#F1 Features: Lewis – Opportunistic or Naïve at the 2014 Hungarian GP

The past 24 hours has been reminiscent of Malaysia 2013 and the whole multi-21 saga. Team orders or just ‘let em race’ are the opposing philosophical views.

The ‘let em race’ brigade  believe they a pure racers at heart and that their heroes should be blood, guts and thunder – all out from flag to flag. “Screw the rest, I’m here to do my best”

This of course was the eventual line Sebastian Vettel trotted out after the three-week break following the multi 21 race.

The problem is that whilst this appears passionate, full of valour and being true to oneself, the reality behind the scenes makes this position disingenuous.

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Many hold to the perception that Vettel mugged his team-mate Mark Webber in Malaysia, as the cars were cruising for a 1-2 they had been instructed to turn down their engines to ensure reliability.

Turning up his engine and launching a sneaky attack on his unsuspecting team-mate, meant Sebastian lost credibility in the eyes of many fans. It wasn’t a fair fight.

However, had young Seb told the team to ‘screw their team orders’ and inform Mark he had one lap to get ready for the impending onslaught, Vettel may have been deemed by many as heroic and a champion of anti corporate influences on F1.

So in Hungary 2014, was Lewis Hamilton a champion of the real racers or just a ‘sneaky’ Vettel-esque opportunist move?

Mercedes discuss the various strategies available to both drivers prior to the race and both drivers are aware of each others’ plan A and Plan B or C options.

For the driver who is behind arriving at the first pit stop, there is often a counter strategy devised, to give him the opportunity to actually create the opportunity to jump their team mate should the strategy play out as simulated.

Due to Lewis’ position, it appeared track position would be a problem for him and so running long on the prime was thought to deliver better long-term track position for him.

This could mean that Hamilton found himself ahead of his team-mate, who was on fresher tyres but who had another pit stop-loss of time to suffer.

The call came for Hamilton to let Rosberg, who had been catching Hamilton at over a second a lap, through and again Lewis chose to question the team’s decision and whether they were putting him at a disadvantage.

The result being for around 12 laps, Rosberg was ‘stuck’ behind Hamilton.

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Due to the lower track temperatures during the race when compared to the rest of the weekend, the difference between the pace of the prime tyre and the soft tyre was less pronounced. The prime worked better at lower temperatures. This was why Mercedes fitted him with the prime at his second stop.

Rosberg knew on the go-kart circuit that is Hungary, it was pointless ruining his tyres and strategy to challenge Hamilton and was informed by the team on more than one occasion Lewis had been given the call for him to move over.

Lewis in the meantime was punishing the prime tyre during the first half of its life, lap times of the other prime runners demonstrate he was 1-1.5s quicker than Massa, Vettel and Bottas at equivalent stages of them running the prime tyre after the second stop..

However, payback was always likely, during the last 10 laps of the race, Hamilton was up to 2-2.5s slower than other prime tyre runners, because he failed to take the measured approach to the entire stint the tyres required and the team had set out.

Yet he finished third and ahead of his team-mate rival for the WDC.

So what? Lewis did – as he said post race – what was right for him, just as Vettel did some 18 months earlier.

Add to this that Mercedes most likely have the WCC in the bag, so its gloves off time – time for Nico and Lewis to slug it out, so we can see who is the best… Right?

untitledYet this was no fair fight. Had Rosberg known his team-mate was going to hi-jack his strategy, he would never have pitted from behind JEV. At the time, Vettel was behind Rosberg and Lewis behind Vettel. Nico had track position.

If the duel was merely to be between Lewis and himself, Nico would have run as long as possible on the soft tyre, which was already proving to be surprisingly durable – again due to the lower track temperatures. This would have given Rosberg track position over Hamilton. Rosberg didn’t realise the rules of the game had changed and track position was now ‘king’, so he pursued the optimal strategy provided by the team.

Had Nico abandoned the strategy, run long, this would have created a situation where as the driver ahead, Rosberg, would have eventually received first call on tyre strategy for the second stop. the german would have chosen the optimum moment where he had a gap to Lewis, pitted for fresh rubber and blasted out of the pits and created the undercut on Lewis with his ageing tyres.

So was Lewis really a hero? He couldn’t have achieved the result he did without Rosberg failing to understand the new rules of the game.

Once again, Lewis placed himself at odds with the team. As Toto Wolff said after the race, “What we had at the beginning of the season doesn’t function anymore. Perhaps we need to have a new way. It’s getting intense and we need to sit down and discuss how to handle things.”

These are not the comments of someone deliriously happy with the way the day panned out or the fact Lewis drove spectacularly from the pit lane to the podium. Maybe the rules of the game will change, and track position will be the new strategy goal from the moment one driver gets pole position.

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Yet Lauda’s insistence that the drivers be allowed to race without strategy protocols, wasn’t completely endorsed by Wolff who said, “This is one of the thoughts we are having. At the moment, we have a 170-point advantage in the constructors’ championship and maybe it is a moment of loosening it a bit, in agreement with both of them.” – See more at: http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09170#sthash.tAhfcTpV.dpuf

Toto has one eye on Stuttgart, who may be less than impressed if designing race strategies for each Mercedes driver to overcome the other, will result in a sub-optimal performance of the team, and more race wins are jeopardised.

This of course would be great for the fans, but the blanket global marketing campaign issued from Germany following each race win may then have to take a rain check every now and then.

untitledThis should have been one of Hamilton’s most euphoric moments after such a mesmeric drive and following a day of woeful despair. Yet Lewis’ demeanour on the podium was subdued, because he knows there will be ramifications for his actions – though what they will be – we can but speculate.

And for what; a handful of points which pale into insignificance when the prospect of Abu Dhabi and double points looms on the horizon?

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162 responses to “#F1 Features: Lewis – Opportunistic or Naïve at the 2014 Hungarian GP

  1. A fine piece of writing, and roughly what I was trying to convey in my earlier post.

    I think the mainstream F1 media are so worried about getting interviews and so forth that they daren’t write such a piece.

    • A fine piece of creative writing, which rests on a number of unsupported assumptions.

      If the duel was merely to be between Lewis and himself

      I think Rosberg, Hamilton, Mercedes and 90% of the viewing public have know that’s the case for quite a while now.

      …the difference between the pace of the prime tyre and the soft tyre was less pronounced. The prime worked better at lower temperatures. This was why Mercedes fitted him with the prime at his second stop.

      The difference in pace in favour of the option was still substantial – as we all saw.
      More importantly, the lower temperatures meant the difference in life between the two types of tyre was virtually nil – as we also saw.

      The decision to put Hamilton out on the prime was simply unjustifiable.

    • Had Nico abandoned the strategy, run long, this would have created a situation where as the driver ahead,…

      Do we know he could have done this ?

      Rosberg’s longest stint on the option was 24 laps, compared to Hamilton’s 31 (a number which demonstrates the absurdity of putting him out for a 31 lap final stint on the prime).
      Hamilton’s options were all brand new; Rosberg’s had been through the rigours of qualifying.

      While its possible that Rosberg might have run that long stint, we don’t know it’s so.

      The detailed scenario painted above is at best a very partial account.
      A convincing analysis it ain’t.

    • Yet Lewis’ demeanour on the podium was subdued, because he knows there will be ramifications for his actions

      Impressive piece of mindreading (unless I missed the interview where he laid all that out?)

      Have you considered his demeanour might have been a result of believing the team had tried to shaft him (not something I’m claiming for sure, but at the very least equally possible) ?

          • … Try reading the article again… with the perception glasses removed…… it was not anti Lewis…

            “Mesmeric drive from the pit lane to the podium”!

            the article looked at how Merc set up their drivers for strategy pre-race.. how Lewis fighting Nico affected this…. how Lewis decided he wasn’t playing ball…. the debate over drivers being allowed to race freely…. what the new rules of the new Merc strategy plans could be …. and Stuttgart’s potential response….. and asked a question over the potential consequences for Lewis…..

          • I’ve read it a couple of times.

            So in Hungary 2014, was Lewis Hamilton a champion of the real racers or just a ‘sneaky’ Vettel-esque opportunist move?

            It appears to be arguing for the latter.
            As I’ve said above, I think you’ve based that conclusion on a number of unsupported assumptions.
            And you fail to consider the bind in which the Mercedes strategy call placed Hamilton – which is curious, as even Toto Wolff seemed able to do so after the race.

            It’s an interesting piece, but strikingly tunnel visioned.

            We’re all prone to arguing towards a conclusion, rather than from the evidence, from time to time… but not all of us call ourselves judge.
            🙂

          • ….. Of course you are right in a way, but you start an article with a ‘null hypothesis’ and explore the possibilities….

