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Ferrari and Mercedes refuse to give up on title despite strong Red Bull showing at Spa
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Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Aug 2013   |  6:53 pm GMT  |  182 comments

Ferrari and Mercedes both admitted they had work to do to challenge Red Bull for the title but they have no intention of giving up on the chase.

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel took a commanding victory in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa, taking the lead from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the first lap and never looking back as he took his fifth win of the season and 31st of his career.

Three-time champion Vettel stretched his lead to 46 points over Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, who finished a strong second at Spa, with Hamilton, who completed the podium, a further 12 points adrift in third.

However, despite the manner of Vettel’s victory being quite convincing, Ferrari were pleased to have found the pace to be contending at the front while Mercedes were relieved that they didn’t have any tyre issues.

We’re approaching the part of the season where teams will be increasingly under pressure to switch more resources to their 2014 car because of the big regulation change which includes a new engine formula. But Ferrari and Mercedes don’t appear to be ready to give up just yet.

Double world champion Alonso, whose last victory came at the Spanish Grand Prix in May, believes there’s still hope for the title. “It is still open,” he said. “We just need to keep trying to improve our performance and try to turn it around. We recovered some of the optimism lost. It was a good weekend in terms of feeling and points.”

However the Spaniard added that Ferrari need to find more pace to match the Red Bulls: “In the race, once we were second we were 0.2-0.4secs slower every lap,” he added. “When you are the second fastest, you deserve to be second. We just need to congratulate Sebastian and Red Bull and get better for Monza.”

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali was pleased with the team’s response to disappointing results in the German and Hungarian Grands Prix – but he added the team need to make “another step” forward in performance to put pressure on Red Bull.

“We had a very bad July for many reasons and I am very pleased to see that we are back on track but it is not enough,” said Domenicali. “If you want to make sure that we are able to arrive at the end we need to have another step with regards to the performance of the car and this is what I am seeking from my people.

“For us it’s important to get back on the trace of improving the car but for sure we have seen Red Bull has improved and we need to stay there because we can beat them by improving the car better than them and being there if there’s an opportunity that comes because they may have a problem. Don’t forget last year…”

Domenicali was referring to the fact Alonso was 39 points ahead of Vettel after last year’s Italian Grand Prix, but found himself behind the German just three races later.

The mood is similarly bullish at Mercedes where Hamilton thinks Vettel can be caught – but it’ll be “very tough” to achieve. “It’s a big, big gap,” said the 2008 world champion. “It’s a huge gap so it’s going to be very tough to close that but I’m going to keep pushing.

“It’s going to be very, very tough, undoubtedly. He [Sebastian] has just had a phenomenal car for a long, long time and it still is phenomenally quick and he does the job so it’s the perfect package.

“But we’ve had some really strong races and we’ve been there or thereabouts competing with him and we have finished ahead of him in the past so it doesn’t mean that we can’t do that in these next races. But it is getting closer and closer to the point where we really need to be finishing ahead every single time to close that gap.”

And while Hamilton, who finished third at Spa one place ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg, is hopeful Mercedes can be in the mix at the next race in Italy, he is expecting to make a real step forward at the next race in Singapore.

“These two circuits [Spa and Monza], you get a downforce package and you’re kind of stuck with it. It either has or hasn’t worked. Then afterwards we’ll have the high-downforce package we had in the previous races but hopefully it should be improved again. So I’m hoping we’ll be more competitive from then on.”

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn was pleased his two cars didn’t have any tyre issues at Spa, but he conceded that the team are probably around half a second off the pace.

“We’re not quite sure why we struggled so much on the first couple of laps as we were sitting ducks,” said Brawn. “But that’s probably where the car was and we’re half a second slower than we need to be.

“We didn’t have any tyre issues, which was great. On the last stint both drivers were able to push hard when they needed to and defend their position against Webber, so that was OK. We’re getting there but it’s a moving target and Red Bull are not sitting still.”

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182 Comments
  1. IanC says:

    “We’re not quite sure why we struggled so much on the first couple of laps as we were sitting ducks,” said Brawn

    I’ll tell you why you struggled Ross. The advantage you got from your illegal tyre test is gone. You’re back to being third or fourth fastest during a race which is where you were before the illegal tyre test.

    1. furstyferret says:

      Please move on

    2. Dave C says:

      Yes the illegal test helped them a treat and gained 3 victories so far and it does seem like the playing field have evened out lately but if Mercedes and Ferrari don’t give up on a lost cause then they will suffer in the coming years as the new regulations and engines will not play a big part on current development path, Mclaren are an old hand at this when they threw “everything and the kitchen sink” at their hopeless title challenges when its a lost cause and thats the reason why they have been starting seasons slow in thw recent years, but anyway Ferrari needs to sign Vettel and Hamilton I doubt Fernando can beat Vettel whilst he’s at RBR and Hamilton on pure pace is also faster than Alonso, let Fernando join Redbull and we’ll see whos actually good then.

      1. Ezio Auditore says:

        “…and Hamilton on pure pace is also faster than Alonso”

        Wait what??!! Yea that seems right. Just like Hamilton was good at throwing away the championship in 2010, despite being in the lead after Spa. (Remember he crashed out in Monza and Singapore due incidents which were entirely his fault!). Just like he was good at crashing into Massa and being second best to Button throughout 2011. Just like he barely won the championship in 2008 after a patchy season littered with mistakes. Lewis Hamilton is a very fast driver, an upgraded version of Juan Pablo Montoya. But that’s it. Calling him better than Alonso and Vettel, in terms of overall driving ability, is at this point is: ridonculous!

        Fernando Alonso has finished higher than Hamilton in the championship ever since he joined Ferrari despite driving the third best car of the field for four straight years now!

      2. Wayne says:

        And yet the one season ALO and HAM were team mates, HAM beat him (in his rookie year as well). No amount of arguing changes that FACT.

        How did this thread turn into this? lol, motorsport fans, who’d have ‘em!

      3. Jim says:

        You’re addressing a different point to the one Dave C made. He said, “Hamilton on pure pace is also faster than Alonso.” You even quote this yourself, then argue a completely different point, which is regarding race- and season-long performance.

        And you completely misrepresent Dave C’s comment again at the the end, by saying, “Calling him better than Alonso and Vettel, in terms of overall driving ability…”

        “Pure pace” is not the same as “overall driving ability.” Dave C was very specific that he was talking about the former – again, you quoted his words yourself.

        Please try and address the points actually being made, then you won’t look so silly.

      4. Dave C says:

        As Jim corrected you there I won’t bother, but yes all I said was on lap times Hamilton is slightly faster than Alonso and I don’t believe Hamilton is better than Vettel overall… the main point I’m trying to make is why are Ferrari and Mercedes fighting a loss cause??? It’ll only hurt them and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mclaren will have a better car than either of them 2 teams next season.

    3. petes says:

      Third website I’ve looked at this morning – third time I’ve seen this original line on the tyre test. Guess some people will never get their head around this event enough to see thru’ it.

    4. Jonathan says:

      Enough!

      if you were in Mercedes you would have done the test as would Red Bull. It was not illegal – but neither was it properly legal. That is what is wrong with F1.

      Instead of blaming Mercedes for doing what they could to improve you should be yelling at the FIA. The time past so long ago when they should have found some clever people to create a set of rules that can be policed.

