F1 World Champion 2014
Lewis Hamilton
Strike one to Lewis Hamilton as in-house Mercedes battle hots up
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Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Mar 2014   |  2:58 pm GMT  |  334 comments

[Updated] “Strike one to Lewis,” said Hamilton’s former team mate Jenson Button, after the Malaysian Grand Prix, where the Briton beat his current team mate Nico Rosberg by almost 20 seconds.

It was an important psychological blow for Hamilton, but Rosberg seemed calm, knowing that he had extended his lead in the world championship.

“I can’t remember the last time in my career I had a gap like that, with a team mate, in the same car,” said Hamilton to a small group of reporters after the race. According to some quotes in the British newspapers, Hamilton claims he “blew him away”, meaning Rosberg.

In fact his quote was “I was pulling away” – it was misquoted from an audio recording which has been heard by this website.

“Lewis was out of my reach,” admitted Rosberg after the race. “I was just trying to chase him but he was a bit too quick today. It was a bit difficult out there because the track was really poor, it seemed, sliding so much, and just struggling with the rear tyres especially. That made it a bit difficult.”


There is no question that the in-house battle between the two old friends, Hamilton and Rosberg, is going to provide great entertainment and interest this season, with both knowing that they have a car capable of making them world champion, but only one of them able to take it.

For all Rosberg’s pace in practice and in qualifying, Hamilton has taken pole twice this season when it’s mattered; the Malaysia one being particularly impressive given the wet conditions. Rosberg had the edge on intermediate tyres early in the session, Hamilton was faster on full wets in the deluge.

Hamilton had a significant edge in the race and was able to enhance his reputation for managing these complex new cars with ERS and fuel management to be considered as well as tyre management.

But it was noticeable that Rosberg’s handling issues, which had not shown up in practice and appeared from nowhere in the race were a concern for the team, taking a little of the shine off the first Mercedes 1-2 of the modern era.

In the back-stabby world of F1 paddock gossip, senior figures in rival teams are convinced that Mercedes would like the German (Rosberg) to win the championship, in the same way as the received wisdom in 2009/10 was that Red Bull’s bosses wanted their own graduate Vettel to be champion rather than the “outsider” driver Mark Webber.

There is no sense of that at close quarters from Mercedes. They know Hamilton is the greater talent, which is why he is paid the big bucks, but they also have huge respect for Rosberg and see no limit to what he can achieve. It doesn’t feel pre-ordained from a close study of the operation.

Next stop Bahrain: Hamilton has never had pole or a win there, but has scored podiums. Rosberg was on pole last year and it is a track which suits his style, so the competition between them will be intense once more.

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334 Comments
  1. Sebee says:

    I think Lewis needs to be humble and not declare he “blew Nico away”. German national status of the team, German wallet that pays the bills and the German team members may root for Nico. There is no need for Lewis to gloat before picking up the trophy end of the season. Keeping head down and humble statements and letting driving do the talking is the best way to ensure factions within the team don’t go against him. Win the battle, not just a GP. Truth is standings don’t indicate any blowing away to be honest.

    My 2 cents.

    P.S. By all means Lewis should go home, step into the “Mirror Room” and yell at the top of your lungs that you’re the man. But do it in the privacy of the Mirror Room.

    1. Kingszito says:

      Please read the story again. I don’t know if you were commenting on the initial post or the updated one. Below is what Lewis said as can be testified by James (this site) according to the audio recording heard.

      In fact his quote was “I was pulling away” – it was misquoted from an audio recording which has been heard by this website.

      1. Sebee says:

        Initial, just saw the update.

        I guess Lewis has haters in UK media too. I was sure this came from Spain, but it was good old homegrown factual reporting.

      2. JackL says:

        Even if he wasnt misquoted, I dont see anything wrong with it. Its psychological warfare, kind of a “you’re not catching me no matter what you do boy, so sit down, shut up, and learn your place” message.
        If he can comprehensively beat his teammate and bring him to heel (so to speak) before the Bulls get their act together, then he’ll have one less car to worry about and possibly even a rear gunner. The battle will be even more intriguing in Bahrain.

        Though the spat between Vettel and Rosberg seems even more intriguing.

      3. C63 says:

        Though the spat between Vettel and Rosberg seems even more intriguing…
        What spat is that? Have I missed something ?

      4. Sebee says:

        Ze Germans are fighting each other? There is a spat? First I hear of it. Let’s hear the juicy details!

      5. JackL says:

        Sebee/C63
        It started in qualifying and continued until after the race.

        http://www.pitpass.com/51218/RosbergVettel-bickering-continues

      6. Tealeaf says:

        Well it must be tough for Rosberg first being blown away by his team mate and also almost being beaten by Vettel in a car that’s 1.5sec slower, tough weekend for Nico, I’m sure he can do something at Bahrain he always does, but then so does Seb :S

    2. Phil says:

      Read the article – he was misquoted – he said he was “pulling away”.

      1. Bobster says:

        I’m wondering how reporters working for British papers managed to misconstrue “I was pulling away” as “I blew him away”. Sounds like one piece of rubbish reporting followed by some quick copy and paste “reporting”.

      2. NickH says:

        There are many rubbish tabloids in the UK that make up stories and mis-quote in order to try and create stories out of nothing

    3. FerrariFan says:

      Hey Isn’t it mentioned in this article that the original ‘blew him away’ audio quote was misquoted by the media?

      I see Mercedes F1 team as a mostly British team (engineers, personnel and location) owned presently by the Germans.

    4. VintageF1 says:

      Sebee, even if Lewis said that (which he did not), what does it matter. At least it would show some PERSONALITY!

      Bring on the egos! It’s time war was declared! This is a sport after all!

    5. Sujith says:

      Well said… so he has to basically do what Rosberg and Raikkonen would do… :P

    6. Dazzler says:

      Sebee,

      Lewis was misquoted and both he and Mercedes AMG both cleared this up on social media.

      I can fully appreciate how frustrated you may feel when a pilot you don’t feel is worthy prevails in superior equipment.

      I’d say you were bitter.

      German dollars pay the bills, but you may want to read into the history of where MercedesAMG – High Performance Powertrains and the F1 team came from. Mercedes is a global company.

      1. Sebee says:

        I’m not bitter at all. I’ve just seen Vettel take 4 WDCs in a row, two in quite an exciting way. How much steak can one man eat? My belly is full!

        What I wanted is for Mercedes not to walk away with it and get it all their way without a challenge from the 4 Time Champions. It appears at least that they will put up a fight – which is good for us, good for F1.

        I think Lewis and Nico are both worthy and as James said 2 does not go into 1. Only 1 of them can win the WDC this year, and they well know the car is the cat’s meow.

        My point is that you can never lose by being humble and saying less. Just to be on the safe side in this scenario. Advice that not only applies to Lewis, but perhaps one I should take myself soemtimes. (that darn Leave a Comment thing is just so tempting!) But there are no consequences for me, where as if there are some on the team that would rather see a German speaking Champion take the first for the team then it may indeed cause issues. And let’s all remember that Nico is one heck of a Mercedes company man – he’s all in as well.

        As I said, I’d rather Lewis do all the talking no the track, and off the track smile and take extra long sips off his water bottle and become a 2014 WDC for fewest things said to media.

      2. Dazzler says:

        You didn’t want Mercedes to walk away with it without a challenge ?

        Of course you didn’t !! Good for us ? Good for F1 ? Really ?

        Because 2013 was fantastic for the fans wasn’t it ?

        Ha Ha.

        Lewis is a racing driver, but not a robot. He and Jenson Button have their own
        character and personality – not perfect but that’s fine with me.

        He does not need to be humble or hide from the media. He interacts and shares with
        his fans on social media. May not be the Bavarian way but at least I can relate to him.

        There was some awful dull processions
        on show in 2013 while some people (anti-Hamilton fans) hailed a genius at work.

        Now the boot is on the other foot and the same people say this season is boring
        and long for Mercedes to be challenged.(WE ARE TWO RACES IN !!)

        During testing some posters on this forum were suggesting Rosberg a favorite for the WDC title only because Hamilton had kind of deficiency or flaw that would stop him being a challenger
        (he burns too much fuel/tyres or doesn’t have the intelligence/racecraft or something.)

        In Malaysia (& Australia) he proved that to be rubbish and that he is a contender.

        This season those posters will eat their words.

      3. Gazza says:

        I don.t quite understand your reply Seeebee.

        You seem still to be saying you’d rather Hamilton kept quite.

        Personally I like to listen what all the drivers have to say.

        Hamilton puts his foot in it no more than Vettel.

      4. Sujith says:

        Well said… some drivers just can’t keep their mouth shut! It takes away nothing from a driver to be humble about one’s skills. That is the sort of image we see common with modern F1 Champions these days! Their heads get involved in the wrong places and creates arrogance.

      5. Dazzler says:

        Maybe Vettel, Renault and Red Bull should stop hanging their balls in the pool and work harder

      6. Sebee says:

        Nice one Dazzler! 2 points for you sir.

        But oh boy…what a pool!

      7. Nicholas says:

        Rather sad really. British Engineering, British Design, Australian money and backing, and for some reason you feel that the driver made a difference.

        Ferrari and Mclaren gifted two titles to Redbull due to historic rivalry. Now SV isn’t even the fastest driver in Redbull. Their is a pretender to his crown within his own team, let alone proven World Champions at Merc, Ferrari and Mclaren.

      8. Sebee says:

        Easy there Nicholas.

        First, we’re 2 races in. Let’s see who comes across the line 1st.

        2nd. You can’t be #1 forever. No one ever is. Actually, Giuseppe Farina will be #1 forever. But if you think Vettel will end his carrier at 4 WDCs there are bookies willing to take your money.

    7. Bob says:

      “They know Hamilton is the greater talent, which is why he is paid the big bucks”

      Bloody he’ll James, what sort of a statement is that?

      Obviously Hamilton’s talent isn’t worked out based on recent previous results then and is based purely on what he did 6 and 7 years ago.

      So in that case, I declare Jaques Villeneuve the greater talent and should be getting paid more than Hamilton. After all, he had better results 18 years ago than Hamilton did 7 years ago.

      My God.

      The next thing you know, assuming Hamilton goes on to win the title, you’ll be telling us all that the result just proves how great Hamilton is.

      We’ll just forget that the Merc is currently one if the most dominant F1 cars in recent history – that doesn’t matter. After all, it’s not like any other recent world champions have had their success credited to their superior cars have they?

      No, of course not.

      1. NickH says:

        Its a pretty straightforward statement that is true so not sure why you’re having a go at James

      2. Kramgp says:

        James touched a nerve there i think. You do have a good point though

      3. AlexD says:

        I have nothing to do with Hamilton or Rosberg (a Ferrari fain, I am). I just wanted to say that your logic is not without the flaws. You say that Merc is very dominant – correct, but Rosberg is sitting in the same car. So Rosberg is currently the reference point because he has the same car. If Hamilton will get on top of Rosberg consistently this year, then…I would say, people have some data to talk about his talent.

      4. Fireman says:

        Red Bull was very dominant – correct, but Webber was sitting in the same car. So Webber was the reference point because he had the same car. Vettel got on top Webber consistently during previous seasons so I would say people have some data to talk about his talent.

      5. James Clayton says:

        “We’ll just forget that the Merc is currently one if the most dominant F1 cars in recent history”

        How is the relevant in a comparison of Hamilton vs Rosberg?

      6. Sebee says:

        Hey, what’s the beef with Jacques? While he had the car he took on one of the greatest in our sport with style. JV is alright.

        I actually think that JV and Kimi are cut from the same cloth. I think Kimi wouldn’t mind another WDC, but he won’t rip his guts out for it. And I also think that Kimi has followed money quite a few times just like JV. End of the day, nothing wrong with being paid. JV and Kimi are a lot more alike than they are different. They may even end up with same WDC count at the end of it all.

      7. Nicholas says:

        JV took on one of the greatest talents of the sport?

        Please correct me, but apart from Nigel Mansell, what other living F1 driver achieved what JV did?

        I assume by greatest talents you mean Damon Hill? A man who went to Arrows and out performed Michael who was driving a Ferrari.

        Michael later drove a Merc and achieved less in his come back than Damon did in one season.

        Sad truth now is multi world champion was beaten consistently by Rosberg, and it looks like Rosberg will be eclipsed by a greater talent still – who does do all the talking on the track, and doesn’t have a potty mouth when undertaking interviews off it.

