Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 28th July 2014

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Previously on TJ13:

#F1 Features: The F1 school of bloody stupid ideas

#F1 Polls: FORMULA 1 PIRELLI MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2014 – Driver of the Weekend

#F1 Race Review: Red Bull’s Ricciardo pulls a rabbit out as Mercedes miss out on the Win

#F1 Polls: How would you rate the FORMULA 1 PIRELLI MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2014?

OTD Lite: 1935 – Nuvolari cements his legend in Germany

Il Padrino is not fooling anybody

Pat Symonds compares Bottas to the legends

Mercedes to rethink team orders after Hamilton defiance (GMM)

Alonso, Hamilton say Ricciardo among F1’s best (GMM)

OTD Lite: 1935 – Nuvolari cements his legend in Germany

In what has become known as “The Impossible Victory” – on this day 79 years ago – the 1935 German Grand Prix passed into legend when the dimunitive man from Mantua embarrassed the German teams with his under-powered Alfa-Romeo and left the 300,000 strong crown momentarily silent.

by lap 10 of 22, Tazio Nuvolari led the German teams in the sole surviving Alfa but a disastrous pit-stop dropped him to sixth place and he returned to the rain soaked track to chase down his adversaries. By the start of his final lap he remained 35 seconds behind Von Brauchitsch, but he had destroyed his tyres and Nuvolari passed him to win. Hitler and high-ranking members of the Third Reich were enraged – so confident had they been of German engineering succeeding.

Following the inspirational Nuvolari were 8 German cars that had been considered unbeatable – driven by the likes of Carraciola, Varzi and Rosemeyer; even the runner-up, Hans Stuck, finished over two minutes behind. Popular legends from this race include Nuvolari giving the German authorities a record with the Italian anthem  because they hadn’t been expecting a foreign victory and an Italian flag because the one to be displayed was in poor condition.


Il Padrino is not fooling anybody

Il Padrino stated he was happy for all Ferrari’s fans after witnessing a Ferrari driver take second place on the podium but when you consider that this was Fernando Alonso’s 22nd time of starting fifth on the grid since he joined Ferrari in 2010, the new “Old Man’ of Maranello is clearly deluding himself. Any level-headed Ferrari fan is merely happy that they can count on Alonso’s brilliance to overcome a stuttering car on so many occasions.

Ferrari’s team principal, Marco Mattiacci, was beaming in his initial interviews following the conclusion of the Hungarian Grand Prix but reality settled in soon after as he was observed by his squad with a surgeons scalpel in hand. The man who has won industry acclaimed awards for his management achievements running Ferrari America, is proving that his brief is to turn around the ailing company through dedicated work and ignore the much overrated passion.

“Fernando’s second place is an injection of confidence in the great effort that we are all making to try to return Ferrari to the top, but it must be tempered with great realism. Here the weather conditions and the characteristics of the track leveled performance and for this reason we must not delude ourselves, but only to return home with the desire to do better and better. Today we had two great drivers, Fernando was fabulous and Kimi was extremely important. Tomorrow’s meeting will begin with what happened in qualifying not from the second place that circumstances delivered today.” A subtle but definite warning that someone is culpable for the fate that befell Raikkonen.

With the procedures used in qualifying under scrutiny, MM was adamant, “We must be careful in how we make changes because it could result in making the situation worse but I am aware that we have a deficit to the front of between 1 and 1.2 seconds and we need to bridge the gap. I am confident in our team spirit and the people working on the project. Ferrari is a company with a history and values and Fernando is an important element of our project.”

Director of engineering, Pat Fry, was also reflective in his views of the weekend and offered little in the way of hope for the diehard tifosi, “After the summer break, we come to two races that will be difficult for us, on two tracks where it will be important to make the most of any opportunity, just as we did today.”

Ferrari’s talisman Alonso was as honest in his summation as always. “This podium means a lot to me and the whole team, because after so many difficult races, we managed to get the most out of everything, also taking a few risks and second place seems like a win. This race shows that anything is possible when there are unusual conditions like today, with a wet start and the appearance of the Safety Car. We managed to make the most of all opportunities that presented themselves, taking the best decisions even at the most difficult moments. Sure, the characteristics of the circuit, with its limited overtaking opportunities, helped us and that’s why we have to be realistic and continue to work on the car, to improve in all aspects.”

With viewing figures and race-goers seemingly dropping around the world, the sport’s headline act is certainly not helping Monza’s cause when the message emanating from the Scuderia is of struggles. Traditionally the qualifying performance on the Saturday of the Italian fixture mirrors the crowd on the following day. Irrespective of the passion, Italian race goers vote with their feet.


Pat Symonds compares Bottas to the legends

It’s remarkable the animosity that Flavio Briatore generates whenever his name is mentioned in connection with Formula One. With the ever-increasingly absurd Bernard Ecclestone providing the comedy, all Formula One sites have been left aghast at the mere thought of this cheat returning to ‘our’ beloved sport.

symondsbriatoreFernando Alonso was tainted by his victory in what has become christened Singapore-gate in 2008, where Briatore instructed Nelson Piquet Jnr to crash deliberately to allow Alonso the victory. Almost forgotten in this maelstrom is another man who was found guilty of collusion, a certain Pat Symonds; now Chief Technical Officer at Williams.

Talking over the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Williams’ Technical Director voiced his opinion on his young charge Valtteri Bottas. “In many case he reminds me of Alonso, you notice that he is very mature for his age and has what it takes to become a great driver. He is fast, hardly makes mistakes and incredibly intelligent. If he manages to win a race this season, it will create an interesting parallel with Fernando who scored his first victory in Hungary 2003, only his second season in Formula One.”

“I’ve worked with many great drivers and the ones people remember most are Ayrton, Michael and Fernando. The thing that they shared was this amazing self-esteem. I don’t think that’s something unique to racing drivers, I think it’s unique to world class sportsman, that they have to believe they’re the best; they have to go in to every event thinking “I’m the best driver here, so if I don’t win this race it cannot be my fault, it has to be something else”. Ayrton was the first one I saw that thought like that and all the greats seem to apply that logic to everything – and I realised that was a part that made him so special.”

“We did one season together, Ayrton and I, but while everyone talks about his second place in Monaco, the one that stood out for me was Dallas, where he crashed out, but we came out with such a special story from that race. The car was reasonably competitive there, so we expected to have a good race but Ayrton spun early in the race. He then found his way back through the field in a quite effective way and we were looking for a pretty good finish but then he hit the wall, damaged the rear wheel and the driveshaft and retired, which was a real shame.”

“The real significance of that was that when he came back to the pits he told me what happened and said ‘I’m sure that the wall moved!’ and even though I’ve heard every excuse every driver has ever made, I certainly hadn’t heard of that one!”

“But Ayrton being Ayrton, with his incredible belief in himself, the absolute conviction, he then talked me into going with him, after the race, to have a look at the place where he had crashed. And he was absolutely right, which was the amazing thing!”

ayrton-senna-at-1984-dallas-grand-prix“Dallas being a street circuit the track was surrounded by concrete blocks and what had happened – we could see it from the tyre marks – was that someone had hit at the far end of the concrete block and that made it swivel slightly, so that the leading edge of the block was standing out by a few millimetres. And he was driving with such precision that those few millimetres were the difference between hitting the wall and not hitting the wall. While I had been, at first, annoyed that we had retired from the race through a driver error, when I saw what had happened, when I saw how he had been driving, that increased my respect for the guy.”


