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Impeccable Alonso Cruises To Spanish GP Victory, As title Race Hots Up
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Posted By:   |  12 May 2013   |  3:48 pm GMT  |  504 comments

Fernando Alonso made the perfect use of a blistering start and bold strategy to deliver an emphatic victory to his adoring fans at the Spanish Grand Prix, ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.

It was a race that was dictated by tyre strategy, with much of the field played it safe by adopting a four-stop strategy, whilst Raikkonen and Lotus were again able to make one less pit stop and he put himself in contention for the race win in the middle stages of the race. It will give further fuel to critics of Pirelli who argue that the tyres have too great an influence on the races at the moment; Alonso said after the race that he had been able to push at 90% to achieve the result, but others like Hamilton were much more hamstrung.

Pirelli’s Paul Hembery tweeted after the race, “We aim for 2/3 stops. “Today was too many stops, we got it wrong, too aggressive. We will make changes, probably from Silverstone.”

However, the Lotus driver was unable to push his hard tyres during a twenty-lap final stint and could not threaten Alonso. It is the Spaniard’s thirty-second career victory and brings him to within seventeen points of the Championship leader Vettel. It was also the win from the lowest starting position, 5th, that we have seen in Barcelona.

Vettel still holds that championship lead ahead of Raikkonen after bringing his Red Bull home in fourth place, but it was not his day today as the Red Bull struggled to maintain both pace and tyre life; something had to give. He had looked to be the main challenger to Alonso following the first stops, but drifted away in the second half of the Grand Prix as Raikkonen cruised into contention.

Raikkonen remains in second place in the World Championship, now closing to just four points behind.

The top three each have credentials for the driver of the day as Raikkonen was able to maintain life in three sets of the medium tyre before switching to the hard tyre for his final stint.

Massa also had a very good race as he overcame a three place grid penalty which forced him to start ninth and made his way past Rosberg and Vettel in a Ferrari that was peerless on the day.

Alonso’s win was set up by the start; from fifth he kept his foot in around the long turn three to take both Raikkonen and a slow starting Lewis Hamilton for third place and got on to the tail of the leading pair, pole sitter Nico Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel.

Rosberg got off the line well and was able to defend from Hamilton in to the first corner, the Briton having a large lock-up, which allowed Vettel to get around his outside. And once Alonso made his way in to third position the lead trio edged away during the opening phase of the race and up until the first set of pit stops.

At this stage Ferrari grabbed the initiative to bring Alonso in early and put him in to clear air whilst Vettel was sat behind an ever slowing Rosberg. When Rosberg and Vettel reacted and pitted a lap later Alonso cut his way in between the two and began to pile pressure on the race leader.

In the ensuing laps Alonso harassed Rosberg, eventually taking the lead on lap thirteen with a late braking move around the outside of turn one. This allowed him to make a short break but his hopes of Rosberg holding up Vettel were short lived as the Red Bull driver made his way in to second place, demoting the pole sitter further down the order.

For Rosberg, from then on his race crumbled as both he and team mate Hamilton tried to make use of a three-stop strategy. But, as has been prevalent this year, the Mercedes was unable to match the race pace of its competitors and manage its tyres they and ended the day with an uninspiring result. He lost four places within two laps as Massa and Raikkonen made their way past with little difficulty.

From this point Alonso never looked seriously threatened, helped indirectly by Raikkonen being held up behind Vettel during the second phase of the race. The lead group remained unchanged as Vettel was followed home by team mate Mark Webber. The Australian found himself stuck in the pack early in the race and like in Bahrain he opted to pit early for clear air. This system worked once again and maintained his team’s lead at the head of the Constructors Championship.

Behind Webber was a close battle for sixth place between Rosberg and Paul Di Resta. The Force India driver heaping pressure on the pole sitter in the closing laps but unable to take his place. It was another strong showing by Di Resta who collected some much needed points to sustain Force India’s lead over McLaren in the Championship.

The top ten was closed out by the McLaren pair of Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, who were able to complete the race without any collisions or angry radio messages. Perez took one more stop during the race and was told to hold station in the closing laps as he raced up to his senior team mate.

And Daniel Ricciardo took the final points paying position with another strong outing for Toro Rosso. He and team mate Jean-Eric Vergne were having a good battle until Vergne was collected by an early-released Nico Hulkenberg in the pit lane and was consequently forced to retire.

SPANISH GRAND PRIX, Barcelona, 66 Laps

1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 66 laps 1hr 39m 16.596s
2. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus+00m 09.3s
3. Felipe Massa Ferrari +00m 26.0s
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +00m 38.2s
5. Mark Webber Red Bult +00m 47.9s
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +01m 08.0s
7. Paul di Resta Force India +01m 08.9s
8. Jenson Button McLaren +01m 19.5s
9. Sergio Perez McLaren +01m 21.7s
10. Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso +1 lap
11. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber +1 lap
12. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1 lap
13. Adrian Sutil Force India +1 lap
14. Pastor Maldonado Williams +1 lap
15. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber +1 lap
16. Valtteri Bottas Williams +1 lap
17. Charles Pic Caterham+1 lap
18. Jules Bianchi  Marussia +2 laps
19. Max Chilton  Marussia +2 laps

Rtd Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 52 laps completed
Rtd Giedo van der Garde Caterham 21 laps completed
Rtd Romain Grosjean Lotus 8 laps completed

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1

In the past, Barcelona produced one of the most boring GPs of the year. Today, we saw a fairly interesting race, thanks to the Pirelli tires. But the quote of the day for me is Lewis Hamilton saying "I can't go any slower". Going from P2 to P12 for me is an indication that the impact of the tires might be a bit too strong. In case of Hamilton it is clearly a waste of talent. I think the FIA should instruct Pirelli to make the tires last for at least 25 instead of just 20 laps. But if the tire situation continues like it is now, Ferrari have the best chance on winning the title. Maybe that's what Bernie wants, after all.

2

Not the best GP I've ever seen - a bit dull for me (and yes I sort of expected it at Spain). The racing was non existent because the tyres made it impossible to push. There were a couple of overtakes of note, but even the ones that looked most spectacular seemed to be accomplished because of massive differences in tyre wear - drivers not even bothering to defend. Speaking of defending, I've been defending the tyres up until now, but today has completely changed my opinion. Let's have enough of the Pirelli as a manufacturer bashing but the current spec of tyres are horrendous. Hearing a driver say "I can't go any slower" is telling us something. Seeing the fastest car on single lap pace end up 2 seconds a lap slower after a few laps is just disappointing and spoils the racing. And what is with all of the tyre delamination? It is dangerous and happening too often to be an anomaly. These tyres are wrong compounds and they are dangerous. Will it take the leader of a GP crashing out due to this reason for anything to be done?

3

Somehow it feels like that with these tires and DRS, F1 is gradually turning into what I call "X-Factor for boys" - a televised competition with artificially introduced drama, all in the name of viewing figures. Next we will be telephoning in to pick a winner 🙂

4

Viewing figures would suggest this is what people want. It's only about the money. F1 hasn't been an exclusive "boys club" for cashed up car enthusiasts for about 50 years.

5

I agree with everything you say apart from the Bernie comment. In what universe are you living in, that Bernie is support Ferrari over Red Bull. Vettel is like a son to that guy, and he adores him, anything to help Vettel he will support not Ferrari.

6

And if Bernie really wanted to help Ferrari, he would have nudged JTodt to ban blown diffusers outright in 2011 and Seb might only have one WDC rather than three.

RBR have won the last three wdcs and wccs. doesn't look like Ferrari are getting any help.

7
hero_was_senna

Great point. Bernie and Luca have had harsh words in recent years too

8

I think Lotus, not Ferrari

9
hero_was_senna

In years past, some cars havemanaged to turn on the tyres instantly which has been great for qualifying. Come the race, these same cars fall back because they don't look after the tyres.

Currently, Lotus and Ferrari have better race pace than their rivals. It's not their fault, it's the competitions.

Button, in a car that qualified 12 places behind Lewis beat him. That's not the tyres fault, its the car.

Read up on the 2004 French GP, or maybe the 1994 Hungarian GP. Both times, bearing in mind they used Bridgestones, Schumacher made more pitstops than his rivals and won.

In fact, in 2004, he completed 4 stops against Alonso's 3

10

If we were true racing the red bull would dominate, with artificial racing they don't!! These tyres are a product to keep the field bunched up togeather!! I feel it's gone a bit to far though, but we do get better races!

11
unF1nnished business

+1

12

Of course, with all teams getting the same tyres, you could argue that it's the responsibility of the teams to make the most of them, relative to the competition.

However, teams are designing their cars before they really know the tyres for the new year. This makes it difficult to get the tyre management right, and does not necessarily reward the best engineering, but possibly the team who got lucky that the car they've built matches the tyres they get dealt at the start of the season.

One way to solve this, of course, would be to make the tyres constant for multiple seasons - I am sure most teams would be able to produce a faster car that way. Unfortunately, that's not what Pirelli want; they want to present something "new" every year (and pay a lot of money for the privilege to do so).

If we can't therefore get consistent tyres, which would be my preferred option from a fan's perspective, but which isn't commercially viable, I think the second best option might be to re-introduce competition amongst tyre manufacturers. Look at what went wrong last time, and introduce the necessary regulations which ensure the offset between tyre suppliers is kept small enough (like the current difference between engine suppliers).

13

Spot on about the tires being a partially unknown variable during the design phase of the car. It's why the FIA mandated the 55:45 weight spread between rear and front, to negate the chances of some team getting "lucky" and finding a sweet spot with balance, and thru that being able to blitz the field.

Mercedes have come out saying that it is not a problem inherent in the car, that they set the car up specifically for race pace in Barcelona (and seeing as they did another long-run stint in FP3 while others concentrated on quali runs, bears that out).

I don't mind tires with high deg, but they shouldn't be so tempermental that they turn to garbage if you defend a little bit, or if you're momentarily out of the operating window. The drop off in such cases is far too extreme.

14

The tyres have changed every year since 2008 believe it or not. If Pirelli werent intent on constantly shaking things up, they wouldnt have half the complaints they do but thats their own doing. Theyve also reacted too much to some of their conservative tyre choices which half the time were at new tracks anyway. Maybe if Bridgestone were contracted for 2011 they wouldve had a chance to try high degradation tyres as well, and been able to do a better job.

15

The 2004 French Grand Prix isn't comparable at all. Schumacher pitted one more time in order to jump Alonso through pit strategy, not because he was using the tyres harder than Alonso. Also, there was in-race refuelling in those days, meaning the cars were sprinting the whole race, not coasting around to a lap delta.

And I assume you mean the 1998 Hungarian GP, which was a similar situation.

16

+1 mate, I think that what killing tyres so quick isnt Pirelli's design so to speak it is car's balance as it changes from lap to lap due to cars being fueled for a whole race, now I'm not an expert but it seem's to me that ever changing properties of the car are more to blame for tyre life then tyres itself. Maybe they start using refueling again or just make them use half the fuel and then in a stop fill up the other half of the assigned fuel for the race, think it would spice up racing a bit and the drivers could push a bit more instead of trying to stay at certain temp level.

17

+1

18

Very good post, agree 100%

It kills me everytime I hear the race messages of:

Lift in turn three

Sebastian don't fight, run your race

Look after the tyres

I can't go any slower

My tyres are finished

This is fake racing, F1 needs to get real

Even the bbc was saying so on the forum

19

Maybe you should ask mecedes and rb why they opted for a 3 stopper, instead of giving the boys the tyres to push, like what the ferrari did.

20

Read the strategy report

21

Let's summarise:

The championship leader was consistently told by his team NOT to race.

The second place man in the championship decided not to fight for the lead because he knew that even if he made it past, he would have no tyres left to keep him behind.

One driver came on the radio and said "I can't go any SLOWER" and was virtually waving people past.

