Insight: How Rosberg came through, Ricciardo was compromised and Alonso got away with it
Insight
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Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  22 Apr 2014   |  12:06 pm GMT  |  297 comments

The UBS Chinese Grand Prix was not as thrilling as the Bahrain GP, which preceded it, but from a strategy point of view and in terms of revealing the decision-making process that goes on behind the scenes during Formula 1 races, it was a fascinating event.

There were a number of talking points, one of the main ones being the Red Bull team trying to manage its two drivers, asking Sebastian Vettel to move over so as not to prevent team mate Daniel Ricciardo challenging Ferrari. Vettel initially refused, then relented. There was some confusion about what strategy each driver was doing. So did it cost Ricciardo a podium?

Another was the relative performances of Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg; multiple factors worked against Rosberg in the race, but he still came through to second place through determined driving and clever strategy moves by Mercedes.


Pre-race Expectations
The temperatures in Shanghai (18 degrees on race day) were among the lowest we’ve seen recently and Free practice on Friday had shown that this – and the nature of the corner layout in Shanghai with two 270 degree right hand corners – meant that front left tyre graining was a limiting factor for most runners. This would re-appear as a major factor in the race.

The Pirelli choice of soft and medium tyres was the right one for the event, with the medium not suffering too much from warm up issues while looking like a good consistent race tyre, judging from the Friday long runs. It was fast and consistent enough to mean that teams would likely favour it as the race tyre. The soft was faster for a few laps, but by eight laps into a stint, the medium was quicker. This decided most teams by around lap 25 at the latest that two stops was the way to go.

In terms of the choice between two or three stops, pre-race models showed the two stop to be quicker than the three by about 5 to 6 seconds, but one needed to handle the tyres very carefully if two stopping. The general trend this season compared to last has been one less stop; so whereas the soft tyre was good for only six or seven laps at the start last year in a three stop strategy, this year the majority of the leading runners went for two stops in the end.

The length of the first stint would be crucial as would the performance on the medium tyre in the second stint.

With a wet qualifying, everyone had new sets of slick tyres for each stint.


Red Bull strategy call: Did Vettel cost Ricciardo a podium?

There has been a lot of talk about the incident in the second stint of the race when Red Bull asked world champion Sebastian Vettel to let his young team mate Daniel Ricciardo through and he initially refused.

Ricciardo had outperformed Vettel in qualifying, grabbing a second place grid slot, with Vettel third.

On the grid however, in front of Ricciardo’s slot, there was some oil from a support race, which had been dealt with by marshals with some cement dust. This played a part in him getting a poor getaway at the start and falling behind Alonso and Vettel.

However he was able to run a longer first stint than Vettel, who suffered more front graining. The German stopped on lap 12, the Australian on Lap 15.

This is a tactic called “offsetting” and as we will see later it was also used to great effect by Mercedes on Rosberg’s race in China. The idea is to run longer than the car you are racing, accepting that you will not gain track position at that point and will lose some time initially, but you will gain later by having fresher tyres for an attack.

Riccardo was primed by the offset to get ahead of Vettel in the middle stint and challenge Alonso for the podium. Alonso had stopped on lap 11 and Ricciardo stayed out until lap 15, so he had a four lap offset and slightly more pace in his car, so he was in a position to fight Alonso. This would play out for him in the final stint of the race.

However the problem was that he had fallen behind Vettel with the poor start so the team had to decide whether to ask Vettel, who was slower and struggling with tyre graining, to let him through or to let the pair race.

Red Bull’s instinct was to ask Vettel to let him through. This was the right instinct for a maximum team result. If you are going to do this you have to do it immediately. Vettel refused initially and Ricciardo say behind him for several laps, losing vital laps and three seconds to Alonso in the process.


Red Bull says that it was considering moving Vettel to three stops at this point, but this is unlikely for a number of reasons; doing that would have forced Vettel to pass a lot of cars and thus significantly increased the risk of an accident.

And it would have dropped him into the Hulkenberg/Bottas battle, which he would have struggled to get past as the pair had the extra Mercedes power and were involved in their own scrap.

If three stops was a serious consideration he would have taken the soft tyre at the first stop – instead of the medium – and run a 14/15 lap stint on it.

By lap 24/25 everyone had decided that two stops was the way to go and so when Vettel’s engineer told him to “stay out, it helps us” this indicated that they had committed to leaving him on a two stop. He was never on a different strategy to Ricciardo.

By this point Ricciardo was already past Vettel, although he said afterwards that he couldn’t tell if he was being let through or not.

If Vettel had fully intended to let him through, firstly Ricciardo would have known about it and secondly neither of them would have needed to go onto the tyre marbles in the move.

Alonso was a little compromised by Mercedes’ strategy with Rosberg, as we will see, but was still able to be very clever in the way he managed the gap to Ricciardo in the final stint and he eased off on the last lap, so the gap appeared smaller than it was.

Several leading F1 strategists think that if Vettel had yielded immediately Ricciardo would have caught the Ferrari with around 4 laps to go, but agree that passing him would have been difficult.

We were denied a thrilling battle at the end, but Red Bull were in a difficult situation, for the possible gain of Ricciardo having a chance of challenging Alonso for a podium. On one hand it was worth it, because that would have been a better team result than they did achieve, but on the other hand it wasn’t a certainty and it resulted in a negative impression over the Vettel team orders situation.

It will be interesting to see what they learn from this and how they manage it in future races, should the situation arise again.

But the fact that they followed the correct initial instinct – to get Ricciardo ahead of Vettel – showing that Vettel does not necessarily enjoy any superior status.


Rosberg beats the odds to finish second
Nico Rosberg’s second place did not receive much coverage, as all the attention was on Hamilton’s 25th win and the Red Bull team orders story, but it was impressive how he came through the field despite quite a few setbacks and a poor start.

His car had no telemetry, which meant that the team had to ask him to monitor fuel use and they had no idea of how much damage his car sustained in contact with Bottas at the start nor about his Energy Recovery and storage situation, which is a vital part of strategy these days.

Rosberg started fourth and was sixth at the end of the first lap, but his real challenge was to pass the two Red Bulls and Alonso. He picked off Ricciardo through strategy. He pitted on lap 13, moving to the medium tyre, which told Red Bull that he was two stopping and challenged them to cover him. Ricciardo didn’t, which shows that Red Bull was looking at the offset to Alonso and didn’t think they could race Rosberg.

This took the German past Ricciardo when the Australian stopped.

With Alonso Mercedes’ strategy was the opposite – they went for an offset, but first dummied Ferrari by sending mechanics out on lap 33, as if they were about to stop. As Alonso was ahead on the road, his team brought him into the pits, but Rosberg continued. He built a four lap offset and then had much newer tyres to pass the Ferrari in the final stint.

This pushed Alonso into a 23 lap final stint, which was longer than ideal in his battle with Ricciardo, but circumstances explained above show that he was able to get away with it and score Ferrari’s first podium of 2014.


The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists, from JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan and from Pirelli.

RACE HISTORY GRAPH
Kindly supplied by Martini Williams Racing – Click to enlarge

Look at Ricciardo vs Vettel in the first and second stints. It’s clear the Australian has better performance and tyre life. Note also the time he loses behind Vettel and how that intersects with his line relative to Alonso’s.

For a full interactive graph click here Interactive graph -China

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297 Comments
  1. Phil Glass says:

    Alonso seems to have had a whole year’s good luck in one race.

    Massa could have taken him out.
    Dan The Man could have got past Seb sooner.
    Different weather could have switched on Hulk and others.
    And thats just some of the known knowns.

    1. Truth says:

      Massa was nearly taken out by Alonso, nothing wrong with Massa’s driving just Alonso squeezing him with nowhere to go. Alonso lucky to get away with not causing an accident. Brundle kept trying to blame Massa before eventually accepting it was Alonso that caused it,I thought it was clear enough.