            The premise of the article was Vettel and Lewis both disobeyed agreed team strategy protocols and gained a favourable result…..

            The main body of the article explores whether Lewis gained an advantage which by ‘doing a Vettel’ – ignoring agreed strategy – potentially gave him a similar favourable outcome which also disadvantaged his team mates rightful expectations…..

            He finished ahead of Rosberg, which even the Hamfosi argue would not have happened had he ceded to the instructions..

            The analysis suggests, Lewis did not behave on the long stint to the end of the race in the most beneficial manner for the team or indeed in a way which was optimum for his own performance – ie pushed hard to keep Rosberg at bay, possibly missed a chance to take Alonso at the end with worn out tyres….

            I’m yet to hear a coherent argument which suggests Lewis was the master of strategy, and acted in a way more beneficial to the team than the strategists had decided upon.

            He possibly lost out on second place, but succeeded, by his own admission, to doing the best thing for his WDC hopes – which is very honest of him.

            The article concludes, this is a win for Lewis, but possibly not a win-win for Mercedes

            Further, who knows whether the team will just get drunk together and sing ‘Forza Mercedes’ anyway, or whether behind closed doors they may see it very differently…….

            you can read anywhere – ‘awesome drive from Hamilton’, which I even agreed with………..

          • The main flaw, in my opinion, is that the assumption is that the strategy planned prior to the race should be adhered to.

            Given that there were two safety cars, a drying track and the threat of further rain during the race itself, I think that this thesis rather highlights that the Mercedes strategists and/or senior management might be entirely incapable of managing an evolving race. If that’s true, they should thank their lucky stars that they have such a huge car advantage – and everyone (team and drivers) should realise that this is likely to be a one season chance to win all the prizes.

      • Interesting piece of fiction, more like it.

        If Lewis looked dejected or sad on the podium, it was probably b/c he now had incontrovertible proof that the team is, at best, incompetent at evolving strategy and tactics during the race or, at worst, actively favoring Nico at his (LH’s) expense!

    • Yet this was no fair fight. Had Rosberg known his team-mate was going to hi-jack his strategy, he would never have pitted from behind JEV. At the time, Vettel was behind Rosberg and Lewis behind Vettel. Nico had track position.

      This is the purest fantasy.

      Hamilton ran a much longer second stint than Rosberg – presumably because his tyres were still performing well, and something he was entirely entitled to do.
      In no sense is that “hijacking” Rosberg’s strategy. it’s called racing.
      It should have won Hamilton the race.

      Had Rosberg been able to run a similar stint without his tyres going off, I am sure he would have done so. The advantage of doing so is obvious.

      At the end of that stint, Hamilton would come out of the pits well ahead of Rosberg.
      It was obvious at that point that sending him back out on the faster option (the tyre Rosberg was on), would have guaranteed Hamilton would finish in front of Rosberg.
      (As we also know from Rosberg’s pace on the options, it would very likely have enabled him to win the race.)

      Sending him back out on the prime effectively sabotaged his race – and gave Rosberg the only possible opportunity to overtake him.

      I’m yet to hear a coherent argument which suggests Lewis was the master of strategy, and acted in a way more beneficial to the team than the strategists had decided upon.

      I submit that you just did.

      You made no coherent argument for Hamilton pitting earlier – effectively an act of self sabotage.

      “The strategists” blundered, costing the team a win.

        • Rosber had loads of tyres left

          And your evidence for that is… ?

          In any event, if that really was the case, Rosberg made a mistake not staying out (or the master strategists in the pitlane did).
          To suggest that mistake was Hamilton’s responsibility is utterly absurd.

          Lewis – Opportunistic or Naïve
          Hardly a ‘null hypothesis’.

          It is axiomatic that if you can extend your stint and maintain pace, you do so.
          That’s common sense, not opportunism.

          The fact that Hamilton came out from his last stop around 15 seconds ahead of Rosberg makes it blatantly obvious to anyone not in denial that he could have won the race on two short stints on options.

          • I’m sorry Nigel – go read the lap charts – then come back

            Your current line by line, phrase by phrase, nit picking of the article is not analysis, merely speculation based on a kind of… “well the end of the world could happen”.

            If you do as I suggest, you will understand why Rosberg had loads of soft tyre left 😉

            He was pitted to go counter with JEV…..

          • He was pitted to go counter with JEV…

            Which I acknowledged as a possibility.

            it was still a mistake – and I still don’t see how that requires Hamilton to sabotage his own race in order to advantage Rosberg.

            I’m not nitpicking; that point is fundamental to your entire article – and it makes no sense – as everyone including Wollf and Christian Horner (!) have since recognised.

          • …what is fundamental to the analysis is Hamilton’s over use of the prime tyre when compared to other prime users at a similar similar stage – to defend against Nico – which cost Lewis making a place on Alonso…

            Honer did not have someone working on analysing Hamilton’s prime stint usage – and his comments were made after the race…

            Wolff was being pragmatic and dealing with the politics of him having a driver do a multi 21

  2. This blog should just be retitled “I hate Lewis Hamilton and I want him driven out of F1”.

    Trashy article.

    • As well a written and analysed peice I have not read on the subject. This is what I have tried to impart. Adding anything here will only divert comments to bashing me, so no additions. Hopefully some Hamilfosi take time to think, ‘hmmm, maybe there is a point here worth understanding. Maybe Mercedes deserved a chance at winning given their effort and investment’.

  3. “Yet Lewis’ demeanour on the podium was subdued, because he knows there will be ramifications for his actions”

    Lewis stood on the podium feeling let down by his team AGAIN. It is their fault for not building a proper car for him to qualify in and thus why he’s had to make up 50 places in the last 4 races, while his teammate has cruised around winning.

    If they both have reliable cars and he’s not quick enough, he’ll be disappointed with himself but hold his hands up.

    Paddy Lowe and Toto need to ensure his car is solid first before they issue team orders for him to move over because he’s not quick enough.

  4. LOL It seems you’re really plucking at straws here to justify how Nico could take pole position, then wind up behind a car that started from the pit lane. Why wasn’t Hamilton put on the softer tyre, obviously the quicker strategy especially considering he had new tyres to spare? Why split the strategy? IMO Rosberg is a very fast driver but not adept at racing wheel to wheel. His inability to overtake a Torro Rosso is what cost him his win.

    • Never mind that he wouldn’t have been behind the TR in the first place had he not been screwed royally by the first SC – onw that HAM massively profited from

      • I know you keep saying that the SC screwed Nico and helped Lewis (and the facts bear that out) I still don’t understand how that, ultimately, gets LH to beat his team mate.

        After the Safety Car, Nico was in 4th and Lewis in 13th. Unless my maths fails me, Nico still had a clear 9 place gap. Even with his lead being taken and Hamilton’s 30-odd second deficit being wiped out, Niso should have walked a result over his team mate. He even had the faster strategy.

        There must be more to your refrain about the SC that I haven’t seen (which wouldn’t surprise me) – can you school me?

        • You semmed to have missed the smoking brakes of Nico during SC1. He immediately lost places after the restart and had to pootle around like a catholic schoolgirl for two laps

          • Well what more than cooked brakes do you need? Once in the pack you lose time. Had he stayed out front, Lewis would never have seen him again. Not to forget that Lewis also profited from the second SC as he again had his gap reduced to virtually nothing.

          • Ok, I’m not convinced there’s enough here, but I’ll drop it.

            Maybe there should have just been double-waved yellows – no-one was hurt. 😉

          • Well, Lewis’ brakes weren’t top-notch either, and this seems to becoming a feature of the Merc. Remember that Lewis had his inopportune spin at the very beginning. And just like Nico he had scotch tape (or whatever) on his brake ducts to warm up the brakes, and then the team had them removed from both cars during slowish pit-stops when the brakes started overheating. As for brakes suffering from following other cars, both Nico and Lewis were subject to same treatment during the race.

            So all in all I agree with Tim, a rather shaky case you have oh Jabba the shaky one.

          • Peter Windsor and a few other sources seem to suggest Nico cooked his brakes on warm up under the safety car, which would make that issue, and its very quick clear up, Nicos fault. Certainly if Canada was Lewis’s ‘fault’, then the reverse is also true?

    • He lost a mere 5 seconds to the leader(s) during that stint behind JEV, it was under control…. further the the dry line was narrow, and it was risky to attempt overtakes offline.

      Further, JEV was running Brembo brakes, better suited to the conditions, the Mercs had CI

      At the same time Hamilton was trundling along behind Vettel, also unable to pass – until Vettel spun

      • To pick up on one point: the dry line was indeed narrow and it was risky to attempt overtakes offline.

        How many did LH manage – most of which were completed when it was even wetter offline?