    5. Chris Acton says:

      Merc are most improved team this year without question.

      Oh please, the tyre test has been dealt with to death, it looked more like a downforce/gearing thing to me.

      Merc missed out on the YDT which introduced new rubber construction (remeber Silverstone?) which effectively nullified their perceived advancements. This coupled with new rules regarding the now defunct option of swapping left/right tyres means you might need to find a different tune to sing.

      All teams push the limits, it’s F1 and it’s always been this way.

    6. edwood says:

      Try asking Lewis …… Nico seemed to do okay!

      1. Paige says:

        Lewis pulled away from Nico on the first stint and finished 2 seconds ahead. He was also passed on the first stint while holding up a train of cars, while Lewis managed to put some distance on some people in the first stint. (Probably because Nico was holding Alonso up behind.)

        Mercedes just got the car wrong this weekend for both drivers. Looks like they had too much drag in the first sector with the uphill section.

      2. Seized Up says:

        Was it drag? Was it mass [fuel]? Probably possibly both.

        Maybe they’ll go better in Monza as it’s a flat as a puncture.

      3. Dave C says:

        Hmmm you’re right with the race facts there but failed to mention why Nico was on used tyres at the start, also some of Mercedes’s problems seems to have fallen to Nico this year, 3 mechanical failures, failing to reach quali 3 at Germany and team orders to stay behind a low fuel Hamilton, to finish only 2sec behind after that start is a good result for Nico, I thought he edged Hamilton in the race overall.

    7. Valentino from montreal says:

      Brawn :” were not so sure why ”

      Copy paste same sentence for the following years ; 2010 – 2011 – 2012 and 2013 …

      1. Tim says:

        I think you are being a little harsh, the team has clearly improved since they dumped Michael and replaced him with a decent driver. I should imagine Michael must be feeling a little sheepish – he was beaten by Nico and now Nico is being beaten by Lewis ;-)
        BTW, Lewis is now 8/3 up on Nico in qualy and 43 points ahead in the championship. What was your bet? I seem to recall you rather rashly offered a thousand pounds if Lewis beat Nico!

      2. Valentino from montreal says:

        The team has clearly improved because OF Michael ..

        Hamilton ain’t no wonder boy … if in your opinion you find it normal for a MB works team, with all their ressources, taking almost 4 years to become ” fairly ” competetive , well good for you … Maybe you have amnesia but Michael CHOSE not to continue anymore .. Nobody threw him out ….. Ross Brawn did not throw him out and neither Mercedes … At 44 years old , owning all the F1 records , with a net worth of almost a billion dollars , I think Schumacher has got better things to do than getting poles at Monaco and giving others half his age driving lessons at Monza ! But if he decides to come back I’d be more than thrilled !

        So make like Michael Jackson and beat it !

      3. Tim says:

        Val,
        the announcement that Lewis was joining Mercedes was definitely made before Michael had a chance to announce his retirement. What was that if it wasn’t a shove in the back for Michael?
        Michael was dumped as he wasn’t good enough anymore – them’s the facts whether you like it or not ;-)

        Seriously though, how do you think it reflects on Michael that he was comfortably beaten by Nico (324 points to 197) and now Nico is being beaten by Lewis? I would be interested to read your take on that.

      4. David C says:

        Your being a bit harsh on auld MS as he was quite auld and certainly past his prime during his comeback. Im sure he sleeps well with his 7 WDC wins and 91GP wins. Its certain LH is a great driver now that hes in his prime and best of luck to him and merc

      5. Valentino from montreal says:

        My take is that your cherry picking Tim …

        It’s a fact that Schumacher had the option of renewing his contract last summer , but he had to sign for 2 years , something he was not willing to do … In his words he was
        ” relieved ” when heard about the signing of Hamilton …

        Does that sound to you as a pissed or angry individual ?

        I’d retire too if my car broke down every freakin week-end while being in front of my teammate 80 % of the time !

        Take your ” stat points ” and guess where you can put them …

        Next year , expect Brackley to go back downhill ..
        MSC is not there anymore guiding them in the right direction …

        Have fun with Hamilton !

      6. Tim says:

        @David C
        I wouldn’t disagree with you for a second when you say MSC was past his prime when he returned. That’s clear for all, well maybe all apart from old Val, to see. As for sleeping well with his 7 WDC and 91 GP wins, I am not so sure. He had those records before his return and yet he still came back – seems like he felt he had some unfinished business (he didn’t need the money). His comeback was a spectacular failure, so the business remains unfinished ;-)

      7. Tim says:

        @Val,
        Posting rude and agressive comments doesn’t make you right, if anything it weakens your argument . To be honest, I thought you enjoyed our little chats, after all you have ‘called out’ to me 3 or 4 times so far this season, trying to involve me in posts that I had nothing to do with!
        Anyway, back to the matter of Mercedes letting Michael go.
        Here is a quote from the article James wrote at the time, you can Google it if you don’t believe me:
        ‘Schumacher, 43, was forced into retirement for the second time by Mercedes’ decision to hire Lewis Hamilton’.
        Here is another quote from the Telegraph, this time, on the same subject:
        ‘It was in many ways a sad end to the career of Formula Formula One’s most successful and controversial winner. Schumacher insisted that he had “options” to continue but the truth is that with Lewis Hamilton having arrived at Mercedes the seven-time champion was left with the option to quit or drive with a midfield team such as Williams or Sauber.’
        Would you like me to provide any more examples/reports?
        Michael was without doubt, surplus to Mercedes requirements . As I said, whether you like it or or not (not I suspect) those are the facts:-)
        Come on Val, don’t be too sad about it, after all you have still got your autographed photo. Mind you, has it ever crossed your mind whether it was really Michael that signed it, or was it just a baggage handler at Montreal airport ? Take care ;-)

      8. Valentino from montreal says:

        It was’nt a photo Tim .. It’s a frame , and yes it’s 200% authentic …. Schumacher is a real gent !
        Too bad you don’t have one yourself …

        Keep getting your F1 info from tabloid websites
        ( telegraph LOL ) and I’ll continue living with the TRUTH …

      9. Tim says:

        You are starting to sound a little bit desperate, the Telegraph is certainly not a tabloid newspaper in the UK (which is why I quoted it) and the other source I quoted was James Allen – are you saying he made it up as well? Anyway, you believe what you want, I can see that your mind is closed.
        Take care ;-)

      10. Elie says:

        Good onya Tim, ya gotta love Val for he loyalty and passion as sadly misplaced as it is.

        I will tell you exactly what Michael tried desperately to do in his return. He tried to win legitimately in equal equipment ! And as valiant an effort as it was at 43- justice was served for his/ Ferraris crimes to 2006.

      11. Elie says:

        Hi Val, Ross Brawn is not sure why..,but really doesn’t give a …,because despite not knowing why. He now has a driver who can challenge for a podium and win without knowing why!!- in fact he has 2 drivers that can that. Now that Nico is out of Michaels shadow- he has a voice and a direction in how he wants the car- both he and Lewis do- that’s the difference- he was constantly overshadowed by MS .Lewis and Nico don’t have some controlling , 44 year old near billionaire lingering at a team he did nothing but crash into the back of people for 3 years with.