      8. Gazza says:

        “Obviously Hamilton’s talent isn’t worked out based on recent previous results then and is based purely on what he did 6 and 7 years ago.”

        LOL!!

        You really think the the likes of Ross Brawn and Nicki Lauda would sanction paying millions based on what he did 6 or 7 yrs ago.

        Brawn especially knows exactly what a great talent is…… I know it sticks in your craw…….but the truth obviously hurts.

      9. TimW says:

        Bob, your entire comment makes no sense and you really need to chill out on the anti Hamilton thing. At some point you, and a few others on here are going to have to accept that Lewis is very well respected in F1 and these guys know a lot more about what makes a good driver than you do. Mercedes do know that Lewis is the greater talent because they have a huge amount of data to look at comparing both drivers, Lewis beat Nico fair and square in his first season at Mercedes, and is looking like he will stretch that gap this year as he has now fully settled in with the team. These are facts, and no amount of statistical manipulation is going to change it, between Lewis and Nico the greater talent is Lewis.

      10. Dazzler says:

        + 1

      11. Bob says:

        He beat Nico fair and square?

        So in your book, fair and square means having 3 times LESS mechanical retirements than your team mate AND having your team mate prevented from OVERTAKING you by team orders in one of the first races of the season?

        My God!

        And if the situations were reversed, you would be using the exact things I have put above to show why the Nico didn’t really beat Hamilton.

      12. Dazzler says:

        Bob.
        You really just don’t like Lewis Hamilton do you ?
        What is it ?

        The Music ? The Dog ? The Mrs ? The accent? The Swagger ? The British Press Hype? The Nationality ? Liegate ? The 2011 Monaco GP comments ? (he tested my resolve there I will admit)

        Or do your prejudices lie deeper than that ?

        Lewis out-qualified Nico 8-5

        Lewis scored more points despite winning less races.

        Lewis cant control Nico’s retirements.

        If Lewis’s McMaren didn’t break down when only LEADING Grands Prix in 2012 then we would have had a different champion that year.

        IF IF IF IF IF !!!

        It’s beyond their control.

        SO YES FAIR AND SQUARE.

        P.S if he wins 9 in a row with no challenge in boring lights to flag dull races we can then proclaim him as a modern day genius, a saviour of F1 if you will.

        Or is that only for Vettel ?

        You might find it hard to accept.

      13. Dazzler says:

        Correction – Hamilton 12 Rosberg 7 for the quali head to head

      14. TimW says:

        Bob, you don’t need to shout but you do need to chill out, retirements happen, do you count silverstone as a mechanical retirement for Lewis? Nico’s car failed in Australia while he was running behind Lewis. I have no intention of opening the Malaysia can of worms again but it was a team decision and not of Lewis’s making. It doesn’t matter what factors you use to “correct” the contest between Rosberg and Hamilton, the result is the same, Lewis beat Nico. That is all there is to it, take out Nico’s retirements if you want, it doesn’t change the obvious fact that there is a clear pace difference between them and Lewis is faster.
        I understand you don’t like Lewis,that is your perogative but don’t let it blind you to the obvious, because trying to claim that Lewis didn’t beat Nico just makes you look like a fool.

    8. Andrew M says:

      “Truth is standings don’t indicate any blowing away to be honest.”

      True, and as we all know the driver standings are a totally objective means of determining driver talent and performance.

    9. Deeno says:

      Why should he be humble/subserviant.
      I see nothing wrong with what he said – even if did say “I blew him away”.

      Even ROS admits. he was too fast

      I remember other drivers saying more humiliating things about their teams / mates.

      “Get him out the way he’s too slow”
      “You people are genius’s” ‘(because I can’t get a tow’

      And look what Massa did to his team : Where is the humbleness in that.

    10. SaScha says:

      It was made up from the media, Mercedes corrected it assap :”Was anybody else surprised to hear @LewisHamilton say he “blew away” @nico_rosberg in yesterday’s race? So were we! His actual words were..”today it worked and that is why I was pulling away.” A rather unfortunate case of Malaysian whispers. But now you know :) #PriMaxPower”

    11. aveli says:

      what’s the point in racing if you can enjoy winning? even if hamilton said he blew rosberg away. the whole point of racing is to blow the opposition away. am sure rosberg wouldn’t be upset if hamilton said that directly to him. the have known each other for long enough to allow such none sense to affect their relationship.

    12. Seymour Quilter says:

      You need to read and comment more carefully Sebee –

      “In fact his quote was “I was pulling away” – it was misquoted from an audio recording which has been heard by this website”.

      I suggest you take back your 2 cents…

    13. Joel says:

      You are an excellent contributor to this forum, I appreciate a lot of your notes here. But, I just want to ask you – did you read this article before posting?

  2. audifan says:

    I blew him away says hammy ?
    you know enough about the british press james to know that they never let the truth get in the way of a good story

    1. Anil Parmar says:

      ‘I was pulling away’…

    2. dave says:

      I think Hammy meant to say “I blew him today”.

      1. Deeno says:

        +1000

        That’s what I heard too. nd they say I’ve got hearing issues.

    3. J.Danek says:

      That said, I hope Lewis DOES blow him away to win the WDC, even if it’s by just one (1) point!!

    4. TheLollipopMan says:

      I agree, Audi.

      “They know Hamilton is the greater talent, which is why he is paid the big bucks”. Can you give us a direct quote on the record from Mercedes to back that up, JA? I find it hard to believe they would publicly emasculate ROS like that. Or even say it off the record, which would be just as damaging.

      No-one outside the UK thinks HAM is any better than ROS, VET, ALO, RAI, etc. He’s paid that amount because that’s how much it costs to poach a world champion from McLaren.

      1. Kbdavies says:

        Ermmm…most fans, and people in the paddock would never equate Hamilton’s talent with Rosbergs. On ALL fan polls regarding teamate competition, Lewis came out on top.

      2. C63 says:

        Hamilton is paid considerably more than Rosberg. What more do you want Mercedes to do- take out a full page advert in the Times to confirm which driver they rate more highly?

      3. Rich B says:

        so you know how the rest of the world rate Hamilton, how did you find out?

      4. brendan says:

        just ask Alonso, button and rosberg who is the best driver in F1….lewis has beat all 3 in the same car.
        on top gear lewis beat vettel, same car, same conditions..
        lewis did blew him away..and he could of gone even faster….
        i still think rosberg will win the WDC,due to lewis breaking down a few times..
        they are both happy to be in a situation to be fight for the WDC.. they remember the last 4 years of vettel..

    5. TimW says:

      He actually said he was pulling away, but in truth he did blow him away!

  3. Robb says:

    Yeah, I didn’t think Lewis would say “blew him away”.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Me too. I think that is an embellishment, probably from the German media, but I stand to be corrected on that front.
      Long, long, long way to go this season to start making sweeping statements.

      1. Allan says:

        No, UK media…

    2. Fan says:

      HAM saying that he “blew away” ROS doesn’t seem that surprising or out of character. This very week he was bragging about his pole position and stated that “he wasn’t even pushing.” Not a big fan of HAM for all the hot air that spews from him. Plenty of other examples of similarly thoughtless statements.

    3. Rod says:

      It was completely out of character. It did seem strange that he would speak like that.
      But that he blew Nico away, he certainly did. I never understood that Nico Rosberg should be so highly rated. Racing on equal terms, Lewis will always blow him away.

    4. Michael says:

      Whatever, I’m a big Hamilton fan. But, he really needs to just shut up and just race. He talks too much. That’s the reason he’s always being misquoted.

      1. Kingszito says:

        @Michael He was misquoted after a race interview. Those after race interviews are mandatory by FIA or FOM, pls correct me if I am wrong. So is it his fault to grant interview and being misquoted?

  4. Richard says:

    They are both great drivers but Lewis has had more opportunity than Nico, and ultimately I think he is faster. That said I don’t think the playing field was quite level last weekend as I think Rosberg’s set up was not quite right. That being the case Rosberg had to cut a very fine line to keep the tyre temperature under control, but yet keep Vettel/Ricciardo at bay. He just managed it and it is a testament to his skill. His wobble was about trying to accelerate away from the Red Bulls, but clearly the throttle needed handling with care. As the fuel mass reduced it was clear the car was better, and he was able to pull a gap finally to the Red Bull. Hamilton drove superbly clearly demonstrating the Mercs superiority, and his consumate driving skill. I expect the Germans would prefer a German champion, but as a team they need use the skill they have to the maximum to have any chance of winning the championship. They certainly cannot afford to stand still as Red Bull are already shown they will be snapping at their heels in no time at all.

    1. furstyferret says:

      I wouldn’t worry to much, its german money but its really a english team, just let both guys go for it, and at some point put the teams resources behind the guy with the best chance, if lewis is happy with the car, barring reliability, I think he’ll pull ahead, this weekend will be a good test for lewis, usually after a good race, the next race tends to be a bit of a disappointment, so lets hope for some consistently from lewis..

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        When the Germans and Brits get together for an engineering project they come up with some great products – the new(ish) Mini, Rolls-Royce and this years F1 Merc. Not sure about Bentley though……….a bit too Rio, Wayne, Frank and Coleen!

    2. Quade says:

      If Rosbergs setup was not right, who you blame if not Rosberg himself? Drivers tell the engineers what they want.

      As for any rivalry between Lewis and Nico, Lewis has always been in a different category, from their carting days together up till now.
      The rivalry fad is an invention of the sections of the press that either need to create talking points or have something against Lewis.

      Lewis is the best in the field, followed by Alonso.

      1. Richard says:

        Set up has shown to be sensitive with Pirelli tyres in achieving good balance. Last year there were times when Lewis’s car simply had not got good race pace. I suppose the only way to judge it is at the end of the season. Rivalry exists between team mates regardless, it’s how they handle it that counts. While I support Lewis, I’m not blind to the talents of other drivers and Rosberg is outstanding in recent years. Driver comparisons are fraught with difficulty because one has to seperate what is the car and what is the driver something that was very difficult with Vettel, but credit where it is due.

      2. surya kumar says:

        Richard that is why there are three practice sessions. As a driver you are to give constant feedback of the car so that you come to the race with the best set up possible. This is what segregares good drivers from World Champions. The difference between Rosberg and Lewis is that lewis drives his heart out and Nico apparently comes across as a guy who likes to complete the job given.

      3. Richard says:

        surya kumar: I’m well acquainted with the driver strengths and weakness, and I’m well aware of just what a great driver Lewis is. Driver feedback is just one element of the data the race engineers have to understand, but it is possible to set the car up in the wrong direction or interpret it in someway. It is however in the realm of the engineer. Actually I think Lewis is far more than just that, but like all drivers needs the right kind of support to succeed. We should be aware that this sport is engineering lead, and the driver is just one part of the whole.

    3. Ron W says:

      I agree with fursty on the equal parring of both drivers.

      Yes I’m sure that for the glitter on the cherry on the icing on top of the cake, the head Honchos would like Rosberg to win. However, they need to win first and this is where the priorities lie.

      As such,I have no doubt they’ll let both drivers race.

  5. aveli says:

    i think we will find out exactly what the outcome will be over the weekend just like we found out the outcome last weekend. whoever wins, wins.
    the best thing is, each race has it’s own characteristics.

  6. Gaz Boy says:

    It’s a bit early – and speculative – to say who is going to come on top on this inter-team battle at Merc. Some weekends one driver will have the advantage over the other.
    I’ve posted this before, but when Lewis takes pole, makes a good start and controls the race from the front he is superb, he seems to be happier controlling the race from the front. I would say Lewis is at his best leading from the start. I’m thinking of Canada 2007, Hungary 2007, Australia 2008, China 2008, Singapore 2009 and Canada 2010, Hungary 2012 and Hungary 2013 where he popped the car on pole and led peerlessly to win.
    If Lewis can keep qualifying on the pole, make a good start, he will be very, very difficult to beat. So it’s upto Nico to get pole and lead from the off. Let’s see.
    I just posted this earlier, but slightly off topic, what chance Felipe turning up in Bahrain with a black and blue shiner, eh? Bear in mind his team-mate did serve National Service in the Finnish army!

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      PS – Well done Lewis, great stuff, but I just hope at the celebration photo opportunity after the race at Mercedes they don’t play Lewis music collection over the PA! I don’t think Toto or Paddy would appreciate that awful drivel very much!

