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Formula 1 United States GP

Mercedes to make F1 pitstop overhaul after slow US GP tyre changes

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has promised a new pitstop mindset after the slow tyre changes that proved costly in Formula 1's United States Grand Prix.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, comes into the pit lane for a pit stop

Lewis Hamilton finished just 2.2 seconds behind race winner Max Verstappen in what was arguably his most competitive outing of the year prior to a disqualification for a car plank infringement.

However, it was not lost on Hamilton nor his squad that the race could have had a different initial outcome if less time had been lost in its two pitstops, which were judged as taking 3.6 and 3.4 seconds.

This compares with the fastest pitstop of the day by Alpine at 2.2s, and Red Bull's fastest stops being 2.4s.

The gap between Mercedes and the other teams seems to be a consistent pattern over recent years, with it rarely being one of the best teams when it comes to pitstop times.

Wolff said the issues that Mercedes faces are related to equipment rather than human error, but he said the time may have come now where it needed to change its approach because others gained too much.

"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.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG, in the Team Principals Press Conference

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG, in the Team Principals Press Conference

"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."

Hamilton himself admitted that pitstops were one of the areas that proved costly in the United States race.

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

"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.

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"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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