Analysis: Why the Bahrain Grand Prix turned out as it did
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Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  08 Apr 2014   |  11:12 am GMT  |  145 comments

The Bahrain Grand Prix was one of the most exciting races for many years, featuring wheel to wheel battles throughout the field and lots of interesting strategy work, which affected the outcome. There was a Safety Car, which is a rare occurrence at this circuit and it made for a thrilling climax after the restart, with cars using a mixture of different strategies.

But even without the Safety Car, this was a fascinating race from a strategy point of view and here we will analyse and explain some fundamental details which led to the race turning out as it did.

The Mercedes duo were significantly faster than the rest of the field once again, but Mercedes’ strategy team split the strategies, giving both drivers and equal chance of winning the race. Although the Safety Car played more to the strategy of Rosberg, Hamilton was able to hold on to win the race.


Pre-race expectations

Before the race, the teams were evaluating whether to make two stops or three and the Friday practice session was an important part of deciding this. With this year’s event taking place at night under floodlights, the conditions in the evening were quite different from those in the daylight and from what the teams had experienced at the pre-season tests.

Long run data and data from high fuel running were vital in establishing tyre degradation and this was a crucial factor. There was a significant disparity between the teams, with Mercedes and Force India enjoying low degradation and Williams and Ferrari quite high degradation.

However Williams didn’t really learn this as they did very limited mileage in Friday running – just over half the laps Force India covered, for example. This cost them in the race as their degradation was high and they were forced into doing three stops, with very early stops for both drivers in the first stint.

This meant that they were not able to capitalize on the pace of their car in Bahrain. Having qualified third and seventh, they finished seventh and eighth.

Also suffering were Ferrari. Unlike Williams they had done extensive Friday long run homework and knew they were in trouble – they also had a deficiency of straight line speed, with Alonso 21km/h slower than Massa’s Williams through the speed trap. Alonso pitted on lap 12 and Raikkonen on lap 13, committing the pair to a three stop strategy and so, forced to play a defensive strategy throughout, they could not compete with the Mercedes powered cars and the Red Bulls, finishing 9th and 10th.

In the end analysis two stops was around five seconds faster than three.


Mercedes duo battle for the win

The duel at the front between Hamilton and Rosberg was a real highlight, with close racing at three stages of the race as the team gave the drivers free permission to race.

For Mercedes the race was a clear two stopper; they had good tyre performance and no fear of degradation.

After losing the start to Hamilton, polesiter Nico Rosberg sat back and saved fuel and tyres for an attack at the end of the first stint. Rosberg was actually slightly faster on the day than Hamilton and had slightly less tyre degradation, but losing the start was the decisive moment in his race. Had he won the start he would probably have been able to use the slight pace advantage to hold on and win.

As it was, he challenged Hamilton for the lead on laps 18 and 19 and briefly got ahead, before the Briton retook the lead.

At this point Mercedes decided to put Rosberg onto a Plan B strategy, whereby he would take the slower Medium compound tyre at the first stop and run a long middle stint. The idea here was for him to have the faster soft tyre in the final stint so that he could mount an attack on Hamilton at the end of the race, when the Briton would be on the slower medium tyre.

The middle stint then was all about managing the gap. The difference in performance between the two tyres on the Mercedes was 6/10ths of a second. Hamilton’s crew worked out that they needed 10 seconds in hand to be sure of holding Rosberg behind in the final stint. He had nine and a half when the Safety Car was deployed for Gutierrez’ rolling the Sauber after contact with Maldonado.

Both cars pitted straight away, the gap between them proving useful as the team could service both of them without losing time queuing in the pit lane.

But Hamilton’s lead had been wiped out and Rosberg was now sitting behind him with faster tyres on his car and no gap to make up.

On paper this should have handed the race to Rosberg, but he still had to pass his team mate. He knew he had to do it straight away while the soft tyres were at their best and Hamilton’s medium tyres were still warming up.

But he couldn’t make the pass stick, despite several bouts of racing side by side.

As his tyres overheated he dropped back and settled for second place. The battle between them had also featured some sophisticated use of the Energy Recovery System, with both drivers managing the discharge of energy as an attacking or defensive tool as the need arose. This was mirrored throughout the field and definitely gave an extra dimension to the battles between cars.


Vettel does something different

It wasn’t a vintage weekend for world champion Sebastian Vettel, who still seems to be coming to terms with the new hybrid turbo formula and who has had a series of problems with reduced power.

He made a mistake in Free Practice 3 on Saturday morning and spun off, damaging the turbo wastegate in the process. This needed changing for the race. It affected his qualifying performance and he missed the cut for the top ten. But the upside was that he had two new sets of soft tyres for the race.

Starting from 10th on the grid, knowing he would be in traffic for the first stint, he chose the slower medium tyres and took the losses at the start. The idea was to then use new softs for the second and third stints and to make progress on a clear track. He did a good job to keep the pace in the opening stint and then switched to new softs on lap lap 16. He was forced to move aside to let Ricciardo through before then, as the Australian was on the faster tyre and Vettel team mate would have held him up.

Ricciardo, meanwhile, made good progress from 13th on the grid in the opening stint and then went to the medium tyre at the first stop for a 17 lap stint. This was a team tactic, to get the medium tyre out of the way to minimize the race time loss and so that both the cars would be on the faster soft tyre in the final stint.

This played out well for them, as the safety car closed the field up it brought the Williams and Force India cars within reach, all of which were on worn medium tyres, so Ricciardo was able to cut through them and finish 4th.


Force India goes second in Constructors’ championship

The feelgood story of the day was the performance of Force India, with Sergio Perez getting on the podium, Nico Hulkenberg moving into third place in the drivers’ championship and Force India grabbing second place in the Constructors’ table after a strong first three races.

Force India’s race was all based on thorough research of the tyre degradation and set up on Friday which meant that they had very low degrdadation. The car had plenty of pace too and, unlike Williams who were just as fast, they were able to translate this into results on a two stop strategy. As last year here in Bahrain, they played to their strengths on strategy and got a fine result. THe Safety Car could easily have derailed their careful plans, by closing up their rivals on fresher tyres, but it was all the more impressive that they still got the result, despite the Safety Car.


The UBS Race Strategy Report is prepared by James Allen and Mark Gillan with input and data from several leading F1 teams’ strategists and from Pirelli

Race History Chart, kindly provided by Williams Martini Racing, click to enlarge
The number of laps is on the horizontal axis, the gap behind the leaders is on the vertical axis.

Note the gap between Mercedes and the rest, particularly after the restart from the safety car. The field was held back by Perez who was on used tyres, the Mercedes were on new tyres, but nevertheless a huge difference.

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145 Comments
  1. Howard P says:

    The battle between them had also featured some sophisticated use of the Energy Recovery System, with both drivers managing the discharge of energy as an attacking or defensive tool as the need arose
    ===========

    The FIA need to bring back the “KERS” graphic, pronto, currently it gives the impression it is automated. It would have been great to see when competing drivers were using their ERS in real time.

    Also, I noticed there was a lot more tyre lock ups this race. Was this just to do with the pressure of close racing, rather than any circuit specific factor?