        No question that Hamilton was “stuck” behind Vettel, but we’re talking Seb….and a Red Bull. Both, I would argue, pretty close to the class of the field this weekend (anyone disagree?). Do we really think passing JEV in a TR should be the same level of task?

        • Nico was down the inside and past, but locked his brakes (as the bias was moved forwards from his rears being cooked) and got re-passed again, and also mugged by Alonso I think.

          • More evidence of Nico’s deficit in actual racecraft to his teammate? Lewis is a monster in adverse conditions. Nico’s competent, but too entitled in his mentality.

            Lewis was right about that (otherwise Nico wouldn’t’ve sat around waiting to be given the place, yet then whine about it after race and demand a meeting).

          • …lol… you’re too late Joe – the bait has been taken long ago…

            …in fact probably enough bait has been scattered in these parts over the past few days, to land several ocean going trawler loads of Cod fish…

            I think Merc have a debrief anyway, so no need for Nico to request a meeting…

            and by the way, I’m informed Rosberg didn’t ask for Hamilton to move over, he was told this would happen as a normative part of the 2/3 stopper team mate protocols….

            It seems he was most patient indeed, waited quite some time whilst enquiring a couple of times what was going on….

            In the end, he decided he would thrill the fans with a compelling final stint, which almost saw him sweep past Alonso and Hamilton in a final lap thriller..

            However, Nico realised at the last split second, we the fans would be far more captivated and ready for Spa if he allowed the points margin to diminish slightly between him and his old friend Lewis.

            That’s how it was explained to me anyway :):):)

            Good to hear from you Joe…..

          • True, I think it’s fair to say that Rosberg lacks just a little compared to Hamilton in this regard, e.g. Lewis’ 4 straight wins early in the season, when it was simply those two battling. Although in this instance Nico was a little handicapped, we still have the evidence of the rest of the season.

            Nico is doing well to avoid qualifying off the front row now, knowing he just has to get ahead from Lap 1 and Lewis is usually fighting through just to get close.. Monaco’s influence increases with each passing race..

          • …at risk of breaking open an angry nest of rabid wasps (mix metaphor yes – but interesting thought)

            ….At this point of the season, we have to admit Rosberg is up there as one of the best drivers of our time, or Lewis isn’t as good as we all thought….

            (distant sounds of rocket launchers)

          • Would you say the same of Jenson, given their time together at McLaren? If not, then how does Rosberg differ.

            What I would say ATM is Rosberg is capable of holding his own with the best in the world. How the rest of this season and next play out will prove whether he deserves to be ranked with them, or just below. And, IMO, it’s not that Lewis is worse than we thought it’s that Nico hasn’t really had the chance until now.

            Sorry to disappoint you with a lack of rabidness. 😛

          • … I have to disagree – there have been 100ths of a second between them at times over one laps of 4,5,6 km

            Race wise, Lewis is more ragged, takes more risks, Rosberg is smoother and more calculating.

            Bloody hell – the tardis has worked again – we’re back in the 80’s discussing Prost and Senna…..

          • Well, Lewis has often said Senna was his inspiration. It makes sense that he might’ve finally found his Prost. And if so, we are all in luck, because IIRC that was some racing that *was* worth watching.

          • Well, to be fair, analysis would show Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel as the ‘top drivers’ (perhaps not this season for Vettel), with Rosberg now just one tenth off that, and a few years ago, drivers like Raikkonen (12/13), Button (2011?), Webber (2010) around there too.

            There’s no doubting that Rosberg is a top 5 driver once the ‘old guard’ retire – he then just has to fend off advancing youngsters like Ricciardo (now matching Vettel one tenth off the top?) to hold his position.

            Hulk would probably be up there too, and Bottas is probably now not far off being a ‘top driver’, having a few tenths on Massa (who peaked in 2008). Grosjean was not far off the top either in late 2013.

          • Matt – I’d say Rosberg has been giving the same performance level since about 2007, just it was hidden in the mid-grid, while Lewis was in a top car. Car strength really impacts heavily on reputation for those who are ‘a bit less rabid on the technical side of the sport’. 2010 was a good season for Rosberg’s pace.

    • He did pretty well when he came charging through the field (Rosberg with fresh rubber though). Initially I thought the same as you did Islam but it was pointed out to me that when Rosberg was stuck behind JEV the racing line was very narrow and when he did venture off it to overtake he almost lost it. Vettel went off the racing line and almost collected the wall so maybe Hamilton was just lucky (like he was with his spin and that Vettel did not take him out with the spin) that the track was dry by the time he came up to JEV to overtake?

      Where Rosberg really messed up was allowing JEV and Alonso past… and although Hamilton have had no luck at all with his car he has been pretty lucky in the races as well (Last weekend at Hockenheim when he bumped JB..)

  5. I havent read the whole article because:

    Multi 21 and yesterdays events are not in the same ball park. Multi 21 was a callsign for a pre determined act. What it contained im not completely sure. I believe it was the following: If Car nr. 2 is the leader after the last pitstops, he will cross the line first. Who knows when they came up with that callsign. Might have been as soon as Turkey 2010 (same scenario; Webber infront, Vettel overtaking).

    My point: Both driver new the rules of the game BEFORE the race. They could have protested against the team BEFOREHAND. But Vettel simply blindsided Webber by protesting during the race itself so he could close the gap and being on the better tyre he had the best odds of winning.

    Yesterdays team order was in the heat of the moment. Not to mention between the only title candidates this season. With the Constructors pretty much locked up.

    You cant compare these 2 events in my opinion.

    • …..@ as you say, “I haven’t read the whole article….”

      If you did, you would have read, this was not team orders, but a pre-agreed race strategies…. AGREED being the key…. just as multi 21 and multi 12 were agreed Red bull protocols.

    • Alright my mistake. I quickly scanned through the piece but missed the whole strategy bit. Sorry.

      In that case Hamilton was as dirty as Vettel last year.

    • “Multi 21 and yesterdays events are not in the same ball park.”

      You’re right, during Multi 21 Red Bull still got a win and a second place, the team lost nothing. During the Hamilton/Rosberg/Merc incident the team lost a double podium.

  6. Lots of if and buts.

    “… Rosberg knew on the go-kart circuit that is Hungary, it was pointless ruining his tyres and strategy to challenge Hamilton … ”

    Did Rosberg tell you that?

    Toto Wolff thinks different:

    “It would be wrong to pin it down to one single situation and say this was the reason why the race result suffered or Nico didn’t win the race.

    “As a matter of fact, when he [Rosberg] was behind him the pace dropped, he wasn’t anywhere near for overtaking – that is also clear. So it wasn’t an obvious case where he was all over him, that wasn’t the case…

    …. we don’t know if Nico’s pace would have been good enough to pull the gap which would have helped him to win the race.”

    Anyhow, I’m with Niki Lauda on this one “Niki Lauda backs Lewis Hamilton ignoring team orders”.

    “In this stress the team told Lewis he should let Nico by because he was on softer tyres and has to come in anyway.

    “If he [Nico] had been in the DRS position, he would have let him by. But Nico never got that close.

    “Therefore I do understand that Lewis said ‘Why? Why should I stop now in the middle of the circuit to let my team colleague by?’ He is fighting for the championship.

    “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.”

  7. Meh, the oh so predictable Lewis bashing ramble length blog entry has arrived.

    Rosberg ruined his own race by being incapable of overtaking Vergne. That’s where this story should end. Mercedes attempt at implementing team orders was a result of Hamilton being ahead but on a slower and/or less agressive strategy after not being stuck behind Vergne.

    The attempt to disregard Lewis’s gains as a handful of points demonstrates how the writer is so intent on stirring controversy and/or bashing Lewis he ignores F1’s recent history with narrow defeats in the WDC battle.

    They should rename this blog to ‘thejudgemental’. At least be honest about it.

    • …. “Meh, the oh so predictable Lewis bashing ramble length blog entry has arrived”.

      I am really laughing out loud at the protestations…. are there no ‘Hamfosi’ sites or writers out there?

      Anyway glad to be of service and proving you were right – to yourself 🙂

      • There is an army of Hamfosi, I bet. And I dare guess they can testify to a massive conspiracy to hand the title to Rosberg. But that’s not the point. I’d expect a site called the judge to make a greater effort at being impartial. But I might have to review my expectations after the latest entries.

        Out of curiosity, I wonder how many more times Webber and Multi21 will be mentioned this season.

        • I am impartial. As a Brit, if Lewis wins the WDC we’ll celebrate British success just like we did with Andy Murray at Wimbledon last year…. though Murray may not be a Brit for much longer 😉

          I am impartial, and the fact that the Hamfosi slag me off, indeed proves it to all other F1 fans… 🙂

          “Mesmeric”, I think was the phrase I used in the article to describe Lewis’ drive in Hungary- I don’t remember using that hyperbole for any other driver I’ve written about….