      1. Krischar says:

        @ Truth

        Do you know what you talk about? Martin Brundle was cent % correct in his analysis. Most pundits have agreed with brundle’s view as well including DC. Massa is a reckless pilot who will defend Robustly at all costs (Germany 2010) and crashes into other pilots to defend his position (2011 Incidents with Lewis where hammy has been punished unfairly)

        Here again Massa weaved across the track just after he passed Nico. Massa moved the car across the track from right to left and collected alonso in the process, likewise bottas did with NIco rosberg. Massa should have been punished by stewards who were lame. Williams pilots were Desperate to do well and used dangerous tactics to pass other cars in china

      2. Dave Emberton says:

        Massa moved left quite quickly after Vettel blocked him, but didn’t immediately hit Alonso. Alonso then took the line he thought was clear obviously not realising that Massa had moved there.

        A bit of bad luck if you ask me. Neither were really to blame.

      3. Paul Hallett says:

        Disagree completely here. I am no fan of Massa and agree with your views re his aggressive driving. However, here, he got a great start and was forced into an alleyway in which he was then squeezed with no where to go. I can’t really blame alonso too much, but he really should have been looking in his mirrors.

        I also think Rosberg caused the Bottas incident. The Williams drivers simply had fantastic starts which were compromised by drivers not being spatially aware. No fault of their own.

      4. Malcolm says:

        +1

        Felipe has had incredible starts, but seems to lose any sense of responsibility as he closes on the cars in front of him, and IMO becomes reckless.

      5. JSpeed says:

        Your comment is what I call a classic “retorical contortionism”!
        C’mon, It was 2 days ago and after tons of videos you still believe in what Brundel, DC and you are saiing?

      6. Nick says:

        “If you no longer go for a gap, you’re no longer a racing driver”

        Everyone was heaping it onto Massa the last few years for being timid and weak when it came to racing, now that he’s got the fire back and going for the gaps….people are calling him reckless.

        He went for it and it didnt work out, it was a racing incident. Why should he back off and let Alonso take the position….why cant Alonso back off and let Massa go ahead?

        Alonso has had his fair share of big starts where he goes out wide and takes people like Massa did.

        Its just one of those things that happens when going into Turn One.

        Im glad to see Massa with fire back in him and taking it to the top drivers again. I never saw it as reckless, Rosberg was slow off the line and Massa went around to get past.

      7. Truth says:

        @Krischar

        Wrong @krischar, even coulthard saw it right first time and Brundle agreed after seeing the replays that it was Alonso at fault and not Massa. Don’t know what feed you watched but sky and bbc blamed Alonso. If anyone was to be penalised by the stewards it could only have been Alonso for drifting in to Massa. No argument to be had over the facts in this case I’m afraid.

      8. VV says:

        You must have been watching a different race to me.

      9. aveli says:

        massa did weave a lot at the start after his path was blocked by ricciardo but please note that massa and vettel are good friends with ecclestone.

      10. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Please go back and watch the footage again, you are not remembering it correctly.
        Massa moved into the gap between Alonso and Ricciardo, and then continued in a straight line. It was Alonso who drifted across the track and hit Massa, Massa never turned.

        The onboards of Alonso show that he was looking to the left at the time he moved right into Massa. Alonso simply didn’t see him, and that’s all there is too it.

      11. Lady F1 says:

        Correct that most pundits agreed with Brundle.
        Brundle said it was Alonso to blame. 100% correct so hardly surprising most pundits agreed it was Alonso’s fault.
        Shame Massa had a great start ruined, would have been good to mix things up a bit, poor pitstop did the rest.
        Surprising that Alonso would make such a mistake as Massa was level and easily visible as replays clearly showed.

      12. Dan says:

        Massa made a great start and went for the gap between Dan and the pitwall. When that gap closed he shot back dangerously across to the middle- Massa moved across, not Alonso.

        I’m just glad the incident passed off without a massive crash.

      13. aveli says:

        i heard ecclestone complaining about massa being penalised for crossing the pit exit line last season, claiming that others did it and weren’t penalised. i wonder if everybody who exceeds the speed limit is penalised.

      14. Sukumaran says:

        Merc had pace, Massa made a good start, he was blocked to the pit wall
        Options.
        1. Break hard – car at the rear might run at him
        2. Go for the straight gap – hit the car in the front
        3. take a sharp left were there are no other cars at that moment

        Going in to turn 1 – he was squeezed by two cars, he had braked to avoid that, still this happened. Remember, incident happened several seconds after Massa waved to left.

        The TV channel i saw shown a Arial footage of Massa moving left – cut – footage on board Alonso implying Massa veering towards Alonso and bang!

        How many times we have seen a pole guy (poor start) blocking a grid 2 car (good start) towards pit wall?

        If this was done by Vettel in 2013 what does Brundel tell?
        If this was done by Vettel in 2014 what does media talks.
        If you don’t outplay rest of the field quit F1.
        Winning at any cost, every F1 legend did that in past.

      15. cka_bob says:

        Yeah we all know that happened Dan, the trouble is you haven’t actually mentioned the incident itself which happened after that. After Massa “shot back dangerously across the middle” as you put it he then drove dead straight and Alonso then drifted, right, into him because he was looking in his left mirror at the time. That is a fact not half of one ;). He didn’t even move “dangerously” in my opinion, aggressively maybe but this is f1 racing after all!

      16. Henk says:

        Since when is Brundle a good reference? His only ‘achievement’, which he is keen to always bring up, is coining the ‘funny’ term ‘Teflonso’. Otherwise, he has nothing to show for. Whenever he can, he will slip in how ruthless Alonso is, and how wrong he was to do this or that. [mod]

      17. Alex says:

        Yes we all know you are fan of Alonso but it seems to me you cannot see the truth, you are extremely subjective towards him because it was clear Alonso’s fault and also clear that it was a race incident, no need to defend Alonso, come on, I read below you say Alonso performs miracles, no way, he is just a great driver and as the rest he cannot outdrive the car, it is impossible by the laws of nature, try to be more objective please, I don’t remember him (maybe I have short memory, it is an option) making miracles in 2008/09 that was actually a dog of a car.

      18. carinni says:

        nonsense, massa had a penlty of space to move cross, i think it is u are the guy to be senseless

      19. NickH says:

        I agree Alonso was veering right. Massa’s initial movement across the track was aggressive but he stopped in his own space on the track which he is entitled to do and then Alonso carried on going right when Massa had stopped in his own space. I can’t believe there was no damage, incredibly lucky.

      20. Jack says:

        It’s simple – Alonso did not expect anybody there – he had got by the car initially there, and Massa came up like a shot. A coulda looked, but was busy on the left and thought he was clear. It’s simple, and a racing thing. Kudos to Massa for his amazing start and the hi is racing…

      21. TimW says:

        A driver of Massa’s experience should know you cant swerve across the track at the start, he was very lucky not to have taken both of them out.

      22. NickH says:

        Yes he is very lucky that Alonso’s drifting to the right when Massa had stopped alongside him didn’t cause a bad accident

      23. M_E says:

        @nick +1 (nail on head) :)

      24. Anil Parmar says:

        Alonso never changed his steering wheel movement once at the beginning of the race; it was massa who didn’t know what to do with his extra pace and instead risked taking out both a Ferrari and a Red Bull. I don’t think there’s a single pundit or writer, or even a fan (other than you) who seems to be blaming Alonso, especially given that Alonso was clearly ahead of Massa.

        Massa has not made the most of his machinary in these opening race. I expect more from him come Europe.

      25. Mr Ed says:

        “I don’t think there’s a single pundit or writer, or even a fan (other than you) who seems to be blaming Alonso, especially given that Alonso was clearly ahead of Massa.”