Martin Brundle, David Croft and Coulthard all finally grew a pair and criticised the tyres saying that this is NOT what they want to see.

There have been 5 tyre failures over the last 2 Grand Prix weekends.

An interesting quote from Pirelli Motorsport on Twitter:

"Admittedly delaminations look very impressive but only the upper tread goes off, the tyre stays intact."

Apparently the upper tread is not part of the tyre. I find "intact" a very optimistic term for a structure that's unsuitable to race with.

Again the first few laps of this race were close and exciting, despite there being very few overtaking manoeuvres. As soon as they went to tyre saving mode, that was the end of it.

22

And I'm sick of these tyres too. I don't mind a certain amount of tyre management as it's always been part of F1 racing (as has been said many times this year) but now it's ALL and ONLY about tyre management. That's not F1

I don't deny it's interesting if you have the knowledge to understand the issues and can keep an eye on lap times as you watch the race, but it's not really racing. When the driver has to ask the pits if he can fight to defend an overtake then it's just got ridiculous.

I'l watch Monaco as it's such an occasion but otherwise I'm rapidly losing interest. And I've been watching F1 for 35 years.

23

Doobs don't forget the cars will still have KERS and DRS if they do away with the tissue paper tyres so i reject that we will be back to the bad old days of the result being settled on Saturday. For me drivers waving people past because they don't have the rubber to even try and race is a pathetic waste of everyones time.

24

As Martin Brundle said, would you rather see a procession where cars finish in the order they qualified..?

25

Could not agree more. Tires, tires, tires...

Ridiculous!

26

Agree your comments entirely Pirelli have got it wrong.

27

No, the FIA have got it wrong.

28

It was HAM's comment - "I can't go any slower" - that got me. We've all heard drivers say "I can't go any faster" because of set up problems but this is different. Lewis might've had a good car under him today but now we'll never know.

29

Oh but what was Mercedes thinking doing a 3 stop race? so they think they are now Lotus ? Hamilton saying he can't drive more slowly is tactical error from Mercedes.

They could have run much faster with a 4th stop like ferrari an many more.

Is the same for Button and McLaren.

30

Lewis might have had a good car if he got one. Did anyone else overheat the tyre so fast? And he mentioned on Saturday he was wrong with the setup.

'I suffered with a lack of grip and balance throughout and we were never really able to get the tyres working', surely looks like tyres' fault...

31

I thought the funnier comment from Hamilton was when he said "I have been overtaken by a Williams!" after Maldonaldo passed him!

32

yes it was funny what lewis said,even nico said he was surprised.

I was thinking do nascar sprint cup series have tyre issues? they make tyres that last up to 40 laps(on a 200 lap race) with speeds up to 200mph. I think they use Goodyear.

If Pirelli supplied them, cars would have to pit 20 times 0:).

Goodyear do work with teams to design the best tyre for everyone.

From 1985 to 1991 Pirelli only won 3 out of 210 races(Goodyear won the rest)then Pirelli gave up.

so why with such a bad record in F1 was they allowed to come back in to it?

33

Yeah I hope the Pirelli bashing stops soon, they have only done whats been asked of them by the sport. Id take this formula over the boring races in the mid noughties when the Bridgestones created precessions by lasting the whole race.

34

It never ceases to amaze me how supposedly knowledgeable fans (perhaps I"m giving readers of this blog too much credit)completely fail to understand the issue of tires. I'm certain that Pirelli, or any other major tire manufacturer for that matter, have the technical capability of producing tires that last the whole damn race. The reason Pirelli doesn't do it is because of a FIA mandate. CAPICHE?

35

Yes, they were the only* company willing to degrade themselves (excuse the pun) to producing farcical tyres.

They would NOT have come in in direct competition with Bridgestone. They came in on the condition that they were the SOLE supplier. If they had been put up against Bridgestone or Michelin and the brief was to find the best balance between speed and durability, ultimately trying to maximise the both of them (you know, what tyre technology *should* be about), then they'd be dead in the water.

Martin Brundle, before he was interrupted by some one track event (I am reluctant to call it action) said something along the lines of "I don't want to go back to how it was in the mid 2000s but...". Surely the end of that line would have been "this isn't the answer"?

If you want tyres to make a genuine impact on racing, then a tyre war is the solution. Having two or more companis fight it out to make THE fastest, THE most durable compound they can.

Or just ask Bridgestone to come back as the sole supplier. I really don't understand what they were trying to fix. What exactly was *WRONG* with seasons 2007-2010?

36

it spells: capisci.

37

This is na unfair comparison. Goodyear at the time was supplying all the major teams, and Pirelli was supplying the smaller teams. Nevertheless, with Benetton (then a completely smaller team) they still managed to pull a couple of surprises.

Tyres seem to be na excuse for poor driving on the day. A couple of weeks ago, Vetel was struggling to go any slower and dominated. Today, he was struggling. Same tyres!!!

38

yes i agree with pedro, big teams all run goodyears. With Schumacher driving under Benetton, they managed to get a win or podium or two with those pirellis.

still, they struggled slighty with tire life (obviously not to the exaggerated content as modern f1 are at the moment).

39

Pirelli could make tire last 200 laps. FIA and the teams asked them for a tire that degraded fast. They got what they asked for, I don'tthink they new what they wanted.

40

sounds about right!

I am personally not a fan of all the moaning that i read online during the race but i agree this year its a little too far.

As with most innovation you have go too far before you find the right balance.

I'm glad there's been a bit of a change up.

41

Pirelli could make tires that last 70 laps if they wanted to. They were asked (ordered) by F1 to make less durable tires to make the races more exciting.

42

@JamesAllen in response to your reply to my comment:

"Pirelli can make tyres that last 70 laps?"

to which you responded:

"The one-stop races at the end of 2012?"

I wasn't aware of a 140 lap race at the end of 2012. I don't doubt Pirelli can make a tyre that just about lasts half a race. But any more than that, doubtful.

43

Rules say you have to use 2 tyre compounds in a race, so there is never going to be a need to make a tyre that lasts 70 laps....??

44

Oh dear James Clayton, this seems to be a bit harsh 😉

Anyway, I've worked out the problem with F1 and not the tyre situation...

Everyone involved keeps trying to please you lot, the 'fans', and all the vast multitude of contrasting and ill-informed thoughts, comments and complaints are now leading to our wonderfully mixed up races!

At the end of the day everyone has the same regulations and supplied parts, including tyres, with which to use, and the fastest team and driver will always win what we turn up and tune in to see - the race!!

45

Pirelli can make tyres that last 70 laps? Let them prove it. My thinking is they *only* came into F1 because of this mandate by the FIA because they can't make tyres that last. Think about it... a company wants to get into F1, but doesn't have the technology.... then the FIA say they specifically WANT **** tyres. Said company is now laughing.

There is NO proof that Pirelli can make a lasting F1 tyre.

46

The one-stop races at the end of 2012?

47
Seán Craddock

They don't last 20 laps! Raikkonen made his last average 17. Some could only average 11!

48

Maybe you should look what all the teams tyres were on, that could help you work it out. Other teams got there tyre strategy wrong full stop.

49

Everyone has the same tires and everyone designed their cars for it. I don't see any conspiracy there. But I am thankful for the excellent races recently and this is because of Pirelli's.

50

As Confucious once said (also):

When one falls asleep watching F1 on lap 10 and wakes up on lap 50 to find NO change in order, one realizes he should have spent Sunday afternoon doing something more productive.

51

Then you should have enjoyed your sleep, because i loved the race...most of the team got their tyre strategy wrong even ferrari, the reason they won was down to race strategy 4 stops. The only team that got it right was lotus, for the likes of the losing teams that got it wrong mecedes&rb they only got the people in their garage to blame for 3 pit stops and most importantly wrong tyre strategy mediums was the race tyres for the weekend, why blame tyres when the other 2 teams raced a perfect race and won fair and square... we got to give cedit to those who played there strategy right. To back this up, look at start of the race rosberg (medium tyres) slow but still managed to hold vettel and Alo back till first pit stops (hard tyres), went down hill from then, even when lotus was doing long stints with the mediums not once but twice none of the other garage click. If you want to blame something, blame the engineers of the team that you want to win, they got it wrong...everyone have same tyres, its how individual teams use it is the point, ferrari&lotus did there homework and they deserve to be on the podium. Drinking some redbull might help keep you awake, or you maybe following the wrong sport.

52

As Confucius once said:

He who's F1 team loses, cries the loudest.

53

Drivers are just moaning and politicking because they have to work harder and drive smarter now.

Spain 2012

Pole: Lewis 1:21.797

Race: Pastor 1:39:09.145

Spain 2013

Pole: Nico 1:20.718

Race: Alonso 1:39:16.596

Poor drivers...complaining that thet are 90% or 80% while posting 100% times and not wanting to work as hard to get the results they are paid tens of millions for. Forgive me if I am deaf to their fake cries. Times don't lie.

54

Times don't lie, yes. But you have to take into account that the combined effect of downforce levels which are closer to 2011 spec (blown diffusers) + 2013 tyres, which are according to some sources 1.5 second faster than last years, than obviously they can produce faster times.

55

This wasn't a race, James. This was a joke.

Pirelli F1 tires are crap. Full stop.

Anyone trying to defend them is just delusional or a die-hard Ferrari/Alonso/Kimi fan. This is not racing. This is just sad.

56

You say die-hard like it's a bad thing.

57

Will Buxton (NBC pitlane reporter) was absolutely raving about this race and how Alonso pushed to make the four-stop strategy work. And it just got me thinking about whether we are asking the right questions here.

True, tyres are the most important thing in the sport right now, and, true, I also think that - at times - the emphasis has been excessive (think Chinese GP). However, after 1 stop Alonso, Vettel and Massa were pretty much together. So how was it that Alonso made the 4-stopper work so much better than they did? Ok so Vettel originally committed to a 3-stop then had to switch but Alonso recognised that a 4-stop worked best for him and then put the laps in to make that strategy work. In relative terms, that must have involved lapping pretty fast compared to his rivals; he didn't just trundle round for the whole race and watch it fall into his lap.

Secondly, it's all very well saying that Mercedes have really poor tyre deg but one reason Rosberg and Hamilton looked like sitting ducks every time they were on camera was because they tried to do three stops only, even after Lewis flat-spotted his right at the start of the GP. So Ross Brawn can moan about the tyres till the proverbial cows come home, but as a highly intelligent man and a serial title winner he should be asking his strategists whether aiming for three pitstops was the right way to go. I'm surprised he wasn't asked this after the race and will be interested to see if James asks the question in his post-race strategy report.

So yes, undoubtedly, the tyres are tricky to use and, yes, when we see our favourite driver having to lap well within the limit it can be a drag. But its also about teams who find the way to get the best out of the tyres, and drivers who are able to put that into practice out on the tarmac. Alonso & Ferrari got it right on Sunday; Mercedes and Vettel, by contrast, may not have.

58

Seriously, you need to remember that Pirelli as supplied exactly what the tems and the FIAAsked for. The the best will figure it out. this is better than late 2000 with 3 passes per race. Also don,t forget that lack of refuelling is a major player in current strategy. In the past could match tires with fuel to build a strategy. Now only tires.

59

nicely said. seems everyone need a little reminder from time to time, and by the way why is 4 pitstops bad, if it wins you the race???

60

Let me guess, your driver finished as nr 4 and I am certain that this post would NOT have been posted had he finished 1st.

If I had to choose between Pirelli and the tyres/races Bridgestone produced before Pirelli entered the scene, I would choose these 10 out of 10 times.

In the era when you basically could use a single set of soft tyres to run a complete race distance, it was not racing between drivers. It was rather racing between the engineers - the drivers were only proxies/robots driving the cars and the finishing order was almost solely determined by which engineer had produced the fastest (reliable) design at the start of the year. Now, at least the driver can make a difference - driving to the limit of what the package (tyres included) can handle.

