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Hamilton sticks to plan A and wins Canadian Grand Prix; seventh winner in 2012
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Posted By: James Allen  |  10 Jun 2012   |  6:48 pm GMT  |  320 comments

Lewis Hamilton became the seventh different winner in seven Grands Prix this season with a cool headed drive on a day of strategy gambles.

It was his third Canadian Grand Prix win and the 18th of his career. It gave him the lead in the drivers’ championship by two points over Alonso and three points over Vettel. It was McLaren’s 13th win in Canada.

The victory was built on a two stop strategy which proved the right one, although it gave some nervous moments after his second stop, when it became clear that main rivals Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel were only stopping once. Getting the tyres switched on in the first lap was also crucial to Hamilton’s success. He and the team admitted after the race that they would not have been able to one stop with the energy they were putting into the tyres.

The pair however threw away podium finishes by risking a one-stop strategy. Instead, Romain Grosjean and Sergio Perez drove brilliantly and took second and third places. They too had one stopped, but with better tyre wear they had better pace at the end of the race. Perez started 15th and finished third.

Vettel finished fourth, ahead of Alonso, Rosberg and Webber.

Seven seconds covered the top four at the end. It was a thrilling finish to a race which had a lively first third and then a long period of inactivity.

“I want to dedicate this one to all the fans who send messages and are constantly sending messages and being supportive,” said Hamilton. “I loved every single minute of it. I never had a doubt that there wasn’t a possibility (of winning). I assumed the guys (Alonso and Vettel) were one stopping as they were falling behind.

“It’s been five years since I won for the first time here. But it feels just as good. This feels like one of the best races I’ve had for a long time.”

The temperature rose steadily in the moments running up to the start of the race and was 40 degrees when the race started, the highest it had been all weekend. This got team strategists thinking about the various ways the race might unfold depending on tyre degradation. Button, Raikkonen, Perez, Hulkenberg, Maldonado and De La Rosa all went for the soft tyre at the start.

At the start the top five got away in grid order with Vettel leading from pole, while Rosberg attacking Webber, who held him off into the first chicane.

Massa passed Rosberg at the end of lap two for fifth place and Di Resta took Rosberg for sixth a lap later. Massa undid all the good work by spinning and dropping down to 13th place.

Vettel had a 1.4 second lead over Hamilton in the first couple of laps, keeping him clear of the DRS zone.

The ease of making DRS passes might have influenced decision making on the pit wall, as a driver on worn tyres would clearly be vulnerable in the closing stages.

On lap 16 Hamilton and Alonso both got within the DRS zone of Vettel, Vettel pitted for new softs and Hamilton and Alonso put the hammer down.

Hamilton reacted and pitted the next lap, while Ferrari left Alonso out once again. Hamilton came out ahead of Vettel, despite a slow get away from the pit box.

Meanwhile Alonso went around again, as Vettel attacked Hamilton on lap 19. Alonso had done enough in his two laps to pass both Hamilton and Vettel and he emerged from his lap 19 pit stop ahead.

But Hamilton was in the DRS zone at the end of the lap and he passed him into the final corner at the end of lap 21. The softs took a little longer to come in than Alonso needed and Hamilton was able to make the decisive pass for the lead.


Grosjean led the race at this point, having not stopped, but he stopped on lap 21, giving Hamilton back the lead.

Hamilton looked stronger on the soft tyres in the second stint, relative to his pursuers. He pulled out 2.4 seconds in 3 laps and by lap 26 the gap was up to 2.6 seconds. He was now where he wanted to be, out front with a clear track ahead, which as we have seen all year, is extremely important to keeping the tyres in good shape.

Raikkonen and Perez were going well on the soft tyres in 4th and 5th, only five seconds behind the leader.

Hamilton drove away from Alonso and Vettel through the middle part of the race, the gap climbing to 3.7 seconds by lap 33.

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery tweeted on lap 34 that the tyre wear was greater than in free practice, the right rear was the limitation and hence two stops were on the cards for the leaders.

Raikkonen and Perez, the two cars who were one stopping, made it to lap 40 before coming in, but Rosberg was able to resist both of them and despite Raikkonen getting ahead initially, he repassed him for P7.

Schumacher’s DRS rear wing got stuck open and he was forced to retire for the fifth time in seven races, yet more reliability issues for him and Mercedes. After missing his hot qualifying lap by hundredths of a second at the end of Q3, it was another highly frustrating weekend.

Hamilton’s gap to Alonso started to come down as the Ferrari again performed better at the end of the stint. Hamilton stopped on lap 50 and it was another slow stop for McLaren, he lost at least a second.

Hamilton responded by setting the fastest lap of the race to that point, keeping the gap down to below the crucial 15 second margin which Alonso would need to stop and rejoin ahead.

On lap 53 Alonso had a poor lap, 1.1 secs slower than Hamilton, which swung the balance back towards Hamilton. Vettel stayed out with Alonso.

With 15 laps to go, the thought occured that Alonso and Vettel might be one stopping. Hamilton had asked his team earlier in the second stint whether they were sure his rivals would be stopping again and they answered in the affirmative.

Hamilton was a second a lap faster than Alonso and Vettel as they missed the moment to make a stop.

There was some good racing between Rosberg, Massa, Perez, Webber and Raikkonen as the different levels of tyre degradation kicked in.

Hamilton reeled in Vettel and Alonso as it became clear that they were not going to stop again.

Hamilton caught Vettel and passed him easily on lap 63, then set off after Alonso.

Vettel pitted on lap 64, dropping behind Grosjean and Perez.

Hamilton passed Alonso for the race lead on lap 65 on much fresher tyres and with the DRS wing making overtaking very easy.

But Grosjean was now a threat to Alonso, lapping almost two seconds a lap faster than the Ferrari.

His tyres were only 2 laps younger than Alonso’s but he passed him easily, as Ferrari’s strategy gamble looked increasingly problematic.

On fresh tyres Vettel was pushing like mad and touched the wall on lap 68 but got away with it.

Perez passed Alonso on lap 68, despite also being on a one stop strategy. He had pitted on lap 41 for a set of supersofts and had pace at the end.

Vettel passed Alonso, demoting the leader at half distance to a 5th place finish.

The gentle action of the Lotus and the Sauber on the tyres had a significant effect as Grosjean and Perez also drove smoothly and fast to take the podiums at the end.

It was another disappointing race for Jenson Button, who finished 16th, a lap down on his team mate, having made three stops. He started the race in tenth place with the same tyres as Perez. With 45 points, he is now well adrift of Hamilton on 88 points.

CANADIAN GRAND PRIX, Montreal, 70 laps

1. Hamilton McLaren 1h32:29.586
2. Grosjean Lotus + 2.513
3. Perez Sauber + 5.260
4. Vettel Red Bull + 7.295
5. Alonso Ferrari + 13.411
6. Rosberg Mercedes + 13.842
7. Webber Red Bull + 15.085
8. Raikkonen Lotus + 15.567
9. Kobayashi Sauber + 24.432
10. Massa Ferrari + 25.272
11. Di Resta Force India + 37.693
12. Hulkenberg Force India + 46.236
13. Maldonado Williams + 47.052
14. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 1:04.475
15. Vergne Toro Rosso + 1 lap
16. Button McLaren + 1 lap
17. Senna Williams + 1 lap
18. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
19. Petrov Caterham + 1 lap
20. Pic Marussia + 2 laps

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320 Comments
  1. Dizzy says:

    DRS really took a lot of the excitement out of the race today.

    I want to see good, competitive racing with drivers fighting each other for the positions.
    Watching drivers push a button & then cruise easily past a totally defenceless car isn’t entertaining to watch, Its dead boring.

    Also you saw Schumacher pull off a great overtake on Kobayashi, A real overtake which then came to nothing when Kamui just pushed his DRS button & cruised easily back past.

    I’ve given DRS time & now think its time to either ban it or rethink the way they use it!

    1. Tom Haythornthwaite says:

      If we must have it it should be usable anywhere, all the time. The existing system, as I have always argued, is contrived and quite remote from actual racing.

      1. Chris_NZ says:

        Weren’t they saying on BBC commentary they were looking to limit DRS for qualifying and free practice as well.

        I’m not sure how safe it would be if they have free reign on its use. I imagine if they had the double drs zone from 2011, it would have been worse then today.

        I am starting to wonder how long DRS will stay around, and maybe they may end its use for improved KERS systems. But in saying that you have any time use of the KERS system with some limitations on time and power output.

      2. Diego says:

        shouldn’t the best drivers in the world be allowed to judge when to and when not to use DRS ?

      3. Ben says:

        The only way to get back to proper racing is to get rid of the DRS all together and bring back refueling. Without the refueling it has just become a case of keep going until someone around you pits and then covering them off, so there really isn’t that much strategy. Also I dont think that there is much point in using the DRS everywhere all the time, you may as well not use it at all.
        However, with the new tire degradation, the racing is so much better this year. Seven different winners in seven races, I don’t think you could ask for a better start to the year.

      4. Quercus says:

        No. Refuelling just means that cars pass each other in the pits — which is much more boring than passing using DRS.

        If you want good overtaking without DRS then there’s only one option — you’ll have to reduce downforce so that cars slide around more, dirty air is reduced and mistakes are more likely made.

      5. Billy says:

        The refuelling days were awfull! It practically amounted to three short sprint races per race – which isn’t a GRAND prix.

        Agree with the above. Aero is/has been ruining the sport for years. The current system may appear contrived and somewhat staged, but until F1 seriously readresses the over use of aero, I’ll take the current system thankyou very much.

      6. Ben says:

        Yes I do admit that some of the races in the refueling days were crap, however, I think that the regulations in 2009 were great. When the drivers had to qualify using the fuel they intended to start the race with, meant that different strategies could be used. With the current generation of tires, I think that the racing would be very interesting. I believe that if everyone is going to start the race with practically the same car, it is very difficult to make the racing interesting without little gadgets like DRS and KERS or getting rid of most of the Aerodynamics.

    2. DerekF1 says:

      I totally agree. I much rather see teams implement conservative strategies relying on the fact that overtaking is very difficult on most circuits.

      The Monaco grand prix was testament to how exciting a grand pix can be with very little overtaking. You would be hard pressed to find a f1 fan saying it wasn’t the most exciting race of the year so far.

      Perhaps we should also push for bridgestones again. I find it so dull that tyres play any factor in a F1 race. Bring back the golden years of processions with no overtaking at all.

      1. Andy says:

        What???? Monaco was dull because it was clear what was going to happen!! It was awful, you might as well watch a few trains following each other!

        Bring back the golden years of processions??? I’ve been watching F1 for 30 years and the last thing we need is the processions we all sat through bored to tears thinking how stupid it was a faster driver could not overtake a slower one because of aerodynamics. Honestly you really should watch another sport, like bowls if you like boring sports events.

      2. Buzzin Hornets says:

        What is DRS? One competitor is boosted because(drumroll)… he is behind someone. Which means, awarded for a mistake earlier in the race or weak performing in qualifying etc… And that`s not motorsport, it`s a reality show.

        Overtaking is not fun to watch when I know that it is fake and based on really wierd logic(I guess that logic is called TV ratings or simply money, if you wish).

        Moreover, DRS can forgive spin for the drivers in the best cars, making it easy to climb back to the front. But a Caterham following a McLaren would never make it to that 1 second zone after two laps, for example. Thank god we have tricky Pirellis this year, which allow Sauber or Williams to shine too.

        You bring in aerodynamics, good. Since 2004, almost every year different wing positions/sizes, body restrictions were introduced to make following easier. Half hearted attempts, I would say. Perhaps the cars should not have that much downforce to lose in the first place?

        You suggest people to follow different sport. Sure, I will do it, LeMans 24h starts this week. But I dont think a series with great history and traditions should be turned into a “show” regardless of the loss of credibility.

      3. daphne says:

        Re: “Bring back the golden years of processions with no overtaking at all.” You’re not serious…you’re joking right?
        Considering the reliability of modern F1 cars the race then, on a Sunday, would be a moot point. The result would already be predetermined. What you are saying is why bother with the Sunday race when the result is decided on the Saturday.
        Today’s race was pretty good. Not perfect, I’ll admit, but this form of racing is certainly better than say 10 years ago, when Trulli trains ruined the “racing”. (At no fault to the driver, that was just the way it, boringly, was.)

      4. Sebee says:

        Nice.

        But seriously, he does have a point. Monaco was not the track to judge Non-DRS race by. They should have a “problem” with the DRS arming system at one race, to give us a non DRS race at Suzuka or Spa and then we can judge if current formula, tires and KERS are enough.

      5. MrNed says:

        And taking your tongue out of your cheek… :-)

        Personally I think there’s a middle-ground to be found on both tyres and DRS.

      6. Effwon says:

        The Monaco Grand Prix “wasn’t the most exciting race of the year so far”, not by any stretch of the imagination.

      7. Elie says:

        Yeah..Montreal is so far the best and Monaco was rubbish

      8. James Clayton says:

        Indeed. And, as comments here and on every other F1 site suggest, you would be hard pressed to find an F1 fan saying it WAS the most exciting race of the year so far!