        Really? Which race were you watching. The overhead shots clearly show Alonso drifting right into Massa who was level with him. They touched tyre to tyre, how would that happen if they weren’t level? Even MB changed his mind once he saw the replays from overhead.

        Watch the view from Rosbergs onboard in this clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WssChyGtQFs

      26. jake says:

        Add me to the list that blame the contact on Alonso.
        If you see the overhead it was absolutely Alonso that was moving to the right. Massa was driving straight. They banged wheels which would imply they were level, how could Alonso be ahead.

      27. NickH says:

        Massa stopped before he got to Alonso and drove straight to turn 1. Alonso carried on going right. It is very clear cut

      28. Carinni says:

        Maybe he didn’t move the steering wheel, that means Alonso’s car is always moving to rightward, it is very clear in the replay, didn’t u watch the replay?

      29. erik says:

        Since there was no penalty it was Alonso`s fault.

        Since there was no penalty it was Rosberg`s fault.

        Things that are not written are most likely true and things that are written needs to be double checked.

        As is this peace. Cheers

      30. Carinni says:

        Very true, massa moved into the line for nearly one second, long enough for alonso to see him, it is very clear that alonso moved to the right to hit massa. Alonso should be punished.

    2. fox says:

      he said the podium was a surprise…
      nothing to add.

    3. Jon83 says:

      It was also a great drive by Alonso – nothing lucky about that.

    4. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      I’d say a whole year’s good luck in one race would only be valid if he signed a 2015 Merc contract after the race. ;)

    5. Formula Zero says:

      Alonso doesn’t ride on luck. He is always around the top 2/3 based on his own talent. Don’t forget he nearly won the WDC twice in last 4 years without having the 2nd best car. So, Alonso makes his own luck.

      1. Ahmed says:

        2010 ferrari gifted vettel the title with tht pitstop blunder in abu dhabi

      2. Rockie says:

        2010 Vettel’s dnf in Korea almost gifted Alonso the title

      3. keke says:

        Romain Grosjean’s crazy antics in Spa cosd Alonso the title in 2012. Alonso was minding his own business and RG almost took his head off.

      4. Rodrigo Martins says:

        Singapore 08 was luck to alonso too. KKK

      5. Jean-Christophe says:

        Still wondering how he got away with it. Claimed he didn’t know. Yeah right…

      6. Fastfastfast says:

        Luck or being unlucky is a big part of racing and that’s why ALL drivers mention it at least once in their careers.

        Some just have it and some don’t.

        Alonso is one of the luckiest ones but that doesn’t diminish from his achievements. It is part of what makes him great.

    6. Jean-Christophe says:

      Alonso has always been lucky. I remember how he managed to win races with a dog of a car in 2012, or how he won his second WDC. Quite the opposite to Hamilton. Thought my heart was gonna pop out of my chest when I saw that wobbling rear wing in slow motion

      1. Alexander Supertramp says:

        Haha, same hear.
        On the subject of Lewis being very unlucky.What would have happened if Lewis had had a better 2012 season(arguably the year he came closest to a second title). I don’t think he would have joined Mercedes. Mercedes and RB are looking to be the big teams of the future, offering their drivers the best chances at fighting for prizes. So in a way, the lack of luck in 2012 might have been the best thing that has ever happened to him. Let’s continue this discussion in a couple of years.

      2. Ahmed says:

        The biggest difference about th hamilton we seeing now and the hamilton we’ve become accustomed to seeing from 09-13 is quite simply that he’s stopped acting like a diva… He’s arguably the fastest driver on grid over 1 lap, if he keeps things together he has the ability to surpass even alonso in so far as race craft is concerned. He’s at the beginning of something great with mercedes and he may very well rewrite some of vettels records

      3. aveli says:

        ahmed,hamilton has always been the same. he left mclaren because he lost their trust. did you hear him saying he thought the race organisers were trying to trick him into losing the race when he saw the chequered flag?

      4. Lee says:

        Alonso is quite lucky, but he’s also very good, probably the best on the grid at the moment.
        Who could forget Japan 2006 or Singapore 2008?

    7. Krischar says:

      @ Phil Glass

      Whenever Alonso performs a Miracle and does well to earn a good result, it will be termed as luck here by people like you

      Whenever Seb vettel wins in car which is easily fastest than the competition by 0.5 tenths to 1 sec. Then it’s a great performance by vettel and champions drive? Delusional and clear Nepotism at best

      Massa drove recklessly he weaved across the track from right to left all the time and collected Alonso in the process, luckily both cars never had a serious damage or issues. Massa should have been punished by the stewards for being careless and dangerous

      Alonso drove a sublime race and put Ferrari in P3 when the car was clearly slower than Mercedes, RBR and Williams as well. Classic Alonso drive in my opinion. Many experts from BBC and Sky have confessed how well alonso drove and earned Ferrari a unlikely podium. People here need to be more subjective rather than commenting alonso’s drive as luck or fluke

      1. Jean-Christophe says:

        When everyone in front of you is hit by a DNF while having the slowest car of the top teams (early 2012) that’s a miracle indeed. But from God. Not Alonso. From Alonso point of view, it’s luck. Simple.

      2. shaboopi says:

        Jean it’s too bad God couldn’t pull off another miracle and give you basic intelligence.

      3. Lady F1 says:

        Krischar

        Alonso drove a fine race, he extracted the potential of the car, no more no less, very lucky to get away with driving into Massa at the start though, clearly his mistake but these things often happen at the start,anyone who thinks it was not Alonso to blame is delusional.
        Just playing devils advocate here…..maybe Alonso has been under performing in the Ferrari, how would we know what the car is really capable of, it’s always assumed by fans he extracts more from the car than is possible (against the laws of physics) to get out of the car for a normal human.Beating a teammate is not proof of driving beyond the car, just proof that said teammate is extracting even less from it.Perhaps Seb or Ham would have collected a title in the Ferrari over the same stretch? No way to determine that,but it’s possible.

      4. mbh says:

        Are you serious?

      5. KARTRACE says:

        Lady F1, funny lady this. It is a yard stick that exist since the begining of time. The closest comparison in what the car is capable is your team mate as the reference point. From that point of view, not mine not yours, accepted by many. Therefore waht you wrote is closest to pure gibberish. Taking your hypothesis into account if RBR where thinking properly and had Ricardo earlier on the team Seb would be maybe only once F1 chapmion driver or even “O”, all titles would be Ric’s, howz about that ? If’s are not working quite well in this world so “if” we put “ifs” aside we have a clear picture what F14T is capable of, check where is Kimi. I could not be convinced Kimi got no race craft, thats pure rubbish.

      6. Krischar says:

        @ Lady F1

        “very lucky to get away with driving into Massa at the start though” – Very wrong the tracks winds itself from left to right and not from right to left. Massa moved / weaved across from right to left all the time. Massa knows alonso was already there on the left and yet he tried a ploy which could have ended races for both luckily no damage to either cars. Stewards should surely need to take close look at drivers like massa. He did in the past with lewis in 2011 and in many of those incidents lewis was punished unfairly against massa.

        “maybe Alonso has been under performing in the Ferrari, how would we know what the car is really capable of, it’s always assumed by fans he extracts more from the car than is possible” complete tripe and i have never read a drivel like this anywhere here. If alonso have under performed as you say why Ferrari did not sack him still? Why Ferrari sack people from the technical crew and team boss? The engineers from Ferrari have a clear data and knows with the help of telemetry to see whether the pilots under perform or not. Hence they can easily say how well the pilots have done in comparison to the car. Beating the team-mates is one of the most important challenges in F1. Massa was not up to the job and he is very poor pilot who was sacked by Ferrari. while kimi is surely faster and better than massa yet he struggles with car. When asked why kimi himself confessed that the car F14T itself is very difficult to drive and he struggles to find the balance. This clearly reflects how well alonso have performed this season and generally with Ferrari for the past seasons (I repeat this Alonso is the Greatest pilot in the history of F1). Your post clearly reflects the resentment you have against Alonso here. Your are entitled to have your opinions yet be more subjective please.

