#F1 Forensic: FRIC-less Mercedes still class of field

•July 23, 2014 • 5 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 Technical Analyst Lorenzo De Luca

Tight battle behind Mercedes and Williams

Many people wondered just how much performance would Mercedes lose without their FRIC system in relation to the other teams. It was not the least bit surprising that the W05 continued to dominate. Completing the podium, behind winner Rosberg, was the ever more convincing Williams and the other Mercedes driven by Hamilton ( 3 Mercedes powered cars in the first three places).

Of more interest is the tight battle between Red Bull, Ferrari, Force India and Mclaren. From a tires point of view, the race was characterized by the high tire wear of the super soft. This was due to high traction levels and graining with the soft compound due to an understeering set-up – required to increase the life of the rear tires during traction out of the hairpins.

Thanks to the great drop in temperatures of almost 20° on Sunday, teams had the opportunity to choose between a two stop or three stop strategy , with the soft compound having a performance decay after 12 laps, while the prime compound (the soft tires) capable of lasting well for at least 30 laps.

Strategy Report

Average lap time \ stint lap time & tire compounds (Legend : SS=SuperSoft – S=Soft – (N)=New – (U)=Old :

Top 12 race pace comparison


With an average lap time between Ferrari and Red Bull being so close, the race was decided by pit calls, and once again Ferrari made mistakes precisely at the crucial moments.

Vettel vs Alonso vs Ricciardo race pace comparison


From the chart above, we can see how Alonso (look around lap 50) remained on track with soft tires while both Red Bull pitted. During these laps, Alonso was starting to lose times (the gap between Alonso and Vettel was decreasing around 16 seconds, insufficient to allow Fernando to rejoin the track ahead of Sebastian) so much that he would not only lose ground to Vettel but he would return on track behind Ricciardo too.

The ensuing fight with the Aussie driver would cost him the chance to fight with Vettel. Another trio of drivers, whose races were decided by pit calls were those of: Magnussen, Perez and Raikkonen. Even here we had poor calls from the Ferrari pit wall, which left Raikkonen on track for too many laps on old tires (specially the Super Soft compound)

Magnussen vs Perez vs Raikkonen race pace comparison


From 20th place on the grid, Hamilton was the main protagonist of the German Grand Prix, but he may well have lost his chance to finish the race ahead of Bottas when he had his spectacular battles with Ricciardo and Raikkonen. Over the course of four laps he lost more than a second a lap to Bottas.

Rosberg vs Bottas vs Hamilton


Hockenheim also confirmed that Mercedes, Williams and Force India are the best cars at managing the tires. Rosberg, Bottas and Hulkenberg were each capable of making the Super soft compound last almost 20 laps during the first stint. For all the others, the best strategy was to get rid of the supersoft tires after just 10/12 laps.

FRIC-less Mercedes still unbeatable

The key word on everyone’s lips in Hockenheim was FRIC. A system that so far, helped the F1 cars to maintain a constant ride height, by reducing the effects of pitch and roll (with aero benefits). This system, was believed to be one of the Mercedes secrets, and that without it, opponents could have partially bridged the gap.

Obviously, it was not so, as Mercedes scored another easy win with Rosberg, and the ease with which Lewis advanced from the bottom of the grid was numbing. As it has been said here after the British Grand Prix, the only thing that could prevent Mercedes winning all the remaining races would be the tight fight between its drivers, which could undermine the reliability of a car which is otherwise virtually flawless.

Williams : chasing the first win

After a not so convincing start of the season, Williams Martini Racing seems to have succeeded in finding the performance the FW36 showed during the pre-season tests. Sir Frank Williams & Co. are clearly now the second force of the field, thanks to a better understanding of the car and to the fine aerodynamics work .

Williams FW36 louvred engine cover fin http://i.imgur.com/IKA1xRa.jpg

In Germany, on the FW36 we saw the return of the engine cover with louvres on the fin, this solution helps the cooling of the power unit without affecting the aero efficiency of the car. The FW36 confirmed its inherent qualities on the high speed sectors (Bottas scored the second highest top speed in Hockenheim with 340Km\h!) but also demonstrated progress with both the aero load and traction in the slow corners as confirmed by the times clocked during qualifying.

Sector times qualifying chart


Red Bull : no good signs from Renault

Red Bull has lost the role of being Mercedes’ main rival – they are left fighting for the role of third car on the grid. After the Canadian win scored by Ricciardo, Red Bull have lost ground both to Mercedes and Williams. Everyone knows that the Renault power unit is not as good as the Mercedes one but it has been noted that the RB10 has a poor management of tires compared to the W05 and the FW36, without mentioning the fuel consumption which is still very high (if not the highest) among the all teams.

No one doubt the aerodynamic qualities of the RB10, so the deficit is all to be located in the power unit supplied by Renault. Indeed, despite the latest updates introduced by Viry-Chatillon, the Renault powered cars are still suffering heavy reliability issues (Danii Kvyat’s car on fire is a clear example).

Ferrari : F14-T, the usual faults

A poor season so far for Ferrari, and the spectre of a season without a win becomes more and more possible. James Allison, the British aerospace engineer has cruelly listed all the shortcomings of the car driven by Alonso and Raikkonen: lack of downforce, traction, a very nervous car with a high wear on the tires, and obviously lack of power.

As if that was not enough, even the updates (which are tested for the 2015 design) do not seem to make any major changes to the behaviour of the car. As has been said, the work on the 2015 car (codename 666) has already started, and in Germany we saw part of these designs – like a new engine cover with a bigger outlet but always keeping the RedBull-esque shape to help the cooling of the power unit

New engine cover


Also used was the new higher side pods flow diverter.


Mclaren : the recovery continues

After the good results achieved in Silverstone, Mclaren continued its recovering phase on the MP4/29. The gap with Ferrari and Red Bull is now almost bridged and the development work done so far, looks promising for the next races.

Indeed the team from Woking was the most active team in this sense, which helped both drivers score some good points. In Hockeheneim we saw an innovative rear wing , with a wavy slot gap. Its aim was of “virtually” increasing the effect of the gap between the mainplane and the DRS flap to gain a higher top speed, and to delay the detachment of the airflow, thus improving the wing efficiency. Also note, the number of vortex generators on the endplate to channel the airflow upwards and improve the extraction of the air.

New Mp4/29 rear wing


Hungaroring : between reliability and the Mercedes hunting

Power unit components used so far by each driver :


The Hungarian Gp is just few days ahead with no time to rest for the teams, as they are already moving to Budapest whilst we’re writing. The Hungaroring is a high downforce track (the aero load is very similar to that of Monte Carlo) which combined with the high temperatures and the continuous succession of curves and the absence of long straights, will emphasize the reliability of power unit elements.

The Hungarian track is not demanding on power so the Red Bull could really have the chance to chase the Mercedes like never before this season. But reliability will be crucial with issues arising not only from the heat but also because of the severity to which the braking system will be subjected , so get ready to the first penalties.

#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Hockenheim 2014 – #GermanGP

•July 22, 2014 • 8 Comments

Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)


[For those who are new to the page; TJ13 attempts to remove certain aspects of the race to give a fairer reflection of the race result.]

A good time to be German some might say, or Finnish, or indeed both!  Nico Rosberg proved it did not matter what super licence he drove under, he was in a league of his own out front and never looked in danger of not taking the race win.  He was, of course, aided by the lack of certain Briton at the front but he took full advantage of the situation.  While many in the media were caught up propelling superlatives in the direction of Hamilton, Rosberg was the forgotten man of the race.  It was another race with less stress on his powertrain as he coasted from lights to flag, which could count for more towards the end of the season.

That 'on top of the world' feeling

That ‘on top of the world’ feeling

So what really happened?

Lewis Hamilton: As per the rules, what happens in qualifying does not affect the outcome of the Victims report.  Whether he would have challenged Nico for pole is a debate for another time, but Lewis’ do or die lunges down the inside gained him so many places, but probably cost him the chance to take 2nd place as well.  He remains 3rd.

Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen: The expression ‘6 and two 3s’ comes to mind here as once again the Brazilian found himself out of the race on the first lap, although in this instance he was not entirely blameless.  It wrecked both of their afternoons, but in the end was ruled a racing incident.  Both remain with their original results.

Formula One safety has come so far

Formula One safety has come so far

Nico Hulkenberg: The overheating of his car was a cause for concern which cost him time.  In the end, it probably would not have made a great deal of difference as the pace simply was not there in the car this weekend.  He remains in position.

Daniil Kvyat: The inferno wagon that the Russian parked at the edge of turn 10 was nothing to do with the young pilot, whose petulant kick at the Armco barrier summed up how he was feeling.  His attempted pass of Perez around the outside showed his experience as he should have given that one up well before he was sent into a spin.  He is reinstated to 15th place.

Romain Grosjean: Such a promising weekend turned sour as the Frenchman was forced to once again park up his E22 before race distance.  He is reinstated to 14th place.

Adrian Sutil: An unfortunately positioned spin left the stewards with some head scratching as they were forced to consider whether to deploy the safety car or not.  They did not and took a risk that paid off, but why did they not lean to the side of caution here?  Had steward been injured there would have been uproar from fans and the media alike.  A brakes failure that Sutil could do little about, so is reinstated to 16th position.

Daniel Ricciardo: The smiley Aussie’s race was ruined by taking avoiding action of the tumbling Williams of Felipe Massa.  He is moved up to 5th place after being in the wrong place at the wrong time – a true Victim of Circumstance.