Mercedes to rethink team orders after Hamilton defiance (GMM)

Mercedes has moved to put the intensifying battle between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg behind closed doors. “Corporate answer,” boss Toto Wolff smiled late on Sunday, when the extent of the potential controversy triggered by the Hungarian grand prix became clear. In the race, after technical failures blighted his last two qualifying outings as he chases down teammate and enemy Rosberg’s points lead, Briton Hamilton was asked repeatedly to let the sister silver car past.

Predictably, team chairman Niki Lauda dismissed as “bullsh*t” any conspiracy theory about Mercedes wanting its German driver to prevail in 2014 over a Briton. Indeed, the much more sensible reasoning for Sunday’s team order was that Mercedes had devised on the fly a new race-winning strategy for pole-sitter Rosberg, after the timing of the safety car period left him trailing Hamilton, who started the race from pitlane. Even Wolff had to admit that, had Hamilton obeyed the order, “Nico could have won the race. It is a difficult situation now,” he added.

The team finds itself on a delicate line between letting its drivers fight freely for the drivers’ title, and handling situations like Sunday, where two non-Mercedes cars eventually crossed the chequered flag first and second. Hamilton’s defiance probably cost Mercedes victory in Hungary, but it did help him narrow the points gap to Rosberg with eight races now to run. 2008 world champion Hamilton said immediately after getting out of his W05 on Sunday that he thinks his bosses issued the team order “for the right reasons”.

But the wheel-to-wheel title battle is something different. “I was in the same race as him,” he said, “so I was very, very shocked that the team would ask me to do that, to be able to better his position. So that was a bit strange.” Hamilton revealed on Sunday that, after his qualifying fire, he had lifted his spirits by sharing a pizza, some chocolate and “a prank” with Lauda.

Lauda said Hamilton was right to ignore the team order. “I would have done exactly the same,” said the great Austrian. “The team was under enormous stress because the race was a very difficult one, there is no question. The call was unnecessary but it was made.”

Even Wolff admits that Mercedes will need to use the three-weekend ‘summer break’, including a two week factory shutdown, to devise a better strategy for dealing with the intensifying championship battle between the two drivers. “What we had at the beginning of the season doesn’t function anymore,” he acknowledged. “Perhaps we need to have a new way. It’s getting intense and we need to sit down and discuss how to handle things.

TJ13 Comment: We have been saying for some months that two rivals in the same team driving the most dominant car in a generation were never going to remain friends due to the pressure of winning motor-sport’s ultimate prize.

It’s indeed refreshing to hear Lauda speaking as a fan whereas corporate Wolff is looking at the things from a board-level members point of view – dark surroundings, muted sound, emotion unwelcome and the minions to be controlled.

Of more alarm is probably the fact that Hamilton has been downgraded from being a guest in Niki’s private jet to going out for a pizza and some chocolate with the Austrian legend… which will cause consternation amongst the heavier drivers of the paddock who can ill afford to gain weight.


Alonso, Hamilton say Ricciardo among F1’s best (GMM)

Daniel Ricciardo has joined the upper echelon of F1’s very best drivers. In the paddock, a big rumour is that for its new works Honda partnership beginning next year, McLaren is on the market for one of the sport’s ‘big three’ drivers. They are Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. But is a new kid on the block about to join their calibre? So far in 2014, Australian Ricciardo has stunned the paddock with his rise from Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso.

He has undoubtedly humbled reigning quadruple world champion Vettel over the first half of the season, recording two wins to the German’s none. 25-year-old Ricciardo, two years younger than Vettel, recorded his second career win on Sunday, audaciously overtaking none other than Hamilton and Alonso for good measure in Hungary. Asked if he has now established himself at the top of F1, Spaniard Alonso agreed afterwards: “Yeah, definitely. I think he’s leading the champion team. That says it all.” Hamilton agreed: “Not only one of the nicest guys in the paddock but also one of the best drivers here, for sure.”

Throughout 2014, although regularly beaten by Ricciardo, Vettel has kept up an amiable relationship with the Australian, including in Hungary where he appeared for the customary post-victory team photo. Still, the plaudits are not flowing quite as smoothly from his mouth.

Vettel looked to have the upper hand on Ricciardo around the twisty Hungaroring until the race, where the safety car and a spin halted his progress. “It was not a good race,” he is quoted by Germany’s DPA news agency. “It was simply a question of being at the right place at the right time.” Vettel said the safety car helped Ricciardo. “That was his good luck,” he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. “And then he did everything right.” Vettel is now looking forward to the summer break, which is “good for everyone. It was a tough first half of the season,” he admitted.

TJ13 Comment: There are many who would agree with Vettel about DR having been in the right place to benefit for both his two wins this season. There is evidence to suggest it could well have been Vettel as the beneficiary for both the wins, but as the German proved conclusively over the previous four seasons he has also had his fair share of luck.

Being in the right place in Abu Dhabi in 2010 meant that when Ferrari reacted to Webber’s pit-stop, Seb was left in a lead which claimed his first drivers title. The right place in 2011 was a Newey designed rocket ship and then in 2012, after turning in to the Williams of Bruno Senna, spinning amongst the pack and receiving minimal damage whilst rolling backwards his “good luck” allowed him to finish and take the triple crown.

Last season in Brazil, Alonso offered words of warning to Vettel about how his four titles would become a curse when he found himself pedaling a car that was not the best of the field. The implication being that it would either cement his legacy or destroy it and Alonso once again took the opportunity to twist the knife into a floundering Seb by suggesting that Daniel is the new team leader.


154 responses to “Daily #F1 News and Comment: Monday 28th July 2014

  1. Ok my gripe with this Lewis thing is, by the time it came to change tyres and Nico had effectively lost track position to Lewis, because of the way Lewis got past JEV. They could put Lewis on the same tyre as Nico , and had a 1-2. I don’t believe for one minute merc would sabotage his car, but it does appear they tried to use strategy to manipulate the order, we had already been told the two tyre compounds wore at the same rate, but one was 1.5 seconds a lap slower, so it’s not like you could run longer with the harder tyre.

    • JEV killed his tyres defending from Nico, at least someone can defend in F1 still (hint hint Jenson!). You’re right though, Merc should have put Lewis on soft tyres, not mediums, I’m pretty sure Alonso said post race that him having softer tyres is what allowed him to stay in front of Lewis, and I’d agree with that. I saw no evidence that the harder tyre was ever faster. It was a bizarre call, but one that Williams and McLaren also made.

    • They could put Lewis on the same tyre as Nico , and had a 1-2. I don’t believe for one minute merc would sabotage his car, but it does appear they tried to use strategy to manipulate the order…


      Though I think it more likely incompetence (Lauda: “we panicked”) rather than overt manipulation.

  2. Yesterdays race was fascinating.

    Lets start with the Mercedes radio call – beware Hamilfosi you’ll probably not like what I’m about to say!

    Firstly, I think Lewis was correct to ignore the radio call. That was a sign of defiance that I last saw in 2013 for Seb Vettel in Malaysia (who I also thought was right to ignore team orders – unlike most!), but there are distinct differences between the incidents.