          Shame he didn’t win – and become the first ever driver to win from a pitlane start… but any small chance of that – given the strategy he was one – was blown by fighting with his team mate….

          • “I am impartial, and the fact that the Hamfosi slag me off, indeed proves it to all other F1 fans”….

            I think if you were impartial, then you wouldn’t be slagged off by the Hamfosi

          • Impartial doesn’t mean what you think it does, you may want to instead look up contrary your honour. It has a partiality and a bias all of its own, just not towards a driver.

      • Last, the question should not be whether Lewis was naive or opportunistic. It should have been ‘how Mercedes allowed the situation to rise and how could they have reacted without jeopordizing their pilots races and WDC bids’.

        But for some reason the focus is on Lewis instead of the big picture.

        • …. I’ve criticised Mercedes AT LENGTH in past seasons for being utter failures after spending 100’s of millions of currency units and getting no where.

          Lauda even got his own section – ‘Lauda watch’ – for consistently making ridiculous comments….

          Toto’s credibility to be what in effect is team principal has been investigated….

          Failing to retain Ross Brawn was another critical view TJ13 had…….

          Lewis disobeying team strategy was the news the F1 media and particularly Brundle refused to investigate. So I did.

          Even Vettel and Webber got asked about their Malaysian opinions on the podium after the race – Hungary 2014. nyada…

          Keep um coming folks – I’m good for some more hits yet 😉

          • I wonder if Mercedes actually missed a trick. They should have helped Hamilton as much as possible to win the race, by changing strategy after the SC. Think of the kudos they would have had for their brand if he had indeed won from the pit lane. 🙂

  8. “He lost a mere 5 seconds to the lead” 🙂 he should have been pulling away at a rate of knots not held up by third rate cars. Nico can’t overtake.

    • … Guess not much call for it when he’s been qualifying 1st 2nd all the time…and in the fastest car.

      They said the same about Vettel until Abu Dhabi 2012… when he started from the pit lane and overtook most of the field….

          • Oh I did not ment you, your honour. I believe that your insight of f1 is a very good one. Just as most of the article writers. That’s why I keep comming here!

  9. The protestations are at your lack of integrity and balance in your constant whining about Hamilton. We too get many laughs on here 🙂

  10. so many issues…
    is this supposed to be a sort of daily mail style grenade thrown to bait comment? Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised.
    It’s a different situation from Seb’s, just as more relevantly, it differs from the 2 other occasions Nico has followed team orders. It’s WDC with no one else in it! And a few pts between them. End of. Any racer worth the title of a champion wouldn’t obey that order. I didn’t hear Brundle’s take on Sky but thought Coulthard’s was spot on with his dismay. Just compare it to how it was handled when Ross told Nico not to attack Lewis in Maylasia. Seriously, the laps Nico was behind Lewis? you did watch Lap 15, right? You saw Nico’s mismoves and then being stuck behind Vergne? It’s hardly balanced to simply focus on the laps he was behind his team-mate. Also, no comment on what a misjudgement from Merc if they expected as part of Nico’s strategy it wouldn’t be an issue that he had to overtake Lewis for it to work….
    What do you mean due to Lewis’ positon running long on the prime was the better choice? Like Merc are completely at a loss to change their strategy during a race? His track position was only an issue for his first stint. And where do get the line “he failed to take a measured approach”? relative to the other prime runners? No mention that he was behind Alonso at the end of the race?
    Best line though, “Yet this was no fair fight.” Yes, I agree.
    You’ve made a piece that founders on a false choice, it’s not about Lewis being a hero or a racer opportunist, or in some way being underhand to Nico – “why isn’t he moving out of the way!?” – it’s what a dog dinner merc made out of their race strategy, further compounded by Toto’s remarks about Lewis costing Nico a victory.

  11. Judge, If the best you have to offer is trolling and then the spitefull sort of reply you just gave, i.e. ” nah nah we got you idiots to read ” then you have left the realms of an F1 blog and I think you would be better off writing gossip pieces on celebrities. You have the nack for it as is evident.

    • ….. I was merely being frivolous and amusing myself.

      BTW, I’m not sure I can troll my own site – but I’m sure there are those out there who will provide us with the appropriate definitions and working examples 😉

  12. @ TJ – chasing stats?

    Where’s your class and gravitas gone man. You used to thank new posters to the site in your comments. Now you infer they’re just click bait.

    You set the tone for the site. Indeed the reason we had such high quality input was due to the class of contributor attracted to a respectful, but forceful debate which you led.

    Danilo was the initial rascal with his occasional lapse into the vernacular.

    Please don’t destroy what you’ve built. I genuinely find this my number one stop on the interweb as there is a very low number of idiots frequenting these pages.

    If you’re going a new direction with your contributions (not your stories, the quality of these is still usually high) please let me know. Another smoking ‘this is my site, I’ll do what I want’ Joe offering isn’t what my doctor ordered.

    • If commentators want to disagree fine, but I don’t have to put up with personal attacks…. Also had a tough day dealing with @Fortis and his constant accusations of ethnic bias….

      Don’t worry… Nothing will change…. Which is part of the irritation. Vettel was in the cross hairs for most of last season. Question Lewis in a similar fashion and the apocalypse arrives 😉

      • Imagine if you were an Italian site criticising Ferrari. You’d be non-existant by now 😉

      • “If commentators want to disagree fine, but I don’t have to put up with personal attacks…. Also had a tough day dealing with @Fortis and his constant accusations of ethnic bias….”

        ^ this… I offended some yesterday due to defending myself, (and wanting to land a blow or two) which was the first time in a while. Whilst I’ll pull my head in, again, I think occasionally someone can bite back and trust the broader community will give them a wider berth.

        • ….. Regular readers know I rarely take the bait over personal attacks, ignoring ‘the fringe’ is usually the smartest approach.

          I believe Lewis is one of the best drivers Formula 1 has seen in the past 20 years – he has unnerving similarities with Senna – yet people forget, Senna was not universally liked, particularly in the inner paddock sanctum.

          He was moody, self opinionated, made crazy accusations at times, failed to play the team game, and was clearly malevolent at times … the list goes on…

          But Senna benefited from his tragic and untimely death, and has been almost deified since…

          Senna also didn’t have to deal with the internet, and social media – or he could have become an absolute car crash in the popularity stakes – and also F1 was less well reported and the details of who did what were not publicised….

          Lewis is treading a path which is unprecedented. Wearing your heart on your sleeve in modern day sport is hugely difficult.

          His advisers XIX are into him for the money and little else, and he is getting too old to change….

          But F1 is NOT just about the drivers. its a team sport – more so now than ever. There is a huge amount of information we have today about what the team do this has revived their status in the driver/team partnership equation.

          If an English premier league team had a Lewis – they would can him… Balotelli, Saurez…..

          Yet in F1, Lewis can still thrive… I find it amazing….

          But you have to call Lewis for who he is, warts and all – and that’s what I do………

          Strangely enough, I never wrote an apologetic like this about Vettel last year…. think on Hamfosi… I am your reality check…….

      • That’s great to know, thanks.

        Fortis is relatively new to the set up here. He will soon learn that you may be many things ( 😉 ) but you have no truck with anything to do with racisim or any of that crap.

        I’m going to write something during the week about this site, which you can choose to post, or not.

        There is a possibility it will come across as sycophantic, but I care not a jot.

        At a minimum, you’ll know why I come here and why I try to defend the site against the occasional lapses of some contributors. If you post it so will everyone else.

        It a wonderful thing, and deserves to be protected from idiots and clowns.

    • Great post and I sincerely hope that any replies are characterised by good will and humility.

  13. Excellent article. Makes you really think about your opinion.

    For me the main difference between Hamilton and Vettel’s defiance of team orders is the moment in the season it happened. Since Malaysia is at the beginning of the season it was not clear who was going to be in the title fight while here in Budapest it was absolutely clear who are in the title fight. Does this make it right for Hamilton and wrong for Vettel? I don’t know but I do feel that while both Vettel and Hamilton ignored tean orders (and were wrong for doing so) Hamilton had more to lose by obeying team orders.

    • You say that, but look how tight 2012 was. That’s surely why Vettel wanted to win and equally Lewis knows it might be tight with Nico.

      • That’s one way how Vettel can rationalize his actions but I still believe since it was the beginning of the year and the team nor driver knew if they were going to be in the title fight at the end of the year they should have acted more respectful towards each other (Vettel toward Red Bull and Webber and Red Bull toward Webber). Red Bull should have at the very least given Mark the same tools as Vettel once they realised Vettel wasn’t going to comply to team orders. But what’s done is done and we have to accept that gentleman behavior like shown by former greats like Jim Clark, Fangio, Moss or Jackie Stewart is not something that is still part of the sport.