The Verdict
This leaves the revised results table looking like this:

Revised Race Position Driver Result comparison Points Points Difference Grid Position
Start RevisedPosition
1 Nico Rosberg = 25 = 1 1
2 Valtteri Bottas = 18 = 2 2
3 Lewis Hamilton = 15 = 20 3
4 Sebastian Vettel = 12 = 6 4
5 Daniel Ricciardo +1 10 +2 5 5
6 Fernando Alonso -1 8 -2 7 6
7 Nico Hulkenberg = 6 = 9 7
8 Jenson Button = 4 = 11 8
9 Kevin Magnussen = 2 = 4 9
10 Sergio Perez = 1 = 10 10
11 Kimi Raikkonen = 0 = 12 11
12 Pastor Maldonado = 0 = 13 12
13 Jean-Eric Vergne = 0 = 25 13
14 Romain Grosjean RETIRED 0 = 14 14
15 Daniil Kvyat RETIRED 0 = 8 15
16 Adrian Sutil RETIRED 0 = 15 16
17 Esteban Gutierrez -3 0 = 16 17
18 Jules Bianchi -3 0 = 17 18
19 Kamui Kobayashi -3 0 = 19 19
20 Max Chilton -3 0 = 21 20
21 Marcus Ericsson -3 0 = Pit Lane 21
22 Felipe Massa = RETIRED 0 = 3 22


Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised WDC WDC Points Difference
Position Points
Lewis Hamilton 1 219 +43
Nico Rosberg 2 208 +18
Daniel Ricciardo 3 103 -6
Sebastian Vettel 4 93 +11
Fernando Alonso 5 78 -19
Valtteri Bottas 6 75 -16
Felipe Massa 7 50 +20
Nico Hulkenberg 8 46 -23
Jenson Button 9 37 -22
Kimi Raikkonen 10 29 +11
Sergio Perez 11 27 -2
Kevin Magnussen 12 25 -12
Daniil Kvyat 13 10 +6
Jean-Eric Vergne 14 8 -1
Romain Grosjean 15 4 -4
Jules Bianchi 16 0 -2
Adrian Sutil 17 0 =
Esteban Gutierrez 18 0 =
Kamui Kobayashi 19 0 =
Max Chilton 20 0 =
Marcus Ericsson 21 0 =
Pastor Maldonado 22 0 =

*Those with 0 points will not be ordered

What they would have said

Daniel Ricciardo was the only driver to opt for the outside of the colliding pair of Magnussen and Massa, at turn 1.  It is possible to argue he was pushed out there by his teammate, although more race experience would have said do not try and go around the outside.  It is perhaps a rare showing of his relative inexperience.

Those who alluded to the daring nature of Lewis Hamilton and how brave he was during the race were almost made to eat their words on many an occasion.  The Briton rode his luck as he escaped from the race with 15 points – 15 more than it could have been.  He was unhappy with the result following the race, but how unhappy would he have been if he came away with nothing?

11 points is the difference at the top as they head into the final round before the summer break.  As for the much smaller gap between the pole time for Rosberg and the rest of the field, Hungary could be an intriguing race should either one of the Williams pair take pole position.  Another track where passing is difficult, if either Bottas or Massa take pole could we see a Williams car on the top step of the podium?

Quote of the Day

This week’s quote comes from Lincoln Chafee, the US politician who became the 74th Governor of Rhode Island on 4th January 2011.  He said, “Trust is built with Consistency.”

Lincoln Chafee

Trusting in your brakes, trusting in your team and trusting in your fellow competitors were all shown this weekend.  Lewis Hamilton trusted his brakes, which failed and sent him hurtling into the barriers at high speeds.  Fernando Alonso continued to trust in his team, though the Ferrari designers look once again to have failed him in delivering something remotely competitive – even with the upgrades that came.  Felipe Massa trusted in his car to protect him as he was sent into a spin at the first corner as Magnussen made a desperate lunge more akin to a more junior formula.  Although, did Massa really expect the Dane just to back out?

Daily #F1 News and Comment: Tuesday 22nd July 2014

•July 22, 2014 • 116 Comments


This page will be updated throughout the day.

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Previously on TJ13:

Castrol #F1 GP Predictor Summary – Hockenheim 2014

OTD Lite: Winklehock leads on Grand Prix debut

Lauda Watch: “McLaren car… shit, Ferrari… shit”

Should F1 go to Russia?

Italy “clutches at straws” again regards Ferrari

Clutching at straws pt 2 – Renault’s Remi Taffin

Hamilton contract negotiations

Vettel turns off German fans

Will double points decide the 2014 WDC?

Renault engine design for 2015

Mexico is go, go go

Hamilton to get therapy

OTD Lite: Winklehock leads on Grand Prix debut

The son of the late Manfred WInklehock only contested one Grand Prix – the 2007 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. As a Friday test driver and the reserve driver for  the Spyker team, he started last on the grid but with rain threatening, his team called him to change to intermediates on the parade lap.

As the rain began to fall he passed all the other drivers as they slithered round and finally came into the pits to take on appropriate tyres. By the end of the second lap he had a lead of 19 seconds and by the end of the fourth was thirty-three seconds ahead….


Sadly it was too wet to continue and so the safety car was called out – unlike Sunday’s recent German Grand Prix. At the restart Alonso committed to some quite brilliant driving and won the race from a smarting little Felipe Massa who felt the Spaniard had been a little too aggressive.


Lauda Watch: “McLaren car… shit, Ferrari… shit”

Mild mannered triple world champion, Niki Lauda, is clearly irked by a number of matters. It may be that the FRIC system Mercedes have been developing for years is de facto outlawed due to other teams bending Charlie Whiting’s ear.

It could be there was a threat of protest from Red Bull and Ferrari when Mercedes decided on safety grounds alone – allegedly – to change the brake systems used by Lewis Hamilton during the German GP.

When asked whether it was fair that the FIA regulations restrict the ability of other engine suppliers to play ‘catch up’ during this season, Lauda was somewhat uncompromising.

“McLaren has the same engine as us and their car is sh*t,” reports El Pais. “Where are they? No where.”

In a clear attempt to make friends and influence people, Lauda continues, “Ferrari are the same…. another sh*tty car”. (Translator’s note: It is difficult to know whether Lauda is referring to Ferrari as ‘another’ example of a sh^t 2014 car in addition to the McLaren MP4-29…. Or whether he means this is the latest in a list of sh^t Ferrari F1 car designs).

“The rules are written clearly,” Lauda adds, “You can’t penalise Brixworth because the others have been stupid.”

Yet Niki has been in the sport a long time and remembers similar years in by-gone eras where a team dominated for a season or two. The McLaren MP4-4 springs to mind along with a couple of Williams F1 designs.

Niki is asked to sympathise with Fernando Alonso’s predicament – stranded in the wrong car.

Wrong question!

“I’m sure he’s most frustrated,” said Lauda, “but the money he makes should help him.get over it. Remember Ronnie Peterson? He was the best but always in the wrong place.”

Marco Mattiacci refused to be drawn on Lauda’s description of Maranello’s latest lovingly created prototype racing machine. “For me, Niki Lauda is an icon of the sport, one of the most intelligent drivers of all time…. and I have huge respect for him”.


Should F1 go to Russia?

Most sports fans would prefer to disassociate their preferred sport from politics, yet at times this divide is called into question.

The questions are raised not when sport attempts to bring influence upon a political sphere, but when politics attempts to use sport to justify its position.

The 1936 Olympics were an example of this which is hard to refute. Hitler seized on an opportunity to use the Games to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy. Such that, the official Nazi party publication called for the banning of the participation of Jews and Black people from the event.

Unlike other F1 writers who are well known, TJ13 was against F1’s return to Bahrain in 2012 –  primarily because the ruling family, the Al Khalifa’s, had hijacked the event, publicising it both nationally and internationally under the slogans “UniF1ed” and “Back on Track”.

These were clearly political slogans designed by Bahrain’s political rulers to present the message that the ‘troubles’ which had caused the 2011 race cancellation were now over. Whether this was in fact the case or not is irrelevant, as the use of F1 for any political means is forbidden by the FIA.

Of course, Jean Todt relatively new to his role, felt the course of least resistance was best – and did nothing. Ecclestone admitted the race organisers were in breach of their contract and that he had “asked them to take them down” – the banners that is.

Unusually, Ecclestone was ignored, and the banners and baseball caps were aplenty on race day.

So we turn to Russia and the question whether F1 should race in Sochi this year.

Ecclestone is clear in his views. “I don’t see any problems with that. Were they [Russia] in the World Cup or not? You would have thought people would have tried to stop it, wouldn’t you? Like I’ve said, we don’t get involved in politics. We have a contract with them, which we know they will respect. And we will do the same.”

Of course, this event has been promoted personally by Vladimir Putin, and the question of F1’s involvement with Russia will be raised by many. The charge will be Putin and Russia have aggravated if not created the current bout of killings in Ukraine following the annexing of Crimea.

It appears from the sanctions extended thus far, that it is beyond the doubt of the majority of Western led governments that the pro-Russian ‘freedom forces’ fighting the Ukraine government troops in the east of the country have been armed and assisted by Russia.

Further, evidence is emerging that Russia supplied the weapon which shot down Malaysian Airline flight MH17.

Is all this really a matter for Formula 1 to consider? After all, it isn’t about the discrimination of Jews and Black people.

The question for many is whether Vladimir Putin will attempt to use his association with global sports stars of Formula 1 to present an image of ‘business as usual’?

This image will have little effect on those in the west, yet the Russian people will see their president accepted by ‘reasonable minded’ educated westerner’s who are happy to shake his hand in friendship and bring their sport to his domain.

These westerner’s will represent to ordinary Russians the fact that the USA and European sanctions against their country are not universally accepted by those who are ruled by Obama and his EU counterparts… which in the final analysis, is indeed true.

However, it may be a more sensitive topic depending on where people live in the world. F1 fans in Holland may feel more strongly than others in Europe where there has been a general air of indifference to the American led sanctions imposed on Russia thus far.

Then again, there are corporate backers of F1 like Malaysian company Petronas. They may indeed feel they would suffer a backlash from their own countrymen should their name appear in Sochi. Ecclestone refused to allow McLaren or Vodafone to remove their company logo from the car in Bahrain 2012 – will the same apply to Petronas?

Bernie Ecclestone believes there will be no issues, and all will be fine. “We shouldn’t speculate as to what could happen. We will honour our contract. Mr Putin personally has been very supportive and very helpful, and we will do the same.”

TJ13 has contacted the UK Prime Minister’s office on three separate occasions since the annexing of Crimea to establish the government’s position on the Formula 1 circus pitching it’s big top in Russia. No answer has been the stern reply.

