#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday, 19th May 2015

DNandC

A Daily Round up of Formula One news, inside whispers, opinion and comment. Today,

Hamilton blinks first before the Monaco shootout

Mexican GP tickets trading at a massive premium

Monaco sees unveiling of Pirelli 2015 super soft compound


Hamilton blinks first before the Monaco shootout

As TJ13 revealed on the podcast recorded last Wednesday night, Lewis Hamilton is electing to leave the pits first during the qualifying runs in the upcoming Monaco GP weekend.

The Mercedes team flips a coin before the start of each season; this decides which driver gets to choose when they deliver their qualifying runs, relative to their team-mate.

Almost invariably, the driver with the choice will go last in Q3, even if just because they know what times they have to beat – and can chase the lap if need be – or take less risk if they have it in the bag.

Of course, impending rain can change this decision, as could a rapidly cooling track.

Last year in Monaco, it was Lewis choice. He elected to run last, only to be thwarted by Rosberg’s yellow flag. That said, the stewards decided from the timing information they had, GPS data and explanations from the team that Rosberg’s incident was inadvertent.

Lewis did not believe this to be the case and even following the stewards ruling which supported the team’s view, Hamilton questioned to the media whether all parties were telling the truth.

So it is interesting that going to a circuit where Nico has had both pole and the win in the past two seasons, Lewis is electing not to go last.

Traffic or a yellow flag could just as easily cause Lewis problem’s whether he runs before or after Nico, yet the British driver has given up the advantage of running last in qualifying.

Hamilton can’t seriously believe that Rosberg will crash again – before he can complete his final stint – and even if he did, the stewards would rule Nico was innocent? Yet he is giving up the natural advantage of running behind Nico in qualifying.

Lewis was negative going into the Spanish GP stating he had just one win in Barcelona; he has just one win in Monaco despite admitting he has had the car to win this race previously on five occasions.

Rosberg will take heart from what he will see as his adversary blinking first, where pole position means everything.

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Mexican GP tickets trading at a massive premium

The return of the Mexican GP has created a stir in Formula One land. The tickets sold out in a matter of hours when they went on sale, though the success of the revived GP may eventually see the death knell of the race in Austin.

Mexico has hosted 16 F1 events, between 1962-70 and 1986-1992.

Unlike many of the European circuits, this years event is already a raging success with the spectators, and Motorsport-Total is reporting tickets trading hands on the black market for as much as $12,000.

Hermann Tilke has ‘modified’ the Hermanos Rodríguez circuit, so it waits to be seen whether the butcher of Olpe has delivered a Turkey or a Bahrain.

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Monaco sees unveiling of Pirelli 2015 super soft compound

TJ13 has been a touch critical of Pirelli this year for being at times too conservative on their tyre selection. In Barcelona, the drivers were struggling for grip most of the weekend on the hard compound, or as Kimi described it, “sliding around all the time”.

The super soft tyre should offer the highest level of grip of Pirelli’s four dry weather tyres and this year Pirelli have altered the construction of their softest compound.

The main difference over its 2014 sibling, is the new super soft tyre should provide improved resistance to graining and blistering.

“We’re bringing our brand new super-soft tyre for the first time this year”, says Pirelli’s Paul Hembery. “Together with the soft, as has been the case since we started our current Formula 1 era in 2011.

“Monaco has often been described as a circuit where overtaking is impossible, but we have seen in the past there how tyre strategy and degradation has often led to positions changing, including on-track overtaking.

“In particular, the way that drivers use the new super-soft tyre, with its notable performance advantage, will be crucial.

“As is always the case, the right preparation and collection of tyre data during practice will put any driver in a strong position to maximise their potential in the race as well as the crucial qualifying session.”

This combination of tyres will be used in both Canada and Austria, so if Ferrari’s SF15-T is kinder on its tyres than Mercedes, these races could be key to Marenello’s next F1 win.