For me it is very obvious that:

1. it is possible to build cars that can make the tyres work/last. Lotus is a very obvious example of this. So the team "burning" the tyres are doing a bad job and therefor are behind. Furthermore, I am certain that Lotus would have won had they gone for a 4 stopper today.

2. there are obviously drivers that know how to intelligently handle the tyres, in order to make them last more/better than other drivers. I e there is another dimension in the competition and those (intelligent/learning) drivers are winning it and the others (clumsy) are loosing it. A very good example of this is Rosberg vs Hamilton today. Rosberg learned to handle them intelligently and managed, using the same package, to finish significantly higher than HAM with ONE STOP LESS.

3. it is the same for everybody.

61

"Let me guess, your driver finished as nr 4 and I am certain that this post would NOT have been posted had he finished 1st."

That is an absolute nonsense, I have been saying the same thing on this site for months regardless of where 'my driver' has finsished. I didn't bother reading on from that point.

63

Just PERFECT!!!!!

64

Are there really people out there still defending the tyres? Really? Honestly?

"I can't drive any slower"

"Don't go racing"

"Should I race?"

After the fist lap there was not a single car out there racing another car, they were all racing against the clock because of the tyres. Have you ever seen F1 cars being driven so slowly?

I am utterly astonished that there are fans of motorsport out there defending this mindless charade. Even if you are a RAI fan, you are cheating yourself out of seeing you boy 'race' properly and displaying his awesome talent for driving a F1 car fast and on the edge. It really does not matter who you support just as long as you don't try and tell me that these tyres are great for the bloody SHOW!It is bloody criminal to see VET, HAM and RAI neutered by these pathetic tyres. Oh yes, and as of this year Qualy is redundant too, fans should be refunded for Saturday ticket.

80+ Pit stops? Including the tyres they stared on, that's about 400 of Pirelli's garbage tyres were eaten in 2 hours today!!!! More delaminations this weekend too.

Oh and just because it's a bit different at Monaco does not mean a thing, that's just Monaco being Monaco.

Without being dramatic, and in all honesty this is the first 'race' in 20 years I have turned off before the chequered flag (lap 62 to be precise)

65

not to put to fine a point on it, but everyone has the same chance with the tires available, where were all of you back in bahrain, was there any complaining because of that result? today the Ferrari and Alonso had the best package, in Monaco in might be Red bull again, or lotus. point is it is not just down to the tires although that is what the Red Bull propaganda machine would like you to think (if their car was kinder to the tires this would be a non issue) and as far a Hamilton's message "i can't drive any slower" well, mercedes was off the pace last year and yes they improved one lap pace but obviously they sacrificed race pace. their chassis is flawed. simple as that. i find in beyond the pale that somehow this is not racing, could this just be case of Red Bull got it wrong this sunday? they lead both championships so they can't be doing to bad. i hear this kind of chatter every time there is change in the regs, or somenting new is introduced. this is just the way it goes. this is the formula as of right now. there are some many other examples that are part of this modern day formula that i could argue is not racing in it's purest form, from the ecu that makes all of your up-shifts and down shits perfect and matches the revs, to the engine mapping that effectively takes the driver out of the engine equation, but that would be silly and at the end of the day you either need to accept it or not accept it. this is formula one today. aero/down force driven and tire dependent. it is a thinking man's game now to barrow a phase that i saw on the bbc, not just how fast you can drive. if you want that there is it the Indy 500.

66

Forgetting the support or otherwise of the current tyre formula, I still find it astonishing that people like yourself can't strip the emotion out of the issue and analyse the situation correctly. The same people are on this board ranting daily about Pirelli.

Pirelli did not create the current situation. The FIA did. End of story.

If you don't like it, by all means speak your mind, but please analyse the situation intelligently and direct your criticism to the appropriate party.

67

Are there really people out there still defending the tyres? Really? Honestly?

“I can’t drive any slower”

“Don’t go racing”

“Should I race?”

Spot on comment. I'm sick of it. What could LH & NR have achieved if they had tyres that were normal. And the same for all the drivers, surely they want to race not play silly games with tyres

68

Wayne - I don't really see your gripe here? The tyre situation is the same for everybody. At least now we know that the winner is not a foregone conclusion. F1 to me has always been about speed and engineering, but also strategy and planning. To me the only boring year was when Jenson Button won almost all races because his car was engineered better than everybody else. Now the spectacle is better because even Vettel in a RBR can lose also. I am enjoying this, and I am a very knowledgeable F1 fan.

69

Hudson, can you really not sdee my gripe? Not at all? You don't have to agree with it, but surely you can see what I am frustrated with and why watching drivers tip-toe around for 2 hours counting the loaps down might be a turn off for some?

70

Really

And Alonso was not hampered only merc and RedBull

All the drivers are hampered

Canada 2012 Alonso going backwards because of the tyre deg

I think your biased and need to re evaluate

Agree the tyres are too weak and is spoiling the races

But don't remember Horner complain about the last race vet won

Oh yeah I forgot the tyres were ok on Sebs car

Just a thought eh

71

Actually there was a story after Vettel's win in Bahrain where Horner said that their complaints about the tires wouldn't stop b/c of his win.

72

You need to elaborate, if that's your opinion. Why am I biased? What are you talking about? I was trying to make the point that all the drivers are hampered, I didn't think I needed to list them all.

It was baout the tyres and absolutely NOT about what driver I like.

73

Um yeah RBR have been pretty consistent in complaining about these tires.

74

Mike, Horner DID complain about the tyres in spite of Seb winning. You don't like Vet, I guess? Neither do I, particularly. That's NO reason to defend these tyres.

75

Good point.

76

Canada 2012 was a different situation. Alonso and Vettel thought they'd be able to manage one stop less, despite their races to that point not at all being run that way. That was just a terrible call from Ferrari and Red Bull (although at least RB gave in and put Vettel on a set of the options late in the race).

The only guys from memory who pulled it off well were Perez and Grosjean, both cars that were notably good on their tyres, and both had been set to run on that strategy from early on.

77

+1. Totally agree. Today was the first time I've ever switched off half way through a race because someone (probably Bernie) has forgotten what the word race actually means. This is no longer a sport, it's become a lottery with the winner dependant upon who lucks into a setup that nurses these pathetic tyres across the line. For the sake of the sport, introduce a second tyre manufacturer / supplier and get these delusional people to look up the word "race" in a dictionary!

78

"Are there really people out there still defending the tyres? Really? Honestly?"

Apparently, there are. It's honestly sad that they refuse to admite the truth that is obvious to everyone only because their favorite drivers are benefitting from these awful "racing" tyres. After Schumi left, I don't have a favorite racing driver, so I couldn't care less about it. I watch F1 for racing now, but now there's very little of actual racing left.

79

Actually there's plenty of racing left, plenty of overtaking for example drivers were all overtaking Hamilton all the way down to Maldonado and Sutil, whilst Nico doing a good job top finish 6th, so plenty of racing you know what I mean?

80
John Wainwright

Daily reader of the site but rarely comment, however, after watching today's race I feel compelled to. To see racers of the calibre of Kimi, Lewis...hell even Seb being impaired by tyres that can barely manage 15 laps is surely a travesty of F1. Like the above comments, I too gave up watching around lap 60 and started playing Real Racing 3 on my iPad just to get some thrills!! This generation of drivers deserve far bettr than the current tyre reg'.

Great site James, keep it up:)

81

Totally agree, I was seriously thinking of

switching off about half way but stuck with it

This isn't the F1 we all know and love

Something needs to be done ASAP

82

Wayne,

I admit, this one was too much. But also...its this venue.

It is a bit shocking to have Vettel be that slow even on new sets.

83

It was appalling to see VET cruisng around that track like he was out for a Sunday drive with his nana - and it's not like he could do a thing about it, no matter how good a racer he is (because he simply could not race on those tyres).

84

1) Tires seems to be pretty good for Ferrari and Lotus.

2) Everyone would be satisfied if his driver of choice were winning races.

3) You didn't complaint when Seb was winning race after race with a car ONE SECOND FASTER than his main rivals, right?

85

Which team do you support? I assume not a Ferrari fan, correct?

86

So does that mean, if you are a Ferrari 'fan' & they had a good result. then the tyres are OK ?

Can you be more objective & look at F1 as a whole instead of just a Ferrari point-of-view.

It clearly did not work as a competition yesterday.

87

For goodness sake, Alex, what on earth does that have to do with anything? I am a massive admireer of ALO, if that helps?

88

Stop being so bitter, tyre situation will get an overhaul by silverstone and right now because of the tyres Vettel has been held back so at least there is a title fight, but considering how bad the tyres are for RBR and Mercedes it just shows how good of a job Vettel and Rosberg done this race and Im sure it'll be a completely different race, worrying for Hamilton as Rosberg does seem like the faster driver over 1 lap since winter testing and after hooking up 2 quali sessions he absolutely destroyed Hamilton in the race too, payrise and stock rise are in order.

89

Certain tyres suit certain cars in certain weather conditions. If nobody's happy, I think Pirelli have got the balance right.

90

The *only* interesting thing the tyres have brought about for me, is an analysis of why Mercedees were always hanging just behing the leaders in the Bridgestone days. If we assume that their car has always been hard on it's tyres then in the Bridgestone days you have to assume the effect of that would be to put an otherwise fast car just slightly off the pace of the leaders.

91
Bring Back Murray

Well I think the tyres have actually given us some pretty good races but today wasn't F1 motor racing.

Alonso did a good job as per usual (and congrats) but how could any other driver even think about attacking him. They would have had to have stopped about 6 times in order to push the tyres to anything like the limit. I don't too far disagree with you when you say it was a joke.

Oh well at least Pirelli recognise they have to do something about it now.

92

Exactly. How could Massa even think of attacking Vettel from 9th on the grid? He would have had to have stopped 6 times to push the tyres to anything like the limit. Wait...

93
Bring Back Murray

Well done Massa but I stand my original statement that for the most part this race was dictated by the extreme degregation of the tyres and the majority of drivers were not pushing at anything like the limit.

94

The tyres are not responsible for the inability of the competition to compete with ALO today; you say it like he has magic tyres that no one else is allowed. He would have one no matter what tyres they were all given

95
Bring Back Murray

Alonso might well of won anyway like you say but the fact is no other drivers could really push and challenge him due the high tyre degredation at this race. Look at how fast the Red Bull has been recently. They could do nothing in this race. I'm an Alonso fan but I want to see him attacked and made to work for his win.

96

agreed sven

97
Andrew Jarman

Has everyone forgotten how boring the racing was throughout the 90s and early 2000s with Bridgestone and Michelin and nearly every race being a foregone conclusion after the end of the first lap? I might be in a minority here but thank god for Pirelli. And Barcelona is always tedious anyway - people have such short memories.

98

Boring but REAL

99

I think you are picking out a few processional races and basing your entire memory on that. There were plenty of close races and most of the championships were very close. Yes, despite the closeness of the racing, the victor was more often than not the same - but that's because, despite my dislike for him at the time, he was the best driver. Is that not what you want to see? The best driver winning?

It's interesting. It's in human nature to look back on the past with a rose tinted view. Remembering only the best bits and forgetting how bad things were. In formula 1, the mentality seems to be the opposite - people pick out a few dull races and base the entire history on them.

100
Stephen Taylor

People aern't asking for 1 stop races there asking for common sense concept of 2-3 stop races not to be exceeded.

101

I don't think any tyre manufacturer can possibly guarantee an exact choice of strategies. Sometimes there will be more stops than they aimed for and sometimes fewer.

102

i think your memories of the 90's and early 2000's are wide off the mark.

103

Look at the amount of quality drivers now as opposed to the 2000's.