        Tim was right he was “shown the door” and Ross was almost “shown the door” over that control freak that also ruined Ferraris chances in his consulting role in 2008. Hamilton taking half the buttons off the Merc steering wheel tells you how outdated MS thinking was. Good riddance he’s gone I say- if he stayed we may have seen Brawn / Mercedes fail and withdraw from f1 because of the damage to its name- now they have a fighting chance and are already exceeding this year expectations- you guessed it A real natural talent does that

    8. manz says:

      i believe illegal tyre tests fruits are still there as before illegal test even if one car was managing in top 5 the other car was certaily out of top 8….nerthless the advantage they gain from illegal test is slowly and gradually fading away

    9. Kingszito says:

      I bet you will still bring up this “illegal test” when Mercedes wins again.

      Mercedes struggles people admit that they lost their advantage, then they win they argue that they had advantage. Please move on. No team can fix their 3 years of tyre problem with 3 days of test. If it’s that simple, we won’t be talking about Mercedes and tyre problem at this time. So move on.

      I am very glad that Mercedes of 2013 felt that 3rd and 4th places are bad results. Remember that Mercedes celebrated this result at Malaysia this year, and some few races later it’s seen as a bad result, which is “Great”.

      Like Mercedes or hate them, you can’t take away the great job they have done this season, when you look back to where they were by this time last season. Once again move and celebrate your team’s victory if you are a RBR fan instead of living in the past, because I will celebrate Mercedes victory if/when they win regardless of what you think!

    10. Elie says:

      Get a grip.. It just means they did not get that big an advantage and the fast open circuits are still a struggle.. Nothing to see here move on

  2. Matt W says:

    Commendable, but mere posturing to keep the fans and sponsors interested I feel. It would take one heck of a farce to turn things around now.

    1. Chris Acton says:

      Have to agree with you buddy, love him or hate him the way Seb is driving I can’t see anyone stopping the lad this year….

      I am not a fan but my word he is driving near perfection at the moment and the Red Bull is a rocket ship in his hands so fair play.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Fortunately for everyone if there is one thing that can provide one heck of a farce it’s F1 ;)

  3. Stephen Taylor says:

    Why would they give up?There are still plenty of points to play for!

    1. Sri says:

      Yes that means more opportunities for Vettel to increase the gap :-)

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Or for Kimi to recreate what I refer to as ‘The miracle of 2007′ because he needs something like that now.

  4. Zombie says:

    Was Nico Rosberg holding himself back in Spa ? He was faster than Hamilton in the final leg yet did not push to overcome the 2 second deficit between them.

    As for Ferrari, i hope they get their heads straight and sign Sutil or Hulkenberg in place of Massa.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Whichever driver is in the second driver I maintain that I believe in my own personal opinion that in 2014 Ferrari will be far superior to anyone else. The superiority of the Prancing horse I feel may not be in engine terms but certainly the in relation to the chassis. I think Mercedes may have over focused on Energy Recovery Systems and engines. The same can be said of Renault. This technology is important but not the thing that will give you a major advantage. Any advantages of a power plant would be negated early in the season.

    2. Paige says:

      Hamilton was much quicker in the first stint- pulling away while Rosberg was holding up a train of cars- and quicker through most of the second stint. Rosberg stopped later in both pit cycles and hand fresher tires. When Rosberg got it down to 2 seconds, Hamilton responded with some quicker laps, and when it became clear that there was enough pace in the car left for Lewis, both drivers pretty much held station, as there was no chance to catch Ferrari or Red Bull.

      1. Alexander Supertramp says:

        Yep, by the end of the race the Mercs were just covering Webber. Lewis had Nico covered with the small gap. He didn’t need to push harder, Alonso was long gone.

  5. Rob Newman says:

    Nothing is impossible in F1 and anything can happen. Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus are all strong. Red Bull hasn’t dominated all the races this year and they have experienced engine failure as well.

    Actually what Alonso is thinking or rather saying is ‘I need to win three or four races in a row and have someone run over Sebastian at the start, or have technical problems’. This kind of poisonous thinking is what keeping him from winning.

    If anyone has seen his demeanour after the race before the podium, that face of jealousy says it all. He doesn’t have to be so grumpy just because the better man won.

    Drivers like Lewis and Alonso always want to undermine Vettel. Yes, Sebastian has had a phenomenal car for a long time. So did Mark Webber. So who is making the difference. The car or the driver? Let’s not forget that Webber is no slouch. Vettel is doing the best job and people need to accept that and move on.

    1. Me says:

      “Red Bull hasn’t dominated all the races this year and they have experienced engine failure as well.”

      When?

      What happened at Silverstone wasn’t engine failure.

      1. Elie says:

        Yep and if I remember right it was Hamiltons suspension that broke when his tyre blew up- costing him an almost certain victory !

      2. Richard says:

        No that’s not the case. The tyre failed because it could not withstand the forces and vagaries of the track that were applied to it. When the tyres was changed Hamilton recovered to fourth position. I agree he would have won easily enough had the tyres been durable.

    2. VSI says:

      Oh man, Mr. Newman… I suppose people will always have certain biases for and against certain drivers.

      What Alonso has said is no different to what Horner was saying during 2012 summer break – to paraphrase, “his luck has to run out after a near-perfect H1-2012″.

      And re: his “demeanour” and undermining Vettel’s accomplishments… isn’t he quoted as saying “When you are the second fastest, you deserve to be second. We just need to congratulate Sebastian and Red Bull and get better for Monza.” Yet you choose to focus on a very subjective interpretation of his “demeanour”.

      1. Rob Newman says:

        Actually I was referring to this article – http://bit.ly/18ZYktu

        It is in Portuguese but you should be able to figure it out or get Google to translate it.

      2. Kirk says:

        Yes, but the point is that Alonso always is saying that he needs the failures of the others in order to win, it’s a kind of negative thinking that could somehow affect your behavior.

      3. Tyemz says:

        At this point, needing Vettel’s failure to win is a bit of an understatement, or do you need it to be put in a different way: THE TITLE IS VETTEL’S TO LOSE?

  6. Paige says:

    I heard Brawn also said that they had good grip in the high speed corners, but they were slow in the first sector and particularly in Eau Rouge. This points to Merc designing a Spa and Monza downforce package that is fundamentally too draggy this year. Eau Rouge is not only flat out, but the fact it is so sharp uphill neutralizes any power advantage that Mercedes could have, so if you have too much drag, then cars with less drag will suffer less up the hill and have more straight-line speed. In fact, the entire straight after Eau Rogue is uphill, so this would hurt the Mercedes even more if it is in fact too draggy. Just look at the ease with which Vettel shot by Hamilton after Eau Rouge.

    I think Merc will go a little better in Monza. There are no uphill portions like Sector 1 in Spa that will make a draggy car suffer, even if the cars are flat out through more of the lap. The car should go quite well in the Lesthos, Ascari, and the Parabolica if Brawn’s comments are to be believed. Still, it’s pretty foolish to bet on someone other than Red Bull or Ferrari, given the pace they showed in Spa.

    1. Elie says:

      Very good overview Paige. We will see the Merc go a bit better at Monza. last year the merc went relatively well at Monza compared to Spa and Lewis won it in a mercedes powered Mclaren. The really big relative difference (to red bull and Ferrari) is the Mercedes is rotten on full load it’s far better in the middle/ end on fresh rubber. Toward te end if each tyre stint is struggles a little more compared to the others. I think less wing will see it fighting a bit stronger- but I can’t wait to see the new long wheelbase Lotus and how it performs- there’s talk they may find a little aero benefit as well as drivability.. But just talk right now. Hopefully we see a good 4 way fight.. But the way that Red Bull looked .. It will be a big challenge for the other three to get the set perfect to match them.