    1. neilmurg says:

      it is automated

      1. Howard P says:

        why do some (all?) steering wheels have an “overtake” button then?

      2. Howard P says:

        and of course the quote that says otherwise.

      3. neilmurg says:

        it’s in the rules, read the rules.
        An overtake button is not an ERS button
        read the specs, and Coulthard has mentioned it, probably Brundle as well
        what ‘of course the quote’ quote, you haven’t quoted a quote, if you can’t quite quote, it might be time to quietly quit
        read the info provided by the FIA about the rules/specs under which F1 runs

      4. KRB says:

        Any ‘overtake’ button would not be a direct input channel to the ERS-K, but it would likely throw the car into an ‘overtake’ engine mapping.

        All power demand must come through the accelerator pedal only.

        Personally I like the “push to pass” system that they have in IndyCar.

      5. Aaron says:

        As I understand it, the batteries typically take 2 laps to fully charge (depending on the circuit), so in normal mode they do not output the full electrical power each lap. I imagine the overtake button tells the ECU to use as much battery energy as is available, to get maximum performance out of the car.

      6. KRB says:

        I don’t know about the ERS and harvesting time. They’re allowed to use 4MJ a lap, and the energy store can store at least 8MJ. Then they’re allowed to harvest a max 2MJ/lap with the MGU-K (thru braking), and an unlimited amount through the MGU-H. So it’s possible in theory to run the full 4MJ/lap, every lap. Whether any teams are managing this, I don’t know. The MGU-H is also using some of its energy to spin the turbo to avoid any turbo lag.

        JA, consider this a friendly request for a story on ERS and how different teams are managing it in the races. I know, I know, we just keep adding to the pile! :-D

    2. Craig D says:

      They don’t have a KERS button anymore to manually use the battery energy; it’s all integrated into the power train. However, they do have different energy maps / power settings to utilise more of the harvested energy in one go (hence the “boost button”), coupled with higher revs, fuel flow (up to the limit of course!), etc.

  2. aezy_doc says:

    it’s a curious quirk of the graph that because of the safety car Hamilton’s second pit stop isn’t represented.

  3. Horoldo says:

    Wow, that graph really paints a dim picture for the rest of the paddock. RedBull and Vettel never had that much advantage. Wonder how far back you would have to look?

    Goferret?

    1. goferet says:

      @ Horoldo

      Lol… I guess we can look back as far as the Ferrari 2004 to see anything similar.

      That’s my guess.

      1. JF says:

        Maybe even 2002.

        After that, Other teams started taking on and improving some of the concepts and then FIA started changing rules to slow down Ferrari/Shumacher so the advantage started to erode by 2004.

        JF

      2. Fireman says:

        Or 1992?

  4. AlexD says:

    Got a question with regards to penalties. Is there any objective mechanism that stewards can apply to benchmark one incidents against the other and apply fair penalties. From the outside the accident with Maldonado was a lot more severe that the tyre problem of Ricciardo yet it was Ricciardo who was penalized more heavily. Maldonado could kill a person. What is the logic?

    1. Satish says:

      I feel it’s because the drivers are more protected in their cars than the personnel in the pit lane. We’ve seen what a loose wheel rolling into the back of a person can do.

      I could be wrong.

      1. F1interested says:

        That’s basically it. Remember that Mark Webber accident with a cameraman in the pit lane some time ago.

    2. Craig D says:

      Yeah, Maldonado’s incident was certainly worse and more at fault but – although the rolling car was bad – the driver is pretty well protected (Brundle often semi jokes that an F1 car is the safest place to be at a race track!). However, a dodgy pit stop and the risk of a loose wheel hitting personnel is much more life threatening. Therefore there is a very severe penalty for pit lane infractions to dissuade the teams from being reckless, even though the driver may not have done anything quite so “villainous” as the likes of a Maldonado!

    3. aveli says:

      asked villenurve if one of his tyres fell of and killed a marshall or not. did we not all witness a cameraman being knocked over by a runaway wheel? i hope you now understand why ricciardo’s incident was more serious. drivers train and prepare for all sorts of racing incidents including high speed crashes but nondrivers at the circuit don’t train for any of that.

  5. Richard says:

    The fact remains that given the pace advantage Rosberg had he should have easily won the race, Hamilton’s set up being inferior which cost him pace and slightly higher tyre degradation. I don’t think difference between the two tyre compounds could be seen as a constant, indeed as the track progressively rubbered in the gap was probably a lot less, given that the soft tyre would lose it’s edge fairly quickly. So as the two drivers neared the cross over point with the tyres so Rosberg dropped back settling for second. It begs the question what would have happened had Hamiltons car been on the pace? I suspect he would have pulled quite a gap to Rosberg by the time of the first pit stop. Rosberg here was outclassed by superior driving skill and I suspect after losing the last two races will have quite a dent in his ego. – China will be interesting, and I hope the cars are set up equally this time.

    1. KRB says:

      Story is that Rosberg asked for and received a dossier on where Hamilton was faster/better in Malaysia. So whereas he finished 3.5 percentage points behind Lewis in fuel consumption in Malaysia, he was 0.2 points ahead in Bahrain.

      JA, are you able to find out how big the report was that Rosberg received in Bahrain, and who compiled it?

      I wonder how far Merc’s ‘open data’ policy extends, and how it compares to other teams?

      1. Richard says:

        I think the data you refer to is available to either driver if requested so nothing sinister there. Lewis quite clearly has said that he wishes to understand why his car was slightly off the pace due to set up which in turn is probably responsible for the higher fuel consumption and increased tyre degradation.