    1.) Vettel & Webber had the race sewn up, one of them was going to win.
    2.) It didn’t cost the team any points.
    3.) Vettel was roundly slated by the media for ignoring team orders, whilst Rosberg in the same race was praised for his maturity.

    None of those were true about yesterdays ignoring of team orders. That makes me question the media in F1 in a big way. Putting aside if Lewis was right or wrong to do what he did for a second, there can be absolutely no doubt that him ignoring team orders cost the team far far more than Vettels move on Webber in the Multi21 scenario. Had Lewis let Nico past as per Mercedes request the Silver Arrows had two cars in with a shout of winning the race, Lewis’s non compliance halved those odds and almost certainly lost the team constructors points. I think even conservative estimates put Rosberg in P2 had Lewis let him go. I’m sure someone will do some proper analysis about this. From a Mercedes perspective yesterday was pretty much a disaster, Wolff’s comments said as much, he like the rest of the team know that they had the chance to still win that race and the focus of Hamilton on his prize cost the team a better result. In my mind I can’t possibly see how this isn’t a considerably worse crime than that of Vettel/Webber in Multi 21, for which the German was booed for months afterwards.

    Typically, many of the media were quick to say that ignoring team orders is now ok, when it actually costs you’re team something! I’m not sure I buy that screwed up logic.

    I like to see drivers make big decisions and show that killer instinct that Vettel did in MAL’13 and Lewis did yesterday, but anyone who criticised Vettel really can’t defend Hamilton and be left with any credibility, e.g. most of the SkyF1 team.

    Great stuff from Ricciardo yesterday, I think even the most pro Aussie would think that he was damn lucky though. A safety car 20s earlier and Ric doesn’t win that race, nor beat his team mate. I think the net loss for the top four was probably about 25s, but that was compounded by then getting stuck in traffic for them. It was only thanks to a daring Ferrari strategy (Kudos to them!) and the blistering pace of the Mercedes that two of the four who were hampered were able to get in the fight for the race. Likewise Kimi, JEV and Lewis, all benefited massively from that race changing incident as would Button had done so if the team hadn’t insisted on inters again!

    Exciting race though.

      • Yet those who understand f1, and not only see it as a show where their favorite must win for it to be good, know he’s right.

    • ” From a Mercedes perspective yesterday was pretty much a disaster,… ”

      Yes, because they were unwilling to change the strategy to get Lewis the win.

      Merc would have had a 1-2 if they had changed Lewis to a three stopper.

      re. Toto Wolff vs Niki Lauda; two viewpoints about the same issue –

      Toto the Corporate man, wanting his blue eyed German boy to win:
      “It is a difficult situation now,” Wolff said. “As a team we need to learn from how the season pans out now because if Lewis had let Nico go, Nico could have won the race.
      Wolff is confident the Brit will see Mercedes’ side of the argument in time.
      “He wears his heart on his sleeve and this is how he is and it’s clear having that call is not what you expect when your car is broken down. I think once the emotion has calmed down, everything is analysed and everyone has seen the race, his first emotion will disappear.”

      NikI, the ex-F1 champion, wanting the best driver to get the best result:
      “Mercedes has been used to being in the lead and racing against each other, but this race, with the safety car at the beginning and the wet conditions, was a completely different race,” Lauda said. “So every minute you had to decide something different and in this stress the team told Lewis he should let Nico by because he was on softer tyres and has to come in anyway.
      “But in Lewis’s position he was clear that if he had been in the DRS position – Nico one second behind – for sure he would have let him by. But Nico never got that close. Therefore I do understand that Lewis said ‘Why should I stop now in the middle of the circuit to let my team colleague by?’ He is fighting for the championship anyway.
      “So from my point of view Lewis was right. And why the call came, this happened out of the panic and we had to make up for what we were losing.”
      Asked what he would have done if he had been radioed by a team with similar orders, Lauda added: “I would have not even answered.”

      • >Asked what he would have done if he had been radioed by a team with similar orders, Lauda added: “I would have not even answered.”

        Typical Lauda two-facedness. He was quite ok with it, when Merc embarrassed Nico last year in Malaysia. I remember Nico saying “Remember this race” on the team radio afterwards. Looks like Lewis forgot…

          • I didn’t know there was an expiry date to it. There’s certainly less ‘cars up the escape road’ between Silverstone 2010 and Malaysia 2013, yet it was cited ad nauseam last year.

    • Sorry, but Lewis lost the team points? Have you seen the WCC standings recently? Merc could probably pull out of the rest of the season and still win the WCC.

      It’s all about the drivers now, the WCC is won, the only question is how much they are going to humiliate the rest of the field by.

      • Does it matter? His employer asked him to do something – he ignored it. Unlike his co-worker, who followed the orders last year and Lewis profited from it. In the real world such a behavior gets you sacked unless your employer was giving an illegal directive.

        You can question the wisdom of giving that order in the first place – it was actually as useless and wrong as the one in Malaysia 2013. But he still ignored it and should therefore face the same criticism that Massa, Vettel and Webber have faced for the same offense.

        • Actually, though I’ll wait for the transcripts to confirm, I’m pretty sure Hamilton agreed to let Nico through. What he didn’t agree to is slowing down so Nico could get by because he was racing Ricciardo and Alonso up the road. In fact, he didn’t lift his pace until Ricciardo pitted and was on fresh tyres. And that’s what makes the whole thing so much more interesting, because technically according to Mercs internal rules, at that point Lewis should have had the optimal strategy, yet he didn’t get it.

          And just so you know, it’s not like he sped up to make it hard for Nico. Nico ran mid 1:27’s until he got to Lewis who was running low to mid 1:28’s. At no point did Nico look like he was going to try and get alongside Lewis. Same thing with JEV earlier in the race. He did have some brake issues during the SC and this might have accounted for it. Will be fascinating to watch it play out over the next couple of weeks.

          • “Lewis should have had the optimal strategy”

            During the race I was under the impression that Merc didn’t really know what the optimal strategy was. Initially their best guess was that one stop less was the way to go. And it was only at the end that it turned out that Nico would catch the train with one lap left.. Hardly a resounding confirmation that they knew what they were doing..

            Thank God (some other god, mind you all!) for Judy and Punch, because Saint Ross would have turned this into another boring 1-2 for Merc..

          • LOL! They are probably still trying to figure it out. KimKas mentioned yesterday that Merc have only one strategist who works strategies for both drivers to ensure the best team result. Might be time to modify the rules they are working by.

            Though it does give us rather a lot to talk about. 😉

          • *rubs hands with glee* clearly you’re trying to break the 200 comment barrier today. That’s like extinguishing a grease fire with a bucket of water!!

    • there can be absolutely no doubt that him ignoring team orders cost the team far far more than Vettels move on Webber in the Multi21 scenario.

      There can be absolutely.

      Mercedes cost Mercedes the win by choosing a strategy which gave only one driver the chance of a win rather than both.
      And to leave two sets of NEW options in the garage for one of your drivers in favour of a set of dramatically slower (but no more resilient) primes is simple stupidity.

      That Hamilton was racing Rosberg for position was made quite explicit by the final result.
      The team order was therefore effectively an instruction to one driver not to race for the championship.
      That is absurd.

