.930 0.000 3.763 1.138 0.456 0.574 1.656 0.711
Felipe Massa 0.780 5.898 0.956 0.325 0.210 1.200 0.161 2.094
Fernando Alonso 0.894 3.304 0.548 0.516 0.292 2.593 1.549 0.000
Rubens Barrichello 1.411 0.612 0.527 0.754 0.979 1.534 4.140 1.684
Nico H???lkenberg 2.876 7.753 1.134 1.325 1.005 0.622
Robert Kubica 0.906 0.671 1.156 1.309 0.346 0.887 0.505 0.659
Vitaly Petrov 5.446 3.439 2.475 0.913 2.593 1.669 1.287
Adrian Sutil 1.209 1.640 0.000 0.960 2.295 4.192 0.715
Vitantonio Liuzzi 1.671 2.229 4.017 1.206 5.241 0.468
Sebastien Buemi 5.243 2.575 3.277 1.449 2.629 1.138
Jaime Alguersuari 1.077 1.756 1.026 0.502 1.689 1.654 0.390
Jarno Trulli 4.719 2.393 4.734 2.247
Heikki Kovalainen 4.134 4.284 3.122 8.318 2.209
Karun Chandhok 3.251 3.922 3.070 2.530 3.242
Bruno Senna 3.949 2.860 4.438 3.539
Pedro de la Rosa 0.646 3.552 3.289 0.814 2.419
Kamui Kobayashi 1.731 4.066
Timo Glock 4.984 4.010 2.098 1.280
Lucas di Grassi 4.176 3.047 3.631 2.767 2.161

Pit stops

Image (C) Mercedes