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5 worst pit stops in the history of Formula One

Daniel Ricciardo, primed for a race win at the Monaco Grand Prix after winning his first ever pole position, lost the win to a shoddy pit stop by team Red Bull, who did not have the Australian’s tyres ready when he pitted.

That mistake would prove to be what handed Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton victory at the race, the first race victory this year for the double reigning world champion.

Here we look at five of the most disastrous pit stops in Formula One

Eddie Irvine, 1999 European GP

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Driving at Germany’s Nurburgring, Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine was among the drivers having some difficulty with the rainy conditions at the track. Looking to switch to wets, Irvine pitted earlier than planned, radioing the team to inform them of the tyre change decision.

The pit crew came out with only 3 wet weather tyres – and realised the error too late. Irvine stalled for nearly an entire minute in the pits, effectively losing the race.

After finally locating the right-rear tyre, which had been missing, the pit crew then further delayed the driver as they attempted to ascertain whether it belonged to the set they were using.

That would lose Irvine nearly 30 seconds and cost him valuable championship points.

Esteban Tuero, 1998 Argentine Grand Prix

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Argentinian driver Esteban Tuero was participating in his home Grand Prix in Buenos Aires at the 1998 Argentine Grand Prix. Aged only 19, he was then the third-youngest ever driver in a Formula One race.

He pitted for new tires; as it turned out, one of the set was missing. Minardi crew members scrambled to locate the errant tyre, which had been placed in the back of the team’s garage.

Tuero had a pit stop nearly 42 seconds long, and would eventually retire from the race after spinning off the track.

He retired from Formula One at the end of the same year.

Rubens Barrichello, 2001 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Ferrari legend Barrichello, who partnered Michael Schumacher to some of the team’s biggest successes, had a terrible pit stop at the Malaysian Grand Prix of 2001. In yet another race hampered by rain, the Brazilian and his German teammate were both called into the pits one after the other to change to the slicks as the track dried up.

Unfortunately for Barrichello, Ferrari’s mechanics seriously fumbled, searching for his tyres as the driver spent over a minute in the pit lane. From third on the grid, Barrichello dropped to 11th on the grid.

Although he eventually recovered to finish second behind his teammate, the pit stop was a disappointing one for the Brazilian, who could have won the race if not for the errant stop.

Following the race, he said “Michael is one hell of a driver, but I wish I had a little more luck like he had today because when I went off I picked up lots of stones and he seemed to get away without any problem really while I had to make an extra pit stop.”

Anthony Davidson, 2007 Canadian Grand Prix

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Super Aguri has since folded, but at that year’s Canadian Grand Prix it was their British driver Anthony Davidson, who had qualified in 17th, who was moving up the grid at a decent pace.

Midway through the race, Davidson was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop after a beaver allegedly hit the front of his car, causing him front wing damage.

The pit crew were so engrossed in watching Davidson’s race on the screen that they did not notice he had made a pit stop. The Briton came to a halt in the pit lane waiting for the crew to notice him; eventually, the driver finished in 11th after a series of retirements on the grid.

Nico Rosberg, 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix

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The Mercedes driver is currently leading the championship, but back in 2010, partnered by Michael Schumacher, Rosberg did not have as much luck. The 2010 Hungarian GP went down in infamy for the pit lane disasters that ensued during the race.

A crash for Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi saw an early safety car sent out. That prompted a number of drivers to pit all at once. Rosberg was among them, and pitted for an early tyre change.

Unfortunately for the driver, the pit crew did not attach his right rear tyre correctly; it would go spinning off his car and bounced into the Williams pit lane. It hit a mechanic, who was taken to hospital with injuries.

In the immediate aftermath, Renault, who had just changed Robert Kubica’s tyres, released him straight into the path of Liuzzi’s Force India teammate Adrian Sutil, whose race was ended right there.

Edited by Staff Editor
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