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78 responses to “#F1 Daily News and Comment: Tuesday, 19th May 2015

  1. I was close to write to the court proposing to present an article about the tickets for the Mexican GP. At the end I couldn’t put together enough evidence -people didn’t want to talk to me- about what I -and many others- consider… well, the usual in Mexico: just another case of corruption.
    The tickets went first to pre-sale for card holders of two banks: Banamex and Santander through Ticketmaster. First problem: Mexico doesn’t have the infrastructure to deal with massive internet traffic as other countries. Every time a big event happens in Mexico Ticketmaster is unable to handle the traffic in its site -to be fair in Mexico buying anything online is a pain in the ***, not only on Ticketmaster-. Interestingly one person has in his hands all the telecommunications infrastructure of the country, this person has used this power to block other companies to make develops and became one of the richest men in the world by stealing from basically every Mexican -and foreigner- who has used a telephone in Mexico. This is the same person who fills the Force India cars with the stickers of his companies.
    Second problem: the tickets didn’t really went out for sale, only a small portion of them did. I personally tried to buy tickets in general admission, within 10 seconds of the sale being opened they were sold out, then the site crashed. The same happened for all tickets, except the most expensive ones. The Facebook page of Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez received within a couple of hours hundreds of negative comments and complains. To “clean” their mess they posted photographs of people holding fresh purchased tickets in the ticket office of the Autodromo. Theses photos were later removed when people complained about having called to the Autodromo and being asked NOT to go to the ticket office since tickets would be available ONLY online and recognizing and posting links to the Facebook profiles of the people in the photos; at least two of the four or five people holding tickets in the photos presented by the Autodromo advertised themselves as re-sellers of events’ tickets in their profiles -this is the people who didn’t answer my messages when I “tried to buy” tickets from them-.
    The same farce was repeated a few days later when the tickets “went out for sale” for the general public.
    Tickets were always offered at absurd prices by re-sellers within minutes of the pre-sale and this was basically the only way to purchase them.
    At least one complete section was never on sale, anywhere, but was advertised and does exist, so the Autodromo was forced to sell at least one ticket in this section to avoid fall in illegality -only a technicality, in Mexico laws mean nothing-.
    Let say things correctly: this year’s event wasn’t a success with the spectators, what was successful was the fraud prepared between organizers and re-sellers, because they knew if they had actually sold the tickets to spectators it would have been a success.
    Finally, the official prices make of the Mexican GP the most expensive GP in the calendar. It’s cheaper to travel to the USA or Canada -yes, including transportation and hotel- for their GP that attending the Mexican GP in most of the sections offered.
    Does this mean the Autodromo will be empty on the race weekend? No. It will be packed, I’m sure, I have no hope -at all- on my fellow nationals having common sense.

    • “Let say things correctly: this year’s event wasn’t a success with the spectators, what was successful was the fraud prepared between organizers and re-sellers, because they knew if they had actually sold the tickets to spectators it would have been a success.”

      Sure, but scalping works best in an environment of scarcity. So unless the scalpers are wrong (or engage in advanced shenanigans, like creating artificial scarcity), their eagerness indicates huge demand.

      Keeping tickets out of the hands of normal people is common for many major events though: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/news/9439247/London-2012-Olympics-empty-seats-row-QandA.html

      • I have seen this in the USA too, where within a couple of hours of… lets say a concert of Madonna the tickets are sold out. But at least you had two hours to buy in a system that works.
        They are more cynical too, Ticketmaster USA sells more of their tickets to another company that belongs to… Ticketmaster USA. But it’s also legal -it shouldn’t but it is-. In Mexico re-selling -I can’t say I’m completely sure, but I think so- is illegal and the amount of tickets that were available was ridiculous small -except for the super expensive ones-.

        In another note about Tilke. I flew over the Autodromo this past weekend returning from Panama -the airport is very close-. The stadium is going to be atrocious, three first gear turns in 25 meters or so.

        • Yeah, still recall the Tilkerer boasting that “the driving experience will be the same”. What utter BS. If you want the driving experience to be the same, don’t tilker with the layout in the first place! What an ignorant butcher!

    • Given what Juan has described above, the organizers/promoters of the United States GP in Austin might want to think about reaching out with special promotions to the F1 fans in Mexico who were trying to get Mexican GP tickets but couldn’t because of the circumstances. It would be a way for them to see F1 action.

  2. For 2016 I can see teams such as Force India and lotus, maybe Ferrari, designing their cars to go as far as possible on the 2 softest compounds and choosing them for every event no matter which track.

