#F1 Qualifying Review: Mercedes reigns supreme in the Fatherland

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.

 

Q1

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.

 

Q2

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.

 

Q3

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

 

58 responses to “#F1 Qualifying Review: Mercedes reigns supreme in the Fatherland

  1. Nice write up Matt as always. Just a questions….

    I thought Lewis uses Carbon industry disc with Brembo pads?

    I remember hearing that all the teams use Brembo pads and calipers but are free to choose a different manufacturer for the disc. Can you offer anymore info on that for me please.

    • RTL didn’t know which make of disk he’s running, but it’s different from the ones Nico runs. That’s apparently Lewis’ decision as he found the brakes not aggressive enough. <- Emphasizing the last bit, before some loon shows up and says Merc give him inferior disks deliberately 😉

      • Fully aware Hippo. I remember he was complaining last season about the feel of the brakes that they used and he was more accustomed to a certain make. Ross also eluded to that a few times as well.

        I just wanted to know if his disc were also made by Brembo or was he still using the Carbon Industry ones.

        Anyways, it was an unfortunate incident and could’ve happened to anyone, so it’s only a deluded person who would scream conspiracy.

        • LH was running the Akebono brakes at McLaren but there is some kind of exclusive deal there so he was forced to switch when he went to Mercedes.

          There are probably a lot more exclusive parts deals and details in the cars that mess drivers up when they go team to team because they all seem to have trouble.

          The obvious examples are when drivers like Kimi switch from cars with push rod front suspension to pull rod they seem to take a long time to adjust or never get it. Look at Perez.

    • @Fortis, thanks, the interview was with Paddy Lowe post Quali. I stream Sky so you might be able to find the clip on their website, but I can’t DVR their coverage. Unless Lowe got it backwards or I misheard that’s the scene. As far as the calipers and pads, I will see if I can find anything out.

      He mentioned that they have been having issues with Brembo all season and the Lewis runs them and Nico doesn’t. Might also account for the Canada failure as well, a fact that nobody remembered at the time.

      • Yea I saw the interview as well.

        I was on the teams FB page and they’re answering a lot of questions about the failure and this I think was the best answer they gave…

        “Lewis suffered a sudden and catastrophic failure of the right front brake disc when braking for Turn 13 in Q1. This happened without warning and at a corner which doesn’t involve particularly hard braking. The cause is as yet unexplained. The set of brakes was a new set fitted for FP3 in line with our normal procedures. The two drivers were running brake materials from different manufacturers today, something that occurs from time to time according to their preferred feel with the brakes.”

        But I still expect the usual statement that he’s too hard on the car, which I find laughable, since you need to lean on the car a lot so as to get the maximum out of it.

      • Got the answer to my question about the brakes….

        “Hamilton started the weekend with Carbon Industries before switching to Brembo discs on Saturday morning, but then suffered a right-front disc failure in Q1.

        Mercedes are keen to revert him back to Carbon Industries, but that would mean a break in parc ferme regulations and a drop to the pitlane.

        Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff, though, is still hoping that won’t be the case.

        “We have had a brake failure which means we are obliged to make sure that the car is running safe tomorrow,” said Wolff. “That means switching the brakes supplier.

        “If this results in starting from the pitlane is not yet discussed, and we have not yet brought the decision on that. But we are discussing that with the FIA.

        “And I would even go further: obviously many teams are running that brake material so that safety discussion probably needs to be extended.”

    • This was interesting from Autosport:
      Wolff denied that Hamilton’s switch of brake discs was a gamble in safety terms, because Brembo actually appeared to be the more conservative supplier.

      “Brembo had a failure earlier in the year, and they upgraded the discs to what is supposedly the safest disc,” explained Wolff.

      “They put a lot of research in to the carbon disc so there was no gamble whatsoever. It was just a matter of what suits your driving style.

      “Both of them have been trying both brake materials every weekend, or almost every weekend.”

      Apparently Hamilton may have to start from the pit lane in any event, as his gearbox might need changing, even if he is let off the breach of parc ferme for changing the make of discs for safety reasons (which other teams are disputing…).