  6. Gaz Boy says:

    A bit off topic, but this is sort of related, so any input greatly received. I know Random 79 and Martin are full of wisdom and knowledge, so perhaps they can help.
    Does anyone know what specific driving technique Daniel uses? I know Sebastian uses pre apex oversteer to “back” the car into a corner. He sets up his car up for oversteer, and when the sliding rear end arrives pre apex, he will actually dab the throttle to clear it – which of course would be counter intuitive to most drivers – and this means the car is pointed straight early, allowing early application of throttle. I believe in the slow corners Sebastian had a huge advantage over Mark, although they were pretty even in the fasts swoopy stuff. I noticed last year Sebastian was getting on the power on tight corners, such as Turn 1 at the Nuburgring faster than anyone else.
    Lewis has a similar technique, perhaps not quite as extreme as Sebastian. Does Daniel also use a sliding rear end to back the car into the apex to allow for early throttle application? He seems very contended in the car, but I haven’t been able to analyse his technique in the Red Bull.
    I remember Martin replied to one of my posts saying that the Red Bull runs quite a lot of rake. Having studied photos, I can say Martin is right – well spotted Martin, I hadn’t specifically noticed. For a car to run more rake – ie the sloping angle of the car which for the Bull is front low and high at the rear – a team needs an aerodynamic map that has good stability with ride height changes. In slow corners, a team will set the aerodynamic balance/centre of pressure to move forwards to denude understeer, but the team would want it further back in fast corners – like Silverstone – for fast corner stability. If a team have an aerodynamic map that allows for that level of adjust-ability, then Red Bull could run the rear axle zone a bit softer and gain traction – very useful in 1st/2nd gear corners – but if it is too critical, you have to run stiffer.
    I suspect that Red Bull are running a soft rear axle zone, perhaps this is why Daniel feels full of confidence in slow corners?
    Also, the good news for Red Bull is that I suspect Mercedes advantage has come from a huge investment in thermal-dynamics and electro-dynamics, which has allowed them to build an engine and tightly packaged chassis as the thermal discharge from the power-unit is significantly lower than anyone else, and lower thermal discharge results in better efficiency for aerodynamic purposes – the Mercedes generates lots of downforce with very little drag penalty. However, it may be possible that the Mercedes has reached a peak in terms of refinement, and in terms of downforce potential it will be much more difficult to find a huge chunk of time – possibly.
    However, Red Bull are still the masters of aerodynamic engineering, and considering that the Mercedes has the most refined concept, Red Bull can implement an aggressive development strategy, with an already excellent front wing, floor and rear diffuser to find more downforce. I would say the Red Bull is not only generating lots of downforce, but that downforce is clean and efficient, not “cluttered” and draggy. My point is, both Red Bull and Renault are both about a month behind the Mercedes at the moment, but back in January testing they were three months behind, so the potential for both chassis and engine designers to claw back the deficit is there.
    Anyway, any information on Daniel’s driving technique greatly received.
    The season isn’t over from a competitive view – not by a long way.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      I’ll just add that Daniel and Sebastian are much more equal when it comes to weight and height.
      Mark weighed 75 KG and is about 1.85 metres, where as Sebastian only weights 58 KG and is 1.76 metres. So the difference between Mark and Sebastian is 17 KG – even before they left the pit-lane! That’s at least four to five tenths difference before the cars have even started up, never mind the advantage of Sebastian with ballast and sitting lower in the chassis.
      Daniel, by contrast weights 63 KG and is 1.75 metres, so at best Sebastian only has two tenths, more likely one tenth weight advantage, so in terms of weight and height Daniel and Sebastian are are on a more equal pairing than the previous Red Bull drivers.
      17 KG difference? If you offered an F1 team to reduce weight by that amount, they would probably faint!

      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        As long as the car is below the weight limit there is no time lost through being heavier, as all the cars end up being ballasted up to the same weight anyway.
        The lighter driver will have the advantage of being able to have more control over the centre of gravity of the car due to being able to move more ballast around, yes, but we aren’t talking half a second due to pure weight here (unlike the situation at Sauber for example).

      2. aveli says:

        if webber ever thought vettel had such an advantage why did he go on year after year competing with the hope of winning the championship?

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        Mark has told the BBC if he had won the 2010 WDC he would have retired at the end of that season.
        I think he continued for another three years because of a generous salary, and to help the team in the constructors championship. Mark was – and is – a great team player, a sportsman who knows his signature is more important than glory.

      4. aveli says:

        i can promise you that webber knew he had a chance to win at least one championship and kept fighting until vettel won 13 races in a season in which he won none. hamilton wanted to replace webber at redbull but webber wouldn’t budge. he could’ve taken the money and walked but he wanted to give it one last shot before the new rules came in. we all saw how angry he was when things didn’t go his way. why would he be so angry with the team if he was simply a team player. i prefer the truth to lies and speculations.

      5. Gaz Boy says:

        Mark thought he had a chance at the championship – they key word being thought.
        The weight issue would have been there, but the main issue was Mark struggled with the very specific slow corner driving technique required to get the best out of the Red Bull, where as Sebastian had completely mastered it.
        And I say that as a person who has utmost respect and admiration for Mark, and I would have been delighted if Mark had nabbed the 2010 WDC. Alas, it was not to be.
        In all fairness, Mark was not only up against Sebastian, but Helmut Mark to a certain extent as well, so he was fighting on two fronts.
        The stop watch doesn’t lie or speculate – it is hard cold fact.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Not sure about specific driving techniques, but turn wheel push pedal go fast is all I need to know ;)

      I guess if you want a more technical answer the best thing to do would be to get your hands on a copy of their car telemetry and compare the two that way.

      Best of luck :)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Thanks Randon – like I said a beacon of wisdom and knowledge!
        Being serious though, Daniel does seem to be much more comfortable than Mark in slow corner rotations. I remember being at Silverstone and I could tell that on the power milliseconds earlier than Mark. On the faster corners around Silverstone, Mark was just as good as Sebastian technique wise, but those twisty corners out (what is now) the back of the circuit Sebastian had a definite advantage in terms of corner speed and throttle application.
        Bearing in mind Daniel has had no input into the design of the car – not to my knowledge anyway – so to be able to match Sebastian’s slow corner rotations is very impressive indeed.

      2. Random 79 says:

        True, but as I said a little while ago it would have to have been much easier for Dan to go from the 2013 Toro Rosso to the 2014 Red Bull than it was for Seb to go from a basically perfect 2013 Red Bull to the 2014 version.

        Same car, different outlooks.

    3. Andrew says:

      Thanks for the comment Gaz. I find information like that incredibly interesting. I asked a similar question recently of Nico (can’t find my post though sorry), but was interested in why Nico’s style suites Bahrain as was suggested in the article.
      Gaz’s question about Dan’s driving style prompts me to ask again … is there anyway we could see driver style articles on this site? Or is driver style a mystery most of the time?

      I would assume the mastery of driving in F1 is a compromise between how well you are able to bring the car to suit you, while adapting to what you can’t change in the car (and circuit).

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Andrew, thanks.
        Yes, you’re right, information about drivers techniques is very interesting, and very revealing.
        The fact that Daniel is very comfortable under hard breaking for slow corners would indicate that, like Sebastian, Daniel would use pre-apex oversteer to “back” his car into a corner. Mark couldn’t do this as using more throttle to counter the system was counter intuitive to him.
        I suspect Red Bull – and Helmut Marko in particular – have studied and analysed Daniel’s slow corner rotations during his Toro Rosso days and concluded that his technique is similar to Sebastian’s, and thus he can drive the specific requirements of Red Bull with complete ease.
        I may be wrong, that’s why I put out this post to be corrected.

      2. Andrew says:

        “pre-apex oversteer to “back” his car into a corner”

        I could be completely misunderstanding you Gaz, but is that not a less-exagerated form of the basic technique in rally driving?

        I’ve also heard similar things said of some MotoGP riders who like to arrive at an apex with some oversteer. Funnily enough those same riders often have strong motocross backgrounds (lots of oversteer there).

      3. Ali Samee says:

        very pleased to see this thread on driving style.

        something id like to discuss regarding kimi and ferari. we remember how in 2008 fer took a development decision which eventually led to kimi reverting to the old front end. kimi drove for the scuderia for 3 years. imo, fair to say then that they have a fair amount of data and analysis on kimis style and front end needs. similarly, nando has 4 years of data and analysis with ferrari. this year we hear kimi is again having front end issues.
        ferrari had hired kimi to get the wcc right?!?so why field two drivers who you should know have different styles and technical demands of the car?