  3. Off topic but….. I was just watching some on-board footage of Schumacher at Monza. No commentary, only the sounds of the car and the camera aimed past the driver’s helmet and up the road (courtesy of F1 archives.com, unfortunately deceased; I downloaded it years ago). Schumacher damages his nose at the start and pits for a new one on lap 1. Rejoining in 25th, he proceeds to drive through the field. Amazing footage, with only the sound of the engine and the loud whack! as he rides the curbs; no commentary, just the car and the driver. Schumacher passes and passes and pushes and pushes. Really amazing stuff. You can see his hand drop off the steering wheel to reach the gear lever, and the sound of the engine straining on the downshifts is awesome. Berger blocks him on Berger’s in-lap and Schumacher gives him the finger. The physical effort of driving is obvious and enormous and reinforces the speed of the car. This sh*t is awesome! This is real racing, Formula Ford on steroids!

    This, this is what F1 should be about. F1 has become so sterile and programmed that it is boring.

  4. Mercedes will eventually figure out the tire issues with the W06. Can Ferrari get another win before that happens, I’m not sure. Brackley, Brixworth, and Stuttgart are in overdrive trying make sure that the performance of the W06 stays at a high level.

  5. Regarding LH choosing to go out first in Q3, Jonathan Noble points out that last year at Monaco Rosberg had the pleasure of choosing when to run in relation to his team-mate, and like LH this year, he chose to go first.

    Mr. Noble explained that traffic and the possibilities of yellow flags mean that at Monaco going out ahead of one’s team-mate enables a bit more control of the situation.

      • Presumably that thought has crossed the mind of our heroic champion…..

    • @Vortex, you say Jonathan Nobles claims Rosberg chose to go first last year, but theJudge says it was Lewis who made the choice to go last. Looking forward to Fortis checking out the stats to see who actually had that call last year.
      I have just looked at Noble’s article in Motorsport and he says “In Monaco it makes sense to go first and run in front of as many cars as possible, unless track conditions are rapidly improving which could happen if it had rained and was drying out”. In that is true then Lewis hasn’t blinked first, he has just made the optimum decision.
      It seems bizarre that this decision has allegedly been made and announced so far in advance of the qualifiying hour on Saturday.

    • Jonathan Noble says “That means it is Hamilton’s turn on whether or not to run first or second in Monaco this time around – whereas 12 months ago Rosberg had that choice.
      But theJudge says “Last year in Monaco, it was Lewis’ choice. He elected to run last”
      So one of them is wrong, and if Noble is right that Rosberg chose to go first, then perhaps Rosberg either blinked last year or was using his cunning cerebral skills then.

    • Noble is talking rubbish – traffic in Monaco is unpredictable whenever you out in Q3.

      In fact – the reverse of what Noble says is often true – more cars do tend to run a little earlier – and so get stuck in each others way.

      The pay back for a clear run at the end is the possibility of a yellow flag.

      • “Noble is talking rubbish” – matter of opinion. Is he also talking rubbish about “whereas 12 months ago Rosberg had that choice”? That is something factual which can be proved one way or the other, – can this be checked somewhere? If Noble is right, then the whole premise of your article that Lewis has blinked is demolished. Another assumed “fact” for which I have yet found no evidence is that Lewis has already made and announced the decision to go first this time. Can you point me to where this decision has been published?

        • “Can you point me to where this decision has been published?” – lol, in Jonathan Nobles article.

          BTW, it’s common knowledge for a strategist working for an F1 team, that Monaco is rarely a circuit where all the cars leave it as late as possible for their last qualifying runs – hence the traffic is earlier – hence why I suggest Noble is talking rubbish.

          Unless of Lewis is going seriously radical – like having his final qualifying lap completed 3-4 minutes before the session ends.

          And Hamilton stated publicly in Spain he would be going out first in Monaco to a group of F1 writers.

          • ““Can you point me to where this decision has been published?” – lol, in Jonathan Nobles article.” – As I understand it, Noble states “Lewis Hamilton will get first choice about whether to run in front of teammate Nico Rosberg in Q3 at the Monaco Grand Prix, as part of a deal agreed with his bosses at the start of the season.” and explains why it would make sense for Lewis to go first, but nowhere does he say Lewis has made the decision to go first.
            Since you place importance on Noble as a source, the same article states “12 months ago Rosberg had that choice”. So is he right or you right to claim “Last year in Monaco, it was Lewis choice.” If indeed it was Rosberg who had the choice in 2014, he flinched and made the wrong choice despite his years of F1 experience and mastery of Monaco, and then having realised he was about to lose the pole, then deliberately parked his car to thwart the supposedly not so cerebral Hamilton.
            “And Hamilton stated publicly in Spain he would be going out first in Monaco to a group of F1 writers.” – So you say, but is there any corroboration?