      9. Craig D says:

        Haha you didn’t really read Derek’s post properly did you?

      10. Calum says:

        I’m fairly sure the pevious post was said in jest.

      11. ctp says:

        i see what you did there… even if Effwon didn’t.

      12. Effwon says:

        I just wanted to be the fan you’d be hard-pressed to find, you know, just for once in my life. PS: My sarcasm detector must have been downloading updates at 3am, whereas Andy’s had crashed!

      13. KenN says:

        I have been a F1 fan for more than 50 years and to me Monaco has become one of the most boring races of the calendar,..how can you say that last race was exciting,…imho it is now time for the Monaco race to be dropped if the processional racing is to continue.

      14. Jonathan says:

        Excellent sarcasm.

        However, the original comment was complaining specifically about DRS, not the Pirelli tyres or the amount of overtaking. The Canadian GP would still have had plenty of overtaking without DRS. The only difference is that it would have been real overtaking rather than DRS overtaking, which is about as exciting as watching the drivers implement team orders.

      15. Chapor says:

        Well, Monaco wasn’t the most exciting race of this season.

        Sincerely,

        F1 Fan.

    3. Seymour Quilter says:

      If you think watching, as they used to call it, the “Trulli Train”, when faster cars were held up by slower cars lap after lap on tracks where overtaking was difficult… Then good luck to you. DRS, and KERS and Pirelli have given us exciting races that wipe the floor with the ones previously. This is the kind if race I want to see, not the ones when after the first pit stops, that was it no change until the end of the race.

      Did you predict Hamilton’s win? Did you predict Alonso would fall so far back? May not be the result you want but that’s what’s so great about this season, it’s exciting! Seven different winners in the same number of races? Amazing!

      1. Denny says:

        I agree, Kers and DRS are a part of the game, and a great addition to the series. They may change the way the game is played, but this is one of the best F-1 seasons I can remember, and I’ve watched and followed F-1 since 1967. If F-1 is going to take in the USA, this competion is required. I look forward to seeing both Lotus drivers wining, as well as Michael, Perez and maybe another surprise victor this season. Finally F-1 is exciting!

      2. Hezla says:

        I totally agree. KERS + DRS should stay and that goes also for the Pirelli tires. I love this F1 season.

      3. Craig D says:

        Thumbs up! :) Agreed. The uncertainly around how the tyres work making cars jump in and out of performance is an issue that needs solving (a problem maybe the engineers will eventually solve themselves!), but as an overall principle, the type of tyres and rules we have in F1 now are the best I can remember, when you critically analyse all the other alternatives.

        I like the fact the likes of Ferrari simply didn’t know whether their gamble of staying out for the win would pay off. It’s similar to the days before precision engineering and near faultless reliability when we and the teams had the uncertainty of whether a car would make it to the end (especially on a traditional car breaker like Montreal).

      4. Andy says:

        I salute for your comments!! There are a few people posting here who seem to enjoy boring processions a little too much?!

      5. Cristobal says:

        Anyone who likes DRS, in my opinion, wants to be entertained at all costs and doesn’t mind if the greatest cost is genuine racing. Formula 1 is one of the biggest and worst examples of how a sport is packaged up to deliver ‘entertainment’ for the masses with scant regard for the sport that lies beneath the money making potential of the entertainment package. I’m sure they’d go full CGI if they thought they could sell it.

      6. James Encore says:

        You’re welcome to your opinion.

        The simple fact is that a car that can catch can now pass. For years and years Murray Walker used to say “Catching is one thing, passing is quite another”.
        Before, running in dirty air meant that a car was faster until it caught the car in front and then couldn’t get close enough to attempt a pass so your mum could defend a position.

        So we watched a processions going round, and round with Trulli, or Alberetto or Arnoux, holding half the field up. That wasn’t racing (forgive me for caricaturing the ‘purist position’) why not just have qualifying and the parade lap and go home ?

        The FIA banned slipstreaming as a by-product of rev-limits, so things got even worse; a car couldn’t go any faster by following another because it hit its rev limit without a slipstream, you couldn’t exceed the normal Vmax with a slipstream.

        We’ve got a stupid situation with Kers where cars can only harvest a proportion of the waste energy because they are only allowed to put it back at a set rate for a set time. Kers is also a defence mechanism to allow a slower car to stay in front

        Take the Kers limits and rev limits away and we **might** get overtaking without aero gimmicks. We’d also get more bits of the car going bang, so you’d get winners because the car in front broke down was that “real racing” ?

        The pendulum has now swung the other way, a car which is marginally slower with track position can’t defend (except for Monaco).

        That meant that Vettel could stick the super-softs on and stick in those Banzai laps at the end of Canada and know he had a good chance of passing Alonso. Without DRS, he’d have just followed him round for the last 10 laps. With DRS we had a race.

      7. I’ve never heard of the ‘Trulli train’ but I remember Rene Arnoux was the ‘mobile chicane’…

      8. KenN says:

        Rene Arnoux known as a mobile chicane? Rene Arnoux was a points scorer in every season that he raced in apart from his first season and he was a race winner seven times,….he also came 3rd in the WDC in 1983. I don’t see how that makes him a mobile chicane

      9. moxlox says:

        Once he left Ferrari he drove for lesser teams and seemed pretty bitter, routinely holding up drivers lapping him and being known as a mobile chicane.

      10. Dunky says:

        He was in the later part of his career.

    4. Kieran says:

      DRS can work well on some tracks but in Canada it has been terrible these last two years. It would be much better to see the cars battle into the final chicane or turn 1/2. Having the second DRS zone last year was actually slightly better as the passed driver had a chance to retake the lost position.

      1. Craig D says:

        Actually the 2nd DRS last year was a joke as it wasn’t a separate the zone. The one who’d just overtaken basically got an extra DRS helping to pull away! Perhaps they should position DRS on the main straight to encourage two overtaking zones. Or do without.

        I don’t think it was too bad though. At the end the leaders were sitting ducks regardless.

      2. Kieran says:

        Ah, you’re right I forgot that was how it worked!

      3. Kay says:

        Agree with you on 2nd DRS last year.

        What they should’ve done was allow another zone for the other car to attempt to re-take the position back again, then it’d end up being a fight to the first corner into the next lap.

        Seems like FIA acts to do things without thinking through properly.

      4. Rob says:

        I have to say, i think this race (which i attended) has changed my opinion regarding DRS. It was like watching a bunch of cars doing time trials in parallel, with no racecraft when it came to overtaking. For tracks where overtaking is possible, DRS takes away from the show. We were robbed of some potentially momentous on-track battles here.

    5. Craig D says:

      It may be the case that DRS isn’t required on a track like Montreal but I’m not sure if it was overly too easy. For example, when we had cars on similar life tyres and pace, such as the Di Resta, Rosberg train early in the race, there wasn’t a ridicule of easy overtaking with the leader of the train going to the back, only for the next leader to suffer the same fate due to DRS being a joke! In fact there was very little DRS action, indicating its effect wasn’t too pronounced.

      Now, at the end when the likes of Hamilton, Grojean and Perez breezed past Alonso and Vettel, they were super easy overtakes. But that wasn’t due to an insane DRS effect. There was a massive pace difference of those cars then. Alonso and Vettel had no traction and when a car is 3 to 4 seconds a lap slower, a car is going to breeze past on a track such as this with a ‘not a very exciting overtake’ regardless.

      1. Kay says:

        that massive pace difference was due to tyres which I still think are pretty stupid in them playing too big a role.

        I don’t find it very fun to see the amatures beating elites coz the latter were crippled.

      2. Rishi says:

        Thank you for saving me having to make this point! I would concede that those ‘super easy’ overtakes would have been harder to attain without the DRS, but I agree that they still would (or at least should) have happened on this circuit and were explained by different tyres/tyre strategies, not some ‘super DRS effect.’

    6. D@X says:

      Fair comment but procession are a boredom too, tyres or drs which one is a lesser evil? Seems more strategy and tyre management at play, do you want races to become predictable? I feel this is the way forward and if not then I’m sure you have some bright ideas.

    7. MrExasperated says:

      I second the vote to get rid of DRS, Alonso pushed hard to get ahead in his pit stop, all for nothing, simple press of a button and all negated.

      Imagine Imola 2005 with DRS, instead of a 15 lap edge of your seat fight, it would have been over in 1 lap.

      I think with the tyres being the way they are, we dont need DRS…..what do people think?

      1. Chris says:

        Hamilton getting past Alonso after the first round of stops was also about having an extra lap to get the tyres up to temp.. You can’t just blame DRS.

      2. matthew says:

        but vettel had a few extra laps on his tyres and still couldnt get past lewis eventhough when lewis came out of the pits vettel was right behind him.

      3. James Clayton says:

        But it would have been nice to see if it could have been done *without* DRS. I personally think Hamilton could have made the move without DRS; but we’ll never know now.

      4. gondokmg says:

        Agree with that, especially when you consider Lewis was in the exact same predicament a lap earlier but was able to fend off Vettel.

        Kind of reminds me of the German GP last year, something similar happened with Lewis, Fernando and Mark fighting it off at the front!

    8. Gravelrash says:

      Dizzy your on your own……..

      1. Dizzy says:

        looking at fan polling/comments around the internet, looks like im actually in the majority ;)

    9. Andy says:

      I’m sorry but years of watching processions in F1 was far more boring than what we have today and far more stupid when a faster person simply couldn’t get past anyone.

      Today’s solution although not perfect, rewards (mostly) the faster driver and there are still good non DRS passes.

      F1 fans seem to have short memory and have forgotten all the moaning about boring races and cars that couldn’t pass each other! I know DRS is contrived but it’s less ridiculous than what we had before.

      Plus I’m tired of people already moaning about this so called lottery season, in general the top 3 teams are still there, Red Bull 2 wins, Mclaren 2 wins, the better drivers are generally still winning and I personally find this year more interesting than many others in the last decade. Bring it on. All said respectfully of course.

      1. Jimbob says:

        Hear hear!

        What the DRS complainers seem to forget is that it is the DRS that sets the possibility of a exciting race as it ensures different strategies can work as overtaking is possible. It’s not just the pure excitement of an individual overtake.

        Canada had the holy grail of an overtake for the lead in the last 10 laps. On top of this the podium was made up of 3 different strategies.

        Without DRS everyone is forced to run the same strategy and the race ends up as a precession with the only possibility for a change being in the pits.

        The ease of the actual overtakes at the end isn’t ideal but that was as much down to the tyres as the DRS.

        It is easy to view the past through rose tinted specs.

    10. Leo says:

      Agree, yes all a little contrived in some way.
      I say bring in quail tyres, to start get rid of DRS lets have some racing again.
      Hammy did a great job, as did Alonso, but best of therace was Perez coming from 15th !!!

    11. tim says:

      Schumacher’s pass was ballsy, and yet was almost immediately erased by DRS. Perhaps it’s just a rule change away from being better? Perhaps a car that’s been overtaken outside the DRS zone should not have the option to use it on the car that has overtaken it until the following lap? Otherwise, why not just wait until the DRS zone to do your passing rather than late-braking like Schumacher did? I know I appreciated the pass for its grit and felt he deserved to not lose it so cheaply on the DRS straight.

      1. gondokmg says:

        Maybe the lesson is not to overtake just before the DRS zone unless you can pull away enough of a gap before DRS kicks in!

      2. Anil says:

        But the hairpin is one of the best overtaking opportunities on the entire track, maybe better than the back straight. Also, you can’t overtake during the back straight if your top speed is low, you can at the hairpin.

      3. F1racer says:

        Agree! probably, the only overtaking that took place outside the DRS zone in the whole race.

        Doesn’t look good for Schumacher this season, with his mercedes just getting all the reliability issues when it is race day and only on car no.7. Wonder what ross brawn has to say about it?

    12. Kay says:

      I think I can do the same, since DRS is no different to any PlayStation racing game anyway :D heh.

      Or might as well get F1 drivers to race on PlayStation.

      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        The racing on Gran Turismo is more real than this DRS nonsense, I approve!

  2. Hal says:

    Congrats to Lewis. Long overdue this season. Kept his cool and kept pushing just the right amount.

    Good drive for Grosjean and Perez – I don’t know how the heck the managed 40 laps or so on option tires.

    1. Sebee says:

      But no more chance for Hamilton to win WDC without winning GP this year.

      1. Craig D says:

        I can live with that! Also why would that be a good thing? I don’t think it would be as credible for a champion to not win a race!

      2. Sebee says:

        Isn’t that the hardest way to win one?