      1. aveli says:

        do they have to ask your permission to like a piece of music?

      2. Kbdavies says:

        And what is wrong with his music collection? And why would it be “drivel”? Next thing, you’ll be saying your comments were tongue in cheek!

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Aveli and Kbdavies: Lewis likes American rap music, what in my opinion is drivel. Aggressive, abrasive Rap music made by yanks doesn’t really work in the green and pleasant roling countryside of Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, it just grates. US Hip-hop works about as well in the Cotswolds, Wales, East Anglia or the West Country about as well Sylvester Stallone in an EM Forster novel.
        Lewis can like any music he wants personally, but I’m just saying his hard working team shouldn’t have their ears bleeding by being made to listen it!

      4. Kbdavies says:

        Gaz Boy, you obviously know nothing about those parts you mention.
        I challenge you to go to any cosmopolitan bar/ club in Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Cotswolds, Wales, East Anglia or the West Country, and tell me if you do not hear some form of Hip Hop music. If anything, F1 fits the world of Hip Hop more than any other music.
        And how do you know his “hard working team” don’t listen to Drake, Tiny Tempah, Dre, 50 Cents and Eminem?? Please elucidate us on how you know their music preferences.

      5. Gaz Boy says:

        RE KBDavies: It’s just my opinion that US rap music is drivel.
        Hip hop music fits with F1? Really? I’ve never seen an F1 personnel wearing socks with sandals and baggy shorts, but I stand to be corrected. Also, I’ve never heard F1 people taking about “bitches” and “hos”, bragging about guns or eating cheeseburgers ten to the dozen (apart from Montoya). Of course, most F1 personnel are from Europe, Japan and Australasia, places that naturally are not particularly keen on the USA for one reason or another (Like spying on a certain very significant German with a pudding basin haircut).
        I doubt pubs in Jenson’s home town of Frome, a charming, amiable, pretty little market town in deepest Somerset play US Rap Music on their jokeboxes either – and the same goes for pubs in pretty little villages/small towns across rural Britain as well.
        In case you hadn’t noticed Britain drives on the left, has a royal family, parliamentary democracy, the metric system, the pound sterling, a successful Formula 1 industry, pretty little villages and market towns, composers such as Elgar, God Save the Queen as the national anthem, a language that is spoken by at least a third of the world, a Commonwealth where the Queen is head of state (ask Daniel and Mark), and very clever, bright people who invent amazing creations such as the Internet and carbon fibre.
        So why spoil all that with Fat Americans with adenoidal voices going on about bitches and hos?

      6. aveli says:

        gaz boy, hamilton is as good as he is and nothing you say about him will affect how good he is. he will make choices for his life whether you like them or not. i think you know why you are only interested in hamilton and what he does or doesn’t do. there are other drivers up and down the pit lane with many interesting issues you could discuss but oh no, you choose to disrespect hamilton. what wrong has he possibly done to you to deserve all this?

      7. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Aveli: Have I said I dislike Lewis? I just dislike his taste in music!
        I actually think Lewis is probably the fastest driver out there. His qualifying pedigree is superb, and when he leads from pole he is in class of one. His peaks are higher than many other drivers, and provided he scales them consistently – a big proviso I admit – them he will probably win this years championship, reliability permitting.
        I actually like Lewis on a personal level too, he is a rounded personality who is forthright, eloquent and he is maturing nicely. I actually think a few years ago he was distracted by his “LA Showbiz” lifestyle, and also splitting from his dad’s management. Lewis was ever so slightly lost, and his rather shabby performances in 2011 gives credibility to that theory.
        I’ll give him credit, he has turned things around: Lewis has realised what matters is not hanging out with some fat yank rappers in some trashy nightclub, what matters is doing the business on the track. I think Lewis realises that while he got all the headlines, Sebastian got all the glory and four world championships to prove it.
        I personally loathe and detest US Rap music, I’m just gently mocking Lewis for liking it, but as you rightly say, it is his choice, but personally I think that form of music was its glorification of violence, misogyny, guns, stupid clothes and narcissism has no place in F1 and is somewhat unbecoming of a place in the collection of a professional sportsman. I can’t imagine Sir Chris Hoy or Bradley Wiggins talking about “pimpin out my bitch.” (sic).
        Apart from his music collection, I like Lewis, he is a first class driver with incredible speed. I hope that clarifies my thoughts, I’m not against Lewis – just his ghastly choice of music.

    2. timw says:

      I think the shiner would be in place if Patrick was still there, as for being too early to call who will come out on top between Lewis and Nico, we dohave last season to go on as well.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        I forget about Patrick; yes you’re right, if anything Mr Head would have given Felipe two shiners for the price of one.
        I would still say it’s early days yet; last year they would driving cars with those gut-less V8′s with different downforce and aero balance characteristics, so it is a bit misleading to compare 2013 with this year.

      2. TimW says:

        Will never forget the sight of old Pat throwing things around the garage in Brazil (I think) when Ralf and Juan Pablo had just driven into each other, priceless! OK, different cars but it is going Lewis’s way after the first 2 races.

  7. Montyincy says:

    Lets hope the rumor is not true, it makes no sence to favor one over the other so early in the season.

    1. F1fan12 says:

      Hence Malaysia 2013 made no sense.

  8. Sebee says:

    Do you think Pussy Doll will call Lewis looking for a date again when/if he wins a second WDC? :-)

    1. Sebee says:

      Cat!!!!

      1. AD says:

        I think you’ll find Lewis & Nicole got engaged a couple of weeks ago! Keep up man.

      2. Sebee says:

        Darn, my SUN subscription needs to be renewed pronto!

      3. Random 79 says:

        Too late Sebee, way too late…the cat’s out of the bag BA BOOM!

      4. woodframer says:

        One more WDC, he can have pick of the litter…

      5. Sebee says:

        Someone has to clean it up.

      6. Distant Knight says:

        No, I think you got it right the first time…

    2. Anil Parmar says:

      Haha!

      They are together atm btw..I wouldn’t be surprised if they get engaged if he wins the title.

    3. Arthur Negus says:

      Crikey …do those things talk now?

    4. Mark says:

      I thought they were already back together?

      Granted, I don’t think she has been to the races yet this year.

    5. MISTER says:

      :)) I find it riddiculous that Lewis had to deny on Twitter the other day that he has not proposed to Nicole. Why does he need to do that? No wonder the girl dumped him last year. That is personal stuff and should be kept that way.

      I like Lewis, but that was a major fail.

      1. TheBestPoint? says:

        normally i would agree but in the instance it had to be done – someone kept leaking ridiculous tabloid info that had Lewis looking,, well for want of a better word.. silly, unserious, distracted… you name it. None of it a good read if he is committed to chasing down a championship

        it needed a harsh response because it was a persistent too & the press were publishing without any efforts to confirm facts – like some think he is engaged at the moment when he is not – that he proposed 3 times – he got down on knees and begged – she rejected him each time until 2 weeks ago when they got engaged! – they will live in switzland – she will have use of his jet…. you get the point.

        in just the one tweet from Lewis all that drivel is seen to be some PR/attention seeking persons fantastical facts

        it reminds me of the off season wasn’t there some random chick who suddenly claimed Lewis collaborated with her on her “just released” pop song?
        also carried by dailymail – again without corroboration .

        for Nicole it could well be that any publicity is good publicity – it wouldn’t surprise me if its someone from her camp or tacitly approved by her- which at end of day means Lewis’ has to take some blame for the situation and also for not nipping it in the bud earlier than now. I did feel a bit sorry for the chick b cos his tweet did come across as abrupt and could have been worded differently too but as a Lewis F1 fan i don’t want any meddling from her or general “neediness” to distract from what should be his focus right now – selfish as that may appear.

    6. RobertS says:

      Pretty sure they are back together now

      1. Sebee says:

        Someone, please give me a count on Lewis’ WDCs, Wins, Poles and breakups in this relationship!

      2. TimW says:

        Ha ha, not guilty Honest!

      3. TimW says:

        Oops, was replying to your accusation that I read hello Magazine!

    7. TimW says:

      My girlfriend has just informed me that they are engaged (again?)

      1. Sebee says:

        Sure…pretend it was your GF who keeps up on Lewis’ personal life. :-)

  9. foreverf1 says:

    Yes, strike one for Lewis. Fortunately, the season is long and we hope that they will have closer battles, like last year, in the near future. Too early to tell, who will come out on top between these two.

    Does anyone know if Rosberg might have set up for a wet race?

    He was awful slow. I think the Mercs are much, much faster than RB but according to Rosberg’s pace, not so. Is Lewis’ race pace really that fast? Is Rosberg’s race pace really that slow or is Vettel just that good? There can only be one answer. Which is it?

    1. C63 says:

      A wet race set up would mean higher downforce. As Rosberg was struggling with rear grip, that would not be indicative of a high downforce set up. As for Vetell really being that good? He had barely shaken off Ricciardo until the pit stop cock up saved his bacon. So we are left with one conclusion……

    2. Quade says:

      Things have been badly masked by wretched tyres in the past years. This season, with durable tyres and difficult cars, the true strengths of the drivers is showing through. Look at what’s happening between Alonso and Kimi as another example.

    3. James Clayton says:

      “There can only be one answer”

      You don’t think there’s any chance of it being a mix of the three then?

      1. foreverf1 says:

        God, I hope not. If all three assumptions are correct then it means the result for every race will be the same, Lewis flies off in the distance in the fastest car while Seb outdrives his RB as he battles the slower Rosberg in the faster Merc. How boring is that?

        I was hoping only one answer would be right then at least we can get different variables between two of the three drivers. My hope is that Rosberg just had a bad day and could take the fight to Lewis while the RB keeps improving so that we can have a three way fight for the WDC.

      2. James Clayton says:

        “Did Rosberg have a bad day” was not in your list of possibilities!

    4. Doobs says:

      Strike 1?
      Rosberg won in Aus. That was Strike 1.

      1. NickH says:

        Wasn’t really a psychological blow to Hamilton though as he didn’t take part in the race. So 1-0 when tent both took part

      2. NickH says:

        *they

    5. Bobster says:

      In a pre-race interview Horner observed that RBR know where they are slow and that it is “the bit between the corners”. Hamilton said after the race that the RBRs were just as fast as the Mercs in the corners. So the Mercs have an advantage in a straight line. Expect RBR and Renault to put a lot of work into their engine setup and close the gap on Merc.

    6. Richard says:

      My guess is that Rosbergs set up was not quite right, but the Red Bulls are there unquestionably and will be more of a threat as time goes on.

    7. Aj says:

      Vettel is just too naturally quick. Lewis said a few days ago that the Mercedes and the Red Bull has the same exact speed in the corners according to the GPS or something. He then went on to say that they have much better speed in the straights.

      Yet Vettel almost took pole and beat his Rosberg who is in a much better package according to the Mercedes boys !!

      1. Kingszito says:

        @Aj It was a wet qualifiers which cancels the power advantage the Mercedes had over Red Bull. Power advantage could be a disadvantage on wet. (I stand to be corrected). It’s no secret that the Red Bull is the best car on that grid aerodynamically, which is a huge advantage on wet.

        After all Daniel almost took pole in Melbourne and beat Rosberg too (on wet qualifiers) you can also say that he is too naturally quick. The fact is they all are and that’s why they are racing formula one.

      2. Michael says:

        The truth about Redbull catching up to Mercedes will be told in Bahrain. All u Redbull fanboys better be ready for a rude awakening.

  10. Trent says:

    It will be very interesting to watch this unfold in the early part of the season.

    I can’t help but feel that Vettel is lurking in the background, already with more pace than anyone expected. Red Bull trademark late season flourish means this early season form is ominous.

    1. Mansell Mania says:

      You kind of feel like the Mercs need to maximize the points in the first few races. Great result this weekend but no more DNFs like in the first race. Newey and Vettel will get on top of things pretty quickly.

    2. Michael says:

      Unless Redbull does something drastic with that engine. They’re going nowhere. I have a feeling they’re going to get blown away in Bahrain on a dry track.

    3. Aj says:

      I think that is it becoming ever more clear and will become apparent this year, that it isn’t the Red Bull, or Newey casting a shadow over the Mercedes. Instead it is the raw talent and speed of Vettel who will finally get his acclaim and comeuppance.

      1. KRB says:

        If RBR catch up, it will be mostly Newey and Renault, sorry to say. Marko has already said that Newey’s chassis is the best, they just need the engine power.