      • I haven’t seen anything to indicate that Noble is incorrect. There is plenty of evidence to indicate he is correct, that due to the unique nature of the Monaco circuit, it’s wiser to choose to run before one’s team-mate.

        * As seen in TJ13’s own circuit profile, “The track surface in Monaco is the least abrasive of the year.” An abrasive surface will ‘rubber in’ rapidly with use; an unabrasive surface does not.
        * Returning the circuit back to public roads on Friday after Thursday’s P1 & P2 sessions reduces the amount of rubber build up from those two sessions.
        * Because the circuit fails to ‘rubber in’ in the typical manner seen at most other circuits, that removes a primary reason to run later.
        * With limited run-off areas, incidents in qualifying are very likely to cause yellow flags, which can spoil the crucial single hot lap of a set of tires.
        * As you yourself point out, other teams go early also, so the Mercedes drivers are not the only ones to see the advantage of going early to improve odds against yellow flags.
        * When Rosberg had the choice last year at Monaco, like Hamilton this year, he chose the early run.
        * Noble’s information comes first-hand from the paddock.

        • … Whose decision it was to go first last year may well get lost in the mists of time – its not recorded anywhere. But its not that important to the title of the article and the main point made.

          I don’t recall a driver making it a matter of public record 2 weeks before a race that they have the choice where to run in relation to their team mate at the next qualifying event – and revealing it to the media. Its clearly on Lewis mind.

          The Mercedes drivers do not need to declare their hands on this issue until either Friday or even Saturday of the race weekend.

          It appears Lewis has blinked first – he could have made Rosberg wait much longer – keeping his intentions concealed.

          Add to this there is rain forecast for the Saturday sessions in Monaco – if this comes to pass, Lewis has been rather unnecessarily premature.

          Further, Noble says. “In Monaco it makes sense to go first and run in front of as many cars as possible, unless track conditions are rapidly improving which could happen if it had rained and was drying out”.

          My point was cars tend to run earlier in Monaco anyway – so what is HIS point? Hamilton is going to complete his final run minutes before the chequered flag – because if not he will be with all the others running a little earlier to avoid the last minute traffic – which actually hasn’t existed for some years – for the reasons discussed.

  6. You’re missing the point.

    Hamilton is planning to put an early Q3 lap in and then park it in the tunnel.

      • Your Honour, am I sensing a whiff of cognitive dissonance here? 🙂

        You can either believe that there was some wrongdoing in Nico’s actions in 2014 Q3, or none. You reference Davidson’s analysis who said “move on, nothing to see here”, implying that you believe Nico to be squeaky clean in light of existing evidence. Yet here you state that you expect any Merc-provoked yellow flag incident in Q3 to get penalized by the stewards, suggesting that you do believe that Nico’s actions in Q3 2014 comported sufficient grounds under the rules for a steward review and even penalty.

        So which one is it? 🙂

        • …I don’t believe he deliberately did what he did – and nobody is answering the objections I have repeatedly made to the fundamental’s of the conspiracy theory?

          Q1 When did the marshal’s begin waving the yellow flags?

          • “When did the marshal’s begin waving the yellow flags?”

            As soon as Rosberg entered the escape road, from what I see. But I fail see what bearing this has, if any.

          • …because under yellows Nico decided to reverse – his reversing has been perpetuated as one of the reasons which demonstrates Nico’s intentions to cheat – but the yellow flags were already being shown.

          • Rosberg of all people knows full well how drivers do not respect yellow flags, and how the FIA never enforces them. So Rosberg knew very well how dangerous it was to pluck his Merc’s rear in reverse onto an active track, in a relatively heavy braking zone, whichever the waved flags. He also knew that he was leading the train of hungry, on the limit pedalers. Once he binned it, the only reasonable and safe way to proceed was to park it at the end of the pocket and wait for the train to pass, yellow flags or not, and only then attempt to regain the track (once OK’ed by marshals or on the radio). The fact that he regained the track so hastily is suspicious, at the very least.

