Formula One is one of the biggest sports on the planet. The thrilling races are a joy to behold as the world’s best drivers reach unimaginable speeds and tackle tricky corners.
It is also one of the most technical sports, with the drivers and teams using various tactics to get over the line as fast as possible.
There are several ways to get out in front and win an F1 race, with pit stops being a vital part of the modern era of the sport.
A good pit stop can give the driver the edge, while a bad stop can see them slip down the field and even cost them the race.
Pitting is an integral part of Formula One these days, and timing is crucial.
Race strategies now revolve around pit stops, and the drivers and teams must be in perfect harmony for things to go to plan.
Pit stops have become quicker and quicker in recent years, and here is a rundown of the fastest pit stops in Formula One history.
Verstappen Smashes Record Twice in 2019
Max Verstappen was the man of the moment in Formula One in the early 2020s. He won his first world title in 2021 and successfully retained his crown in 2022. Not to mention going great guns and leading the table in 2023 too.
Verstappen was making a name for himself even before his title heroics. In 2019, he smashed the pit stop record with a remarkable 1.88-second stop at the German Grand Prix. He went on to get the better of rival Lewis Hamilton in tricky race conditions.
Verstappen was at it again a few months later at the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo. The Dutch-Belgian racer was fast on the track, and his team were just as snappy in the pits. On lap 22, a lap after Hamilton pitted, Verstappen entered the pits and his team pulled off the fastest-ever pit stop in Formula One history. The incredible 1.82-second stop will certainly take some beating and, self-evidently, anyone who does better it won’t be able to do so by much.
Verstappen also recorded the second-fastest pit stop of all time at the Russian GP in 2022. Team Red Bull were up to their old tricks again, servicing Verstappen’s car in just 1.86 seconds.
Red Bull Beat Red Bull
Before Verstappen broke the record in 2019, the record stood with another Red Bull driver, as Pierre Gasly recorded a stop in just 1.91 seconds. The swift stop came at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which was eventually won by home hero Hamilton. Incredibly, Verstappen broke the record just two weeks later.
Gasly had an indifferent time at Red Bull before returning to their second-string Toro Rosso outfit. However, the Grand Prix in Britain in 2019 was his best result at Red Bull. Unfortunately, Gasly was overshadowed by teammate Verstappen, who went on to become the champion of the world just a year later.
Massa’s Sensational Stop in 2016
Felipe Massa was set to retire from Formula One racing at the end of the 2016 season, but he stayed on for one year after signing for Williams for the 2017 season.
Even though the Brazilian never won a world title he did pick up 11 F1 race wins and was on the podium 41 times.
Massa was a great driver on his day and was one of the best never to win a championship.
2016 was not an easy year for Massa, as the Sao Paulo-born ace finished 11th in the standings.
However, he did have one standout moment in his penultimate season in F1.
Massa came in for a tyre change at the European Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan, and his mechanics did the business in just 1.92 seconds.
That broke the previous record set by Mark Webber three years earlier.
Webber’s Team Pull Off Stunning Stop in the USA
Back in 2013, Red Bull were not the powerhouse that they are today, but the signs were certainly there.
Right from the very start, getting the pit stops right was a huge priority for the Austrian team, and Mark Webber’s crew pulled off a stop of just 1.923 seconds at the Austin Grand Prix in the States.
A couple of decades or so ago, a sub-two-second stop seemed a distant dream, but Red Bull managed the seemingly impossible in 2013, and the Formula One world stood up and took note.
The Austrian team has set the benchmark for fast pit stops over the past decade or so, and the current Constructors’ World Championship champions are showing no signs of letting up.
2013 was Webber’s final year in Formula One, and the Aussie went out with a bang.
He finished third at the end of the 2013 season, finishing runner-up in five Grands Prix.
In the Austin GP, Webber took the silver medal behind teammate Sebastian Vettel.
Senna’s Sensational Stop in Germany
Ayrton Senna is one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time and certainly one of the most aggressive and exciting.
During his illustrious career, the Brazilian star won three world titles and had 41 race wins.
Senna was a huge admirer of fast pit stops, and his crew recorded an incredible (at the time) 4.81-second stop at the German Grand Prix in 1993 when there were no speed limits in the pit lane.
Longest F1 Pit Stops
While Verstappen holds the record for the fastest stop, Valtteri Bottas is the unlucky winner of the longest pit stop in F1 history.
Bottas was in second place at the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix. However, a disastrous pit stop resulted in Bottas’ first DNF of his career. The pit stop lasted for 43 hours (!), as the Mercedes team tried to remove the front right wheel from the car after a forgettable tyre change during the race. They clearly had one or two issues.
At the 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello had a pit stop to forget. Alongside Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher, the Brazilian was a real force in the sport in the early 2000s.
However, the Malaysian GP at the start of the 21st century turned out to be problematic for Barrichello, as a botched pit stop that lasted over a minute saw him drop from third to 11th on the grid.
The Brazilian recovered to finish second behind Schumacher, but the dreadful pit stop cost him the race.