      • I read that, but i didn’t see anything mentioned relating to a possible gearbox change.

        It should be an interesting race if it doesn’t rain. He’s still got his full compliment of SS tyres available to him, so a strategy of SS, S & SS, that’s if it’s a 3 stop race.

        • Same article – Mercedes “not sure” whether Hamilton would require a gearbox change.

          If he has to start from the pit lane anyway, does that give him a ‘free’ change ?

          • I hope not. But if he does start from the pitlane, any grid penalty might be carried over to Hungary.

          • Should be able to take the gearbox penalty first, to go fromP15 to P20, THEN take the car out of parc ferme, and start from PL.

  2. Congrats Nico. 5th Pole Position this season and and 4th in the last 5 races. The speed of this guy is tremendous.

    Hopefully he can make amends on the gearbox misfortune he suffered whilst leading the British GP and take his maiden German GP victory.

    • Would’ve been bad if he hadn’t got it, no? His main competition for pole was already out.

      I hope we see some Q3s going forward, where both put in their best laps, no mistakes, no problem to compromise them. I think the only races where that’s been the case were MAL and ESP.

      I think Lauda’s reckoning (HAM with 0.2 on ROS) is about right. Still, Nico is no doubt fast, possibly the fastest teammate that Lewis has had (over 1 lap).

      As for Nico’s misfortune, it’s now 3-1 against Lewis, in terms of car failure.

      • Are you sure about the number of misfortunes? Because based on past statements, using Brundle’s logic as the sole point of reference, what happened to Lewis in Canada, was a result of him failing to do as good a job as nico to manage his brake issues. That dispite the team saying that his problem was more severe than Nico’s and it was just pure luck that he too didn’t suffer a brake failure.

        So based on that logic, unfortunately it’s 2-1 in Lewis’s favour. 😉

        • It would be interesting to dig deeper in to the brake issues Lewis is having this year.

          What I’m reading suggests he likes an ‘aggressive’ brake. I would assume that means he likes one that bites very sharply on first application.

          Expanding on that, such a brake would generate a significant amount of heat over this initial bite and would suffer greater thermal shocks than other brake material. Overall heat generated may be similar but it is often thermal shock that does damage rather than overall heat.

          You mention Canada and I still believe that the fact Lewis suffered brake failure only just after his MGU failed would indicate to me that he wouldn’t have completed the race anyway even if it hadn’t failed. It takes some load off the brakes but not to the degree where they fail a lap or two after it stops working.

          I am beginning to think that his brake preference is a bit of an achilies heel at the moment. Hopefully they can get on top of it or he can adapt to something that is more reliable.

          • This is what he said after the accident.

            “NO GAMBLE FROM HAMILTON

            Hamilton, who frequently switches between different brake disc suppliers, said his decision to switch from Carbone Industrie to Brembo was based on feel.

            “You can choose the brake that perhaps doesn’t bite as much at the beginning but has more bite later on, has less fade,” he said.

            “In these temperatures there can be fade on some brakes – I chose these ones because they have more stopping power which means I can brake later.”

            Wolff denied that Hamilton’s switch of brake discs was a gamble in safety terms, because Brembo actually appeared to be the more conservative supplier.

            “Brembo had a failure earlier in the year, and they upgraded the discs to what is supposedly the safest disc,” explained Wolff.

            “They put a lot of research in to the carbon disc so there was no gamble whatsoever. It was just a matter of what suits your driving style.

            “Both of them have been trying both brake materials every weekend, or almost every weekend.”

            I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s an Achilles heel for him, because he hasn’t been complaining of any braking issues so far this season, also braking is one of his strengths. Today was just an unfortunate incident.

            Rosberg also said that he wasn’t comfortable with the feel of his brakes and he was using the Carbon Industries compared to Lewis.

            http://m.skysports.com/article/formula1//9387951

          • He pushes harder on the pedal, and breaks later than most.

            It allows him to carry more speed into the corner, although he isn’t always the fastest through the apex.