    2. KRB says:

      Stats to date
      =============

      Podiums: LH4,FA3,SV2,NR2,KR2,RG2,JB2,SP2,MW1,PM1

      Points Finishes (3+): LH7,FA7,SV6,MW6,KR6,NR5,RG4,KK4,PdR4,JB3,BS3,FM3,NH3

      Longest podium streak (season): LH3,FA2,KR2

      Current podium streak: LH1,RG1,SP1

      Longest points finish streak (season)(3+): LH7,FA7,SV5,NR5,MW4,KR4,RG3

      Current points finish streaks: LH7,FA7,SV5,NR5,KR4,MW2,FM2,RG1,SP1,KK1

      Retirements (not classified)(3+): MS5,RG3,CP3

  3. TheGreatTeflonso says:

    I can’t understand Ferrari’s judgement here. Once again the goons are strategizing too hard. I’m not criticizing trying for a one stop strategy, but they should have covered Vettel the moment he pitted. Frankly they could have pitted him onto supersofts on the last stint after Hamilton and challenged since he saved a set in qualifying? Another Abu Dhabi style mistake with probably similar circumstances. Hamilton and Vettel can afford to risk things and make mistakes because Mclaren and Red Bull have had fast cars generally everywhere. Ferrari have only just put together a competitive car so why go risky? Good job from Lotus and Sauber.

    1. Sean hardman says:

      Good hindsight strategy.

      1. nino says:

        Without insight I though they had to cover vettel right after I saw the small gap hamilton was able to keep after the second stop. Ferrari should had given up on hamilton who was clearly going to catch them up anyway.
        Alonso would have likely ended on front of vetted, probably Perez as well and be still in the championship lead.

      2. db4tim says:

        YEA well Ferrari should have foresight and not hind sight…..history is repeating itself

    2. Nuno says:

      James,

      I complete agree with this. Alonso was racing in terms of championship, WEB and VET so he should cover them. Since he didn’t pit after HAM he should have cover VET, VEry disappointing today with the strategie.

    3. azac21 says:

      Abu Dhabi 2010 is what came to my mind too.

      For the ssake of 8 more points (i.e. win the race) they lost 8 (i.e. 5th place). I suppose it is not a bad time in the championship to take a gamble and maybe learn from your mistakes. Better now than in the last race of the season with the championship at stake.

      1. Daniel MA says:

        Take a gamble now and not at the end of the season? I’m thinking don’t take a gamble at all, points are worth the same in all the races, how many championships have been won and lost at the beginning for taking risks? I’m sure many but it’s more noticeable at the last races of the year.

    4. D@X says:

      Like Martin said “you roll the dice and hope your number comes up.” it didn’t work for Ferrari and they should have gone conservative with the strategy, in the end it was panic stations and had to switch languages to cover their shame. Their strategy seems ok when they are struggling and now they have some what decent car they throw it all away. Even I know Fernando is good but he wasn’t going to go very far, if we added one more or even two laps then it could have been even worse as more cars would have gone passed him.

    5. pimp's main prophet says:

      The man himself gives you the answer
      http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/100296

      1. kfzmeister says:

        Unfortunately, I think Alonso go that analysis wrong, cause he had 14.8 seconds on Lewis the lap after Lewis stopped last. That means he could easily have pitted and actually made at least 2nd place.

      2. Kay says:

        With reference to your Autosport article, I agree with Alonso. Someone need to nuke the Pirelli company and bring back Bridgestones. I hate seeing people lose due to being shot in the leg not by competitor, but by equipment manufacturer.

    6. Doug says:

      Yep, Ferrari blew it…heart ruling head.
      I think LdM was probably making the statagy calls! :-)
      Great win for LH, he drove a fantastic race…but poor old JB…what’s up with his car/setup? :-(

  4. LD01 says:

    How long is Button contracted at McLaren for? Surely his seat is at risk if he matins this form. There are some talented young drivers doing great things with moderate machinery.

    WDC is a possibility with Lewis, but McLaren could really do with a WCC soon and they won’t get it with Button in this form.

    1. Hal says:

      I am a Hamilton fan but to say Button needs to be replaced because of a dip in form is a bit much…Button is quality and will bounce back (hopefully to support Lewis and not beat him!)…

      1. Malcolm says:

        Absolutely!!!

      2. k5enny says:

        They cannot ditch Button.
        He is so easy on his tyres…

      3. BB says:

        I think Button’s smooth style is part of his problem this year. He isn’t getting the tyres hot enough to work, so they are sliding and getting trashed in no time. Hamilton goes out and hammers some heat in to get them working, then drives like Button for the rest of the stint. That said, Button had his best form last year against Hamilton’s worst form. It is becoming more apparent how vast the difference in skill level and adaptability is.

      4. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Button got the “Massa’s desease”.

      5. James Clayton says:

        Well he’s currently doing a worse job than Kovalinen, who he came into replace so, yes, if this form continues it’s a worry.

        But (and I’m not Button fan, mind) it’s only been a string of 3 or 4 races. Bad news for McLarens chance in the constructors championship; but not a long enough string of bad form for knee-jerk reactions.

    2. Craig D says:

      [mod]

      Button had a bad day but I guess you don’t know anything about the fact he missed most of Friday practice, the fact that the tyres have a very narrow operating window, which if you don’t get your car dialled so that it hits it, you’re pretty much a fish out of water (which incidentally is the key problem with these tyres since they can negate a car’s inherent performance)?

      Button is one of the top drivers. His main weakness is – like the tyres – he can have quite a narrow car operating range himself and needs a car with a strong rear end, which Hamilton deal with better if that’s not the case.

      Button seems to have had issues of late getting his car sorted with these tyres (a bit like Webber last year with both the tyres and exhaust blown diffuser). He was fine in the first 3 races though and I expect with his engineers, he’ll resolve such issues sooner than later.

      1. matthew says:

        but what about the previous 3 races?its not like what happened in quali and today was a one off for button.

    3. Serrated Edge says:

      Listening to Ron Dennis after the race and Ted Travitz who heard a radio message between Dave Robson (JB’s race engineer) and Jenson the only deprature an Mclaren will be Robson and Jensons pit crew.

      1. James Clayton says:

        What was the message???

    4. AuraF1 says:

      I’m sorry if you are going off ‘a dip in form’ Lewis would have been fired last year…Button started the year by winning the opening GP and chasing down a win in china. He was comfortably ahead of Lewis to start with. Now he’s gone off badly and Lewis has launched ahead with some early consistency and some awesome hard drives.

      If Button had shown the same form as this race from the start of 2012 you’d have a point – otherwise you’re talking rubbish.

      1. Sascha says:

        He was only ahead at Australia. Where Lewis chose the wrong front wing and set up + wrong clutch settings.
        If not for the 5pos grid penalty due to a broken gearbox, Lewis qould have started 4 pos ahead of Button at China and most possible finished ahead of him.
        But started 5th and finished 2nd, while Lew started 7th and finished 3rd.
        Don’t forget the points wich were lost on Hamiltons side due to pit stop/operational errors.
        JB is lucky, because without them the gap to Lewis would be at leat 20pts more.

    5. Ged says:

      He is a good driver, let’s not value only results.

    6. Richard D says:

      It seems to me that the McLaren’s current evolution doesn’t suit Button, a bit like the end of last year and the begining of this where it didn’t suit Hamilton. Both Button and Hamilton are excellent drivers but it must be difficult to develop a car that suits both their driving styles. It’s bizzare that Button seems to be having trouble with tyre wear when he is reputed to be one of the best at looking after tyres. Any ideas on why this may be?

  5. Simple says:

    Epic win for Lewis! This could open the floodgates for him. Bring on Valencia!!

    1. OldIron says:

      “Bring on Valencia!!””

      Theres a phrase you don’t see very often!

      1. olivier says:

        +1

        James, you should have a like button here somewhere!

  6. r0ssj says:

    Great drive by Hamilton and strategy from McLaren, despite the pitstops still not being great.

    Diasterous strategy from Ferrari. I can understand going for the win, but they threw away an almost sure 2nd place, on a strategy that I could never see working, especially around a track like this where overtaking is not hard.

    Within a couple of laps it was very clear the one stop was not going work, when Lewis easily began catching them. Ferrari still had time to bring Alonso in and get a podium. They threw away some valuable points here in a very tight championship. Red Bull were slow to react, but at least they did react and dropped only one place.

    Awful race from Button. Difference between him and Lewis in the last few races now looks the same as the difference bewteen Alonso and Massa, who also had another poor race.

    1. James Clayton says:

      Massa was doing really well at the beginning and I was just saying to my friend how impressed and happy I was for him.

      Then he had that spin. And I can’t help that it was pretty much a career-defining spin: I think it’ll put a halt to the resurgence in form we’ve seen since Monaco; he was nowhere after that spin.

      1. Laurence H says:

        I think it’s clear that in trying to keep up with Alonso he’s driving beyond his current abilities. Ferrari have been very nice to him, but if they were serious about winning either championship then they should have replaced him by now.
        Is there any truth in the Di Resta to Ferrari rumour? Probably not, as I just made it up…

  7. Sibusiso Nyembe says:

    Lewis’ ability was brought to the fore. What a race from him and what a mess from the pits. Keep it up and be the first this season to win 2 races or more this season.

  8. Dmitry says:

    Fantastic! Absolutely majestic race!
    Tires were still a gamble, but at last with a more predictable pattern!
    McLaren once again nearly destroyed Lewis’ race twice (well, the first time was probably clutch-related… and McLaren possibly is not responsible for that… but I still think they need to change race operations FAST), but he brilliantly shrugged it off and kept pushing!
    I can’t understand Ferrari’s decision to leave Alonso battling to the end when Vettel pitted… regardless, as it turned out the strategy to “not pit” the second time in the same window as Lewis was a big mistake from both Ferrari and Red Bull. And Roman Grosjean and Sergio Perez did really well to highlight that.

    I am not too excited about other drivers, but I must note that Michael Schumacher’s luck needs a change badly… it’s simply ridiculous hos the system designed to remain closed in case of failure… failed by remaining open! What could have been Michael’s best season turns out to be a horror season mostly to a bad luck.
    Another driver – Jenson Button… I wonder how 2 drivers can be so far apart in the same car? I really wish he rediscovers his pace in that McLaren soon, because that’s the only way will they be able to bring the fight for Constructor championship to RBR and Ferrari.

    1. Chris_NZ says:

      In regards to the DRS, i thought the if the system was to fail it was to fall into the closed position. But this is obviously not the case.
      Shame for schumacher with only 2 points on the board, and the team also pulling him in qualifying when he still had the opportunity to set a decent lap.

      1. Tom says:

        It’s nearly impossible to design a 100% fail safe system in any application. All it takes in this case is a valve to stick open and you can’t do anything about it.

    2. Bring Back Murray says:

      What was worrying for Jenson was that he didn’t seem to have any kind of clue about what was happening when he was being interviewed after the race. He and the team need to find something – and fast.

  9. ida says:

    I would like to kick this off with a big congrats to Lewis. Its been brewing for a while and he took it well. The McLaren pit crew must be dissapointed that with two pit stops they couldnt cost him more time….just kidding.
    Seeing that Lewis won, I would love to know how the tyres ruined todays race RICHARD? Being an Alonso fan i should be first in line to use your ‘PIRELLI FACTOR’ excuse that tyres ruined his race….HOWEVER, I realised that the gamble he took was to stay out and win or come second if Lewis catches him, pit and finish second or third with Vettel. Unfortunatly the tyres dropped off and he paid the price…as he should have because thats the gamble. Today he got a worst case senario with 5th but it was his and the teams decision to stay out so no i will not be following in your footsteps and saying tyres cost my favourite driver the win.

  10. Ivan says:

    Tyres, tyres, tyres and….oh, tyres again. Sad! I’m missing the times when the drivers were the decisive factor.

    1. brendan says:

      well said ivan its becoming a joke

    2. Matthew says:

      Take away all of the electronic aids and I might agree with you. The tyres are simply one part of an incredibly long list limiting the skill of the driver.

      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        What aids do you know of present in modern F1?

    3. aezy_doc says:

      Erm, when was the last time a season in f1 depended on the driver being the decisive factor? Sure it happens every now and then, but ultimately there is always something else making the bigger difference. Today it was strategy – and I for one thought it was great and exciting to watch. My one complaint was the DRS zone – not sure that Montreal needs it at all.

      1. Andy says:

        +1 Good sensible comment. I wish others would stop moaning about the tyres. Come the end of the year the best teams and drivers will be high up the list as usual.

    4. drama queen says:

      Yep, tyres dictate the race once again.
      Everybody was saying the top teams have now a handle on the tyres. I don’t think so.
      Look at 2nd and 3rd place.

      “The Cliff” of the tyres has decided the race results. Shame really. Happy for Lewis though.

      The lottery will continue.

      1. PaulL says:

        Yep. Vettel and Alonso paid the penalty for slightly pushing in the second stint to the tune of 4 seconds a lap later in the race.

        But you have to remember that modern Formula 1 fans don’t want to see drivers pushing. The sight of someone driving carefully and well within their abilities causes their breath to be taken away, their pulse to race, and them to sit on the edge of their seat. Back in my day it was a driver going 11/10ths. Funny how people’s tastes evolve.