    2. Richard says:

      Yes that’s basically what happened. Mercedes had a compromise set up with too much drag as it turned out. On the hand had the race been wet or partially wet then they most likely would have had an advantage. Having said that the Red Bull car is supremely aero efficient and they were able with low drag to produce a very fast car for the conditions as they turned out.

  7. Sid says:

    James one question, I wish to know why Hamilton feels that he can beat Vettel in same equipment. I mean he has incredible confidence in his skill and God given talent but how is possible to judge others in their cars and feel that you can beat them.

    Perhaps it might be neck and neck or Vettel may actually turn out to be quicker, he’s 11-0 up on Webber who is very quick on Saturdays. It’s really intriguing really, Hamilton has repeatedly stressed that Vettel has got a great car but failed to compliment that Vettel gets the job done as well. I am an Alonso fan but I find this really intriguing.

    1. James Allen says:

      They all believe that.

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        Max Chilton?

      2. Andrew Woodruff says:

        Do you mean they all believe they can beat Vettel (implication: none of the drivers rate Vettel), or they all believe they are the best (implication: they all have equally inflated egos!)?

      3. James Allen says:

        The latter, with a slight hint of the former in a couple of cases..

    2. Rob Newman says:

      Lewis and some people believe that just because he made it to the top on Top Gear, he is the fastest. But the truth is, he did it when the conditions were best and he didn’t do it in one go like others but had to try several times till he succeeded.

      1. Aj says:

        It’s almost inevitable that Vettel will go again on Top Gear, maybe in a year or two. When he does, he probably will go even faster than Hamilton’s time, and then what will the naysayers say

      2. James Allen says:

        That he’s had more practice…

    3. KRB says:

      Failed to compliment that Vettel gets the job done? He says it right in the article!

      “… and he gets the job done, so it’s a perfect package.”

    4. Alexander Supertramp says:

      I think you’ll find that Lewis actually said that Seb gets the job done :D. other than that, most drivers on the grid believe they are the best or at least believe they could win given the right machinery :D.

    5. Elie says:

      There is no question in my mind that Lewis in the same equipment would at least rival Seb. We saw last year when the mclaren was quick he was able to beat Seb and was in the lead a few times when the Mclaren suffered failures (Singapore/ Abu Dhabi) We have seen that in a few short months he has already overtaken Nico whose been at Mercedes for 3 years.
      There is absolutely no question that Fernando and Kimi would be challenging too- just look at how competitive they are in machinery that is nowhere near as consistently quick at the last 4 Red Bulls. Definitely Sebastian has made the team his own now and is certainly a top4 driver.

  8. goferet says:

    But they have no intention of giving up
    on the chase
    ————————————————–

    I wonder, could all drivers have signed a contract with Bernie stating they won’t bring the sport into disrupte by making statements of defeatism and thus turning the fans off.

    This could explain the optimism from Lewis and Alonso because am sure every driver knows it’s way beyond a tall order to get the better of Vettel for unlike Alonso in 2012, the Red Bull is the all round best car on the grid.

    The best thing the rival teams can do is to immediately focus all their attention on 2014 development and hope that will do the trick.

    Having said that, I hope the 2014 Red Bull won’t be off the pace because if the team is to be beaten, I want it to be done on an even playing field.

    Yes, it’s never nice seeing a defending champion get beaten because his tools are blunt like what happened to Schumi in 2005.

    Anyway, the way I see it, 2014 promises to be a cracker if the recent past is anything to go by e.g. 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012.

    1. Julian says:

      ie each of those years have been heartbreaking near misses for Ferrari!

      1. justafan says:

        More near misses for Ferrari:

        1997

        1998

        1999

        Always lost the title in the last race of the season.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        What about 2006?

      3. David C says:

        They won in 1999!! MS lost but Ferrari won

    2. dimitris says:

      Car and driver are a package. We should not understimate the driver’s contribution to the performance of the car. Red Bull reaches a very high level of performance in the hands of Vettel. Lets consider this for a moment: Vettel is out of F1 and Webber is no 1 at Red Bull. Would Red Bull be this year’s better all-around car? No, Ferrari and Alonso would get the honours. How would anybody know that the car has more potential than its best driver achieves? Computer simulations can only give an approximate level of performance. Remember, we are talking about tenths or even hundreths of a second, and racing and driving skills of drivers that cannot be quantified.
      Fernardo and Vettel are both out and Massa-Webber are no 1 at their respective teams. Then Mercedes and Hamilton would be the best package, and both Ferrari and Red Bull would be considered slow, needing massive development. Massa and Webber will demand more performance out of their cars and put the blame on the engineers, etc., etc.

      1. goferet says:

        @ dimitris

        But who is to say Massa and Webber wouldn’t do the job.

        You know most number 2 drivers are nothing but confidence athletes whose self belief shoots through the roof once they feel the whole team is behind them.

        We have seen this with Massa in 2008 and Eddie Irvine in 1999 when Schumi got injured.

      2. Bartholomew says:

        I like him, but frankly Massa has had an unbelievable amount of encouragement from Alonso and the team over the last few years. He just hasn’t been good enough since 2010 to be at a top team, never mind match Webber.

      3. Thompson says:

        You know what I think the RB would be dominate in MW hands if Vettle was not around – Webber as had dominant weekends but more and more he now suffers from inexplicable gremlins.

        It all started a couple of seasons ago after the “not bad for a no.2 driver….” RB Never forgave him for that

      4. SteveS says:

        Webbo has been having bad starts since before Vettel joined him at Red Bull. In fact Webbo has been having bad starts since before he himself joined Red Bull.

      5. Tim says:

        Good point. Same as it ever was. Schumacher Ferarri. Senna McLaren. Stewart Tyrell. Clark Lotus. And Fangio Whomever.

    3. SteveS says:

      “unlike Alonso in 2012, the Red Bull is the all round best car on the grid.”

      It’s curious how whichever car Vettel drives is consistently “the all round best car on the grid”, year after year after year. Even the Torro Rosso’s he drove were, mysteriously enough, much better when he drove them and then reverted to being rubbish again when he left. Purely by coincidence, of course.

      1. goferet says:

        @ SteveS

        Oh but didn’t you know the 2008 Torro Rosso was a Newey car till the other teams complained and thus leading to the separate teams we have now.

        Yes the Torro Rosso that won Monza wasn’t a slow car as shown by the fact that Sebi’s teammate qualified 4th

      2. David C says:

        It was a lot slower than anything LH has ever driven, that was a great race in a slow car by a young driver taking advantage of difficult conditions to even up the playing field, give credit where it’s due!

    4. SteveS says:

      “I hope the 2014 Red Bull won’t be off the pace because if the team is to be beaten, I want it to be done on an even playing field.”

      But how will you know the playing field is even? How do you know the playing field is not even this year? Or that it was not even last year? Basically what it comes down to is that if Vettel wins the WDC in 2014, you’ll say he had “the best car on the grid” and that the playing field was not level. There is no possible scenario in which SV can win the WDC and his detractors admit his car was equal (or inferior) to the rest.