      4. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Andrew: yes, Sebastian’s technique is similar to how rally drivers would attack a slow corner.
        In Formula 1 terms, what makes Sebastian unique is that Sebastian uses more throttle application – just a dab of throttle, but more netherless -when the oversteer arrives, which of course is counter intuitive to most drivers, including Mark. Most drivers brains are programmed to either brake or reduce throttle response when oversteer arrives pre-apex; Sebastian on the other hand has re-wired his grey matter to apply more throttle.
        I get the impression that Daniel is also using a similar technique, which is why he is comfortable with the Red Bull’s unique driving characteristics.

      5. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Ali Samee: I don’t know much about Fernando and Kimi’s driving technique, but your comments make a lot of sense.
        That’s the problem with Ferrari – they have no clarity of thought, no common sense, lack of vision and direction in the technical department and a basic failing in how to grasp the potential benefits of CFD and mathematical modelling.
        Hence why they are struggling.

    4. deancassady says:

      Great comment to a great article.

  7. Sccdlc says:

    On tire strategy – could Rosberg have done a 1 stop? He did 22 laps on used softs on heavier car so 35 laps on new mediums on lighter car doable?

    1. aezy_doc says:

      Could have, but the safety car would have scuppered that strategy and he would have ended the race down in tenth.

    2. Xanthus says:

      Was that the strategy Rosberg was pursuing before the advent of a safety car?

  8. goferet says:

    Not only was Bahrain a pure racer’s race but it was also a pure strategist’s race with two stops versus three and in Mercedes’ case going for the different tyre strategy

    Now, according to Mark Hughes, Mercedes had agreed before the race that whoever is ahead before the first pit stops, would get the A strategy that being softs for the middle stint.

    Taking that into account, it would appear Lewis won the race not only by jumping Rosberg at the start but also by re-overtaking Rosberg before the pitstops otherwise, considering Rosberg was faster on the day, he would have disappeared if he was ahead at any time.

    Beautiful result for Force India, never would I ever imagined seeing them second in the constructor’s and that’s why I believe the team punched above their weight.

    On the other side of the coin, I can’t help feeling that the Williams drivers aren’t getting the most out of their cars e.g. Massa failed to make a move on Vettel’s sick car stick towards the end.

    Shame about Jenson’s clatch problems otherwise, their 2 stop strategy looked like it would have netted the team a possible podium.

    Regards the safety car, I think Riccardo was the biggest beneficially of it’s deployment and yes he handled the opportunity like a pro.

    I guess Ferrari’s woes e.g, low straight line speed would act as a lesson that with a slow car, strategy doesn’t come into play, only luck.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Excellent analysis.
      You’re right about Force India. They may be small, but they are a nimble, efficient organisation who are very street wise and savvy, and always seem to make excellent strategic considerations. They’re racers in other words!
      Perhaps that is what is wrong with Ferrari – too many good people farmed out to the other Fiat umbrella organisations, and all Ferrari have left are the dregs? That’s very harsh, but if Ferrari with their budget, facilities and pedigree are going racing to finish 9th and 10th then quite frankly they are a shambles.

      1. Tickety-boo says:

        +1

    2. aveli says:

      does mark hughes believe that? why can’t it simply be that hamilton won because he is a better driver? rosberg was on pole, in a faster car, same tyres and same start but chose to travel a longer distance to the first corner while hamilton chose a shorter distance to the first corner and got there first. when rosberg overtook him hamilton slipstreamed him over 4 corners and emerged ahead to hold rosberg back just that little longer to get him before the chequered flag. all praise to the best ever driver to have stepped foot in the sport.

    3. Xanthus says:

      Alleged Mark Hughes comments on Mercedes strategy makes it a dud! Electing a tire strategy should be open! Pitting is definitely prioritised. But not who goes on soft/prime? The strategy that Nico was pursuing I think was a one stopper? An ever lighter car with 36 laps to the chequered flag. How Hamilton would have evolved, assuming there was no safety car is a different story.

  9. Kingszito says:

    It was not just a battle between Lewis and Nico in the Mercedes team. It was also battle between their two garages.

    Below is a very insightful race radio transcript between Lewis, Nico with their respective race engineers.

    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/04/08/mercedes-fair-fight-hamilton-rosberg/

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      Fascinating stuff!

    2. Richard says:

      Thanx for that. Very interesting how Nico is using anything and everything at his disposal including copying LH ,s driving styles!

    3. KRB says:

      Well, it’s that way in every team. Every driver has their own race engineer and performance engineer(s). There must be total and complete trust within each such group, so they are for ‘their’ driver/car only.

      The team will have a chief race engineer, that will oversee both drivers’ race engineers, and works for the overall team interest.

      I find it funny that they use “your teammate” or “the other car”, instead of just using the two-syllable “Lewis” or “Nico”.

      1. Visconti says:

        Shame for Williams. I think they were arrogant on friday practice. Had they put both cars on track, they would have noticed the high level of tyre degradations. This cost them a podium. Also, i don’t know why Rob Smedley is so well regarded in the paddock. His first weekend and the team failed miserably in strategy. Massa stayed 2 laps more on track in the first stint – been 2 seconds slower than Button. Same in the secont stint (hence losing his position to team mate both times). It is worth remebering that this have always been the case with Massa/Smedley on Ferrari years – Massa stays 2 or 3 laps more on track with worn tyres and lost his position). Realy don’t see him as a good engineer.

      2. KRB says:

        Definitely they should’ve run more in FP2. They never ran after 7pm in Bahrain in pre-season, which they would in the race.

        Agreed that they would’ve hoped to bag more points than they have currently. Maybe they’re still shaking off the rust, from years of being a lower-midfield team.

    4. Ben says:

      That was great I found it really interesting. I have often wondered what is going in over the radio when in the midst of battle and that was really great to see both sides of the story side by side!

  10. Paul Hallett says:

    I am incredibly surprised Rosberg didn’t take the win given his apparent advantages for the last 10 laps and was wondering just how Ham managed to keep him behind. It was a superb display of defensive driving, but I am a little concerned about Rosberg’s standing in the F1 world now. I am quite sure it would not have ended so well for Hamilton if Alonso or dare I say Vettel were behind him. I even believe Button would have shown a bit more gumption. I think Mercedes may well be looking at their investment in Hamilton as looking fairly gilt edged at the moment, for Rosberg isn’t showing he’s hewn from the same stuff as his team mate. If Hamilton turns up again in China, as he did in Malaysia, I am not sure where Rosberg is going to go mentally; he’s been beaten when he was off the pace, and beaten when he was on it, in faster, it would appear, machinery. I am fascinated by how this will pan out to be honest. Seeing RIC vs. VET honest is another battle I am relishing too. However, Hamilton is showing just why people rate him so highly. When he’s on it, he really is spectacular and even when he’s not, he’s great there too.

    A great GP if not for 57 laps of spectacle, then of almost chess like intrigue and suspense.

    Unfortunately for BE and his friends, this weekend looks to have upped the price of F1, not lowered it as he looks like he’s hoping.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Nico could have been a bit more aggressive, but then with Hamilton defending so hard he might have ended up binning them both.

      He gave it a shot, but he still walks away with 18 points and the chance to fight another day.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Indeed. If you finish second, you get a good spoonful of points. If you stick it in the barrier or get wiped out via your team-mate you get no points. Ask Sebastian about Turkey 2010……………..
        Also I would imagine if team-mates crash then the drivers get a salary deduction, or even a non payment a month or two. Think of the ching-ching-ching as well as the points……..