    5. Gravelrash says:

      Ivan,
      There is always formula vee or formula ford….all about the drivers there……. F1 has always been a combination of driver and engineering…… A simple look back at any era will confirm that

      1. Ivan says:

        Agree, I just wish the tyres were not 85-90% of the strategy…
        Fully concur with the comment above about the 2nd and 3rd place. Thumbs up for Hamilton

    6. Mitchel says:

      Do they not all get tyres?

  11. Ian Blackwell says:

    Amazing season but its turning into a punters nightmare. Any idea where you would put your money James?

    I think it has to be one of Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso. I think Vettel and Hamilton have an equipment advantage while Alonso and Hamilton are probably better all round drivers. It is impossible to pick one right now.

    1. johnybravo says:

      Probably will be between Hamilton and Vettel – Ferrari will be calculating strategies while others will be winning races.

    2. James Clayton says:

      For sure it’s between these 3 now. I’m looking forward to a three way title fight.

  12. Sean hardman says:

    Sam michaels comments on sky regarding Alonso being a pit stop ahead of Lewis. Is that correct?

    1. James Allen says:

      I saw him 14.8secs ahead on the lap after LH pitted. So yes, with a Ferrari fast stop it would have been close…

      1. Sean hardman says:

        Thanks James. Knew it would have been very close.Great race AGAIN!

      2. BB says:

        Would have to have been a 2.8 second stop though, and the time was in sector 2. Hamilton went purple in sector 3 by another 4 tenths, so to get out ahead, Alonso would have needed a 2.4 second stop and get his tyres switched on before the hairpin

    2. Martin says:

      I guess the ideal would have been for Fernando to come out in front of Lewis and then get to 0.9s of a lapped car at the hairpin, triggering DRS so he could defend and have 1.5 laps to get his tyres up to temperature. Resisting from there would have been a challenge, but Hamilton wasn’t able to do much about Vettel, but with lighter fuel and a Ferrari rather than a Red Bull to pass, and Hamilton knowing a pass would be decisive as there were no further pitstops, it is quite a different situation.

  13. MSB says:

    And we have three GP2 graduates on the podium! Well done to all of them.

    A masterclass from Lewis with Jenson languishing behind in dire trouble. Honestly, you’d have thought with McLaren’s pedigree all these years, they’d be able to get their pitstops right for merely one season (admittedly a long way to go yet). I wonder what McLaren’s residual issue(s) is/are -this is happening far too often to be misfortune.

    James -thank you for your continuing excellence with the presentation of this site and the information available within. *Thumbs up*

  14. Duke says:

    The conspiracy in the Merc team against MSC continues.The knives may run out of their sharpness before long,and then the truth will come out..
    Michael,kick them in to touch,they are a disgrace to F1.

    1. Andy says:

      Will people please stop saying there’s a conspiracy, in any team for that matter. Go and post on planetf1 with that sort of comment.

    2. Momo says:

      Silly person.

    3. Doug says:

      You’re right, the last thing Mercedes want are points….errrr?

      Cuckoo!!

    4. Peter C says:

      Why do people lose their objectivity when their ‘favourite’ driver has a bad time?

      Because they are ‘one-eyed’?

      Do you really think that Ross Brawn would be involved in something like a conspiracy, when he was instumental in many of Schumacher’s WDCs.

      1. James Allen says:

        Exactly. That’s enough of that strand – Mod

      2. F1Racer says:

        Irrespective of conspiracy theories, This is what Schumacher had to say ” it’s not a question of pointing fingers; stuff like this happens. I know the team are doing their best and that it probably hits them even harder than me.”

        Well said by the great man!

  15. someone says:

    The guys working for Schumacher are a joke, really, they should be ashamed of themselves. As if Saturday hasn’t been disastrous enough, first they pitted Schumacher way too early, so he got held up, then reliability struck once again. I’d really like to know what measures the team lead is taking to resolve these problems, because it looks as if there are none. There have been DRS problems exclusively with Schumacher’s car since the start of last year. And why has Mercedes gone for a higher downforce and higher drag setup than almost everybody else? They gave all their overtaking opportunity away and put their drivers in danger of being caught on the straights, which is exactly what happened.

    1. James Draper says:

      Just maybe higher down force allows for you to gas it sooner and not get wheelspin…

      Sheesh avoiding wheelspin why would that help the Mercedes!

  16. Mohamed Chaudhry says:

    I have to say that race was reviting in the second half. I never saw renault or sauber coming up so quickly. Many congratulations to Lewis and a little relieved that their tyres strategy was predicted correctly. A lot to learn from this race about tyres especially with Lewis mclaren and renault and sauber making it a 1 stopper. don’t understand how they did it and others like fernando and vettel not.

    1. xvohj says:

      Actually very easy to understand, one may not have a car that is fast during qualifications but also kind with its tyres during races (especially with current tyres).

      Both lotus and sauber are not great qualification cars but both are very kind on tyre usage.

      There is not a dominant car this year, neither rbr nor mclaren, ferrari are good enough to fly away from others so if they make a mistake
      during races it is easy to guess that they will have lots of cars to fight.

      1. One lunger says:

        Maybe Lotus and Sauber need to put three laps extra fuel in for qualifying and run the first two just to heat the tires! My bet is they would qualify better…

      2. xvohj says:

        no thats not a very good option to follow, because usualy by the lap 3 tyres will not have the same grip that they have on lap 2.

        f1 tyres are very complicated but usually they have a special first outer layer, which offers a better grip for 2 laps. If you only could heat up your tyres after that 2 laps you will not get benifit of that extra grip of tyres.

    2. Martin says:

      Hi Mohamed,

      There are a number of factors that can mean that a fast qualifying car is hurt in the race due to increased tyre wear.

      Firstly, assuming that two cars are both reasonably well balanced – they slide pretty much the same at both ends – and other settings being similar, then the higher downforce car will wear its tyres more quickly and generate more heat in the tyres due to greater load from the aerodynamics. Ignore any suggestion that a low downforce car will slide less, this often stated point is a fallacy that ignores the point that with more downforce a driver needs to drive faster to make up time lost on the straights.

      Looking at suspension set up, increased camber will result in greater cornering forces being able to be achieved, which clearly aids qualifying speed, but this comes at the detriment of increased heat in the tyres, particularly from high speed running in a straighline. With camber the tyre is distorted as the load is put through the inner edge and as the downforce level increases with speed, the level of heat build up increases. The degree of toe-in will also cause the tyres to distort and build heat. This can aid tyre warm up for qualifying, but increase heat in the race.

      The spring rate is another potential difference in qualifying to the race. The ride height needs to be suffiient at full aerodynamic load to avoid wearing the plank excessively, which would lead to disqualification. Generally speaking, a low ride hide is a good thing and tight control over the ride height even better. This leads to desire for firmer springs. The firmer springs make it more difficult to keep the tyres on the ground over bumps, particularly under braking and in traction zones. The diffeences in F1 probably aren’t as large as other series as the tyres provide the majority of the spring travel in the car.

      Car balance is a further point. As Alonso said in Monaco, new tyres can hide a traction problem, but generally one thing you don’t want in qualifying is understeer into corners as it forces the drives to brake earlier and that is where most time is lost on a lap in qualifying. It is quite common for cars with strong traction to have an understeer problem, although this can more often manifest itself as power understeer rather than turn-in understeer. Good traction helps the driver avoid wheelspin, reducing the gain in tyre temperature.

      Traction gains could come from the exhaust influence on the floor of the car. Some designs could be biased towards benefits in general and others to take advantage of the throttle being open.

      I hope that helps explain some of the differences in car design that can lead to different performance levels in the race and qualifying.

      Cheers,
      Martin

      1. Joe B says:

        Thanks Martin. I’m going to keep this post as a handy reference guide!

      2. ida says:

        Probably the most informative post ive ever read! Everyone should be forced to read this before commenting. Great post dude….

      3. Martin says:

        Thank you.

        One area that I didn’t go into was the effect of engines as this is mostly conjecture in the current engine freeze era.

        Historically, the cars with the most power tended to be on pole position. Over one lap drivers could sought out handling imbalances so that provided you had competitive tyres the cornering speeds would be about the same and therefore more power meant faster speeds down the straights and quicker lap times. During races the handling characteristics were more important for looking after the tyres and just being comfortable driving near the limit.

        When downforce was discovered this changed a bit. Once each concept – wings, ground effect, flat bottoms – was understood by everyone, the car with the most power tended to the car with the most downforce as the wing size was largely unrestricted. From this downforce the most powerful remained the quickest in qualifying. With more downforce you gain under braking, all the way through the corner and halfway down the next straight. It is only really at Monza where drag needs to be significantly reduced for lap time benefit.

        In the current generation of engines there are a few factors to consider: power in qualifying mode, power and fuel consumption trade offs in the race and driveability of the engine.

        The suggestion is that the Renault engine has a bigger step between its Q3 mode and its race mode. The engine is noted for its driveability. The way I describe this is the drive has a good feel for how the torque increases with throttle input and the rate of increase is quite slow. If a little bit of throttle gives you sudden wheelspin then you are likely to get a power oversteeing slide, at which point the driver is going to lose time. In the race this has the added penalty of increased wear from the sliding and spinning and increased heat which accelerates the degredation process.

        Fuel consumption was an area that raised as a possible reason for McLaren’s poor performance at the start of a race. James posted on this. Here the effect is a mix of the fuel effect and how much power might be lost as the fuel mixture and revs are reduced. When we had refuelling and the car weights were published, there wasn’t much difference between Mercedes and Renault, with the Ferrari needing more fuel for the same number of laps.

        Back on downforce, a month ago or so I asked James to ask one of his engineering contacts about whether the teams were focussing more on getting the best downforce to drag ratio rather than looking for peak downforce. My thinking was that extra downforce was potentially compromising racing performance and therefore reducing drag for the same downforce level was a way of gaining lap time without any negatives (the f-duct was like this too – it added performance on the straights without any penalty in the corners). The answer I got was that the teams are still chasing downforce, although the downforce to drag ratio was still important. Which was a bit of a non-answer in a way.

        Overall, if you have one car that has 0.5 second edge in downforce, and the other has 0.5 second from the engine, in qualifying they will be pretty even, but in the race the engine power is always there, whereas the downforce advantage is eroded through increased tyre loads. The lower downforce car will almost certainly have a higher top speed too, so this increases the likelihood of being able to pass.

        Cheers,

        Martin

  17. Clive2012 says:

    completely agree with what jacques villeneuve is saying on sky regarding drs.

    race would have been so much better without it.

    1. MISTER says:

      Yep. It was so predictible that drivers in front will be overtaken once they get into drs window.
      For example after the first pits stops, I knew Lewis will take Alonso. It was so predictable.
      Only the fact that RedBull were slow didn’t allow Vettel to take Alonso too.
      This DRS is so fake and artificial. I hate it.

  18. Bring Back Murray says:

    That’s what we need. Top three, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton all going for it up the front, even though Alonso and Vettel couldn’t quite make the tyres last at the end. (well I guess they “went off the cliff”!)

    Superb race. Needed that after Monaco.

    Hopefully Lewis and McClaren can kick on from here and really go for it.

    OK so DRS made overtaking ridiculously easy here, but there are some other tracks where overtaking would be almost impossible without it. It’s a work in progress, they’ll fine tune it a little.

  19. olivier says:

    Awesome race by Lewis!

    As to Schumacher. This is getting unreal! What on earth is Mercedes GP thinking? Four DNF’s due to mechanical failures on car number 7 …

    1) Australia = Gearbox
    2) Malaysia = Grosjean
    3) China = Wheelnut
    4) Bahrein = DRS and gearbox jeopardizing his race
    5) Spain = Accident (Michael’s mistake)
    6) Monaco = Fuel pump
    7) Canada = DRS after a misjudged call in Q3 jeopardized his race >> Michael missed the checkered flag by 0,04″ preventing him to set a fast time.

    1. Don Farrell says:

      Time for the Schumacher Conspiracy Theories to begin me thinks :D

      1. Peter C says:

        See posts 14 & 15 !!!

    2. Chris says:

      Yeah, i agree with that. This i getting a bit ridiculous. These mistakes are masking what a great driver Schumi still is. He deserves better and I really hope the team can turn these mistakes into victories!

    3. Martin says:

      He did push to have Nico take the Chinese lucky number 8…

      Still, it hasn’t all been just about unreliability. When he has outqualified Nico there has usually been an obvious error from the #8 car. Although Mercedes has let him down in a way that few other drivers have suffered this year, he also doesn’t really warrant camparison to Hamilton or Alonso this season.

    4. Kay says:

      I think the old engineers/pit crew from D.Hill and Villeneuve days were hired to work for MSC LOL!!!!!

    5. Mitchel says:

      I’ve said this before:

      Rubens + Voodoo doll = Schuey + DNF!

  20. Hahnsolo says:

    James a question for you, is it possible for Mercedes to give Michael a completely new car considering that his is flawed in almost every component as it seem? Is that possible under the RRA or do you have to develop and repair that one car you are given at the beginning of the season?

    Apart from that great race by Lewis. Despite losing out in the last laps I still cant believe what Ferrari are pulling off this season with Alonso. Very impressed they turned this car around.