        Can’t say that Mercedes didn’t give Nico the same tools and as the judge’s analysis said it doesn’t seem Nico had the performance anyway. But more importantly since it is clear who are in the title fight the Mercedes team but also Nico should have realized that it’s unfair to ask and expect that of Lewis. And at least going by the public comments of Nico Rosberg and Niki Lauda it seems both do realize that it was unfair. Even so both Vettel and Hamilton ignored orders and were wrong for doing so even though Hamilton had more to lose by obeying those orders (and therefore in my opinion had more right to ignore those orders).

        • …. well made points…. though you open the debate as to whether it is better to have a Prost like view of a season, or one like Senna?

          I argued the long term ramifications from Huingary will be worse for Hamilton…

          • I agree that things will be more difficult for Hamilton but I’m not entirely sure if that’s because of orders from Stuttgart… if I were in the board of directors I would be proud to see that Marcedes can dominate and still have an exciting F1 season by having their drivers fight during the season (unlike their main F1 competitors Ferrari and Red Bull ;-)). Hamilton’s actions will at least result in the team no longer making strategies where one driver has to help the other in order to win and things will be more difficult for both because of it but is that something we as fans must be sad about? (The thing I loved about Senna vs Prost is that 2 men with completely different strategies could be so equal in terms of the championship, would love to see another battle like that)

            I wonder if what Niki Lauda said after Bahrain about once the constructors championship is secure he wouldn’t care if the drivers drove over each other in order to win the championship is the new Mercedes tactic? I hope so 😀

          • ….. Indeed, Let’s hope so as I said in the article….

            This season will be one of the most talked about for decades to come – and we have the spectre of a Senna/Prost… 1st corner final race incident looming large….

    • And that is a well argued point … Welcome …. There are plenty of Frijns fans here…. And I reckon he may be an unusual talent too…. Though of course I’m making assumptions re your nationality….

      Lewis is indeed under huge pressure, because if he fails to win the WDC this year, it would be a massive blow…

      He’s been in the wrong car for many years, so now, probably more so since the McLaren domination… The car is not in question

      • If he doesn’t win it this year, 2015 might be his last year with Merc. Actually it might be whether he wins the title or not. And that’s what terrifies him. Because he may end up with another uncompetitive car for the rest of his career.

      • You were absolutely right about my country of origin Judge13… Although I would love to see the driver with the same first name as me make it in F1 but unfortunately for him I think he has chosen the wrong route to F1 and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in the US or in WEC because of it.

        I hope for Lewis his sake that if he doesn’t win the title this year he keeps a cool head and doesn’t think about leaving Mercedes because I don’t think the alternative teams can give you a car with the same guaranteed level of performance (even though that line of thinking did little for Mark Webber at Red Bull).

        • You say that as if wec is something bad. If he ends up in lmp1 he’d still be at the top of the racing world…

          • My mistake… I agree WEC is not something bad, and recently it’s become even better than F1 in many ways, but it is bad from Robin Frijns perspective since his only goal is F1 😉

  14. Little bit disappointed with the article. Seeing the title I was expecting to see a pro-Lewis and a pro-Nico argument. In the end it was just a heavily pro-Nico argument, which is fair enough. If possible though, I’d like to see another one looking at it from Lewis’s perspective. Then people can decide whether it was naivety or opportunism.

    And just for the record, this was a very different case than multi-21. But I guess trying to equate Vettel’s opportunism with the race in Hungary creates high emotions, it will make people read, comment, argue, in other words, create debate…and traffic for the site….which is of course fair game hence why we keep coming back.

    • To be fair it’s pretty hard to critique Rosberg, he drove his race, almost to plan…. There are reasons for the JEV problem… and you could argue he was just doing a “Prost”, not fighting with Lewis…. taking the best he could get from a difficult day… 3 points less than Hamilton….

    • There’s three view points to this IMO. Lewis, Nico and the teams (by that I mainly mean Toto as he’s the mouth piece for Merc execs really). People forget that they want to win every race (Paddy quoted as such). Its not all down to what Lewis or Nico want. I think plenty of those slating the Judge above are only looking at the incident from one angle – the angle of the driver they support.

      • Which is why I cited the ‘influence’ of Stuttgart….

        Here are my pointers

        If Lewis turns up in Spa or Belgium with a shiny new contract, all is well with his lot at Mercedes…

        Other WDC champions recently have been signed up long before 12 months is left on their contract…

        If not, if Lewis wins the WDC he’ll get a contract…

        • Lewis may very well not be in a hurry to sign a contract extension right now. After all, he’s managed by a firm that is simply not the typical F1 drivers’ agency. They may very well have a different approach to how they do business.

          Now if Lewis is on-record expressing worry not to have signed a contract extension yet, or questioning why the team hasn’t even offered one – that’s a different story.

          But I think we need more information to know w/ any reliability.

          • Dennis decided to get rid of Lewis.
            Merecedes fail to renew his contract (let’s say)
            Where’s he going to go?
            The new Ferrari-land won’t be recruiting another outspoken driver…
            Red Bull?

            You can’t just keep ‘losing your job’ …. Ie not being retained…. and everyone still wants you to drive for them…

          • The likelihood is staying with Merc.

            With the bulls in the wings if Seb heads off to Merc.

            However, I argued last year that Williams should have offered Fred a stakehold in the company and rebuilt around him. The sponsor money would have followed, and with Fred having skin in the game he would have been less likely to publicly critise the team. They could have retained him as an ambassador for the team after he retired, or given him a role if he wanted.

            Now I’m not saying that Lewis would do as good a job as Fred, but he could still do one, and the outcome would be the same.

            Williams back fully in the limelight, sponsor money flowing into the team, a real racer driving for them, Symonds working with a WDC (and doing a good job keeping him balanced, I’d wager).

            There’s the message the team could give Lewis (first WDC incoming since Senna…. Sennas unfinished business etc) and the feeling the team and he want the same thing.

            Williams get to leverage Fullers marking expertise, and get brand exposure for the team they wouldn’t get with anyone else – with associated sponsorship implications.

            Hamilton in Martini gear, I can see it already.

            That’s what I’d be exploring if I was Williams / Fuller. Is there a deal?

            Even Mercedes benefits. Get out of jail clause using one of their supplier teams and give them a few bob off the engines…..

          • Are you a scriptwriter?

            B/c I’d pay to produce that, never mind watch it!! lol 😉

  15. 1. Malaysia 2013 v. Hungaroring is a false equivalency. The Malaysia GP backdrop: Red Bull #1Seb Vettel, after winning his 3rd F1 championship in a row with Red Bull #2 Mark Webber trailing behind, having exhibited churlish behavior both on and off track gone unpunished, plus the fact that is was already a public whisper that this would be Mark Webber’s final F1 season, Sebastian Vettel knew his actions at Mayaysia would go unpunished. They did, other than Webber’s public rebuking of Vettel’s complete insolence for ignoring the command not to pass Webber and for his immediate post-race attitude.

    In Vettel’s mind at this 2nd race of the 2013 season, he is the team’s #1 driver, he is chasing history, and he needs to build up points because top podium spots are not assured in F1 even when you clearly have the best race-day car in the field.

    BUT.

    In Weber’s post-race chat with Sky F1’s Rebecca What’s Her Name, Weber let out a bit of a secret. Weber: “It’s still very raw at the moment because we had a plan before the race as we do for most Grand Prix of how things will be in a certain scenario. It was, you know ———– yeah, I should stop right now.”

    The clear implication is that, according to Christian Horner’s plan, Vettel NEVER should have passed Webber. And, in fact, Webber was given a slow down, take it easy order by Horner, while Vettel was expressly reminded to NOT pas Webber.

    Then there is the media coverage. Sky F1, can be heard here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KryxP00vnmA – acting as if there were no prior messages given. In fact, the narrator exclaims, “No quarter asked, none given,” as if the previous orders for Vettel to stay behind Webber were never meted out on air. Then the commentator, a former GP2 driver himself (at least) says boldly, “If you want two great drivers on your team you’ve got to put up with this kind of thing; you’ve gotta manage it!”

    Compare that with the narrative immediately devised by Sky F1 to throw Lewis Hamilton’s acts into question. I needn’t repeat them here because we all know the lengths they went to to create an non-nuanced, polarized situation favoring Rosberg… and it was not as simple as the let them race v. it was Hamilton’s fault as the above blog post’s author makes it out to be. We know the lengths Ted Kravitz went to, to make it appear that Hamilton cost Rosberg second place, without EVER indicating that, if Hamilton did allow Rosberg by, he would have finished off the podium and 10 more points behind Rosberg going into the vacation break.