      2. Random 79 says:

        I was thinking that they would be more worried about getting a bollicking from Niki, Paddy and Toto – not necessarily in that order and possibly all at once.

      3. Paul Hallett says:

        No chance of the non payment, but I am sure an alonso, a vetted, a hulkenberg even would have got through: remember, he had drs, newer tyres and the advantages of a tow. Hamilton, I am convinced, would have made it work. I just watched it again and nico was very meek. The Daimler board will be watching this and glad of the investment in Hamilton. Watching china with interest here, as it Hamilton takes another win, nico is staring down the barrel as there is no way the Daimler board will allow this kind of toe to toe stuff all season long, because when they bin it, which they will as one or the other gets more and more desperate, everyone looks silly.

        As for Hamilton being aggressive, well that’s what fans want, they want wheel to wheel action. If nico had been more aggressive once he did get past, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    2. JF says:

      They are team mates. Sure Merc says they can “race” but they can’t race no holds barred– too risky– so its a mild form of racing compared to if two different teams were going for it. They did a great drive but the level of actual competition here is overrated. Others in the “know” may say that internal sources will say that the guys were really racing but in todays F1 even the lowliest mechanic will have been heavily coached as to what he/she can say to journalists so insider info still needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

      1. Paul Hallett says:

        I don’t wish to appear rude, but did you actually watch the race? Hamilton wasn’t being mild in his defence, or attack. He nearly took Rosberg’s front wing off twice and they were going flat out, as evidenced by their lap times, pulling a 24 second lead from the pace car going in until the end; that was genuine racing, which was why it was so enthralling.

        Hamilton lost the place to Rosberg in the race and took it back within 4 corners, but attacking and being aggressive and it is this attitude, or lack of it, I was alluding to about Rosberg and watching the ‘duel’ between the two again this morning, seems to cement that in my mind.

        If you think that wasn’t real racing, then I’d love to see what you consider to be real.

      2. JF says:

        It was real racing, but it was team racing. If it were a fast RedBull or Ferrari behind him, I suspect the defence would have turned up a level higher.

      3. Paul Hallett says:

        We’ll have to agree to disagree; they nearly clipped tyres and wings. It was as close as you’d get without touching, and or a penalty.

        The defence was robust and I can’t see how HAM could have defended more without touching and regardless if he touched an AMG or RBR, they’d have been penalties. It isn’t bump and grind

      4. KRB says:

        Silly comment. That was hard racing. Any harder, and someone’s losing a wheel or a wing! This ain’t NASCAR … bump ‘n’ run doesn’t work too well in open-wheel racing.

    3. Elie says:

      Totally agree Paul, I think Nico needed to take a few different lines and really use those softs – he had plenty of life in them. Raikkonen or Alonso in the same car would have found 2 or 3 different ways around him. Full credit to Lewis for a cracking drive -a highlight in his incredible CV for sure

    4. Fastfastfast says:

      Alonso couldn’t do it Indianapolis in 2007 and Button tried in Turkey in 2010. I think Lewis is just hard to pass in the same car, with the same pace in a corner to corner battle.

      Even in different cars, as in Germany 2011 with his passes and subsequent defense of Webber and Alonso. Lewis will always be a handful in wheel to wheel situations. Unbelievable racer.

      Me thinks he’s also learned abit from Schumi in Monza in 2011. Now that’s defending. Classic Schumi.

      1. Paul Hallett says:

        I remember those well. But ros still had the advantages the others didn’t e.g. Tyres, drs, etc.

        I guess ham is worth his salt.

      2. Fastfastfast says:

        You’re right. I think they did have kers on 2010, 2011 but that was about it.

        I now see your point. With all the advantages, I now believe that the drivers you mentioned would have had a higher percentage of passing Lewis. Nico must be gutted.

      3. Paul Hallett says:

        I agree with that; they would have had a higher percentage chance; I think that’s the best way you could put it.

        Thanks.

  11. Harry says:

    The interesting thing is how the Energy Recovery System is being used in to overtake and defend. More power and less downforce esp at the back has certainly livened things up. I know the mercs are so far out in front, but at least we are getting inter team racing.
    Great job as ever James. I do enjoy your strategy reports.

  12. Chromatic says:

    James,
    historically speaking, how many times has the safety car had this sort of speed/traction advantage over the Ferrari?

    1. Random 79 says:

      Salt. Wound. Lol :)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        I was going to add on the word slug, but slugs across the world would be insulted to be compared to this years F1 Ferrari.

    2. neilmurg says:

      just once in a downpour I seem to remember, the F1 cars couldn’t keep up

      1. Random 79 says:

        I remember that too, though I couldn’t say where it might have been.

  13. Michael Powell says:

    Looks to be two separate races from viewing the chart: one for Lewis and Nico, and another for the rest.

    But the figures don’t convey the drama. It was a race involving tussles up and down the field, much of the time between team mates.

    It’s the first race that I can even remember wanting to watch all over again.

  14. DaWorstPlaya says:

    What an epic race! Truly a joy to watch. Thanks for the excellent reporting James.

  15. David Morton says:

    Good analysis of the race.
    After all the carping about the new cars etc. including me, this was probably the best race I have ever seen. And I mean completely down through the field. I have been following the sport seriously since the early seventies…..and this race was tremendous entertainment with an amazing finish. Hamilton and Rosberg were the complete professionals and were the class of the field. Congratulations to Perez for a fine best of the rest, especially after being dumped by McLaren after a season in a subpar car. Hopefully this season has the potential to be one of the best ever.

  16. Harshad says:

    James,

    Kimi had put on Mediums which were 7 laps old when the SC came out. Do you think Ferrari should have risked it by staying out and not pitting under SC car.
    At worst, Kimi would have been overtaken by other cars and could have finished 9/10th, but still do you think they should have risked it for a possibly better finish than 10th?

    1. The Spanish Inquisitor says:

      At first glance I thought that was a strategy for protecting Fernando from Kimi, but now I think that the result would be the same, Alonso/Kimi or Kimi/Alonso. Impossible to overpass Massa.

      1. Chromatic says:

        Well, Alonso did punch the air wildly on the finish, so it must have been very important to him!

      2. NickH says:

        Yeah hasn’t been much said about that.. was it a sarcastic punch? A dig at Ferrari?

  17. Dazzle says:

    Hi James, I read in some sites that someone at Mercedes did a study on behalf of Nico to show him how to beat Hamilton, is this normal practice for f1 teams? It seems a bit sinister

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      It souds sinister if you tell it like that. My view was that Nico’s crew made a study of Lewis’ pace in Malaysia to help Nico understand why he was that quick. At this point all information is shared between team mates as it serves the greater good (bagging a lot of championship points). I see no problems (but you weren’t asking me so..).

    2. J Hancock says:

      It’s pretty standard in all sports to study your opponents and devise specific strategies to counter their strengths. When your closest opponent is also your team mate it just means the information is closer to hand.

    3. Lola Bido says:

      Yeah, I found it quite interesting how Lewis explained the situation. From Autosport, April 8th:

      He [Hamilton] said Rosberg had gone into a lot of depth to analyse his Malaysia performance.

