Formula 1

McLaren set pitstop world record

McLaren may have missed out on victory in the German Grand Prix on Sunday, but the team was still left with something to celebrate after the race: a world record pitstop.

 
McLaren's record pitstop - Formula 1Imago
 

Jenson Button's pit crew changed his tyres and got him going again in an amazing 2.3 seconds, some 0.3 seconds quicker than the previous best recorded.

The speedy stop was not just about bragging rights: Button's quick exit helped him rejoin still ahead of Germany's Sebastian Vettel, whom he was trying to hold off in second place.

Button stayed ahead until the penultimate lap, when the frustrated German finally managed to get through - but only by racing completely off the track, thus earning a 20-second penalty for an illegal move and ensuring that Button finished second after all.

The driver was delighted that his mechanics had set the record, particularly given the stiff criticism they have faced recently for making slip-ups - with two blunders in particular costing places on the grid earlier this year.

"There's previously been some negative talk about our pitstops, the boys did an unbelievable job today," said Button. "They were phenomenal and gave it absolutely everything today - all our effort is really paying off now."

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh insisted that the stop had been crucial.

"It's important to place some of the credit for Jenson's second place with our pitcrew: their second stop for Jenson was the fastest Formula 1 pitstop of all time, with a stationary time of just 2.31s," he said.

"That's quite unbelievable and not only a testament to our belief in the processes and equipment we put in place to improve our performance, but also to the commitment and determination of the guys on the ground to improve and refine their technique."

The old record, incidentally, had only been set the month before by the team looking after Button's McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

It seems the old adage about a driver's biggest rival being the guy in the next garage applies to the mechanics as much as it does to the superstar drivers.

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