104
Seán Craddock

Hamilton started 2nd and finished outside the points. Does anybody know if this has EVER happened before? And I meant a race without incident, without penalty, without wet/changeable weather, just consistent track conditions. It wouldn't surprise me if it didn't happen when the top 6 just got points, let alone 10!

Ridiculous

105

I'm sure it has many times. Remember how good Jarno Trulli was at qualifying in the Toyota, for example, but then he used to go backwards in the race. The first race I randomly clicked on from his wikipedia page was the 2005 Australian Grand Prix, and sure enough he qualified 2nd and finished 9th in that one.

106

In the "good old days" Hami would have had to look after his engine/gearbox/brakes/drinks holder.

The cars are so reliable these days and that has taken out the drama of mechanical dnf's to some degree. When was the last time an engine blew up in clouds of smoke and flames.?

Thanks to the new tyres, Alonso won from fifth place;five years ago this same race would have been a processional snooze fest.

107

I'm a Vettel fan, and I've been defending them.

108
stellasofiaNO

+100! I don't even know how and why F1 supremo Ecclestone has let the situation slip so bad... utterly rubbish and ridiculous! Hampering faster drivers, excellent racers and strategist , engineers who have built best cars! Is that F1 nowadays?

And the press, media papers do nothing to address this problem! Ask Pirelli the right question and tell them to go about the business professionally , because right now it's unacceptable!

109

The media backlash is beginning. Brundle, Croft and Coulthard all made comments in the race about the absurdity of the situation.

110
unF1nnished business

Agreed, this was probably the most uneventful race of the year but historically Catalunya is usually pretty boring. As for the tires, it's the same for everyone. Unfortunately you and many others are a fan of a particular driver whose team doesn't know how to make the tires last on race day.

111

When they change the tyres to be harder and last a bit longer, and still be the same for everybody, will you be just as happy then?

112
unF1nnished business

Absolutely! Yes I agree that 4 stops for the majority of the field is too much and having drivers hold back on pace to preserve tyres is not ideal racing. I think Spain was a wake up call for Pirelli and the compromise will be made come Silverstone, but I doubt that this will effect the pecking order too much as certain cars/teams just eat their tires on race day! But I think Pirelli have to tread lightly with the compromise as the teams who got it right this year, ie Ferrari, Lotus, shouldn't have to yeild to the teams that didn't get it right.

113

"It's the same for everybody" doesn't mean "It's right for everybody".

We could easily swing your comment around from "Unfortunately you and many others are a fan of a particular driver whose team doesn’t know how to make the tires last on race day." to "Unfortunately you and many others are a fan of a particular driver whose team knows how to make the tires last on race day."

Or we could stop making generalisations. I am a fan of F1 more than any driver or team. I happen to think that if the tyres were sensible we'd probably be looking at another Red Bull domination. That's not what I want, just like I didn't want to see Schumacher winning in the Ferrari domination years. But at least in those years we had good, close, hard racing. And if another Vettel championship is the price to pay to have races that are worth watching again, I'd gladly pay that price.

114

+1000's

115

Prefer flexi wings?

116

Hey what's the deal with the winglets on the Ferrari? They have six right under the mirrors. I thought the kind of stuff was not allowed.  Everyone has air box channeling, but only Ferrari have those winglets on the rear part of the nose.

Amazing how Mercedes and Red Bull fell away. Not able to play with Ferrari at all.

Nice job Massa. Finally! But how imasculating were thise 2nd and 3rd place trophies? Did you see Massa look at it? Bet you he was thinking..."Nice souvenir for my son."

117

Was wondering exactly the same thing Sebee, Mercedes has 3 winglets under the mirrors too. I think they actually had winglets first ( might have been 1 or 2) & meant to post it when I noticed on them thinking -What da...

Obviously it's legal but I thought all the different wings, tubes, fins, duck bills lol whatever-over flat surfaces were banned years ago since 2009.to make the category simpler to control.

118
Truth or Lies

Yep that 3rd place trophy was seriously undersized, more like an egg cup, I've got bigger ones from my local karting track!

119

To me, Massa looking at the trophy was the funniest thing about this GP.

Another probable thought he had: "I know I've been away from the podium for a while, but this is ridiculous." or "This will make a perfect mother's day gift. My wife can put potpourri in it for the visitor's bathroom."

I love to imagine the funny things he was thinking as he did that second take on it after it was handed to him. But as you say, the real thought was..."I give bigger ones away at my karting track for participation."

120

Same thoughts. I didn't notice the second place trophy. But I thoudht Massa's one was tiny. Like a school sports cup. But I am happy for Massa, I think if he was not given the grid penalty, he would have challenged for the win.

121

1. Ferrari of Alonso under scrutiny by FIA officials.

2. Mercedes nosedive started as predicted.

3. Ferrari has been the fastest car all season but bad luck and bad decisions got in the way.

122

http://www.reddit.com/r/formula1/comments/1cqc5j/ferrari_floor_flexing_legal_or_illegal/

Check the very top link inside the link above.

Not sure if this is just vibration but seems very high amount of warp for whats meant to be a solid platform! Not to detract from a solid Alonso and Massa drive.

Re tyres - just god awful racing I wanna see guys push near making mistakes very rare these guys are going fast enough to fall off under pressure. Keeping delta times all race is too much for my heart to take I miss the good ol days boring or not ! Passing back in the day was hard work and glorious when done right a la schu/hakkinen/Senna etc

123

I don't think that's the area of the floor that people are concerned about. That link shows vibration of the floor in front of the rear wheel, I'm not sure what the performance benefit would be there. The part of the floor they were testing was the "tea tray" at the front, which would allow you to run a lower front ride height if it was able to flex upwards.

124

isn't that what Ferrari and alonso did today?

125

You say nosedive for Mercedes but in quali they are fast as ever and Monaco is not a tyre killer so if they lock out the front row Ross can engineer a win for Hamilton because he can get Nico to hold the field seen as there's no overtaking on the streets there, Rosberg's lack of speed at Monaco will cost him a win and Hamilton can steal 1 there, even though Nico has proven to be more than a match for his overrated team mate, he deserves a seat at Redbull.

126

0 points for qualifying.

Merc is throwing everything at qualifying to get the headlines and then fade out on Sunday when the points are handed out.

127

Especially when the head hocho is there.

128
hero_was_senna

point 2, Mercedes started in 2012 just like this. Fast but couldn't race at the front and gradually fell away.

That also included Scumacher's legendary development skills. Something wrong in that teams set up.

129
Val from montreal

You do know he ( God ) has a degree in Mechanical engineering ... Right ?

130

He should have done his degree in aerospace engineering instead.

131
hero_was_senna

I didn't know that, I'd always read he had a mechanic background before progressing through in his career.

I wasn't being sarcastic when I made my comment, it was more to suggest that Mercedes since they bought Brawn have promised so much yet delivered so little.

132

Why? There is no way they will DSQ Alonso out of this win. No one has stones that large.

133

There was nothing impeccable about Alonso today. Any driver could have done the same in that perfectly Pirelli-tailored Ferrari. I'm disgusted with what F1 has become.

Drivers are not driving flat out for vast majority of races. Drivers not defending when overtaken so not to damage tyres.

Overtaking = driving past someone.

Sterile, edge has gone, not Formula 1 as I like it.

Never has been Vettel or Hamilton fan, but today I felt sorry for them, because they could do nothing despite being the fastest drivers out there.

134

So anyone yeah? How comes Massa couldn't even though he admits he was at his maximum swearing like hell just before the podium?? Vettel, Alonso and Kimi are a class above he likes of Webber, Hamilton and Button.

135

the Pirelli tyres are not tailored for Ferrari,

its just they have tried to get their car working the best it can with them.

lotus is just as fast but they decided to do 3 stops. Ferrari worked out by doing 4 stops you don't loss much time.

kimi was fast in parts of the race,he lost a lot of time behind vettel,and am sure he saved his tyres to.

I no the tyres are bad but teams just have to get on with it,guess their all stuck with them for the season.

maybe Bernie has planned all this, cause you cant say F1 is boring now.

no one can say for sure what team will win each race(Mercedes for Monaco maybe).

I was on the edge of my seat,cause I had my money on Alonso and massa to get a podium.

136

I can easily say F1 is boring.

And how did Lotus get a car so good on it's tyres? Martin Brundle described the way the car drives as "Pedestrian". It's fast because it doesn't put load on it's tyres - it's fast because it's inherently slow!

137

No it's fast because he has to go 1 stop less and still ends up on a podium !. It's all relative isn't it. Is that the way we want F1 racing to be ? - I would suggest not

138

The best team will figure it out. That's the charm of f1. Tires have always been an issue.

if they can t figure the tires. Go to NASCAR

139

Re Rob01. I thought James said moderating was tightening up. ??

140

Don't worry they will all go to Nascars once Mercedes realise what a flop Hamilton is and dumps him, when he goes to Nascars they will follow, surely thats where he's going right? can't see him racing bikes or rally not enough skills.

141

How can you say that the tyres fit Ferrari when they had to go 4 stops while Kimi went only for 3. They could have gone 4 stops too if they wanted and if they had the pace to match they could have won.

142

He's right. Ferrari were fast enough to easily do 3 stops. They just chose the safer route.If you have the pace, more strategies become available to you. Kimi did 3 not because he wanted to, but because it was his only chance to win the race.

143

I meant fast enough AND could save tyres very weel.

144

Right. Any driver could have done that double pass on the outside of turn three... specially if the drivers that are being passed are average drivers like kimi and lewis...

145

What??? Lewis and Kimi average? Both of then have won a championship and both have fought to the end for other championships as well.Both have won many races. Average is someone like Maldonado but not Kimi and Lewis.

146

he was just being ironic...in case you didn't noticeD!

147

In order to overtake you need to use your tyres more than if you are defending so you got no point there

If the tyres are so crap then how come Ferrari and Lotus are doing a good job with them ?

You are complaining because is not Vettel or hamilton doing the winning , and no , they are not the fastest drivers out there , they are among the fastest which is different

148

What is the name for this kind of action that Rosberg was doing in his first stint.. well, before Pirelli it was called defending, oh wait...

149

pirelli tailored ferrari or pirelli tailored Lotus???

150

Lewis' slow start impeded Kimi and let fernando overtook both of them...

what a shame.

151
Mike from Colombia

First 2 laps were interesting and Alonso was electric.

Rest of the race was an absolute snooze-fest. I find myself just looking at the timing screens and not at the track action.

You can just look at the lap times and the number of laps on each tyre and pretty much read what it going to happen after only 20% of the race.

Driver's being told to concentrate on their own race and tyres delaminating.

Enough is enough.

152
Bring Back Murray

Today was the cut off point wasn't it. I was trying to givie the new style of the racing the benefit of the doubt but not after today.

It wasn't F1 motor racing - more like a Sunday afternoon drive in the countryside!

Hamilton dropped back through the field like a stone. Vettel couldn't even think about attacking after doing 4 stops and he's been absolutely flying recently.

Enough is enough, you're not wrong there.

153

I expect you will have heard by now - PH admitted Pirelli had got it wrong and gone too far (after the race). He has promised to have things sorted by Silverstone.

Hoo-bloody-ray!

154

what was the point,

I have been a supporter of pirelli until now, we have had a great couple of years,

but enough is enough, far too much tyre management going on and not enough scope to push

we even saw another tyre delamination, I think this years tyres are just one stepp too agressive,

I was infact surprised last year when they said the tyres were going to be made more agressive because the racing was boring, I mean did anyone see abu dahbi, brazil and america 2012, werent these the best races of last season where the drivers pushed hard all race,

dull

155

The Ferraris were clearly the fastest cars today, Alonso's win was no surprise as he was driving flat out with his 4 stop strategy. The Spanish fans have a great day today to cheer their hero to the chequred flag.