        Finally a pilot can out perform the car easily. There is no rocket science which says a pilot can only do this much. If the car is capable to deliver a lap (ex 1:42:00)If a pilot can at least clock a lap which is tenth quicker than delta time. Then he has out-performed the car. I see two top class pilots who are capable to achieve a stuff like this. (lewis & Alonso)

      7. Lady F1 says:

        @krischar

        With respect,telling me to be objective while saying Alonso is the greatest pilot in the history of F1 is a little rich. A driver cannot out perform the car, only out perform a teammate, I have no dislike for Alonso but have never watched him part the sea or walk on water as some suggest, he is a great driver but the constant assumption that he can perform miracles is crazy, F1 rookie Hamilton proved the point that he is not super human. The delta time is not the cars best time, only the drivers best attempt.
        Without all current drivers attempting a lap in the Ferrari or any other car how do we know the maximum achievable lap time, telemetry does not tell the team the maximum the car is capable of.yes teammate comparison is important as it is all we can judge, it is not proof of how much any driver is extracting from the car only a comparison between two drivers. Maybe Alonso would be faster in the merc than Hamilton maybe not, we cannot know because Hamilton is fastest in the merc that it is at maximum potential. Maybe you need to be subjective.
        The fact you will not see that Alonso drifted into Massa suggests you dislike Massa.

      8. NickH says:

        Massa is entitled to drive across in one movement which he did, and he took up position when he couldn’t go any further. Alonso maybe didn’t see him as he carried on going right. It is impossible to argue he wasn’t going right as you can clearly see it from the TV. Brundle even agreed Alonso drove into him after Massa’s initial movement across.

      9. Tommy Peanuts says:

        Delusional, yes. Nepotism er no :)

      10. Phil Glass says:

        Delusional ??? but yes, I would omit ‘nepotism’ and ‘subjective’ …

      11. justafan says:

        I agree that Ferrari was slower than Mercedes but how can you prove if it was slower than RBR and Williams as well? Looking forward to your answer,

      12. dren says:

        Same as my point. It looks like Ricciardo was slightly quicker, but nobody else was.

      13. dren says:

        Alonso extracted the max from the car, or at least I am assuming that given Kimi’s performance. But maybe Kimi’s issues are making Alonso look better than he is; it’s hard to say. Either way, Alonso in the Ferrari was the 4th quickest race car. He benefited from Ricciardo’s poor start and grabbed a podium. The Williams duo and Vettel were not faster than him. It’s hard to say if he could have battled with Ricciardo if Ricciardo had a better start. Either way it looks like Alonso placed one spot higher than he should have. It wasn’t some sort of miracle drive, but it was a good drive.

    8. All revved-up says:

      Good of Alonso to dedicate the podium to Stefano D.

  2. kenneth chapman says:

    thanks for that chaps. an interesting read. i really have one oblique point to make vis-a-vis the red bull farce.

    whilst i abhor team orders so long as they are legal and sanctioned then for the teams best result they should be deemed to be sacrosanct and acknowledged by the drivers pre race.

    the team told vettel to let ricciardo past and he called them on it. wrong. horner has no control over vettel. malaysia was proof of that. why does horner then protect vettel? it makes a mockery of the team and obviously attracts derision.

    ricciardo was denied a chance to have a solid pop at alonso. he has outdriven alonso in the past and he may have been able to do it again but he was denied this chance. i really do think that red ull are becoming a joke when it comes to driver management and control.

    1. Glennb says:

      I dont much like team orders either but they are legal so we have to live with it. Drivers seem to forget that they are employees of the team owner and as such are obligated to follow instructions. The teams dont build cars so that drivers can win championships, they build them so the owner can win championships. The was he or she goes about that is totally in his or her court.
      I know of 1 such example many years ago in Australia where a #2 driver leading a BIG race was asked to move over to allow the #1 driver to pass, thus making a 1-2 (or Multi 12). It was no secret at the time. He was shown a pit board that read “Form 1-2 Finish” :) The #2 driver conformed and moved over on the last corner. He received more money for coming second than he ever would have if he won. He knew his role.

    2. Richard says:

      I don’t care much for team orders but don’t mind if used sensibly. However, this time it really wasn’t needed.

      If one car is faster than the other then they surely drive up behind and have the chance to overtake – especially with DRS on the longest straight in F1.

      The reason for teams to get involved is surely to inform of different strategies or to ensure both cars don’t ruin a strong result in final stints.

      Why should simply telling your 4-time champion to get out of the way isn’t racing.

      1. Formula Zero says:

        I am with you on this one up to certain extent. I am an Aussie & loving the fact that Ricciardo is doing so well. Team order would be fine if they were in different strategy or if it was the matter of championship winning situation. It is unacceptable that Red Bull feels it was necessary to impose team order this early in the championship. Being 4 time world champion doesn’t give Vettel the free choice either. At the same time Ricciardo can just pass Vettel like he did in Bahrain. I didn’t see Vettel letting Ricciardo pass anyway. It looked more like a great pass. It’s just Red Bull’s reaction to go with Vettel’s comments afterwards made it look like they used team order. I personally don’t buy it. However, I don’t reckon any of us expected to talk about Ricciardo as much as we are doing at the moment before the season started. As an Aussie I feel really proud & can’t help to think that we finally got a championship material driver. Just like JA told Ricciardo many years ago in One HD interview, “everybody thinks that you are the next Sebastian Vettel”. He has what it takes.

      2. Kris says:

        It’s a good point. I do understand why Williams were pushing the issue just a couple of races in – they need to get as many points on the board as early as possible as they, arguably, will see their chances dwindle as the season goes on. However, it really is a bit offputting to see RBR asking their champion driver to step aside as soon as his teammate shows any signs of getting too close. Though they’ve never appeared to be bothered by what others think, perhaps RBR are a little sensitive to the claims that Seb calls the shots and wanted to be seen to be putting him in his place. Will be interesting to see how this plays out as, if Seb can’t get his act together, it’s going to get very embarrassing for him if he’s asked to play second fiddle to his teammate at every second race.

      3. Robert says:

        They are neither being sensitive to other’s claims nor protective of Vettel. What they ARE being protective of is Daniel’s tyres, which would wear faster if it took him a few laps to get around Vettel. The idea of the team order was to make the pass happen quickly and with minimal time in Seb’s dirty air, or offline on the marbles for Daniel, so that he had as fresh tyres as possible to go chase Alonso – and a fully charged ERS unit!

        Instead, Seb made him wait 3 or 4 laps in his dirty air, putting additional wear on Daniel’s tyres, and then made him use up his ERS charge to finally pass him.

        So by being the spoiled brat that he is, Vettel used up more of Daniel’s tyres, discharged Dan’s ERS, and THEN sent him on to chase Alonso…with 4 laps less time to do it. Great for the team that pays him, eh?

    3. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      You’re assuming Horner should have control over Vettel. It’s clear, from his pathetic defence, Horner does not and will never ‘wear the trousers’ in that relationship.

      (Perhaps that’s why Bernie may like him as a puppet running F1 while he maintains control in his final years) ;)

      I’m surprised Horner didn’t try and convince everyone that Seb meant oh well that’s ‘tough luck’ then, for himself having to let Dan past. Or perhaps that Seb usually lets someone past by mirror watching, running wide on the marbles, and even correcting with oversteer as he let Dan go, just to keep it interesting for the fans of course. ;)

      We’ve already seen Vettel giving Horner a boot in the ‘love-spuds’ last year, now the other one has been booted clean off. Horner needs to stay away from team-orders over radio just as much as Seb needs to stop whinging and focus on getting back to Dan’s level with that car.