      “Someone in the team did a huge study on my pace last week and, as I arrived here this weekend, there was this big document with all the reasons why I was quick. And he used that to his advantage,” said Hamilton.

      “So I’ll do the same and hope that it works for me.”

      If that “someone” was from Nico’s side of the garage then that would seem perfectly normal. If, on the other hand, that someone is still a mystery to Lewis, or if that someone was ostensibly a neutral team member (or members) then the slight paranoia I sense in Lewis’ statement might well be justified.

      Some folks may choose to ignore the obvious, but the fact is, there is a German driver in a symbolically German team that has built a rocket this year seemingly capable of running away with the driver’s Championship. There is also – shall we say – a non German driver in the team who is more than capable of upsetting what some would like to think is the ‘natural order’.

      Lest we forget the story that hit the newswires on March 6th, 2012…

      “…According to Bild, however, more than 50 per cent of German fans surveyed want Marussia’s Timo Glock to replace Schumacher. Hamilton secured 3.9 per cent of the vote.”

      THREE POINT NINE PERCENT. Think about that. There’s perfectly acceptable ‘patriotic pride’ and then there’s 3.9% of the vote.

      Realism would suggest, and 3.9% would confirm that, although this is 2014 not 1914, Lewis Hamilton sitting in a Mercedes F1 car (not to mention being ‘responsible’ for Schumacher’s retirement and subsequent misfortune) is not sitting well with MILLIONS of “fans” and who knows how many “insiders” – however you choose to define the term.

      I can only imagine the nasty (and cowardly) phone calls, email messages and twitter bombs that Mercedes Corporate, Mercedes F1 and Team Lewis Hamilton are having to deal with from the fuhrious “Deutschland Über Alles” contingent and their sympathizers around the world. No wonder Hamilton tattoed “Still I Rise” on his back and helmet.

      Make no mistake, Nico Rosberg is under TREMENDOUS pressure from the motherland and diaspora to put the very “uppity” Hamilton back in his place, and Mercedes F1 is under tremendous pressure to engineer the best possible solutions for both championships while making every effort to appear as scrupulously fair and transparent as possible.

      Add to that Red Bull’s relentless rate of development, the Prancing Horse drivers’ remarkable ability to be there when it counts, plus a few dark horses punching well above their weight and this year is shaping up to be one hell of barn burner.

      I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

      1. neilmurg says:

        I don’t like unpleasant and insidiously racist tone of what YOU wrote. I shan’t read any more from you.

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        oooh ahhhh, nothing wrong with voicing an opinion?

  18. pdcincan says:

    If you go back to the early 1990′s and play back the Indy Car races, the only difference is the lack of Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti and sticker tires.

    What has Formula One come to. The most contrived, fake and slow race I’ve seen in 30 years. This is not Formula One. They say the drivers are taxi drivers. They better watch out they might get passed by a taxi. These cars are so slow in the corners I run out of patience. Disgusting.

    1. Flakey says:

      I know what you mean qualifying they were 0.8 seconds less than last year, with the fastest lap of the race being a whole 0.1 seconds slower than last year. That is so noticeable I agree a taxi could get closer than 0.1 seconds to last years pace.

      1. pdcincan says:

        The acceleration from the batteries and the turbo’s making up for the slowness in the corners. Watch the change in direction during the race. You’ll see what I mean.

      2. James Clayton says:

        Interesting information…

        If it was 0.1 seconds slower than last years race, and this race featured a safety car then it’s only taken 3 races for the engineers to tune the current cars to go FASTER than last years cars.

    2. neilmurg says:

      I’m guessing you didn’t like it then, more power than grip. I thought it was great.
      I hope you find something more to your liking, with it’s own blog.

      1. pdcincan says:

        You’re right, the average James Allen on F1 commenter is satisfied with anything put in front of them. I’ve been watching Formula One since 1977. I got married in a city that hosts a Formula One race. My kids are named after my favorite drivers. My wife was thankful that I was not a fan of Ayrton Senna. But in this day of political correctness, don’t have an opposing point of view, no matter who you are.

        As a rabid fan of Formula One what’s being sold to us is crap. Wake up and tell them to take a hike and give us what we want.

      2. Paul Hallett says:

        If you have been watching F1 since the 70′s, then you would have watched a variety of terrible racing in that time. I know, as I too have been watching it since the 70′s, although early 70′s in my case. The grooved tyres being worse than anything I have ever seen regarding processional racing and little excitement.

        These cars are relevant and they are quick, they move around a lot, like a lot of the early cars, as they have a surfeit of power over grip, which is what is creating the spectacle; you think this is crap, and that is fine, but to degenerate anyone else’s opinion as unworthy as you’ve named your kids after F1 drivers is a simple ad hominem argument and shouldn’t be here. I like the fact the cars are harder to drive and harder to manage. They are still quick, much quicker accelerating than previously, which is remarkable and by the end of the season, they will be much quicker than the V8′s. As for sound, they don’t sound much different to the engines in the 80′s and some of the 70′s.

        If you don’t like it, then don’t watch it, go and watch something else. It’s here, and it’s apparently here to stay. It’s going to be a long 5 years if you can’t get on with it.

      3. neilmurg says:

        Paul Hallett +1
        ‘Ad hominem’, I had to look it up, fancy, thank goodness for wikipedia.
        It looks like you got autospelled from denigrate to degenerate

      4. pdcincan says:

        I couldn’t respond to Paul Hallets comment so I responded here.

        Why is there such animosity to anyone who criticises the current formula? My argument was not an ad hominem attack only an attempt to qualify that I am coming on 40 years as a rabid formula one fan.

        Speaking of ad hominem attacks I’ve seen arguments here where Adrian Newey has been put down for his comments last weekend. An Oxford PhD who has dominated Formula One design since 1991 and this websites commenters can’t accept his comments? Or Luca de Montezemolo who has been running Ferrari or Fiat for almost 40 years has no right criticise Formula One?

        Where is the passion in the sport. Where is the Formula One spirit that made the sport great. Where teams were competing with new technologies and innovations to win. Now we have homologated 1990 styled Indy Car racing.

    3. Kingszito says:

      This is a new formula. Just three races old. The only race which we can use to compare last season at this moment is Bahrain in the sense that it was dry throughout the race weekend. The time difference from last year Bahrain and this years Bahrain Grand Prix is not alarming as many people wants us to believe that the new formula is slower than a taxi.

      For comparison.
      Bahrain 2013 pole position.
      Nico Rosberg: 1:32.330

      Bahrain 2014 pole position.
      Nico Rosberg: 1:33.185 (just less than a second slower)

      Bahrain 2013 fastest lap.
      Sebastian Vettel: 1:36.961 on lap 55

      Bahrain 2014 fastest lap.
      Nico Rosberg: 1:37:020 On lap 49 (Do the math yourself)

      Bahrain 2013 race duration: 1:36:00.498

      Bahrain 2014 race duration: 1:39:42.743 (with a safety car)

      Also note that the tyer compounds of this year is one step harder than last year (Super-Soft 2014 is as hard is Soft 2013)

      There is no doubt that the cars are slower than last year (not as taxi), but would be much closer to last year’s times by the end of the season, I believe.