      1. goferet says:

        @ SteveS

        How I will know the playing field is even is when Red Bull isn’t consistently making up the top 2 grid positions in qualifying plus other teams can match it in race pace.

        Currently only Mercedes can match the Red Bull in qualifying but not in the race whereas Lotus and Ferrari are slightly slower than Red Bull in the race but can’t match them in qualifying.

    5. David C says:

      I don’t know, Lotus had the best car in Australia and Germany, Ferrari in China and Spain and Merc in Monaco and Hungry. What im trying to say is that the other teams have a chance especially with SVs bad luck with mechanical failures.
      Also and i wouldn’t wish this on any driver but what if SV had an accident and missed a couple of races with an injury such as Schumacher 1999, in that case it would be good to keep in there.
      Finally a race win has its own worth and im and surly its worth keeping going to get a few wins.

      1. goferet says:

        @ David C

        No, I don’t agree.

        From the start of the season Red Bull have been saying the 2013 tyres have been keeping them in check and so in those races before Hungary, the team has been held back by the tyres.

        Lotus wasn’t really fastest in Australia, they were just the easiest on their tyres and made one less stop.

        In Germany, the hot conditions played in their favour, again the tyres.

        The same reason can be applied to Ferrari’s wins in Spain and China but now that the tyres are more durable, this makes it difficult for the competition.

        Mercedes won at street circuits were it’s very hard to overtake but if you recall in Hungary once Vettel had clear air, he was so much faster than Lewis.

        As for Vettel getting an accident, I stopped having these day dreams ever since Brazil 2012 when Vettel was facing the wrong way on the first lap but still managed to continue.

      2. David C says:

        Why would you dream of someone getting seriously injured? That’s a bit odd man, it’s only a sport!

  9. Olivier says:

    The Gold medal seems to be 4ettel’s. Silver and Bronze are all to play for.

    All I am rooting for this year is a podium for Button and a win for Webber. That should put him level with Alan Jones?

    1. Tim says:

      That should put him level with Alan Jones..

      Apart from the WDC I guess that would make them equal :-)

    2. Bartholomew says:

      Jones won 12 races, Webber 9.

  10. Peter says:

    I am really interested to see at what point will these two guys Alonso and Hamilton start to respect Vettel`s driving performance and success. After the fourth title maybe or if/when Vettel has won in a non-Newey car?

  11. Richard says:

    This has nothing to do with this topic, but I have heard that the 2014 Merc engine has at least a 100 BHP performance advantage over the Ferrari and Renault engines, is this true or a bunch of nonsense?

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Surely Renault and Ferrari would not be so naive as to let Mercedes get such a power advantage and I believe it is a myth. If Mercedes really do have that advantage then the stewards would probably be busy as so many of the cars surely wouldn’t meet the 107% time for Q1 at the first race.

    2. RodgerT says:

      Until the cars hit the track with the new engines installed its nonsense.

      The only definitive thing that can be said is Mercedes are producing 100 BHP than they thought they would. They, nor anybody else knows how each engine compares to the others.

    3. Tim says:

      Nonsense. How would/could the teams know what output their rivals engines have?

    4. Jonathan says:

      I think you will find that it was Pirelli stating that the 2014 powerplants were producing 100bhp more than they had been told to expect. It was not a specific comment about the Merc unit but a general statement to back up their request to increase rear tyre size to cope with the power delivery.

      1. Stephen Taylor says:

        What had they been told to expect?

      2. KRB says:

        Have a question for JA about the ERS in 2014.

        The cars can use 4MJ of energy from the ERS each lap. Max 2MJ can be stored each lap from the MGU-Kinetic, and unlimited from the MGU-Heat.

        How much energy can be stored in the ERS at any one time though? As with the present KERS, when the cars pass the start-finish line, their KERS allotment is filled instantly, with the energy stored in that previous lap.

        So is there an ultimate max energy storage for the ERS unit? Say 8MJ and any energy generated beyond that wouldn’t be stored?

      3. James Allen says:

        I’ll have to get back to you on that one!

      4. James Allen says:

        Here is your answer, courtesy of one of the engineers who came up with the 2014 ERS rules:

        The answer to the question is relatively straightforward. Yes, the total
        energy storage capacity of the ERS will be a multiple of 4Mj, probably more
        then 8Mj. The system will be set up so that it never becomes completely full
        to avoid overcharging and recovery from the MGU will likely be stopped by
        the 2Mj per lap limit anyway.

        This is the same with the smaller KERS energy stores in use currently and is
        a margin to allow the cells that make up the battery to be rapidly charged
        and discharged every lap. You can imagine that if there was no ‘spare’
        capacity and you completely filled and drained the cells each time they
        would have a very short life in service. It’s analogous to metal fatigue in
        a spring that would fail more quickly going from fully compressed to fully
        extended than if just worked part way through it’s range. Even so the cells
        are still quite deeply charged and discharged in use compared to an
        automotive cell pack for example, such that their life is only a few
        thousand Kms. For 2014 there is a limit of 5 packs a season so that will
        provide an additional constraint.

        Also, as your reader points out, if you had no spare capacity you would
        constantly be finding the ERS completely full or empty depending on where
        you were when you left the pits, which would result in steps in recovery or
        release. A nightmare for the driver!

        Hence the battery capacity is larger and the engineers talk in terms of
        state of charge and state of store, where charge is the percentage of the
        4Mj allowed and store the overall accessible energy in the battery. The same
        terms are used in the energy flow diagram in the Technical Regulations
        Appendix 3.

        To put some numbers to this based on the existing KERS, the cell energy
        density is somewhere around 50Wh/kg (watt-hours-per-Kilogram), so with
        roughly 10Kg of cells you have about three times the 0.4Mj allowable per
        lap. The power density was actually more important in the initial design of
        the cell packs for KERS though. Regulations limit the mass of the cells
        between 20Kg and 25Kg in 2014 so the emphasis will probably shift again.

      5. KRB says:

        Wow, thanks go to you and your engineer contact for the quick reply! Great stuff.

  12. Sebee says:

    Red Bull does all the talking on the track!

    Come on, at this point we’re about to live through a 4th WDC for RBR, I say they have to get to 6 minimum, so we can at least say we’ve lived through the era of domination likes of which were never seen before in F1.

    1. Azza says:

      6 WDC in a row for an era of domination!
      Oh sebee 4 will be enough, wouldn’t want to see people turning off F1 in record numbers like in early 2000′s.
      I’m still hoping for a miracle from the likes of Mr Hammy, Mr Eyebrows or Mr Icecream!!

  13. K says:

    They should listen to the Aerosmith song called “Dream On”.

    1. Sebee says:

      Who sings Life’s what you make it? :-)

      1. KRB says:

        Talk Talk … was gonna say that No Doubt covered it later, but that was TT’s other big song, It’s My Life.

    2. Tim says:

      Maybe they prefer Billy Ocean – When the going gets tough ;-)

    3. Rob Newman says:

      Or to Justin Timberlake … Cry me a river …

  14. shri says:

    - WDC and Constructors championships is almost 2 full race points ahead. And even likely over.
    - RB needs to shoot themselves in the foot in multiple races to give Ferrari or Merc any chance.
    - Given both Merc and Ferrari are currently slower and RB has the ability to keep doing development, there is little possibility for them to overtake RB in points.