      As far as Dan getting Alonso, no doubt the gap was closing, but it could have been closing quicker than usual with Alonso saving his tyres as well as Dan pushing to catch up. I’m sure Alonso knew the situation, the Bull was a slightly better car on fresher rubber and he was ramping things back up as Dan closed up for defending the final laps.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        horner is a wimp.it is as simple as that. what is even more sickening is the lame attempts, after the event, to try and put a positive spin on both he and vettel’s actions.

        horner has laid the grounds for ridicule ever since malaysia, maybe even before but not so publicly aired, and his authority has been totally destroyed despite his protestations.

        it is a far cry from the ‘kid’ who sat in the back of the garage in tears after he ran into the back of webber in japan ruining webbers first possible win, to that of a finger pointing, team appointed, demi god that tells his team principal ‘tough luck’.

      2. eff1ohsaurus says:

        Generally, if an employee tells the boss “tough luck”…he’d face disciplinary action…

        can you imagine if Enzo was this guy’s team boss and Vettel said that…he’d be out of a drive by the next race…

        Team bosses, and especially Horner, should be a bit firmer as in days of old…

    4. abdul says:

      even IF dan passed alonso, (big if) wouldnt of counted as the race ended 2 laps too soon…

      1. jakobusvdl says:

        Good point
        Someone should be fired,
        Justice for Kobiyashi !!
        (and Caterham)

    5. Dave Emberton says:

      Somehow I think fans would be much more vocal if Ricciardo had been told to move over for Vettel.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        @ dave E…yes you may well be right but that order would only come about if ricciardo was demonstrably slower than vettel. in both cases so far, ricciardo has been able to streak away from vettel once he was past adding authenticity to the request in the first place.

      2. Matthew says:

        Dan has more talent and speed though

      3. jakobusvdl says:

        +1

    6. j says:

      I am no Seb fan but I liked how he stood up for himself, “what tires is he on”, when he knew it was very likely that they were both on primes. Very clever at 200 MPH.

      Radio 5 Live reported that the ‘party line’ (their words) from Red Bull after the race was that the time delay on the radio was what made it seem like it took Seb a long time to let Ricciardo past but in reality he let him by right away…

      Small problem with that explanation is that the radio delay actually makes the time between when we hear the orders and the pass a lot shorter.

  3. CMScot says:

    Afraid i only saw highlights, but my jaw dropped when I saw the fuel usage figures. Hamilton was using fully 5% less than anyone else. That is a staggering difference. Interested how he also said in interview his lift and coast technique was proving faster than normal braking. Surely this cant be the case. Any thoughts James?

    1. Anil Parmar says:

      It could also mean he was short fueled, as he was on pole position and they knew he wouldn’t have to do any overtaking, compared to say Rosberg who started 4th and maybe needed some extra power.

      As far as I know, the fuel usage assumes that they all start with 100Kg of fuel, so the fact Lewis used 5% less fuel could actually mean that he started with less in the first place. China isn’t known to be heavy on fuel, especially compared to Bahrain!

      1. Jorge H says:

        Fuel monitoring is done in percentage and starts on 100%, whatever is the inicial fuel load. If HAM started with less fuel (let’s assume 80Kg against 100Kg) and was consuming less 5% than others, it actually means he was using less fuel than others. Am I missing something?

      2. Robb says:

        I believe that since 100KGs is assumed, then each percentage point equals 1KG used. So if fuel stats indicate he used 5KG less than somebody else, then he did. Under-fueling wouldn’t affect this number, it would only mean he actually has less left in the tank than if he started with a full load.

      3. Kbdavies says:

        No, you are not missing anything. I am as puzzled as you are by Anil Parmar’s reply!

      4. Alex says:

        The graphic that FOM provide actually says ‘Fuel Used/kg’. Doesn’t mention percentages.

      5. Mike Dee says:

        Yes, you are missing something. :) Although the graphic shows per cent, it should really be read as kg. You could see this in Malaysia, where Williams was not even at 90% at the end of the race. The reason was that they were simply not fuelled with 100 kg.

      6. Van says:

        I doubt he would have been significantly more short-fueled than everyone else – why risk leaving yourself trying to preserve fuel and open to an attack if there is a late safety car?

        I think its a combination of running in clean air, and being able to coast, which also preserved his tyres. The poster who suggested the technique is also better for charging the MGU-K unit may well be onto something too.

    2. Neil says:

      All Hamilton is saying is that the fuel saved (by lift-&-coast) allows more time to be gained than he is losing by lift-&-coast. It’s totally possible in a fuel-limited formula.

      But you are right – with unlimited fuel it wouldn’t hold.

      Neil.

    3. Kbdavies says:

      I think this is one of the the biggest keys to HAM’s performance this year. He has definitely mastered the “lift & coast” technique and he gave a very deep insight into it on one of his BBC columns. It is far more complicated than the name suggests.
      With the increased torque of the 2014 cars, the car is torque baking more effectively, and this could indeed prove more efficient than normal braking in some corners.

      1. Andrew M says:

        Button – The Double Diffuser Champion
        Vettel – The Blown Diffuser Champion
        Hamilton – The Lift & Coast Champion

      2. Matt says:

        +1

        Would love to see a timeless race of champs and near-champs – those ‘in the wrong eras’ in cars that required their style: eg Webber was apparently a master of the high speed corner – seeing him pre-ground effects cars might have been illuminating; seeing Button in the 80s where tyre management was perhaps even more important would be interesting too etc

      3. aveli says:

        there is no lift and coast in karting but look at how much faster hamilton was. no lift and coast in f3 or gp2, yet look at how much faster he was than the opposition. he defended and overtook with as much flair as he does today. hamilton’s performance hasn’t changed much. he is simply an exceptional driver.
        i wonder why many people, including the journalists, especially in f1, get the words passed and past mixed up.

    4. aezy_doc says:

      Here’s my best guess as to how ‘lift and coast’ can be faster. In the first instance, it just isn’t. Over one lap ‘lift and coast’ is slower. No one is lifting and coasting during quali – they are on it and braking at the last possible moment. The problem is that after a banzai lap the MGU-K is then not fully charged (or even charged at all) for the next lap. Over 2 laps you may start to see ‘lifting and coasting’ deliver a higher average lap time. Lifting and coasting means more time slowing down and allows more time for harvesting energy, meaning that the MGU-K is able to deliver more of it’s potential more often – you can then get to a faster speed more quickly, thus increasing the overall lap time. The other factor may be to do with stressing the tyres – perhaps the longer slowing distances put less energy into the tyres and extend their usable life. It may not be by much, but you may gain 2 or 3 laps on each set. As well as being in clean air, this could be another reason why Hamilton’s tyres lasted so well during the race. that’s my best guess anyway…anyone got a better idea?

      1. Jean-Christophe says:

        And we are talking about a driver that the so-called specialist said would at a disadvantage because of his aggressive style and lack of engineering skills.
        So far, his “more intelligent” team mate has only won once thanks to a DNF and if it were not for Lewis, Mercedes would have had only 1 pole and the “specialists” would probably say that the Mercedes is weak in the wet etc

      2. All revved-up says:

        Ha ha.

        In my books no current F1 driver is more intelligent than Hamilton for making the decision to switch from McLaren to Mercedes back in 2012.

        What a calculated risk he took.

        Some might say its luck – but in the investing world Buffett shows that smart investors then to appear to be lucky.

      3. Kbdavies says:

        Very true!

      4. Kbdavies says:

        The technique is not executed on the literal interpretation of the phrase. It actually involves much much more than simply “lifting” and “coasting”. Read the Lewis’s BBC column where he breaks it down for a better explanation.

