2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix -
A thrilling 2017 Formula One season concludes with Round 20 from the Yas Marina Circuit
Toto Wolff 'Talks Abu Dhabi':
We head to Abu Dhabi for the final race of the 2017 season with the same hunger and fire in our stomach that we took to Melbourne over seven months ago. During that time, we have pushed ourselves to new limits, bounced back from painful defeats and conquered new and unexpected challenges. Spurred on by strong rivals, we had to dig deeper this year than ever before. And that battle made both titles the most satisfying yet. Our target was to become the first team to win championships across a major regulation change and we are proud to have achieved that.
But regardless of what stands in the trophy cabinets back at base, our focus is always on the next race and the next championship. Our goal in Abu Dhabi is quite simple: to give the best of ourselves, to extract the maximum from our "diva" in her final race -
Yas Marina is a circuit that holds intense memories for the team, with two title showdowns in the past three seasons. We have claimed three consecutive wins and very much intend to make it four this year. The circuit offers a range of slow to medium speed corners that perhaps are not our car's most natural habitat, but our recent steps forward give us confidence that we can perform strongly there. Valtteri is on an upward swing of form, with two podiums in the past two races; and Lewis will be aiming to finish this historic season on a high. This is a goal that we all share.
There's perhaps no better visualisation of Formula One as a team sport than in a pit stop, as the crews swarm around their cars, a blur of motion, teamwork and absolute precision in a split second. And this year, the Silver Arrows crew have proven themselves the best in the business, winning the DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award for the very first time.
The award, introduced in 2015, recognises the outstanding teamwork and performance of the most consistent crew in F1 over the course of a season. It's an accolade for the unsung heroes who make those critically important, race-
This couldn't have been achieved without a huge effort from the pit crew and a concerted push by the team to develop and improve its equipment and techniques over the last few years in the drive to have the most consistent stops in Formula One. What good is one stop at 2s, if the rest are at 3s? The perfect pit stop is not about chasing records -
Much of the groundwork that sealed the award was laid over the winter months, as the race team returned to work after the Christmas break. Practice for the new season started almost immediately, with three programmes of 20 practice stops per week to get them back in the groove.
The crew work through 15 stops a day from Thursday to Saturday of each race weekend, followed by five or more final equipment checks on a Sunday morning. With one race still to go, the team have completed an astonishing 891 practice stops this year so far.
That includes 70 practice nose changes -
The quality of the competition in recent years has forced every single team to raise its game. If every team can regularly target a low 2s stop, there is extra pressure to be quick. It also pushes teams to develop. With the margins shrinking year by year, there is an increased emphasis on consistent, clean stops.
This has been the mission of the Mercedes crew for 2017. The team clocked a scorching 2.35s stop for Lewis at Spa -
Measured across 49 stops in 19 Grands Prix, the Silver Arrows have recorded the fastest pit lane time of the race an impressive nine times this year and the best stationary stop six times. But, most impressive of all, the team has achieved the best average time for both cars through the pits on 12 occasions over the course of the season. The team has ranked in the top three average times on 17 occasions, missing out just twice all year -
Taking DHL's race stationary times, the Mercedes crew lead the pack with a median time of 2.7s and a mean of 2.55s across the year. Red Bull were the second fastest squad on average, with the team from Milton Keynes clocking a median time of 2.8s and a mean of 2.7s. Williams might have had the quickest single stationary stop of the year at Silverstone -
To demonstrate just how competitive the battle to be the best in the pit lane was this year, the median for all 10 teams ahead of the final round was 3.1s, with a mean time of 2.9s. Ferrari came in fourth, just shy of Red Bull. Haas edged Toro Rosso into P5 -
Remember, this is all achieved under the greatest of pressure. That is an ever-
In the pursuit of excellence, mistakes can happen -
Nowhere has this learning and evolution process been more evident than at two hugely contrasting races -
In Singapore, under immense pressure to capitalise on the early accident that eliminated the two Ferraris, the Silver Arrows pit crew took just 2.27s to turn Lewis around as he pitted from the lead ahead of a prowling Daniel Ricciardo. Those Red Bull boys were fast -
After a long season, this award is clearly the icing on the cake for the crew -
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