            But even this is beyond the point. It’s not just his haste in regaining the track. If it were only that, it might have looked plausible. But there was also the funny steering movements prior to braking and after braking (have you ever seen any driver juggling like that in that corner?). And if it were only just that, he might have enjoyed some sort of goodwill and plausible deniability, however little. But it wasn’t. And then there is this mountain of circumstantial evidence of why Rosberg needed such an event to happen, along with the means.

            Given all the evidence we have, I don’t know which judge would let Nico off the hook in a fair trial…

          • OK. So we dealt with the accusation that Rosberg reversed to create the yellow flag. Let’s look at the other accusations.

            Who exactly is commenting and analysing his steering inputs… We need a driver of repute to confirm this is obviously unnecessary…

          • Not to create, but to ensure that the session got aborted for good for all runners. It wasn’t just about Hamilton; any pedaler from behind could have snatched the pole, too. He couldn’t have anticipated with absolute certainty that the yellow flag would remain waved if he simply parked it into the run-off area…

            As for analyzing his steering inputs, we have Mark Hughes’ analysis (quoted by @formula in a comment above) which points directly to Nico’s guilt (regarding tyre load data and speed of the car at turn-in). I also remember that not all stewards were convinced of Nico’s innocence, but don’t have quotes on hand.

          • Lol. This is the problem with some die hard conspiracy theories. They are ill thought out.

            Nico was well aware Lewis had left the pits minutes earlier to do his warm up lap – he also knew there was no time after the yellow flag to start a new lap. The yellow flags are always waved for 30 seconds until the marshals are sure there is no issue they have missed – reversing had zero effect on Hamilton.

            I’d prefer to back the analysis of a world champion driver – than Mark Hughes. We have that analysis – and Davidson said ‘not guilty’.

            Add to that, as a writer, its not a bad position to take for Hughes.

          • If we’re talking about die hard conspiracies, the burden of proof that some expect for the Monaco incident seems infinitely higher than for the Monza incident. Same people who feel Rosberg is squeaky clean here, all of a sudden see only conspiracies in the Monza T1 misses. Double standards spring to mind.

            Anyways, the Monaco Q3 mishap isn’t done and dusted as you seem to believe. Davidson while accurate and no BS, is also moderate when analyzing incidents and stops short of calling names. And BTW he’s no WDC. For instance, in the Rosberg in Spa 2014 incident he stopped short of laying all blame at Rosberg’s wheel, when it was no brainer Rosberg at fault (and I know you still stick to your guns on that one). As for his analysis of Rosberg’s wheel play, I doubt he had access to telemetry and technical data when making that analysis; it looks like at least two people in the world, Hamilton and Hughes, and reportedly team insiders, who feel the data has an interesting story to tell.

            It seems to me that those who don’t see possible mischief in Monaco Q3 are those who don’t want to see any. I’m not saying he’s definitely guilty; this we can’t know. But most of the evidence points in that direction…

  7. Nice write-up on the debut of the new super-softs.

    Pirelli is interesting. Last season, and this season, their brief from F1 was to provide an average of 2 to 3 pit-stops per driver per race.

    Pirelli made a surprising mistake for Melbourne and choose compounds that were too hard. TJ13 rightly criticized Pirelli for the error.

    Pirelli claimed in their 2014 end of year press release that they were successful for the season in meeting their brief of 2 to 3 stops per driver. They claimed an average of 2.02 stops per driver.

    I became curious as to how they’re doing this year.

    So I’ve counted the number of drivers who were classified at the end of each race. Then I counted the pit-stops of those classified drivers. (The other restriction is only dry races should be counted.)

    Here is the avg# of pit-stops per driver per race in 2015:
    AUS => 1.3 (14 stops / 11 drivers)
    MYS => 2.9 (44 stops / 15 drivers)
    CHN => 2.1 (35 stops / 17 drivers)
    BRN => 2.3 (39 stops / 17 drivers)
    ESP => 2.3 (42 stops / 18 drivers)

    Avg after 5 rounds = 2.2

  8. RE: Hamilton blinks first before the Monaco shootout

    I think you are correct here, in that Lewis has “blinked first”. It’s certainly unusual that when given the choice of when to run, to have chosen to go first and not last as is traditionally the case in Q3 at Mercedes…

    It means, to me at least, that Lewis is trying to be preemptive and avoid “something”, which means that said “something” is on his mind. Additionally, the fact Lewis is openly stating this is, or has been, a weaker track for him would be of concern to his supporters as he always seems to do well when he’s on a high, and not when he’s entering a round apprehensive, preemptive and acknowledging his weakness.