    1. Tim says:

      What was the lead that Lewis had in 2007 going into the last 2 races – 17 points, when a race win was worth 10?
      There is many a slip twixt cup and lip ;-)

      1. Rockie says:

        Unfortunately when it comes to the business end of the season Vettel is the man you want driving your car, and right now he’s ahead.

      2. Tim says:

        I don’t disagree, the chances of anyone catching SV are slim. I was just making the point that far greater deficits have been overcome in the past, and there was a fair bit of ‘chicken counting’ taking place.

      3. Elie says:

        The other critical thing is strategy- Red Bull have been very strong in the tough decisions in the close fights at the pointy end of the season. Keeping Sebastian out at Brazil with damage in his car when I reckon many of the top teams may have bought their driver in. They have great balance in team and driver right now that’s what’s making them unstoppable – not just great driving.

  15. KJ says:

    Nice of Fernando to help Lewis down the steps or is it Lewis steadying Fernando to negotiate those tricky steps. In any case, even with that sort of mutual help, they would find it almost impossible to catch Vettel

  16. Seized Up says:

    Great title picture for the article.

    Blind leading the blind on how to reign in SV? Need to merge skills and pool resources. LH for quali + FA for race. I think Alonis Hamando could win everything!

    1. Tim says:

      Only if they were driving the Ferred Merbull
      :-)

  17. NoMU says:

    Bribe the mechanics at Red Bull…sugar in the petrol tank lads!

    1. All revved-up says:

      LOL!

      Return of the mysterious alternator failures, KERs failures, clutch failures . . . . etc

  18. Quade says:

    It does seem quite unlikely, but nothing is impossible, bigger gaps have been breached in F1.

    If it does happen, it will make the season an epic one to be remembered and savoured.

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      +1

      “There is no future…” (Sarah Connor in Terminator).

      It’s what you do.

      Mercedes fight for P2 in WCC is doing pretty well.

  19. AlexD says:

    I really do not think ferrari or mercedes have any sort of clue how tobeat red bull consistently. Did you notice that after the summer break redbull comes back much-much strongre and typically dominates the rest of the season? I think they have already won it and can focus on 2014.

    Looks like ferrari will not make radical changes….they probablythink about slowly developing and maybe trying to win in 2-4 years from now when they have fry, allison and maybe someone else getting the answer. Or maybe Newey is gone by then?

  20. AMSG says:

    Love that picture. Lewis and Fernando holding hands. Who would have though that possible…

  21. JB says:

    last year, Mclaren was the fastest car but failed because they had issues.
    This year, Mercedes is clearly the fastest car on the field. But they have to make the tyre last to win a race.

    Red Bull does not have the advantage like the way they did back in 2010 and 2011 when they could exploit the blown exhaust and flex front wings.

    Red bull is only able to stay ahead thanks to a great team. One that provided the fastest pitstop, all round reliability, well thought strategy and of course Sebastian Vettel.

    Alonso has definitely ran out of steam. His 2012 campaign cost him too much I guess.
    Raikkonen is on form but he is damned by a weak car.
    Vettel has the most complete package. He is motivated as ever and the whole team is working in harmony. Looks like the Msian outburst did not cause that much damage after all.

    1. KRB says:

      Mercedes fastest?! Were you watching Sunday?! They’re 0.5s off of Red Bull per lap.

      Fastest over one lap, yes (and not at all tracks; they wouldn’t have scored pole at Spa if it was dry).

      But fastest race car is the RB9, there’s simply no doubt. The car is not as deadly as 2011, but it’s better than 2010 b/c of its improved reliability.

      1. dimitris says:

        Well, both Lewis and Nico were ahead of the faster Red Bull of Webber!

      2. Kingszito says:

        “Well, both Lewis and Nico were ahead of the faster Red Bull of Webber!”

        Yes! Because of a faulty start for Webber.. yet again!

      3. Tyemz says:

        When using Webber’s name to show the relative pace of the Redbull, maybe we should also include all the issues he’s had this season while sitting next to SV on the grid. for example you could say, “well both Nico and Lewis were ahead of 3-wheel Webber or KERsless Webber or failed-clutch Webber or ECU-bogged Webber or Engine-shut down Webber” or just any Webber RB choose to present to us on any given race day and then you would realize how hollow your comments ring immediately after you ‘ve posted them
        It amazes me how naïve SV fans could be to pretend that Webber’s form since multi 2-1 is an indication of how slow he’s been.

      4. KRB says:

        So I guess we should use Button as the reference for the real speed of the 2012 McLaren?

        Button was lapped in Canada, while his teammate was winning. Nowhere in Monaco or Valencia. Started 10th in Spain, finished 9th, while his teammate went 24th to 8th.

        I guess he would’ve had 5 poles if Hamilton wasn’t in the other McLaren: AUS, MAL, BEL, ITA, BRA.

        It’s a silly thing to say. Button and Webber are not elite drivers. Let’s compare how elite drivers do in their respective cars.

      5. SteveS says:

        If the RB9 is better than the RB6, shouldn’t Webber be winning MORE races then he did in 2010 rather than fewer? Shouldn’t he (and/or Vettel) be on pole in every race?

      6. KRB says:

        RBR, after 11 races in:

        2010 – 272 pts
        2012 – 312 pts

        So yeah, RB9′s better.

        Poles do not matter like in the past. What matters is race pace. And the RB9 is clearly the fastest race car in 2013.

        Truly, I think better avenues of argument are open to those who claim the moon landings were filmed in a California film set, than trying to argue that RBR hasn’t had the best car over any of the last four seasons.

        This is all very Copernicus-versus-the-church stuff.

      7. Bartholomew says:

        @KRB – That’s related to better reliability and consistentcy from the drivers (since 2010) rather than outright speed. The RB9 had the fastest race pace in Malaysia, Bahrain, Canada and Belgium. More weekends of being the fastest than any other team, but not by a long way, at all.

  22. Sufyaan Patel says:

    It’ll take either a few DNF’s/low scoring point races, for Alonso or Hamilton (or even Kimi) to have a shout at the WDC. And even then, Vettel can always claw back any loss or deficit as he performs well under pressure (most of the time). Especially after setbacks.

    Would like to see Kimi get in the mix. Will all depend on how well this new package works at the remaining races. I feel they have wasted a lot of time with this ‘super’ DRS device. A lot of crucial setup time missed.

    Its a long way to go, anything can happen but many fellow fans feel that Seb is more or less on his way to a 4th WDC.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Gary Anderson said that lotus should throw that super DRS in the skip.

      1. Tim says:

        If Gary Anderson says that, they should definitely keep it :-)
        Here is a quote from him pre-season on the McLaren:
        ‘McLaren finished last year with the fastest car and the new MP4-28 looks like a good improvement on that’.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        Well Gary isn’t psychic. I’d say he has been on the money with his predictions mostly.

      3. Tim says:

        Who said anything about him being psychic.
        I was just pulling your leg that if GA says it’s good, then probably the opposite is true. GA and his technical analysis is a bit of hobby horse for me. He rocks up at the pre-season launches, has a quick look at the cars and immediately decides what they have done right, wrong and areas for improvement. He only ever worked for a midfield team and it irks me ,somewhat, that he dismisses the work of the entire R&D team of, say, Ferrari or McLaren etc having only briefly glanced at their master piece of engineering.
        Anyway, that’s only my opinion and I am sure others think he is great :-)

  23. KRB says:

    JA, the FIA don’t weigh the cars before the race, do they? I mean, before going to the grid, with full tanks.