      Merecedes have to avoid not only fixing the drivers’ championship – but also the appearance of fixing it.

      Yesterday, they failed.

      • I disagree Nigel. Quite simply, if Lewis let Nico go Mercedes as a team would have almost certainly scored more points. Looking at it from a team perspective yesterday was a failure on two counts.

        1.) They arguably got the strategy wrong for Lewis.
        2.) Lewis ignored team orders.

        Looking at #1 It’s hard to tell if switching to a 3 stop strategy would have seen him beat Nico. Lewis would have come out in traffic, but the traffic had better tyres than when Nico nipped past it. Looking back at it all I think Lewis would have been right with Nico, so P1/2 or P2/3 either way, both of the points above lead to a sub optimal conclusion to the race from a Mercedes team viewpoint. It’s also worth pointing out that having both cars on the same strategy with the risk of another safety car enabled Merc to pretty much bank a podium, putting Lewis on fresh rubber along with Nico did jeopardise that flexibility. These are areas that I feel many people are forgetting when looking at this race.

        Given that Multi21 cost Red Bull nothing in terms of points or wins I’d suggest that my point is valid, and “there can be absolutely no doubt that him[Lewis] ignoring team orders cost the team far far more than Vettels move on Webber in the Multi21 scenario.”

        • Looking at #1 It’s hard to tell if switching to a 3 stop strategy would have seen him beat Nico.

          Hamilton was IN FRONT of Rosberg after his last stop.
          How would he not have beaten Rosberg is he had been sent out on his new options – of which he had two sets – rather than the (much) slower prime ??

          And if Mercedes thought a single long stint on the prime genuinely was the faster strategy, then Hamilton ought to have had the better shot of winning. Why then ask him to slow down ?

          As for the risk of another safety car (or rain) argument, there would be NO possible advantage to being on a long stint on the prime. If anything it would have made the option even more attractive.

          The Mercedes strategy calls were either incompetent or (far less likely, IMO) biased.

          When even Toto Wolff thinks you’re wrong –
          “We cannot expect the drivers in the second half of the season to move over for their main competitor.”
          “It is clear that having had that call is not what you expect when the car has broken down [in qualifying].”
          – it’s time to drop it.

          • Yes I know he was in front after Nico pitted for the second time. What I meant was that Rosberg still had life in his current softs, if they pitted Lewis he’d have hit traffic which loses him some time, during which NR would have probably pulled away a bit further, then pitted again. At that point it’s hard to know where Rosberg and Hamilton would have been on track. I think it would be closer than you give credit for. It’s by no means a slam dunk that switching Lewis to a 3 stop strategy would have seen him beat Nico. N.b. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have – merely stating that I think it’d be close, and so close it’s potentially impossible to call, as we don’t know what Hamiltons pace on softs in the race at that point would be like.

      • This is the crux of it. The option is a faster tire and they had the only car with a bunch of brand new options ready to go and they chose not to use them.

    • What distinguishes Malaysia 2013 for me is not the team orders, which I agree to be BS and agree both Vettel and Hamilton were right to ignore, but from the evidence we’ve had, the manner of their instruction, and their rejection are very different.

      SV and MW supposedly had an agreedment pre race, hence the code Multi 21. Vettel did not let it be known to Mark he was going to renege on it. We have no evidence that there was a pre agreed race fix with Lewis and Nico, and Lewis made it plain when asked what he would do.

      Vettel actually overtook Webber, and outright denied the order (rightly), but Lewis merely said, tell him to close up. Perhaps were Nico to get within 3 tenths and pull out down the straight, Lewis would have let him by, but when the first message came he wasn’t even in DRS range.

      SV and MW had agreed to turn their engines down, SV didn’t, much more like the Bahrain and Spain affair between Lewis and Nico.

      Finally, one was early in the season where the CC was far from sure and team points would take priority, and the other was mid season where it is all but sewn up, and the main rival for the championship is the guy you are being asked to let past… the latter beggars belief, and I do think it sends a message to Lewis from Merc.

      What is similar to both is that when you are on split strategies like that, you are racing neck and neck as much as when you are the same strategy and one of you must pass the other, and its what makes both Malaysia 2013, and here, distastefull. Ham and Ros in Malaysia 2013 was an embarrassing mess, as we were never sure if Rosberg had to conserve, or whether Lewis’s had bigger problems not of his own making, and fighting was going to tip the balance… either way it was a mess, the team were embarrased, Lewis had the grace to be so too, Nico was annoyed… was it really something to repeat?

  3. BTW TJ13 – even you know that Lewis does not need to rely on Lauda’s plane to get around – he has his own Challenger 605 – G-LCDH (his initials)

    • It’s not a question of Lewis being dependent on it. The topic came up after the China GP, when Lauda flew him home in his plane – literally (Lauda is a certified commercial pilot), while leaving Nico at the airport to board a scheduled flight with the rest of the team. Merc have been heavily biased – Lauda towards HAM and Wolff towards ROS. We discussed that recently.

      • Hah! Actually, I’m waiting for the inevitable celebrity transition/awakening to Kabbalah or Islam or Scientology. You know, Lewis Ali, or Lewis X, or Yusuf Hamilton have nice rings to them… Maybe he’ll be a Thetan lvl 5 straight off the bat?

        I think I spotted him eating kale too… ROFL.

        Flame Away Hamilfosi… I’ve got my helmet on.

        Disclaimer: I have respect for all religions I mentioned above, except Scientology. I am making a comment as to the celeb requirement to all of a sudden transition in this way, as they become ‘enlightened’. Oh and add Kale to scientology. Rubbish. What happened to Spinach!

        • Disclaimer my arse!!! What you said was offensive and stupid!!! You don’t make a mockery of someone’s religion and then talk about you’ve got respect for all religions except this or that one.

          TJ13…. Why aren’t you moderating his comments? But the moment myself or anyone else makes reference to “race” you’re quick to issue a warning?

          • …. I thought you were the one advocating a few weeks ago that above all else “racism” should not be tolerated…. so we obliged….

            Now religion – anything else for the list?

          • What would you say then to the appearance of the ‘star wars’ religion? I think enough people wrote it in that it appeared on the UK census religion list, ahead of actual well-known religions….

        • @Still, I know we’ve had some respectful discussions, but honestly, your objection to kale is completely unacceptable! How can you sit there, happily eating chips without ever having tried kale and knock it just because some celebrity happens to like it too.

          AS far as spinach goes, well, some of my best friends are
          spinach. 😛

          PS drizzle w/ olive oil and a little salt, crisp under a broiler and enjoy a tasty little snack! 😉

        • Hey. Don’t knock kale. If you’re fortunate enough to live in an enlightened country you can brew your own hooch from it.
          Makes a very clean vodka (or wodka if you like 🙂

          • Based on comments from Matt and Peter, I fully, unreservedly and wholeheartedly retract my insensitive comments about Kale. Going forward, I promise to work with the Kale community to bring the same living standards to Kale as enjoyed by other green leafy vegetables high in lutin.

            All other comments remain. 😀

  4. That’s what I have been trying to say after the race… Lewis stopped his team winning a grand prix… One of the worst possible offenses in Motorsport next to colliding with your team mate. Mercedes, as a team, threw it away and those who think it would have been a little better are deluding themselves. LH cost Mercedes a GP victory.