    At the very least, he has “blinked first”.

    Nico is particularly strong at Monaco, and not just over the past two years. This might be Nico’s best chance to pull Lewis back a little more, both mentally and in terms of points.

    I said in a previous comment weeks ago that Lewis, most likely, has this title wrapped up but for his own home goals. It’s not a home goal yet, of course, but equally it doesn’t bode well for a driver who I think we can agree performs at his best as a fearless and confident driver, and not as one who has shown that he can easily unravel over a weekend when he’s being preemptive and/or concerned.

    • Having said all that, Nico’s should be able to turn this to his advantage but I don’t think that he has enough of a ruthless streak to properly exploit the potential fragility of Lewis’ mindset over a season.

      • I’m inclined to agree with you.

        Championships tend not to be won purely based on exploiting a rivals weakness on their weaker tracks. There is only one Monaco; Nico best make good use of it.

      • Or how about this…

        What if him electing to go first is his way of putting pressure on Nico to better his time?

        It’s only an advantage to go last if you know you’ve got the pace over your team-mate so as to better anything he does, just like we saw in Spain.

        • ..If that is such a psychological advantage – why doesn’t Lewis choose to go first every other time he gets the option…

          • Because apart from here and Spain, there’s the possibility of getting pass on track. So maybe it’s more advantageous to go first here.

          • ….So you agree traffic is a problem… and the traffic – as has been asserted more than once – at Monaco is earlier than at other circuits.

          • Another hypothesis: if there’s a higher chance of a yellow flag at Monaco (which I guess we’d agree there is) then earlier could be better because there’s less chance of losing a run by not having enough time to get an out lap completed.

          • ..Good point which got lost in the debate – but in fact is the reason for the whole conversation – but in Monaco more than anywhere else – every year drivers complain about having their flying lap compromised by traffic.

            So where is the risk/reward?
            1) Defo get a lap in but have a high probability of being compromised by traffic
            2) Have a clear run at the end – but risk a yellow flag

    • It would have been an infinitely more ballsy for Lewis to go last, effectively staring down Nico and daring him to take another dive.

      “Go ahead… make my day…”

      TJ got it right. Opportunity missed.

      • Indeed, Roger… I agree. Well put.

        The move to run first in Q3 reeks of a mindset of a driver who hasn’t let go of Monaco 2014.

        From my observations, Lewis doesn’t operate well when he’s carrying baggage like this.

        Let’s see how this all plays out.

  9. “That said, the stewards decided from the timing information they had, GPS data and explanations from the team that Rosberg’s incident was inadvertent.”…..

    So the stewards didn’t look at any telemetry data then? Because did Lewis not say he saw something in the data that convince him that it was deliberately done?

    • Uh oh, Fortis please don’t spark this debate again. Taking an extract from Mark hughes’ comment on this from last year:

      “I was told they looked at the standard brake, throttle and steering traces, but not the tyre load data. Had they done, I’m pretty sure they’d have found an inconsistency between what the tyres could take (as seen on previous run) and how much steering input was made. As DC (david coulthard) said, he appeared to be sawing at the wheel even when the car was clearly planted to the road. That is very much what it looked like from front-on – with the car simply following his steering inputs. It’s was as if he’d expected that sawing to create a twitch and when it didn’t and he found himself arriving at the turn-in point with the car slowed and stable, he then locked up, ensuring he couldn’t make the turn. It’s the locking up of the wheels at a point where the car is easily slow enough to make the turn that gives it away”

      Stewards did not look at the tyre load data, which probably would have given the game away, and may have been what Lewis was talking about.

      • Good to see Lewis recognising what it takes to get pole and win in Monaco. “It depends purely on driving skill and courage behind the wheel. That what makes it so special for me.” 😉

  10. ” the stewards decided from the timing information they had, GPS data and explanations from the team that Rosberg’s incident was inadvertent.”

