#F1 Race Review: Malaysian GP Battle of the Team Mates

Brought to you by TheJudge13 contributor Mattpt55

He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity.”
― Ben JonsonTimber: Or Discoveries Made Upon Men and Matter

The start of the Malaysian GP held more questions than answers. Tire degradation for the Mercedes pair, true pace of the Red Bull and Ferrrari’s electrics issues all remained to be answered under the brutally chaotic weather typical of Kuala Lumpur. With the ever present fuel saga a vicious undercurrent in the paddock and the always likely spectacle of a Renault flambé the first GP to be run on a proper track promised a bit of sport for all viewers.

Yesterday’s qualifying demonstrated the true extent to which the drivers have their hands full as only Nico Rosberg was able to improve his last run and viewers were treated to frequent and spine tingling examples of full oppo as drivers slid their way around the circuit in search of the fastest  way round for themselves.

Australia demonstrated that in the dry Mercedes have the pace but in the wet Red Bull can take the fight to them. Reliability issues robbed us of the full spectacle as both Hamilton and Vettel fell by the wayside in the opening laps, but with two weeks to address the concerns the teams will be looking to solve a different magnitude of problems, namely how to keep the drivers from running each other off the track looking for an advantage.

Prelude

Even before the race started there was trouble for Force India as the brutal heat, 55C track temp and 33C ambient claimed Sergio Perez as theirs, as he was unable to even exit the pit lane for the reconnaissance lap. When he did get out, immediately he was on the radio complaining of lack of power. The team brought him in and he was done for the day with an overheating engine. With the rest of the cars back to the grid a moment of silence was observed for the victims of Flight MH370.

Due to the wet qualifying, all the runners were on fresh options, and as they completed the formation lap the excitement in the air was palpable with all the front runners sporting healthy cars. Or maybe it was adrenal fatigue from lack of sleep. Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Act I

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix Start

The turn 1-3 complex at Sepang eat overeager pilots for breakfast and as the grid waits for the light to go out, already Red Bull is reporting that Ricciardo’s FFM has failed and they are using the back-up method, with the crucial difference that it is with FIA approval. The start saw Hamilton and Rosberg get away cleanly and Ricciardo actually move ahead of his team mate, setting the stage for a race full of intra-team rivalry. Out of turn 3 Rosberg almost gave the game away as under heavy acceleration he completely lost the rear and though he made a magnificent recovery the damage to his rears would see him watch his team mate speed off into the distance.  However, in the short term he would have his hands full fending off Ricciardo and Vettel.  Back up the field Bianchi, having suffered a flat, would slide into Maldonado taking him out.

Lap 1 and 2 saw continued action as the Williams began to make rapid movement through the field, looking like they very much had the pace to challenge the McLarens, despite their poor qualifying.Ricciardo continued to lead Vettel in trying to chase down Rosberg while Magnussen, making a poorly judged attempt to get inside Raikkonen flatted Raikkonen’s tire and destroyed his own front wing in the process.

Lap 3 saw Button overtake his team mate as Raikkonen limped back to the pits and as Bottas climbed into P10 the battle between Hulkenberg and Alonso began to hot up considerably. Lap 4 saw Vettel overtake his team mate as Hamilton began to extend his lead on Rosberg. Despite falling behind Hamilton and Rosberg began trading fast laps as the pair began to distance the field. Massa then hit the radio hard, complaining that his team mate had touched him in attempting an overtake as they were both hot on the trail of Button. When told to not be aggressive towards Massa, Bottas replied phlegmatically that he had the pace.

Lap 7 saw Maldonado retire to protect his engine while Rosberg was running basically .6 seconds a lap faster than Vettel. As Magnussen chose to pit early to replace his damaged front wing, just as he exited the pits the unwelcome news came from the race stewards that he would be assessed a 5 second penalty (the first one) for causing a collision. Not the way he wanted to get into the history books, no doubt, but certainly offset by his podium in Melbourne. As everyone on track maintained position, it has to be said that the broadcast sound was certainly better than in Melbourne.

Lap 11 saw the fast laps stop as the leaders eyed each other warily waiting for this first one to pit. Lewis extended his lead over Rosberg, but Nico was unable to snap the thread with Vettel. Vettel is told “Default Map 1-3” which probably is in no way related to “Multi 2-1”. Except for the whole car numbers matching thing of course.  Kvyat into the pits asVergne has driven backwards from the start of the race, seemingly down on power. Hamilton told his pit window starts Lap 14 as Alonso pits and emerges backonto the optiontyre.