    1. Martin says:

      The gearbox, engine and wheel designs are homologated and don’t change, but can be replaced new for old with limits on the first two across the season. The monocoque design can be changed if it passes crash testing.

      The rear wing used in Montreal will have been different to the one used in Monaco and different to the one in Valencia. The RRA isn’t a problem unless a team’s manufacturing processes are too expensive.

  21. AlexD says:

    I could not believe my own eyes when I realized that Ferrari is not pitting Alonso. I was sure it is going to be a repeat of the same mistake lotus made with Kimi this year.
    Today they genuinly had the best Ferrari since the start of the year and completely screwed with the strategy. It would never work!
    They should have pitted Alosno 1-2 laps after Hamilton and he would have finished second…this way he would have extended his lead in the championship.
    Massive, silly mistake and a very costly one….

    1. Nigel says:

      While I agree that it was a blunder, bear in mind that Grosjean stopped at the same time as Alonso, and made the one stop work, so it wasn’t totally impossible.

      1. James Allen says:

        Grosjean stopped two laps later

      2. Nigel says:

        True.
        Grosjean might even have had a chance of winning had he not lost a place to di Resta at the start.

        I agree that Ferrari blundered. On the other hand, the one stop strategy was a lot better than it looked before the race.

        Grosjean still managed to be a lot faster at least five or six laps longer into his stint than Alonso. Was that driver tyre preservation, or the superior characteristics of the Lotus do you think ?

    2. Kay says:

      Agree.

      Or maybe they somehow thought the initial three-point advantage they could do without and still win… o_O

  22. Charlie says:

    Just waiting for lewis to be disqualified for weighing in carrying that union jack… Fairly sure it wasn’t in his cockpit all race!

    1. Dave says:

      Charlie, I sure hope your surname isn’t ‘Whiting’! ;0P

    2. Bring Back Murray says:

      LOL. You’re never quite sure what they’re going to do poor old Lewis over these days, are you!

      1. Charlie says:

        Haha, but seriously, I was only 1/2 joking, I can never believe what you see when the guys finish qualifying or the race, the interaction the drivers have with third parties wouldn’t be seen in any other first class strictly weight controlled sport…
        What are the margins like James, could drinking half a litre of fluid before weigh in tip the scales in a team/drivers favour? – Does the car weight at finish include remaining fuel?

  23. brendan says:

    are redbull stupid?they no the tires go off,they know the super soft are faster so why oh why didnt they pit around the same time as lewis,they would of at least got 2nd or even won,he did 47 laps on a set of tires,alono did 51 laps ,i bet lewis was laughing his head off,they both started on supersoft so they knew the tires wudnt last.i bet lewis was laughing his socks off.

    1. Martin says:

      Firstly, Grosjean also started on supersofts and got to the end without falling off the cliff, so it could be done. Secondly, Vettel would have come out behind Grosjean, so he may have given up third for fourth if Alonso also stopped a lap later.

    2. MISTER says:

      Brendan, in regards to your other comment about Kimi, saying live that he was taking a s**t to me shows how immature and bad taste humour Kimi has. On top of that he showed lack of respect.

      You want me to continue? Like the time he was walking in the paddock and hit a child by mistake but kept walking like nothing happened? It would’ve taken 20 seconds of his time to stop and make sure the kid was alright.

  24. brendan says:

    worse season ever,they should bin the pirelli and go back to michelin and refueling,it aint racing anymore its tire managment.if someone wins 3 races they will probably be world champion.bernie sold out to sky and sames happening in italy next year ,the nail and the coffin strings to mind.

    1. BB says:

      ha ha – tyre management is for losers – Quote after Hammy’s second stop “Lewis – go as fast as you can.” Music to my ears. Tyre management FAIL. Fast driver WIN

    2. Chris J says:

      Totally agree. The BTCC was far more exciting today.

    3. Andy says:

      Go and watch replays of the snorefests where aerodynamics stopped faster cars passing slower ones, geeze, what great years they were.

      1. brendan says:

        its no secret lotus is easy on its tyres,its the only way they are going to win a race this year by passin cars whos tires are gone.but redbull aint lotus.

      2. brendan says:

        thats for martin above

      3. brendan says:

        i did watch them i used to win alot of money, was easy money ha,now its a nitemare.think ill just bet vettel for pole as he said he has a few tricks in qualifying.

  25. Onko says:

    Hamilton,A briliant drive deserve the win.
    However one can not say anything briliant
    about Ferrari pit wall.
    A Bahrain revisited,in the game of Cricket a
    cricketer walks, and so should Mr S Domenicali
    the buck stop with him,what a shambles.
    Alonso may not have won the race, but a second
    placing was his to loose
    Bravo Ferrari pit wall you have done a great
    service to Ferrari and its personel.

    1. Daniel MA says:

      Yes and now they have lost 4th place in the Constructors to Lotus, however Massa is to blame for that too.

  26. Matthew says:

    Absolutely fantastic race, and I’m thrilled with the result for Grosjean and Perez. Amazing that the one-stopping Sauber, starting fifteenth, was one of the fastest cars at the end of the race on route to third. Really highlights Perez’s talent. Surely a victory can’t be far off. Great call by Mclaren to bring Hamilton in at the end; had they not it would have been a Grosjean victory, and the sixth different constructor to claim victory this season. Ferrari pulled a Raikkonen Risk, and it worked against them today. Still, the way they’ve pulled that car from the midfield to the front in just seven races is unbelievable. What a turnaround.

    Have to say though, I’m astounded at how terrible Button’s pace has been as of late. Today’s result really shed light on the issues he is having. Hamilton won the grand prix quite handily while Button ends up a lap down, struggling along just ahead of the Caterhams. Despite winning the first race he has just one other podium, and half the points of Hamilton. People have been slagging off Massa a great deal over the last few years for his abysmal pace compared to Alonso. Button is fast heading the same way.

    1. BB says:

      Grosjean, Perez, Schumacher and Raikkonen all look like they have the pace for a win given a bit of luck……. 11 winners in 11 races?

      1. MISTER says:

        Raikkonen who?

        I really don’t understand why fans thinks so highly of Kimi. He’s average to me. Doesn’t look special. Grosjean is owning him…when he’s not crashing at the start.

      2. Peter C says:

        ‘Owning him’? Do you watch Xfactor?

      3. mayberth says:

        we think so highly of him bcoz he had done too many magical races in the past~~~ Kimi has not hv perfect weekend and believe me he will come b stronger~~ hving mechanical issues during qualifying and still qualify 1 tenth off Romain pace !! and i heard tat kimi was very angry after the race, but he nvr shows it in front of media!! considering he nvr had the correct steering, i’d said he struggling with the car more than Romain!!

      4. brendan says:

        kimi will always be a hero.i remember when he was asked (live on tv) did you watch schumacher get an award off pele,he said no i was having a sh@t!funnist thing ave have every seen on the grid.

  27. johnybravo says:

    Alonso and Ferrari – the best driver and the worst team. Abu Dhabi – few years ago – lost title, less but same mistakes in years after. This year Spain – lost race, today – total disgrace. What a team! What a strategy personel! I’m not big fan of Alonso but I feel sorry for him. Guy pushes 110% of pile of junk (compared to other race winning cars this year) and still is being let down by bunch of loser in pitlane.

    1. Don Farrell says:

      +1

    2. xvohj says:

      You cant blame only the team because imo Alonso is deciding what to do according the data coming from the pit wall during the races.

      This is my opinion and i think in most races Alonso has the last word to decide what to do.

      If you listen radio talks between team and Alonso and between team and Massa you can easly understand the difference.

    3. HansB says:

      Yeah… between that Abu Dhabi race and yesterday McLaren did everything right regarding strategy and pitsstops….
      Come on.. they gambled and lost but still got fifth and scored 10 points.

  28. Malcolm says:

    A fantastic performance from Lewis today, and a drive which truly shows that he is a serious candidate for the 2012 WDC.

  29. D@X says:

    Hi James,

    An action packed race with no safety car deplloyed is a credit to both drivers and luck. Could this be true the lack of running cost JB in terms of car set up for the race. Cause I followed him and it was a very poor day at the office by his standards. After hearing the comments from same saying LH can dial his way around car problems while JB likes a sticky rear end. As the car was ok or had pace, where will mclarens priority lay in terms of bringing JB upto speed?

    1. Kay says:

      Simply put:
      LH drives around problems and still perform 100%
      JB needs problems fixed in his favour in order to perform 100%

      As James said previously, the best drivers are about adapting to cars. JB has failed to show that consistently over the course of his career.

      Not that he’s a bad driver, he’s good when the car works for him, but like I’ve always said, JB is overrated.

  30. pimp's main prophet says:

    Shortly after Michael’s DRS failure there was footage on TV showing Nico Rosberg’s rear wing not fully closed. I assume that also was a technical failure (minor than Michael’s), but anyway, is that legal? During that period Rosberg was the fastest man on track.

    1. Kay says:

      Heh maybe to avoid teams protesting they had a movable aero device :D :D :D Sure it weren’t movable then.

  31. k5enny says:

    T’was a pity abut the cricket…..
    shame that F1 has fallen this low.

    1. Andrew Woodruff says:

      Yes, very much so. And why did we get Legard and not Allen…? James?!

  32. Methusalem says:

    A great race from Hamilton!On the other hand, one of the ‘funniest’ races ever. Grosjaen’s and Perez’s race against Alonso’s reminds me of the following fable:

    A hare one day made himself merry over the slow pace of the tortoise, vainly boasting of his own great speed in running.

    The tortoise smiled at the hare and replied, “Let us try a race. We shall run from here to the pond and the fox out yonder shall be the judge.”

    The hare agreed and away they started together. True to his boasting the hare was out of sight in a moment.

    The tortoise jogged along with a slow, steady pace, straight towards end of the course. Full of sport, the hare first outran the tortoise, then intentionally fell behind chuckling at the tortoise all the while.

    Having come nearly to the goal, the hare began to nibble at the young plants. After a while, the day being warm, he lay down for a nap, saying: “The tortoise is behind me now. If he should go by, I can easily enough catch up.”

    When the hare awoke, the tortoise was not in sight. Running as fast as he could, the hare found the fox congratulating the tortoise at the finish line.

    1. dzolve says:

      Don’t be so ridiculous!

      Your analogy might have made some sense if an HRT had come through to win but it didn’t. The difference between Ferrari and Lotus and Sauber this season is negligible. Less than a pit stop!

    2. Don Farrell says:

      Hey in this case the hare just forgot to pit for new tyres! :D

  33. Dave Deacon says:

    Congrats to LH but why the huge disparity between him and Button? Why after three races in JB started going backwards and now can’t even keep up? What is up? McLaren should be embarrassed by its seeming inability to solve the issue. Is it the car? If so, why has it not been fixed by the ‘geniuses’? Is there an element of sabotage?

    An explanation would likely be very interesting. James, what about an article on this?

    1. BB says:

      ‘After 3 races’……. he was 14th in the 2nd race….hardly a mindblowing performance. Obvious that his WDC year he has the best car and team support against his team mate, and last year he had his best form against Hamilton’s meltdown. Looking at all the other years you could only draw the conclusion that he isn’t that quick

    2. Dave says:

      I think JB just struggled to get the car set up this weekend, not helped by losing so much time in free practice – things will turn around for him. Big congrats to Lewis, hope he gets the WDC this year!

    3. James Clayton says:

      “sabotage”?

      Don’t make me laugh! Are these the same people who were supposedly “sabotage”ing Hamilton at the beginning of the season?

      If Button can’t get to grips with the car, there’s only so much they can do. It’s as simple as that. Button needs to learn to work with the car.

      I firmly believe the McLaren isn’t a great car. It’s a good car that Hamilton is driving slightly over the limit, and Button slightly under. Combine the two and you have a bigger gap than you’d feel comfortable with.

      1. Peter C says:

        There has been a comment (maybe M.Whitmarsh)
        that there could be a problem with the rear suspension on Button’s car.

        Why talk about it? Fix it.

      2. Dave Deacon says:

        You, of course, know there is not… Right.

        There is good reason to think that with JB having soundly beaten LH last year and LH being in the doldrums, the latter would be heading elsewhere (I recall him talking to RBR at last year’s Canadian GP). It’s contract time for LH. He has options.

        This year began as it had ended with JB taking the lead and that looked set to continue. Then suddenly Bahrain JB’s ‘fortunes’ take a turn for the worse and continue to get worse whilst LH is at the front feeling good and McLaren are courting him to sign. How would that be if JB were still beating him? Do you think LH would be staying or going?

        We surely by now all know that F1 is a business with billions depending on it. They don’t play silly games. They clearly badly want LH.

        First one to beat is your team mate.

        Still laughing?

        “Button needs to learn to work with the car” as if you had a clue! Button’s issue is not that atall. Mclaren acknowledge that there is something wrong with the car but says it can’t pinpoint the issues. A car eating tyres as in Canada has some issues and especially for a dsirver who manages tyres as well as JB. Recall JB was 1st in Australia and 2nd in China. Clearly he can work with the car…

      3. James Clayton says:

        OK to answer your questions:

        Yes, I know there is not
        and yes, I am still laughing!