Well the questions will soon be louder and more frequent. The terrible events surrounding flight MH17 – none less than the disdainful vision of the victims bodies piled up on trucks – has hit many in the west between the eyes.

This war is no longer quite so remote and distant.

Despite what Ecclestone says or believes, there will be questions asked and some turmoil within the F1 teams over the continued decision to ‘take the show to Russia’.


Italy “clutches at straws” again regards Ferrari

“The idiom originated with Thomas More’s Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation (1534). It indicates desperation. A drowning man will clutch/grab at anything, even at straws (this is the (older?) usage that means ‘dry grass’ not drinking straws) in an attempt to save himself.”

In Italy, Ferrari is a religion. The populace display as much anger as the publications that routinely report on the state of affairs in Maranello and 2014 has been fodder for the journalists. There is the very real prospect that Ferrari will – for the first time in twenty one years – go through the season without a single victory.

The Silver Arrows continue to dominate the championship battle, practically winning from wherever they start the race and certain Italians have begun the aforementioned ‘clutching at straws‘ by comparing Ferrari to their last winless season in 1993. In actual fact 1993 was the third season that Ferrari had endured a winless year but that is a moot point.

In 1993 Ferrari president Luca Di Montezemolo appointed Frenchman Jean Todt to begin reconstructing the antiquated Ferrari team into what became a behemoth of modern Formula One, dominating in a style that had not been seen before – six consecutive constructors and five consecutive driver titles are testimony to that. Once again, in 2014, Montezemolo is re-living the horrors of a malfunctioning squad that looks likely to finish at best fifth in the table despite the unquestioned driving ability of Fernando Alonso.

So what does Italy do? They make comparisons between 1993 and this year, and similarities vainly offered between Jean Todt and Marco Mattiacci – conveniently forgetting that Todt was a hugely successful motor-sport manager with Peugeot in both rallying and Group C; whereas MM comes from a background where his only obligation was to promote and grow the Ferrari brand in different markets worldwide.

One commendable trait of the new Ferrari team principal is his uncharacteristic honesty in a world of intrigue, politics and deliberate subterfuge and this has been followed by a culling of team personnel who have been identified as too reluctant to take design risks.

Luca Marmorini has already departed the team and has been replaced by Matt Mariz and Lorenzo Sassi who will take over the 059/4 project with the design remit that the aero department will not take precedence over the power unit design, a problem that Pat Fry and Nicholas Tombazis cultivated by chasing maximum efficiency.

The biggest error that Marmorini made was deliberating over the direction of the new 2015 power unit despite the FIA allowing modifications for next season. With James Allison ignoring the 2014 campaign and focusing his attention on next season’s challenger, it appears that Fry and Tombazis may also prove scapegoats within the Italian concern.

And all the while Pavarotti sings “Nessun’ Dorma” (None shall sleep) in the echoing halls of the Gestione Sportiva…


Clutching at straws pt 2 – Renault’s Remi Taffin

Renault’s operations manager – Remi Taffin – has been a busy interviewee this season. Before the season began he spoke of how Renault would be fixing their problems over the coming weeks. By Barcelona the word was that with the upcoming tracks being less power demanding they would be nearer the front and by Canada they were operating at 100% of the engines potential – which made Austria all the more disappointing as Red Bull struggled for pace all weekend.

In a season that Ferrari is hugely disappointed with their car, they have still run close battles to the Red Bulls at the last couple of races – well Fernando Alonso. If as some suggest, the RB10 is the class of the field in terms of chassis design, then the handicap of their engine is truly staggering.

Young Remi studied at the same institute as Mclaren’s technical director – Racing Director – Eric Boullier and offered the French companies point of view from Germany.
“It is good to the Red Bulls have the flexibility and mobility they need to compete and win positions on the track. The new software introduced in Germany has proved valuable in this area and we intend to exploit it even more in Hungary where the interaction with the new Total fuel will be fully optimised.”

Taffin continued, “We also need to work on reliability before Hungary. We had a perfect weekend in Germany and problems were relatively minor but some of them had serious consequence….

As yet, TJ13 hasn’t received word from Daniil Kyvat in regards to his Renault engined Toro Rosso going up spectacularly in flames, but Vettel remarked, “I think it’s not the last word on this. There are reasons why it did not work out. Whether we find out in a week it’s hard to say – for sure it was a disappointment as we had hoped for more. The big step didn’t work out.”


Hamilton contract negotiations

TJ13 commented during the Monaco GP weekend, that it appeared strange Mercedes were not making noises about extending Lewis Hamilton’s contract. Both Vettel and Alonso have had contract extensions offered to them more than 2 years before the expiry of their current deal.

Whether they like it or not, by failing to open negotiations with Lewis, Mercedes at that time raised questions over their commitment to retaining his services beyond the end of 2015.

Toto Wolff now reveals, the Brackley based team are “sitting together and negotiating with Lewis about a multi-year contract.”

It would now be normative in F1 land, for an announcement to follow fairly quickly that in fact an extension to Lewis contract has been agreed. Hopefully Toto Wolff understands the subtext of contractual negotiations with F1 drivers and isn’t just hoping this matter will disappear into the long grass over the summer break.


Vettel turns off German fans

Katja Heim, circuit adviser involved in the 2014 German GP race promotion, has defended the small crowd in Hockenheim in 2014. It was better than the 45,000 at the Nurburgring in 2013, but then Hockenheim is always more popular.

In a fairly explosive comment which could have legal implications, Katja apportions some of the blame to Sebastian Vettel for the drop of interest in F1 in Germany.

“It certainly didn’t really help that Sebastian in his frustration about the new Formula 1 and his car gave loads of interviews about how bad Formula One is now and that it’s not worth going to watch,” said Heim.

Vettel described the new F1 hybrid Formula as “shit” in pre-season testing.

“As a four times world champion from Germany, people believe him more than they would the sales people. So if he says there’s nothing any more for the fans, it’s not Formula One like it used to be, that was 100 percent quite damaging.”

For those who believe that Vettel is the ‘virtual love child of Bernie Ecclestone, his attitude and consistent complaints against the new Formula 1 regulations were hardly surprising.

Ecclestone has been consistently critical of the new regulations, and the FIA have added credence to his claims by asking the engine suppliers to create amplified exhaust sounds.

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff agrees with Heim’s assessment. “We’ve talked the sport down at the beginning of the year and we are all to blame, or many of us [are]. The last couple of races were really good to watch; lots of overtaking everywhere, so the sport is in good shape. We have to analyse properly why there are not more spectators in Hockenheim”, adding rather lamely, “It’s a shame.”

The race promoters may feel it is rather more than ‘a shame’, since they have recently been threatened by Ecclestone that their F1 contract may be terminated – unless they increase the hosting fee to FOM.

Seeing as Germany currently doesn’t host a round of the FIA WEC series, maybe Hockenheim will consider it a better option to promote in the future than Formula 1.

Then again, this could all be part of the Ecclestone master plan to buy back F1 from CVC at a knock down price.

That said, this week Ecclestone has done another of his many U-Turns (flip flops) which add to the general sense that he can’t remember what he said previously. 3 weeks ago, on the matter of him buying back F1, Ecclestone told the Daily Express, “It is possible, although one or two other companies are interested and I would not enter an auction,”

Yesterday, Mr. E was quoted by the Telegraph as amusingly stating, “I wouldn’t want to pay what it is worth. Not that it is not worth it but it would be a lot of money. It’s a big thing to hang around your neck at my age.”

Toto Wolff concludes by questioning the commercial rights holder’s handling of F1’s marketing and broadcasting. “Is there a general trend that people just have many more options in what they do in the digital world? I don’t have an answer because from the sporting side all of us are doing it right.”

Clearly the 83 year old who runs the sport does not understand the new digital age and has dismissed it as a fad, previously asserting, “people will go back to watching television”.

What is certain is that if the decline in F1 viewers and race attendances is not reversed and new fans attracted to the sport, all the F1 purses from the commercial rights owner to the FIA and the teams will become ever smaller.


Will double points decide the 2014 WDC?

The much disliked double points for the final race in Abu Dhabi is beginning to loom on the horizon, increasingly likely to decide the F1 drivers’ championship.

The problem for Lewis Hamilton is that he is in the best car – by far – but so is his team mate.

If we assume race reliability is equally distributed at 100% across the two Mercedes drivers, between now and the end of the season, Lewis could win every race – but Nico will be second.

This gives us a points tally going into the season finale of….

Hamilton           376

Rosberg           334

Difference       42

Assuming equal race reliability being 100% for each driver, this is the absolute best scenario Hamilton faces.

Roll this forward to the end of the European season, but now say Rosberg wins 1 of the three remaining races (Hamilton 2nd). This gives a pre-Abu Dhabi tally of..

Hamilton           369

Rosberg           341

Difference       28

For the remaining 6 flyaway races (assuming the Russian GP goes ahead), now say Rosberg wins another 1 from those 6 races with Hamilton 2nd….

Hamilton           362

Rosberg           348

Difference       14

A win for Rosberg then ties the points in the driver standings, with him having won 3 out of the remaining 9 races from hereon….

It could well be squeaky bum time in the Arabian Desert in November and the majority of F1 fans may be outraged by a rule change..


Renault engine design for 2015

Renault examining the option of adopting the Mercedes F1 engine concept for 2015.

The French manufacturer has previously played down the impact of the split turbo German design, which has the air compressor and turbine at opposite ends of the engine.

There are thought to be aerodynamic packaging advantages to this solution along with reduced turbo lag.

Renault’s head of track operations Remi Taffin says, “For sure we are looking at a different solution, we will explore all the solutions”.

Taffin appears to have lunched – long – at the Place de Concorde as his following statements are confusing to say the least.

“If I knew [which design we would operate] it would be wrong, because I should not know now what we are doing. It’s being developed”.

That said, even though 48% of the components can be redesigned, Taffin believes the engine will not be a radical departure from the represent philosophy. “It’s not very different. The basis is quite similar but we can change a lot of things”.

