#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Barcelona 2014 – #SpanishGP

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. ]

Another misfiring weekend for McLaren as their lost protégé took his 4th victory in succession.  Furthermore, Sergio Perez, the driver they had released just 7 months ago drove a controlled race to finish ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.  In fact, the 4 ex-McLaren drivers on the grid all finished above their former team.  The Ron Dennis effect still needs to be given time, but the 2014 season needs to be abandoned now to start developing for when Honda return.

This race reminded me of the inaugural Austin Grand Prix in 2012.  The top 2 were in a league of their own (back then Hamilton and Vettel), with the 3rd placed driver a country mile behind (then Fernando Alonso) as well as the 4th placed driver (then Felipe Massa) having taken a gear box penalty after qualifying to then charge up the order on Sunday.  The rest of the field proceeded home in orderly fashion in a slow burner of a race.  I guess not every race can be as exciting as Bahrain was earlier in the season – although it was largely due to the safety car there.  Roll on Monaco and all the excitement a street circuit will bring!

Hamilton revels in the post-race celebration

Hamilton revels in the post-race celebration

So what really happened?

Pastor Maldonado and Marcus Ericsson: It seems the fiery Venezuelan just can’t keep himself out of trouble however hard he tries, as he decided that overtaking at all costs was the option to go for when he approached the charging Swede Ericsson.  Understandable if it were for a meaningful position, but when for a position at the back of the field it was insanity.  Perhaps it can be put down to pure frustration at being so lowly, but it still earned him a 5 second penalty.  If it did damage the Caterham car at all he could only have hoped to finish 2 places higher.  He remains as the last placed finisher.

Kamui Kobayashi: The Japanese driver suffered a similarly scary brake failure in the same place as Giedo van der Garde had in FP1.  In what has already become a season of damage limitation for the green team, such basic components on the car failing as this will be of great concern.  There is nothing that Kobayashi could have done, so he is reinstated to 19th, which becomes a net 20th position.

Jean-Eric Vergne:  Having lost out to his teammate last year for the second seat in the parent team things have not improved at all for JEV.  He was forced to retire on lap 24 with an exhaust problem, while his Russian finished in 13th in rather unspectacular fashion.  This kind of luck will do nothing to quash the rumours that JEV will be replaced by Antonio Felix da Costa later in the season.  Running in 15th at the time of retirement, there was nothing in his drive to suggest overtaking Kvyat so is reinstated there.

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


Below, the revised World Drivers’ Championship:

Driver Revised WDC WDC Points Difference
Position Points
Lewis Hamilton 1 118 +18
Nico Rosberg 2 97 =
Daniel Ricciardo 3 51 +12
Sebastian Vettel 4 45 =
Fernando Alonso 5 42 -7
Nico Hulkenberg 6 31 -6
Felipe Massa 7 26 +14
Valtteri Bottas 8 25 -9
Sergio Perez 9 18 -2
Kimi Raikkonen 10 17 =
Kevin Magnussen 11 15 -5
Jenson Button 12 14 -9
Romain Grosjean 13 4 =
Jean-Eric Vergne 14 1 -3
Daniil Kvyat 15 0 -4
Adrian Sutil 16 0 =
Esteban Gutierrez 17 0 =
Kamui Kobayashi 18 0 =
Max Chilton 19 0 =
Marcus Ericsson 20 0 =
Jules Bianchi 21 0 =
Pastor Maldonado 22 0 =

*Those with 0 points will not be ordered

What they would have said

The fastest lap at the end of the race will be some solace for Sebastian Vettel as he looks to restart his season after his (reportedly) bent chassis limited him previously.  Whether you choose to believe this or not, it seems unlikely he will be challenging for wins anytime soon.  In which case, adding to his tally of fastest laps is the best he can hope for.  This one takes him 8th on the all-time list, equal with Nelson Piquet and Juan Manuel Fangio.  However, his is still 54 short of Schumacher’s record of 77!

Were there other challengers for the World Championship other than just the Mercedes pair it would make it that much more impressive to take the honour.  If the powertrains were even slightly more closely matched it would be game on for the title, although short of some minor miracle for the Milton Keynes setup, it is already game over.

Had Felipe Massa been able to climb up the grid after what was a fairly poor qualifying showing then people would have once again been putting the plaudits onto him, however, he has demonstrated again why Ferrari made the correct choice in letting him go.  It seems remarkable to me that people are not giving Bottas more attention as he continues to lead the team.

Quote of the Day

As Criss Jami, the American poet and philosopher once said, “If you want to find the real competition, just look in the mirror. After a while you’ll see your rivals scrambling for second place.