        Not sure if comeuppance is the word you wanted to use there Aj.

  11. Gabriel says:

    Really interesting article. Was expecting Lewis to win this W/E because bar last year Nico never was that strong in Sepang, Schumi often was stronger there in his earlier merc years. It’s an interesting team battle because it changes from race to race. Last year by Hungary people (andrew benson) were saying it was the end for Rosberg but he came back in Singapore and India. I think he will be closer in Sakhir. On another note – everytime I watch F1 i get angry on hulkenberg’s behalf on him not being in a top team. In my op, and it’s guesswork, he is the 4th best driver on the grid after Vet, Ham and Alo.

    1. C63 says:

      Almost everyone says that Hulk is the real deal – including me. What I don’t get is that the people who really know, the decision makers, don’t see it. I guess as they know more than me ( and everyone else with an opinion on here) that he isn’t as good as we all think.

    2. James Clayton says:

      Marginally on topic in relation to your post…

      It is said that Hulkenberg didn’t get a top drive do to his weight disadvantage. While the rain was coming down in Q1 there were big discussions about how unhealthy looking the drivers are because of the minimum weight issue.

      It was argued that raising the minimum weight of the cars wouldn’t help the issue as engineers would still like their drivers as light as possible so they can move the surplice weight around the car.

      Am I the only one here who’s missing the blindingly obvious solution? Or is there something wrong with my logic in saying that a minimum weight for driver PLUS seat (plus dimension restrictions on the seat itself) would surely fix the situation? I’d love to hear James’ (and anybody else’s) thoughts on this matter?

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Do you know what, I was watching Jenson chatting to DC on the BBC, and thought, God, Jenson looks a bit gaunt facially, to the extent you can actually see his cheekbones!
        And not just Jenson: Fernando, Sebastian and Daniel are look like uber slim-Jims are on the visage front.
        I think your solution is a good one. Next year, the weight limit is being raised, by 10-15 KG I think, so at least in 2015 the likes of Jenson, Sebastian and Daniel can enjoy the occasional steak and chips.

      2. James Clayton says:

        It will only be occasional though. You won’t see drivers bringing their weight back up to healthy levels all the time that extra 10-15Kg could be moved around anywhere in the car.

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        RE James Clayton: I agree with you about drivers being underweight – it is totally absurd. Its very dangerous too. Possibly damaging long-term. We hear a lot about Europeans and Australasians getting fatter to the point of obesity, but it seems in F1 they have gone completely in the opposite direction.
        What F1 needs, like the real world in Europe and Australasia is a sensible middle ground. The drivers should have a BMI (Body Mass Index) that is the healthy range, that should be mandatory. If they are under the BMI – ie underweight – they are disqualified from a race meeting. I think Jenson is 6 foot, so a safe, healthy weight would be about 70 KG. I think he’s dropped to around 66KG at the moment.
        These are racing drivers, they’re not jockeys.

      4. foreverf1 says:

        Jenson looks especially gaunt. Like a drained fighter at the weigh-in. Is this even healthy?

      5. James Clayton says:

        No it’s not healthy – it’s *seriously* unhealthy. Which is why I’d really appreciate it if somebody, SOMEWHERE could pick up on my idea and put it in the hands of the people that matter.

    3. Rot racing says:

      Hulk is too big, and when you are looking for the last tenth of a second everyone wants someone who is a bit lighter. You can’t do anything about certain things in life. Get over it!

      1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Nico Hulkenberg, even with his size, its a better driver than any other but the champions. Next year the minimum weight is higher so it should not penalize him, or at least not that much.

      2. Gabriel says:

        Rot Racing – His size has always been the case however, to have got where he has he has always had that disadvantage and his talent has compensated for it. why should it stop at f1 if he beats a smaller teammate he is worth promoting over them because his talent clearly has overshadowed his weight disadvantage. level?
        Mocho_Pikuain – If the Nico dominates Perez in a more convincing manner than button did (not that convincing) I would be tempted to rate him higher than button who is a champion. Grosjean wasn’t that far from Kimi in the second half of last year so maybe Hulkenberg isn’t behind him either?

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        He is a tall lad, but this is motor racing, not horse racing. They’re not jockeys!

  12. Urko says:

    …”In the back-stabby world of F1 paddock gossip, senior figures in rival teams are convinced that Mercedes would like the German (Rosberg) to win the championship,”…

    You’re not gonna believe this, but I have such a feeling too. After Lewis crossed the finish line, I watched Lauda’ reaction (just to see intensiveness of it) and I could not help feeling that he would prefer Rosberg wining that race.

    1. James Allen says:

      So why did he go to all the trouble of pursuing Hamilton?

      1. Urko says:

        Pride!

      2. Below the horizon says:

        Please don’t ruin a great conspiracy theory with inconvenient facts…….

      3. ilpaul says:

        LOL

      4. Sebee says:

        To control a competitor? Lauda would even pay him more to quiet his conscience. :-)

      5. Red Rider says:

        ha-ha

        we are a sick lot

      6. Bob says:

        Inconvenient facts?

        Please! Actual facts and anything to do with Hamilton don’t go together.

        If they did, Hamilton would be the 4th best paid driver on the grid at best, not equal top!

      7. KRB says:

        Bob is put out. Poor Bob.

      8. Damon says:

        It doesn’t matter if they’d prefer Rosberg to win the title as long as they’re given equal treatment. Of course they would prefer Rosberg to win. German driver winning the title in a German team, what a fairtytale.

      9. Damon says:

        Well they know they’ve clearly got the best car and most certainly will win the constructors title, doesn’t matter to them which driver wins the title. Perfect excuse for them to lower Hamiltons wages if he loses to Rosberg. Let’s just hope I’m being silly.

      10. C63 says:

        Are there even any Germans in the senior management positions within the F1 team? I can’t think of any. As far as I can see, the positions are filled with the best people they can find, irrespective of nationality.

      11. KRB says:

        No Germans, but the two Austrians Lauda and Wolff.

        Of the other major personnel (15 ppl in all), there are two Italians (Costa & Musconi), and the rest are all Anglospheric names.

        Mercedes in their first F1 incarnation had three Germans drive for them: Kling, Lang and Hermann. They still brought in the best drivers around at the time, Fangio and Moss.

        The reputations of both driver and manufacturer were enhanced by their association with the other. Fangio obviously b/c Mercedes powered him to both the ’54 and ’55 titles, and Mercedes b/c of the cachet gained by the best drivers wanting to drive your cars.

      12. timw says:

        You have obviously let your tin foil hat slip James, the conspiracy theory is much more fun than the boring old truth!

      13. VintageF1 says:

        Exactly, James.

        A Hamilton championship in a Mercedes will impact Mercedes p&l sheet.

        The difference between Hamilton and Rosberg is not just speed, it is marketability.

        Hamilton sells. End.

      14. Gabriel says:

        Nico isn’t as well known but he would appeal to the young professional maybe more than Hamilton. I always have the feeling Nico is really good with the sponsors and with his multi lingual ability and charm has the potential to be very marketable. You’re right about marketability having an influence on who the company want to win winning though.

      15. deancassady says:

        Well, that’s a good question.
        But a world champion in the fastest car, with a number 2 team mate, is tame, isn’t it, and the questions remain.
        But someone who beats an already world champion, well that is validating, ain’t it?

      16. Frique says:

        Come-on James, that was nearly 18 mnths ago. They were uncompetitive and needed a pig push forward. They knew once he signed it was a signal of intent and everything would fall into place after that. It is quite a statement to say you have Lewis on the books. They could think he’s already handsomely rewarded for his punt (highest paid F1 Driver).

        Now they’re the team to beat and if given the choice I could see them going for Nico. I suspected this once Ross left. It always looked like he championed Lewis cause but not at the expense of Nico.

        I’m serene about the issue cause Lewis has had enough experience at McLaren to handle this. But more importantly he knows the best form of defense is attack, so he has to beat Nico handsomely in order to make it difficult for them to do this. I believe he can and will.

        After all he’s a British Bulldog crossed with an African Lion:-)

      17. James Clayton says:

        “Now they’re the team to beat and if given the choice I could see them going for Nico. I suspected this once Ross left.”

        But it was Lauda who went after Hamilton

      18. Gaz Boy says:

        Good analogy about bulldogs and lions! Remember though, if the mighty Lion gets bitten by a tiny mosquito, the infection could kill the Lion – and often does out in the wild. It’s the small little buzzy things you have to worry about…………..and that includes F1 engines!

      19. Wheels says:

        Yeah, you’re right James! Plus there’s no way in hell that Mercedes, who sell a large volume of automobiles world-wide, would be caught dead favoring a German driver (Nico) over Lewis whose ethnicity is non-European. What a real PR catastrophe that would be!

      20. surya kumar says:

        I felt the same looking at Niki when Lewis crossed the line and the Atmosphere in the room before the podium was tense in my onion where Nico seemed more than happy to talk to Vettel in German than his own team mate. . Vettel seems to be loving it as this looks like a chance for him to rebound quickly. ..

      21. TGS says:

        I noticed that too. Also, Vettel and Rosberg spoke over Hamilton in the post qualifying press conference AND after the race Hamilton grabbed Rosberg in jubilation and Rosberg initially ignored him.

        Let the mind games begin!!!

      22. Jamie says:

        Could be for the same reason Ron hired JPM, not cause he wanted him, but to weaken the opposition.

        But I doubt it, think they just needed to find out how fast nico was, a 43 year old man who’d been out of the sport for 3 years wasn’t a reference point.

        Interestingly if you look at there last season together, despite the points gap, MS pace was pretty much there, not bad eh?

      23. brendan says:

        lewis is a winner and a great driver, they wanted the best driver, to get the best out of the car.. he is friends with nico,so its a good pairing.
        imagine is they would of signed button.. nico would have 50 points now.. ha

    2. Urko says:

      …. and when i have such a feelings, I’m usually not wrong. Can’t even remeber when was the last time i was wrong about some similar & strange feeling like this:(

      1. Carl says:

        why pay so much money for Lewis then favour a driver you already have – makes no sense at all. They brought in Lewis to lift the team and win races – which they have done – really go for the championship – which they are doing, and push Nico – which has happened..
        I can’t see a multi billion pound business favour one German driver just because they are a German manufacture when they sell their cars all around the world including the UK.
        Merc is a business at the end of the day and F1 is a means to sell cars and both LH and NR will be part of their business strategy

      2. Damon says:

        Maybe because now they have such a car advantage it would make perfect business sense to favour Rosberg? Hamilton is payed massive bucks by them and losing to Nico would give them a reason to lower his wages. I’m a pessimist and see the worst in people. I hope I’m wrong and Mercedes give both drivers equal treatment.

      3. Pete says:

        …if have any such feelings about the stock market, let me know :)

      4. James Clayton says:

        It’s probably happened more often that you allow yourself to believe.

      5. aezy_doc says:

        Really? Did you really write that? This is one of the most nonsensical arguments I’ve ever read. ‘I have a feeling it might possibly be true, therefore I am declaring it so’ is not the best way to present an argument. By all means cite Lauda’s attitude to the win, but don’t just declare something because you’ve used the force to discern it!

      6. KRB says:

        You sound like Tealeaf. Probably more a case that you’ve conveniently forgotten all the times you were wrong. If I ever get to feeling like that, I just ask the wife, and she very helpfully recounts all the times I’ve been wrong. ;-)

      7. H.Guderian (ALO fan) says:

        8-)

    3. Kingszito says:

      @Urko you see in people what u want to see in them. As for me I saw a very happy Lauda after Lewis’ win.

      1. Urko says:

        I had that feeling much before this race. Lauda’ reaction has actually nothing to do with it. Anyway, i hope I’m wrong.

      2. Sebee says:

        Maybe Lauda was just happier with the first win because it was a first of the season and it proved they had a winning car?

        But it is also entirely possible that Mercedes won’t go out of their way to support one driver more than other. And that support from day 1 helps.

      3. Torchwood Five says:

        Ditto

      4. Dr Lewis says:

        Not such a happy Toto though…

      5. KRB says:

        Toto was shown on the FOM feed giving a wink to someone in the Merc garage, to say “we got this”. That was when Lewis was 10s up.

        Nico might be German, but not sure of his ‘global reach’ potential. Hamilton surely beats him on that. I think Merc want to sell more cars worldwide, more than they want to anoint a German driver as champion.