Act II

Acting to cover the undercut, Ricciardo pits on lap 13 but emerges just after Alonso comes through. Some excellent wheel to wheel racing saw him released to chase down his team mate. Vettel was in on Lap 14, as was Button. Bottas stayed out as Rosberg came in to cover Vettel. Hamilton was told to push as he was good on fuel  and Mercedes brought him in at the end of lap 15, well up the road from his rivals. Except Hulkenberg, who having stayed out longest, just managed to slip past as Lewis emerged from the pits. It only took Hamilton 4 or 5 corners to dispatch Hulkenberg and he was right back to extending his lead and enjoying his drive as Hulkenberg finally pitted on lap 17 as Raikkonnen, his race ruined by the earlier flat, threshed about in P19. Lap 18 saw Hamilton reclaim fast lap  as the race began to settle out there was no doubt a great deal of joy in the Mercedes garage as everything was in its rightful place, namely the Mercs running 1-2 and putting distance between themselves and the rest of the field.

Apparently having not made themselves clear earlier, Red Bull instruct Ricciardo to drop back to 2 seconds behind Vettel to save “tyres” but Riccdiardo is having none of it, demanding to be part of the action should Seb be able to catch up Rosberg. Raikkonen pits on lap 19 as Hamilton is 9 seconds up on Rosberg. Lap 20 saw the retirement of Vergneas his team mate Kvyat moves into 9th. Vergne is decidedly unhappy after seeing his good quali go to waste. Lap 21 saw Bottas overtake Kvyat as Rosberg is told to increase the separation to Vettel so he can turn his engine down. Hamilton is now over 10 seconds up on his team mate and both he and Rosberg are instructed to turn their engine to setting 2, presumably a more efficient setting.  The FIA now trot out their percentage fuel used bug, and it’s immediately apparent that Hamilton is by far the most efficient of the front runners, having used roughly 40% of his fuel as of lap 25. Rosberg is around 41% and the Red bulls are up around 43%. Of the top 10, only Bottas looks to be in better shape than Hamilton, a difference likely explained by less downforce on the Williams.

Making his 2nd pit stop, Magnussen serves the 5 second penalty prior to the tyre change, as permitted. He reemerges as his team mate comes in on lap 26, any hope of a repeat of Melbourne crushed by the penalty and collision. Alonso’s Ferrari has begun to drift back a little and Hulkenberg ups his pace, trying to reel him in.

Lap 26 sees Hamilton lap Raikkonen who has moved all the way up to P18 and who does not seem to be enjoying his time at the back of the field very much. Alonso and Massa both com in lap 28 and depart on different tyres, Massa on the option and Alonso on the prime.

Lap 30 saw the spectre of weather moving across the track, as Rosberg was warned by radio of impending unpleasantness. Down the field a good battle was being waged betweenGrosjean and Kobayashi, with the Caterham proving remarkably hard for the Lotus to pass, much to the entertainment of the audience as it created some good action on track.

Act III

Lap 32 brought Vettel into the pits as Hamilton was told to stretch the stint in case of rain. Grosjean versus Kobayashi continues to dominate the track with Rosberg forced to pit to cover Vettel, having never made the 5 second gap he wanted. Marbles are beginning to be reported off the racing line as Rosberg leaves pitlane just 1.2 seconds up on Vettel. Hamilton told to push and box at the end of lap 34 as Vettel turns a fastest lap in an attempt to track down Rosberg. Hulkenberg,slipping back, was complaining of losing the rears when Sutil parked his car just around turn 15 on the inside, bringing out the yellows and ruining the 2nd DRS zone. New rules for this year require all drivers to slow by .2 or .5 seconds, for single and double yellows respectively. Hamilton is warned to make good on a .5 second slow down through the sector by his team. Vettel reports some loss of fluid meanwhile from the back of Rosberg’s Merc, which baffles the Mercedes garage as their telemetry show no issues whatsoever.

