#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Melbourne 2013 – #AusGP

Brought to you by TJ13 Courtroom Reporter & Crime Analyst: Adam Macdonald

[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.]

The return of what proved to be a popular feature in its inaugural season throughout 2013 (until Vettel ran away with the Championship) starts with an immense undertaking.  Correcting the first race of 2014 was always going to be a challenge, but I will endeavour to be fair.  If you don’t agree with my assessment then please do comment below.

History would suggest that being on the front row was a necessity at Albert Park, although this was not the case this year.  However, 2014 is not going to be like other years with such a huge overhaul of the regulations shaking up the field entirely.

Winning by 26 seconds and setting the fastest lap in the process, Mercedes showed who the class of the field is.  A solid, if not spectacular performance from Nico Hulkenberg went largely unnoticed.  A dark horse in the midfield some might say.

Unfortunately, it was not to be for Super Max Chilton as claimed 13th place in the race.  With a little more luck those first illustrious points for Marussia could have come in Melbourne.  With rain predicted for all 3 days in Sepang, maybe it will present a better chance for them!

So what really happened?

Lewis Hamilton: Well given it was Nico who had all the bad luck last year, it was surely only a matter of time before something went against Lewis.  The man from Stevenage finished well ahead of his German teammate in 2013; but in the final Victims of Circumstance report from Brazil, the German finished 1 point short of the Brit.  Had his sixth cylinder not given up, Lewis would have surely claimed 2nd position given the might of the car.  The flying start of Rosberg would have been hard to chase down.

Felipe Massa: The truest of ‘Victims’ here as he was an innocent bystander in the one man space mission of Kamui Kobayashi at turn 1 on the opening lap.  In a strong car and placed well, the Brazilian would surely have been expecting more than the 150 metres he managed.  Given that Magnussen was 0.472 quicker in FP3 it is hard to take away the final podium spot from the Dane.  Massa is awarded 4th place.

Sebastian Vettel: Probably the most difficult of all to place properly as the quadruple World Champion had been down on power throughout Saturday and Sunday.  It seems the Renault powertrain is only willing to work a 5 day week!  Had he been with proper power he could have hoped for higher, but in truth Vettel had looked to be playing catch up to Ricciardo for much of the weekend.  He is awarded 15th place.

Daniel Ricciardo: After much deliberation in TJ13 towers a conclusion was reached as to the fate of the smiling Aussie.  Should his result stand, a penalty be applied or be reinstated to the podium he so clearly deserved.  The decision to keep the disqualification is hard on Ricciardo, but in truth the only realistic decision.  You win as a team and lose a team.  Unlucky Danny boy!

Kamui Kobayashi: As mentioned above, the brake failure which brought Massa’s race to a premature end was also Kobayashi’s downfall.  Even if he had made it past the first corner unscathed, the Renault powertrain seemed fragile to say the least.  A weekend that had so much promise on Saturday for Caterham ends with such disappointment.  He is awarded 19th position.

The Japanese driver takes his chance to practice his yoga skills

The Japanese driver takes his chance to practice his yoga skills

Pastor Maldonado: Formula One is a funny sport with some playing the game better than others.  When Maldonado criticised Williams back in Austin and accused them of tampering with his car, a bitter taste was left in the mouth of the Grove team.  Pastor took his petrodollars and hopped off to Lotus to what would seem to be a competitive car.  4 months later and it’s Williams who had the last laugh, with Bottas’ suspension holding in place somehow; with Pat Symonds giving the credit to Pastor.  When the Venezualan practiced his parallel parking on lap 29 it must have been a hard bitter pill to swallow.  Given that the Lotus pair are still yet to complete a race distance it is impossible to reinstate them – Maldonado is awarded 21st position.

Romain Grosjean: As stated above, not being able to make a race distance is the reason the Lotus pair are not awarded a higher finish.  Better luck in Malaysia.

Marcus Ericsson: The oil pressure problem which resulted in the Swede pulling out of the race on lap 29 was unfortunate.  In what could prove a fierce battle for 10 this year, letting Marussia take first blood could prove crucial at the end of the year.  Having been slow all weekend, the chances of finishing high up were low at best.  Ericsson is awarded 19th place.