      6. Sebee says:

        KRB,

        Do you think it matters which driver wins it? As long as Mercedes win it. The MB Dealers will not have a poster of the driver but rather a picture of the Mercedes AMG car in their showrooms. And then it comes back to that wallet…the German wallet paying the bills. German brand. German driver. Speaking German. Etc.

      7. ngwe_f1 says:

        Is it possible that you saw a “happy Lauda” because that is “what u want to see”?

        BTW I don’t subscribe to his “feelings”, what ever that is. But I may very well be wrong.

      8. Kingszito says:

        If Mercedes had wanted Nico to win, they could have constructed the scenario he could have won.

        These are early days to be reading this or that feelings. We all have our ways of expressing excitements. You don’t expect Lauda or Toto to be jumping up and down in front of tv because Lewis won (of cause they might have done that in private). Until Mercedes gives us a reason to suspect that they are favoring Nico. I am not buying that “Unhappy Lauda” or “Unhappy Toto” because Lewis won.

      9. Stickymart says:

        Me too. I thought he looked pretty chuffed. I think everyone is reading far too much into the fact that Mercedes are a German car manufacturer. The team in multi-national and let’s not forget, a professional sporting group. I like to think that they won’t let national preference stand in the way of a title.

      10. Wheels says:

        Lauda was ecstatic over Lewis’ stunning, more than dominant, drive to victory!

      11. KRB says:

        I don’t think Lauda cares a whit which one wins, just as long as one of them does. I think he just wants it to be a good contest.

        After Lewis’ retirement in Australia, Lauda made a point of searching him out, hugging him, and recounting his experience of retiring from the first race in 1984 while Prost – his teammate – won, but that he ended that season as champion. I thought that was a nice gesture.

        I wonder how many times Dr. Marko consoled Webber after one of his long list of hard-luck retirements?

    4. grat says:

      The team doesn’t care which driver wins, as long as the team scores points.

    5. Methusalem says:

      I don’t think Lauda could be Hamilton-biased. I watched the race on “RTL” where Lauda works as an expert. Right after the race the first thing the presenters (including Lauda) had an extended talk about why Rosberg’s car was slower than Hamilton’s, whether it had technical problems. Usually, Nicki Lauda takes his red-hut off for the winner. He hasn’t done that on Sunday. But, they all seemed to be happy for the double victory, except Totto Wolf — I didn’t see him smiling or being ecstatic during interviews.

    6. Samir says:

      Thankfully, Machiavelli wasn’t German. ;) With the competition from Red Bull hotting up, it will be hard for Merc to handicap Lewis, especially if he keeps driving at this level. The development direction of the car might be expected to pivot towards the driver who is extracting more from his machinery with the other expected to play a solid #2 role, bringing home good points (think Schumi/Ruebens or Senna/Berger or that recently-retired-not-so-bad #2). However, if Merc do pull way ahead in the points and their two drivers remain neck and neck, one never knows if one of them may begin to get favorable strategic calls, car developments etc. We still need a few more races to play out for a clearer picture of the relative competitiveness between the two to emerge.

    7. Doobs says:

      And Lauda is Austrian.

    8. George says:

      Had that feeling for a while, hoping that the power structure at Merc would be equally behind Hamilton as Rosberg, I can see the Merc brass being behind their German driver. Not that its evident and Im sure the Brackly workers are maybe more Hamiltons way maybe.. Will be interesting in the count down later in year; unless Red Bull are back on top by then!

    9. Bobster says:

      Lauda isn’t German, and Mercedes don’t just sell cars in Germany.

      1. NickH says:

        +1. It’s crazy how many people on here think Niki Lauda is German

    10. Jonathan Cooper says:

      On the Sky coverage, Lauda was (immediately after the race finished) very quick to say how perfectly Nico had driven too …

      That said, I think that conspiracy can go in the “Webber’s car was always sabotaged” bin!

  13. IP says:

    James,

    Are you implying that at Red Bull the feeling always was that Vettel was the “chosen one” and Webber was just a little too good perhaps?

    What is holding back RBR compared to the Mercs? Is it purely overall power? Or do the Mercs have a other tricks up their sleeves?

    Personally I wouldn’t mind a tit for tat battle between the two mercs this year and then maybe a resurgence of other teams next year…

  14. Mark V says:

    It’s a long season so still way too early to be calling it game, set and match for Hamilton. It was reported here last year that the two were fairly even throughout 2013: http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2013/12/insight-hamilton-and-rosberg%E2%80%99s-head-to-head-at-mercedes/
    And James called Rosberg ahead of Hamilton in his top five: http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2013/12/my-top-five-f1-drivers-of-the-year-2013/

    Since both drivers are highly rated, what this probably demonstrates is that no F1 driver is immune to the car and its setup either complimenting a driver’s style or impairing it.

    1. Kbdavies says:

      I think James made a mistake there – calling it in favour of Rosberg last season; even though Lewis beat him, despite being new to the team. I simply could not understand James’s rationale.

      1. Mark V says:

        As an outside observer (read: non-British) who has seen James’ TV commentary from the beginning, I am pretty damned sure he is a big Hamilton fan. (Sorry James, I have mad respect for you as a journalist and commentator, but during the 2007 and 2008 seasons when Hamilton was fighting for the title you made it blatantly obvious you could not contain your homerism).

        So having said that piece regarding bias, I actually think Jame’s placement of Rosberg over Hamilton is trustworthy.

      2. Kbdavies says:

        @Mark V – Trustworthy? But what is that based on? That’s what I’d like to know. I simply cannot see how Rosberg could place above Hamilton when Lewis beat him by all measuring criteria apart from wins; whilst being in his first season with the team. Maybe somebody could elucidate on that conundrum with some wisdom for me!

  15. Joni says:

    Lewis came to the team to improve the team,how many reces nico won before Lewis came to Mercedes ? Lewis feedback made Mercedes become what they are today

    1. Rohind says:

      Yes.agree with you 100%.Lewis single handedly designed this year’s car and the power train.He made Mercedes what it is today..

      1. KRB says:

        Nice sarcasm. But even Bernie has said that Lewis moving to Merc woke the team up.

        It would be the same if Alonso moved to McLaren next year. The feeling inside McLaren would invariably be “ok, we’re getting serious now”. It’s a general sense of purpose that the top drivers can bring to a team.

    2. Methusalem says:

      Let us change his name to “Lewis Mercedes” LOL!

  16. Kimi4WDC says:

    Both are the first real corporate kids generation. No drama, both just puppets.

  17. Andy says:

    Rosberg may have had temporary set up problem.If it’s much easier to manage the car in clear air and clear space and achieve better fuel economy,is the leading car just going to run away?This will be crap to watch.what do u think?

  18. Lachlan Mackinnon says:

    Aahhh let the games begin. Perhaps Lewis has the pure raw talent and speed but Nico is bloody quick on his day. The Ferrari clash is looking like a fizzer so dialling into this battle will keep us guessing from week to week. Bring it on I say!!

  19. Carbonated says:

    So LH soundly beats Rossberg in the second race of the season and now is judged by the British press and fans as a far a superior racer who has crushed Rossberg’s confidence? I doubt Rossberg is weeping and cowering in a corner somewhere. Talki about jumping to conclusions.

    It’s a long season and the fastest driver doesn’t always win. I’m betting Rossberg will give him a battle not to mention Vettel etc. LH should choose his words more carefully and concentrate on the task at hand instead of patting himself on the butt for a great race.

  20. Ron W says:

    Niki Lauda won’t give a stuff about which driver wins. He just wants to win, everything else is trivial.

  21. SteveS says:

    “In the back-stabby world of F1 paddock gossip, senior figures in rival teams are convinced that Mercedes would like the German (Rosberg) to win the championship, in the same way as the received wisdom in 2009/10 was that Red Bull’s bosses wanted their own graduate Vettel to be champion rather than the “outsider” driver Mark Webber.”

    Neither one of these pieces of received wisdom has/had any facts to support it. In fact we saw Hamilton favored over Rosberg in the team orders department last season. It sounds like the (predominantly British) paddock has some issues with paranoia.

    1. matthew says:

      in one race,,,,and that was after nico got ahead of lewis,and could make the moves stick.

    2. KRB says:

      You keep saying that Hamilton benefitted from team orders (plural) in 2013, so again I ask you for examples. Malaysia 2013 was one. Let me know if there are any others.

    3. Dazzler says:

      Malaysia 2013 was fuel saving applied to both cars.

      Cant think of any others. HAM has never been favored our over ROS at any point.

      He is the more successful driver however.

  22. Marc Saunders says:

    I think Nico is a very good guy, always kind and decent, and he knows Lewis very well. I am confident that he will keep the relationship between both drivers in good terms, given the fact that they will be most probably competing for the World Championship.

  23. Paul D says:

    Lets be honest though, he did blow him away!

    Will be facinating to watch the battle unfold further at Bahrain this weekend.

  24. ficklesteak says:

    Ross Brawn said last year that the two drivers were very close in performance, and one can consider everything he says to be true (at least, I do). My interpretation of RB’s remark is that LH is faster at some tracks while NR is faster at others, owing to their differences in the braking zone. So … the pendulum likely swings back to Rosberg’s favor in Bahrain, and perhaps in Shanghai, with a probable HAM edge in Barcelona and Monte Carlo.

    Montreal is the intriguing track, since ROS in theory should do better, but is offset by HAM’s excellent career performances in N. America, where he won his first GP. For whatever reason, Lewis finds an extra 3 tenths on this side of the prime meridian.

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      Last year Nico outqualified Lewis, but he had a terible race and ended around p9 while I think Lewis was P5. Nico might take pole saturday, but I expect Lewis to (again) be quicker on sunday.

    2. matthew says:

      last year lewis had problems with a car built for nico.lewis didnt feel comfortable in the car.he didnt like the brakes,so he could brake when he wanted,which meant he couldnt get the most out of the car.but this season,he looks very comfortable in the car,and he has said he doesnt have any braking issues.this will allow lewis to perform to his best level.so nico is up against a stronger lewis this season.lewis has 2 poles and one win.reliabilty has probably stopped that from being 2 poles and 2 wins.lewis looks strong….

      1. KRB says:

        The DNF’s will especially hurt this year. It’s no longer “best X results”, and they don’t hand the trophy out based on points-per-finish.

        Hopefully the reliability is a saw-off, no more than plus-or-minus one, over the season.

    3. KRB says:

      Hmm, I would say HAM will be better than ROS in China and definitely in Montreal.

      Monaco could go either way.

      Bahrain and Barcelona could be ROS’s. Hamilton’s never won either.

      We’ll see how it plays out.

  25. Craig in Manila says:

    In an era where drivers drive to the pace/deltas that the strategists instruct, it is clearly very difficult for us outsiders to understand exactly what it going on.

    I mean, if a driver does exactly what his strategist told him to do for the whole race (hit all deltas, stopped on advised laps etc etc) and he still ends up being 20 seconds behind his teammate, then is it really the driver’s “fault” ?

    Seriously, for all we know, Mercedes prefers/wants a particular driver to win the WDC (in much the same way that RBR (seemingly) want/prefer Vettel to win) and is tailoring their strategies to increase the chances of that occurring.

  26. JB says:

    Hmm… Mercedes rivalry. That is to be expected, with a benchmark car and capable drivers.
    I can’t wait for the Ferrari drivers rivalry to start. I’m sure it will be Alonso pulling some moves first (off-track of course).

  27. Cedgy says:

    Between Massa and Bottas at Williams and these two at Mercedes were in for some great entertainment this season!

  28. Timmay says:

    Well, I’ve never seen a reason to rate Nico Rosberg (average at best) so I would totally expect Lewis to beat him this year. Anything less in this dominant a car will make them both look bad, in my onion.

  29. Timmay says:

    I firmly believe they agreed leader on lap 1 wins the GP (all else being equal) for Petronas’ sake so i don’t read anything into their Sepang performance. Lewis effectively won the race on saturday by getting pole.

    That is how dominant teams have always operated.

  30. Dave Howard says:

    I’m an unapologetic Lewis fan, but lets make sure we stay real here. Just like any other season, so much of the race (between teammates) comes down to setup. These guys are all so close in talent that rarely can the guy with a worse setup beat the guy with a better setup. And we all know Lewis has gotten the setup wrong in some races. Nico will have his days, that kid is good too!