To make it more interesting Raikkonen reports rain around turn 9 and Gutierrez pulls it into the pits and officially calls it a day, making a double retirement for Sauber. Lap 38 fuel comparison showed that Hamilton had used 64% of his, compared to 67% for Rosberg and 68% for Vettel. Rosberg instructed to use 2nd gear out of turns 1, 2 and 9 to help pull a gap on Vettel. Magnussen and Ricciardo both pit on lap 41, but it’s Red Bull who have done, unusually for them, a spot on imitation of a McLaren 2012 pit stop releasing Ricciardo with his left front wheel not properly attached. He realized it and stopped before exting pit lane, but the Red Bull mechanics all got a good and unexpected dose of cardio running after him to push him back and reattach the wheel.  The damage to his race is permanent as he pitted in 4th and finally makes it back out in 14th, a lap down on Hamilton. Dark Days for Red Bull as they are hit with a penalty for unsafe release and have cost themselves some real Constructors points in the process.

Act IV

Alonso makes his last stop in lap 42. Grosjean persists in 11th, in what must be a frustrating drive for the Frenchman compared to last year. And just like that Ricciardo’s wing is damaged and cuts his front tyre and his had went from bad to worse to pass the whisky just like that. To make it better, Red Bull were also assessed a 10 second stop and go for the unsafe release which gets served as well. Hamilton pulls fast lap again on lap 45 with Vettel trying to stay out as long as possible to minimize time on the prime tyre.

Lap 46 and Massa and Bottas are still trying to catch Button who hangs tantalizingly just out of reach. The battle between Alonso and Hulkenberg for 4th looks to be set for the last few laps as Alonso’s switch to the options for a final stint was a good one.

Lap 48 saw Hamilton 14 seconds up the road on Rosberg, with Rosberg being 8 seconds clear of Vettel, painting as clear a picture of Mercedes’ dominance and Red Bull’s resurgence as anyone could ask. With the rain that everyone waited on looking less and less likely to come the last round of pit stops began. Vettel and Rosberg both pitted on lap 51 and Hamilton followed on lap 52. At that point, with just 4 laps to go, he had used just 85% of his fuel. Raikkonen had moved up to 12th and Ricciardo called it a day since he was going to finish out of the points in any event.

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix - Massa _ BottasAlonso had caught Hulkenberg and just when all seemed to be set, Williams radioed Massa “Felipe, Valtteri is faster than you”. Apparently having decided that Bottas, on newer tyres and arguably faster, had the best shot at Button they wished Massa to get out of the way so Bottas could have a go. A more tone deaf moment would be hard to imagine but to Felipe’s credit he simple ignored them and drove faster and that is how they ended, in 7th and 8th respectively. But the rivalry between the two absolutely gave Jenson a get out of jail free card which he used to cruise across the line in 6th.  After a brief, but joust through turns 1-3 Alonso made it stick and crossed the line in 4th, followed by Hulkenberg in 5th.

Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel finished 1st 2nd and 3rd and for Lewis it was also his 100th points finish and his 23rd win. It was also his first win at Sepang, and he seemed genuinely emotional as he greeted the team and they seemed to embrace him equally. 9-12th was Magnussen, Kvyat Grosjean and Raikkonen  all with some form of damage to their cars during the race. Caterham finished 13th and 14th, Kobayashi and Ericcson, with Chilton just .1 second behind at the end of the race.

2014 Malaysian Grand Prix Podium 2

Mercedes engines occupied 7 of the top 10 spots, and post-race Red Bull’s woes continued as they were handed a 10 spot grid penalty for the next Grand Prix for that unsafe release.

*** Steward’s Corner***

Ricciardo’s stop was worse than you thought…

N° / Driver 3 – Daniel Ricciardio
 Competitor Infiniti Red Bull Racing
 Time 17:16
 Session Race
 Facts Releasing a car in an unsafe condition during the Race.
  Offence Breach of Article 23.12 c) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations
 Decision 10 Second Stop and Go Penalty and drop of 10 grid positions at the driver’s next
event
 
Reason Car 3 was released in an unsafe condition

N° / Driver 3 – Daniel Ricciardo

 AND

Competitor Infiniti Red Bull Racing
 Time 17:17
 Session Race
 Facts A member of team personnel did not wear head protection during a pit stop.
  Offence Breach of Article 23.11 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations
 Decision Reprimand (competitor)
 Reason A member of team personnel did not follow the direction of Article 23.11 of the
FIA Formula One Sporting regulations.