    Additionally, we KNOW Toto Wolff had a set plan for Mercedes before the race – a plan that favored neither driver, as suddenly at Mercedes, there is no #1 and #2 driver.

    Despite the weather conditions and the yellow with the safety car that comprised Rosberg’s 10 second lead, it is ONLY Rosberg’s fault that he failed to rebuild his lead while! He has no one to blame but himself for failing to control the cars behind him as the safety car pulled off track and ensure his getaway was a good one.

    Meantime, Hamilton carved his way through the field on a track that was alleged to be in opposition to EVERY Mercedes car advantage. Hungaroring, as we know, sets up perfectly for Red Bull, the car slow on the straights but wicked quick in the corners. Hamilton’s relentless passes on a track with but one true straight illustrated his driving prowess.

    With the scenario properly contextualized, we can get to the Hamilton/Rosberg kerfuffle.

    I will reiterate wahr I said about Ted Kravitz’s purposely short-sighted review of the end race lap times: had Hamilton slowed a good two seconds, if not more to allow Nico Rosberg who, at the beginning of the command for Hamilton to allow Rosberg by, had fresher OPTION tires to Hamilton’s Primes, Hamilton finishes off the podium and puts himself clearly behind the eight ball going into the 2nd half of the season.

    More importantly, though, Hamilton allowing Rosberg by shows the world that Mercedes has now deemed Nico Rosberg the #1 driver at Mercedes, despite the history between the two drivers and Rosberg’s already fragile ego (which I elucidated the reasons for in many previous comments).

    The REAL question for Mercedes and for the record should not be an allegedly subtler denouncement of Hamilton but this: given every previous statement on order set up by Toto Wolff, why did Wolff suddenly fail to FIRST ask the driver ahead at the time, Lewis Hamilton, if he wanted to pit to put on fresh Options fro a final run?!?! Instead, Wolff gave Hamilton a command, in essence telling him to sacrifice his race for the car BEHIND him being driven by Rosberg! The scenario properly played out is Hamilton pits, comes out on fresh Primes. The next lap Rosberg pits and is give used Primes (I believe the only set of Primes he had left were used). The race ensues and BOTH drivers easily chase down and pass Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull, shocked by the Mercedes move brings in Daniel Ricciardo too late. the Mercs are already gone on their way past Alonso and are neck and neck with each other, while Ricciardo must fist pass Alonso and then hope to hunt to the Mercs in the final few race laps.

    A second question would be this: why did Toto Wolff inform Rosberg that he was then going to tell Hamilton to let him by, BEFORE explaining the strategy to Hamilton —- THE DRIVER AHEAD AT THE TIME!

    Though this will likely not be broached by the media (well, given the long break, perhaps some mainstream F1 writer will turn this over enough to realize the error was PURELY Wolff’s and not Hamilton’s or Rosberg’s).

    On the surface Nico Rosberg can feign indignation but he and anyone who seriously watches F1 has heard Wolff’s various proclamations about “the order of things.” But Rosberg knows Wolff orders were in direct opposition with the order of things – Wolff’s orders were solely meant to benefit Nico Rosberg, NOT gain as many points as possible for the team.

    Finally, Toto Wolff,as he has done a few times this season, publicly tosses Lewis Hamilton under the bus, making it appear that Hamilton boo-hooed about all the car failures to the point that Wolff somehow, suddenly felt a pang of empathy for Hamilton when Hamilton simply told Wolff, “When Nico catches up, I’ll let him by.”

    This bit of public Toto Wolff skullduggery v. Hamilton goes all the way back to the day Lewis Hamilton, thanks to Ross Brawn, walked down the Mercedes headquarter spiral staircase to loud applause and was announced as their #1 driver spearheading the charge to rejuvenate the F1 program.

    If you attempt to separate the beginning of this relationship from what is happening now, there is no hope to see the picture in full.

    But when the picture is viewed as a continuum rather than in spliced sequences removed from their past and, therefore, their context, at the end of the tunnel is one man who knows that, while Lewis Hamilton is fighting a battle for fairness while he is fighting a war of politics ———- Toto.

    • You have talent…. Ready to write a piece or two for TJ13?

      I disagree though, I chose to make the piece not too technical, but the lap charts suggest Lewis had a net loss of time by driving the primes hard to keep Rosberg behind when compared to his times over tha last 10 laps…

      A Merc 2-3 was definitely possible, though with Rosberg ahead of Hamilton…

      By the way, in the piece I did describe Hamilton’s drive as ‘mesmeric’ along with other superlatives during the day……

      • Hmm… Merc 2-3 also possible if they covered Ricciardo with Hamilton, something they should have recognized once Lewis was more than a pit stop ahead of Rosberg. Reminiscent of Alonso losing the WDC due to Ferrari’s bad call.

        I also make Rosberg closing at more like 0.5 on Lewis, though I didn’t bother to go do a proper average I’m curious as to which laps you were comparing.

        IMO, having gone and looked due to the provocative nature of giving Lewis a heel turn, Lewis actually made his race on lap 14, when the Safety Car came in. He progressed from 13th to 9th in a single lap, fetching up behind Vettel and staying there until they both got stuck behind Rosberg who was inexplicably not passing Vergne.

        Then the real damage was done for Nico on the same lap he pitted. Lewis finally harried Vettel into his spin and then immediately took advantage of Vergne, driving off into clean air at the very same moment that Rosberg emerged behind Bottas Magnussen Button Sutil and Raikkonen, which, well damn… That’s going to slow you down a bit.

        Still, he eventually caught up to Lewis after Hamilton went onto primes, but at that point Mercedes entire plan had gone tits up and they had no way to deal with any of it and so naturally, they made the worst possible choice, asking Lewis to let Nico through.
        Since we all know how that went I will just say again that Mercedes had multiple opportunities to solve this problem and demonstrated conclusively that they were thoroughly incapable of reacting to unanticipated changes in the race. Having said that, I’m not going to pretend for a moment that I would’ve done any better, but in hindsight it is very clear.

        So to me it’s Mercedes all the way to blame. Essentially it looks like they left each driver to their predtermined strategy and made little to no adjustment in response to changing conditions in the race. This was foreshadowed in Silverstone and they failed to address it.

        First, they failed to note the extended life of the options and pitted Nico too early. Alternatively if he was having a hard time passing due to brake issues (plausible given the smoke) he could have been offered Hamilton’s two stop. Pitting Lewis lap 32 would have left him trying to catch and pass Rosberg at the end instead of vice versa, as Nico had the lead it would have been a fair offer.

        Second, once they screwed that up and Lewis was ahead, they failed to recognize that they needed to optimize his strategy in order to optimize team results. As a result, neither driver covered Ricciardo when he pitted lap 56, another massive error. Lewis should have been given the option as leading driver at that point and personally, IMO would have been the better choice as turning those sorts of laps fits him stylistically very well, but either would have been fine and given Mercedes a proper chance at the win.

        So there you have it from my POV it was Mercedes demonstrating for the 2nd time in the last 3 races some serious weakness in the strategy department. Further, the call will erode both drivers’ trust in the team. The only saving grace for Mercedes is that they are so far ahead in the WCC it’s a all but a done deal.

        Lastly, IMO all this stems from getting rid of Brawn. He will rightfully get the credit for putting together this effort, but what has been left behind looks increasingly clownlike in their ability to maintain what he put together.

        • I totally agree with your analysis. I was surprised when Hamilton was a pit stop ahead that they didn’t bring him for new tyres.
          So, who is it makes these decisions at Mercedes? Toto or Lowe? Whoever it is should be looking for a new job, it seems to me. They have messed up badly at least twice now.

          • Turns out Google was my friend tonight. James Vowles, engineer at BAR and Honda, Strategist at Brawn and now at Merc.

        • It was fairly shocking. Merc tried to bring Lewis in early on his option stint as well but on the radio he extended it by 3 or 4 more laps.

          Then they put him on the prime? Really bizarre call to go onto the slower tire when they had so many new options available.

          • ….(worn down by the Hamfosi’s forensic and thorough detective work)….

            Ok I admit it, you are all right…. Mercedes don’t want Hammy to win the WDC – happy now…

          • lol now you’re just being sarcastic!! ha.

            what’s that saying? don’t ascribe to corruption/connivance that which can be explained by incompetence?

            so it’s not that merc necessarily would want Lewis to lose (which i agree is silly, since they’d eventually be exposed and the damage huge), but rather, that they just don’t have the necessary adaptable strategy-making expertise!

          • No, Judge, we’re not all Hamilton tifosi. Some of us are trying to make out what happened, as objectively as possible. No need to get grated when interpret the available evidence differently from you, and arrive at slightly different conclusions.

          • I was joking….

