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Wolff was the first to suggest double stack pit stop

  • Published on 18 Apr 2019 10:19
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  • By: Fergal Walsh

Mercedes has revealed that team boss Toto Wolff was the first to suggest double stacking both of its cars at the Chinese Grand Prix.

The Silver Arrows decided to bring in both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on the same lap to cover off Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, who had made their second stops.

The team successfully completed the double stop and went on to take their third consecutive one-two finish in 2019.

Speaking in Mercedes' Pure Pitwall post-race video, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin described how the incident went down from inside the team.

"On lap 35 Vettel came in, and that created a bit of a dilemma for us, because we had a decent gap to Vettel,” Shovlin stated.

“But if we stopped Lewis first and Valtteri second, there’s a risk that Vettel would have been able to undercut Valtteri and take the position.

“And if we had stopped Valtteri first to protect against Vettel and Lewis second, there was a chance that Valtteri would have undercut Lewis. So it put us in a slightly awkward position and it was actually Toto who suggested we do a stacked stop.

"That then becomes a discussion between James Vowles and Ron Meadows [sporting director], who is just checking that he is comfortable with the gap between the cars and we can get the pit crew ready to do the stacked stop, have both sets of tyres in the pitlane.

“James is the one who has the final decision on this and he decides to go ahead with it. What it allows us to do is to keep our two cars in the same order as they were before the stop and also protect against losing any positions to Ferrari.

“So on this occasion it was the perfect solution and it was actually a really nice, clean execution of the pit stop by the guys.”

Shovlin added that training for a double stop is one of the hardest things a team can do, as it rarely has two cars to practice with.

“Practicing a double pit stop is one of the hardest things because you don’t have two cars to practice with.

"We do have a pit stop car here [Brackley] and we can practice getting both sets of tyres out and practice doing two stops in succession but you can never really get quite the same situation of the car rolling into the box.

“It’s quite difficult for the rear jackman because he has got to get out of the way when the first car leaves and then get into position when the second one comes in.

2The choreography is quite tricky, there’s a bit more to organise, having that many tyres in the pitlane is a bit of a risk - you have to make sure the right tyres go on the right car but it is something we do as much preparation for as we can.

“You try not to do them too often because if you have a problem with the first car it also impacts the second and you can from being first and second in the race to third and fourth in no time.”

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