Verstappen’s first pit stop surprised Red Bull: “We hadn’t called him in”

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Red Bull were surprised by Max Verstappen’s first pit stop during the Spanish Grand Prix, as the team hadn’t called him in.

Verstappen was leading the race from Lewis Hamilton when he came into the pits on lap 25. No instruction for him to pit was heard on the radio before he came in, and Red Bull’s team CEO Christian Horner later confirmed he hadn’t been called in.

As his pit crew weren’t ready, Verstappen’s pit stop took around four seconds instead of a more typical two.

“We were gearing up for the stop, but then Max just arrived in the pit lane and we hadn’t actually called him in at that point,” Horner told Sky.

He praised the efforts of the team’s pit crew and Verstappen’s race engineer Giampiere Lambiase to minimise the time lost due to the surprise stop.

“[It was] quick reactions from the pit wall, from GP, his race engineer, from the pit crew to get that turned around without losing more time. I think it was a four-second stop.

“So they recovered incredibly well to get that turned around at that short notice.”

Horner said the team expected Mercedes to react to their slow pit stop by pitting Hamilton immediately. He said the fact they didn’t showed they had a clear performance advantage in Spain.

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“Because we’d had that slow stop, we thought they would immediately [pit] that next lap. Obviously, they didn’t. We got back the track position.

“But they just looked like they’d got a quicker car today. They didn’t have the tyre wear, they were able to follow so closely and because the field [spread] to such a degree that it did, that just gave them all the options.

“It didn’t look like they were going to pass Max on-track on the same strategy. So they’ve got nothing to lose by taking a pit stop into that clean air and of course, it worked out for them today.

Verstappen’s radio messages from the lap before his pit stop

Verstappen:Mate look at my tyre set.
Lambiase:Strat seven position one, please. Strat seven position one.
Lambiase:Blue flags for Mazepin ahead
Lambiase:And Max final front wing update for next stint please
Verstappen:Yeah it’s okay

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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21 comments on “Verstappen’s first pit stop surprised Red Bull: “We hadn’t called him in””

  1. Max was about to lose his lead on the start-finish straight if he didn’t go to the pits.

    1. He was right behind a backmarker and would use drs to keep the position.

      1. Is there a report for DRS, blue flags and similar? Can find it on a FIA website.

  2. Horner said the team expected Mercedes to react to their slow pit stop by pitting Hamilton immediately.

    That would be dumb since it doesn’t give the undercut and if you don’t get that it’s better to just take the live out of the tyres to improve chances for an overtake at the end.

    Verstappen’s fast lap was 1.3 seconds faster than Bottas. 2.5s faster than Hamilton’s. Clearly, Mercedes had the faster car /s ….

    Instead of cruising to the finish thinking it was in the bag after lap 1, maybe Verstappen should have used that extra speed he apparently had in hand and gone for the two stop from the get go. Instead they just made the same mistake as they did in Hungary 2019 and come with the same tiny violin story about there was never more in it.

    1. Do you even enjoy F1? Give it a rest.

    2. Max could not go for the second stop because they didn’t have a second medium tyre on hand…
      Max stopping that early gave him a 6 second lead over Hamilton, If Perez had been where he should have been, that would have stopped Mercedes from going on the 2 stop

      Reply moderated
    3. ColdFly (@)
      9th May 2021, 17:32

      Verstappen’s fast lap was 1.3 seconds faster than Bottas.

      Then you clearly missed that towards the end Bottas set the fastest first sector (.205 faster than Verstappen) but then aborted his fast lap as he ran into the dirty air of Norris in front of him.
      @f1osaurus

      Repeating the same pseudo science doesn’t change reality :P

    4. You could be right, but don’t think so. If VER was leading the race, managing the pace and the tyres were OK… why pit so early (earlier than the lap he and the team decided to make the 1st pit stop before the race anyway), putting himself in a delicate situation in the last 5-10laps with very used Mediums?! Doesn’t seem right, now that we have examples of races lost because of giving up the lead and while the next set of tyres didn’t perform anymore. Then, VER pitted (no matter if it was earlier or not) because HAM was all over him in the penultimate corner, 99,99% sure it would have passed him at the end of the straight. Every racing fan knows what would have followed. We know this by know with HAM, if he can stay 10-20 laps behind another car at DRS distance, then he still has significant pace left in the car/tyres, just maybe not enough to overtake. Once he gets ahead, he opens a gap. That being said, I really don’t see how RBR tried to win this by going slower, especially that VER dived into pits earlier than planned. That was their pace with their best car, simple as that.

      You accused me of not knowing some basic concepts of racing/F1 stuff, like the undercut. I’m really worried my friend that you don’t know even more obvious concepts of racing/F1, like the track getting faster and faster as laps pass OR that Soft is faster than Mediums. That being said, of course VER was significantly faster on (almost) new Softs than HAM on 25 laps older Mediums. Then, most likely HAM wasn’t pushing anymore either, the race was over.

      1. Jockey Ewing
        10th May 2021, 0:13

        The tyre allocation seems to be thinner than unconditionally having a new sets of softs at the end of the races, while the used softs, which were used to put in any serious effort for a fast lap at the quali or FP’s seems to be useless for a long and fast stint att the race. Perez was so slow on softs at the end of Portimao, those were for example used.

        Imo Verstappen here a bit naively tried to defend himself from an undercut, with this surprise pit stop, which is not a very bad idea considering, that we live in the era of one stop strategies pretty long ago. Also there was no point to fall behind Hamilton if the overtake was sure, and struggle on used tyres in the dirty air. 2 things can be done there: taking the fight, or pulling a surprise.

  3. Its not the first time vers pitted just before bei g passed by Lewis. I knew he would dive into the pits. Well done to mercs strategy and lewis driving. Verstappen needs to acknowledge the greatness of Lewis

    1. He already does, on a regular basis. Max praises Lewis a lot.

  4. Has he not done that a gazillion times over by now? And vice versa for that matter. It was still the strategy that gave Hamilton the win here regardless. Max beat him at the start, at the safety car restart and kept him behind when they were on equal strategies. You say Lewis would have overtaken him, but that was definitely not a given. Lewis had plenty of moments he was in DRS range behind Verstappen and didn’t pass him once. I don’t think Verstappen has anything to be ashamed of.

    1. That was at Wayne above.

    2. LOL. Had he not dived into pits, he would have been overtaken on the straight. Absolutely no doubts about that.

      Lewis had plenty of moments he was in DRS range

      No. He just waited patiently for the good opportunity.
      That opportunity finally came, but Max decided to pit on his own.

    3. HAM was closer than ever when VER decided to pit, like 0.5sec. Don’t know, maybe that’s why VER decided to pit, because HAM was going to overtake and minimize the damage. With DRS+slipstream… HAM would have passed VER as if he was a backmarker.

  5. Perfectly said facepalmer

  6. I read on Motorsport there was a misunderstanding between Max and his engineer. He came in a lap too soon

  7. Shows again who has the best pit crew. Only lost like 1,5/2 seconds.Those guys are amazing.

  8. How does this even happen? I suppose the driver has to confirm before pitting?
    Amazing that the stop was that quick despite this

  9. isnt there a pit confirm button which carlos showed us on his steering wheel?

  10. You often see pit crews scrambling through the garage trying to get tyres to the car, especially when there’s a comms issue or an unexpected flat like with Giovinazzi. Can the teams not have their tyres stored nearer the front of the garage instead of buried in the back? Is there a regulation preventing them having the wheels close at hand on a movable trolley in the space where the car would be when it’s in the garage?

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