Best Pit Stops of the 2009 Formula1 Season

What Happens When the Lists Continue, Part 5

12:02am EST — Continuing the best and worst lists of the 2009 Formula1 season, here are the best pit stops, as determined by On Any Sunday, These Days.  The various other best and worst lists can be found through these links (best momentsworst moments, best new gadgets, and worst new gadgets).  The best pit stop of the season was determined by considering the characteristics of a well-done pit stop: quick-thinking, great teamwork, and improvement in driver position by the work of the mechanics in pit lane.  Also considered was the entertainment value to the fans watching.  To learn more about the process involved in the standard F1 pit stop, but particularly detailed to the Williams team, read “Ever Wonder What Happens During a Pitstop?” at On Any Sunday, These Days.  As per usual, constructive criticism and respectful debate is welcomed.  Blanket statements of hate, discrimination, or general idiocy, however, will be not be tolerated and will be removed, mocked mercilessly, or both.

Runner-Up: The One-Stop, Modification Included, Strategy Which Helped Rubens Barrichello Win the Italian GP
While not particularly flashy or exciting, the single stop performed for Barrichello at Monza helped him keep Lewis Hamilton behind (though he would oddly crash all on his own on the last lap anyway) and was a great example of a quick stop executed well by a team during crunch time.  With teammate Jenson Button’s championship lead quickly diminishing at this mid-season point and Barrichello’s apparently ability to get more speed out of the Brawn at that time (with a win in Valencia two race previous) it was extremely important that the mechanics perform perfectly to capitalize on the possibilities.  They did so, even making a wing modification, and Barrichello won the race.  While he did not win the championship, the loss could certainly not be traced back to this stop.

Best Pit Stop of the 2009 F1 Season: The Red Bull Team Waving Jaime Alguersuari Through at Abu Dhabi to Make Room for Sebastian Vettel
The race report nearly says it all, “on L19 as Vettel took the lead, posted a fast time, then pitted.  Just before, Alguersuari had tried to pit, though he overshot his pit and attempted to stop in the Red Bull pit and had to pass through.  The very sharp Red Bull boys managed to recognize Alguersuari, get out of the way, wave him through, and process a quick stop for Vettel, who returned to the track ahead of Hamilton.”

It was a dominating run by Vettel to win the race, though his lead could easily have been decimated by a mistake by rookie Jaime Alguersuari.  The Spaniard was to come in and pit at his box, for the Toro Rosso team.  They were not out waiting for him, and he attempted to pit at the Red Bull stall, as the team uniforms are unnecessarily similar.  Luckily, one of the mechanics noticed that the incoming car did not have the bright yellow spot on its nose, but was instead gold and could not be Sebastian Vettel.  The enterprising team member frantically gestured for the front jack man to get out of the way, and much of the rest of the crew waved Alguersuari through, literally.  He drove through the two rows of mechanics, barely lifted, and continued on.  Vettel followed him in, stopping a fraction after the front jack man returned to his position.  Without the quick thinking by his mechanics, Vettel would have been either waiting for someone to tell Alguersuari to continue on after blocking the way, or, even worse, stuck in the pit with no heated tires or programmed fuel load.  The race could easily have been lost, but for the quick thinking teamwork by the mechanics.  It was a tiny bit of heart-stopping excitement in a race generally devoid of character.


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