        You say yourself:

        “We surely by now all know that F1 is a business with billions depending on it. ***They don’t play silly games***. They clearly badly want LH.”

        What do you think intentionally pushing Button to the back of the grid, and seriously jeaopardizing their chances of winning the constructor’s championship is? Sounds like the silliest of all the silly games a team going for glory (and prize money) could play.

        Get a grip. Please!

      4. Dave Deacon says:

        It makes it emphatic for LH – he looks and feels so much better… Mind they might have gone too far with JB – McLaren does get it wrong here and there. Never mind Ron talking of pay cut – cool customer is RD. They know LH has few places to go and he might find things not as ‘he has them’ at McLaren. However, LH is an emotional guy as we saw last year with him blubbering at being beaten by JB.

        Psychology plays a part in all we do – and for LH it’s obviously a big dimension as is his new management. It’s a mind game. Try Eric Bernes’ The Games People Play. I think you could use a copy. :)

  34. SP says:

    I wonder if that was Ferrari’s ‘plan A’?? (to do just the one stop). Either way, it cost Alonso the lead. Had he stopped after it was clear that Hamilton was gaining hand over fist, it wouldve worked out alot better.

    1. James Clayton says:

      Both Red Bull and Ferrari were desperately looking ahead to win a race, and not paying attention on what was happening behind.

      They saw that if they pitted, they probably wouldn’t have gotten past Hamilton, considering his form at the time. They decided that the only chance they had of beating him was to try a one stop, mistakenly believing that if it didn’t work out, the worst places they’d end up would be where they already were (p2 and p3).

  35. Gord says:

    If Ferrari used the strategy calculator on this site they would have realised that their plan would fail.

    On another note do you think they will remove Kimi mid season ?

    1. Jagan says:

      Why would they do that? He was right on the pace and had he qualified a little better, would’ve finished ahead of Grosjean and nearly won. Even in quali, he is always within a tenth of Romain.

      I think all this talk of Kimi under performing presupposes that RG is rubbish based on his first F1 stint. That is doing him a disservice, he has matured tremendously and grown in confidence and should be in the top tier of drivers on pace.

    2. Andrew Woodruff says:

      Why on earth would they do that? Kimi has been great this season overall. Bizarre comment.

    3. mayberth says:

      why remove kimi??? schumacher that achieved nth on his comeb manage to stay for 3 years~~ use your brain pls

    4. Kay says:

      One thing for sure: They’ll bad mouth him, like how they’ve always been in the past. Something they’ve already done to Kimi on steering wheel issues not so long ago.

  36. Tom in adelaide says:

    Sounds like it was an entertaining event. I’m not sure that this is Formula 1 racing we are seeing though….

    1. Dave says:

      Made a nice change today to see Lewis being able to push his car and actually race for a few laps, as opposed to ‘managing tyres’!

    2. Kay says:

      Actually, in early days of Whitmarsh taking the FOTA chairman role, he did say “we are in the entertainment business”, and repeated that some time ago.

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2012/02/01/whitmarsh-entertainment-business-show/

      o_O????????????????????????

      1. Greg (Aus) says:

        All professional sport is the entertainment business mate, thinking otherwise is deluding yourself.

  37. pimp's main prophet says:

    So far nearly a third of the grid (counting out HRT and Marussia) have won a race. This is even more remarkable considering that Lotus (currently ranked third on WCC) has not. Does this mean anything to the tyre/lottery discussion in terms of F1′s(de)valuation as the pinnacle of motorsport?
    A third of the grid are world champions, but three race winners so far are not (Rosberg, Webber and Maldonado). Has there ever been so many different race winners in one (modern era) season at all?
    While all this adds up to the show, can some corretalion between this and viewer figures be traced?

    1. Dave says:

      Personally, I much prefer the unpredictability of 2012 to seeing ‘the finger’ winning from pole every race. It was almost as bad as reliving the Schumacher era!

      The only issue I have with the current formula is seeing drivers cruising round managing tyres, as opposed to driving on the limit.

    2. Martin says:

      What’s the modern era? 11 drivers won in 1982 over 16 races. Apart from 8 in 1983 and 1985, I can’t think of another year since with more than seven. 9 in 1975 seems to be the best prior to that, with seven winners in 1974, 1970
      and 1968.

  38. Mustapha says:

    What did I tell you guys about Michael’s car and Mercedes……..

  39. Craig D says:

    Well done Lewis, long overdue! It’s funny though, I’ve often put a bet on Hamilton at many races I thought he’d win, like Monaco then the one time I think I’ll save my money it’s too unpredictable, he wins haha!

    Enjoyed the strategy situation that was generated by the tyres (I wonder if we’ll hear the same hymn from Monaco)? The Red Bull didn’t have the tyre life for Vettel to do one of his run and hide races!

    I was fairly confident that Hamilton’s two stop would beat Alonso and Vettel once he was lapping a second a lap faster. A one stop was doable as shown with Grosjean and Perez but you had to stick to your own game, and not make your first stop and then push on as if that of a two stopper. Grosjean only pitted a couple of laps after Alonso but he appeared as if he paced himself well to the end. Though I think perhaps the Renault (and Sauber) were simply kinder on their tyres.

    I think Ferrari and Red Bull were aiming for a two stop but then with 15 or so laps to go saw the opportunity to gamble and beat Hamilton by not stopping. Once Hamilton was lapping over a second a lap faster, and knowing how easy it is to overtake here, they should have been pragmatic and pitted to to ensure they could fight for the podium. I think it’s akin to them taking an axe to the golden goose than just collecting some more tasty eggs! Admittedly though, I wasn’t expecting Alonso to drop that for back.

    Another bad day for Button. He never seemed to get into the weekend after Friday woes. Schumacher’s luck needs to change.

    Driver of the day for me has to be Grosjean though. To not start at the front and to make a 1 stop work and finish only a couple of seconds off the lead is pretty solid work. Perez similarly did wonders.

    1. Ben says:

      If you are ever going to bet on Hamilton then bet on him at Canada. It’s a circuit where he has an edge on everyone at, a bit like Kimi at Spa.

      1. Henry says:

        Agreed – I had £50 on Hamilton to win at 3-1. So Im happy :)

  40. Don Farrell says:

    Congrats to Hamilton – he drove another flawless race. Commiseration’s Alonso – again Ferrari made a strategy own goal!

  41. Martin P says:

    Casual observation here from a previously avid fan who never missed a race live in 15 years until this year’s Sky deal went through (Listed building laws make a dish near impossible):

    I’ve lost interest… partly because I don’t have frequent access to my “drug” anymore, but also partly because I’ve seen today’s race highlights and yet again it appears to be a tale of DRS and tyres.

    Are there good drives and battles out there? Yes, of course – but we’ve always had them.

    Is the tyre situation the same for everyone? Yes, of course. But it’s not like there’s some formula for making the best of them written down in the rules that they can all design around. From what I understand the engineers of cars who can make them work are struggling to even understand what they’re doing right. That isn’t the pinnacle of engineering – that’s a fluke. That degree of randomness is killing the sport.

    Is DRS good for overtaking?

    Yes of course… except of course if you’re the guy in front, in which case you’re just a sitting duck no matter how well you played your in/out laps, pit stops, strategy, etc. etc. If you manage to emerge a split second in front of your rival through strategy, driving and team work it’s false to have the position removed simply because you cross the DRS zone first.

    So… in short, if there was one year to be forced into weaning myself off F1 – this seems to be it! Thanks Bernie.

    1. PaulL says:

      Yeah, I’m considering taking a break from F1. You’re not missing anything.

    2. brendan says:

      hi martin, i am the same as you i dont have sky,its killing me not being able to watch the races live(thanks bernie for selling out),but i found a web site you might like its http://www.atdhe24.net

  42. Anand R says:

    Great Great drive from Hamilton. Finally taking matters into his own hands and reining over his teams ‘shortcomings’ again!

    Why I say the latter is Mclaren and Hamilton did have the pace and made great call during the first round of stops. Even the second round, it was a right decision to pit when they did…

    BUT- the pit crew again lost him 1.5 secs through the stubborn right wheel nut.
    Alonso was 14.6 seconds ahead when Hamilton came out of the pits and he had Bruno Senna to lap (always takes a fraction of your momentum and pace). Had Ferrari decided to pit Alonso that lap, he would have definitely come out ahead of a fuming and confused Hamilton. (How did I loose a 3+ seconds advantage over 2 laps).
    All said and done Hamilton might have over-taken Alonso again (like after the first round), but it would have been very close.

    But a well deserved victory, though not as straight-forward as it seemed in the end.

    My 2 cents anyways!

    1. Greg (Aus) says:

      Hamilton had a slow get away during his first stop too, not the team’s fault.

      1. Greg (Aus) says:

        Meaning the first stop blunder wasn’t the team’s fault, sorry should have been clearer.

  43. PeteF12012 says:

    i was open minded about drs at the start of 2011 but as the races have gone by im now firmly on the anti-drs side & watching todays race has just made me more so.

    overtaking used to be an exciting thing to watch, watching the cars fight it out & then watching an overtake happen was all really exciting to watch.

    now you get none of that, there are very few battles that go on for any period of time & every drs pass you see is stupidly easy & really dull to watch.

    drs really needs a rethink.

  44. Craig says:

    I don’t think Ferrari did much wrong today on strategy, they went for the win which is what F1 should be all about. They started 3rd, tried for 1st but the gamble went the other way and they ended up 5th. Alonso is still only 2 points away from leading the WDC and has only just received a competitive car!

    If Alonso had pitted at the same time or on the lap after Hamilton, he would have either come out directly behind him or would have been mugged almost straight away due to slow soft tyre warm up as happened at the first stop. Instead, Ferrari were hoping to get in a few hot laps while Hamilton’s tyres came up to temp and get enough of a gap to stay out of DRS range. Unfortunately they never got far enough clear so they had the option of taking a 2nd place (or perhaps a 3rd place as Vettel could possibly have undercut them) or try for the win via the one stop strategy.

    Probably the only thing they hadn’t expected was Perez and Grojean’s tyres being in such dramatically better shape than their own at the very end. If that hadn’t happened then they would have finished 2nd or 3rd most likely.

    I remember even Martin Brundle was amazed when Vettel pitted after being overtaken by Hamilton. At that point it was said a few times that the “wise” thing to do was stay out because the time for pitting had come and gone.

    I think this was a simple gamble to try to snatch a win out of a situation which was only going to yield a 2nd or 3rd place. In they end they lost the gamble but in my view it was the bold thing to do and should be recognised as such.

  45. tim clarke says:

    am an Alonso and Vettel fan but happy for Hamilton. i am however utterly dismayed
    at how the race was ruined (for me) by the
    ridiculous DRS system. all the key passes
    of the race were made by waiting til they
    got to the magic button part of the track.
    very boring to my eye. thanks for reading.

  46. Dan Abbitt says:

    Well done to Hamilton, it was a good race!

    Out of interest, what are people’s thoughts on a power hike when the new engines come in to play? I had an idea while watching the race that it would be interesting to allow engine manufacturers to push the limits of turbo technology and reach say 1000+bhp from the 1.6 V6s? This should introduce some unreliability back into the racing and it would allow the technologies researched in F1 to be passed back to the road car manufacturers to benefit the general public, since turbos seem to be the way everything is going now.

    Just my thoughts!

  47. KRB says:

    Finally, LH wins this season. I was actually surprised … I know LH loves the track, is probably the fastest of the drivers around this track, but I thought the McLaren would cook its tires and go backwards. Pleasantly surprised that that didn’t happen. I am glad that Alonso and Vettel tried something different, it made the race as a spectacle. In hindsight, they should’ve pitted right away and solidified 2nd and 3rd.

    LH gets his first three-win track. Feel horrible for Schumacher, his bad luck this season is simply unreal.

  48. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Sooooooooooo happy! It was the perfect day in the circuit, Hamilton wins and he is on top, while rivals got few points only.

    Button said he hasn’t got a clue how to rectify the grip problems he currently faces with his McLaren…

    Just check, the handbrake is engaged!

  49. Michael S says:

    Congrats to Hamilton, one of his best races ever… Well deserved!

  50. Gareth says:

    amazing race and a good winner, must be honest at one stage i was wondering if Martin Witmarsh was going to get his p45 from Ron, the pit stop errors have to stop. Lewis 2012 is awesome he looks, acts like a mature man, dont know what happened over the winter but its a pleasure to see him drive

  51. F12012 says:

    Nice to see a driver going flat out from start to finish for once rather than saving his tyres, great race, hope Valencia is just as good

    1. gondokmg says:

      Now that’s what I’m talking about!

  52. Katewise says:

    James do you think you could do some kind of feature on Michael’s various team problems? (although Button’s car problems are also a slight enigma too)

    I actually couldn’t believe the bad strategy and then forced retirement of this weekend YET AGAIN. I’ve always been a loyal fan of teams that I am supporting but I really can’t believe this string of bad luck…. are there any rational explanations? Power dynamics in the Mercedes garage?