      • lol… 😀

        Was wondering when you’d resurface PK… Are you done rubbing your hands with glee over MH17 photos?

          • I felt yes, it was, in this particular instance. You may have missed a few exchanges last week. Anyone who reads my comments knows exactly how I feel about MH17. Also, anyone intuitive enough will also know how PK feels.

          • TJ, are there any plans to include private messaging in the site redesign?

          • …..not aware of that functionality – but once we have launched and settled on what goes where, the functionality of coding bespoke stuff is apparently not too complex…..

          • you missed PK’s thinly veiled, anti western / pro MH17 comments last week. I don’t apologize for my comment to him.

            Anyone who reads my comments on MH17 knows how I feel.

        • SIS, man you should really tone it down a bit. Look at the ‘top comments column’. I’m used to being bashed and ridiculed by everyone and his dog. But some of the stuff that you say lately is a trifle too uncouth, even for my taste.

          • Insults in connection with a downed airliner are tasteless. Even if someone made less than intelligent comments about it – insinuating that someone ‘rubs his hands in glee’ over almost 300 dead people is definitely busting the boundaries of propriety.

          • Did you miss his comments on that matter? They left me infuriated. I bit my metaphorical tongue and bit hard after some comments…

            Words can not express how i feel about MH17. However I wont be taunted by… him… and not punch back at least once. I have ignored a few people around here I need to. I have held my hand out also in dignified opinion sharing with many. I have respected many posts, and discussed things freely.

            But after last week, and his unveiling, I am allowed to throw a punch or two back on occasion, especially and invited punch. I suppose this shows I can hit, and hit hard too, if I want. I trust those who like or respect my views, if any, know my feelings on MH17. But like I said, I wont be taunted without throwing one back at that man. In that instance, popularity matters not to me.

          • There’s an old saying.
            “Never argue with an idiot. He’ll drag you down to his level and beat you by experience.”

            Only because someone busted the boundaries of taste, doesn’t mean you need to do so as well. I’ve stepped into that trap oft time myself, so take it form a Hippo of experience 😉

    • So too did JeV when he overtook Nico in under a powered Torro Rosso and then proceed to stay in front of him for 18 laps! Nico on fresh option tyres and with DRS, still couldn’t get by. He was behind lewis for 8-10 laps, he lost a heck of a lot more time behind JeV than he did Lewis. Lewis on worn option tyres was able to close down and pass JeV in the space of 2 laps.

      But sure, ignore the other contributing factors and only use those that support your idiotic comments as always. So go ahead and blame Lewis and not Nico’s inability to actually fight for position on track, rather than waiting for the team to help him out. They did all they could to get him the win, but yet he didn’t. Someone should tell him that he’s going to actually overtake cars on the track, not just back markers and not every race he will be able to drive off into the distance from pole position. So sure blame Lewis for Nico screwing up his own race, why not, you’re all of the opinion that he doesn’t deserve to be in that Mercedes much less F1.

        • Paul, do one mate and don’t come at me with your sanctimonious nonsense. His comments was idiotic! I may be a Lewis fan, but I don’t let my like for him cloud my ability to offer a fair assessment of what I see.

          He’s laying the blame for Nico not winning because he didn’t let him pass, but somehow ignoring other contributing factors, case in point…..”nico allowing himself to be overtaken by a bleeding Torro Rosso and following him for 18 laps”…. If he had stated in front of JeV, then there wouldn’t be any need to ask his teammate to let him pass. This called racing, not driving Ms Daisy! It seems Toto forgot to tell Nico that.

          • “I may be a Lewis fan, but I don’t let my like for him cloud my ability to offer a fair assessment of what I see.”

            Sorry, but I was just rofl’ing so hard that my ass fell off. Gotta go find a sewing kit or summink..

          • Wow, RogerD, I was thinking exactly what you wrote and there it was, with no need for me to write it! Thanks!!! Fortis, and I say this with concern for you, you have problems.

          • I think you’re out of order Fortis.

            Paul is right. No need for insults.

            Your comments are usually good, pretty well thought out and backed with your analysis / findings. Others may not agree, but that is their right.

            I happen to enjoy what you have to share, most of the time, and admire your constant defence of Hamilton. Reminds me of Danilo with Seb back in the day.

            What i’m suggesting is that if you want to be taken seriously by the rest of the forum it might be worth considering pulling in your horns a little.

            Imo, you’ve a lot to offer. I always look for your comments normally.

            I have to be honest though, much more abuse will result in your comments relevance to me being compromised.

          • ….@Colin “Reminds me of Danilo with Seb back in….”

            halcyon days…. (sigh)

            It’s taking time for Danilo to adjust to the fact he needs to align himself with an Aussie if he wishes to back winners in future 😉

          • Except that I’m not a horray fan, who switches allegiance because the one you support has a less than perfect year.

          • …. A little bird told me he thought the new Formula 1 was sh^t 😉

            …maybe he’ll trundle off to join Mark in the WEC.

          • >…maybe he’ll trundle off to join Mark in the WEC.

            For all our sake, I hope not. I don’t think I’ll survive another year of your gormless yammering that Mark’s been handed his arse on a platter by a ‘washed up’ four-time F1 world champion.

          • I still support Webbo 🙂

            Would love for him to be around this year. He’d be driving circles around Seb 🙂

          • ….its a shame for us dear Hippo that the days of that driver pairing have passed…

            …still time and tide and all that

            …but if we hope hard enough, we may always get ‘son of Hamilton’ down the road…… 😉

          • I for once can reign in my grief about Webbers departure without much effort.

            Unlike the retired bloke. Vettel seems to have some grace in defeat. And he got to demonstrate that facet of his personality a few times too often.

            But then, he didn’t look too shabby until he was screwed over by the SC and later did the mistake on the astroturf. Funny. There were two races this year were he was genuinely as fast if not faster than danny boy. Guess who won 😉

            He’s just having a rotten year, but so far has refrained from throwing his toys out of the pram or – lets say – posting telemetry on twatter.

            I think I might have to write a hippo rant.

          • …or suggesting the team or Renault are conspiring against him?

            …and was pretty gracious describing the new F1 as sh^t – as he refrained from adding an adverb for emphasis…

          • The first one is a downright lie. When did he ever say something like that?

            Second. You seem to forget that he’s been critical of the ‘new F1’ before it even started. Watch last years Autosport banquet. And he is hardly the only one who doesn’t like the current moulinex engines.

            So he used the s-word. Heaven forbid. You’ve been harping on about that like a nagging old wife since February. If you don’t find anything else to criticise him instead of perpetually dredging up a single swearword six months ago, maybe you should stopp making yourself look like a complete berk and rub some ointment into the sore body parts.
            The horse is dead, stop sticking a fork in it and find something useful to say.

          • …Vettel gracious huh, some say ‘broken’….

            Suggest you avoid the next post coming soon – or you will be splashing around in your mud bath like a Hippo enveloped by a 10 million strong swarm of hippo skin piercing venomous ‘swarmy’ things…..

            The past is our point of reference to guide us into the future – dear Hippo 😉

          • I don’t know what your problem is. But since 11:40 you’ve been pretty busy mocking Vettel and showing a facet of your character that – let’s say – is not very well reflecting on you. Your initial post was a clear dig at me and I decline to say in public what I think of editors who amuse themselves by mocking their audience.