    Back in the days of refueling, the cars were weighed in parc ferme with their first stint fuel onboard, and from those weights, we could tell who’d be stopping first, etc.

    It would be interesting to know what the gap in fuel weight is between the Renault-powered cars and the others.

    As for Ferrari and Mercedes, I think it’s just talk. They’ll hopefully be able to mix it up with RBR at some tracks, and score some wins, but neither will be able to win consistently to challenge for either championship.

    1. James Allen says:

      No they don’t. Only after the race

      1. KRB says:

        Well, they should start doing it. It would raise immediate flags if teammates were on significantly different fuel levels.

        The FIA should also make public the engine use of every competitor. When an engine has been used, the current mileage racked up on each engine, etc. They could delay release of that updated information until the Friday of the next GP weekend.

      2. Me says:

        “Well, they should start doing it.”

        Why?

      3. KRB says:

        So we’d get to see what fuel each driver is starting on. If anyone was vastly different from their teammate, that would raise flags.

        Would seem to me that it’s a big weight factor for the cars. I’m surprised they don’t weigh the cars before they leave for the grid.

  24. Random 79 says:

    That’s got to be one of the best photos you’ve chosen so far…

    Hamilton: Vettel beat me again.
    Alonso: I know.
    Hamilton: But he was so fast…
    Alonso: I know.
    Hamilton: But even in the straight bits…
    Alonso: I know.
    Hamilton: He overtook me.
    Alonso: I know.

    Hamilton: Would you hold my hand?
    Alonso: Sigh. There there, we’ll get him next time…

    1. Mark says:

      Best post I have seen for ages!

    2. racing_dynamics says:

      +100 LOLOLOL…good one…best laughter in the year… was so real..

    3. bad_whippet says:

      lol, I like this ^

      I’m amazed no one else has mentioned the photograph that accompanies this article.

      That’s surely one of the best photos of Lewis and Alonso *ever*. Ever.

      LH: on the 1st lap as well..
      FA: love you
      LH: love you too man

      1. Random 79 says:

        Yes they’ve certainly moved on from their McLaren days.

        All the best romances start in difficult circumstances :)

    4. Siobhan says:

      That is fantastic.. Love this alot. had to share it with Alonso fans I know.. thank you for the laugh

  25. bk201 says:

    I reckon that privately both Ferrari and Mercedes are on the cusp of giving up on 2013. Still, if they can somehow fool Red Bull in to thinking otherwise that might stop Red Bull focussing on 2014 as much as they might otherwise do.

    PS. Love the photo! It looks like Alonso and Hamilton are going to walk to the podium, hand-in-hand! Bizarre!

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Yes that picture is cringeworthy.

  26. bk201 says:

    I should have also added that if Vettel wins in Monza, forget it. It’s all but over now but another 25 points for Vettel and 2013 is done and dusted. The rest of the season will therefore be something of a lame duck. What a waste.

    1. Random 79 says:

      They should give Vettel’s RB9 to Ricciardo so he can get a bit more experience while Vettel gets Ricciardo’s STR8 to see if he can repeat his 2008 win.

  27. JustGuessing says:

    My two bits:

    Everyone knows the title is Vettel’s.

    But is Vettel 4 WDC’s better than Alonso, Hamilton or Kimi?

    I simply cannot believe that’s the case.

    ‘spose that’s what’s fascinating and infuriating about F1.

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      Vettel has been establishing himself as a great, but he will have to answer that question at some point. He will have to partner one of those guys. Wouldn’t mind having Vettel with Mercedes in 2 years..

    2. Me says:

      “But is Vettel 4 WDC’s better than Alonso, Hamilton or Kimi?”

      Of course it is, 4 is greater than 2.
      (Olivelawn)

    3. Bartholomew says:

      “But is Vettel 4 WDC’s better than Alonso, Hamilton or Kimi?”

      Yes. Kimi bottled his title defense, sadly, and Massa almost won it. Alonso crashed in Fuji to blow the 2007 title, and Hamilton has been in competitive cars for his whole career, except for the first half of 2009. Vettel’s been like his namesake Loeb.

    4. K says:

      Hamilton barely won his title against Massa at the last corner in cars that were most of the time equal and on some tracks the Mclaren or Ferrari was faster and the Ferrari had worse reliability and pit stops.

      So Hamilton’s title isn’t that impressive. Neither was the way he threw away an easy title in 2007.

      Alonso won 2 titles with what is regarded to be an illegal car hence the damper being forbidden halfway 2006 (which was also used in 2005) and after that, he didn’t impress as much as before.

      1. KRB says:

        Can people really think like this about F1???

      2. Bartholomew says:

        It seems so unfortunately. Then again, with the number of people who do the same thing, but against anything Vettel does, it isn’t that surprising.

      3. KRB says:

        Hmm, guess some Nietzsche is in order:

        “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”

        When you say Hamilton’s been in competitive cars his whole career, I’m assuming you don’t mean title-challenging cars, but rather race-winning cars. He had cars that gave him a legitimate shot at the title in only his first two years, and maybe 2010.

        Even 2008 was a close-run thing, and only the 4th time in the last 30 seasons that the DWC didn’t come from the WCC team (HAM 08, HAK 99, MSC 94, PRO 86).

        2009 was a write-off season, 2011 a RB walkover, and 2012 the car just wasn’t reliable or consistent enough to mount a title challenge. 2010 he was only close b/c of the RB’s lacking reliability, their Turkey clash, etc.

      4. Bartholomew says:

        Well, K isn’t right to say Hamilton’s title wasn’t impressive. But of course the non-WCC stat is skewed by how weak Kovalainen was for Mclaren in comparison to Raikkonen or Massa.

        Nevertheless, he was seemingly just responding to the idea that Vettel’s possible fourth consecutive title isn’t so impressive, though it has been delivered in 5 years. LH has obviously been good, but at the same time, Alonso has been ahead of him in the last three years, in hardly superior machinery.

      5. Tim says:

        So Hamilton’s title isn’t that impressive. Neither was the way he threw away an easy title in 2007….
        I realise nothing I say is going to change your mind, but do you really think LH’s achievement in 2007 can so easily be dismissed? Take a moment to consider his circumstances – he was in his rookie season, partnered with the formidable FA, and if that wasn’t enough he had all the spygate business going on around him as well. Yet despite those, some what daunting, circumstances he still only lost by 1 point. To be fair, had the team not made such a flat footed strategy call in China it would have all been done and dusted. Woulda shoulda coulda counts for nothing I know, but credit where it is due, please.

  28. JohnBt says:

    What a picture of Alonso and Lewis, it feels like they’re holding hands on a date. Good one, lol.

    My thoughts on Spa race:
    Vettel car was set up for a dry race, as he’s points ahead he can gamble and it paid off very well.
    Alonso was on maybe 70% dry and 30% wet set up?
    Lewis targeted for a wet race hence he wasn’t able to catch up.

    1. Stephen Taylor says:

      Judging Alonso practice times I think he used a full dry set up. as did Lewis I suspect.

  29. Sarvar says:

    James,

    Do you think RBR gave up their passive DRS they experimented at the last pre-season test in Barca?