            He has genuinely sensational car control so is able to ‘sort out’ issues through the corner that lesser drivers may not be able to do as consistently as he can.

            He’s also able to use this instability to rotate the car better than most in the corner (although its corner dependant, some corners he gets more from than others) which helps he overall speed through the corner as he can shorten the corner and get on the power earlier.

            All of the above would make him very different to Jarno T, Ruben and Jenson who are/were much smoother through corners and also explains why he can get more out of a bad car. When everything is right the 3 above were lightning quick, when not they’re not so hot.

            Lewis needs good brakes and turn in – his ability can pretty much sort out the rest.

          • I totally agree Stephen.

            Just be careful, to some here, Lewis can do no wrong and has to be infallible.

            Despite the building evidence of brake failures for Lewis (and I count Austria as one too), they mean little next to the requirement of some to elevate Lewis to godly status.

            Lewis is really stretching himself in quali since Monaco, and it no coincidence he is finding himself either slower than Nico, or in a brake failed car.

          • Didn’t you say that you had a feeling his issue in Austria was a result of Merc running a new sophisticated type of braking system?

            I even posted a link to you, that gave some idea as to what was the cause of the spin and it wasn’t break related.

            So where’s the building evidence that your eluding to? That was his first officially confirmed brake failure, What happened in Canada was a result of the MGU-K failure. A parts failure is just that, a parts failure, it has nothing to do with the load that’s being applied to the pedal. Because I’d assume he was applying the same load from FP1 until his accident.

            Didn’t Alonso mentioned to TK that it’s the equivalent of a leg pressing a 140kg when applying the pressure to the brake pedals?

            So should I go ahead and blame him because a part on his car failed? Sure why not, it’s the only logical thing to do.

            Did you blame Nico for his gearbox failure? Did you blame Seb when his engine caused him to have multiple DNFs?

            Like I said to you before, you only pick the things that support your argument. The first 5 races of the season, Lewis had 4 poles compared the Nico’s 1, the last 5, Nico has 4. Were you also saying nico was stretching himself when Lewis took 4 out of 5?

          • I know you aren’t replying to my comment but my feeling here is that this is a little different. What Lewis wants from his brakes puts a certain type of stress on the part that will highlight any imperfections. The initial grab encompasses massive loads and a significant increase in temperature. The harsher the initial grab, the more stress on the part.

            It may just be that Lewis needs to back off a little in his selection of brake material – in conjunction with the supplier who needs to ensure it can withstand the stresses generated by his style of driving.

            Lewis is mighty through corners and I’d agree with the earlier comment that he can usually get more from a bad car. It may just be in this case that getting as much as he car from the car is pushing it beyond the limit of what is has to give.

            There are loads of ifs and buts here, Nico presenting Lewis with such a strong challenge may be forcing him to push harder than usual and apply even more strain on the parts. Unlike brake systems, gearboxes and engines are not only designed to last much longer than brake pads but also have electronic systems controlling them which reduce the strain the driver puts on the parts.

            All that said, there is a difference between the two failures (here and Canada). Here the brakes were fairly new and it was also a front brake which failed. That would, to me, indicate a manufacturing issue with the part. If it wasn’t then you really can see why Merc want to change disc type ahead of the race as it only lasted a handful of laps.

            Canada, however, was a rear failure. Those discs have been reduced in size due to the energy harvesting so will be being pushed harder anyway. Also, plenty of other drivers ran in to brake issues in that race. I still feel that Lewis would have had problems with his brakes later in the race even if the MGU hadn’t failed, but we can’t prove that either way so no point worrying about it.

          • @Stephen did you see Nico’s post quali presser. If not, he made some rather interesting remarks about brakes. They’re near the bottom of my tech article that’s up now. Have a look if you like.

            The main reason he couldn’t get a lap in during the first part of Q1 was due to his brakes. According to him. 😉

      • Yeah I think BAH and CAN we’re pretty good quali sessions with no dramas for either. A fair fight as you suggest. But hey, Nico took pole pos at those, so why mention them right? Wow… The bias is strong in this one.