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

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


What they would have said

Hamilton would have lamented the changes to Formula One blaming the poor start on the new cars regulations.  Rosberg would have taken the race win leaving Hamilton in his shadow, as he did in Monaco last year.  It’s interesting to see how much of a favourite Hamilton is compared with Rosberg when both have proven to be race winners.  Nico now takes a crucial early lead in what many believe to be a two horse race for the World Drivers’ Championship.

If Magnussen did not already get enough attention after the race, if he had rounded been the only driver to take the fight to the Mercedes pair it would have reflected even better on his debut performance.  Those who feel Button has a genuine challenger in the Dane are correct, with Button now facing serious competition.  Is it too early to say he may be fearing for his long-term future with the team?  Ron Dennis summed up the day as he saw it saying, “We’re pleased but we’re not ecstatic. We save ‘ecstatic’ for wins.”

The paddock would have been awash with praise for the return to form of Felipe.  Roll on Sepang where we can see what the Williams team are capable of when not playing bumper cars – be it with the walls or competitors.

Quote of the Day

This week’s quote comes from Thomas Jefferson who needs little introduction.

“Nothing gives a person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”

Thomas Jefferson

The American founding father authored the Declaration of Independence and was the third president of the United States of America.

The humble words are directed at Valtteri Bottas who proved how cool his head was after slamming his car into the wall.  Not panicking, but instead slowly working his way up the field to claim 6th (which became 5th) place.  Same nationality as the original ‘Ice Man’ there is a new kid on the block!

37 responses to “#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Melbourne 2013 – #AusGP

  1. Seems a little harsh on Vettel – Ricciardo proved the car could be fast and reliable so why not throw that bone to Seb too?

    OTOH, you should really disqualify Vettel, since he too was not running an FIA-mandated FFM.

  2. Nice to have this back, Adam.
    I only have one comment: you put Lewis in 2nd if he hadn’t lost a cylinder (or whatever) so would he have been so slow off the line…? In which case might he not have won…?
    You seem to suggest that Nico would have still got by at the start.
    Otherwise I like your reasoning…
    And I’m not a Lewis fan – I still think Nico can beat Lewis this year. But I’m not a Nico fan either… 😉

    • Second is fair enough.
      It would be a bit harsh to take away Nico’s excellent win on such speculative grounds.
      Equally, it’s a bit harsh for AM to have put in Lewis’s mouth a somewhat ungracious comment that he might never have made – particularly in the context of his measured response to the engine failure.

      • The purpose of this article is speculative.

        I admittedly am a Lewis fan, but knowing that he got pole with Nico in 3rd seems to suggest that Lewis with a healthy car/power unit would have been able to hold onto the lead into the first corner.

        With the dominance Merc displayed, it also makes sense that there would be an agreement between the drivers, “if all is equal and smooth that first to turn 1 would receive the win.” The team probably doesn’t want to play all of their cards in the first race fighting among themselves.

        I say giving Lewis the win as a victim of circumstance is the most reasonable thing.

    • It’s a tough one this.. Nico would have had Pole without a slip up in Q3, but I think Hamilton would have won from Pole without his engine issues.

      Williams – definitely 2nd on pace so far, but Massa’s bad start put him in the way of Kobayashi’s brake failure. In Malaysia it looks like McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull etc. will take a step forwards, so this might have been their best chance for a podium, although they were hampered by the shower in Q3.

      • I still can’t understand why people are playing down Nico’s start…..it was sublime. Lewis could have made an average start and still lost the lead

  3. Get your facts straight, mate. Lewis’s cylinder gave up from the get go which explains his “bad” start.

  4. Rosberg had such bad luck last year…like lucking into a win at Silverstone last year and then having a spell with an upper hand while Hamilton suffered from a cracked chassis.

    Hamilton’s problems started after he left the pits. 5 cylinders and not 6, hence the slow getaway and slow pace.

    • The link to the table last year shows how poor his luck was. Yes he was lucky at Silverstone, but it more than equaled out over the year. Do you think Hamilton was 17 points better last year?