When we discussed the V8s in the past, we used to say the last engine was very similar to the one from six or seven years ago. But 90 per cent of the parts were different – although if you looked at them they were quite similar.

It will be the same for us going into next year. You will see some difference for sure, but there are no dramatic changes for 2015.”

This press release is not yet believed to have passed scrutineering in Milton Keynes and received the Red Bull waxen seal of approval.


Mexico is go, go go

Mexican promotions company OCESA is reported by ‘the Reforma’ to have signed a 5 year deal to bring Formula 1 back to Mexico from 2015.

There is still a huge amount of work required to bring the old Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez up to the standard required by the FIA, though a certain Mr. Tilke is currently working on the project.

The Mexican GP was on the calendar from 1963-1970 and from 1986-1992.

Gustav Hellmund, a friend of Ecclestone, was responsible for the reintroduction of the race in 1986 and it is his son Tavo who has been much of the driving force behind the efforts to restore Mexico once again to the F1 calendar.

Hellmund Junior masterminded the early phases of the Circuit of the Americas, though a subsequent dispute saw him cut out of the eventual deal done between Texan billionaire, Red McCombs and Bernie Ecclestone.

Tavo is a bullish character and when talking about the Mexican project in 2012 he enthused, “The sky is the limit. It could potentially break every Grand Prix attendance record.” That said, in 2011 some 150,000 people turned up to watch their man Sergio Perez drive an F1 demonstration in Guadalajara

Ecclestone initially ruled out the idea of returning to the old Grand Prix circuit due to costs, though later conceded, “It just needs sorting out a bit.”

The upgrade was estimated two years ago at around $60-75 million, though $100m has been mentioned more recently as a realistic capital spend.

Tavo believes, “The track needs a facelift, but so many of the right components are in place. I think it’s totally the right time. No one wants to waste the opportunity of having these (Mexican F1) drivers.”

The former parkland circuit is a shadow of its former glory and the city since 1990 has enveloped what was once a more remote location. Residents will have to be relocated and the infrastructure to and from the circuit upgraded if Tavo’s claims of record breaking crowds are to be accommodated.


Hamilton to get therapy

Following his smash in Q1 at Hockenheim where his car recorded some 30g of impact, Lewis is of to get some attention.

“My knees are no problem,” he said, “but my back and my neck have been the issue really.

I do need some physiotherapy as my back is in more pain than normal. But I’ll be ok, I’ll get some work done this week.”

Lewis believes he also need another kind of therapy to change his fortune as he joked, “maybe I need to go and visit some Indians, or rub the Buddha belly. I’ll try all the different religions to see if I can get some luck,”


Castrol #F1 GP Predictor Summary – Hockenheim 2014

•July 22, 2014 • 2 Comments

Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)


The highly anticipated contest in Germany certainly did not disappoint as out of position drivers duelled throughout the race, eventually getting to where they by their pace, should have been.  The thought that a spin like Sutil’s will see the race turned upside down with a standing restart loomed large on my conscious as I travelled back up the Italian coast.  If a driver has absolutely dominated a race like Rosberg had, but had old tyres on, they would be a sitting target for cars behind.

There is still time to avoid this travesty before it “improves” the spectacle if the FIA see sense before it is too late.  Furthermore, this has made a red flag situation almost equal to a safety car, apart from the ability to change tyres and work on the car, on the grid.  Surely this too should be a standing restart from now on?

The soaring temperatures that would have spelt trouble for Renault were not there for Sunday.  The ‘Renault Great Escape’ was largely missed by the media, as the French powered runners were afforded the ability to push more and not have to manage temperatures so much.

So with all of the happenings up and down the grid, how did it affect our predictions…?

On the Up

JacktheBlob scored 74 points for the round, as the team rocketed up the league onto the first page to sit in 20th place.  With 1 round to go before the summer break, another result with the same, or better, 56% accuracy.  Scoring with every driver but two in the top ten made for the 20 place improvement.

Charging onto the first page...

Charging onto the first page…

Up, up and away

A 29 point improvement makes Syzygy the most improved this week, predicting four of the top ten correctly.  Were it not for Hamilton’s quick laps at the end, it could have been even better for the team as it hurtled onto page 2 into 30th place in the league. Another weekend like this would be most welcomed.

Back Rosberg for the home race win

Back Rosberg for the home race win

Far from cloud nine

Team cloud9 dropped 25 places to 57th place following a disastrous week for the team. Not predicting a single driver correctly in the top 10 made for a difficult weekend, although it is hard to criticise, as my team only did marginally better.  Let’s hope fortunes turn around this weekend at the Hungaroring!

Hungry for points in Hungary

Hungry for points in Hungary

Nobody saw it coming

The continued bad luck (or otherwise depending on your viewpoint) of Felipe Massa caught out many a prediction.  He was once again incensed by the Magnussen’s audacious move up the inside, even though many around Twitter and the media apportioned blame to him.

Some teams continued to believe in Force India, even when the development simply is not coming for the cars.  Their efficacy to bring developments on a limited budget remains to be seen, but the lowly running Mexican and German are a far cry from the front running pair we saw back in Bahrain.

Food for thought

The Williams pair were not a long way off the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg in qualifying, although in race trim the 20 second gap from Bottas to Rosberg flattered the Finn.  However, given the difficulty of overtaking in Hungary on the tight enclosed circuit, a poor qualifying or get away from the line could consign a Mercedes driver to a race of viewing a Martini sponsored rear wing.  Can Lewis change his qualifying fortunes?

A favourite race of both Button and Raikkonen due to their success there in years gone by, can they go into the summer break on a positive note?  Both were shown up by their teammates in qualifying, with Button finishing just ahead of Magnussen due to the Dane’s first lap altercation with Massa.  It will be an important weekend for the elder statesman on the grid.

Remember when…

In this section there will be a question each week to test your memory from GPs gone by. The idea is not to look it up but see if you can remember it first!

Q: When was the last time two different German drivers won the German Grand Prix, in consecutive years?  What were their names and who were they driving for?

(Answer will be posted in the next Predictor summary)

Last question’s answer

The question was: Who won the 2011 edition of the Silverstone edition of the race when the Off-Throttle blown diffusers were controversially banned?  Also, where had he been on the grid that day?

Answer: The answer I was looking for was Fernando Alonso, who took his (and Ferrari’s) only win of the 2011 season that day after a rare error from the Red Bull pit crew.  Alonso had started 3rd, with Vettel 2nd and Webber 1st with the trio finishing the race in the reverse order.

Well done to f1esty who correctly answered that one.

Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 21st July 2014

•July 21, 2014 • 202 Comments


This page will be updated throughout the day.

Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.

You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly.


#TJ13 Social Media Competition

We’re giving away replica F1 team polo shirts. If you want to enter you can via our Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus pages. Look out for the picture and share if you’re on Facebook / Google Plus and retweet on Twitter to enter the competition. We’ll be announcing the winner by the 21st July. Good luck!

Terms and conditions here.

Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Polls: How would you rate the 2014 German GP

#F1 Race Review: Mercedes Domination Continues

#F1 Polls: 2014 German GP – Driver of the Weekend

#TechF1 Treasures- The #F1 Race Weekend in Official FIA Documents #GermanGP

#F1 Qualifying Review: Mercedes reigns supreme in the Fatherland

OTD Lite – 2002 – Schumacher secures World Title in record time

James Garner/ Pete Aron R.I.P. 1928 – 2014

Hamilton’s Safety Car Conspiracy (GMM)

Small Hockenheim crowd gathering – but why? (GMM)

McLaren title sponsor imminent

Safety car controversy Hockenheim

Raikkonen must up his game

….meanwhile on other news outlets

Pragmatism prevents a pointless protest

OTD Lite – 2002 – Schumacher secures World Title in record time

Thank you Mr Lauda. Regardless that Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff would like to implement team-orders – the non-executive Chairman insists that Mercedes will allow their drivers to race on. Having just completed the tenth round of the 2014 championship, Nico Rosberg leads Lewis Hamilton by a mere fourteen points in the title battle.

Which is somewhat more reassuring for dwindling TV audiences than the year that Michael Schumacher equaled Juan Manuel Fangio’s total of five titles – a tally that had seemed unapproachable for close to half a century. And he secured it by the eleventh round of the championship…

With five laps left, Schumacher lay in second place, Barrichello his only challenger had retired at the start, and Kimi Raikkonen led up to the Adelaide hairpin. Alan Mcnish’s Toyota had blown up on the racing line and Kimi slid wide, allowing Schumacher through for a victory which sealed the championship as well.


Ferrari would finish the season with 15 victories, 9 1-2 finishes, their points tally for the Constructors title equaled all the other teams scores combined and Schumacher’s lowest finish that year was 3rd in the Malaysian Grand Prix. His eleven wins would also surpass his own previous record, of nine wins, that he shared with Nigel Mansell from 1992.


James Garner/ Pete Aron R.I.P. 1928 – 2014

American actor and star of 1966 film Grand Prix – James Garner – passed away over the weekend at the age of 86. A TV and movie actor, his best known roles were in TV series ‘Maverick’ and ‘The Rockford Files’. But to a generation of Formula One fans he is best remembered for the part he played in the John Frankenheimer’s 1966 epic ‘Grand Prix’.

Garner played the role of American Pete Aron who is sacked by BRM and finds a seat at Yamura and succeeds in winning the championship. But for most fans of Formula One history, it’s the filming of the circuts from Grand Prix’s most dangerous era and the racing personalities captured on celluloid that made the film a cult favourite.


The film includes real-life racing footage and cameo appearances by drivers including Formula One World Champions Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Juan Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark and Jack Brabham – as well as appearances by Jochen Rindt, Dan Gurney, Richie Ginther, Jo Bonnier and Bruce Mclaren. as well as footage from Monaco, Clermont-Ferrand, Spa in it’s original configuration and the classic slip-streamer Monza’s banked circuit.

Garner did all his own driving for the film and afterwards set up the American International Racers team, which raced at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring in the late 1960s. It was reported that Graham Hill and Jack Brabham told him that if he hadn’t pursued a career in acting he was good enough to compete in Formula One.