            At the least the article gives confidence to the Hamfosi Mercedes are not trying to shaft him – they had a race plan – split the strategies and just ask Lewis to play ball as agreed.

            Yes, it became more complex due to the tyres not degrading as much as possible and the SC – and Mercedes appeared a little intransigent in their ability to adjust…

            That said, the mighty Red Bull and Vettel made the wrong call – should have moved Seb to a 3 stop….

    • WOW, GREAT PIECE!!!

      WHoever you are, Sir or Madam, PLEASE submit your comment for PUBLICATION on this site as a counterpoint to His Honour’s interpretation and analysis! I’m sure the Court would accept and grant your motion!!

      Seriously!! Good stuff.

    • “Finally, Toto Wolff,as he has done a few times this season, publicly tosses Lewis Hamilton under the bus”

      I’m also under the impression that Wolff is almost obviously becoming Rosberg’s support act. What grates me is that the Wolff immediately after the race accused Lewis of denying Nico a win, while not saying a single word about the Merc denying their lead driver at the time of the pit stops the optimal strategy and thus denying Lewis a win. Quite biased, and the Wolff doesn’t know how to avoid displaying his bias in public.

      “Malaysia 2013 v. Hungaroring is a false equivalency”

      I’m sensing a whiff of false equivalence myself here, albeit for different reasons:
      – In Malaysia 2013 the order to Vettel was *NOT to overtake*; Vettel went out of his way to show that he didn’t give a damn about the team order, to the point of putting both cars on a collision course by attempting extremely risky overtaking maneuvers. Which is quite different from Hungaroring..
      – In Hungary 2014 the order to Hamilton was to *LET his teammate pass*. And I would argue that Hamilton did obey that team order, when he said (from memory): “I will let Nico pass when he is close enough.” Translation: “I will not fight Nico if he is close enough and makes a genuine overtaking attempt”. Well, Nico never got close enough—for whatever reason, whether Nico was slow or Lewis hit the gas. If we—imperfectly—go back to Malaysia 2013, Nico never got close enough to Lewis as Seb got close enough to Mark.
      And bear in mind that Lewis was NOT asked: “Mate, please hit the brakes when you’re on the straight because, err, Nico is on the faster tire but he is actually slower than you and cannot get close enough, so please be so kind to lose 2-3 seconds while you help your WDC rival (and our preferred driver) to gain some positions and perhaps beat you to the checkered flag.” If THAT were the order, then Lewis would have been outraged and probably refused point-blank to obey it (and his radio messages implied as much). But the order was different, and Nico never put Lewis in a position to make good on the actual order. In the end it’s not like Lewis attempted to put Nico off the track while Nico was trying to pass while assuming that Lewis should let him by given the team order; if THAT had happened, then the parallel to Malaysia 2013 would have been more realistic.
      However you spin it, Lewis did not disobey the team order. If anything, Lewis simply highlighted both Merc’s and Nico’s incompetence in that specific situation..

    • “, while not saying a single word about the Merc denying their lead driver at the time of the pit stops the optimal strategy and thus denying Lewis a win. ”

      Rosberg WAS a lead Merc driver at time of pitstops.
      Merceds optimized strategy for TEAM, and in order for strategy to work LH had to let NR by.
      This happens all the time in all teams and wasn’t considered as a team order even when team orders were banned.

  16. I think that both have similarities in that there was a wet period, switch to dries, and then strategies worked out differently as to how it was thought they would go pre-race.

    In Malaysia, Vettel was angered at losing the lead through the switch to dry tyres – so he attacked in the last stint where he had new tyres to do it with.

    In Hungary, once Rosberg was compromised on brakes, Hamilton was the best chance to win. They took what turned out to be the worst strategy, i.e. a long prime stint to the end.

    If Hamilton had done the winning strategy (and he had all new tyres to do it with), then he would have been fighting Ricciardo for the win, while Rosberg would have been fighting Alonso for 3rd place.

    Like Vettel, once he knew he had been put on the back foot, he attacked to get the best out of the situation for himself i.e. defended his 3rd place.

    I think that Mercedes’ strategies overall were both poor – Rosberg as well could have pitted a little sooner for the last stint, as Ricciardo did – Ricciardo then caught and passed Alonso/Hamilton, while Rosberg only caught them on the last lap and ran out of laps to overtake. This is what will lose them future races to Red Bull.

    • …. Merc with hindsight may have made a mistake by putting Lewis on the prime tyre…..

      However, golden rule (cf. Ferrari 2012 Abu Dhabi) cover the options of the opposition.

      this led to a split tyre strategy…

      You have Merc powered Williams on the prime, Vettel on the prime, Merc covered this off with Lewis…

      Lob into the equation that Alonso became the unexpected joker in the pack – running a two stop strategy….

      Split the strategy, and optimise the lap times of the prime tyre runner – forcing him to allow the option runner his best strategy too……..

  17. New title – “Lewis – Opportunistic, Britney – Naïve at the 2014 Hungarian GP” or “Why His Honour loves a loser” 😉

    • haha – I’ve repeatedly said I don’t love or follow any driver in particular – clearly you do…

      but I’ll play… just for you…. check out who is ‘losing’ at present in the WDC table….

      …. battles and wars spring to mind 😉

      Oh and I’m surprised nobody noticed, Lewis tyre change pit loss times – just to add to the conspiracy theories

      Best was

      Rosberg 22:001
      Hamilton 23.364
      Gap 1.363

      • Yes I’ve already outed myself as an LH fan
        And maybe I was referring to Webber… but I said “maybe” so please don’t call the bailiff and have me ejected 🙂
        Oh by the way, my vote for site layout would be along the lines of hotukdeals.com… take a look and think of each deal being replaced by a story.

        • Thanks Mr A, glad we could agree to disagree.

          This is not you but – “trash post” is just pathetic and deserves to be treated with contempt.

          I can argue bias in someone else’s position, without accusing anyone….

          its called demonstrating ‘the facts’/reasoned beliefs….

      • That’s because they took the time to get *all* the tape off Lewis’ brake ducts and dialed his FW in for the prime. Unlike Nico, who didn’t get all the tape removed, probably on purpose to make sure he couldn’t outbrake Hamilton if it came down to a last lap duel, says the Rosberg conspiracists.

  18. This is exactly right. Well written Judge. You are spot on.

    +1000

  19. I feel the tone of the article is mostly attacking Hamilton for thinking about his title challenge, which obviously gets in the way of the team’s objective to maximize their WCC points. If Hamilton had played the team-game, he would have effectively accepted #2 status at Mercedes, which I don’t think Mercedes (not Toto Wolff specifically) want to be seen to be doing and Hamilton will never mentally accept that unless his mind is set out to leave the team. But I guess it’s the side of the story that generates more reaction so I can see why it’s written that way.

    For all the slack Vettel got for Multi-21, the one thing that was resonating clearly after that GP was that Vettel will never play second-fiddle. He’s not a 4-time WDC just by luck or having a good car (having both helps but let’s leave that aside). I hold up my hand and say I slated the guy badly after Multi-21, but no one can’t argue with his iron-will to win. That’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Schumacher’s iron-will to win. The best part of that is that Vettel knew he’d get away with it because Red Bull want/need him to win. If Rosberg wants to be a WDC and faces a situation like the one Hamilton did yesterday (not the team-orders thing but just having track-position over his title rival and defending it), he will toss his benevolent behaviour to the side and actually fight and mess with Hamilton. It’s supposed to be a gloves-off fight now anyway, not a gallantry contest.

    You mention for instance the subdued reaction of Lewis on the podium and cherry-pick that he knows what is in store for the remainder of the season. You’re probably right, I won’t pretend I know what is going on in his head. But at least based on the race he had, I would offer the alternative explanation that after starting from the pit lane, he got himself in a situation he probably didn’t even imagine would happen pre-race : he has track position over his main title rival, and his team tell him that he should be making way for Rosberg. Hamilton 2-3 years ago would have gone hung-ho for the win and probably stuffed in somewhere and DNFed. This time, he focused on beating his title rival, this is a WDC contender thinking about his title fight : Rosberg is a title rival and no longer a team-mate. I’d say that’s at least worth mentioning and people should see that this is now changing the dynamics within their own team.

    Things get really messy when your team-mate is also a title-rival, not that a team-mate is always there to help but that’s basically the worst-case scenario for everyone but the audience. It’s all made even worse by the fact that they are in a team that is hell-bent on securing the WCC (I think realistically they have, but perhaps it will take 3-4 races for it to be done mathematically ?). I maintain my stance that Mercedes are utterly and completely unprepared for the gloves-off fight that is going to come after the summer. This is speculation but I think it’s a safe assumption : both Nico and Lewis know that the WCC is a done deal and their fight for the WDC title is the only thing that matters now. Even if they fight, neither will want to DNF just yet though it won’t be a Lauda-style “Take each-other out” fight.