    “So it is interesting that going to a circuit where Nico has had both pole and the win in the past two seasons, Lewis is electing not to go last.”

    “Hamilton can’t seriously believe that Rosberg will crash again – before he can complete his final stint – and even if he did, the stewards would rule Nico was innocent? ”

    It is not very clear what the author is suggesting here…

    Anyways… It is a fallacy to believe that the stewards declared Nico “innocent” last year. What they did was to merely declare that “there was insufficient evidence to ascertain Nico’s guilt”, which is a very long way from saying that someone is innocent.

    There is a fair amount of evidence that that decision was politicized, and that there were dissenting stewards who personally didn’t believe that the ruling was correct (i.e. believed that Nico cheated). The stewards didn’t dare punish a driver for cheating because both drivers were hard at it in the championship, and they needed 100% incontrovertible evidence to even entertain to punish Nico. This sort of evidence is very difficult to obtain, and until we get scanners to decipher human brain memories against a person’s will — it will remain difficult in the future.

    If you look at the circumstantial evidence, though, it all points to Nico’s guilt (there is motive, means, etc.). Thus Lewis choosing to go first this year is a very reasonable choice given the extraordinary events from last year’s that are extremely unlikely to have happened by chance alone (e.g. reversing on an active track was 100% conscious and intentional, as you cannot put these damn F1 cars into reverse gear unless your really wanted to). This alone is reason enough for Hamilton to go first this year, if he has that choice…

    And to bring us some fond memories of the incident:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_3062531507&feature=iv&src_vid=Ln4WJNDRl-I&v=aX2841KPMW8

    • I’m not sure he made the mistake on purpose but he definitely knew what he was doing when reversing back up the escape road. If he’d have just parked it at the end of the escape road I don’t think there would have been any need for a yellow flag at at all, it’s quite long.

    • So we are now looking at the video evidence. Ok, Anthony Davidson – who English SKY viewers will probably agree to be the best analyst we have on TV – went over it frame by frame – and concluded – no case to answer.

      • …and aside from that, or in addition to that I should say, a reply-comment Mark Hughes made at the bottom of his analysis of Monaco ’14 sums it all up for me…

        “As I said in the piece, only Rosberg can ‘know’ for certain – and as one of his colleagues quoted said, he’s never going to tell us. And as for me having an agenda for any one driver, I really do not. Even if Rosberg did do it, in a fight for the championship between two guys in the only car that’s going to win it, it’s all fair game. Hamilton was using the psychological warfare, sniping behind the scenes, Rosberg used the non-permitted map in Bahrain, Hamilton did the same in Spain, Rosberg almost certainly retaliated in Monaco. Even inside the team, there are those who will tell you off the record that they suspect that it was indeed deliberate. To not reflect that general feeling – as well as how I personally judged the front-on shot of the incident (which was not shown on tv) in which Rosberg’s car appears to be easily slowed enough to make the turn at the turn-in point – and only then locks its brakes – would do the report a disservice.

        As for the incident itself, in the context I really don’t have a problem with it. As with Alonso’s pitlane trick on Hamilton during Hungary qualifying in 2007, in response to Hamilton having tricked him with the fuel burn-off laps earlier, it’s just the sort of thing that is going to happen with two fully competitive, winning drivers in a title-contending car. Putting them on the same level as Senna/Prost? Nowhere does it say that – and it is not something I believe to be true.

        In essence, whilst some experts argue it was on purpose, and others argue it wasn’t, the overriding theme of that weekend was Lewis’ attempt at psychological warfare that spectacular blew up in his face. As Hughes states, if purposeful, then it is certain it was retaliation from Nico and fair game given the circumstances. After that, Lewis focused on less talking and more driving and ultimately secured the title.

        This latest Q3 decision from Lewis seems like echoes of the past and memories unresolved…

        • “if purposeful, then it is certain it was retaliation from Nico and fair game given the circumstances. ”

          Fair game? Nah… Lewis’ verbal warfare off-track may have been sloppy, but nowhere near in proportion to Nico’s blatant cheating (if the move was intentional and premeditated) on-track.

          • Well it seems Mark Hughes disagrees, as do I…

          • @WTF_F1

            So you do agree then that it’s absolutely ball for Lewis to put Nico in the wall on the first chance that he gets, and absolutely correct for it not to be penalized by the stewards because “in a fight for the championship between two guys in the only car that’s going to win it, it’s all fair game.”