1963 Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones was a close friend of Garner’s said: “I’ll miss Jim for sure and my family and I offer our condolences to his entire family and all his friends,” Jones said. “Jim was a hell of a driver, a competitor, most people don’t remember that and that he raced in a lot of different types of cars over the years. He truly was a “man’s man.”

“Jim was a friend and when he came to Indianapolis as a spectator and pace car driver we obviously welcomed him with open arms. People will remember him for his performances in “Grand Prix,” “The Rockford Files” and also for his excellent acting in so many other movies and TV shows, he was so smooth and such a natural, he made it look easy. He excelled in both movies and television a rarity back then.”


Hamilton’s Safety Car Conspiracy (GMM)

Euphoric at Silverstone two weeks ago when he pulled the gap back to just 4 points, Lewis Hamilton’s mood dimmed once again on Sunday as he deficit blew back out to 14. But after the Briton limited the damage of his back-of-the-grid start at Hockenheim by racing through the field to the podium, boss Toto Wolff advised him to not be too glum.

I would be very surprised if it (the title battle) didn’t come down to Abu Dhabi and to the famous double points,” said the Mercedes chief.

Even if you are behind 30 points, you can turn it around in Abu Dhabi. But the driver who loses on double points will need some psychological treatment,” he smiled.

Still, Hamilton thinks a result better than third might have been possible in Germany, after seeing Adrian Sutil’s stricken car. A safety car would have ended championship leader Nico Rosberg’s huge race lead.

I definitely got a bit worried,” the German driver admitted, “because I was sure there was going to be a safety car and that would have obviously made it a lot more difficult.

Rosberg wasn’t the only one surprised, particularly in a sport that, in the name of safety, is prepared to delay a race for an hour to fix a damaged barrier.

I was really concerned for the marshals — really concerned,” said Hamilton, referring to Sunday at Hockenheim.

It felt like the closest thing I have seen for a long, long time.

He said whizzing past marshals who ran across the racing line to recover Sutil’s Sauber reminded him of footage of the 1977 South African grand prix, when a marshal and Tom Pryce were killed in a gruesome collision.

That was the first thing I thought about,” said Hamilton. “I couldn’t believe it. How on earth a car can be sitting in the middle of the road for a couple of laps and not come out? I think you know why.

The Briton would not expand on what he meant by his final remark, but there was probably no conspiracy to protect Rosberg’s race lead for a sure home win. Mercedes’ Wolff said not putting the safety car out was surely the result of a new effort by F1′s authorities to reduce interference in the racing.

Under the old spirit of the FIA,” he told Auto Motor und Sport, “the safety car would have come out. But I think Charlie’s decision was deliberately taken not to turn a race on its head with 15 laps to go.

But the lack of a safety car was not the only argument Hamilton found himself in after the German grand prix.

He also infuriated former McLaren teammate Jenson Button for their collision, for which Hamilton immediately apologised. “The problem with Lewis is he expected me to let him past,” said Button. “I don’t think I’m the only person he drove into today.

With his car being so much quicker you’d think he wouldn’t get into so many fights, but there you go.” Later, after watching the replay, Button admitted he might have “overreacted“.

TJ13 comment: Mercedes had run thousands of simulations on Saturday night,, most predicting Hamilton could expect to finish in 4th place. Cheer up Lewis, you went went one better!


Small Hockenheim crowd gathering – but why?

Elsewhere in Germany on Sunday, the Nurburgring hosted an event called the ‘Truck Grand Prix’. Watching the unwieldy trucks from the grandstands were about 100,000 excited spectators — about twice the size of the crowd that gathered at Hockenheim for the 2014 German grand prix.

Bild am Sonntag asked Bernie Ecclestone where all the fans are.

Obviously not here,” the F1 supremo answered.

As far as some are concerned, notwithstanding the big crowds recently in Austria and Silverstone, the unpopularity of the Hockenheim race should be ringing alarm-bells for F1.


Opposite pit lane just prior to the start

The Austrian grand prix took at least 5,000 spectators from us,” track boss Georg Seiler insisted to Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

And the olympic games and the world cup have just taken place. The world cup was the number 1 issue, with newspapers saying hardly anything about formula one,” he argued.

Ecclestone agrees: “Germany won the world cup, and all the sports-mad people bought a ticket to Brazil.

They’re just worn out after so many major sports events,” he added.

Both Seiler and Ecclestone also rejected the theory that ticket prices are too high, insisting the prices all over the F1 calendar are similar.

Yet 100,000 people managed to afford a ticket to go watch truck racing – even after the World Cup bonanza – Go Figure, Mr. E!


TJ13 reported in December 2013, that McLaren would run for 2014 without a title sponsor. We have learned this weekend, McLaren will announce in the very near future the identity of their title sponsor for 2014, which will be reflected in their racing name submitted to the FIA.

Keep guessing folks…..


Safety car controversy Hockenheim

For those who watch other motor sports besides F1, there are often a multiplicity of questions which spring to mind as to why F1 doesn’t adopt some of the better practices utilised out there.

TJ13 has banged the drum persistently over the lapped cars in the snake behind the safety car. When the trouble is cleared these cars are invited to overtake the safety car and then at a much reduced speed trundle around until they rejoin the back of the queue.

This can take another lap or two after the danger on track has been cleared. To save wasted racing time, why not force these cars drive through the pit lane and rejoin the rear of the snake? I have heard no sensible rationale for not adopting this practise.

However, it was another type of incident which has caused some safety car controversy following the 2014 German GP.

Lewis Hamilton has questioned the decision from Charlie Whiting, not to deploy the safety car some 15 laps from the end of the race. Adrian Sutil – due to mechanical failure  - had spun his Sauber exiting the final corner onto the pit straight.

Sutil initially managed to spin the car around in an attempt to continue racing, which in fact moved the car into a position further away from the racing line the cars would take exiting the final bend at Hockenheim. Had the German failed to do this a safety car would inevitably have been deployed.


“There should have been a safety car,” Hamilton said. “How on earth a car can be sitting in the middle of the road for a couple of laps and [the safety car] not come out… “. Then reminiscent of his comments in Monaco, Lewis sparked a conspiracy controversy by adding, “But I think you know why.”

The inference being that it was preferable to the organisers of the Hockenheim event to have a German driver winning the German GP in a German car.

However, the matter was handled under doubled waved yellow flags which as stated in the regulations, “Indicate danger, such as a stranded car, ahead. A single waved yellow flag warns drivers to slow down, while two waved yellow flags at the same post means that drivers must slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary. Overtaking is prohibited”. 

Hamilton claims, the lack of safety car deployment was dangerous. “I was really concerned for the marshals, really concerned,” he said. “You know, we come around that corner at serious speed, and then there’s marshals standing not far from where you’re driving past. For me, that’s the closest it’s been for a long, long time.”

Yet the matter is simple. Double waved yellows inform the drivers there may be a stranded car on track with marshals attempting to remove it. “Slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary.

For time and memorial, there is an unwritten code which is supposed to be understood by all drivers who race at venues where marshals are required to assist drivers following on track incidents. These people are there to help the drivers, ‘do nothing to put them at risk’. F1 drivers at times in their obsession to beat the competition, appear to forget this code of conduct.

Many F1 drivers over the years have complained the safety car has ruined their race, then again many have jumped for joy at an opportunity provided by the safety car to get them back into the heat of battle. In the latter category, Mark Webber springs to mind at Silverstone.

Yet the purpose of the safety car is for safety reasons – not to spice up a boring race and bring a contrived exciting finish.

There is an argument that in dry race conditions, the safety car is now predominantly redundant. Since the F1 cars were fitted with technology which gives the drivers a delta time not to be exceeded when the safety car is first deployed, why is a safety car required at all?

In fact, the cars could be allowed to run at speeds the safety car is incapable of reaching for the 2 sectors unaffected by an incident and given a much slower maximum speed through the sector where marshals are working on the circuit. This would be safer from the perspective that tyre temperatures and pressures would be better maintained during the time it takes to clear an incident.

Lewis appears to believe he would have benefited from a safety car being deployed yesterday, though analysis coming later will demonstrate a win was still beyond his reach.

Had Mercedes fitted Lewis with the prime tyre for the last stint, he may have fared better in his end of race battle with Bottas.

Lewis chewed up his final set up super soft boots in 10 laps, leaving him struggling for the last 5 to get enough traction to overtake Valtteri’s Williams. Yet, with a car light on fuel, Hamilton would have suffered less tyre degradation had he not damaged his front wing earlier in the race as he misjudged Jenson Button’s intentions. This collision was something after consideration Lewis felt he should apologise, as he did on the podium, describing it is “my bad”.

However, some will see it as disingenuous for Hamilton to criticise the lack of a safety car due to his apparent concern for the marshals, when in the next breath he rather unguardedly reveals his other thoughts – which are that this decision was in fact designed to ensure Nico won the race.

Which is it?

So long as Hamilton and the other drivers obey the double waved yellows Lewis, “slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary”, the marshals were not at risk. There was a single object which required removing. This was not a case where there was a plethora of debris scattered across the width of the circuit, merely a car which each lap the drivers came around was in the same place and which required pushing away.

We all love the fact that Lewis is a ‘heart on the sleeve’ kind of character because it gives us plenty to debate. Yet, as TJ13 has suggested previously, Hamilton should be careful he doesn’t marginalise himself with his team. Continuing to trumpet the popular tabloid nonsense that Mercedes and others want a German driver to win the WDC in a German car – will gain Lewis no friends, and surely influence those within the Mercedes garage against him.


Raikkonen must up his game

Almost 52 weeks ago, TJ13 revealed exclusively that F1 fans’ favourite, Kimi ‘Iceman’ Raikkonen was set for a shock return to drive for Ferrari.

The column inches stacked up, the anticipation was immense as finally Ferrari were set to revise their policy of a number one and number two driver. Alonso could now be tested as he was in 2008, when driving against a rookie Hamilton as the ‘ice’ sought to quench the Spanish matador’s latin fire.

David Coulthard wrote in March, “the decision of Italian car giants Ferrari to field two former world champions in the same team at least gives fans of Formula 1 the chance to see how two of the stand-out drivers of the last decade measure up against each other in what will be near-identical cars”.

