“Just a little bit of practice”

Saturday morning at Monza and for the GP2 drivers, life is quiet.

With qualifying done and dusted late Friday afternoon and the Feature Race not going live until after the Formula One has completed their qualifying session, drivers are few and far between – for now.

The mechanics are out and about though, as always, running through their own preparations, final checks and practicing pitstops. Much happens behind closed doors within a race team, but when it comes to pitstops, the lights shine ever so briefly upon these fellows.

And it begins. Scores of cars throughout the GP2 paddock, are rolled from their garages on used wet Pirelli’s as pitstop practice begins in earnest.
This is no ‘tick the box’ scenario by any stretch of the imagination. The drivers are paying top money for the privilege of a shot at success and the mechanics lining each pitbox need to get their job’s done right – not just once, but every time.
One only needed to hear the annoyance in Sam Bird’s voice following Saturday’s Feature Race, when he lost out to Fabio Leimer – a slow tyre change, y’see.

But these things do happen to everyone from time-to-time. The key is to make sure botched pitstops do not become habitual. And with that, the practices begin and they do not stop until every member nails the operation again and again.

Mechanics stand over Mitch Evans’ Arden car, practicing stops. © Leigh O'Gorman
Mechanics stand over Mitch Evans’ Arden car, practicing stops. © Leigh O’Gorman

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