          • ….. you have become thin skinned – hardly mentioned Vettel for months – used to be a daily occurrence when the world and its dog were booing his a%& off….

          • …. last year we had ‘Christian Aid’ week – a series of supportive articles to assist Mr Horner during his dark days – a time the media were lambasting him for having a permanent imprint of Vettel’s racing boot displayed on his neck….

            One of the TJ13 editorial team suggested a similar week of support for Sebastian this autumn…. ideas on a post car readers please 🙂

          • Colin, apologies my good man….

            I may have overreacted a bit to what Paul said and for that i apologise to you as well Paul.

            But my comment was more in annoyance than anything else. Only one moment in the race was being analysised and as such, used to throw Lewis under the bus, metaphorically speaking..(but if he could, he would do so gladly)…That’s not what cost the team the win, it was the pussy footing about by Nico behind JeV and Mercedes going for a conservative strategy on Lewis’s side of the garage. He had 3 sets of brand new option tyres, but somehow stuck him on a set of prime tyres to do 30+ laps on. If they wanted to win the race, then why not go for a 3 stop strategy and use the option tyres? a tyre that was 1.5 sec a lap faster than the primes, wouldn’t that have at least given both driver a chance to win the race?

          • Agree with you my friend.

            My view is Merc dropped the ball. Hamilton was right and Fred / Ric did what their team mates didn’t.

            Nico has had some brilliant races this year, but this was not one of them.

          • NP Fortis. I think people dismiss a point more easily when you’re throwing insults at them, and you often, but not always ;-), make some valid points.

    • You mention nothing on the fact that nico could not get past a torro rosso despite having a faster car and when he attempted to pass, he made a complete hash of it. Then we have the fact that when the team told lewis to let nico past, nico was 2 seconds behind him on better tyres and couldn’t make the pass.
      If that was lewis, yourself and fat hippo would have been frothing in your mouth and commenting on here about how crap he was.
      Yet lewis is the bad guy when he realises that letting nico past would ultimately mean nico widening the gap in the championship. All this coming from a person who was banging on about how lewis is unable to think in the race. If he had let him past you would then go on to criticise him for his lack of killer instinct.

      • I have said, numerous times, that Nico performed poorly also, especially at the start of the race in the wet. I said it in my post race comments. I said it in subsequent comments. I have in no way let Nico off the hook, nor the Mercedes team as a whole, nor Lewis.

        I am pointing out that I think, as do others it turns out, that LH fundamentally cost Mercedes a win in order to gain a few pts on Nico. That’s not on in most race teams. Mercedes team still deserved to win a race. it’s not all about Lewis. Think of Ferrari… NO WAY would that happen. Most teams and drivers in a team respect differing strategies. The only way LH’s strategy worked to beat Nico was destroying Nico’s strategy, which turns out was a potential race winning one.

        It’s that simple.

        I also think Nico, frankly, shouldn’t have been in that position had he been quicker at the beginning and gains, as opposed to fell back. But the biggest factor that is emerging is Hamilton.

        • Fundamentally, Mercedes cost Mercedes a 1-2 by trying to play cute with the strategy (and failing).

          And they should be grateful Hamilton ignored the messages.
          If he had ended up losing the championship by a handful of points, thanks to a team order which resulted from a team strategy ballsup, the negative publicity would be fairly impressive.

          • …. and that is really the point, Hamilton defied his team to reduce the gap by a handful of points – but at what cost?…. behind the scenes…..

          • No net cost.
            (Unless you count showing up Paddy Lowe as a strategic incompetent.)

            Had he obeyed the instruction, he would effectively have accepted the position of No.2 driver.

            As Toto put it: “It is clear that having had that call is not what you expect when the car has broken down [in qualifying]…”

            “We cannot expect the drivers in the second half of the season to move over for their main competitor.”

            Sounds about right to me.

          • He knows where he stands now TJ.

            No gifts.

            Just drive quicker than Nico, all the time then let the Merc suits bring in Seb. After you’ve won the WDC.

            With all that’s gone on he knows where he stands.

            He’d be a great fit for red bull…..

          • So should he have obeyed and then see the gap to his closest and possibly only competitor (not writing off young ricciardo as yet) for the championship extended?

            What happened to, “we will let our drivers race other and we would only interfere if it gets to a point whereby they may crash into each other”

            And he really didn’t defy his team did he?…..

            “i’m not slowing down to let Nico pass, if he catches up, then i’ll let him pass”…… So the fact that he didn’t catch up, makes it a irrelevant.

            So are you saying that he should’ve pulled over and let Nico pass?

            Say he did, is there any guarantees that he would’ve gotten passed Fed? He couldn’t get passed an underpowered Torro Rosso for 18 laps, so what’s the chance that he would’ve gotten pass a sly old fox like Fed? and what about Ricciardo, should he have moved over as well and let him go on his merry ways?

            It would’ve been interesting to see what your opinion would’ve been had he allowed him to pass and Nico then went on to win the race and then extended his lead further…..but I guess we will ever know.

        • The problem I have with that bit of logic, is that Nico failed to demonstrate he was capable of getting past anyone in that particular race.

          Even if he had been let go, both Alonso and Ricciardo stood in his way. At best, IMO, 2-4 with 3-4 likely as well. The most Hamilton cost Mercedes was 3 points and it could well have been a wash, one with him 17 points back rather than 11.

          But the bigger issue is it highlights a fundamental discrepancy in Merc’s strategy department. According to their public statements the leading driver gets optimum strategy and at the point they asked Lewis to let Nico through, Lewis was their leading driver. I say this because there was a very clear message to Nico after his pit stop lap 32 that he was behind Lewis. And it’s not as if Nico asked to be let by. If so, why didn’t they reverse strategies to optimize Hamilton’s race, as he would have had a better chance than Nico since he was further up the road and had already managed some overtakes (without even hitting things this week LOL).

          They were staring the same issue in the face during Silverstone but it became a moot point due to Rosberg’s gearbox failing. What astonishes me is that rather than sorting it out then and being grateful for the lack of controversy, Merc apparently ignored it and now it’s bit them square on the rear.

          To my mind it’s a procedural error, but it’s one that Mercedes have already encountered and failed to deal with. Though it seems that will be one of their projects for the summer break.

    • Nico was unlucky with the safety car, then got himself stuck behind JeV which pretty much put him too far behind Lewis to A>Catch him and B> pass. Lewis is fighting for the drivers title, so what he did was pretty much to be expected. Nico would have likely done the same thing had the roles been reversed. Lauda understands what’s going on in terms of both drivers being desperate to win the title, while Toto is labouring under the delusion that Lewis will do as he is told, even if it means Lewis loses ground in the drivers title battle. Toto just has to let them both fight it out, otherwise it will get to a stage where neither driver will listen to the team and Mercedes will likely throw away more race victories. Ross Brawn would have handled this a hell of a lot better, and I doubt he would have cared which driver won the title, just so long as the constructors was secured (which is what counts for the teams).

      If Lewis has a trouble free qualifying at Spa, then we are likely to see fireworks between the drivers and the team. Which will be entertaining for us. I’m not that bothered who wins the title, just as long as it’s a fair fight (or as close as you can get to it in F1). I expect Nico will run into some issues with the power train soon enough.