I was hoping Kimi to get closer to Alonso in the later part of the race but it did not happen. Looked like the Lotus was not so comfortable on hard tyres no wonder he used all of his medium tyres first three stints. Luckily he gained points on Vettel so the WDC race intensified.

It was embarrassed to see the Merc's going backwards in the race. I think the fact that they locked the front row has indeed made theie performance in the race more of a joke.

Overall, it was not a very interesting race as 82 pit stops in total was a bit too much.

156

Firstly, congratulations to Alonso. That Ferrari is probably now the best car.

Now to the obvious point. These tyres are just silly. Sorry to moan James, but they have gone too far. I don't mind some degredation but today was just too much. I don't blame Pirelli here they are just doing as they are directed but they are also the ones who need to sort this out because it is there brand that is at stake.

They need a tyre that can be pushed but degrades at the end of it's life. Not tyres that mean that the minute they are put on the cars they have to be driven slowly and not to there optimum so they can last. Surely they can design tyres that can be pushed for 15/20 laps and then drops off. Then have a harder tyre that lasts for 20/25 laps. This is all that is needed and can provide a bit of scope for strategy.

157

James, guys, the current tyres are an insult to our intelligence and a disgrace to F1. I know we dont want processional and predictable races but if this is all the technical expertise at Pirelli can come up with they ought to hang their heads in shame. I mean, seriously James I think you should put this issue to public debate. I am sure there is a better way to create strong competition between teams pushing themselves to the limits of their performance.

158

As race fans we have a very narrow view of the business world. Pirelli is selling the "official tire of F1." How they perform in the race is of no consequence to the vast majority of tire buyers. If they were competing on track against Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear that would be a different story.

159

Well I may be a single customer but I won't be putting Pirelli's on my car this year.

Seeing some tyres fail (not degradation) over the weekend does not give me much confidence their road tyres.

160

My Pirellis are really good - they have lasted 20% longer so far than the previous Goodyears.

Better grip too, obviously not the same as JB !

161

That Ferrari is so fast!

Feel for Mercs both Nico and Lewis.

162

Alonso drove well again but is this really how F1 should be with everyone tiptoeing around trying to look after tryres .

163

Well yes it probably is, if only because it sorts the wheat and chaff.

The class of the field managed to make their tyres work for them, on tyres it should be remembered that were the same for everyone......

164

I know its the same for everyone but how often have you seen the cars at the front go backwards as much as we are seening now .Drivers dont seem to be able to chase or defend for fear of destroying there tyres .

165

only the merc when backwards their chassis is flawed. lotus gained one position and red bull lost one.

166

Funny, when Vettel was doing the best managing the tyres in 2010, 2011 and even 2012, you all said it was just the car (while Webber never got them to work that well).

Double standards work so funny, eh?

Now Pirelli has finally nailed it, they made a tyre that takes away most performance from RBR and it's all the others doing a better job? Lol.

Pirelli indirectly even admits they make tyres to slow down RBR with the stuff they say like "if we made better tyres, RBR would win everything". I mean, if this isn't a fix to stop 1 team, what is?

167

Well patiently it was the car's basic superiority, and tyres management had no more effect on winning then they ever had.

And as it happened MW amasses a shedload of points finishing third in '10 and '11, but then you may speculate if there may be other reasons why he was unable to challenge SV at RB.

In actuality this season is really no different in that tyres along with myriad other things have to be 'managed'.

However whats changed is that teams are having to deal with slightly different tyre characteristics this season and while some teams do so effectively others don't but to imply there's a conspiracy afoot is nonsense.

Suffice those drivers at the top of their game still challenge for the wins by making their car work for them what the tyres, while others that flatter to deceive fall into the pack.

Certainly KR and FA fall into the former and get on with the job and those in the latter category .....whinge

168

Congratulation Alonso!!!! Great race and overtaking in the first lap. Also happy to see Massa as his old self

🙂

Great Kimi with his business as usual and only 4 points gap with Vettel.

Mercedes must do something rather quickly. Lewis finished behind Gutierrez.What a bloody joke!!!! I wouldn´t like to see this in Silverstone

169

You might not like to see this at silverstone but I'm sure many will, its showing Rosberg is finally getting the complete upper hand on Hamilton, the signs were there at winter testing but Nico hasn't put a proper weekend together yet until now, he's the faster driver and its time for Hamilton to respond, if not his time as a top F1 driver is over.

170

First Pirelli has said after the race that could introduce changes for Silverstone because they are not happy with 4 pit stop

Second I´m not getting involved with this silly soap opera among fans about Hamilton, Rosberg, Button. Fans in England expect British drivers to do as better as possible

171
Alex Supertramp

Well, that statement is quite unfounded

FYI, Lewis has:

1. Not qualified outside the top 4 (Bahrain penalty excluded)

2. Scored 2 podiums

3. Scored 50 points (still 4th in the standings)

4. Adapted very well in a new team/car

5. Some quite impressive stats from the past that show that he is a proven winner.

Trust me, Lewis still has a lot of credit left in order to remain a top F1 driver. The thing is, I believe Nico is a top driver as well (he still has to put in performances to cement my statement), which means that in the near future both of them will get credit every time they beat their teammate (so far it has been 'normal' for Lewis to beat Nico).

Nico's stock is rising, but Lewis' stock is not fading because of today. It takes common sense to analyse the problems at Mercedes and common sense dictates that Hamilton is not part of these problems.

172

+1

you are completely correct - a fair and reasoned analysis.

173

I was watching the SKY F1 feed and noticed that after the race they were performing a flexi-floor test on Alonso's car.

Is this just standard scrutineering procedure or is it something out of the ordinary? Do they randomly select a car after the race on which to perform such a test? I assume that Ferrari have previously tested their floor and should pass the test without difficulty?

174

I heard Ted at sky say there was something fishy about the ferrari break ducts. It seems like Ferrari are finally pushing the limits of the rules this year after several seasons of merely copying others or complaining about others.

175

Great result for Alonso but a race dictated almost entirely by tyre usage and strategy. - It's a disgrace!

176
hero_was_senna

Imagine that!

I'm not sure when you first started watching F1, but pre the Ferrari/ Schuamcher era, F1 was strategy, no driver could drive flat out for the whole race, they had to look after the car, fuel and tyres.

Find a video of F1 in 1985, watch the likes of Prost trundling round for the majority of the race and pass cars at the end because he saved his car, tyres and fuel.

Or find a copy of Mansell winning the 1987 British GP, where he and Piquet destoryed the others, but he made a pit stop for a punctured tyre and came from 29 seconds behind to beat Piquet.

There are so many instance over the years when races have been exciting because of problems with cars, rather than the snooze fest of Vettel qualifying 1st and disappearing.

1992 Monaco GP. The race was boring beyond belief, only Mansell changing rubber five laps from the end and Senna defending on worn out rubber elevated it to classic status.

177

so very well said, i am sick and tired of this ridiculous argument that this is not racing...

everyone needs a little reality check here...

178

I have watched F1 since 1970s, tyres never dominated F1 this much, this is just ridiculous.

The best driver/car should win, not the car that suits the tyre manufacturer best.

179

Ouch. I wonder if all of McLarens detractors paused for a second when they saw how far ahead both were of Lewis Hamilton?

Slightly dull race but then you can't expect a barn stormer every weekend. Hopefully Pirelli will tweak things slightly but not go overboard and end up back with the bulletproof bridgestones where pit stops are simply pointless penalty drive throughs.

Or someone could really sort it out by telling the teams they have to ditch some of the aero and build mechanical grip ground effect cars so drivers can race again...

180
All revved-up

I must admit I never thought Hamilton would be beaten by the McLarens after the way Merc dominated qualifying.

But somehow Rosberg was the best after Ferrari, Lotus and Red Bull. The car under Rosberg was the 4th fastest of the day.

The situation is puzzling.

181

+1

182

I have to say the criticism on Pirelli is uncalled for. F1 has always had preservation as a key factor, be it of components or tyres. Most of the multiple champions were excellent at this. In the past we'd have 5 decent or boring races then one good one. Nowadays since Pirelli we've had far more memorable races in general. I think Pirelli are fairly close to the mark on tyres and hope they don't change it again..

183

Agreed. The tires are the same for everyone. The challenge is how you deal with them. There's always been limiting factors. This year it's tire. Deal with it.

I just saw a doc on the 1962 Indy 500 where Eddie used up his tires allowing A.J. Foyt to win. Nothing new here.

184

If I wanted to watch 1960s Indycar racing I'd watch....well, 1960s Indycar racing.

185

Good point. Then again Stirling Moss won his two GPs (Monaco, Nurburgring)in 1961 due in part to tire management.

Tire management has historically been a factor in auto racing. Today we have the technology so that it no longer has to be a factor. Today the rules are such to artificially factor in the tire element.

I see your point where without this element racing is possibly more pure, but I'm an old guy who likes racing from the 60s. Cheers.

186

Totally agree with you

187

As an avid F1 fan for more than 25years this has to be one of the worst races ive seen. Boring from start to finish with only a few seconds of excitement half way through when I thought kimi and fernando could end up in a mighty scrap near the end. This race track should really only be used for testing.

Sadly the tyre situation has gone to far. All the team radio, team interviews, driver interviews were about driving within the tyre. Mercedes must be more annoyed than any. They quite clearly have arguably the fastest car. But are hampered by the limits of the tyre. Far to many issues too. Another failure today doesn't look good for Pirelli.

Race drivers want to drive fast. And they are not being allowed too.

The only positive from this race is the fact the championship has tightened up a bit.

188

Well if you're a real fan of 25 years then you'd realise Mercedes are only quick over 1 lap on low fuel with their engines turned higher than anyone just for quali, Vettel saves his engines for races like Spa onwards to deal a blow in the championship, its a amazing how no one gives Rosberg any credit for absolutely destroying Hamilton this whole weekend, simply a fact of out classing him! if Ross's face was a picture after quali when Hamilton was slower than his number 2 then after this race he has a major problem as he will have egg on his face paying so much for a driver thats worse than Rosberg.

189
hero_was_senna

As a race fan of F1 for 25 years, I'm shocked.

Are you telling me that all the Spanish GP's up to this year have been exciting?

There are many other tracks that don't conjure up magic when watching a race. Hungary springs to mind.

I suppose you watched avidly during 2000 to 2004 when the Schumacher/ Ferrari juggernaut flattened everything before them?

I'm a Ferrari fan first and foremost, yet during those years, I'd watch the start of the race and if MSC started from pole, I'd wait till the completion of the first lap and switch off, the result already confirmed. It didn't break down, he didn't make mistakes and no-one had a car quick enough to compete.

My God, winning the 2002 WDC in France was scarcely believable.

I'm sorry, it's up to the teams to build cars that preserve tyres as well as the leaders. I haven't heard Ferrari bleating about the tyres simply because Lotus are kinder to them.

190

Hero,

Even back in the Ferrari dominated early 2000's, it was still awesome to watch Schumacher, Hakkinen & Hill etc driving at the limit and wringing the neck out of the cars. Schumacher would blitz continuous fastest laps at the start of the race until the competition were mentally defeated, and then cruise in the latter part of race.

The difference now, is that they drive at a pedestrian

191

Very good reply. Spot on! I don't know why people can not look at the big picture. They seem to be unable to bring data more than two or three years old into the equation to do a well balanced comparison. I am sure if the next race was done on 2010 bridgestone spec tyres, or on bridgestone-michelin refueling era spec, most people that is complaining would be amazed at how good racing is now.

The point is that when something is bettered and one gets used to it, starts to find weaknesses and to criticize. Then one tends to think that things before the change were not that bad, and wants to go back to the previous specification. This is something normal, and because of this one has to try to look at the big picture.

192
Val from montreal

What I find funny is that Ferrari fans in Italy and here in Montreal were'nt complaining one bit during the domination years !! The only tifosis that I knew personally who were against the Schumacher "juggernaut" were people who could'nt stand Schumacher to begin with ..

