DHL presented its Fastest Lap and Fastest Pit Stop awards to Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull in Abu Dhabi at the weekend.
The DHL Fastest Lap Award was not decided until shortly before the end of the season. "We are delighted that the excitement level has remained high right to the end for the award – it is testament to just how attractive this award is," says John Pearson, CEO DHL Express, who presented the DHL Fastest Lap trophy to Lewis Hamilton.
Six-time world champion Hamilton was the winner of the award before the final race weekend of the season had even taken place after posting the fastest lap five times in the 20 previous races. He also set the most second-fastest laps (four).
Charles Leclerc secured four fastest laps ahead of the final round, and so, could at best only draw level with Hamilton with another fastest lap in Abu Dhabi, however the Mercedes driver went on to claim fastest lap at the Yas Marina also.
"Besides the performance in the drivers' championship, fastest lap times have always been important in Formula 1, which is why our award is coveted by both drivers and teams," added John Pearson.
After thoroughly considering the matter in consultation with Formula 1, the FIA took that fact into account in this year's regulations governing the battle for the championship, which introduced a bonus point to be awarded to the driver with the fastest lap time – provided he finishes in the top ten. Its reintroduction after six decades came about after canvassing the opinion of thousands of fans around the world over many months. "Although the bonus point was not decisive for the title this season, it delivered extra excitement and top driving performance," said Pearson.
With four awards, Hamilton is now the leading record holder for the Fastest Lap Award, having overtaken Sebastian Vettel, who was previously level with him on three awards.
"Fastest lap has a different importance this year because it's another point in the championship," said Hamilton, "so it has a bigger meaning from now on.
"It has been fun to chase the purple times at the end of the races, and I have had some really good laps – I can remember Silverstone, on older tyres and really pushing to the limit right before the chequered flag, in front of my home fans. The extra point has added some spice to the final laps of the races and it's pretty cool that we've done a good job this year in that area."
The race for the Fastest Pit Stop Award, which, as in 2018, goes to Red Bull, was decided more clearly this season. It made Red Bull the first team in history to defend the award. The team also eclipsed Felipe Massa's 2016 record for the fastest pit stop of 1.92 seconds three times during the current season, most recently at the Brazilian Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen came out of the pits in a record time of just 1.82 seconds.
DHL has been presenting this award to the team that has consistently been the best pit stop performer since 2015. "The outstanding performances this season impressively prove that Formula 1 is also a team sport," said John Pearson. "In order to set such record times, the entire team in the pit lane has to work "as one" under extreme time pressure. Red Bull has impressively demonstrated what is possible by racking up a series of records."
Up to the finale in Abu Dhabi, a total of 621 pit stops had already been made in the 2019 Formula 1 season. Up to that point, apart from Red Bull, only the Williams team had made it into the top ten pit stop times.
"I'm very proud of our team in the pit lane," said Jonathan Wheatley, Red Bull's Sporting Director. "Setting a new world record three times in a single season really is something special, we were focused on improving our performance and are proud to see our efforts rewarded!"