  19. Tommy Karamin says:

    Slightly (or hugely..) off topic, but I never REALLY paid attention to the weight difference between Vettel and Webber!!! Forget ALL ABOUT luck, jinx, conspiracy theories etc etc…..Webber never stood a chance even before the races started!! And the few races he won, it was probably because of really bad days on Seb’s part!! 17 kgs??? Really??? That’s half a second already!!! Wow….F1 is a lot more complicated than us, romantic fans, believe!!!

    1. Tommy Karamin says:

      OK, it’s 11 kgs….but still….Gutierez is 16kgs less than Sutil in Sauber….

    2. EiEi says:

      F1 is more complicated than that. Both Vettel and Webber were still less than min allowed 600kg combined with a car, so 17kg (or whatever) difference in weight influenced only the amount of ballast, that is weight distribution. Forget about half a second difference.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Yes, but small differences count in F1. Now I know why Sebastian was so much quicker than Mark: firstly, his driving technique was able to cope with an oversteering car in slow corners, and being 17KG lighter meant he could shift the ballast to where he wanted the aero balance/centre of pressure – which gives him even more confidence. It’s a domino effect that Mark couldn’t do nothing about.

      2. EiEi says:

        I only mean that saying “17 kg is half a second difference on driver weight alone” is incorrect, and you just proved that, by taking into account individual driving technique, oversteering tendencies in the car, etc. Yes he had more ballast to play around, that’s an advantage, but hardly as much as 0.5s. Would be interesting to look at statistics, where the heavier driver in a team was also the faster one. Mm, James?

    3. Gaz Boy says:

      Tommy, if you are responding to my post, yes, it is correct: Mark was about 75KG, and Daniel is 58KG. I know, 17 KG is a huge weight difference between drivers – it makes you wonder sometimes how Mark kept his motivation and focus when he knew he was at least – at least! – four tenths behind his team-mate just on weight difference alone.
      The other issue is height: Sebastian is about 5’7′, and Mark is about 6’1, so Sebastian has 5 inches odd less height than Mark, meaning Sebastian can sit lower in the chassis, and all the benefits that brings with ballast and the like.
      That’s why Red Bull probably plumped for Daniel: yes he has excellent ability, but he only weights 63 KG, so already that is 12 KG saved for the designers and engineers at Bull – and 12 KG is about two tenths to three tenths of a second.
      You are right – F1 is much more complicated than the romantic image of yore. When I found out the weight difference between Mark and Sebastian I was shocked………….to say the least.

      1. Tommy Karamin says:

        Jesus….Also, I want to say a big congrats to the F1 media, for keeping the interest to everybody in this sport, by skillfully not telling the whole truth to the public!! They managed to keep people in the dark all those years, until James Allen created this site, where so many views can be expressed!! Imagine the weight difference between Schumacher and Barrichello, for example!!!! Rubens didn’t stand a chance, in the long run….Same goes for Montoya I would imagine! And the media were creating heroic images of those guys….

      2. EiEi says:

        Tommy.. I think you’re stretching things a bit too far. Why do you think teams like Ferrari or McLaren would keep Rubens or Juan for so many years if they didn’t stand a chance? To protect Kimi or Michael or whoever from being beaten by a teammate?

  20. Fastfastfast says:

    Thanks again for this James.

    Does anyone think thay if they didn’t split the strategies of the two Mercs, it would have been Rosberg on the top step? He had the better pace and better fuel and tyre management throughout the whole race.

    If they were both on softs on the 2nd stint, I think Nico would have passed Lewis just before the safety car.

    1. Kingszito says:

      @Fastfastfast Nico had new softer tires (faster), no time disadvantage + DRS without fuel or energy conservation mode (flat out racing) against Hamilton New hard tyers (at least 6/10th slower), Yet he couldn’t pass Lewis on odd 10 laps. Nico had the best favorable scenario to win the race, but could not. So I don’t see a better scenario from the one that happened on Sunday for Nico. How Safety Car turned the strategy to favour Nico is what I call being lucky, but Nico didn’t seize the moment.

      1. Fastfastfast says:

        I’m more in awe of Lewis now than yesterday and converesly, more disappointed by Rosberg.

        With all the advantages handed to him, Nico should have won that race.

    2. KRB says:

      If he couldn’t do it at the end with the faster options on, and Lewis on the slower mediums, you really think he would’ve been able to do it if they were both on the same tire?

      Anything’s possible I suppose, but the evidence on the day would suggest not.

      1. Fastfastfast says:

        I know, I’m starting to think that Nico needs at least a 17 second lead or a Lewis DNF to win a race against his teammate in a car with the same pace.

        Without the safety car though, there would have been traffic to contend with plus being on the same tyres, their degradation levels would have been pretty much the same except Nico would have had the fresher tyres and more fuel to use because he managed it better than Lewis.

      2. KRB says:

        The only real answer is ‘we just don’t know’. I think if the roles had been reversed, and it was Lewis behind on faster options, and he had got by to steal the win, I think the general feeling would’ve been that he had been ‘gifted’ the win via the safety car. And there would’ve been no alternate dimension for us to peak into, to see that hey, he would’ve won also if he was the guy in front. So it’s better that we saw him win in the more difficult circumstance. It cleared up quite a lot of questions.

        I thought Lewis was toast with the safety car. I don’t think I’m the only one who thought that. Indeed I know I’m not as Coulthard’s race commentary basically echoed my thoughts: “how is he doing this?!”

  21. Alexander Supertramp says:

    China, Barcelona and Monaco. If last year’s form is any good indication, all three races will be battlegrounds between Nico and Lewis. The fans are in for a threat.

    Nico missed a big opportunity in Bahrein (he seems more comfortable at this track, had faster tyres, DRS,..)

    My prediction: Lewis wins China+ Barcelona and takes the WDC lead (3points) and Nico wins Monaco and retakes the WDC lead (by 4 points). After that comes Hungary and Silverstone..

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      And off course I mean ‘treat’, not “threat” !

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Alexander, you were right first time – the threat of Lewis and Nico Ros running into each other – it may happen folks! – and also the threat of Red Bull possibly keeping Mercedes very honest.
        Make it happen Adrian, Sebastian, Daniel and all at the Milton Keynes mob!

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        PS I’m not implying I want Nico and Lewis to crash into each other, I like – an want – a fair sporting contest (and hopefully with some Maccas and Bulls to gatecrash the Merc party). However, when a team has two cars running in close proximity, it only takes a locked front axle from the following car to……………cause issues, lets say.
        Austria 1999?

      3. F1interested says:

        No. It’s too late. The season is going to be only between Nico and Lewis. The rest is too far behind. Maybe next year. But even that is a big question.

      4. neilmurg says:

        Brawn were miles ahead in 2009, they got caught by race 8 and only just held on for the championship. 3 teams have the same engine, one of which has as much money as Merc

  22. SteveS says:

    “He made a mistake in Free Practice 3 on Saturday morning and spun off, damaging the turbo wastegate in the process.”

    Do you have a source for that? Because I’ve read the accounts from Red Bull and Renault and while they mention the wastegate problem they don’t attribute it to Vettel.