Michael was just doing his JOB as a Ferrari driver , winning !! It's Jean Todt , god bless his soul , who arranged the Ferrari- Bridgstone partnership , not Schumacher ... And Rubens had the exact same Bridgestones on his Ferrari that MSC had but could'nt drive as fast as the German , so why is Schumacher to blame here ??

It was Ron Dennis who jumped ship to Michelin back in the days , thinking McLaren would have been better off and boy did it backfire on McLaren ... This bespoke tire BS is just an excuse as they all are ...

And one last thing , Schumacher fans were always good to predict the future ! We always said that, especially from 1996 to 1999 these words : " People better pray Schumacher does'nt get the fastest car , like the Williams or the McLaren , because if he does drive thr best car , he's going to destroy everybody " ....And when he finally did get the best car for the first time in his career (2002) , it was a total massacre !! Winning the title in

Mid- summer was unheard of and never done before ... 17 podiums out of 17 podiums , never done before either ...

And let's thank the FIA for changing the pointing system and qualifying format too ! Ridiculous !! It was their only hope to stop him and Ferrari .... 2005 was gonna be another domination year but had to put their noses and again alter the tires and regulations to handicap Schumacher ... Embarrasing and shame on you FIA !!

193

Val, correction : Mclaren/Williams did not go wrong by switching to Michelin. Michelin was the tyre to have in 2001-2003 when the weather was warm, but Bridgestone worked better when the temperature was cooler. And staying with Michelin paid Renault/Mclaren rich dividends in 2005 and 06.

In fact you would remember Ferrari were so baffled by the lack of pace in 2005, there were rumors that they borrowed Minardi's Michelins while testing in Mugello and found over half a second.

Ofcourse, the above was called BS by many pundits because Michelin engineers would never allow their tyres to be used on a Bridgestone customer's car.

194

Ferrari budget of USD 625million and unlimited testing..kinda helped

195

+1 Completely agree!

196
hero_was_senna

Completely agree Val with every point. I'm sure I need to get my dosage increased! Lol

One thing, I was over the moon when MSC joined Ferrari because I knew what was coming, I couldn't wait for domination like we witnessed with Williams and Mclaren, but what disappointed me most was the choice of second driver. It's one thing the team dominating and the drivers fighting one another, it's unpredictable, but when one driver is so much better than the other, and then has the teams unwavering support added in, it doesn't endear the team to neutrals at all.

Lets face it, Schumi was the greatest of his era, but what harm would it have been to put a great driver in Bessie him?

Could you imagine JPM against Schumi, wonderful.

197

I 100% agree. I am a diehard F1 fan but in that period I would never get out of bed for any of the Asian race and just like you watch the first lap of most races then switch over to whatever live sport was on the other channel and switch back every now and again to check what was happening.

The current situation is not perfect. I found today rather boring, but I can't really recall a classic Spanish GP in my 20 odd years of following F1.

We have a very competitive title race between three world class, world champions. About eight drivers could win a race this season. The races are in a whole quite enjoyable even on certain tracks a few years ago which would have been a snooze fest. Give me this over the Schumacher era any day of the week.

Most JAF1 readers are long term hard-core F1 fans and I appreciate the purist point of view, however F1 is in the entertainment industry and I would estimate that at least two thirds of the viewing audiences just want to see an exciting race over the best driver driving off into the sunset with a team with the biggest budget.

I am not a big fan of these tyres but imagine if Mercedes can repeat a front row at Monaco. It would make for very exciting viewing watching both of them make their car as wide as possible and potentially meaning that anyone in the top 8 if they get their tyre strategy correct can win the race. Do we want to go back to the days where the guy who finished 5th was normally two laps behind the winner?

Regardless of what is happening with the tyres it is the best three drivers that are in the top 3 of the Championship. If Caterham start winning races, perhaps then we would have a problem but as long as the cream continues to rise to the top, the races are exciting and we get a good championship fight I for one will not be complaining.

198

Agree, Schumi days were too boring man, ok so the tyres do need to change but racing is better than Moto GP, DTM and WEC by a long shot. Me like many underestimated Rosberg [mod] Nico deserves a seat with RBR, Ferrari or Mclaren.

199

I've watched every race live since I was 11. I've sat through and been too races that have been dominated. Season after season. The races that used to be were dominated by mechanical failure, driver skill, team domination, driver domination, and yes tyres. what I'm getting at is f1 should be about all those things. And not just tyres as it is today. Ferrari done well today, but they have been talking just as much about tyres as everyone else. Schumi would win by 50 seconds but drive flat out the whole race. Alonso admitted he drove to 90%. Is that what we want? Drivers can't try to attack when they have the machinery to do so.

200
hero_was_senna

There were races when he would drive flat out the whole race, but usually against another team.

It's fact, that Ferrari drivers raced till the last pitstop and then backed off.

Many times over the years, MSC would come out of his final stop and circulate slower till the final lap, winning by a handful of seconds.

201

Well, with regard to this race I'm joining The Opposition! The sport and rules, like life in general I guess is about balance but here it was well off. The tyres were way too far in the wrong direction of wear and the race just wasn't satisfying. With that much degradation, tyres played far too dominant a factor in a car's performance.

Races with more than 2 or 3 stops as standard is too much as one, it's confusing and two, if drivers have to stop 4 times then the tyres are so weak it means there's less laps drivers are able to extract the car's performance before tyre conservation becomes the dominant consideration. I've always said 2 stops gives a nice balance of providing an element of strategy but while having tyres that don't fall apart too rapidly.

I understand Barcelona is a tough track on wear but it's worrying Pirelli brought the hardest tyres yet we had 4 stops! It's a double edged sword as it would be better to beef up the tyres but then it's also kind of unfair for them to be messing about with them too much in the middle of a season.

It's all about balance. I don't want to go back to a case where the race would often largely be decided on a Saturday. I like the fact race day involves more thought now (though it seems to be too dictated by the team and data rather than driver input and choices). And I liked the fact that, waking up this morning, I pretty much knew Mercedes would go backwards but I had no idea who would win out of Alonso, Vettel and Raikkonen.

I like the principle of racing that involves tyre consideration as an *aspect* of the race and which encourages overtaking on track. But it should be a case where a stint allows the car to be pushed hard for 80% of the stint say, with 20% involving input by the driver's style and car design/setup to see if he and the team can eek out a few extra laps than others and maybe make one less stop, etc.

So yeah, the tyres definitely took over. And that's wrong. We don't need a total rules scrap but Pirelli need to be told to worry less about spectacle, take a back seat and provide stronger tyres. But I appreciate it's difficult for them.

202
Alex Supertramp

+1

203

You should put the picture of Pirelli instead that of Alonso, James. Would be more accurate.

204

Really? Why not a picture of the 3-stopping Lotus that finished higher than most 4-stopping other teams, proving that the way the car is built actually matters? Or a picture of 3-stopping Rosberg who finished much higher than his 4-stopping team mate driving the same package, proving that the way the driver drives actually matters?

As for ALO - he was beating Kimi (and also Schumacher), also to titles, way before Pirelli entered the scene, so exchanging his picture for that of Pirelli does not make much sense really.

205

Obviously you are a new fan in terms of pace and racing Alonso is no where near Kimi but for bad Mercedes engines in 2005.

206
Alex Supertramp

Great drive by Alonso. This year should give a great battle between the current top 3 for the WDC, even though I can't shake the feeling that Ferrari definitely has the edge on Sunday.

Massively disappointed by Mercedes, even though Nico finishes a very respectable 6th. I don't believe they will play a part anymore, the top 3 are way in front of everybody. Forget the top 3, Mercedes is on of the worst cars on Sunday.

Apparently Pirelli will change the tyres yet again. Can't say that's a bad thing, I couldn't help but feel that today was a really weird race.

Mclaren actually gave a team order today to Perez. I'm not saying that's a bad decision (on the contrary!), but it seems a little hypocritical from them. Don't say you dislike team orders and that they are no part of your race philosophy only to issue some team orders a couple of weeks later.

207
All revved-up

Agree. They should have let Perez through to see if he could challenge Rosberg.

208

I thought the more logical decision should have been to let Perez through and see if he can overtake Rosberg or Di Resta.

209

I really feel like DRS and Pirelli tyres have destroyed the sport. DRS has eliminated the tension and skill of overtaking, it's become completely meaningless. Pirelli spec tyres have destroyed the art of driving a car to the limit, that's what motorsport should be all about.

If this continues then I'll have to find another sport to follow, which is heart breaking for me, after obsessing over F1 for the past twenty five years.

210
All revved-up

I think Pirelli has admitted that 4 stops (5 sets of tyres) is wrong. There isn't enough time for those able to run one stop less to make that strategy work.

Unless the other circuits have different characteristics, Pirelli may have to change the compound again.

Certainly the tyres this weekend didn't promote good racing. Just a procession of cars cyling through different pitstop schedules.

211

I wonder if banning aero will make overtakes easier. Surely is car does not so much "dirty air" behind it, there will be no need for DRS or forced pit stops to improve the show.

212

I think the reason you feel that way is primarily due to short memory, no offence intended.

I would rather see what Pirelli have been so kind to offer us (at risk of damaging their own company image) than what was on offer in the old days... when overtaking was primarily done in the pits...when it was done on track (if you were lucky) you would be waiting the whole race for seeing that single overtake.

213

Well would wait for when Redbull understand the tyres and win five on the bounce and see what you say then.

DRS brought in because Ferrari couldn't overtake in Abu-dhabi, removed from Qualy when only Ferrari couldn't make it work in Qualy.

Now as Alonso has just won the tyres are ok right? Pirelli theselves feel it was wrong.

214
hero_was_senna

Have you noticed that since the introduction of DRS, drivers overtake in areas that aren't assisted by DRS more often?

In the golden era of re-fuelling, drivers would wait for the pit stops before completing a pass.

215

"I think the reason you feel that way is primarily due to short memory, no offence intended"

I remember one thing; I used to love F1, with all its flaws.

It was still fantastic to see the best drivers in the world pushing their cars to the limit for the race duration just waiting for that small mistake from their opponent to be able to seize the initiative and risk it all for a point or two. Drivers would regularly spin out as they went past the limits of grip or collide after a risky manoeuvre. After the races the drivers were exhausted from the physical feat of pushing flat out. There were boring races but even those didn't make me feel depressed like races do today, you just had to take the rough with the smooth.

All that is gone and what has replaced it? A glorified TT: zero racing, nobody pushing the limits. In fact the only part worth watching is qualifying because at least in that TT the drivers push their cars (if they have enough tyres left and those they have are worth racing with after a lap at full speed).

I'm not saying F1 didn't need tweaking to reduce aero dominance, but the side effects of DRS and Pirelli are far worse than the illness in my opinion.

216

The issue I have with DRS is that it's a gimmick. It was meant to be a quick fix to the overtaking problem while they work on a more long-term solution that is truer to the sport. Instead we have teams devoting resources to developing it, and it's in danger of flowing into other classes like DTM.

There is a way of making racing exciting and keeping the sanctity of purity of speed while keeping the open wheel part of the forumla. Unfortunatly there is not enough will in the paddock to make it happen.

What I want to see is drivers flat out from start to finish, overtakes that matter and as little "press a button to go faster" boosts as possible. There is a way of making it happen, and if enough people work on this problem it will happen.

217

I agree. F1 had a problem with aero dominance and needed some changes to reduce that.

DRS and highly temperamental tyres are the worst possible solutions, they have taken F1 in a far more damaging direction whereby the entire concept of "racing" has been virtually elminated.

Drivers are no longer able to defend their position or chase the cars in front, drivers run their own races based on tyre conservation. It is closer to a TT than a race; an incredibly dull TT where the drivers are no way near the limits of grip.