        Can you also point out where, and when, Niki Lauda said Lewis is two tenths faster than Nico by default right off the bar.

        Also as far as quali records go, you are right, Nico is the quickest teammate Lewis has had. Nico is beating him for poles and overall qualifying record and avg gap. But hey, don’t let facts get in the way of a good story. Sadly for Lewis ISNT the quickest teammate Nico has had.

        I can hear it now, “Hey! If Lewis was faster on X day then he’d have Y overall positions! So really Lewis is better!”

        LMFAO

        • So who is the quickest teammate Nico has had? A washed up 40+ year old former world champion who came out of retirement?

          Sure he took pole at those races, but here’s the key question…”did he win any of those races?

          5-4 isn’t really something to be bragging about when there’s still 9 races left after this one. How about bragging when the season ends, after all, that’s when the awards are handed out.

          It’s funny, you didn’t have much to say after the British Gp other than, “he inherited the win because Nico’s gearbox failed blah blah blah”…..
          What was your comment about Nico’s win in Australia? Wasn’t that inherited as well? British gp last year, wasn’t that inherited as well?

          Apart from the British Gp, the biggest qualifying gap Nico had over Lewis, was in Bahrain and that was about 2 tenth, 0.220 to be exact. Monaco .079 and Canada .059.

          But hey, don’t let bias get in the way of a your need to gloat.

          • Bahrain Q3 times: (not sure where you got yours)
            Rosberg – 1:33.185
            Hamilton – 1:33.464
            Difference – 0.279 (almost three tenths.)

            Also it was 0.059 in Monaco and 0.079 in Canada. Maybe work on your fact collecting.

            Also in GBR the fact is Lewis had zero mech failure and was decimated by Rosberg in the wet in Q3. Hamilton’s apparent best conditions. Hamilton didn’t have the guts to take Rosberg on or made a bad decision or whatever. Either way, his performance and his alone resulted in heir Q3 times being about 3.5 SECONDS apart!

            Then he was gifted the win after, such is life. Rosberg will still own him over a season. There are not enough pills on the planet to equalise and stabilise Hamilton for too long.

          • What does Australia, Malaysia and China qualifying have in common with qually at the British Gp?

            I think your the only person who would say he got decimated at Silverstone. But as we saw on Sunday, that 3.5 sec didn’t really do much for him, 0 pts scored.

            Ok, so I mixed up the circuits, but the gaps are correct, so basically you’ve not invalidated my point.

          • The gap in Bahrain isn’t. Your veiw is totally unsubstantiated.

            It will also be funny when Nico win WDC and still gave Lewis a free 25pts in GBR.

          • I don’t know the figures here, but I wonder how many times Lewis out-qualified Jenson, and how many points the two of them ended up with over their career at McLaren?

            My gut feel is that Lewis blew Jenson in to the weeds in qualifying but Wiley-J-Button worked his way up to more points.

            To me, there are two reasons why highlighting qualifying pace is a bit pointless. Firstly, and most importantly, there are no points for qualifying. And secondly, with the advantage Merc have at the moment the second driver can be three or four tenths slower and still get 2nd. The real difference would be shown up when those 3 or 4 tenths put them back in 10th place.

          • I think jenson only had 1 pole since he has been at Mclaren.

            As for points, over the 3 seasons, he finished with 15pts more than Lewis, but he only beat him in one of those 3 seasons, 2011.

            He’s highlighting the qualifying stats, but when you look at the race winning stats, it’s 5-3, since that’s not in Nico’s favour, it’s not relevant to him.

  3. Hamilton: Hard on gear.
    Rosberg: Vettel again. Is it him or the car?
    Bottas: Mr Personality (not)
    Massa: Destined to miss out again with a different team.
    And I reckon RBR will be hanging to wish Old Man Vettel all the best for the future with an on eye the Russian kid for 2016.

    • A bit harsh isn’t it?

      Rosberg: If it wasn’t only the car, why is he so close to HAM’s pace? Unlike Vettel in previous years, he doesn’t have a slowpoke for a team mate. I’d say Lewis is one hell of a yardstick to be compared with

      As for Vettel being out after 2015. That’s been a foregone conclusion since early 2013 when Vettel only extended for a single year. It has been pretty clear that he had had plans for 2016 for a long time.

