Mercedes vow to improve tardy F1 pit stops that cost Hamilton

Toto Wolff has admitted Mercedes need to “ramp up our game” to avoid sluggish pit stops after a pair of tardy tyre changes hurt Lewis Hamilton at the F1 United States Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes

Prior to being disqualified for a plank wear breach, Hamilton had led Mercedes to their most competitive showing of a difficult 2023 season by finishing just 2.2 seconds behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in Austin. 

Two slow stops for the seven-time world champion, who ran an offset strategy to Verstappen, hampered his progress as he fell just short of challenging for a first victory since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. 

Hamilton’s pit stops were clocked at 3.6 and 3.4 seconds respectively. In contrast, Verstappen’s fastest tyre change was 2.5 seconds. Even the Dutchman’s own slow second stop - by Red Bull’s high standards - was quicker than both of Hamilton’s at 3.3 seconds. 

Mercedes boss Wolff acknowledged that his team need to change their mindset around pit stops. 

"Our mindset in the last 12 years, we don't need to be world champions in pitstops," he said.

"We need to avoid very slow pitstops. And it's coming to a situation now where we realise that it has got so competitive, and we just need to ramp up our game up there.

"That's in terms of equipment and science around it, and the way we are set up, to avoid 3 or 3.5 seconds pitstops because all of that played a part.”

2nd place Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin,
2nd place Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1. Formula 1 World…

Hamilton had admitted that Mercedes’ strategy - and his slow pit stops - had made his life more difficult. 

"I do think we would have been in a fighting position to fight with Max. I think we made our life a lot harder today than it probably needed to be,” he said. 

"I think it was probably going to be hard anyway. I think overall, our starts this weekend, normally we have really great starts but we struggled with our starts this weekend, so we lost ground more often than not.

"And I think in one of the pitstops, I might have been a bit long, which then made it harder for the guys and then the stop wasn't that great overall.

"So, there's lots of areas that we could have been better but the positives are that we were, at points, matching them [Red Bull] for pace, and to be only two seconds back afterwards, at the end of the pace is, I think, a good sign."

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