218

forgotten bernoldi and coulthard ?

219

Christian Horner said several times that Red Bull have a fast car, but the tyres are limiting them. Well, so they are limiting everybody else. And if Barcelona is the most "complete" track of all and shows which car will be fast on the most tracks, then Ferrari's race pace is frightening! 40 seconds ahead of the bulls? That's scary...

James, I can hardly wait for your article on teams' Barcelona updates.

221
Bring Back Murray

The team which works out how to let the tyres limit them the least will win the WDC!

222

Pity Gutierrez didn't make it to Top10. Pity we didn't see how Ricciardo defended his point.

223

Yes I couldn't quite work out what happened to Gutierrez. I'm sure he made his first and second stops on about the same laps as Button, and was running the same pace as Button in the first two stints, so I don't know why they then switched from a 3-stopper to a 4. Maybe they had burned up too many tyres in qualifying.

224

It doesn't give further fuel James, it gives an entire oil rig!

It was ridiculous just how much the tires influenced the race today that it just felt artificial rather than actual racing. F1 needs to fix this post haste, races should not be subject to this kind of influence from tires.

225
olderguysrule

A very interesting race today. I guess I'd say forget about tire complaints. It's what we have this year. The teams have to learn how to deal with them. We saw two options today. Race aggressive and stop 4 times. Or get your car to go easy on the tires and stop 3 times. If you have to go easy on the tires and stop 4 times, you have work to do. FYI James, many of us across the pond read your Columns every day. Keep up the good work.

226

Is there something illegal about the Ferrari floor?

227

They passed the tests so it seems not!

228

So who whinged?

229
Andrea Sasseti

Not the greatest race ever but pretty good. Good to see Alonso starting to close the gap in the standings.

It should also be noted that while plenty of drivers were conserving their tires to either try a 3-stop (or at least keep their options open), embracing the 4-stop from the get-go let Massa and Alonso go maximum attack immediately. They didn't need the pitwall's approval to overtake or defend as a result so let's hope the other teams take note of that (when they're done blaming Pirelli, anyway).

230
Tornillo Amarillo

The darkest day for Hamilton in many years... After 2007-2008 campaigns, he's going backwards.

Why he is not at a complete top team I don't know, it's not only a matter of winning races (like in McLaren). I hope he bounce back soon.

Congrats to Alonso-Kimi and Massa (the latest an example of bouncing back in a top team).

231
Truth or Lies

Lewis made his bed with Mercedes and must lie in it. He favoured money and his brand over a winning car and he's stuck for now.

Of course Mercedes could improve, but its a question of wether the team will be allowed to do its own thing or be dictated to my the Mercedes chiefs in Stuttgart, if that happens then the can't win, won't win tag applies.

How the intervening time effects Lewis Hamilton's demeanour and motivation is a separate matter. But for sure he was well and truly mauled by Rosberg this weekend.

232
Daniel Spiller

Is that the same "winning car" that can barely get to Q3 and then can't catch a Force India.

233

Yes...

2012 the best car

2013 not so much

234
Tornillo Amarillo

McLaren was not a winning car really (we are talking about championships in the last 4 yeares), and I think he asked Red Bull in Canada 2011 for a seat but they did not need him at the time. And today he was beat by Rosberg, it's not dramatic, but it means a lot anyway. He has to try again.

235

"He favoured money and his brand over a winning car and he’s stuck for now"

I don't remember Ferrari or Red Bull offering Hamilton a seat?

236

That's the one...

237

What that car that broke down twice whilst Hamilton was leading races? The car that finished third overall in the constructors championship?

The Mclaren was a fast car in quali but the Red Bull and Ferrari had the advantage in race pace and reliability for the majority of the year.

238

McLaren... best car of 2012

239
Bring Back Murray

It really is bad luck for Hammy. He likes to drive the wheels off the car. Push to the limit every lap. Cut and dice into the apexes.

He can't race in this era when as soon as he tries to drive round a corner at any speed he loses 2 seconds of tyre performance a lap.

240

James, please in your analysis of this race please shed some lights on reasons why Mercedes has gone with a three stop strategy with their known tire problems.

Also, do you think that a five stop would have worked for some teams?

241

Agree completely. To me it looked that only Ferrari and Lotus got their strategy spot on. RBR should have gone for a 4 stop with VET from the beginning, while Mercedes too should have gone for 4 stops with ROS and possibly 5 with HAM! (hindsight is a wonderful thing)

242
All revved-up

Mercedes under Rosberg was the 4th quickest car. Doesn't strike me as too bad. This weekend just didn't suit Hamilton - tyres, track and car.

243

I wonder why Mercedes do this. They did the same at Spa last year - only that time they had to cave in and do an extra stop. It seems to me that every now and then they like to try and make a statement, try and pull of a race using one less stop than the competition just so they can turn around and say "look - we can do it!" - trouble is it always backfires.

244

I wonder why Mercedees do this. They did the same at Spa last year - only that time they had to cave in and do an extra stop. It seems to me that every now and then they like to try and make a statement, try and pull of a race using one less stop than the competition just so they can turn around and say "look - we can do it!" - trouble is it always backfires.

245

Full explanation in Strategy Report Tuesday

246

This isn’t racing, this is an exercise in tyre conservation. The drivers are not really racing each other, they are trying to get from start to finish as fast as possible with the least amount of pits stops.

Tyre saving started from lap 3, another delamination, 4-5 pitstops, when will the FIA realise this is not helping F1?

If a car is doing four stints in a race, then each of those stints should be at qualifying pace. If a driver pushes, he loses the tyres, if he doesnt, he still loses the tyres.

Rosberg and Hammy were driving to lap delta most of the race, but still went backwards. Massa was not able to race at the last stint, neither was Kimi, or even Perez. I remember when Brawn used to come over the radio to Micheal sayin "i need 4 qualifying laps". That is simply impossible today. Again, when was the last time fastest race lap eclipsed the pole lap?? Imagine if Pirelli had not changed the hard compound, it would have been 6 stoppers all the way.

On a different note, Mercedes should sack whoever came up with their latest upgrades. It achieved excatly the opposite of what it was meant to do – increase race pace, and lessen quali pace.

Congratulations to Ferrari. But because of the tyres, the next race is a simply a lottery, and Whitmarsh will never learn – he is still trying to make Jenson look good.

Cant wait for Monaco - Softs/Supersofts!

247

I wouldn't argue with most of the points you made here, but I don't like to see the word "lottery" used in that way. The lottery isn't won by the same people again and again. Every race this season has been won by a world champion. What we have now may not be the kind of racing one wants to see, but it's not a lottery.

People often talk about wet-weather races as lotteries too, and it's not true there either. You would have to go back at least 15 years to find a wet race won by someone who has not also won on pure speed in the dry.

248

True, but it is still a lottery when even the winner does not really have any idea at the begining. Ferrari dominated this race, but not the last one. Red Bull dominated the last one, but not this one. Lotus dominated the 1st race, but none of the four that followed. The cars are the same, the drivers are the same - the only differential consistent to all 3 teams are the tyres.

If you have a dice loaded on 3 sides, one of those sides will come up every time. Even though you have eliminated certain odds, it is still a lottery.

It is simply a lottery between 3 teams; as even they do not know if they will get the tyre issue right on the day. Come Monaco, and no one knows who is in contention based on today's result. People said Merc before the begining of the race due to their performance in Sector 3. After the bad degradation they suffered, people still say Merc, but now due to the fact you can't overtake at Monaco. Point is no one really knows. Qualifying position means jack now.

Even Pirelli cannot accurately predict the performance of their tyre. The new hards were supposed to perfom significantly better than the old - but didn't. They expected 2-3 stops, but got 4-5. All this on a track that the teams know like the back of their hands.

It is a lottery on so many grounds.

249
hero_was_senna

Hungary 1998 "Michael, I need 19 qualifying laps"

Ferrari had to try something different because if they stayed on 2 stops, they would have finished behind the Mclarens. Bear in mind also, MSC was on Goodyear and the Mclarens on Bridgestones.

France 2004, Ferrari changed to a 4 stop strategy mid-race, they wouldn't have been able to pass Alonso's Renault otherwise. They won.

To repeat, Ferrari made FOUR pitstops against Renault's THREE

Again, Michelin vs Bridgestone.

250

Hint.. You mentioned 2 manufacturers - teams had Choice!

251

Hero, In 1999, and 2004 although they did 3 and 4 stops, they weren't cruising around at 70%, let alone 90%. They were sriving flat out, edge of your seat racing for almost the entire race. This usually meant that the fastest car and driver package won. Yesterday's race was a farce! It was a procession of slow laps, well within the limits of each car and drivers capability. No one was pushed to errors or mistakes, no one was aggressively defending, if that's what you call racing, F1 is going to lose a lot of supporters.

252
hero_was_senna

This year I will be attending my 40th Grand Prix, every British Gp, including European GPs in 1983 and 1985, some foreign GP's too.

I have been to many countless other World Championship level meetings including MotoGP and WSBK and LeMans

I have also been to Goodwood FoS and attended Historic GP.

Every single time, the noise, the experience and the event has made it all worthwhile. Watching amateur drivers peddling these glorious classic cars around is wonderful. It's not about their respective performance against the competition but actually viewing these cars in action.

I saw Fangio and Stirling Moss at an event at Donington, just lapping round but still mesmerising.

I was on track testing at Silverstone in 1993, when a 70's March overtook me out of Woodcote. The sound, the sight but he couldn't drive! I had to navigate round him into Copse in a Formula Ford until he passed me on the next straight.

I'll be track side watching this years heroes screaming past me, not being able to hear commentary because I won't put in ear plugs when there's all that noise to absorb. I won't understand anything subtle about the race until I watch the TV recordings, but I don't care.

TV and driver transmissions have spoilt us I'm afraid. Why should drivers use these transmissions to get another driver penalised. Why do we need Vettel moaning on the warm up lap? Michelin runners used to run very slow laps to screw with Ferraris Bridgestones that didn't heat so well. It's all part of the game

253

The only time F1 drivers have driven flat out for 300km race is in the refuelling era and even then some weren't flat out the whole time

In all other periods they have had to manage tyres, gearboxes, you name it.

That said, this is too far the other way and I think everyone can see that. How we move forward with a change from Silverstone will be very interesting to see

254
All revved-up

I think the key was that MS could do 19 laps at qualifying pace. If this weekend had drivers driving flat out qualifying laps at 1:21s for 15 laps and making 4 stops, I don't think you'll hear the same chorus of complaints.

Even Pirelli has admitted 4 stops (5sets of tyres) is too much.

I do agree the big picture season long is a much improved F1 spectacle. But if this weekend was crap, just call it like it is and move on.

We all have crappy days. Don't we? But that doesn't mean that the entire year is not worth living.

255
Stephen Taylor

And refuelling was involved.

256

Interesting, nearly 10 years ago and the same number of stops between the two leading strategies.

Perhaps they need to loosen up the tech regs a little to bring back things like the F-Duct or mass dampers or the Lotus anti-dive system so that "fans" have other things to focus on when their favorite driver doesn't get the win.

257

ALO said he was pushing 90% all race today. Is that enough? But he committed to 4 stops from the start to achieve that

Clearly others couldn't push at 90%

258

For the safety car not to have made an appearance this season it tells you all you need to know.

259

Yep...everyone is tiptoeing around everyone.

260

I concur with the other posters, 90% isn't enough. Can you imagine any other sports person admitting to giving 90% with any kind of pride? It's ludicrous and incredibly damaging for F1.

On top of this I suspect that Alonso was exaggerating his effort – he was probably below 90% - Brundle commented that even he could go faster!

261

This is the same guy who for much of last year was supposedly performing at 120%, i.e. he's fairly rubbish with percentages.

262

90% isn't enough. 100% is just enough.