      5. aezy_doc says:

        So, in the detailed explanation of ‘lift and coast’ Lewis says that first you lift, then you coast, then you brake a bit later than you might have done if you’d just come straight off the throttle and on to the brake. Sounds awfully complicated ;-)

      6. aveli says:

        arzy_doc explains it perfectly. lift and coast simply means lifting a few metres before braking. for example lifting 150m before corner and braking 50m before corner rather than lifting and braking simultaneously at 100m board.

    5. Glennb says:

      Hard to believe it’s faster that way. I doubt he’ll use that method in qualifying ;)

      1. Matt says:

        Doesn’t it also depend on the relative strength of the rest of the Mercedes car?
        Red Bull generally quicker through corners owing to better (?) aero/suspension, but slower down straight given reduced top end power of Renault. For a long time (V8 era) the Renault was supposed to be more drivable out of corners (guessing this was more torque at lower revs).

        Anyway, if the Mercedes is the best-braking car, coasting during that phase might not matter as much as if it were an area of weakness for them; particularly if doing so means the harvested power adds to other strengths, or enables areas of weakness to be covered by the extra power.

        Of course, I suspect it’s just better overall anyway ;-) Certainly seems much more consistent than anything else.

    6. Philip B says:

      Agreed, I’ve seen little conversation around the disturbing possibility (disturbing that is if you’re not Mercedes or a HAM/ROS fan) that the car is capable of a whole lot more already.

    7. Elie says:

      @CmScot- the Mercedes is slightly more efficient than the other cars to begin with and Lewis was on pole so he did not have to fight anyone (like Nico did) from the get go. On the lift & coast driving- with ERS MGU-K acting on the rear brakes its harvesting energy and acting like a brake at the same time. When Lewis established a handy lead he can afford to use this method more than others.

  4. Marc Saunders says:

    Ricciardo passed Vettel on round 26, at that point Ric was about 10 seconds behind Alonso at about the same speed as the Spaniard. Ric had 30 laps til the end of the race, and, whei he passed Vet, could only take about two tenths from Alo. The fact that at the end of the race the time between Ric and Alo was about the same time that Ric lost behind Vet, doesnt account for the acction of Alo, that from lap 45 was caring his tyres and let Ric approach. By no way would Alo have let Ric come in his wake or even less pass him. So Vet only increased the advantage of Alo in about a second.

    1. Formula Zero says:

      Perfectly explained, I was about to write the same thing. So, team order meant nothing but waste of a good on track action from a spectator’s point of view.

    2. Fastfastfast says:

      I’m not so sure about that. I’m sure fighting with Seb also hurt his tyres which should also been taken into account. Plus, I agree with Formula Zero that I think we missed out on a good battle between Dan and Alonso.

      I still hate team orders.

      1. Fastfastfast says:

        Sorry, I thought Formula Zero was talking about Dan vs Alonso. He was talking about team orders ruining a good battle between Seb and Dan, which I agree with too.

    3. All revved-up says:

      +1

      I too am of the view that canny Alonso had some reserves up his sleeve.

      We have seen it so many times before – Alonso is highly skilled at defending his lead.

      It’s only the rare occasion that he is caught out by tyres that fall off a cliff.

      Most other occasions he does just enough to dishearten the chasing driver and no more. He then coasts two laps from the end – just to finish tantalizingly close to the frustrated driver behind. Cunning fox he is.

      1. Fastfastfast says:

        In 2010 in Germany when Massa wouldn’t move over, rightfully so, Alonso backed up a bit as much as 3 seconds. After a few laps, he went on the chase again and closed the gap by 3/10ths.

        It’s as if he was trying to tell Massa, “Look, fool! I can do whatever I want and still have the pace. I can hound you, back up by 3 seconds and then chase you again and be right in your tailpipe. It doesn’t matter because I am faster than you. Move!”

        I wonder sometimes if Alonso called for team orders to
        spare his teammate the embarassment of being overtaken in the same car. Probably not, but I still wonder.

        I can’t wait when he is behind Kimi one of these races. Will he call the team or go for the gap?

      2. Sanky says:

        i would expect him to call the team…remember Indianapolis 2007??

      3. Fastfastfast says:

        @sanky

        Yes, how can I forget. One of the best races of Hamilton’s career. Alonso threw a proper fit and weaved in front of the pitboard to show his frustration with his new team.

        But Kimi of today is not as fast as Lewis was, or for that matter as fast as Kimi was in 2007, with today’s car. I would imagine that Alonso will make the move instead.

    4. rudyBB says:

      I totally agree. I think Alonso was controling the gap with RIC, see the times of the las stint.
      I think this article don’t show the great drive of Alonso.

    5. Martin says:

      I’m with you on that one, and I don’t really agree with James’ argument about Alonso making his second stop too early. Lap 11 for the first and 33 for the second gives pretty evenly spaced stints of 22 and 23 laps with the lighter fuel load available for the slightly longer stint.

      To run longer than lap 33 to me would risk increasing Alonso’s overall race time through degradation tending to increase slightly at the end of a stint and there is the increased risk of a driver doing what Hamilton did and running off the track as the tyres give up.

      Given that Rosberg was able to pass Massa’s Williams in a straight line with equal tyres, I’m not sure Ferrari would have had any realistic hope of holding a Mercedes back on a straight that long.

  5. Bart says:

    Great James, thanks

  6. Blackmamba says:

    Vettel wouldn’t have liked it if Ricciardo had finished on the podium emphasising just how much better he was!

    1. Krischar says:

      yes exactly blackmamba

      Vettel did not want Dan Ricciardo to finish on the podium and he reacted as if like he does not know the strategy. Vettel questionned the strategy just to make sure that he is fair racer and acted as if he is not aware of the situation behind. 3 stops were not in the frame for RBR at all, not for any team as well.

      The pace which Dan Ricciardo exuded after he cleared vettel was quite faster and better than Alonso through out the stint. In fairness had Ricciardo had 2 more laps to attack alonso he may have passed Alonso as the Ferrari’s pace was slower than RBR easily by 0.3 to 0.4 tenths and the tyre’s on Alonso’ car reached the cliff.

      RBR team is complete charade, when team orders benfitted vettel they imposed it hard and fast yet in china they were dumb and did not see the podium possibility for Ricciardo

      1. justafan says:

        Podium for RBR was only possible if they didn’t get undercut by Ferrari. From that moment on Alonso would never surrender the podium to the Bulls. Ferrari had much more straight line speed, we saw this when Vettel exited the pits with fresher tyres and his box told him to fall behind Alonso. I really don’t understand why you guys keep on whining about the lost podium in relation to the team orders.

      2. Ahmed says:

        +1

        Lol as long as it makes vettel look bad, people will continue singing ths song

    2. Formula Zero says:

      Makes me wonder what Ricciardo could’ve done if he was Vettel’s partner instead of Webber! Maybe that would’ve been Rosberg vs Hamilton kind of fight for the championship. As much as I love Webber, it feels like Ricciardo would’ve won one or two championships over the last 4 years if he had the dominant car like Vettel, which MW couldn’t do. Hindsight is a beautiful & frustrating thing from a fan’s point of view. Maybe & just maybe the championship wouldn’t have been so boring in 2011 & 2013.

  7. George says:

    If Rosberg’s had no telemetry, how was it possible for the TV feed to report his fuel stats?

    1. Andrew M says:

      No-one seems to be able to explain where the fuel stats come from, and as such I take them with a huge spoonful of salt.

    2. Anil Parmar says:

      Ted said that the team were very confused by this as well!

    3. Rossi says:

      This was alluded to in post commentary; it was the teams sender that failed butter the FIA sender is on a different circuit so that data was still being transmitted

      1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

        The FIA sender was still at Bahrain then ;)

    4. Matthew says:

      That was the main question I had from this race too.

    5. IJW says:

      Apparently there were 2 circuits connected to the fuel flow kit. One for the team, and one for the FIA. The FIA one was the one being used to show the fuel stats. Beats me why the team couldn’t have just used that, instead of distracting Rosberg with him having to read off the dashboard on his steering wheel.