    So utterly disappointed. I would hate this to be Michael’s last season – such a terrible one to go out on, having the performance but with such dreadful results. It’s particularly difficult when combined with such glimmers of hope :(

      1. olivier says:

        The fans start to realize that Mercedes GP has messed up Schumi’s final year too. Hence the outrage.

        Can Michael get back in front of the Championship in a not-good-enough-car? It’s going to be a Herculian task. He will probably run out of races. 2/175 is a dramatic result that does not reflect his true ability.

        So. Is this it? I am afraid so. Mercedes GP wasted a legend. Very sad.

    1. Andrew Kirk says:

      Reminds me of Niki Lauda’s last year at Mclaren before he retired the second and final time. While Prost cruised to his first title with no major trouble, Lauda endured a season of many techincal issues that lefted him well down the order of the championship. Lauda did get one last shot in before the end tho beating Prost in a tense race in Holland. The final act of speed, daring, race craft by a man who was from another era… bit like Schumacher.

      1. Peter C says:

        But we didn’t have the internet then, so Lauda’s problems weren’t screamed about as a ‘conspiracy theory’.

      2. Katewise says:

        I’m definitely not going anywhere near those conspiracy theories but despite the fact there have been problems with Nico’s car too, suggesting that there is that underlying temperamentality of the car, I would just welcome an analysis into why it is so skewed in terms of race DNFs…

        When I wrote team dynamics I of course do not mean sabotage or anything similar – I’m just wondering what the distribution of talent is in the garages and whether there are perhaps some problems of communication or team work with Michael’s side…

        I had such high hopes for Canada! But the race was just too high temperature for the Mercedes in the end anyway…

  53. kp says:

    Didn’t we all just lose interest in F1.

    Pity the poor sponsors!

    1. PaulL says:

      I actually need some new tyres for my road car at the moment. It seems wise not to buy a set from a certain manufacturer. I drive carefully on the road, don’t get me wrong, but I can’t afford them to wear out quickly.

      1. James Allen says:

        You really draw those conclusions from what you see in F1?

      2. Peter C says:

        So the tyres you buy at your local depot are the same compound as what you see in F1?

        Ridiculous.

      3. AuraF1 says:

        I’ve said it before, Pirelli have basically proven they have compound engineers who’ve outwitted Adrian Newey – if that isn’t an advertisement for genius I don’t know what is…

  54. JohnBt says:

    At 45 degrees track temp the Lotus and Sauber could manage their tyres very well. Seems like McLaren, Ferrari and RedBull all needed 2 stops. But no, Ferrari got greedy IMO and paid the price. If Vettel had pitted earlier like Hamilton for the 2nd stop he would have been closer and finish 2nd. Nando was like a lame cheetah, what a waste!

    In 2012 when the tyres start to fall off, don’t try to hang on to it. In China, Kimi from 2nd to 14th is a reference point for teams. He got hung in broad daylight didn’t he. By the seventh race I feel teams can now predict the unpredictable.

    Congrats to Hamilton for a superb race, he deserved the win in Cananda, for sure. Seventh heaven it was.

  55. snailtrail says:

    Congrats to Lewis – pushed hard when needed to – well deserved. Doubt he would be too happy with the team again re wrong pitting info about cars in front…

    Race was exciting while watching it – but after the fact it felt rather fake – its was all about a constant chasing of the correct tyre strategy – which seems to be a lottery.
    The driver has become the gold club and not the golfer – yes he makes a big difference – but F1 is more of a team sport rather than the driver – 99% of the team not being in the car – but when it goes right or wrong the driver seems to get most of the blame/praise.

    1. Nathan Jones says:

      How would you explain the difference between Hamilton and Button, both in Canada and in Spain? What about Alonso and Massa?

      Seems to me that the driver is still hugely important.

      1. Peter C says:

        Would you say that Button is fifteen places inferior to Hamilton, as a driver?

        Could it be that there is something else amiss?

        A particular car-related problem perhaps?

        We’ll find out soon.

      2. kbdavies says:

        He is usually 3/10th, 4/10ths or even a full second behind Hamilton, as he has so often been, which translates to about 15 places this year. The field is simply much closer this season.

      3. Peter C says:

        @kbdavies
        Yes, you’re right about the field being much closer this season.

        What I am saying is, since Button has already won a race & been second in another, now that he is having a series of ‘fails’, there must be a good reason for it, rather than just brain-fade or lack of ability as people like Kay would have us believe.

        It seems that this season the radical difference between a driver being ‘good’ & being ‘bad’ can only be down to a car problem or the tyres (or the way they are used).

  56. Marko says:

    Some of you guys talk about the false racing with DRS, but you seem to be forgetting that the driver behind has to get to within one second of the driver ahead to be able to use it. They do that by out-driving and going faster than that driver ahead. Then on the next lap, the over-taken driver may have a chance to strike back. I for one believe this is better than a procession and where strategy is based on the timing of pit stops alone.

    1. James Clayton says:

      I don’t think anybody who’s complaining about the DRS is forgetting that the driver behind has to get within a second…

    2. Kay says:

      Hmm.. are you Helmut? :D

      True on the within one second point.
      However, tyres help with that too so I think tyres fail more than DRS.

      1. Peter C says:

        No, I think he’s Helmet.

    3. Martin P says:

      That principle works, until you factor in the skill of whacking in a stomping in-lap or two or three…. which then brings you out inches ahead and steals the place – until you reach the DRS zone of course.

      That’s where DRS robs us of the skill based spectacle.

      1. mrjsq says:

        Thought about the DRS problem. Its a good thing as it allows faster cars to clear the blockers, but I think they need to tame it back somewhat. It might be worth disabling the DRS zone for the last 3-5 laps, so that the one stoppers / risk takers have some hope of being rewarded for their efforts, and the chasers have overtake on pure merit and pace. You could then factor getting to the “safe lap” into your strategy.

  57. Andrew Kirk says:

    Massa spins away chance he has of keeping his seat for next year in light of Webber’s win last year, solid place here and Perez’s great drive here. Going to go to one of them and Massa will be lucky if he is driving at the back.

  58. Rossco says:

    It was always a two stop race. Poor strategy from both the Red Bulls and Ferrari. But I was surprised to see the McLaren have great race pace especially after Vettel pulling away in the early laps. Goes to show you that Hamilton has become better with his tyres.

    The required time for a pitstop here is so short, so two stops had to be the go.

    Poor Massa. Alonso was sure of a 2nd place if it wasnt for poor strategy, and Massa’s down in tenth. He almost lost it on the last chicane twice (that I saw on TV), and he spun on the entry to the first turn. Surely his time is up. Put a younger driver in there. Ricciardo?

    1. James Clayton says:

      I think Hamilton was deliberately falling behind Vettel at the beginning; he started his push a few laps before his stop.

      I was pleasantly surprised with the McLaren’s pace in the heat. I had predicted Vettel or Alosno in a hot race, or Hamilton or Alonso in a cold one.

  59. JB says:

    Coming from 15th to 3rd with a single stop and keep up with the leaders. I think Perez also super kind with tires, like Button. Although Perez is getting better results while Button is not.

  60. Gary Corby says:

    DRS is a disaster.

    1. PaulL says:

      Dereliction of Racing Standards.

  61. Elie says:

    Great result for Lewis -pleased for him. Viewing wise this was the best race so far. Very surprised Mercedes did not have the speed -even in qualifying. I’m guessing the DDRS system may have had something to do with MIchaels wing locked open – remember it sits just behind the flap . When you build such intricate devices you are always at risk of these kind of failures. Wonder also if the system was effecting their speed ?
    As for Ferrari as much as I dislike them they are entitled to one mistake. Remember they’ve been probably the best up to Montreal. Still a very silly decision given how good Fernando is on in/ out laps!
    Drive of the day definitely -Grosjean Unbelievable
    -he & Sergio really show cased the future of F1!
    Finally , with such a finish do people appreciate how much better it is to see a car with 20kg of fuel as opposed to 150kg. Third time repeat – bring back refueling ! Bring back less sensitive tyres ! Then maybe we can consider dropping DRS.
    How can one of the best drivers last year like Jenson struggle so much this year.? It’s not lack of trying its tyre sensitivity.
    [mod]

    1. Nathan Jones says:

      But I thought Jens was really good with his tyres? He had a ‘special touch’, didn’t he?

      1. Elie says:

        Good driver but he’s no Lewis- always said it!.as for people who keep compare him to Prost – I hope you can now see he is not even close! despite the sensitive tyres

  62. Lynn says:

    Nice.
    Now looking forward to a 8th different winner!

    1. JohnBt says:

      Am waiting for KIMI.

  63. James Clayton says:

    A couple of questions for the statitionists: (sp?)

    1 – Is this the only race Hamilton has won 3 times?
    2 – Am I correct in thinking Hamilton has yet to win the same race two years in a row?
    3 – How do you spell statitionists?! :)

    1. ida says:

      Spell it any way you want seeing you made your own word up!!!!!

      Its statistician you want…..

  64. For sure says:

    [mod] why is it always Schumacher’s car and not Nico’s?

    James, do you think they are focusing too much on NR’s car and not on Schumi’s?
    In 2009, it happened to Rubens too.

    If they are not trying to sabotage Michael, they are a complete joke by f1 standards. They shouldn’t be there, seriously.

    6 reliability problems out of 7 races in year 2012, can you believe it?

    1. For sure says:

      And MS needs a more competent race engineer like Chris Dyer.

      1. gondokmg says:

        Maybe Mercedes have decided to use Michael’s car for in-season testing to develop next year’s car. But seriously, Nico also had an issue in FP3 so it looks like a general reliability issue for the team, although in the races it’s almost always Schumi who suffers for some reason!

    2. Rob Newman says:

      Indeed it is a sad situation for Schumi. Looks like he has used up all his luck when he was at Ferrari.

  65. Craig in Manila says:

    Whilst it looked good on the track with a lot of late-race chasing and over-taking, the results were pretty-much decided by the strategists sitting in front of their PCs in the pits.

    I reckon that it’s probably about time that the strategists got to have their names on the side of the car too and accompanied the driver onto the podium to celebrate. I mean, without them, how would the drivers know when to go faster, go slower, pit now, go faster, go slower etc etc etc ?

    Would love to see a race where pit-to-track comms was banned and they had to try to use pitboards to tell ‘em what to do !

    Anyways, nice work by half of McLaren, half of Lotus, and half of Sauber.

  66. Kay says:

    I can see McLaren’s senior management are going mad in signing Button for long-term. :D :D :D

    They failed to realise Button is no Alonso.

    1. Andrew Kirk says:

      Could be worse he could be a Massa

  67. Richard says:

    A thoroughly deserved win for Hamilton and McLaren this weekend, but Alonso and Vettel did not make it easy for him by going for he one stop strategy which ultimately lost them position and points, and gave Hamilton the lead in the Championship. It is a competitive sport, but one can only feel for the woes of Jenson Button on these tyres. There is obviously something awry with his car set up and balance as McLaren’s pace this weekend would surely have put him on the podium, and of course it’s hurting McLarens chances in the constructors championship.

  68. Richard says:

    Even though Hamilton won this weekend I still fundamentally disagree with these tyres. Because Hamilton pitted twice that enabled him to put far more energy into the tyres, and as a result we saw a car performing at a higher level. I think DRS goes with these tyres because without it overtaking by properly chasing a car down and passing puts far more energy through them inducing even higher degradation. So let me be quite clear I would prefer to see durable tyres with no DRS.

  69. gondokmg says:

    The timing of the first pit stops suggest that both Alonso and Vettel were initially on a two stopper too, and would probably have pitted again soon after Lewis if his outlap following the second pitstop had been slower.

    Once that did not happen they both realised they were fighting for second place, lost the plot and started racing each other, playing cat and mouse about who would pit first. In the process their strategies morphed into a one stoppper as no one wanted to pit first.

    They completely forgot about Grosjean and Perez until it was too late, effectively gifting Lewis the lead in the Drivers’ Championship!

    Once again though, Red Bull proved themselves to be the masters when it comes to thinking on their feet during a race unlike the other top teams that just struggle with it. In the end Vettel finished 4th instead of 5th. That’s a 4 point swing vs Alonso!

    1. Nathan Jones says:

      Yes, you gotta hand it to Red Bull, those guys aren’t afraid to call it when they see a strategy is going against them. The other big teams seem to got into a Dalek-esque “DOES NOT COMPUTE! DOES NOT COMPUTE! DOES …” panic-induced meltdown.

    2. Femi Akinz says:

      Thats the one thing I love about RedBull. very proactive strategy wise. Kinda like disruptors in the tech industry

  70. Calum says:

    Too much of a kneejerk reaction against DRS here.

    If it made passing a bit too easy then the correct course of action would be to again modify the DRS zone for next years race rather than to ban the system.