Very un-Red Bull-like it must be said

Final Results


2014 Malaysia Results

World Driver Championship Standings

2014 Drivers' Championship Graph Mal

World Constructor Championship Standings

2014 Constructors' Championship Graph Mal

50 responses to “#F1 Race Review: Malaysian GP Battle of the Team Mates

  1. i have to correct you Matt but I pretty certain that Chilton was only just over a tenth behind, not a whole second, Ted Kravitz on Sky F1 made a point of mentioning it. I thought that was a pretty decent showing from Chilton all things considered, he looked a lot calmer and professional on the grid when Martin Brundle spoke to him. I read an article that said Max has always improved considerably in his second year in any championship he has driven in, so let’s see how he does, especially when we get 20+ cars finishing.

      • Total race times

        Marcus Erickson 1h40m37.511s
        Max Chilton 1h40m37.641s

        Times read off the official paperwork Ted Kravitz had in his hand and showed to camera while reading them out, in HD you can read it crystal clear.

        Marussia lost 10th place in constructord by 1 tenth.

        • OK, fine, next time I’ll write tenth instead of .1 in deference to those looking on tiny screens 🙂

          And I wouldn’t count Marussia out just yet, though it was pretty awesome to see KK holding off Grosjean in the Caterham

    • Max will definitely show his pace in his 3rd season – his junior record shows it always takes him time to get to it – but his ultimate pace is not far off, which is the determining factor. The real test is how much he can catch Bianchi, who qualified as the best of the slow cars – this shows the Marussia has more pace than the Caterham. But KK was still able to be only 43 seconds off Kvyat – with Ericsson and Chilton the same distance behind him. So it would be interesting to see Bianchi race KK!

  2. “Felipe, Valteri is faster than you are”

    Irony doesn’t get much better than that!

  3. Williams dropped the ball today. Bottas could have finished much further up if he was allowed jump Massa and challenge Kmag. Few points lost there, he was much quicker at that point of the race.

  4. That wasn’t the greatest race ever but a great opportunity to see that McLaren and Williams made us fool, what a disgRACE for 2 teams that seemed to be close to Mercedes (in the winter tests) in the dry!

    • Sorry to tell you, but I think Mercedes were sandbagging, a bit like they have been in the races (until the last few laps here for Ham), to try and ensure reliability.

      Paddy Lowe spelled it out – F1 is now an efficiency formula. In addition to double penalties, you get double savings from having the best car.

  5. Race 2 and there is already not very much excitement from the rule changes and new technology left for me. Felt like a pretty regular (and even slightly dull) race despite some decent battles in the midfield and a pretty eventfull beginning. A spit of rain (or two) wouldn’t have hurt :).

    Very solid race from Lewis, especially compared to Britney, with whoms pace i was a bit disappointed today.

    Stellar job from Vettel as well, almost looked like he might have a chance to split the Mercs. It’s a pitty that Sutils Sauber broke exactly during the 2-3 laps Vettel might have had a go but in the end I don’t think he could have made it stick.
    I can’t believe that Williams used the “faster than you” phraseology.
    Or did they think Felippe is conditioned to instinctively move over after hereing that? Also, as per the timing app, Botas had tires that were only a mere lap fresher than the ones on Massas car so they basically lied to him. I loved his explanation for ignoring the call, that if he couldn’t pass him, Botas wouldn’t have passed Button anyway.
    That Massa is now loved for his racing spirit, opposite to the reaction to Vettel last year, was to be excpected.

    In terms of exceeding expecations my DoD goes to the Hulk, he somehow always gets himself in the game with the big boys despite the mediocre cars he’s usually in.

    • slightly dull? It was the sort of borefest people kept screaming bloody murder about just a few months ago.

      So in essence, FIA made 100s of changes to, change nothing, except that we have now wonky sensors, ugly cars and shit sound.

      Achievement unlocked.

      • Ricciardo in front of Vettel until “Default 1-3” and the epically botched pit stop.

        “Felipe, Valtteri is faster than you”

        Dunno if I agree with you, the FIA have given us a situation where everyone’s closest competitor is also their team mate. Seems like the potential for some very interesting racing is there, if the team principals allow it.