        • I’m thinking more of the Crash Bang Wallop kind of Fireworks. Yesterday was yet another occasion when Nico got in a position to pass Lewis near the end of a race, but for whatever reason just couldn’t make a pass stick.

          • Lewis running him of the track might have had to do with that. Also, what people forget is the white smoke from Nico’s brakes during SC1. That cost him a lot of time after the restart because he had to tiptoe around like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Lewis had a few laps with wonky brakes, too. It seems the ‘make it stop’ bits are a real achilles heel of the Merc

          • running him of the track

            A tad hyperbolic.

            And Nico has form in that area.

          • Both maneuvers were obviously deemed legal by the stewards. I just meant to say that saying a driver can’t overtake when the other one is defending on the very edge of legality is a trifle over-simplistic.

          • To be honest, I was half hoping Nico had stuck to the track and let Lewis hit him.

            Lewis is taking a few too many risks for my liking when he bundles his way past other drivers. Ricciardo gave him a masterclass yesterday on how to pass cleanly but decisively.

            Unfortunately, Nico is a bit too conservative in passing. I can only assume he is too worried about losing places while Lewis is more prepared to take the risk then moan about the other driver not giving way when he loses a bucketful of points.

          • @Stephen Hughes…..

            ” Ricciardo gave him a masterclass yesterday on how to pass cleanly but decisively”….

            Your joking right? Ricciardo picked up that move from Lewis. Maybe he was avenging what happened to his fellow countryman twice at that very same corner last year.

          • Nothing wrong with what Lewis did with regards running Nico out of track. Kimi did the same to Seb, Rosberg to Bottas etc. Additionally looking at a purely interteam battle like Merc, you’ll recall that Nico ran Lewis off the track on the first corner in Canada. All fair and above board, although I’d argue that if you’re alongside someone you should have to leave a cars width. Either way, nothing wrong in what Hamilton did there for me.

          • As I said. If you accept that as ‘normal defending’ saying that a driver ‘cannot overtake’ is oversiplifying things.

          • Apologies for my earlier outburst at you Paul, it was a moment of madness on my part.

          • @Hippo…

            The rules states, “that you’re allowed to make one move to defend your position”

            Nico was never in a position to overtake, because at no point was he along side Lewis

          • @FH, in replay it was clear Hamilton left room. At no point was Nico 4 off. And several other drivers had used the exact same maneuver throughout the race. Nico was just a day late and a dollar short yesterday after he got screwed by the SC.

          • Speculating. Could be utterly wrong. I just think things will end up in a crash between the two sooner rather than later. Could be Nico that causes it, could be Lewis or it could be both.

      • “Nico would have likely done the same thing had the roles been reversed”

        Maybe, maybe not. We can’t know that.

        • I think we may find out in the next few races, if that is the case with Nico. If he’s got the determination to win the title, he’ll do anything to make it happen. Even ignoring team orders.

          • Oh he certainly will now, of that i am sure. As would anyone. I mean we would not know if he would have been the one to open the can of worms of self interest.

          • My comment/exchange with Taperoo2K was in reference to ignoring team orders. I don’t know what you are talking about, but it seems the discussion above about hard racing, which I have no problem with at all.

            I know you have a big hard-on for me, but if you are going to be a bitch and be all snippy on every comment I make (which I pretty much exclusively ignore or giggle at then ignore), then get it right.


          • “I know you have a big hard-on for me”….. ha ha, I have to admit, that did make me smerk a bit. But sorry to disappoint you, your not my type

  5. What I can’t understand is the comparison between Hamilton and Seb.

    Any chance someone can properly enlighten me, considering points diff and race win vs racing for position?

    This was more like Massa vs Bottas, imo, racing for position.

    Williams had the decency to apologise for such a silly situation.

    Fair play to Lauda for his comments. I don’t always agree with him, but I respect that he doesn’t give a feck about corporate double speak.

      • We should be careful not to paraphrase. Although I may well have missed one (or more) messages, the one I remember was “Don’t hold him [Nico] up”

        He didn’t. Nico wasn’t close enough to him to be held up.

        • True. My opinion is the same. If you want to pass, you need to get close first. Should hamilton park his car for him? I don’t think so

      • Do you absolutely always do what your told by your employer? Always??

        Maybe you do, but I don’t.

        I do, the vast majority of the time I do. But definitely not always.

        So I’m OK with Hamilton not following orders, especially when it needlessly compromises him to the benefit of his most important opposition.

        • The point is not about being subservient to an employer, it’s about Mercedes had a chance at a GP win. Wins are few and far between. When you can get em, you damn well do. It seems Mercedes is spoiled for wins this year and forgot what life was like in 2010,11,12,13. Few and far between. Red Bull and Ferrari know this all to well.

    • It’s very interesting how quickly Bottas has come up to speed.. Hulk, Ricciardo, Bottas, Bianchi should all have very long careers, and could be the next top drivers once Alo, Ham, Ros, Vet etc. retire. Grosjean could be included in that list eventually.. and Kvyat most likely..

  6. Re: OTD Lite (I do read the rest of the news, I promise) This Mr Tazio Nuvolari – I’ve read (in Wikipedia no less) that Ferdinand Porsche labelled him as “the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future.”
    When you peruse his career, it is quite astounding – more than 17 Grand Prix victories, 150 wins in total on both 2 wheels and 4. The descriptions of that 1935 German Grand Prix make him a true legend.

  7. By offending someone else, you limit his freedom of expression, so it stops being a freedom of speech when anyone can say whatever they like without considering other people.

    I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed with today’s posts (and I’ve read only a third of these) as many are littered with offences to other bloggers, religion, distasteful jokes about recent tragedies, etc.

    • …its the courtroom of opinion…. gets a bit rough in here at times…. though we have moved to moderate the worst excesses.

      However, we should consider a disclaimer for the new site – those who take offence easily – please take the gate too 😉

      • Well, I’m not taking offence that easily, it will take some beating to put me off the best F1 site. It’s just about enjoying every read, every day, every hour, every minute. For some of us sad folk, this is our best daily entertainment during work time.

      • True, although in my mind it was lost when the original track was lost. But to lose the remainder would be terrible.. I can still remember seeing some bike races there on TV when I was younger.

  8. Am also growing tired of the needless bickering of a few members whose posts make up half of the comments section! Far out, get a life.
    Regarding team order demands, Lewis was right to make it hard for Nico. It was a stupid demand from Mercedes. Let them race for crying out loud. It’s orders like that that make the company Mercedes look bad, as much as bad behaviour from drivers off track.
    Team orders should be banned (again!).
    As an aussie watching the BBC/sky coverage I was disappointed that it took the commentators until there was only a hand full of laps left to acknowledge that Riciardo had a chance to win!
    And the restart after the SC, the camera was watching the field stream down the straight while I wanted to see what Button was going to do to Ric in the first corner. And that’s just one recollection of the many instances where the camera was watching the wrong fight.

  9. Yesterday’s situation was really interesting and in the context of the championship being fought between Hamilton and Rosberg (realistically), it is now leading to situations that the team is not prepared to handle.