  5. I welcome this segment back with open arms, I think it’s a view point that is completely unique to this site and as such help make this an incredibly well rounded site, even if the ‘burps’ from the wallowing one tend to look for conspiracy when there is none LOL

    Happ, Happ, Happy!

  6. I dont agree. I gave hamilton and vettel a dnf, no matter what. (Althoug I thought lewis would crash and only vettel would break down) and for Malaysia I think the same…

      • Yes, very brave. I had Lewis for the win and Nico for pole last race with a 1-2 Merc finish on my GP prodictor team. I think Merc are going to get both cars home this race, also expect the Ferrari’s and RedBulls to stronger.

        • I had nico on p2. So i was just off. But i did have hamilton on pole (the same for Malaysia) but i still stand behind my comment. (And as for ferrari, I do believe they’ll be better in Malaysia. P1 alonso and p2 kimi. They both are pretty good on that track. And to finish it off I have nico on p3)

  7. Anyone can win races, the true question is, do they know how to win WDC? Nico has never been anywhere close to challenging for a title, so let’s see how things are at the halfway point of the season

    • You think he hasn’t got the bottle to do so? If anything, he seems like too nicer guy. Hamilton laughed off his work rate in pre-season and we saw no comeback from Rosberg…or was he just knowing when to keep quiet?

      • Yes I don’t think he has the bottle to win it

        Lewis didn’t laugh off his work rate, he laughed at the question he was asked. Which was, “people say nico has a better work rate than you, because he spends hours with his engineers and you don’t?”

        Which is an absurd question!! If you can get your point across to someone in 20 mins and it takes another 2 hrs, that doesn’t mean they’re working harder. It just means you do things differently. So that doesn’t mean Lewis isn’t working just the same or even harder than nico.

        You talk about how he laughed off his work rate, why didn’t you mention his comments after the race? Not once did he mentioned Lewis’s name after he was told about his retirement. He rather referred to him as “my teammate”. Didn’t hear Lewis say that when he was interviewed. Stop nitpicking so much.

        Kimi to many is amongst the best in the business, but his work rate is basically nonexistent! But everyone praise him for all the bullshit he does.

        • …I think Kimi’s work ethic is carefully cultivated to appear nonexistent which is very different to actually being nonexistent…

          • …… I think Lewis’s work rate is clearly cultivated to seem nonexistent which is actually very different to being nonexistent…..

          • I don’t believe I gave any opinion on Lewis…

            Whereas you had given an opinion on Kimi…

    • ,,,neither had Jenson. Was won in 09 by race 7 effectively…

      Good to see you back Adam, thought quote of the day was for Seb? Lots of squealing down the radio going on….

    • I’m sure Rosberg or Hulkenberg could win the WDC in a top car. They both won GP2 first time out (same as Hamilton, and Kubica in FR 3.5), and Hamilton himself took two attempts (2007, 2008) to do so. If he had won in 2007, Hamilton would have won Euro F3, GP2 and F1 all consecutively.

      Top drivers can seize the moment.. Rosberg beat Schumi 3 times through pure consistency, and Hulk almost won a race in a Force India.

      • On Hamilton vs. Rosberg though, we have previous comparisons of Lewis beating Nico in karts.. indeed, he could possibly outfox Nico if it went down to the wire, who knows. But I wouldn’t underestimate Nico either, if a few things went his way (e.g. reliability, luck), then he could be uncatchable.

  8. Seeing how Nico measures up to Lewis; it makes me wonder why Keke Rosberg advised Nico not to sign for Mclaren some years ago to partner Lewis.

    With Rosberg having been a driver there, having managed Hakkinen when he joined Mclaren it says a lot about what really goes on behind the scenes there.

    • Lots of their drivers did stay for a long time though, didn’t they? I also remember something about how pedantic they could be about little things – I think they wanted Kimi to have his shirt tucked in (I believe he refused!)

    • Indeed, I heard that Nico declined as it was a ‘number 2 driver’ seat. We all saw what happened to Kovalainen.. I’ve heard he usually had a worse spec car than Lewis. I wonder what Coulthard would say on this issue.

      It’s been an adept move.. imagine if they didn’t get another chance to move to a top team. Nico could have won races as well in the 2008/9 McLaren, and was close with the Williams in Singapore.

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