  31. kenneth chapman says:

    james, if what i am hearing is correct and the FIA are about to dump the fuel flow sensors in totality then maybe we will see much more competetion vis-a-vis the comparative speeds/performances of all cars.

    it was rumoured that a meeting on this was held in sepang so i presume that you were aware of it and the subsequent post team meeting chatter? that is if it is not a whole confabulation and an attempt to cause even more confusion.

  32. kenneth chapman says:

    ooops…’competition’

  33. bmg says:

    Forgive me James, who won in Australia???

    My son is and I had a debate about this same thing after Australia,Hamilton will need to publicly show how humble he can be and not stick it to them like he did in Malaysia.

    Remember the Germans think differently to the English speaking nation’s.

    I still remember the interview a few years ago Williams gave about the fallout with BMW.

    1. matthew says:

      but why did he win,,,,he certainly didnt win by beating lewis,the same way lewis beat him in malaysia.

      1. bmg says:

        Yes your right, my point is he does not want to have a strained relationship with the team and Rosburg.

        He could start have pit stop errors or mechanical issues like Australia.

        Remember he’s in a German team and his teammate is German.

        Think about it for a moment.

    2. KRB says:

      You left us hangin’ …

      In what way(s) do the Germans think differently to English-speaking nations?

      And what happened in that Williams interview?

      1. bmg says:

        Frank Williams said the Germans treat it like a business, not a sport.

        They are looking for a commercial or national outcome.

        In Mercedes they get both.

  34. Sujith says:

    If you ask me, who’s the better driver? I don’t know. Obviously you have to say Lewis, because time and time again he has shown what he can do.

    However, I am rooting for Nico Rosberg! The dip in performance is Malaysia is not because he ran outta talent. Having said that, I have a feeling RedBull is inching closer to them. They will be far off in Bahrain, and would not be that closer to them as they were in Malaysia. But can we really write Sebastian Vettel off after Bahrain?

    With regards to the British Press… Well true, they give Lewis too much credit. Among all the other BS this one really bends my head. I remember british commentators claiming Lewis is the “Monaco Master”! For what joy I really don’t understand. Mark Webber is more of a Monaco Master to me than Lewis ever was!!

    1. Dazzler says:

      Us Brits celebrate our champions. We don’t have many in any sport.

      Lewis Hamilton has an F1 World Drivers Championship to his name.

      Mark Webber doesn’t.

      Read the German or Spanish press if you cant deal with Englishmen who report on their own guys.

  35. A41202813GMAIL says:

    WHATEVER !

    GO, 44 !

  36. dazzle says:

    I also have a feeling Lewis Hamilton will develop Mark Webberesque problems as the season progresses… Button said Hamilton’s speed will shock Rosberg. I think Mercedes is also shocked by the margin.

    1. Breton says:

      Hear Hear.

      Button one pole with Mclaren!

  37. KRB says:

    What’s Button playing at with that comment? He does realize that Nico’s 18 pts up still, right?

    Malaysia was harder for setup as FP2 was 2hrs before the actual race time. So that might explain Rosberg’s issues on Sunday.

    Last year Nico faded badly in Bahrain, but then that was with the 2013 Pirelli’s and a daytime race. Good thing is that he won’t likely have to slam the door defending, like he did in 2012 & 2013.

    1. Breton says:

      That comment was made when LH joined Mercedes last year.

      Button one pole with Mclaren.

      1. KRB says:

        I was talking about Button’s comment after Malaysia, saying “strike 1 to Lewis”. Being more than a little cheeky, trying to stir the pot!

  38. Sean says:

    James, could you explain, in what way is the Sakhir circuit more suited to Nico’s style? Thanks!

  39. Storm says:

    If lewis said he “blew him away” .. which evidently he didnt, he would still be right. Toss modesty out of the window. His performance was stellar. He deserves it.

  40. AlexD says:

    It will still be Vettel who wins the titoe this year. It is typical for Red Bull to come back from a summer break with a car that nobody can catch and you’ve got double points in the last race. Red bull will ne on par with merc as of spain and then will surprass in the coming races.

    Last year for Stefano in Ferrari? Or this time it will be james allison underperforming?

    Bernie taking overthe sport again…that is another interesting rumor.

    Alonso will end up in a mcLaren next year, but it still not certain that he will clinchhis dream 3rd title over there. You see, on one side he is such a good politician yet he failed to foresee that he needed to be in a red bull last 5 years and in mercedes next couple of years. I think people who know the history of the sport could predict that as soon as schumacher, brawn and todt will leave the team it is going to get back to the mediocre days. We need to work on all areas says stefano…..every year:-)

    1. Harshad says:

      ‘Last year for Stefano in Ferrari? Or this time it will be james allison underperforming?’

      Looks like last year for SD in Ferrari.
      Wrt James Allison, there are some ego issues from Pat fry already….
      For better tyre wear, Allison wanted simple modifications to which Fry opposed and the objection was sustained! Result, Ferrari struggles with tyre wear and will continue to do so.

  41. Rot racing says:

    This is very bad press. Lewis never said such a thing. He always praises his team mate and his team, although he’s much quicker at least in sepang.
    All the while I thought JAonF1 is the site to go for pure technical analysis and unbiased news, now I have to strike that off. Fish!

    1. James Allen says:

      It clearly says he didn’t say that!

      1. Kbdavies says:

        Why can’t people read an article properly before responding?? It is always amazing how people “see” only what they want to see.

      2. TimW says:

        especially when Lewis is involved…

      3. SaScha says:

        wasn’t it corrected later, while the comments where off? I remember i read it on your side without the right quote

  42. janis1207 says:

    Well,
    IMHO it was all tyre related this time.
    Mercedes noticed high degradation during practice runs, and took some measures to prevent tyre wear. And it turned out, they overcompensated.
    Typically Nico is softer on the tyres than Lewis, which can be helpful, but not this time. It was very noticeable how Nico had problems warming his tyres up for a few laps at the beginning of each stint. Lewis, who is more aggressive, had no such problems. After 3 – 5 laps Nico got the tyres into the desired temperature range, but by then the damage was already done, sliding and spinning on cold tyres.
    He still managed to beat Seb, but his true pace was masked by these problems.
    So, I find all this talk about RB outdeveloping Mercedes, and Lewis beating Nico very much premature.

    1. Dr Lewis says:

      That’s not actually so. Note Toto assumed similar and the discarded such as Nico had pace issues with all the tyres.

      Further your comment would therefore indicate that Lewis would wear his tyres out much earlier due to suggested ‘aggression’. This did not happen to the extent that the team was able to sacrifice the normal leader in first approach to take advantage of any undercut and give such to Nico thus keeping him ahead of SV.
      In other words – Nico pretty much was significantly assisted by Lewis performance and that probably had a lot to do with the teams bemusement in the absence of any technical issue being present at the time.
      The fact is – Lewis was not happy last year due to braking issues. Anyone who has ever raced regardless of formula will know it is this critical area that separates the truly skilled in an equal formula.

      1. janis1207 says:

        Not so sure.
        In every stint Seb undercut Nico. And every time Nico couldn’t shake him off for some 2 – 4 laps, and only later in the stint stretched his lead to some 3 – 5 s (some 9 s in the third stint). He also tended to fade a bit at the end of each stint. This kind of performance fluctuations very much point to tyre management problems.
        My guess was that he couldn’t warm his tyres up quickly enough. So he was sliding the car and spinning the tyres at the beginning of each stint. These struggles are indirectly confirmed by his significantly higher than Lewis fuel consumption.
        In the first stint when he finally got them up to temperature, he even set a fastest lap of the race (for that moment), but quickly discovered that the tyre damage suffered at the beginning of the stint is preventing him from doing a 2 stop race.
        From then on he resigned to second place.
        Lewis is inherently harder on the tyres, possibly he was also using different settings on his car. Anyway, he could warm the tyres very quickly, and thus didn’t slide/spin them nearly as much as Nico did, and could really demonstrate the potential of that Mercedes car. So he went on to comfortably win a 3 stop race.
        This kind of situation can be easily reversed as we saw last year when on a couple of occasions Lewis had worn out his tyres, while Nico was comfortably pushing ahead.
        We’ll see. I expect this to be a close battle between the teammates. Can’t wait to enjoy it! :)

  43. Carsten says:

    “senior figures in rival teams are convinced that Mercedes would like the German (Rosberg) to win the championship,”

    So they only forced Hamilton to drive for Mercedes in order to not let him win? Probably (and thankfully) my mind is not twisted enough for that rumour, heard from unknown senior figures.
    Facts, facts, facts.

  44. cometeF1 says:

    I could understand Mercedes preferring a German driver over any but I doubt this is the case. I am sure they did not go out of their way to lure Hamilton in the team to then having him play second fiddle. While I like Rosberg, I think that Hamilton is better overall and unless Hamilton has too many DNFs, I see him ahead of Rosberg by season end.
    If Hamilton is going to be challenged for the title, I see Vettel being the man to do it. Red Bull are yet a long way to give him the tools to do it but as they have shown in the past, I would not put it beyond them. Would be great for all of us if they do. Marc

    1. matthew says:

      i think what might be happening,is what happened at mclaren..ie,button beat lewis in 2011,and then all of a sudden they seemed to believe button could replace lewis,so they started to focus more on button.i think last season,because it was so close,they probably think nico can replace lewis.lewis did less miles in testing,his car has had more problems than nico’s,and he had a suspicious fault with his car after getting pole in aus.also after lewis win in malaysia,the first video posted on youtube,by merc was of nico,not lewis.merc seem to be promoting nico alot more,so i wont be suprised if lewis starts having lots of problems with his car this season,much like lewis in 2012.however the one glimmer of hope for lewis is his performance in malaysia.him being so dominant,will make them realise maybe nico isnt as good as lewis.maybe it only looked that way because of lewis being new to the team and car…..we’ll see tho.if i see dirty tactics being used against lewis by merc,i will definitely protest.and probably stop watching f1.

      1. Urko says:

        Spot on, my friend. The same happend at last years Autosport awards, when Lauda was asked, how he would rate LH performance in 2013, and in wery short sentence he described Lewis as Greame Lowden would describe M. Chilton if not even with more praise for Chilton. But then he quickly changed the subject in start praising RBR and especially Fetel. He was actually talking about Sebs superiority for at least 10 minutes, while abuot Hamilton he spoke for just coulpe of min. though the question was about Ham at first place. Of course, there were some other cases, at which I got the feeling that they are disappointed with Lewis. I hope Malaysia was turning point.

      2. Urko says:

        I actually think, that Lewis’s statement about Michael was the last straw.

  45. seifenkistler says:

    Don’t know where to put this question and i am not an english language speaker, so sorry for some not fitting words:

    Ericson caused a red flag in qualifying. The red lamp for ‘KERS charged’ was still blinking. It seems he thought about a safe way to leave the car because of all the water. The savety people all wearing gloves for isolation i think.

    Wasn’t there a 3 seconds rule to leave a car in emergency? What if the car would have been burning or the driver injured?

    Do the drivers actually train worst case scenarios for leaving the car: means rain and KERS charged?

    How will medical staff approach the car in such a situation? Say the driver is considered to have a broken backbone but KERS is still charged and the ground wet?

    I am a volunteer firefighter and the amount of technical papers i had to read the last years exploded: using black paint to stop solar cells producing power, lists with battery placements for electric cars,…

    So the question is: do the teams and marshalls train for these worst case scenarios or are the savety rules not really up to date?

    Are the 3 seconds even for a blinking KERS light and ground wet, so the driver has to jump and not climb from the car?

  46. aveli says:

    hi James, I think the most likely rivalry this season will be between vettel and ricciardo because i think i heard ricciardo asking for permission from his team to be closer to vettel so that if anything happened between vettel and rosberg he wanted to be part of it.
    this suggests that redbull may have asked ricciardo to to race vettel after he overtook vettel.
    we’ll see how it pans out over the season.

    1. Krischar says:

      Daniel looks like a very efficient pilot and he has already proved in melbourne that he can rattle vettel with his pace and passing moves

      yes the in-house battle between RBR pilots will be the one which we need to watch out. However if Daniel can beat vettel consistently then RBR will intrude and favour Seb to keep their marketing profile lively. No more Turkey 2010 races will be possible

      Of the top 5 teams RBR, Mercedes, Mclaren, Ferrari and Williams. The battle to watch out will be RBR, Mclaren and Williams rest will turn into a dead-rubber

      1. Rockie says:

        DR comes no where close to Vettel by any margin.
        Maybe you need to look well before getting excited.