    If Mercedes, Wolff, Lowe, whoever gets the final say on the things happening track-side on race weekend, should learn anything from this specific race : it should be that they interfere as less as possible with either driver’s race/strategy, because Hamilton and Rosberg will both see any action towards the other driver as preferential treatment or getting screwed by the team (I’d like to leave the political battle within Mercedes out for now). As much as Mercedes want to calm things down and secure the WCC, the way to achieving is (for me) minimal interference, instead of actually trying to get in the way of either driver (which I feel was what happened in Hungary, essentially).

    Anyway, those were my thoughts. I think it’s a little unfair that you did not want to account for the fact that the championship is now reaching a stage where either driver will toss team-interests to the side and focus on their title challenge (Rosberg will do this too, it’s just a matter of time, all WDC worth their salt are *selfish creatures*), or even for the fact that Mercedes were unable/reluctant to adapt their strategy-thinking in real-time. Rosberg happens to be in the lead so he can afford to play the team-game and isolate Hamilton and make him look like the villain (I’ll even say he is doing this already), fair enough though : a title fight is a war. Hamilton will try (I hope) to just focus on out-fighting Rosberg on the track, as he is hopeless for all things that have to do with internal-politics.

  20. The thing is, if lewis had let nico through then the gap in the championship would have increased in favour of nico and lewis would have come under fire for not ‘thinking’ off the top of his head during the race.
    in my opinion he did the correct thing, he told the team that he wouldn’t fight nico if he got a run at him but he wasnt going to compromise his own race. With the battle being so close every point is crucial for the drivers and mentally they need to not be in doubt at the end of the season about what they could have done differently to pick up a few points here and there.
    Merc made a major error in telling lewis to let nico through, their WCC is pretty much wrapped up and they need to let them race. However, Lewis needs to deal with this situation tactfully behind the scenes and we will see how it all pans out.
    But after this race, it has bolstered my opinion of the face that lewis is a racer and nico is a driver. Not because lewis didnt let nico through, but look at the way lewis attacked the race and got overtakes done at crucial points. Overtaking JEV the way he did is just one example. Nico doesnt seem to be able to make the decisive moves when it matters. He really should have got past lewis on his own when the team were on the radio to lewis telling him to let nico through and he should have passed him at the end of the race on much faster and fresher tyres. And for those complaining about how lewis is pulling very risking defensive moves on nico such as pushing him wide on the grass on the last lap – it’s racing and allowed, if drivers dont like it then try another move because you aint getting past lewis easily by trying around the outside (although dan pulled a great move on him around there). Fernado and seb would have done the exact same defensive move….

  21. “Merc made a major error in telling lewis to let nico through”

    Perhaps you are right. However I think time will show Lewis made an even bigger error in not adhering to it. It’s about hearts and minds right now, and with many rounds left, Lewis is in danger of losing even more support. Mercedes wont be happy they lost a potential GP win on the back of this poor team work. They have spent long enough, and much resources, getting the best car. To see it wasted would rile any board member and designer up.

    That’s why I used my #WhatAWastedArrow after the race.

    As to the closing sentiment of your post. I do agree. Nothing wrong with close, hard, on the line racing.

    Though I would not necessarily agree Nico is a ‘driver’ and Lewis a racer. Nico has form in being hauled up to stewards on the back of zealous defense and aggressive overtaking in years gone by. That was just this race, against a team mate.

    • That was a reply to @formula’s post above. I am not sure why it didn’t fall under his reply. I must not have clicked the correct button.

    • Yeah I think it is crucial in the way that lewis handles this behind the scenes in order to try and get the team on his side. If he can bang in a run of pole positions and wins he will be very well placed to do so.
      Second half of the season may well be definitive for getting the team on side.

    • Good point about hearts & minds. It’s worth remembering the Rosberg mechanics helped with Hamiltons car rebuild. The thanks given to that side of the garage? I think it’s there for all to see.

      • Hardly Lewis’s big concern, given that it’s one of his own mechanics who has been compromised by Nico and is now in his service, sabotaging (lightly) LH’s car in order to benefit Nico’s chances…I suspect.

        • Don’t underestimate hearts and minds…

          For most drivers, there is nothing like the feeling of a team behind you… A team urging you… A team funneling their effort and energy into you… A team straining for you… You perform with confidence and whilst it doesn’t make you quicker per se’, it gets you into a zone where risk/return is perfectly balanced and the racing becomes beautiful and driving is effortless. I have felt this. It’s a pure collective drive of human achievement and you are the conduit of everything.

          Equally, there is little more devastating to most drivers than a team that is doing their ‘job’ but clearly not interested in you or supporting you with every ounce of their DNA. Under the breath comments, sniggering, quick short answers, etc. You can think, ‘hey it doesn’t affect me’, but you are not making all the million little decisions poorly and inconsistently and somehow it adds up.

          Few can withstand that and perform the same or better overall. Alonso is one who can. He will always have my massive respect as a competitor for how he can continually show his mettle under bad internal circumstances, despite the fact I can not respect him as a man as most of those circumstances are his doing. But that’s another story. (I am not an Alonso fan by the way)

          I suspect Lewis needs hearts and minds. There is nothing wrong with that, as Senna did too. The issue for Lewis though is that he didn’t do much to love internally at Hungary. Don’t underestimate that isolated feeling in most drivers.

  22. I noticed that there was one question you didn’t ask in your article…..

    Why wasn’t Lewis also offered the same opportunity to win the race, just like his teammate?

    “If the duel was merely to be between Lewis and himself, Nico would have run as long as possible on the soft tyre, which was already proving to be surprisingly durable – again due to the lower track temperatures”

    if the soft tyres were surprisingly that durable, then why was Lewis not put on a set of those given that he had 3 brand new set available to him, so why put him on the prime tyres, when the optimal strategy would’ve been to go on the primes?

    He had already shown by his radio message to his engineer, when he was told to box, that he still had more tyre life left to do a few more laps. By doing that, he was able build a big enough margin to jump Nico in the pits.

    If the win and points maximisation was the name of the game for Mercedes, then wouldn’t they have had a better chance of doing so, by adopting a more aggressive strategy for both drivers?

    “And for what; a handful of points which pale into insignificance when the prospect of Abu Dhabi and double points looms on the horizon”……

    Ok let’s play devils advocate for a second…” Say he lets Nico through and he goes on to win and Lewis finishes 4th, that means Nico’s lead is now 26 (12pts gained) we now get to Abu Dhabi Lewis wins and loses the championship by 12pts, are we then going to look back at Hungary and his decision to move over as the deciding factor?

    Those handful of points my pale into significance now, but in the long run, could be the deciding factor as to who gets their hands on the WDC at the end of the season.

    My conclusion to all this is simple, Mercedes as a team messed the whole thing up. They failed to react to an every changing situation on track, back tracked on their stance that they would allow their drivers to race each other, just as long as they don’t take each other out. They have know found themselves in precarious situation, because the press coverage wouldve been far more damaging had Lewis let Nico through and then he went on to win the race, than Lewis’s refusal to move over (which I think he didn’t do). It was a fantastic race and all this could’ve been avoided if only they had seen what was unfolding in front of them and reacted accordingly.

  23. I’ve read some rubbish here, but this takes the biscuit. Rosberg’s strategy failed when he spent all those laps behind Verne. He lacked the skills to make a pass when it really mattered. Had he passed Verne, he would not have been behind Hamilton later in the race. Simples.

  24. Nothing but a Hamilton bash fest. The idea that they sat down before the race and devised a strategy that would have Hamilton, who started at the back of the pit lane, in front of the pole sitter just over half way through the race is risible. And the idea that Hamilton is going to tip off his main competition that he will not be obeying team instruction thus losing all surprise is naive. Hamilton almost made history in that race just acknowledge that will you instead of carping on and on and on.

    • …. almost made history…. almost won the WDC in 2007, almost lost the WDC in 2008, almost beat Jenson Button over 3 years at McLaren….

      Maybe there is something about the ‘in the moment’ manner in which Hamilton appears to live his life which repeats this theme….

      Just saying 😉

      • Nice to see you’re finally out of the closet. Now we know the Judge dislikes Lewis Hamilton and it colours every article about him that appears on this site.

        I said before, if you have real reasons for your dislike of Hamilton, you should publish them.

        • …not really – when I respond in this manner it is laden with sarcasm – as the grammatical structure of the comment indicates…

  25. I don’t understand this analysis at all. The reason’s Lewis’ lap times dropped significantly during the last 10 laps was due to catching up with the slower Alonso and also a fuel pressure issue that was conveniently not mentioned!

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