        Magnussen, Rosberg Raikkonen with damage to cars, otherwise today would have been much more entertaining. And I for one, thoroughly enjoyed watching Ricciardo giving Vettel some stick over the first few laps till Christian got nervous 😀

      • Speaking of borefest I’d like to congratulate sore Hippo on his 1000th anti-FIA comment.

    • Rosberg damaged his rears when he lit them up, and he struggled with them pretty much the rest of the race off and on. Otherewise, he would have been much closer to Hamilton in pace, and Vettel much further off

      Re Felipe, Bottas was pretty much faster than him, Williams just handled it as tactlessly as possible. Claire said that both drivers were told to turn engines down due to heat as the explanation, hence Bottas not passing Massa. Of course, could also be a severe case of backside covering. 😉

      • I did notice Massa moving out of the draft to cool his engine all race long. Really he should have been past Magnussen and Button but both times he got outfought.

  6. I can’t remember the last time Hamilton had an easy Sunday drive and a win. Those have usually ben saved for Vettel ever since 2010. How odd.

    It was a good race, but the DRS was such a huge advantage early on that there was very little racing once the cars were more or less spread out.

    For the uptenth time, Hulkenberg put the car where it had little business.

  7. I was looking at the FIA stuff on the previous feature, I would not he surprised if Renault are still not running maximum K, as all Renault cars had a MGU-K shaft changed in parc ferme, between qually and race. I think once they have solved that issue I strongly believe the RedBull will be right up amongst those 2 Mercs. I’m still a little disappointed at Ferrari, they squeaked on preseason about being a chassis and engine manufacturer is a definite advantage. I really hope we can get a good battle between 3 constructors and 6 drivers realisticly going for the win in every race soon.

  8. Did anyone else like the fuel percentage used graphic? I loved it. They should keep that visible more.

    • I loved Lewis’ response when Will Buxton was talking to him about how good his fuel rate was…

      “What? You guys can see that? Oh man…”

    • true to a point, but I NEED to see just how this % is calculated!! is it a % vs the race laps, the total allowed, a % vs total allowed, does it factor in the required end of race fuel sample, etc.?? Sky F1 could not be bothered to give a crap about these relevent questions.

      without transparancy such as this, it is merely the samo monkey shit spewed for decades by the over-paid elitest amateur punks (refering to the FIA) and the money-grubbing, rediculous Troll and his dumbass POS “marketing” owners/shareholders!

      Today’s F1 has NEVER been more insignificant, inconsequential, or irrellevant than it is today. and that includes CVC, FOM, FIA, the promoters, sponsors AND teams IMHO…

      and some drivers purportingly DE-hydrating prior to the w/e??? mass stupidity on their part and CRIMINAL activity on ALL other business partners… WTF? are you kidding me??? mental midgets to the fore seems way too polite of a comment.

      has been a few years since I attended a pro race. went to the St Pete IndyCar race today. meh… am watching the NASCAR race on “tape”. meh… had watched most of the F1 race live b4 deciding to go back to bed b4 driving to St Pete… (was too boring…)

      kinda wishing I had spent my time watching golf, cricket, or chess OR maybe holding a fishing rod above the river with no bait.

      obviously, I am exaggerating. there have been WAY too many pertinent articles/blogs re the utter incapability of most racing series to attract younger/new viewers and fans. IMHO, there also needs to be way more blogs re keeping the older faithful fans – this fan/worker/participant of 52 years has recently become VERY disgruntled and blase’ toward the so-called big time racing “industry”…

      do not worry just yet. TJ13/contributers/commentors is the biggest and bestest fish available! too bad the pond is shrinking so quickly due to racing organiztional stupidity…

      Rich

      • “…but I NEED to see just how this % is calculated!! is it a % vs the race laps, the total allowed, a % vs total allowed…”

        Answer -> It’s a straight % of the 100kg allowed.

        “…does it factor in the required end of race fuel sample, etc.??”

        Answer -> No.

        The 100kg fuel limit is measured “…from the time at which the signal to start the race is given to the time each car crosses the Line after the end-of-race signal has been given.”

        That graphic is result of live fuel flow meter data, which is transmitted multiple times per second to the FIA.

        The meter doesn’t measure weight (that is to say mass such as grams or kilograms). The meter measures the rate of flow of the liquid.