These are supposed to be best drivers in the world -we, or at least I want to see them driving their nutbolts off from start to finish.

We want excitement, but it has to be real excitment. Cheap thrills is for NASCAR and american wrestling fans.

Such a good overtake by Kimi on Vettel felt so cheap when it turned out Vettel was instructed not to race. This isn't overtaking, it's simply letting people through so their tyres can last as long as expected.

263

James, the guy leading the most laps of the race was pushing at 90% most of the time. No surprises there - he was running in clean air.

As already said, Alonso was not the only driver of the race, so it is clearly not good enough. These tyres are simply a farce; on so many levels.

264

90% is not enough james, not for me, this is F1, these are the best drivers on the planet and we as fans want 100%, we I do. I have just got back from a long weekend karting (easykart) and 90% would not cut it there, not by a long shot.

265

not according to ex-drivers interviewed on Sky. They were convinced he, along with most other drivers, were giving no more than 70%. Shockng!!

266

You mean the same Alonso that every race said his car was 2 seconds a lap faster last season?

C'mon.

267

Alonso's comments don't make sense James.

He set his fastest lap of 1:26.681 on lap 53. He would have had about 32kgs of fuel at this stage. So, fuel corrected this lap was approximately a 1:25.401. This is still more than 4 seconds slower than his Q3 lap of 1:21.218 which is a huge difference!! He may have set a few faster fuel-corrected laptimes earlier in the race but for most of the race he was driving at least 4 seconds (fuel-corrected) slower than his qualifying lap.

I've looked at his lap times and even fuel-corrected he was definitely not driving anywhere near 90% for most of the race. It was also evident from watching his on-board. And he was the fastest driver today... Some of the other teams' fuel-corrected fastest laps make for depressing reading.

268

Well if you consider his Q3 time to be driving at 100% then 90% add roughly 8 seconds to his time so 1:21+8 = 1:29 three seconds slower than the fuel corrected time you came up with.

269

What I don't understand is if they are all driving around slowly as seems to be the case, how did Alonso open up a 22 second gap to Massa? They were quite close to each other at one point. Massa had no major dramas or traffic. If Alonso was driving around 4 seconds slow then Massa wouldn't have had any trouble matching him. Massa said he struggled for pace on one set of tyres. How can he struggle for pace if they're all driving within themselves? Similarly Webber said Red Bull were struggling for range AND pace. It's obvious what he means by range, but he makes a distinction between that and pace, suggesting one isn't entirely determined by the other. I'm not questioning your calculations, I just don't really understand the messages we're getting from drivers.

270
Mike from Colombia

No James, with all due respect - if it only coming from a couple of drivers then it is not enough.

However brilliant he is Alonso tends to overstate his efforts anyway.

This is not cat-and-mouse racing. I would rather pay for DVDs from the late 1990s and mid-2000s than pay to watch this farce.

Pay-TV to attract hardcore fans and then driving away the hardcore fans with this circus is just a recipe for disaster.

271

I'm pretty sure you would fast forward the Spanish Grand Prix from 1999 and probably quite a few others from that era...

272

The Scary thought right now is that everyone seems to forget that KR has been so consistent. He Closed the gab to SV while still keeping him self in front of FA. If Ferrari keep them self worrying so much of SV, they could lose the wdc to lotus.

273
Alex Supertramp

That's kind of the way he won the WDC in 2007, with Alonso & Hamilton focussing on each other and screwing up. The way it looks now it's Fernando for the WDC (not just based on today, but on 5 sundays), but Kimi is soooo consistent.

274

As a Ferrari fan I wouldn't mind that. I will be happy if its anyone but RBR again.

275

Shame about Kimi....he only had 1 fresh hard compound for races....

And surprisingly, the team made him run longer stint on medium compound rather than another used hard compound....

Kimi got great start but hot held up by Lewis into T1....

Team should've opted for 4 stoppers instead of 3....

276

Full analysis of whether that would have worked in the Strategy Report on Tuesday here on JA on F1

277

I can´t wait for your report. I also think Lotus could have done something different

278
Val from montreal

Congrats to Ferrari ! They have the best car package

since January so it's no surprise that they won today .. Vettel could have and should have made it 29 wins today but had to limit himself thanks to Pirelli. Webber was nowhere to be found as usual .. Mercedes as usual go for glory runs on saturdays and on sundays fall flat on their face ... Rosberg did the best that he could though ... Hamilton should give 1/3 of his salary to his faster team mate and the other third to MSC for developing the W04 as it's now a Pole-setting car ...

279

Vettel should get himself the same tires as the others so he doesn't have to limit himself. 😉

280

I thought you said something different yesterday 😉

281
hero_was_senna

China 2012 and Monaco 2012 were pole winning too..

282

But in both cases the Merc was capable of winning both races. Rosberg won in China, and pretty sure if it wasn't for the penalty and engine failure, Schumi would have won Monaco too.

It will be interesting in 2 weeks time - their tyre problems shouldn't be so severe there, and a higgher than average probability of a safety car could propel one of the Mercs to a win... or at least a podium.

283

Oh, sudden change of tune, eh?

I thought you declared that Sthe panish GP was the end of championship for Alonso....

284
Val from montreal

I know , i'm so dissappointed of how F1 is these days... Pirelli are the ones holding up Vettel .... Slap on those F1 cars some real tires like Goodyears or Bridgestones and then the German will blow them all away !

It was do-or-die time this week-end for Alonslow and Ferrari ... They won so I good for them , but the end result will always be the same = Vet 2013 world champ : )

285

Val,

you really should hold back with these bold predictions of yours, or get your crystal ball recalibrated - btw don't ask McLaren to do that job.

It's far from a done deal for the WDC this season and only a fool would rule out the possibility of FA winning. That's not wishful thinking on my part (I am no fan of FA) just simple deduction based on what I see.

286
Alex Supertramp

Rosberg said that Merc focussed on race set-up and that they didn't even try to focus on quali set-up, so they were are not going for glory runs, they are genuinely fast. And by 'they' I mean both Nico Rosberg & Nico Hamilton. I'm not even going to try to have a normal discussion with you about the abilities of Lewis Hamilton because you clearly have your reasons to reject my premise.

287

Webber nowhere to be found? Well he was right behind Vettel...

Also whats with Red Bull? on the second stint they left Vettel on the track lapping on 31's, likely they were thinking they had a chance of pulling a 3 stop strategy, but they lost almost 10 seconds there and still had to go for 4. Could have put some pressure on Massa otherwise.

288

It was definitely a nice race to watch and, due to different tyre strategies, sometimes it didn't matter who was really in the lead but the relative pace of each driver.

Alonso drove a great race, with terrific passes at turn 2 and 3, pocketed a fistful of points and makes the championship really interesting again.

Kimi was the master of tyre wear control, though his 3-stop plan didn't prove enough to grant him the victory.

Massa's race was impressive. Having started 9th. He pushed so hard trying to attack the Finn, but destroyed his tyres in the process.

I believe RedBulls weren't "that" competitive today and Vettel made a huge mistake staying for two laps too long before second stop, wasting some 8 seconds... and then sticking to the 4 stops strategy.

As for Webber, it felt as he had a better pace than his team mate... until he reached 5 seconds behind him, when he seemed to copy Seb's times in the distance.

It was hard to see Mercedes' lack of pace during race day after a 1-2 qualifying.

289

I think you are right about red bull and Vettel. If Vettel had started the race with a 4 stop strategy in place, the result would have been different.

290

hhahahaha, FORZA FERRARI.

I like it how both Ferrari keep lapping 1-2 sec per lap faster than Kimi and ruined his 18 sec advantage for 3 stopping.

291

Yaaaay, well done to Alonso and the Ferrari team, that was a well executed and controlled race by the team, they sure had all the bases covered.

I know 4 pit stops was a little too much but with more pit stops, the probability of someone making a mistake in the pits increases too and hence adds to the tension.

Good drive by Kimi to get up on the podium too, unfortunately he didn't make too many places (again) at the start for he would have been much closer to the race winner.

Glad to see the old Massa back in action and it appears grid penalties give him the extra motivation to do well e.g. Austin 2012.

Darn, it was a sad day for Mercedes but looking at the bright side of their tyre woes, their drivers (especially Lewis) will get full credit for their input if the team gets on top of this problem.

As for Red Bull, they really don't like these 2013 tyres and seeing as Pirelli has decided to re-design their rubber from Silverstone, there is still hope the Bulls will come into their own.

It was an encouraging by Mclaren ( especially Perez) to see them racy, maybe the team is just a couple of upgrades away from joining the fray.

Last but not least, good drives by Di Resta and Riccardo, it's these kinds of performances that have seen drivers end up in top teams.

All in all, I would give the Barcelona race a 6 out of 10 score.

P.s.

Best overtaker of the day >>> The samurai

292
Stephen Taylor

The problem is he's driving a car that initially had Schumacher in mind during the majority of the development . This wouldn't have been a problem if it Merc had been regular race winners last year like Ferrari were before his first retirement .I'm starting to wonder whether Johnny Herbert might be proved right but hopefully he is not. Remember though Rome wasn't built in a day. Also if I was Lewis i'd be wanting to keep on top of Rosberg . Nico did very well to finish P6 in the circumstances.

293
hero_was_senna

I would imagine that both Lotus, but especially Ferrari, would have plenty to say if their work is nullified by Pirelli providing RBR with their tyre of choice.

Ultimately you make a car to be competitive with what is provided not change things because your competition is better suited to the tyres.

Rory Byrne was responsible for Ferrari design back in the early 2000's and his cars although state of the art, never pushed boundaries as much as Neweys. For this reason, the Ferrari had a wider performance envelope than the peaky Mclarens. This made them more consistent and accessible over a season.

If everything was perfect for Mclaren, they would waltz away, but generally Ferrari were the better over a championship.

This was never a problem when he worked for Williams, because he had Patrick Head over-seeing everything. But at Mclaren, his packaging was always pushed to the limit.

So Newey has designed a car that is aerodynamic dynamite, yet is being beaten by cars that have a wider performance footprint. Deal with it.

294
TheLollipopMan

By far the best race there's ever been at Barcelona, which traditionally is a snooze-fest as it's been almost impossible to overtake there in the past, and yet certain people, including David Croft and Martin Brundle, chose to rant about the tyres, suggesting they were killing the racing. What utter rubbish. Everyone in my household was on the edge of our seats jumping up and down and shouting out, until Brundle and Croft started complaining about tyres around lap 17. It totally killed the excitement for us. I've been following F1 for 30 years, and never has it been as exciting as it is now under the current tyre rules. Killjoy commentators do nothing for ratings. I'd watch JA instead if I could!

295

I do think it is very telling though that Brundle observed that he would be able to drive these cars at the pace they were at today.

So the question is, were we really watching motor racing?

296

They should do Sky vs BBC, Brundle vs Coulthard in 1-year old F1 cars.

One of them won a few F1 races.

297

lollipop man we were watching a different race, the only overtaking I saw was due to tyre differentials,

298

I think you'll find the majority of overtaking is always down to differentials, tyres, better car...

299

?

You must have been watching a different race, or the coverage on Sky is more exciting.

I can honestly say I enjoyed the practice sessions more on the Beeb, particularly 2nd Practice with James on the air.

300

What exactly were you jumping about? Alonso on the 1st lap was the only exciting thing in the race.

301
Stephen Taylor

To be honest 4 stops is one stop too many and does not make the race easy to follow.

302

You can listen...we're on 5 Live!

303

You deleted my comments? I only remarked MB was the one banging the drum for more of Canada 2010 i.e Excessive tyre wear.

305

only in UK unfortunately

306

If you have an Iphone or an Android phone you can get bbc 5live on the Tunein app which I believe will work wherever you are 🙂

307
Stephen Taylor

But you can't have the pictures if you listen to radio.

308

Unless you have the TV on at the same time but with the sound muted...