    My assessment is that DRS has given far more to F1 than it has taken away, and by removing it we’d be back to having processional races where aero wake prohibits any overtaking.

    1. PeteF12012 says:

      “My assessment is that DRS has given far more to F1 than it has taken away”
      Disagree, Its given nothing & taken away proper racing!

      All DRS is doing for me is turning me off F1 & I’ve been a die-hard F1 fan for about 42 years.

      1. Peter C says:

        You seem to have a short memory after 42 years!

        For years before DRS we had deadlocked ‘aero-processions’, the biggest turn-off for prospective new spectators. I can remember people asking me

        ‘Why doesn’t he overtake?’

        It’s the dirty air.

        ‘What? I thought this was a car race.’

        DRS may not be the dogs doo-dahs entirely, but it has improved the spectacle.

      2. PeteF12012 says:

        but if the pre-drs era was the turn-off for prospective new fans they why did the tv figures do nothing but rise over the past decade?

        also the drs supporters always say that without drs we would see no passing, however they then say that the drs passes were not all down to drs?

        with the pirelli tyres & the effect they have im 100% confident we would still see good racing & a good level of overtaking, However without drs the racing would be better & the overtaking far more entertaining.

        i have yet to see a single drs pass that has even been mildly intresting or entertaining to watch, there all boringly easy & unentertaining.

      3. Peter C says:

        See JA’s reply to Post 84

  71. Rob Newman says:

    It was a bit of a boring race but the end was exciting. Fantastic drive by Grosjean and Perez.

    Looks like the Red Bulls haven’t learnt any lessons from China 2011. The moment they realised Grojean was closing in, they should have brought Vettel in. On fresh rubbers Vettel could have overtaken both Grosjean and Perez and may be Hamilton too. Red Bull is not the fastest car but Vettel is doing a much better job.

    From Ferrari’s side, it is pure cockiness. They have one of the best cars on the grid. Just like in qualifying, they over estimated their driver’s skills. If anyone thinks Ferrari is a bad car, then McLaren must be a worse car. Look where Button is!

    It is not entirely correct to say the gentle action of the Lotus and the Sauber on the tyres contributed to the podium finishes. Credit should be given where it is due. The drivers did a better job in looking after their tyres.

  72. Robert N says:

    James,

    when DRS was introduced we were assured that is was impossible for the DRS to get stuck open, as this would be highly dangerous.

    Will the FIA look at this issue more closely now? Do we already know what caused Schumacher’s problem?

  73. Anze says:

    I think Button should copy set-up from Hamilton. I know his driving style isn’t the same, but I think it’d be a good start. Then he should change the set-up to his liking. His pace yesterday was just awful and he pitted first of all on soft tyres. so there’s definetlly something wrong.

  74. Chris says:

    Really pleased for Lewis, well deserved and long overdue I think as he has been driving as well as Nando all year.

    James, how about a piece on Jenson and his current lack of form? I am a Lewis fan (with a soft spot for Nando too) but I hate to see Jenson having such a tough time.

    Cheers, Chris

  75. IJW says:

    That’s what I don’t get. You would of thought that after FP1 & FP2, that all team would use the settings from the fastest of the 2 drivers as the “base-line”; and do this for all races.
    It’s not in the teams interest, for one side of the garage to keep its settings secret from the other side, and that screws up their changes in the WCC.

    1. IJW says:

      This is in response to #73 by Anze.

  76. chris says:

    DRS = Dull Racing Series.
    As fo Mercedes & Schumacher, it seems clear they are going for a DNF record here. Should be sponsored by the AA. Empty promises of a trouble free weekend from Haug & Brawn.

  77. Termagent says:

    I haven’t seen this suggested elsewhere, but I wonder if it’s possible Ferrari and Red Bull were gambling on a safety car (not uncommon in Canada)? If there had been one after Hamilton’s second stop, FA and SV would have had track position and the chance to save their tires and get them to the end of the race in front, maybe. Then again, LH’s fresher tires and the DRS should still have given him victory.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, a safety car would have helped them, but once Hamilton stopped for the second time it was time to make a decision

      1. JohnBt says:

        EXACTLY!

    2. ida says:

      The problem with Jenson is not his pace…..hes just as slow as last year and the year before. The standard 3 to 4 tenths per lap slower than Lewis BUT blind luck has deserted him. The problem is it hasnt rained while hes in 12th place 30 seconds off the lead. Imagine it rained after the leaders pitted the first time and Jenson was able to put on wet tyres. By the time the leaders pit for new tyres he 20 seconds up the road and everyones talking about smooth Jens and hes all cocky in the post race interviews

  78. F1Racer says:

    Atlast, a race won by a sprinter than a tyre preservation specialist.

    Well done Hamilton! its been a long time since i cheered for him to charge on.

    Button seems to be lost in the sea.

    Schumacher must be ruing why he came back to race for Mercedes. Imagine this spate of incidents happening either to Alonso or Hamilton’s car? I am certain some people would heads would be rolling by now.

  79. F1Racer says:

    James, during the race, Alonso and his race engineer were corresponding to each other in italian and spanish.

    Isn’t it a rule to that english should be the de-facto language to be used??

    1. Elie says:

      +1 good point

    2. Nathan Jones says:

      I think it is a pre-arranged signal, ie. “Fernando, when I start speaking to you in Italian that means the situation is borderline terminal and you need to do …. something. By that point we will have already passed the point where the pitwall people can help out”.

  80. StefMeister says:

    Add me to those who think DRS hurt that race.

    The ‘It was tyres, would have happened anyway’ argument regarding some of todays DRS-ing may have a point, However just because it may have happened anyway doesn’t make it happening the way it did due to DRS any better.

    If you look at the latter part of the race when Alonso’s tyres were going off, In that case it would have been far more exciting without DRS to see him been able to try & defend against Lewis.
    Watching Lewis’ OnBoard, He was pulling alongside Alonso slowly before the DRS line but it didn’t look like enough to get him by which meant we would have seen a nice side-by-side fight down the straght with a good fight into the final chicane.
    As it was as soon as they passed the DRS line Lewis just drove clean past & was quite a way ahead into the braking zone.

    Also don’t forget that the same thing happened earlier in the race when both Lewis & Alonso were on fresh tyres. We had a great fight for the lead shaping up there & then DRS totally ruined it.

    Do not also forget that we also saw a situation today where Schumacher pulled a proper overtake on Kobayashi into the hairpin, However Kamui was then in the DRS detection point on the exit & immediately & easily DRS-ed his way back past Michael & I’ve seen that happen quite a few times over the past year.

    I like to watch good racing, Cars fighting for position, Cars been able to do something to try & defend there place & I want to see good, competitive & hard fought overtaking. I don’t think DRS produces any of this & this is why I am so against DRS.

    The way F1 is using DRS really needs to be looked at & they either need to adopt a better way of using it or ban it completely if they can’t.

    1. StefMeister says:

      Just to add something else.

      I think implying that the choice is either DRS or boring races is wrong.
      Without DRS its unlikely we would go back to boring races & Trulli-Trains because of the effect tyres & KERS has.

      Like Villeneuve said yesterday, Watching a good race going on & watching an overtaking move happen should be an exciting thing to watch yet all DRS does is produce easy & boring to watch passes & that takes away a lot of that tention & excitement.

  81. glennb says:

    Congrats to Lewis and the team. A well earned victory.
    I still can’t fathom why Ferrari and Red Bull went for the late call to one-stop. Surely the lesson learned this season is consistency. They both went for the aggressive win instead of an almost guaranteed 2nd & 3rd. Bizarre decision from both teams.
    And how slow was Webber in a straight line? Did you see him with his DRS wide open and still getting smoked down the straight? I didnt notice it with Seb but imagine he had similar straight line performance.
    Well done to the place getters too. That will give those young guys a real confidence boost. Roman must be feeling pretty darn good beating Kimi the legend all weekend.
    An exciting GP that I enjoyed very much (and I’m a RBR fan).

    1. Greg (Aus) says:

      The SpeedTV commentary mentioned Webber had been complaining of a ‘flat spot’ in the engine. This may be the cause of the slow straight line speed.

  82. Andy R says:

    James,

    Do you think Button missing the Mugello test has some effect on his lack of performance/lack of setting the car to his liking?
    As I understand, Mclaren changed the rear of the car at Mugello and Button has not been able to tune it to his liking…

    Hamilton as we know, is a natural talent… put him in whatever car and he will get you the best out of it (as long as he is mentally settled).

    Just an observation.

  83. Thabang says:

    Brilliant race, reminds me of Silverstone 2008…a brilliant storming drive by Lewis. Glad to see a race that was won through all out full throttle peddle to the metal racing.

  84. F1_Dave1 says:

    Last time we had a drs poll on this site it showed majority of posters here were against drs & in fact majority of drs related comments here are always anti-drs.
    same trend just about everywhere else.

    its crystal clear based on polling/comments around the internet that majority of f1 fans are firmly against the drs system, that on its own is more than enough to warrent its banning.

    1. James Allen says:

      Not really, because it’s also about the larger contingent of more casual viewers. If it makes them watch F1 more then that could be seen by F1 as more valuable input than some F1 fans who don’t like it

  85. Nismo + F11 says:

    Hi James, did Mclaren run their cars with different suspension to trial tyre wear on different temperatures?, as it looked like Jenson is struggling to put heat on to the tyres just like in 2009. John Button had said after Monaco that Mclaren would trial something to with back of the car.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, JB is struggling to get heat into the fronts and he needs a strong back end, which the car seems to have moved away from

  86. kbdavies says:

    McLaren almost lost it for Lewis again with a 5.5 sec pit stop. As usual, they depended on his race pace to salvage their ineptitude. This just happened to be their day. You could see how the pitstop lost him track position to Alonso before he took it back. On another day, another track, he may not have been able to get past Alonso or Vettel.

    Why can’t they just get it right? Despite just implementing a system that Ferrari have been using for over a season? Why did it take them so long? These questions have to be asked. According to Jonathan Neale, we were supposed to see a “substantial” improvement in McLaren’s pit stops! The problem is indeed Whitmarsh’s leadership style. He simply too “nice” for the cutthroat world of F1, and does not possess competitive bone in his body when compared to denizens like Briatore, Willaims, Brawn and even Horner.

    Anyone noticed how Ron Dennis seems to be Lewis’s lucky talisman? More often than not, when he is present, Lewis seems to do well, and seems to benefit from McLaren thinking quickly on their feet regarding strategy. It seems Whitmarsh sharpens up, and indeed the whole team (at least regarding Lewis) when Ron is present.
    When Ron is absent, the strategic thinking seems to go in Jenson’s direction with Lewis left to battle it out on race pace, as happened many times last season.

    I am surprised by people who seem befuddled by Jenson’s race pace, or indeed his qualifying. He has had many a day like these – even in his championship winning year. As been mentioned many times before, his performance window is extremely narrow, and his results at at McLaren has been flattered by favourable and quick thinking strategy courtesy of Martin Whitmarsh, rather than outright pace. Even at Mercedes, he was flattered by the car, as was obvious in the second half of the season. Whilst he is good driver, he is certainly not in the mould of Lewis – even when Lewis has his off days. He is already 43 point behing Lewis – and that deficit can only grow bigger.

    This is exactly the number of point with which he led Lewis for the whole of last season – in what was arguably Lewis’s worst year, and what was arguable Jenson’s best year – And we shouldnt forget that deficit was as a result of Lewis’s many DNF’s and penalties, rather than outright underperformance in the car.

    Again, there is a lot of talk about Lewis driving well this year. I don’t agree within that. He has always driven well. He is simply driving different this year. Most of his audacious moves which resulted in a mixture of penalties, tears and reprimands, were also the same moves which won McLaren a championship and gave Lewis the title of best late braker and overtaker in Formula 1. It led Norbert Haug and Ross Brawn to christen him the saviour of F1, at a time the series was being criticised for the inability of drivers to overtake; and Lewis had the most overtakes in that season. When these moves come off well, everyone gushes and praises him, when they don’t, the whole world flagellates him, and the stewards crucify him; Thus this year, gone are the bold overtakes, the audacious late braking, the wheel to wheel duels. Instead we have a more careful, cautious Lewis. The tyres haven’t helped in this regard, as they do not favour an aggressive driving style. I say its a shame, because F1 has been robbed of one of its most exciting driver.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Erm…Lewis went into Anti-stall on his pitstops and that was his issue not the pit crews – therefore it was Lewis’ fault on two occasions.

      You also had JB with the highest number of competitive overtakes last year – which was actually higher than Lewis’ number of competitive overtakes in the past several seasons. Sure JB had DRS, but then I’m pretty sure Lewis did as well and it wasn’t the pit crews forcing Lewis to drive into various cars last year – he managed that all by himself. Whereas JB’s DNF’s were caused by mechanical failure or pit crew errors (unattached wheel etc).

      [mod] I’m a fan of Lewis, I know he’s naturally faster than JB and probably the entire grid, he’s exciting and frustrating to watch, but this constant excusing of all his failures and bizarre derision of Jenson smacks of blinkers to the realities of racing.

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