        • thanx for the update, VM!! I will gladly and fully trust your post is from a position which knows FAR more than I do re this subject!

          respectfully, this is then not totally or clearly representative of how this possibly relates to race strategy/future potential lap times… so… how is the fuel % display relevant or significant to those in the seats or those with eyes on the tube??

          ie.: should driver X (LH) be at ~49% and driver Y (NR) at 50%or driver Z (Seb) be at ~51% “fuel used” at the half-way point, should that represent game point/done/over barring a big faux pau by one of the lead drivers as we saw this w/e??

          alternatively, at what point does this fuel usage display pretty much dictate the eventual winner? maybe 10 or 20 or 30 laps???

          so. a very few laps in, and we may know the race winner? pretty much, save Massa, and the race was determined by a nefarrious unexplained simple new graph… argh. the pinnochio of non-exlemplary driving around for big bucks… meh…

          • Rich – What a great post!

            From a usability / spectator friendly standpoint, you’ve asked exactly the correct question with, “so… how is the fuel % display relevant or significant to those in the seats or those with eyes on the tube??”

            That graphic, as displayed today, was a bit raw. It was just numbers… When I watched the race, I paused it to study the percentages of that data and compare the numbers against each other.

            But the next step should be that the folks who are doing the on-screen graphics of this data for FOM’s broadcasts to specifically answer the critique that you’ve just raised.

            Perhaps they may introduce colors for that data, so numbers in green indicate drivers who have more fuel than the average they would need to finish the race, while numbers on a yellow background indicate drivers who have burned more than the average amount so they’ll need to conserve fuel. My abilities with illustrative graphics and usability are poor, so these are just spaghetti on the wall ideas as an example. Thoughtful professionals could do some good creative work.

            The other relationships of that data, such as the relationship of fuel burned versus the distance covered will be complicated by the change in fuel consumption for all the competitors as they burn off the fuel (lighter cars = higher fuel consumption I suppose), the track rubbers in (more grip = higher fuel consumption), plus the prime versus option tire compounds (harder tires = less grip and lower fuel consumption). Doing those data models is not the work of a moment to figure that out for eleven different chassis, three different power units, and the 22 different strategies built around each driver. So I can see why they chose to relate the data solely to the other drivers.

            But your critique is significant because despite the complicated factors that I’ve just mentioned, I believe it is possible to meet your critique with better data and graphics.

            Such data will highlight areas of driver skill to spectators. It would make more apparent the techniques and abilities to drive both fast and fuel efficient, or the ability to determine the best tactical time to use extra energy to help make an on-track pass.

            Anyway, though (with respect) you’ve been a bit grumpy in tone, I believe you’ve raised some key points as to what we are likely to see in the future. I’m glad you did so.

        • sorry for my grumpiness!
          luved reading your crystal clear analysis of a highly technical matter. I hope “they” tweak the graph in the manner you suggest – it helps keep us old timers engaged and will certainly be a kewl new tool for the younger generation…

      • I noticed that it was just from the 100kg limit… the Williams consistenly low on the percentages mean they didn’t use the full 100kgs? They were running hot as well, maybe that’s why they went for a more cautious approach. With a little more fuel and pushing Massa could have cleared both McLarens early on, but fell short and back into fuel saving mode.

    • I’d like to see a graphic when riding on board that shows how much fuel used (as we saw) but also a read out of instant fuel flow, basically what the FIA see coming from the sensors, (when they work) along with boost pressure, how much K is being used how much H is being used and even H and K are being charged etc. I think FOM have dropped the ball when it comes to the new tech. The fans need to be able to apriciate it so why not show some great graphics with all the info to help everyone understand more about what is going on and what the drivers are doing ‘real time’. It’s could be so much more accessible if the powers that he allowed it. Also all the stupid secrecy in the paddock, I mean, all the teams know what each other is up to etc, yet the public are kept in the dark, just like the mechanics standing in fron of tv cameras, yet there are official photographers taking HD images that are published on the internet that day, showing very intricate details, but they still insist on blocking views and having technical info blackouts. Its no surprise that new ‘core’ fans, (freaks like me) are not being attracted, as you have to trawl the net to find info, it’s not free flowing like it should be.

      • I’ll admit I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of the new graphics just yet, I was expecting them to be rolled out here, in the manner you describe (MGU charging and live fuel readouts etc.).