    6. Brendan says:

      +1

      Thought of this myself. Strange?

    7. Glennb says:

      I was wondering that too. Bottas’ fuel using wasn’t broadcast, maybe he had telemetry issues too.

      1. Rossi says:

        Apparently in Bottas’ case it was the actual FIA fuel flow sensor that was faulty

      2. Matt says:

        but they’ve been so reliable…

      3. kenneth chapman says:

        wasn’t red bull the only team to have these faulty fuel flow meters?

      4. James Allen says:

        No, others have experienced problems

        But Renault engined cars in particular have had issues and I think the Total fuel has something to do with it, the viscosity of it perhaps

      5. Alec Tronnick says:

        Please don’t refer to the FIA fuel flow meters as fauly, the ICA has ruled that even if they are faulty they are not faulty.

      6. Lindsay says:

        lol

    8. Simon says:

      Two telemery feeds – one for FIA (ie tv), and another only for Mercedes team. The Mercedes telemetry failed.

    9. Purple Helmet says:

      Rosberg was being asked on the radio from time to time to read back the fuel number from his dashboard. At one point towards the end, he became irritated by keep doing this (which was played during the coverage). The viewers at home only hear the radio conversations the broadcast chooses to air, but I imagine that the rest of the conversations are still available to some of the media and that Merc would certainly have been getting this figure from him each lap.

    10. DB says:

      I wondered about that too. Maybe the problem was not on the car, but on the team’s side?

    11. Richard says:

      It was mentioned in UK commentary – FOM TV feed from the FIA fuel flow meter has a separate circuit to that signalling telemetry to the team. It was the Mercedes circuit which was faulty, thus they had no fuel flow meter reading, along with any other telemetry.

    12. AuraF1 says:

      It’s possible it was a frequency clash issue – the transmitter may have been reaching the FOM channel, but possibly clashing on the team channel.

      I don’t know if that’s the case – but I know audio engineers who’ve worked in countries for live broadcast where the allocation of radio bands has gone horribly wrong and wiped some transmissions out.

      I think Bottas had a telemetry loss to FOM didn’t he? But Williams were still receiving? I know Bottas’ fuel consumption was showing up as 0% on the screen displays anyway.

    13. Formula Zero says:

      Catch phrases of the season “fuel sensor” & “he is faster than you”. Thanks FIA, taxi driving has more cons than pros on a race track. And we are only 4 races in!!!

  8. German Samurai says:

    Agreed it was a great drive by Rosberg considering what he had to contend with. Mature and controlled and lost the minimum to Hamilton.

    1. Formula Zero says:

      Yes, fast F1 car does bring the best out of a German driver as we have seen in last 15 years (9 out of 15 WDC won by a German driver)! Nico had always been a championship material to me personally. Lewis is doing a remarkable job to keep him under control. Rosberg didn’t seem very happy or chirpy when the top 3 got together before the podium ceremony. His body language & facial expression was very odd. He did the best damage limitation from a bad weekend & still leads the championship. His race was affected by the dirty side of the track just like Ricciardo as well. I think we are going to see a very fast, angry & out of skin racing by Rosberg in Barcelona. My early call is Nico Rosberg for the win in Barcelona. He wants to keep the German domination going I’m sure.

      1. aveli says:

        massa was also on the same side as rosberg and ricciardo but he shot off the grid and banged wheels with alonso who was running 4th at the time.

  9. bmg says:

    It would have been a thrill to watch the young gun and the master fight out the last 4 laps, thats car racing I guess.

  10. Phil J says:

    If Mercedes had no telemetry on Nico’s car why didn’t they ask the FIA? We had fuel usage and energy capacity on the on screen TV graphics.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Perhaps the FOM display on screen is subject to a delay (much like the radio transmissions for braodcast)? Or maybe it’s subject to an ‘estimation’ so it’s not as accurate as the in-car sensors…

      Or maybe Mercedes don’t trust the FIA fuel sensors but didn’t want to say so in case it made Red Bull look vindicated ;)

    2. Elie says:

      The FIA cannot get involved in racing in any way shape or form.
      It might be a delayed feed also – not sure

  11. Richard says:

    The reason Rosberg got back into second place was simply he had a much faster car than the opposition! It was simply a matter of time before he passed those in front of him with the exception of Hamilton. I think there is a degree of excuse making in the weekends turn of event for Rosberg who had previously told Hamilton he was going for the win in China. – Didn’t quite work out that way, and it doesn’t do to get rattled. He needs to re-group and look carefully at what he can do to stop the rot.

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Spot on there, the gap is still 2+ seconds to the next best team.

      We saw it in Bahrain, even when the drivers were attacking and defending against each other after the safety car.

      Back to China, when Rosberg had to push, when he knew he had to beat Dan coming out of the pits, he did a low 1:42s lap, at a time when others were putting in 1:44s.

      Too easy, no wonder Alonso didn’t try to defend Rosberg’s accelerator pedal pass.

      It partly explains why Lewis, cruising out front in clean air, can save so much fuel. He probably could win the race by lapping everyone but they need to watch their reliability, watch their multi-race engine preservation, and perhaps even watch they don’t give Luca and Horner too much ‘it’s boring’ let us mod the engines ammo.

  12. Andrew M says:

    “…but first dummied Ferrari by sending mechanics out on lap 33, as if they were about to stop.”

    I though teams were banned from doing this for safety reasons?

    1. Glennb says:

      As far as I know it’s not allowed. Maybe they have the right to ‘change their mind’. It’s plausible.

      1. Glennb says:

        From the 2014 Sporting Regs

        23.11
        Team personnel are only allowed in the pit lane immediately before they are required to work
        on a car and must withdraw as soon as the work is complete.

        That’s all I could find on the subject.

    2. I was about to say the same thing.

      James can you shed any light on this? Has this rule changed or is it just really difficult to police?

    3. justin says:

      It would be pretty easy to blame it on radio problems, miscommunication, etc. They were having telemetry problems after all. I also recall it being in the rules but also remember teams ‘faking’ stops.

    4. TGS says:

      Maybe they were going to pit Rosberg for the undercut but changed their mind once Alonso came in. I guess they could argue that anyway.

    5. AuraF1 says:

      I think it’s a bit like a ‘racing incident’ – you’d have to prove intent so it’s hard to police it. You could just say the driver didn’t make the pitlane and continued, or the radio message didn’t reach the driver and it’s hard to punish a team for those things which can and do happen.

      I guess it’s like any ‘dummy’ – you have to not overdo it or you’ll get noticed ;)

    6. Martin says:

      Also why if you stop on lap 11 would you go further than lap 33 on a 56 lap race? The two stints are split 22 and 23 laps that way and the longer stint is done with the lighter fuel load. I suspect it may have been quicker overall to come in a lap or two earlier, but it does make those who stop early vulnerable post any safety car deployment.

      I doubt the ‘selling the dummy’ story has any merit, although a team may claim it for propaganda purposes, as it is impossible to refute.

  13. Cole says:

    Hi James.
    Great report as usual. Thanks for that as I couldn’t watch the race.
    One thing that confuses me is Red Bull claims that they ordered Vettel to let Ricciardo by, giving he (Vettel) was on a three stopper at that stage.
    Shouldn’t be the other way around? Normally the three stoppers should run faster stints to compensate the extra stop. So why letting by your teammate that should look after tyres and do slower stints?
    Cheers.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Ricciardo was catching him pretty quickly, and once he passed him he left him behind pretty quickly too :)

    2. Martin says:

      To pick a semi hypothetical example, if one car is ahead, but it has a chassis issue that means it is wearing its tyres too quickly it can mean that while the stints are shorter it is not getting away from the 2 stopper as it should.