      2. Krischar says:

        Yes rockie i understand what you mean, yet daniel looks like the real deal and i am more than 100 % cert he can give vettel a run for his money notably in quali where webber failed to beat him quite often

        Daniel has already beaten vettel in Australia and in malasiya he overtook vettel as well before he encountered the problems. So the cause for optimism is not a mere fiction

      3. Rockie says:

        Daniel beat Vettel who had software issues, in sepang he got past because Rosberg boxed Vettel in and vettel got past him and raced on by the time DR had his pitstop problem Vettel was gone! So don’t really understand what you on about?
        Your cause for optimism would soon be put to bed never mind you just keep watching.

  47. Dmitry says:

    There are only 2 thing which can make Lewis be slower than teammate – discomfort in the car and girls (namely the one named Nicole).

    Last year he was clearly getting used to the new car, this year – it very much looks like he already found his place there.

    So I can only keep my fingers crossed, no girl messes with his mind this year.

    1. Dr Lewis says:

      Absolutely +1

    2. H.Guderian says:

      Wait…
      You forgot Roscoe!!!

  48. Peter says:

    Lewis is racing Vettel this year not Rosberg imo and as he has the best car there is no excuses if Vettel wins again, he will have to admit that Vettel is better than he thought. I see Nico as Webber, very good, but not amongst the best four. Kimi and Alonso also will get stronger, still a long way to go.

    1. Krischar says:

      Well you are true to some extent Mercedes have a head start this season with RBR close behind them who try to play catch up with Mercedes. Well newey have desgined a very effective machinery and now RBR only miss the fianl bits and pieces to make it a two way scuffle for the WDC / WCC this season

      yes If lewis does not win excuses will not be Entertained by vast fans here. However i do not see a situation where lewis will fail to bag WDC in 2014. He is pure talent and exciting to watch. RBR will catch Mercedes maybe in another 4 or 5 races yet Mercedes have to keep the realiability in check and lewis will take care of the points table and deliver the WDC for sure

      Go lewis 2014 WDC

    2. Krischar says:

      As far as Alonso and kimi

      in what sense they will be strong? NO chance mate. Given the ropey car which Ferrari have come up with 2014. Ferrari cannot catch up mercedes it does not matter in 2014 how many races are still left because irrespective of the numbers ferrari will fight for the odd poduims and some more points finish nothing else Game over

      Nico is not that bad performer either yet lewis have far too much pace for Nico and Nico has to be at his best every session through out the season and if lewis have off-day or encounter any issues then Nico can outscore him otherwise in fair battle he will end up short against lewis.

  49. Andrew says:

    “Rosberg was on pole last year and it is a track which suits his style, so the competition between them will be intense once more.”

    Is there any chance we could ever see an article, or even a series articles, describing the nuances of each drivers approach to racing? I’m probably not alone in being keenly interested in the differences between drivers at the car handling level. I’d like to know, for example, why Bahrain suites Nico’s style (and then further, why other circuits favour other drivers’ styles).

  50. jeijei says:

    Mr. Allen,
    I think in Malaysia Lewis was simply faster,
    but could LH’s fresher engine give any advantage vs his teammate’s machinery?

  51. SaScha says:

    If more reliabillty problems appear on Lewis car (as they already have) there might be some truth behind those rumors

  52. AlexD says:

    According to some quotes in the British newspapers, Hamilton claims he “blew him away”, meaning Rosberg.

    In fact his quote was “I was pulling away” – it was misquoted from an audio recording.

    1. AlexD says:

      the only word I actually added and the only word that was removed by the moderator was the word “Media…”

      Strange…even this is not appropriate…

  53. Rob says:

    Maybe Rosberg didn’t try too hard? Maybe better to consolidate the position, he’s still leading the championship after all. Would he have been told to hold station [assuming he could have caught up, which I don't think he could have].

    1. Kingszito says:

      I doubt Mercedes told Nico to hold station. The gap was massive, he couldn’t have pulled that time back.

      The only explanation is the Lewis had a fresher engine compared to Nico and could turn it up higher than Nico could afford, likewise Vettel against Ricciardo. Or that Nico got the setup wrong. I doubt that Lewis is that much faster than Nico on a race pace. But we will soon find out.

  54. AlexD says:

    Things are so relative in life.

    Not so long ago many people, including myself, suggested that Hamilton was mad to go to a struggling Mercedes when he had the fastest car. See where he is and where is McLaren?

    Last year people, including myself, were upset that Lotus got Maldonado and not Hulkenberg. You know where I am going with this….

    I would love to see Hulkenberg in Merc/Ferrari/Red Bull…the guy is great

    1. Krischar says:

      Yes at least lewis made the correct call and his decision is well vindicated. To leave a team like Mclaren and join Mercedes was a bit of unknown and gamble. However lewis felt it’s worth a risk and finally it’s has started to pay-off

      To be in right place at the right time is the key element to success in F1 as vettel proved with RBR. Certain pilots do not make a clever move in their F1 Career and end up with no WDC or least WDC’S despite the great talents they possess

      I feel glad for lewis at last he seems to have his wish fufilled and he now has a decent pacckage to fight with RBR for titles

      1. Rockie says:

        Funny enough when Vettel switched to RBR TR was the better team.

      2. Krischar says:

        yes however RBR were the parent team, also they have newey in the team and TR had one good season in 2008. Yet they are very much driven by RBR

        Hence RBR always had the chance to improve and they did so since 2009 to this point, TR had some good races here and there otherwise they are team at the bottom end

        Anyways vettel had his lucky stars at least to be in the correct machinery at right time. Daniel has got his chance now to improve and achieve a thing or two which webber had failed to do. Time will tell

      3. KRB says:

        As Krischar said, RBR were always where the big money was going. Just like Merc, they forewent major development in 2008 to instead invest heavily for a future new regulations era. Spending money to beat STR to 6th in the 2008 WCC was never the plan … the plan was to compete at the front from 2009 on.

        Vettel leaving STR to go to RBR was a no-brainer … Lewis leaving McLaren to go to Merc took quite big ‘attachments’, to say the least.

      4. Rockie says:

        Lewis joining merc was no risk he knew they were going to be dominant this year as he said last year his focus was on 2014 and he had seen their plans going forward.
        Newey had not won a title since 99 so no one thought RBR was going anywhere after all Alonso was offered the drive and he passed on it then Newey was not rated as highly as he is today as Brundle said then he felt Vettel was making a mistake joining RBR.

      5. KRB says:

        Should we go back and see what you said about it at the time?

        No risk??? Again, you do my work for me, so thanks. I just have to feed the rope …

        When did Brundle say this?!? Link please!! I call garbage to that!

  55. Soutboot says:

    I can’t help but feel that with the uncertainty over reliability of all the new cars and the fact they have to make engines/gearboxes last so much longer, Mercedes will rob us of what should be an epic Hamilton – Rosberg battle.
    If I was Merc boss I’d have an agreement in place with the drivers that whoever gets to the first corner first/end the first lap first will not be challenged by the other. I’d want my cars 1-2, in whichever order, and then turn them both down as we saw in Malaysia.
    I hope I’m wrong but it makes the most sense for Merc.

  56. L.B says:

    Rosberg is still handily placed especially with RBR closing in on performance. He just has to win one of the next four races to stay ahead and he’s not too shabby in quali.

  57. Mem says:

    Mercedes want to sell cars all around the world not just germany. I bet they love the fact lewis won in Malaysia.

  58. TGS says:

    Red Bull are making their own engine!!!

    1. TGS says:

      No, I just got done by an April fools.

  59. ruben says:

    So much talk at the start of the season on how Rosberg was going to have the edge over Hamilton because he is more of an ‘intelligent’ driver. For the love of god they are just driving cars! not doing Quantum mechanics. If you are fast you are ahead end of the story.

    1. Kay-gee says:

      lol well said

    2. Mike from Colombia says:

      Exactly. Its like saying that doctors will make better lovers.

  60. Dave Emberton says:

    I think there’s no doubt Hamilton is the faster driver, but there’s not a great deal in it. But in reality, if this championship does turn out to be between the two of them, it’s more likely that reliability will decide it. And Hamilton is already one race down.

  61. HBT says:

    Lauda’s one of the least sentimental people around. He wants a Mercedes 1-2, I shouldn’t think he gives a damn what the driver order is as long as the former is achieved.

  62. Ben says:

    Before the start of the season I thought Rosberg was going to have the upper hand over Hamilton but after that race I think it may go Lewis’s way. I know it is only one race but Lewis was head and shoulders above Rosberg in all areas – qualifying, race pace, tyres, fuel, wet, dry! I have read that Bahrain is more suited to Rosbergs style so we can wait and see if he has an answer for Hamilton’s form this weekend.

    I have always enjoyed watching Lewis race but my opinion of him has gone up a level!

  63. erik says:

    Car flatters Lewis. His emotional curve will come down sooner than later. He is quick but too dependent on car.

    Rosberg is not just talented enough to maximize perfect car compared to his teammate.

    Car is just too good to make conclusions about driver input there.

    So, Lewis will leave always something on the table and Nico will clean it up. Their only hope is the car that is much faster than the others.

    If the best thing in this season will be their battle to watch… well, oh dear…

    1. Dazzler says:

      Vettel’s car flatters him too.

      He is however considered a genius.

      1. Rockie says:

        He’s seen as a genius because in the merc it would be a matter of when no if he would win the title.
        Also Vettel still best of rest and maximising his car.

      2. Dazzler says:

        He is seen as a genius.

        But he is not. Not anymore than Lewis,Kimi or Fernando.

        He simply got the most out of the best package.

        When Button had a car advantage he won the title.

        Made the best of it.

  64. Timp says:

    Will Hamilton and Rosberg poach points from each other and allow the competition to sneak into the championship at the end of the season? It’s happened before – Nico’s dad comes to mind.

  65. Kbdavies says:

    How anyone thinks Rosberg will have the edge over Hamilton this season based on talent alone (DNF’s excluded)is simply beyond me; irrespective of Rosberg’s much vaunted, but less witnessed intelligence.
    Lewis beat Rosberg last year, and the gap would have been much higher if corrected for DNF’s and mechanical failures. He beat Rosberg in a car Rosberg had been driving for the past 3yrs, with essentially the same DNA, and being bedded in the same team for the past 3yrs.
    Lewis did this despite going into a new team with a whole new way of doing things, new procedures and processes, new personnel, new car, brake/ balance issues and being unhappy with the car’s characteristics for most of the season.

    This year is a LEVEL playing field for both drivers, most of the issues he struggled with last year are already gone or mitigated. It is a new learning curve for both divers, and with the new regulations focusing on energy recovery and fuel conversation, qualifying position is far more important than it has ever been. Furthermore, he seemed to have mastered the “Lift & Coast” method of getting the most out of the cars this year

    Lewis will beat Rosberg, and will do it far more convincingly than he did last season. Whilst Rosberg is indeed a fast driver, they are certainly not “evenly matched” in terms of qualifying or race pace.
    Barring costly DNF’s, Lewis will win this Battle of Teamates.

    1. Carsten says:

      “Lewis beat Rosberg last year, and the gap would have been much higher if corrected for DNF’s and mechanical failures.”

      Well, Rosberg had, after all, two DNF’s and Lewis had one, and 3 points were taken from Rosberg and given to Lewis (Mercedes Multi21).

      Lewis is in fact the faster driver and I like him because he is a racer. I just don’t rate Rosberg that high, so he is probably not a good benchmark. In my opinion Rosberg isn’t the fastest of the german drivers, not even the second fastest.

      1. Dr Lewis says:

        But Rosberg inherited an easy win as a result of that plus a SV retirement. And take a look at the corrected qualifying statistics (ie not those that include the grid penalties) that has to hurt.

        Lewis was miles out there at Silverstone – and that puncture handed it over.

        I recall the Pirelli chap saying at the start of the year that if they made harder tyres then Red Bull would walk away as they had seen the comparable load data in winter testing.

        Puncture – Red Bull and others uproar – harder tyres – and nine in the bag…

      2. Carsten says:

        Sorry, you lost me at the third if-when-then junction.