    1. Andrew M says:

      From the man himself:

      “We weren’t quick enough today. I was pretty happy yesterday, but I think this afternoon didn’t help us when I spun off and did some damage to the car”

      http://www.infiniti-redbullracing.com/article/daniel-shines-under-bahrain-lights

      (I also like the fact they describe Ricciardo’s time as “finishing just adrift of the Mercedes cars”)

  23. AlexD says:

    Sadly LDM did not see Aldo Costa on a podium. It looks like Costa is a capable professional when he’s got the right people around him. Allison was good at Lotus too….

  24. aveli says:

    hello James, is it not more sensible to call the strategies by the number of stints rather than the number of stops?

    1. neilmurg says:

      But then we would miss that excellent joke made about Lotus in Oz and their ’2 stop strategy’, both cars started, then stopped.
      Plus that’s a major change to the F1 timing screen, would we have to re-buy the F1 app?
      And you could ask them to only show the time difference of each driver to Hamilton, you know, if you were a Hamilton fan :O

      1. aveli says:

        keep your hands out of the cookie jar! are you ok? oh must still be buzzing from the bahrain race. unless you’re still crying over it.

  25. Nathan Skelly says:

    Hi James,

    I am wondering about how much energy the teams are managing to harvest from the MGU-H?

    From the graphics in the race, and comments from people like yourself, it would appear that they are not able to deploy the full 4MJ per lap?

    Obviously this means they aren’t getting 2MJ from the MGU-H, so any indication of how much they are getting?

    1. neilmurg says:

      I think they are allowed to use 2MJ per lap, but the battery can store 4MJ, but I can’t be bothered to check the rule just now. The MGU-K harvests a lot of the energy, the -H is allowed to harvest an unlimited amount, some of which goes back in the Turbo.
      It looks like they are leaving some scope for some very interesting developments in the future, maybe burn fuel to drive the -H which feeds directly into the -K for more boost? It might be a more efficient way to produce power, turbine driven F1 cars :-P, 200mph, 40mpg? (with a loud hailer making a parping noise for Bernie)

      1. Nathan Skelly says:

        They are allowed to use up to 4MJ each lap.

        2MJ comes from the rear brakes, the rest (if you can get it) from the MGU-H, which has unlimited harvesting capacity.

        But it does not seem that they are achieving the 4MJ/lap from the on board information that was showing energy usage, it seemed that they were just over 50% usage on any given lap.

      2. neilmurg says:

        thanks. That’s something else I’ve mis-remembered :-/

  26. BoogWar says:

    Hey. I just had a thought. Might be crap, but here it is. Couldn’t air from outside the car be ducted around the turbine part of the Merc engine unit and be used to blow the diffuser? That turbine should be hot enuff to do that, and there’s no downside to concentrating the heat in that area since the compressor is miles away…

    1. neilmurg says:

      You could call it a BT46, Bernie has one in his shed

  27. Balsac says:

    Wow what a show that’s right SHOW. LDM and CH complain F1 is to boring ( it’s a quick an easy way to catch up) then the silver cars put on a WWF show for the punters and F1 is not so boring anymore Nico just forgot race craft 101. It was almost embarrassing how far he left the door open for Ham to retake his position LDM and CH have the rug pulled out from under them and Merc get to keep there massive advantage .
    By the way I am a williams fan and like the new motor but come on

  28. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    McLaren ditch Hamilton, Hamilton got a shot in the WDC this year.

    McLaren ditch Perez, Perez got a podium.

    McLaren ditch Mercedes engine and got a contract with Honda, Mercedes got the faster engine in the grid…

    McLaren… in troubles.

    1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      *ditches

      1. Doug says:

        Trouble…not troubles. ;-)
        They also didn’t ditch LH, he left.
        If JB hadn’t had his clutch issue he may well have passed Perez for the podium.
        McLaren knew that as a customer rather than works team they would always be 1 shot behind the works car, hence their shift to Honda to become a works team again.
        McLaren in trouble? They were last year but they are moving forward again.

      2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Thanks, yes trouble.
        I think (and I said that last year) that when managers are wrong… most of thing they decides will go wrong, and I really think it is the case with Ron Denis NOW.

    2. neilmurg says:

      they also lost vodafone, so they are now looking for a new name for the f-duct

      I met the police chief of Amarillo once…

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        LOL!

  29. OsellaMan says:

    Interesting side note to what was an excellent race and despite misquotes across a number of websites and media outlets, what are the odds that Daniel R will be wearing a t-shirt under his racesuit with the “move over” quote of Bahrain from now on in?

  30. Vlad says:

    I still can’t help think that Daniel is being used as the test dummy for Seb in the race. For example, the moves for Daniel to be on prime tyre has happened earlier in two races now, kinda like how it used to happen for Mark also, instead of saving them for the last stint, which is what Seb always got. It was lucky with the Safety car this time, but for Daniel to beat Seb over the course of the season just seems unlikely.

  31. GyuriO says:

    Well, after reading what the engine manufacturers have revealed about not continuing (Renault & Mercedes) or simply not coming to a F1 +V8 engines (Honda), it is clear that the “The Formula One” of the last decades has died and it is buried for good.
    I think it is for fans to decide if the current economy class type racing is worth to inherit the glory of the F1 name, or should be given a more representative one as ” E Saving Formula”-or whatever.
    The fact that drivers did fight for position ( especially as they did it in team pairs), means nothing as F1 Racing is concerned.
    This kind of fierce fight is present in any motor race starting with “Pufo” & “Mini” classes in any national karting competition and it it is not justification to call them F1 races.
    F1 is about, breaking “in catastrophe” ,mastering raw power to achieve incredible cornering speed in a smooth, incredible way, then explode with a roar on the following straight line.
    That is what F1 spectators come to see, not a silent coasting through chicanes.
    F1 is dead, ling live the …(?)

  32. Vivek says:

    James & others

    I have an interesting question. Having read Sky’s in-depth analysis on the Mercedes pit-stop strategy for both drivers, it prompts me to think.

    Assuming there was no late safety car in Bahrain, Which Merc driver would have got the first call on their 2nd Pit stop?

    It seems out of the 9.5 second advantage that Lewis pulled out over the course of 19 laps, nearly 5-6 seconds was gained through the pit stop alone. Had he got the first pit call for the 2nd pit stop, he would have surely extended his advantage to about 14 – 15 seconds before Nico pitted?

    Would this have been fair OR would Merc have given preference to Nico for the 2nd Pitstop? The general belief is that the leading driver always gets the first priority. But if Merc really wanted to give both drivers an even shot at victory, Nico would have to pit first, the second time around.

    What are your thoughts?

  33. Ago says:

    Hi James
    I have a simple question. Is the information on the car’s weigth (at the end of the race) public? and the pilots’s weigth too?…
    Thanks in advance…

    1. James Allen says:

      Not that I’m aware of

      The driver weights do come out

  34. Neil Jenney says:

    After a week of dodging all media Likely Lads style I caught up on the race yesterday. I’m curious if anyone can explain how the volume of pre-season testing in Bahrain affected the quality of the race (which was superb), as it normally has the opposite effect in Barcelona.

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