            Well, that’s an utter twisted way to look at things, where drivers shouldn’t be penalized for breaking the rules “because they’re fighting for the championship”. (I wonder how Schumacher would enjoy such a championship fight…) So who’s got some spare spikes for the starting grid, or perhaps some bananas for the exhausts? It’s all fair game, I hear…

          • Not quite… but it is amusing the extreme connections you are creating, not only for me, but also indirectly for Mark Hughes by virtue of it being his original comment.

            But I have been called “twisted” before, so I can cope; though it’s not like I carry a sword around with me when I do a podcast… (Winky emoji)

          • Caricature is a very useful tool: allows to shine a bright spotlight on the absurdity of a proposition.

            Re Mark Hughes. I can see his comment explaining Rosberg’s move, but in NO way it excuses said move. If the move was against regulations (and for the record, Rosberg screwed the Q3 for ALL runners, not only his verbally warfaring team-mate), then punished he should be by the stewards. Mark Hughes seems to believe Rosberg was guilty of deliberately causing the yellow flag; he also helps us understand why Rosberg did what he did; all the more reason for such a move to be punished.

          • “Re Mark Hughes. I can see his comment explaining Rosberg’s move, but in NO way it excuses said move.” – Landroni

            “Even if Rosberg did do it, in a fight for the championship between two guys in the only car that’s going to win it, it’s all fair game. Hamilton was using the psychological warfare, sniping behind the scenes…” – Mark Hughes

            I posted this already.

            Also, about the use of caricature as a technique to shine a light on what you feel is absurd… Be careful not to fall into the trap of seeing everything in “Black and White” extreme terms. There are shades of grey, about 50 I believe, and moving discourse to extremes is absurd in and of itself, at times. An example might be the creative extreme connections you think my comment, which is piggy backed off Mark Hughes’ comment, implies if drawn to its fullest conclusion.

        • “fair game given the circumstances” – That says a lot about the people who think this. Cheating is fine if it is in retaliation to a team mate playing psychological games?
          Nah, well done, solid argument.

          • Strange, and interesting; though not surprising…

            You are comfortable quoting Mark Hughes to support an argument earlier, yet you (probably accidentally) implicitly undermine his character – the very character and credibility you use when convenient – when it doesn’t suit. ‘Twas Mark’s argument, remember?

            Curious…

          • [MOD] – well done, you have correctly identified that I hold his technical analysis in high regard, but at the same time do not agree with what his opinion is in regards to whether it is fair for nico to do this. I am in no way undermining his credibility, just fundamentally disagreeing with what seems to be his opinion on whether it was fair or not.

          • Confirmation bias it is then… Such a blessing it must be to be able to pick and choose the relevant bits and peices to support ones view.

            Thanks for playing.

      • May be so. But there is still a number of unexplained points in that incident.

        The proactive steering inputs. The locking of the car when it was slow enough to make the turn in. The (reckless) immediate reversing on an active race track. The various team insiders who reportedly believe it was intentional. Add to the mix the motive (he was the main beneficiary from his own cock-up) and the means (he was in a position to premeditate and execute such a plan), and there is precious little out there exonerating Nico Rosberg.

      • I heard that McLaren tried to enter an MP4-30 in the Shitbox Rally the other weekend but were knocked back. While the organisers agreed the car was certainly worth less than the stipulated $1000, they deemed it far too unreliable.

  11. It did seem that Rosberg hands on the steering wheel on that particular corner were different but that was last year. This year I’m quiet certain Hamilton will ‘get him back’ by doing exactly the same thing and him getting pole. He is obviously in a fighting mood with everyone and remember, his hero, Senna, got Prost back on that corner to take the Championship.

  12. Latin America is underserved by f1. it’s the only place in the world other than Europe where f1 is a household name and where you’ll see an actual billboard or adverts with vettel selling shell gasoline or button selling Mobil one. there should be at least one more race in South America. in the outskirts of Lima you’ll find tons of open land where one could build a laguna seca type gp track.

  13. The question in my mind is where should Lewis park it? And I’m not talking Parc Fermé. Surely, he wouldn’t dare to park it exactly where Nico parked it last year, would he?

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