Formula 1 Racing

Did Red Bull have enough time to cancel pit stop which “hurt” Verstappen’s race? · RaceFans

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri, Baku City Circuit, 2023

Max Verstappen wondered whether his Red Bull team could have avoided bringing him in from the lead for a pit stop seconds before the Safety Car was deployed in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The decision cost him victory in the race, as his team mate Sergio Perez pitted once the Safety Car was deployed, which meant he lost less time in the pits and emerged in the lead.

After the race Verstappen wondered whether his team should have realised a Safety Car period was inevitable soon after Nyck de Vries’ stoppage, which caused it.

“I saw that there was a car stopped, I thought he maybe just locked up,” said Verstappen. “In hindsight, I mean I can’t see that, but it’s something to review.

“Clearly you could see there was one wheel damaged and it looked like he was not going to drive that anyway back to the pits, even if he would have reversed. So it’s something to look at because, of course, that then did hurt my race after that.”

Nyck de Vries, AlphaTauri, Baku City Circuit, 2023
De Vries’ retirement was bad news for Verstappen

As De Vries made contact with the barrier at turn five which caused the terminal damage to his front-left track rod, Verstappen was rounding the fast turn 13 left-hander. He received the call to pit after he accelerated out of turn 16 and began the long sprint to the start-finish area.

In total, from De Vries striking the barrier to Verstappen committing to the pit lane entrance, Red Bull had at most 25 seconds to realise the AlphaTauri was unlikely to move from its position, and that the Safety Car would likely be deployed. Should they have realised and left him out?

Verstappen was under pressure from his team mate as the lap began. Sergio Perez got within DRS range of Verstappen for the first time on lap nine. There was no discussion of De Vries’ stoppage on Verstappen’s radio on the lap he came in:

Lambiase 0.9 and DRS. Things are starting to move already.
Verstappen I just struggle a lot in two and three.
Lambiase Okay understood.
Lambiase You’re currently torque six, Max. Baseline is..
Verstappen Yeah, mate, I’m sliding.
Lambiase Understood.
Lambiase Okay box and pit confirm, Max. Box, pit confirm.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner later revealed that while the team were deciding to bring Verstappen in, they also considered a simultaneous pit stop for both cars.

However there was no indication Perez was experiencing the same kind of deterioration in tyre performance that Verstappen had. He was left out, and while Verstappen headed for the pits Perez was twice told…

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