  66. Kbdavies says:

    Also, what is clear is that their so called frienship will crumble sooner, rather than later.
    Watching Rosberg, he seems to take it more personally when Lewis beats him in qualifying or in the race. Lewis seems to be the one always making the effort to speak to him or offer congratulations.
    I predict that relationship will degrade as the season progresses. If this subconsciously forces the team to take sides (as Whitmarsh did with Button), then i fear it will not go Lewis’s way. Merc is German. Rosberg is also German, and Lauda is Austrian. ALL three are closer to each other than they are to England.

    1. Dr Lewis says:

      Funny thing. I have been watching them since they were kids (used to compete in senior uk and Europe gearbox karts) Nico has never taken it well when Lewis wins and I often think that Lewis should just stop trying to bridge the gap between them when he does. He has always been faster and rather than sulk or stomp off to a different class Nico should suck it up and do his best to develop some additional racer/driving skills instead of assuming the mantle of the thinking driver.
      Sometimes you have to just race and while these formulas play into the hands of such drivers by reducing the gap to natural chargers you still have to suck it up and get on with it.

      1. Alexander Supertramp says:

        “I often think that Lewis should just stop trying to bridge the gap between them when he does”

        The issue was brought up last week and I basically said the same thing. Lewis was congratulating Nico after the race, giving him a hug. He did this with good intentions, but I don’t think congratulations for P2 are often appreciated by these competitive guys when your team mate is the one in front..You sometimes get the feeling that Lewis almost gets apologetic for winning.

        Cut the crap, shake hands and may the best man win.

      2. Kbdavies says:

        True, Alexander….well said.

  67. Jon Read says:

    James,

    Slightly off topic here so i apologise for that, but with the new regs in F1, where the cars have 50 less kg of fuel in them so the FIA can blow the environment trumpet, but how much extra equipment / personel are used / transported to each race to create this “green” racing era we are in.

  68. seifenkistler says:

    Wonder if Hamilton would have won if Rosberg wouldn’t have blocked Vettel twice.
    One time in qualifying and one time when Vettel was in DRS to Rosberg but was stopped by a yellow flag and after two round the tyres weren’t could enough anymore.

    1. Joost says:

      Wonder if Hamilton would have won if, if, if and if. Guess what, you will never know.

      Really glad Rosberg blocked the whole field to help Hamilton. Otherwise he probably wouldn’t have won at all.

      :-)

      1. Dazzler says:

        Funny

        Rosberg didn’t block anyone. Vettel could not catch him. End of Story.

        Hamilton made best use of the quickest car.
        Like Button did in 2009 and Vettel did 2010-2013

    2. NickH says:

      Really grasping at straws

  69. Krischar says:

    To certain extent a faster package flatters all top class pilots.

    Classic example being Vettel and RBR for the last five seasons. Is vettel the qucikest driver out there? Certainly big NO.

    Another clown team is Ferrari are very good example as well. they promise too much in the pre-season and winter test (LDM stated this will reds year, Ferrari will win WDC in 14 blah blah). Once the season starts Ferrari team have found out how far they are behind mercedes in terms of raw pace and Stefano D have already started excuses to defend himself and the team at the expense of their pilots.

    When you say rosberg is not just talented enough to maximize the car potential, it also underlines the fact Lewis is much quicker and better pilot than rosberg. Anyways we did the see this domination in the last few seasons (RBR-Vettel) and the new rules have changed the pattern a bit (Mercedes-Lewis) i will take the second option anyday simply because there is no controversies in terms of the car nor the pilot

    Lewis is too quick for rosberg and he will bag the WDC if Mercedes can keep the relaibilty woes away from lewis car. In fact lewis may bag the WDC in some style

  70. Luc says:

    Hamilton loves oversteer and that’s apparently what the 2014 cars are all about.

    I can’t substantiate this with hard facts, but it seems that the start is still a weakness for Hamilton. If Vettel would not have been able to block Rosberg in Malaysia he might have very well taken the lead after the first corner. Who knows what then would have happened. I am pretty sure Hamilton fans are quite nervous each time he starts from pole.

    Alonso is quoted to state that he is not unhappy with his points thusfar compared to Vettel and Hamilton. No mentioning of Rosberg.

    For me, Hamilton will beat Rosberg this year with consistent starts and equal DNF’s and/or other problems.

    1. Damon says:

      If you watch again Hamilton got a better start than Rosberg, it was only once they got upto speed that he caught Lewis, probably through the slipstream.

    2. Kbdavies says:

      I tend to agree with you. In fact, if Lewis and been in Rosberg’s place, he would not have stolen that place from Vettel, and would also have been mugged by Ricciardo. Rosberg’s placement of his car in the opening laps was a masterpiece.
      Lewis had this skill initially when he came into F1. Everyone knew that even when he didnt qualify on pole, he was likely to be leading at the end of the first lap. Unfortunately, due to multiple first lap collisions a la Grosjean, and subsequent penalties, his fighting spirit was effectively neutered. From 2011 onwards, he has generally lost more places than he gained. This was not the case in his first 2-3years in F1.

  71. Damon says:

    James

    Have you heard the rumour that Mercedes would prefer Rosberg to win the title firsthand?

    1. Mike from Colombia says:

      It is a rumour so it would not be first hand

  72. Sebee says:

    Dazzler,

    I have spent hours on here arguing with Quade and others that tires shouldn’t have been changed last year mid season. We also talked about how RBR pulled further into 2013 with their development to lock it up as others “gave up”.

    Am I happy with the domination in 2011 and 2013? No. But were there challengers those years? Yes. And no one but RBR appears to be able to take on the rocket MB have built this year.

    So for sake of excitement, let’s all cheer for RBR to challenge! :-) ok…that last past was just for laughs.

  73. roberto marquez says:

    For me Formula 1 is about RACING . I find unfortunate there is so much RACISM embedded in it. I hope Lewis wins the championship to shut up a lot of sunday drivers.

    1. Mike from Colombia says:

      100% agree. Anyone but Hamilton for these folks.

    2. Dazzler says:

      Sadly I have the same conclusion.

      It’s been going on since the start of his career.

  74. BrumCar says:

    Whoever wins out of the two of them, Aldo Costa has given Mercedes one fine design of a racing car to go to war in.

  75. DJ Illusive says:

    Just another case of the media fabricating drama to make a story out of something so minor! Its been well known Nico and Lewis have been buddies since they were young and their rapport is solid. Of course they are both highly competitive race car drivers who both want to win very badly, but I don’t believe in a heartbeat there is any animosity between the the two, no matter what the outcome. It would have to take some kind of “MULTI 21″ type of debacle for any dissension to arise. I don’t see that happening so long as the team stays on top of the constructor standings and Nico and Lewis rack up podiums.
    The media needs to step off!

  76. f-duct says:

    Rosberg has been compromised by low tyre pressure to not bother Hamilton on the one year anniversary of teamorders against Rosberg to avoid a similar event this year. But the main thinking behind it is the team owed Hamilton after the Australia engine failure and Rosberg went along because he had no say in the matter and he knows he wouldnt be sitting on a 18 points cushion now if Hamilton had completed both races. Mercedes wants a confident Hamilton, not a gloomy one like in 2011 or second half last year and a dominant victory they hope will do the trick.

    Anyway this is closer to the truth than (in order to make his triumph more impressive yet) starting the rumour of Hamilton given #2 driver treatment after a weekend where his car was clearly faster than that of his teammate. Maybe british logic works different or more likely just the usual propaganda by SKY, BBC and Co. to blow every british achievement out of proportion. In Bahrain the faster strategy is a two stop as opposed to three stop in Malaysia so you also have to look after the tyres again. It will not be a onesided whitewash again like in Malaysia even if the outcome might be the same but not with a 20 second margin. Rosberg has done his duty in playing second fiddle in Malaysia and Mercedes will now give both drivers an equal playing field again.

    1. Damon says:

      If I was Lewis I wouldn’t even mention beating Rosberg comfortably, I’d keep my cards close to my chest and focus on the job in hand. Let’s see if he can constantly beat Rosberg because he tends to have a spectacular race then all of a sudden looks nothing special. I’d try and rock the boat as little as I could and quietly try and destroy him, I hope he’s right when he said he learnt some tricks in practice.

      1. Dazzler says:

        More anti-British anti-Hamilton PAP. Lewis won fair and square. He has outqualified Nico twice this season.

        I’m thankful that Nico and Lewis are able to race on equal terms at least.

        That wont happen at Red Bull.

        It may surprise you that some British people like to see British drivers do well. I know I do.

        Rosberg did not play 2nd fiddle at Sepang. He was beaten by the better driver.

      2. Damon says:

        You’re right Hamilton did beat Rosberg fair and square but there’s been a lot of publicity on how he destroyed him, none of it Hamiltons fault though, even though he tried to explain why he beat him so clearly. I’m not knocking Lewis but I wouldn’t give any reasons why and just do my talking on the track. I don’t care if Mercedes would prefer Rosberg to win as long as they give Hamilton the same chance and treatment. I’d like to know who’s been spreading these rumours because there’s usually no smoke without fire.

    2. Supersix1 says:

      I’m just stunned how any person could believe such a fairytale posted by f-duct. I don’t know what I find most disturbing..the laughable story itself or the fact that poster (f-duct) has strongly convinced themselves of such absolute drivel.

  77. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Nice article James, balanced, thanks.

    HAMILTON was cruising, and ROSBERG could not catch up, so it’s clear that:

    - if both drivers finish the race, usually HAMILTON is ahead

    - usually both drivers would finish most of the races, so… We have an idea indeed.

  78. Chappers says:

    Is it possible that Mercedes may well have made their first mistake of the year if they want to take home both drivers and constructor tittles. By letting Lewis win and not swapping the two drivers around during the race. The 7 points difference which Nico would have gained, at the end of season maybe the difference between a Mercedes driver taking the title or Vettel taking the his 5th. Once Redbull get their power unit up to speed and the whole team is focused on one driver then Nico and Lewis taking points off each other maybe their undoing. This Brackley based team only need to look back to 2009, if Jenson had not won 6 of the first 7 races and Rubens had won a coupe instead things may have turned out very different for them.

    1. Dazzler says:

      Lewis gets the first two poles of the season, and you think that he should have handed the win that he fairly earned to Nico so that he plays a supporting role from round two onwards ?

      What have you been smoking ?

    2. Ben says:

      It is FAR to early to start favouring one driver over the other. Nico could have 3 DNF’s in a row now and then those 7 points would be completely wasted…

  79. SaScha says:

    So you think Mercedes should give teamorders against the faster driver?

  80. David H says:

    Why would they tell the leading and faster driver to let his team mate past. Do you know what that would do to hamiltons morale.

    Hamilton would never listen to rubbish like that. the bottom line that he whupped rosberg and its down to rosberg to prove he can respond.

    I personally believe rosberg chances of betaing hamilton this season are slim to none.

    And slim left town.

  81. Damon says:

    It will be interesting to see if Hamilton can dominate in Bahrain this weekend, I feel it will be very tight myself. Call it what you will but he never seems to find the consistency like Alonso to constantly dominate Rosberg, probably because they are both super talented.

  82. Kidza says:

    I think the interesting battle of the season will be between Rosberg and Vettel – for second place in the drivers championship – and the bickering between the two has already started!

  83. Paige says:

    Lewis has shown many, many times that he is capable of performances like this. He has left no doubt during his career of how fast he is, especially how fast he is when he is really on it on days like in Malaysia.

    The question for Lewis is whether or not he can start consistently delivering performances like this. If so, it’s going to be a long season for everyone else with Lewis sailing into the distance in an unstoppable car. Much like the last seasons have been with Vettel behind the wheel in an unstoppable Red Bull.

    Also, I think a lot of people were really off the mark when they said that Lewis would be lost with the new car. He’s clearly better at mastering the subtleties of new technology. You can’t not be good at this and succeed to the level that he has in this sport. But more than that, I think these cars really suit his driving style. They seem to be a bit naturally tail happy, with the loss in rear downforce and the amount of torque that the engines are producing. That’s Lewis’ style: get the front end planted in the apex, have a square car with a lot of power on the exit or for the second part of a complex of corners. It may not be theh only thing taking him to such a huge win, but it could explain about 3-4 seconds of that 17 second win over a teammate who couldn’t keep up in a car that was sliding the rear and destroying his rear tires. And if the balance of the car is suiting Lewis over Nico, it could be another long race in Bahrain, as it is absolutely critical for a driver to have the right balance in order to go quickly there.

  84. AdamJ says:

    Will be interesting to see if LH can maintain consistency for a full season, he historically has been up and down at different times.

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