      • Rosberg is close to Hamilton’s pace because they share set up data across the garage. Hamilton is close to Rosberg’s pace because they share data across the garage. Take your pick. 😉

        As far as Rosberg and the car, well, they’ll say the same for Vettel until he switches teams and does well at which point they’ll have to shut up. Until then, doing well with different manufacturers (at least in the modern era) seems to be a yardstick by which the best of the best are judged, though not, by any means, the only one.

        • Isn’t Vettel kind of failing that test in a ‘different’ Red Bull. Bad luck aside you’d still say Ric is the better driver this season?

          • He still outscored the main team or are you suggesting that newey built the better car for the farm team?

            Newey car doesn’t mean automatic win ask MacLaren 2000-2005

          • I’d say thay was more maccas fault than Newey.

            If he had the environment like he had at Williams he would have just kept winning.

            I’d go so far as to say he would have designed better cars than Byrne if he was at the rampant horses.

            I honestly think macca are doomed until they put in a newey type character I.e. main man making design decisions.

            Macca = too much committee type decisionmaking.

            Now that Ron’s back that won’t change…

          • @Spanners, great question, but Vettel looked much better this weekend and TBH it hasn’t been nearly enough races to firmly draw that conclusion.

            Vettel has also been a bit unlucky, and has been on the wrong end of some team blunders, particularly viz strategy.

            Still, would agree Ric has been the better driver thus far. Tomorrow should be good as Vettel looked good on the long runs.

        • “Rosberg is close to Hamilton’s pace because they share set up data across the garage.”

          If by ‘close’ you mean ‘faster than’, then I agree. As to why, does it matter in the end? You were/are a racer. You know, in the end, there was a faster competitor and that’s it. By all quali metrics, Nico is quicker than Lewis this year.

    • Bottas did really well in the middle sector.. he had the best one despite Mercedes having more straight line speed than Williams. Looks like he is really on top pace now.. Massa can’t keep up now he has had those podiums.

      Wolff knows who to call up as a Mercedes replacement (and he can get a management cut as well..), if Lewis doesn’t win the championship in the next two years and still wants a higher salary than Nico..

      Vettel also missed the apex at the hairpin, which is probably why he dropped two tenths in that sector. This is also apparent by being level with Kvyat after two sectors – but better than Ricciardo in the third to draw back closer. Vettel is also running a lot more wing, so he’ll find it hard to pass in the race, but it sounds like that helps his tyre life.

      • Bottas was 2 tenths faster and 0.250 on Massa. K-Mag and Vettel 2nd best in S3, 0.15 off Rosberg. So I guess there were a few more tenths there in S2 if Rosberg needed it (although he didn’t in the last run, which was identical to Bottas’ time).

        K-Mag could also get DOTW if he can hold a good position… McNish was surprised they gave the new rear wing to Kevin first, but now we are not surprised.. he got the best out of it – Button could not. He ended up 0.5 off in S3.. after being 3 off in S2.. so some may be track evolution, possibly a little more from Grosjean, but he’d still be behind his team-mate.

  4. If K-mag wins tomorrow, will TJ13 honor him by giving him a flag for the next race?

  5. Great write up Matt. But didn’t Lewis also fail to qualify for Monza q3 last year. Held up by shanker?

  6. See, this is why I like comming here. Unfortunately could see the quali. But this write up is everything I need. Thanks Matt.

  7. Super article Matt.

    Writings really maturing too. Very impressive, excellent detail and well written.

    Big thumbs up.

  8. And, for what it’s worth, FRIC was banned and the Ferraris are still 1 second behind the leading team. For sixth year (and umpteenth change in regs). We can call that regularity.

  9. Actually, what I mean is sometimes Lewis is faster, sometimes Nico is faster. The sharing of data helps explain why. Much like coin tosses each race is it’s own probability event. It’s far too close IMO to say either driver has a permanent advantage in speed.

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