    Looks like they are keeping it for Singapore as they did it last year.

  30. David Pullen says:

    What will be more interesting for me is when Sebastian settles the championship early, will he move over and let Mark take a win before bowing out, although I doubt Mark will be able to complete that against Ferrari and Mercedes, even with the allegedly best car!

    1. All revved-up says:

      He did exactly that in Brazil 2011. Vettel’s car had a “gearbox issue” slowed down, allowed Webber to overtake, and miraculously sped up and followed Mark to the chequered flag. I don’t think this will happen in 2013.

      The more interesting question is whether RB will replace Webber with Ricciardo before the end of the season.

      1. Mark says:

        Ricciardo’s hips are too wide, so probably not.

  31. John says:

    Its comes down what its always come down to, best team. RB have the best driver/engineer/management/designer package. They arrive on friday and from then on more often than the others get it right. They develop the car in the right direction throughout the season.

    Their biggest weakness was tyres, now that Pirelli have gone down the more conservative route which they seem to do in the second half of every season, it plays right into their hands.

    I wonder if they should bring Riccardo in early and move MW on. Seems to be little gained by him staying.

  32. James Clayton says:

    I wonder…. it was relatively cold wasn’t it in Spa? I wonder if the work Merc have done in preserving the tryes has prevented them making the most out of them when the conditions are cold (Ross Brawn did mention that may be a factor in an interview at one of the practice sessions I believe…)

    Whatever it is, it seems to be that at any race weekend it’s either Merc *or* Ferrari who can sustain a challenge to Red Bull. For either Hamilton or Alonso to win, it needs BOTH teams to be able to mount a challenge at ALL the remaining races (and either some help from their team mates or a couple of DNFs for Vettel…)

  33. Spyros says:

    Nevermind Ferrari and Mercedes: I wonder if RBR are confident enough of their lead, to start moving THEIR resources to 2014!

  34. Ashboy says:

    I think Merc would be happy with second this year, it would prove to the head men that all there efforts where coming good. They will put more and more resources over to the 2014 car and just try and keep 2013 ahead of Ferrari and the rest. This will give them a good result this year and a good base for next.

    As for Ferrari they want second place to show they havnt sliped to far back. Neither will try and catch Red Bull but they want to beat each other.

  35. Bellof says:

    this is Bernie and his marketeers talking now. There a still 9 races to go and a million or so tickets to be sold…Of course they are not giving up haha ! Can anyone imagine Merc and Ferrari saying the opposite ? In normal circumstances the cat is in the bag for Seb. And though I am a Ferrari for 30 years now, I think he deserves it fully and completely. Seb and RB are a class act.

    1. All revved-up says:

      Not sure I get your thinking. It’s a mark of world class sportsmen that they seldom give up.

      Us fans might think, and rightly so based on track record, that Vettel’s chances of winning is very very good; but to then conclude that Ferrari have given-up? That doesn’t necessarily follow.

      It’s like saying – if Federer leads Nadal by 2 sets to love, Federer has a very good chance of winning the match. But will Nadal give up? Of course not. He will keep fighting till the end. That’s how most world class sportsmen are.

  36. Thompson says:

    I think anyone who feels these guys should give up need to find a new sport to follow.
    Outside of RB There are potentially 6 drivers capable of a win on a given day FA, LH, KM, NR, RG even MW Outside contenders diResta and Sutil each in capable cars able to take advantage of any mishaps or get in the way.

    Hamilton, 2007, Webbers 2010- I Would not give up at this stage of the season.the thought would not even cross
    my mind

  37. Ryan M says:

    I still stand by what I have been saying for the last 3 and a half years, all the top four drivers (Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, & Raikkonen), could have done what Vettel has done with the equipment he has had at his disposal. The problem is that Vettel and Webber are not comparable, because put simply, Webber is simply not as good as the drivers mentioned above. I’d rate Webber with the Jenson Button, or Nico Rosberg’s of this world, and anyone who has watched formula 1 for some time would agree with me.

    1. All revved-up says:

      You are probably right. But what exactly is the point being argued?

      If we take this argument far enough one could even say that there’s probably a Chinese kid of the billion people there, that if given the chance and the equipment Hamilton had, would have beaten Hamilton.

      It’s just banter between Hamilton fans vs Alonso fans vs Vettel fans. History would just record that Vettel won 4 WDCs.

      Is Senna a lesser driver than Schumacher just because he didn’t win 7 WDCs? Is Nelson Piquet with 3 WDCs better than Hakkinen with 2? The same observation could be made that had Senna been in a better F1 car earlier in his career, he could have won more WDCs. Likewise had Hakkinen been in the Ferrari, and Schumacher in the McLaren, the WDCs would look very different. It’s just the nature of F1, that it’s not just man vs man – its also machine vs machine and team vs team.

    2. SteveS says:

      And I still say you are wrong. The equipment Vettel has had at his disposal is at his disposal in no small part because of Vettel himself. Among his other attributes, he’s the most technical driver on the grid and works the longest hours with his engineers. To whatever extent his car is “the best”, Vettel himself plays an important role in making it so.

      “I’d rate Webber with the Jenson Button, or Nico Rosberg’s of this world”

      I’d agree with you. But I’d also notice that Hamilton is a lot closer to Rosberg in results than Vettel is to Webber.

      1. Andrew Woodruff says:

        Agree with all that.

        The other thing people forget about Vettel is that he is effectively Schumacher’s apprentice. All the traits you mention – hardest worker, most technical, working with the team to perfect the car – these are all the things which kept Schuey out front for so long at Benneton and Ferrari. They never drove for the same team in F1, but they karted and did year after year of that indoor race of champions competition together. The Grandmaster passed on everything he knew to his younger countryman, I’m sure mainly because Schumacher believed he was worthy and would apply himself properly (unlike, for example, Massa at Ferrari).

  38. All revved-up says:

    Ferrari has improved. Mercedes has improved. Red Bull are not sitting still. All in front of our very eyes. In the space of 6 months.

    To all F1 engineers, development, testing and other team members – I salute you all.

    We might talk a bit too much about drivers. But let’s acknowledge the people behind these cutting edge cars.

  39. SteveS says:

    A bit of a non story really. Ferrari and Mercedes refuse to “give up” with eight races left in the season? Hardly a surprise. We’ve seen bigger leads overturned in the not too distant past.

    Now if Vettel extends his lead again at Monza, we may well some some of their competitors throw in the towel.

  40. Stephen Taylor says:

    F1 should take a sabbatical next year.

  41. Stephen Taylor says:

    James if you were the boss of Ferrari would you see as a benefit? My view is that he needs replacing with younger blood , Hulkenberg being the one I would hire. Kimi is not the answer in fact he probably wouldn’t do much better than Massa against Mr Alonso.

  42. Stephen Taylor says:

    oops I meant keeping Massa as a benefit.

  43. Phenom says:

    Sorry to see the JA:F1 comments section degenerating a little of late. I generally just CTRL+F and enter ALLEN to read some informed comments.

  44. Richard says:

    There’s no doubt that fundamentally the Red Bull car is supreme, and Vettel knows how to take advantage of that. Not only is the car supreme I would say the team is as well both in terms of design and their ability to analyse the situation in adavnce and respond to challenges of each particular circuit. Until another team can rise above this in all areas then Sebastion Vettel is set to continue to win championships.

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