    I was pretty heated yesterday that Hamilton was told to *not hold up* Rosberg (which is not the same as just *letting him past*). Mercedes were actually careful with their wording. Hamilton actually agreed but adds “if he gets close I’ll let him go by”. Depending on where your loyalty lies (not the only factor obviously but that’s the only thing I could think of first), this either makes the whole difference or it doesn’t. My opinion is that Hamilton did not defy team orders at any point, and it’s not like he was running 4 seconds slower than Rosberg. If Rosberg never got in DRS-range and never tried to make an overtake, why should Hamilton deliberately slow down and ruin his own race (at a point where he was fighting for a win) ? Running into dirty air is probably one of the reasons why Rosberg never got close enough to begin with. The flip-side being that Hamilton was told in code to effectively let Rosberg by even if it means slowing down is the more disturbing one for me but in this scenario it’s pretty clear Hamilton has disobeyed team-orders and should get at least the criticism Vettel got for Multi-21 (I was in that group too, so yeah : I won’t say that criticism is unwarranted).

    Looking back at it all, I feel there are too many things that came together for Mercedes (and possibly even the drivers) to handle. We are just over half-way through the season, it’s now clear that Rosberg and Hamilton are the main protagonists of the WDC title fight. Realistically (not mathematically), the WCC is done, no team will stage a come-back with 8 races to go. Rosberg is ahead in the title fight and yesterday he was behind Hamilton because of the SC randomness (for once I’m glad Hamilton got some luck going his way). I like the point raised by matt : Hamilton was technically the leading driver with about 20-25 laps to go, so if Mercedes’ policy is to give the leading driver the optimum strategy, surely Hamilton should have been switched to option tyres. He wasn’t, even if he wanted the option tyres, I’m guessing the team gets the final say anyway. So that points to Mercedes’ inability to think strategy-wise in real-time. Sure : before the race started, Rosberg was unquestionably set for the win, and Hamilton was simply set to do damage-limitation. But during the race, the situation reversed, Hamilton was effectively the leading driver and Mercedes failed to reevaluate their strategies (rather than “refused to”, which was what I thought yesterday but I’m buying the theory that they indeed panicked and were clueless about how they should go about the race).

    But the SC randomness squashes everything, and that is the area that (I hope) Mercedes learn something from. Maybe the drivers too, actually. Rosberg got shafted by the 1st SC, bad luck, there’s nothing he could have done about that. But getting stuck behind Vergne and not passing him was his fault, my opinion is that this was one of the major factors in him not winning this race, despite everything that happened. Now Hamilton started the race from the pit-lane, and this time around he somehow found himself ahead of his team-mate. Considering he is in the WDC fight, I’d say it’s actually mature thinking to focus on out-scoring your title challenger (and team-mate in this case) even if you are not winning. I normally expect that from drivers like Rosberg, Alonso and Vettel. Hamilton showed he can keep his head and see beyond just winning a race (something he’s been slated for for years), that’s actually a good thing. In the context of the championship and yesterday’s race, I think Hamilton did what any driver involved in a title fight is expected to do : fight for his own cause. If Rosberg is even 1% serious about his title (I think he is 100% serious about it), he will do the exact same thing, and that’s what I expected before, expect now and expect later.

    Ted Kravitz came up with that figure that Hamilton cost Rosberg about 10 seconds in the race, but again : in the context of the race I don’t see how that’s even possible. Alonso was ahead of Hamilton and doing a pretty good job of keeping him at bay. Rosberg couldn’t overtake Vergne for 17-18 laps and then never got close enough to seriously overtake Hamilton, so yesterday he was in “bad” form and let’s say Hamilton did let him past without fighting back, would Rosberg have gotten past Alonso and Ricciardo towards the end of the race ? Those 10 seconds can’t possibly account for running into dirty air and facing a driver parking his car in all the right areas. Well, we will never know, but based on what he showed yesterday I would say that he would not have gotten past Alonso or Ricciardo. I’m not saying Rosberg didn’t have the ability, but it’s more appropriate to say he was not in the best form yesterday.

    So now, Mercedes have a tough situation to handle : both their drivers are fighting for the title and both are serious about winning it. I personally don’t dislike Lauda’s (perhaps crude) view : manage the situation until all other drivers are mathematically out and with only Rosberg and Hamilton left to fight it out, then let it be an all-out brawl (literally). I also think that Mercedes cannot afford to have only one race strategist because that implicitly means favouring one driver over the other, so I’d say they should have two and let the drivers choose which one they want to work with and stick to it. It’s not because Hamilton comes 1st and Rosberg comes 2nd in Q3 that Rosberg will start thinking he can’t win the race, same for Hamilton. Whether they like it or not : I think Mercedes are utterly unprepared for letting both their drivers fight for the WDC title, based on yesterday’s evidence (I can picture Ross Brawn watching it all and smiling). They better do their homework in the summer break. There will be a hell of a lot of fireworks, unless Rosberg scores the political win (I think everyone will agree that Hamilton would never win in that arena even if you gave him a life-time to learn about politics) and gets the team to work for him. I’d like to think that Rosberg will want to fight it out with Hamilton on track but I would totally understand if he bails out of it but still gets the work done to nail the WDC title (any driver serious about winning the title will resort to all means available to achieve that, otherwise they wouldn’t be in F1).

    Sorry, long post, I just needed to get it out of the system.

    • …… feel free….

      Bloody Hell KK, Just ran a word count – that’s a feature length article at just shy of 1200 words….

      …Mr Editor, get KK to work please……

    • Nicely written and with some very valid points as well.

      I think your point about the strategist, is probably the most important one of them all. Given that both car and drivers are evenly matched, i think that’s an area that they needs to be look at closely.

      • I’m a bit surprised actually.

        I thought I read recently that Merc had two separate strategies for each driver (implying that they had two strategists working over it), whereas McLaren had only one optimum strategy for the team (and let the drivers suck it). I may be confusing something, though.

        • It was at Monaco that Lewis revealed that Merc had only 1 compared the the 2 that Mclaren had for both drivers.

      • Matt alluded to that before me, I’m sure other posters have done that too. I just tried to have a global-ish view of the situation and writing it out was one way of doing it.

  10. I’ve seen posts in the past few weeks saying that Hamilton needs to be careful with his employers so as not to hack them off. That is true, however, Merc should be careful not to play with fire either.

    Hamilton is very familiar with the twitter-sphere, facebook-sphere, and any other new form of media. His audience is young and news can travel very fast and damage a corporation in this new form of media. Not to mentino the inflammatory British media. Merc’s image, unfortunately, is still this of a middle-aged man. Merc want to expand in the US and target the younger generation too.

    It would be interesting to have an article and discuss which of the two would get more damaged if things go pear-shaped between them. Maybe we can also look at past examples, not only in F1, but in other sports too.

    • Well, short term Merc would lose IMO. Lewis’ followers will side with him regardless and that is an audience they are trying to target.

      Frankly, Lewis will be fine till he starts to lose his speed and then he’ll be done. Having already acquired a “difficult” label there’s little they can do and ATM his rep as a driver is high enough plus his marketability will open doors at other teams. Not sure where he stands with personal sponsors but there you go.

  11. Anyone saw Lauda’s reaction to Vettel-to-Merc rumours?

    “Absolute bulls**t. I can tell you that nobody from this team had spoken with him. Why would we want to? We already have the two best drivers. Why would we want to change that?”

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