10 races into the season, Kimi is the only driver in this year’s F1 field not to finish a race ahead of his team mate. Massa managed this feat about once every seven races.

Fernando supporters in Maranello now mutter with hindsight how the Spaniard had expressed privately his belief that Massa should be retained by the red team.

Publically the Spaniard backed Maranello’s choice to re-hire Kimi, though his rhetoric was less than convincing the week following Monza 2013. “I was always informed about the team movements,” protested Alonso. “And it’s true that I think until the last moment, the team didn’t make a decision, and then when they decided that it was better to change Felipe, they told me what was my opinion. My opinion was he was the best out there in the market, and especially for a championship with many changes for next year, in terms of developing the car in January/February, a teammate that is many years in F1 was important. The team chose Kimi, so I’m happy.”

Well it appears Fred may have been better sticking to his guns and saying what he really believed, because following another average performance from Raikkonen in Hockenheim, Alonso has hinted that Kimi needs to improve.

“In the constructors’ championship we have lost a bit of ground to Williams,” adding with a hint of acidity, “We have only been able to count on one car again and we have to improve on that.”

In stark contrast, just minutes later, Alonso commented on Ricciardo, “Daniel is a surprise from Australia. I think he’s doing unbelievable,”

Mattiacci was curt to the point of being rude when asked by Sky Sports about Kimi’s performance in Hockenheim, stating merely, “it will improve”. Some observers commented there was more than a hint of the, “or else” in the Italian’s demeanour.

At present the hot Italian summer appears to have reduced the ‘iceman’ into a small puddle of warm water.

Ferrari have fallen behind Williams into 4th place in the constructors championship, and given recent performances in qualifying and the race, there is little to suggest they will regain their 3rd spot any time soon.


….meanwhile on other news outlets



Screen shot 2014-07-21 at 15.13.04


Pragmatism prevents a pointless protest

There were moves afoot to protest Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes car, following the decision by the team to switch from Brembo to Carbone Industrie brakes.

Hamilton disliked the Carbone Industrie brakes fitted to the W04 when he joined the team and so he was switched to Brembo with which he was familiar from his time at McLaren.

During qualifying one for the 2014 German GP, the British driver suffered a disk failure which caused him to crash at high speed into a tyre barrier. He managed to post a time good enough to escape Q1, though was unable to run in Q2. Following the application penalties to other drivers and a change of gearbox for Hamilton, he began the race P20.

However, Red Bull and Ferrari were unhappy that the team switched Hamilton’s brake mechanism from  one type to another believing this was in breach of parc ferme rules. They argue this should require Hamilton start the race from the pit lane.

Mercedes defended their position stating the switch from Brembo to CI was on safety grounds and that there should be no penalty because the components were “similar in mass, inertia and function”.

Christian Horner, “absolutely” disagreed, citing the fact that both of the Red Bull cars were fitted with Brembo brakes. Tongues were held, though the temptation to quip that the Red Bull’s don’t go fast enough to require breaks…. crossed a number of minds of those present.

“If you change it like-for-like that is one thing,” he said, “but if you change it for something made by a different manufacturer that has a different characteristic, and as described by the driver himself as something different, it is an interesting precedent.”

Red Bull decided eventually not to protest, though this surely had nothing to do with the fact that eyebrows were raised at why Mercedes hadn’t opted to start Hamilton from the pit lane anyway. This would eliminate the chance of Lewis being involved in any mid-field carnage often associated with the start of the race and the first corner.

Horner is now demanding the FIA clear up what is allowable change of parts and what isn’t. “We obviously now need clarification, because if you can do that, then what else can you change?”

Ferrari’s boss, Marco Mattiacci, admitted “we decided not to move forward on this because I don’t think we wanted to get into it.”



•July 21, 2014 • 8 Comments

2014 German GP - Podium

How would you rate the 2014 German Grand Prix? Rosberg spent a rather anonymous afternoon in the front but Hamilton was doing a great job overtaking from the back with other fights up and down the grid as well. Please let us know in the comments why you voted the way you did.

#F1 Race Review: Mercedes Domination Continues

•July 20, 2014 • 31 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Mattpt55

2014 German GP - Podium 2


The Grand Prix at Hockenheim was a TV directors’ dream, upside down cars, out of position drivers charging through the pack, endless melees down through the field and cars bursting into flames. Yet the unyielding dominance of the Mercedes platform continued to weigh oppressively on the entire field, as the ban on FRIC had no apparent effect on the running, save for some visible sparks from underneath Ricciardo’s car under heavy braking during his duel with Alonso.

AS the race started, all eyes were on the back of the grid to see if Hamilton could make another of his lightning charges though the field yet he would be denied this opportunity as Massa yet again managed to find a way to spectacularly exit the race, this time at Turn 1. AS he leaned across the apex he was unaware that Magnussen had come alongside to climb the inside line and the subsequent collision sent him rolling over – showering sparks from his roll hoop in endless replay. The incident caused the deployment of the Safety Car, and sent both Magnussen and Ricciardo tumbling down the field.

At the restart it was sheer madness for lap after glorious lap as the faster drivers delicately tried to tiptoe through the field without compromising their overall race. Eventually it settled coming into the first set of stops with Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso having made their way to the sharp end of the field along with Bottas, who after a fairly slow start had managed his pace well. Shuffling through had minimal effect on the order – aside from providing some interesting viewing – as runners on new tyres began to provide real entertainment overtaking those on older rubber.

With the laps ticking by it became clear that Raikkonen was in trouble and that Ricciardo had no chance of catching Vettel. As Hamilton caught up to Ricciardo and Raikkonen his increasing desperation led to him locking up and sliding into the hairpin resulting in an epic 3 wide going into the hairpin. The Finn was the loser in this as contact with Hamilton led to him losing a chunk of his wing. This process would be repeated with Vettel and Alonso minus the lock up, and again the answer would be Kimi donating his bodywork to the greater glory of Alonso.

The hairpin would also be the scene of Hamilton’s undoing as deeper into the race he would read Button’s mistake in running deep as an invitation, one that was cruelly rebuffed as Button, unaware of his presence, turned in and sheared off his endplate and a big chunk of his element as well. This changed Hamilton’s strategy and as the repercussions of this cascaded down the order, he found himself behind the 8 ball when Sutil spun his car onto the start/finish and stalled it. Anticipating a safety car he made his last stop for options before he’d used up the previous set. When the safety car didn’t come, he was stuck running 16 laps on the super softs, leaving him with the pace to catch Bottas but not the tyres to get past him, consigning him to third.

Slightly further down, it was Ricciardo and Vettel having effectively traded places due to the Massa shunt, so it was Ricciardo who got to have the epic multi-lap battle with Alonso that wasn’t truly settled till Alonso crossed the line P5 just tenths ahead of Ricciardo. The FIA seemed to have learned their lesson as we heard not a peep of radio traffic from either driver and the duel was only marred by the TV director’s switch to Hamilton ineffectively trying to overtake Bottas near the end of the race.

Aside from Massa, Grosjean Sutil and Kvyat all retired from the race with mechanical issues, Kvyat most impressively as his car was thoroughly aflame as it rolled to a stop. It put the stop to another stonking drive by the youngster and he took his frustration out on the Armco as he walked away from his blazing car.



Grey Skies and cool temps washed across the Hockenheim ring as the pre-race madness descended full force. New Brakes and Gearbox for Hamilton meant starting from 20th and it was apparent that his knees still hurt as footage of him climbing in and out of the cockpit was broadcast. True race fans were salivating at the prospect of rain and Massa was already being warned to lift and coast for fuel during the warm-up laps. Super Max sounded as if he was going to have a go at out dragging Lewis at the start, though he was willing to concede that over the lap it was hopeless. It was NBC’s turn to find Patrick Dempsey, though no mention of the passing of James Garner made the interview. As the clock ticked down to 4 minutes, the face of the drivers began to change, all frivolity stricken as the made their last minute preparations prior to climbing into the car and kicking it off for real.



With air temperatures of 26◦C and a track temperature of 33◦C, it was a completely different track to yesterday’s qualifying. When the lights went out it was an epic start for Kevin Magnussen as he made it almost up to Bottas, which set the stage for Massa to make contact with him as he cut back for the apex to take P3 behind Bottas. Once their tyres made contact Felipe was sent rolling across the runoff area, with a spectacular shower of sparks accompanying the off. Massa was entirely unhurt, and the stewards quickly ruled it a racing incident, which was not at all how Massa viewed it.

After the sort behind the safety car Vettel, Alonso and Hulkenberg ran third, fourth and fifth as Magnussen and Ricciardo were effectively relegated to the midfield. The safety car came in quickly and the next ten laps saw massive movement through the field. Hamilton rapidly caught up to Ricciardo in 13th and then spent the next several laps looking for a way around. Up at the front, Bottas was slowly losing ground to Rosberg, but not at the usual rate.

Lap 7 saw incidental contact as Ricciardo and Hamilton both got past Sutil, with Kvyat, having worked hard to set up Perez, got just a bit eager and made contact just as he got past. This resulted in a spin and a frustrated Kvyat set out immediately to climb that mountain all over again.

Ricciardo and Hamilton continued their progress through the field taking Vergne on lap 10 as Bottas, up front, began to lose significant time to Rosberg. Ricciardo managed a neat overtake on Raikkonen but Hamilton got caught behind him, as all three began to be stalled by Perez. Coming into the hairpin Hamilton saw his moment and pulled alongside Raikkonen. Diving deep into the turn he locked his brakes and slid through the apex as all three drivers went through, Hamilton claiming Kimi’s endplate as a souvenir and both positions whilst narrowly avoiding Perez’ gearbox. Having cleared his biggest obstacle Hamilton passed Perez without incident and continued his ascent to the sharp end of the field

Act II

Alonso kicked off the first round of pit stops, aiming for the undercut on Vettel, a strategic move that failed when Vettel emerged from the pits two laps later in front of Alonso and behind Raikkonen. In an unwelcome bit of déjà vu, Alonso recreated Hamilton’s overtake going three wide into the hairpin once again minus the lockup, and once again it was Kimi paying the price with even more bodywork as Alonso passed both Vettel and his teammate. Rosberg boxed lap 16 for the softs and was covered by Bottas as the race began to settle in anticipation of the next stops for those who started on softs.