Criss Jami

As Rosberg continues to work with the line of if only he had had 1 more lap he would have taken the victory, he needs to face the facts here.  It is his own qualifying (where a poor exit out of turn 15 meant he started the lap already behind Hamilton and ultimately proved to be the difference between the pair) and poor start which are costing him the chance of winning, not the Grand Prix being 1 lap too short.


12 responses to “#F1 Victims of Circumstance: Barcelona 2014 – #SpanishGP

    • It was a similar situation for Kimi last year if I remember rightly. The better drivers, in worse cars, generally tend to profit from the misfortune of others.

  1. You’re bang on with Quali being the major difference. Set up wise they’re about even when the cars behave but Lewis is up 4-1 in Quali.

    Similarly the reason RB don’t have a chance at Monaco unless Vettel gets it together is that Danny is at the moment a thoroughly average starter. He almost got jumped by Bottas at the beginning of the last race.

    Love the Quote BTW.

    • If you get the chance Matt, watch their comparison of their quali lap. They did almost identical laps (Hamilton was 0.1 quicker I believe or somewhere in the region), but it was the fact Hamilton started the lap so much quicker thanks to a better exit off the final corner. Fact of the matter is it was a basic error from Rosberg which cost him a shot at victory, which in truth shows who the better driver is.

      • You know I just remembered Lewis also got an excellent jump off the last turn when he was under pressure from Rosberg at the end of the race. Don’t know if it’s better ERS conservation or just an innate ability to get on throttle quicker, but he does seem to have a gift for eking it out in the margins.

    • Fingers crossed it can be both of them up at the front then in the principality. At least then a safety car could shake up the order.

      • Well, I think that traffic may wind up being the big factor as well. Only 6 cars finished on the lead lap and the back markers were going 2 laps down in Spain. The lap in Monaco is even shorter and opportunities for disaster will abound even with blue flags. Can’t Wait..

  2. “It seems remarkable to me that people are not giving Bottas more attention as he continues to lead the team.”

    Can I repectfully say that I find this statement kind of useless? Sounds a little biased to me.

    Massa has had adversity this year in the way of a crash, terrible pitstop and having a bad Q3 (1 run with huge consequences). Bottas had none of that, apart from hitting the wall in Australia by his own fault (and a crappy qualifying?). Bottas is driving great and better overall but Massa is not far behind at all.

    I think they have been quite similar, difference being Massa usually suffers alot from tyre wear in races. But you make it seem like its all lopsided…

    • Maybe a slightly unfair statement on my aide Alex, but he has been aided in being able to hide behind these mishaps. You will see in the victims league table they are very close showing they have been fairly equal (and that the methodology for this post works).

      One off elements have saved Massa, like his flying start in Bahrain which allowed him to race ahead of his teammate. Without this he would have been a long way behind. Team orders saved him 3 laps of pressure in Malaysia while Bottas was told he would move out of the way and the botched pit stop cost him in Shanghai, he was still running a fairly average race there.

      Given he is the all experienced driver, he has not lived up to this potential yet. I hope this qualifies it slightly more.

    • I know what you are saying, but at the end of the day only the final tables will matter. On current reading, this puts Hulkenberg and Bottas as the ‘best of the rest’, while the McLaren duo are in the middle (as is the car) and Massa and Perez are lower down. So it’s fair to say that Hulk and Bottas are underrated, while Massa and Perez are currently overrated.

      Vergne will end up better in the championship, with a higher finish, but as Kvyat has now matched him in the tables (but not in the circumstances table), Kvyat will have seen to have equalled Vergne (even if JEV is driving with a disadvantage), and hence this will be used as a reason to dump JEV (Marko was going to anyway for probably Sainz Jr, but it’s easier now).

      The same might happen with Chilton this year.. as it is, he is securing 10th place for Marussia (and a big payday for 2015). Finishing 11th will almost certainly decimate Caterham.. so it doesn’t matter if Bianchi totally decimates Chilton in all the remaining races now, as Max is the one who has secured the best finish (2x 13th) and 19th in the WDC standings. This is also where penalties can be critical.. in this case the drive through for Maldonado at Bahrain, after the safety car came back in.

      • Very good point regarding the penalties. O had not considered the effect they have on the back on the field scrap (Although the reported 8 figure sponsor cheque from AON that Chilton brings also helps).

        However, I’ll have a bet of a chocolate bar that Kvyat finishes ahead of JEV at the end of the year if you fancy it?

      • Also, people will remember the big results. So while Perez is outshone by the Hulk, there is only 1 of them who has achieved a podium this year…

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