        They do all that and then Adrian Newey checks out all the cars when they are sitting on the grid anyway! He’s probably drawing improvements to their designs on his little clipboard and chuckling to himself to see how long it takes them to come up with it….

      • Thanks:) I’m working on several articles at the moment…

        I know how you feel too – it’s like being thrown into deep water and trying to learn to swim:) You’re doing great! You’re writing to a deadline too which is far harder as I found out at Albert Park!

          • You could always get them to help you write it:) That’s what I did when I was too tired to think after Friday Practice – mind you, I didn’t have any facts in mine – just had to chat about the day without having to mention any statistics at all…just as well I had a brilliant editor (thanks Carlo!) to find all my grammar and spelling mistakes:)

  9. Matt, I made the race report of my Blog today, and…man…you humiliate me (in a good way!) great job!!!

  10. Interesting race. Interesting to see the two Merc drivers flip their stereotypes with HAM driver a cerebral race controlling the pace at the front while Nico got a hair too aggressive and burned his back tires although there’s no way that affected him at all past the first stop, obviously. As usual we see that the F1 pundits get it wrong most of the time.

    RBR looked like there were a lock for a 3rd and 4th except for a bad pitstop. Strange to see them look so downtrodden and to hear them talk more about Mercedes than their own performance.

    Alonso got an ok result for that car. Expected to see more fight out of Kimi to try to grab a point or two similar to what Bottas did last race after also losing his back right corner.

    The Hulk. McLaren really is incompetent for not picking this guy up instead of Perez. And even Williams picking Massa over the Hulk seems like a shaky decision.

    Bottas VS Massa was a fun battle, Bottas looked a lot quicker a lot of the time but then again he couldn’t make anything stick. Did Williams lose out on taking Buttons place? It’s really hard to say. Avoid the penalties next time 77.

    • Right now the only real top 10 team race we have is Williams v. McLaren. And we have yet to see that brought to fruition. Maybe in Bahrain.

      The other real team battle is Caterham v. Marussia. That’s going to be a barn burner over the course of the season.

      Merc is really in RB’s heads right now. Merc looks like RB the last half of 2013 and RB is starting to look a lot like Mclaren of 2012. Unusual mistakes. I mean really, no headgear for pit stop? How does that happen.

    • Indeed, a good few points. LH got a double saving of fuel and tyres, and looked unstoppable. NR seemed to slow down from Q2 onwards.

      Kimi’s problem was no safety car to bring him back into contention – otherwise he’d have gotten points.. Lotus too if their car was up to full power (they could join the FI/Williams battle eventually). Kimi would have been battling Hulkenberg at race end without the K-Mag incident. Hulk is stuck at Force India (who pay a pittance to the best sponsor-less drivers) until a top team can pick him up.

      McLaren picked up Perez for $5m reasons.. they could have had Hulk or Vettel or anyone and still been in the same WCC place from their slow car. Hamilton’s move to jump ship was inspired.. maybe Lauda convinced him Mercedes would spend their way to success. McLaren can’t do the same in an unlimited spending era (with a big manufacturer and now RB leading the way, not Ferrari as before the recession), but should be a comfortable 4th at least.

      Williams are now struggling for cashflow so picking up Massa, Nasr and loads of Brazilian sponsors (in addition to any severance from Pastor) was a wise move – Massa is matching Bottas on pace, and Nasr is a ready made replacement that keeps the sponsor money flowing until the budget cap comes in and starts lowering budgets so that they can compete.

      Nice point Matt on RB starting to make mistakes.. Ricciardo could be sitting in 2nd in the WDC right now with a little more luck! How many races/1-2s will Mercedes get before RB break the chain? Vettel’s set the bar at 9! I also want to see Kobayashi and Bianchi duke it out for 10th place in the WCC!

    • Re- nico’s tyre damage only handicaped him till 1st stop.

      It has a knock on effect as he had to stop earlier than he liked meaning each following stint would have to be around a lap or 2 longer, I know it doesn’t sound much but I’m sure there is an optimum point at which to change tyres so it screws it up a little, plus needing to catch up any time lost due to knackered tyres giving up slower lap time.

  11. IMHO, Lewis had the better set-up for the race in comparision to Nico, not just that rear tyre damage explains the difference between them. LH made a greatest race.

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