Hamilton, looking good on strategy, was told to let Bottas pass without fussing and he dutifully did so after being assured he was good on fuel. Raikkonen was in on lap 21 and Hamilton was slowly rolling back downhill to Vettel.

Alonso was catching Vettel more quickly however, and as the track limits quivered in anticipation there was not much fuss as Alonso circulated behind Vettel and Hamilton pitted bringing his first stint to an end on lap 26. Lewis emerged P8 behind Ricciardo and as he began to line up the Red Bull for the second time, Grosjean hit terminal mechanical trouble and rolled off track, momentarily bringing out the yellows as the Frenchman’s year of woe continued.

Clear of the yellows, Hamilton executed a forceful overtake on lap 30 for 7th. Thus encouraged he quickly caught Button and once again, into the hairpin it seems Button left the door open for slightly too long as he missed his braking and went deep. Hamilton, mistaking this for an invitation and thinking Button to be on a different strategy, stuck his nose up the inside and received a rude surprise as Button turned in, shearing off a good chunk of his endplate and damaging the front elements of his wing. Button took great pains post-race to blame Hamilton for the incident, and Lewis dutifully owned it but the fact of the matter is if he hadn’t gone wide, it never would have happened. But the stewards didn’t investigate and both men carried on, with Hamilton finishing what he started one lap later.

Meanwhile, Perez was getting angry messages about fuel saving from his engineer, being given his last warning to lift and coast as Mercedes strategists worked through the ramifications of Lewis’ incident. Though his times were good without the downforce the tyres weren’t going to last and as he passed Hulkenberg you could hear the calculators all the way from Brackley.


Again Alonso led the way trying to achieve with pit strategy what was proving to be more difficult on track, namely passing Vettel. Ahead, both Rosberg and Bottas were having a serene time of it though Rosberg was struggling with the harder tyre graining; Bottas was making no real headway. Further back first Hamilton and then Alonso turned fast laps, but all to no avail as Vettel managed to pit and get back out in front of Alonso. But only briefly as the cold tyres proved costly to Vettel and Alonso lined him up and despatched him mercilessly a few corners later. Alonso continued to make best use of his tyres, passing Hulkenberg on lap 39 with Vettel also taking advantage and whipping past the Force India. Hamilton began to make increasingly urgent calls about his front left and Mercedes gave into the inevitable and began working out an alternate strategy for him.

Act IV

Lap 4o saw Bottas box for the last time followed by Rosberg on the next lap. Vettel, meanwhile, was getting tired of the mixed messages from his engineer and asked them to pick either fuel saving or passing and stick with it. Ricciardo had caught Button and was lining him up but the overtake was proving difficult with the lack of top speed from the Renault engine. AS that battle rumbled on Hamilton was informed he would run two, 13 lap stints on the super softs to the end of the race and he came in lap 44 to start the first one. Immediately he was 2+ seconds a lap faster rolling up on Vettel in surreal fashion. As he closed the gap viewers were treated to replays of Riccardo’s super softs throwing large chunks of rubber all over the track as they began to give up their grip in epic fashion. Perez and Sutil danced carefully about but there was ultimately not much in it as the Sauber has proved to be not of the same caliber this year. After succumbing to the inevitable Vettel brought his car in on lap 46 and back out into 7th as Kvyat’s Toro Rosso erupted into flames. AS he rolled to a stop the entire cockpit was engulfed and it was hard to see for a moment through all the smoke and flames if he had emerged safely. He had, and took his frustrations out on the Armco as he stalked back to the garage, having been robbed of his race finish. Taking advantage of DRS being disabled, Ricciardo boxed and circulated back into 8th position as everyone was treated to the sad news that there was to be no rain before the conclusion of the race. Hamilton continued to rip the tarmac up in pursuit of Alonso now as Fernando was looking down the road towards Bottas. Vettel got the job done on Button through the hairpin and just as it was all looking rosy Sutil suffered a spin coming onto the start finish lap 50 and parked right in the middle of the track. This brought out the yellows, and possibly reacting to what seemed a certain safety car Mercedes brought Hamilton in for his last set of options 4 laps early.

Much to their eventual surprise, however, the FIA had a better idea and after several laps they sent 3 marshals scurrying across the track to push the stranded Sauber out of the way, clearing the yellows on lap 53. Bottas warned Williams his tyres were marginal to the end as Ricciardo relegated Hulkenberg to 8th. Again Hamilton hunted Alonso and there wasn’t much in it as the pace differential was staggering.  Magnussen and Raikkonen both pitted on lap 55. Gutierrez took his lap back from Alonso and then, adding insult to injury Hamilton came past as if he was sitting still.

It was going to be Alonso gaining on Ricciardo that provided the dramatic impetus for the end of the race as neither man looked willing to yield, Alonso, though, was the cannier of the two and having found his way past after several laps of marvelous wheel to wheel back and forth action, never again gave the spot up. Ricciardo wasn’t done till the end however and it was only by mere tenths that Alonso claimed 5th.

Hamilton, though, having caught Bottas simply didn’t have the tyres to get past as the Williams straight-line speed proved too much of an obstacle. The status quo held and they finished in that order, Rosberg, Bottas and Hamilton taking the podium and Vettel, Alonso, Ricciardo, Hulkenberg, Button, and an excellent recovery from Magnussen rounding out the top 10. So oddly, for such a drama filled race the end was rather lacking save the sparks from under Ricciardo’s now FRIC-less car as it scraped the ground under heavy braking trying to overtake Alonso. For all the elements of drama it possessed, the conclusion itself seemed anti-climactic and the wrinkles in Bernie’s forehead must have furrowed slightly more as his latest attempt to spice up the show failed abjectly and attendance proved to be less than satisfactory.



Final Result:

# Driver Ctry Team Time Gap Pits
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:21.298 2
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:22.019 20.700 2
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:23.040 22.4 3
4 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:24.606 43.8 3
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:25.028 52.1 3
6 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:23.556 52.1 3
7 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:24.489 63.7 2
8 Jenson Button McLaren 1:30.467 84.2 2
9 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:22.855 1 lap 3
10 Sergio Perez Force India 1:22.803 1 lap 3
11 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:24.042 1 lap 3
12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:24.215 1 lap 2
13 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:22.668 1 lap 3
14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:23.248 1 lap 3
15 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:24.540 1 lap 2
16 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:23.687 2 laps 3
17 Max Chilton Marussia 1:25.142 2 laps 3
18 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:29.768 2 laps 3
R Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso RETIRED 2
R Adrian Sutil Sauber RETIRED 3
R Romain Grosjean Lotus RETIRED 1
R Felipe Massa Williams RETIRED 0

World Drivers Championship

2014 Drivers' Championship Graph Germany

World Constructors Championship

2014 Constructors' Championship Graph Germany


•July 20, 2014 • 77 Comments

2014 GermanGP Winner - Nico Rosberg

Who was your driver of the weekend? Hamilton stormed from the back of the grid to take 3rd while his team mate Nico Rosberg performed when it matter. Bottas yet again showing he is made of championship material and what about Ricciardo and Alonso scrapping for P5? Tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did.

#TechF1 Treasures- The #F1 Race Weekend in Official FIA Documents #GermanGP

•July 20, 2014 • 8 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Mattpt55 - the best in Scrutineering, Stewards’ Decisions, and other assorted FIA documents looked at slightly irreverently  

There’s the race we see on telly, and then there’s the race behind the scenes. One rarely talked about by reporters but told in part by the official FIA documents. Here is a selection of this weekend’s documents for you to peruse at your leisure. Enjoy. Wonder where all this great stuff came from? Right Here

From the Dept of Compact Comestibles



That’s a lot of beer and sausage. Better call a cardiologist. Thank God they don’t do that for COTA……. oh, wait a minute

From the Dept of Things We Need to Know


They improved the drainage at Silverstone too. Too bad they didn’t fix the ditches.

From the Dept of Better Call the Internet Police




They really did call the internet police. Who Knew? At least the circuit agreed to pay for it so FOM didn’t have to.

From the Dept of Counting all the Things



Hmm… Daniil looks likely to take top honours. Vettel is trying hard though.

From the Dept of New Things to Replace



So that would be *every* Mercedes ICE currently in use. Curious Indeed.

From the Dept of Rules You Didn’t Know


Follow the Bouncing Regulation


From the Dept of Excessive Thoroughness


Even Google Translate couldn’t figure that out

From the Dept of FRIC’ ing Information


For information purposes, it’s not technically illegal to run that suspension.

From the Dept of Job Insecurity


Way to throw your teammate under the bus. Lewis could’ve learned a trick or two from you.

From the Dept of Few Words


“I crashed.” Hemingway-esque

From the Dept of Epic Understatement

AThursPresserMasterOf Understatement

I think he’s been taking lessons from Kimi

From the Dept of Foolish Consistency



There’s no real way to make that look good.

From the Dept of Handbags


I thought that’s what it sounded like.

From the Dept of Controversial Controversies



Quick, someone start ginning up the controversy machine. Gotta sell some eyeballs. Points for the best faux headline

Dept of It Was Just a Joke


So it was just a joke then. Meaning it will be written about the entire rest of the season.

From the Dept of Close Calls


The race for first grid spot penalty is more compelling than the race for WDC LOL..

From the Dept of Cold Comfort


At least he’s beating his team mate in one category

From the Dept of Colder Comfort


Losing to Kamui though. And that’s before he barbecued his car.

From the Dept of Free Energy


Also in the running for first grid spot penalty. It’s a nail biter all right.

From the Dept of Complicated Words


That means new gear ratios. I ran it through Google Translate.

From the Dept of Newly Naughty



Wonder if they billed Toto for that?

From the Dept of Recalcitrance


Literally 2 minutes later than the first one.

