Red Bull Explain Max Verstappen’s Slow Spanish GP Pit Stop

Published 05/09/2021, 2:47 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 9, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen crosses the line to finish in second place Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron


Usually, the Red Bull F1 team are well-known for their lightning fast pit stops. The outfit is famous for sometimes turning in pit stops that are less than two seconds long.

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The fastest they have ever been was 1.9 seconds. Unfortunately, the outfit could not channel that for Max Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix.

During the first round of pit stops, the Dutchman was stationary for 4 seconds. On the outside, 4 second does not seem like a very long time.

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However, in Formula One circles, it is pretty much an eternity and the difference between winning and losing. According to Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko, the mistake was down to a communication error.

His reports suggested that Verstappen and his engineer failed to communicate efficiently. As a result, the Dutchman dove into the pit lane earlier than expected on his first stop. While all that was happening, the Red Bull team’s pit crew were not ready with the tyres.

Red Bull and Max Verstappen were not the only victims

This Sunday’s race seemed to be a comedy of errors in the pit lane. There were a couple of occasions where a pit stop or two lasted more than five seconds, costing valuable time.

Meanwhile, poor old Antonio Giovinazzi was left waiting after a brand new set of tyres mysteriously developed a puncture.

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Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 9, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads Mercedes’Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race REUTERS/Albert Gea

It later transpired that a faulty valve resulted in one tyre going flat. Now, protocol dictates that if one tyre in the set was faulty, then the whole set needs to be replaced.

So, the Alfa Romeo team had to scramble back to the garage and fetch a fresh set of tyres. As a result, the Italian driver was left stationary for more than half a minute.

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Coming back to Red Bull and Max Verstappen, the two got the lead back from Lewis Hamilton. However, a strategic masterstroke from Hamilton and Mercedes saw him hunt down Verstappen on much fresher tyres. Eventually, the Mercedes star passed the Dutch driver and went on to win the race.

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Dhruv George

11998 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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