From the Dept of Foreshadowing


Not just the engine, huh? Former team principal, huh? Ok then, nothing to see here.

From the Dept of Into the Fire


I think if you listen carefully you can hear Cyril’s repressed laughter through his entire answer.

From the Dept of Dieter asks Good Questions


I’d rather think you’d need to *do* something about it.

From the Dept of FRIC-ey Questions


So more tyre degradation, no real change and lots of money to switch up the suspension. Brilliant!

From the Dept of More Shiny New Things


Not that it helped them much in Quali

From the Dept of Follow the Leader


He didn’t really need a new one, he just wanted to hang with the Kewl Kidz.

From the Dept of Oh By the Way


So Mercedes gets 2 and everyone else gets one. That seems fair. And oooohhhhhh!!! Caterham’s in trouble.

From the Dept of Sat on the Naughty Step



Caterham *totally* got away with that.

From the Dept of Shadenfreude


Well said, Nico. Now tell us what you really think..

From the Dept of Good Questions


Good answer too. Now we know why Lewis ran the Brembo.

From the Dept of Disagreement


Perhaps you should watch the cars and not just the laptimes. ;-)

From the Dept of Broken Things


Well, let’s see what the stewards said


5 grid spot it is. Now to see if they give him new brakes







#F1 Qualifying Review: Mercedes reigns supreme in the Fatherland

•July 19, 2014 • 58 Comments

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Mattpt55

2014 GermanGP Qualifying


The Teutonic sun hammered down through clear skies, blistering the tarmac with air temps of 32◦C and track temps of 53◦C as qualifying at Hockenheim once again turned topsy-turvy, no thanks to mid-season regulation changes. Instead it was the explosion of Lewis Hamilton’s right front brake disc in Q1 that upset the applecart, having sent him into a hard shunt and leaving him sounding breathless and woozy over the radio. Haters will claim it’s his fault for driving the car too hard while true believers will believe that the shot of Rosberg smiling and eating a banana before Q1 is proof that Mercedes is sabotaging him. The rest of us will settle down and enjoy Lewis once again having to make his way to the front, with luck in the pouring rain.

Thankfully, after a less than stellar practice, Williams decided to show up and make an actual race of it, with Bottas missing pole by 0.2 seconds and Massa just behind him.  Magnussen turned in a stellar drive to place P4, in stark contrast to his teammate, who was slowed by imaginary traffic and could only manage P11. Of course, the inevitable was inevitable and after a scrappy start in Q1, Rosberg settled down and delivered a pole. Further down Vettel gave Ricciardo a run for his money and Raikkonen continued to struggle. With Alonso in 7th, Ferrari do not appear to have gained from the suspension changes at all, whilst an exuberant Kvyat in 8th is set to make life difficult for the Ferrari driver. Rounding out the top ten were Hulkenberg and Perez, while Alonso’s teammate could do no better than 12th, though he did suffer technical issues in P3 once again.



Marussia were first out of the gate as the camera lingered longingly on Patrick Dempsey, who is running in the Porsche Super Cup this weekend. As they circulated, Button hit the tarmac as the other runners carefully considered their tyre strategy due to the fragile nature of the tyres and heavier degradation being experienced by all the teams.

With 15 minutes to go the track began to fill, with Magnussen, Vergne, and Perez joining the fun as the first times began to filter through. Button went first with a laggardly 1:20 but that survived only momentarily as Massa came through in a 1:19.389. AS the top runners began to set their times, the backmarkers were already pitting to switch to the option tyre which was significantly faster than the prime this weekend.

Magnussen came across the line with a 1:19.379, confirming the pace he had shown in Free Practice 3, followed by Massa, Hulkenberg Perez and Button. As with all good things, this was not to last because Mercedes were on track and like a cat toying with mice, Hamilton was first to post up for the Dynamic Duo with a 1:18.863, though Nico was having a scrappy time of it after having gone wide on his first attempt.

Massa took P2 shortly after Hamilton, and then Bottas took P1 with a 1:18.215, no doubt raising a few eyebrows in the Mercedes garage. Rosberg continued to struggle to put a lap together as in replay he was shown going wide at a different turn to his first effort.

As the cars began to set up for the final 10 minutes it was Bottas, Hamilton, Massa, Alonso at the sharp end with no time still for Rosberg. At the other end, Sutil, Gutiérrez, Kobayashi, Chilton and Rosberg were on the outs, with Ericsson not running due to hydraulic issues. Maldonado sat on the bubble in 16th, while apparently Charlie Whiting was of the opinion this week that drivers could regularly exceed track limits and keep their times, in contravention to the example set at the last two GP’s.

As this travesty unfolded, Lewis Hamilton’s right front brake disc exploded, sending him heavily into the wall and putting him out before Q3 for the first time since Malaysia 2010.  On the radio immediately afterwards he sounded winded and disoriented, and the red flag was dropped almost immediately, leaving Rosberg still to set a time. Post-Race, Paddy Lowe explained it was an issue they had been having with Brembo material, with the discs being swapped out between FP3 and Qualifying. Notably, Rosberg does not run Brembo so there was no concern from the team about his brakes.

After a brief trip to the Medical Center, Hamilton was pronounced fit and safe to drive and returned to the garage, though he did seem to be moving a bit gingerly up the stairs.

A brief delay to reset they tyre barriers and it was all to play for on the now very crowded track. Finally with 4 minutes left, Rosberg set a decent lap on the option tyre to which the entire field had migrated during the delay, though his 1:17.631 would certainly have not counted at Silverstone as he clearly was 4 wheels off coming onto the start/finish straight. With a minute to go, Vettel lolled about in 16th but he was already on a fast lap and leaped into 3rd as the checkers came out.  Grosjean, Bianchi, Maldonado, Chilton and Kobayashi were all still on flyers. Grosjean’s late improvement saw Sutil doomed and Hulkenberg shoved into 16th, but the rest failed to improve and that is the way it stayed, Sutil, Bianchi, Maldonado, Kobayashi, Chilton and Ericcson out and the rest advancing.



With track temps up to 55◦C and no immediate takers there was lots of playing with fiddly slow motion equipment as the TV commentators attempted to discern the exact nature of Hamilton’s spin. Steve Matchett on NBCSN won the race to spot the cloud of carbon dust on the right front moments before the spin, as the Sky tech team was distracted by the locking of the right rear. After 2 minutes of this Force India could stand it no more and Hulkenberg leaped out of the garage to give them something else to do. His first time was a 1:18.270, but again it wasn’t long for the world as Bottas was on a tear and took top honours. Rosberg was having none of it and once again bested him with a 1:17.109, having sorted out his Q1 issues.

Red Bull hit the track with around 8 minutes left on the clock. Ricciardo managed a 5th but Vettel looked to have the better of his teammate and launched himself into a temporary P3, splitting the Williams.

Having ticked down to 4 minutes, Magnussen turned in a splendid effort, snagging P4 while Button complained of traffic from a Lotus, which was later shown to be nonexistent by the ever helpful Sky broadcast team. Perez continued to sit in the garage, apparently husbanding his efforts for one, make or break effort as the rest of runners boxed for one last tyre change.

Perez finally headed out with just enough time to get round before the checkers and at 1:30 Hulkenberg made it into 8th. Massa jumped to 3rd as Raikkonen had a massive lock up into the hairpin and spoiled his last chance to advance. Also in the bottom 6 were Vergne, Grosjean, Gutierrez, Perez and Hamilton (natch).

As the time expired for the session, Ricciardo managed a P6, Button in 10th failed to improve with Perez streaking around the circuit. Vergne into 12th, Grosjean no improvement and then Perez into 10th with an ecstatic Kvyat into 9th sealing Button’s fate (in more ways than one perhaps with Ron looking on). After Button, Raikkonen, Vergne, Grosjean, Gutierrez and Hamilton were going no further, though Hamilton will start 15th due to Gutiérrez penalty from Silverstone.



In contrast to the last session, Perez was out straightaway, followed by Hulkenberg and Rosberg. Bottas and the Red Bulls trailed out a little later and by the 10 minute mark most of the cars were circulating. First Perez, then Hulkenberg set times in the 1:19’s on used tyres as Rosberg made his way around, crossing the line in a blazing 1:16.540. Bottas chased him to the line in a 1:17:054 followed closely by Massa for P3, the trio all on new options. As the dust settled from the first round of times it was Vettel the best of the rest followed by Magnussen, Ricciardo, Alonso, Kvyat, Hulkenberg and Perez.

AS the field retired to change tyres it was once again Perez first out. As he circulated Vettel received a radio call about energy management. Everyone else lagged out of the garage with Rosberg the tail of the dragon. Perez 2nd effort yielded a 1:18.035 temporarily good for 6th. At less than a minute, Massa had a good look at a clear track with Bottas trailing him, also in clear air. Ricciardo hit the line for 3rd just as the session ended as first Massa and then Bottas failed to displace Rosberg from the top spot, though he did reduce his deficit to 0.2 seconds. AS Ricciardo fell down the standings courtesy of Williams, Magnussen came through with another brilliant and largely unseen effort to take P4. At the close of the day, Vettel still couldn’t quite get it done and finished just off his teammate for P6. Alonso a disappointing 7th will line up next to the irrepressible Kvyat in 8th while Hulkenberg and Perez fill out P9 and 10 respectively.

It looks to be a cracker of a race tomorrow with Hamilton out of position on uncertain brakes, Bottas and Massa looking very racy, Vettel much more competitive with his teammate and less than 0.2 between P9 and P13. Thunderstorms are predicted and not just on track. If the Gp2 drivers are any indication, it will be one to remember.



Final Results

# Driver Ctry Team
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams
3 Felipe Massa Williams
4 Kevin Magnussen McLaren
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
6 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
7 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
8 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India
10 Sergio Perez Force India
11 Jenson Button McLaren
12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
13 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
14 Romain Grosjean Lotus
15 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
16 Adrian Sutil Sauber
17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
Esteban Gutierrez – Three place penalty causing collision at previous round.
18 Jules Bianchi Marussia
19 Pastor Maldonado Lotus
20 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
21 Max Chilton Marussia
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham



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