      In this case Ricciardo was out of position due to a poorer start. He hardly lost any time to Vettel in the first stint and from when Ricciardo stopped on lap 16 he was quicker than Vettel. It took quite a few laps for him to catch him, but from the point of the later stop you would expect the later stopping driver to be faster. It is in the out laps from the earlier stopping driver having pitted that until the second driver stops the big time gain is made. Over those three laps the difference can be up to 9 seconds. But Vettel wasn’t able to do that, in part because he had Alonso’s Ferrari stopping his initial burst. Ricciardo then slowly reeled him in.

      1. Cole says:

        I understand why Red Bull let Ricciardo by. What I don’t understand is the excuse they gave to Vettel. “As he’s on a two stopper while you are on three, let him by.”
        Doesn’t sound right

      2. Martin says:

        It is simply that as there is no refuelling, the driver with the newest tyres is the one that is faster. The aim of the three stopper is to be on the newer tyres more often and go a bit faster in the first stint. In this case Ricciardo was on the newer tyres so at that point he was faster. That Ricciardo had caught Vettel just shows that Vettel wasn’t competitive that day.

    3. aveli says:

      good point but vettel is still way ahead of ricciardo on the championship table.

  14. Kingszito says:

    As I understand the car transmits telemetry to FIA and to the team, so Rosberg’s car was only transmitting to FIA.

  15. Andrew M says:

    Oh yeah, and that chequered flag nonsense has to be sorted out; can you imagine how ridiculous it would have been if that had any more serious ramifications? At worst it could be used to deliberately manipulate the result of a race.

    1. PxB says:

      Quite right, but I believe they show the percentage of the 100kg allowance, not of the car’s actual fuel load. A car can start with 95kg – confusingly “95%” would then mean it’s used all of its fuel!

      It would be clearer if they showed kg remaining instead of % used (“remaining” will work better in future years when the 100kg limit is supposed to be reduced, although no doubt Luca will fight that).

      1. PxB says:

        Oops, that was supposed to go with post 16 below!

      2. jake says:

        Actually the sensor measures fuel used. The FIA have no idea how much is remaining as only the team knows how much they started with.

      3. PxB says:

        Thanks Jake, good point. They should therefore show kg used.

  16. Rob says:

    I don’t quite see the point of using less fuel, starting with less fuel i get, but carrying fuel around not so much. Not that it mattered.

    1. Andrew M says:

      No, but there’s a point in not stressing the engine as it has to be used at multiple events. Also, I don’t think the FOM fuel usage stats are all that accurate.

    2. Martin says:

      There is also the potential for the team to exploit its performance advantage by being cautious. The sensors are known to drift in some cases. If you thought you’d used 98 kg and actually used 100.5 kg then that would be a disqualification.

      The comment from Malaysia on Williams was that their cars were not fully filled, as fuel saving was worth the lap time benefit. That makes more sense to me anyway as the sensors measure rate rather than level, so the assumption would be that the car starts on a planned 100 kg for the race, which it may not have.

    3. jake says:

      It is very good practice for the odd occasion when you find yourself short of fuel. To be able to maintain a reasonable race pace whilst saving fuel is a big advantage. I am sure he tested a few other driving techniques. He also run the soft tyres way past their best to see how long he could make them last. This is all good data for the future.

  17. fox says:

    nice report, better than the race itself

  18. goferet says:

    It appears then that the fact everybody decided to go for the two stops is what made contributed to the race not being a classic.

    If I recall a race like China 2011, what made it mega is some teams gambled on the two stops whilst others went for the three stops and so this meant overtaking was guaranteed.

    The off set strategy is a very clever one but this mainly depends on the appearance of a safety car towards the end of a race for it to be a success especially in equally matched cars.

    Regards the Riccardo/Vettel team orders, I understand the teams point of view but if I were Riccardo I wouldn’t appreciate them as I would rather gain a place through skills and not with help from the pitwall >>> especially at two consecutive races.

    Alonso’s strong start off the grid is what lay the foundations for the podium and the improved straight line of the Ferrari meant he could stay out of the Renault clatches.

    As for Rosberg, he did well to come through the pack. But what must have worried him after the race is the fact that despite being P2 and in clear air, Lewis up front was still pulling away.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Indeed.
      Perhaps it is incumbent on Pirelli making slightly softer tyres for Europe/Canada – or at least two types of tyres completely different in grip variables?

      1. goferet says:

        @ Gaz Boy

        No, Pirelli had to bring harder tyres across the board for 2014 to deal with the extra torque.

      2. kenneth chapman says:

        @ goferet….harder tyres? did you not see the carpet of marbles littering the track? it was as bad as any i have ever seen.

      3. Gaz Boy says:

        RE Goferet and Kenneth Chapman: Perhaps the sidewalls will all have to ultra stiff, but perhaps there can be same “play” in the tread-block between different compounds?
        Perhaps I should have added a lot is incumbent on the European summer weather………..

  19. fox says:

    Interesting that Raikkonen used different chassis than Alonso.

    “Raikkonen was using a different chassis in China, but he thinks the issue is “probably something to do with my driving style and the track and the temperatures”. From grandprix247.

    Still interesting to know whose chassis was newer, why they raced diff chassis, who the development of the chassis goes there.

    1. AuraF1 says:

      I didn’t hear that but is it possible Kimi’s chassis was still damaged from Bahrain/the Bahrain tests when it was found to be cracked?

      1. Elie says:

        No, it was a new chassis. Kimis chassis was dis-guarded after the Bahrain test. Its not “different” – its same chassis as Alonso – just different suspension/ steering components

  20. Voodoo man says:

    Not sure of rosberg had a good race for coming second. He has a rocket ship and shouldn’t come any lower than 2nd. Even from the back of the grid he would of come second. Good work Hamilton. Finally have the equipment underneath you and no Mclaren team hash ups to get in your way.

    1. TGS says:

      I agree. I was expecting Rosberg to overtake all and sundry in the first few laps and he either didn’t or couldn’t.

      1. Jean-Christophe says:

        I guess it was more about doing it without cooking the tyres and putting too much strain on the engine. Besides he had no telemetry. The team didn’t know if he’d sustained any damage

  21. Stephen Craig says:

    There are two feeds from the car. One to the pitwall and the other to the FIA. The pitwall was having technical problems.

  22. DB says:

    All this and this GP wasn’t as exciting as the previous? I disagree.
    Racing has always been about strategy for me.

    1. Anil Parmar says:

      Agreed. I loved how many little stories were unfolding during this race…they’ve got me so excited for Spain!

  23. Craig Baker says:

    Thank you James, Mark, Williams Martini Racing and the other experts that put these race reports together. Thank you.

    Saddens me when a strategist is paid a perfectly good wage to assist the team, does so, and yet is ignored by a driver.

    1. Rockie says:

      You were praising Massa for ignoring this same instructions not long ago!

      1. Craig Baker says:

        No Rockie, this is my first post since the 2014 season started.
        Tough Luck!

    2. justafan says:

      What do you want to watch, Craig, F1 full of team orders or genuine and exciting racing?

      1. Craig Baker says:

        The modern F1 a la Jean Todt is all about limited downforce, limited sound, limited tyres and lets not forget limited fuel. I do not call that exciting racing, unless you factor all that together to balance these limiting factors to get the best time from start to finish. You know strategy.

        Team orders to me is when there is a number one and a number two. If that was the case, Dan would have been asked to hold station behind Seb. That I can not agree with. Lets see the drivers being the best they can be.

  24. Sebee says:

    You know what, new day, new chance at optimisim.

    Let’s see what happens in Spain in 3 week’s time. That will really tell us if this is goose is cooked.

    Right now, there are 16 races worth of points left on the table. Maybe someone will put Mercedes under pressure after all?

    1. AuraF1 says:

      I don’t wish Lewis or Nico any ill at all, but it might be best if they have a few technical DNF’s – just to make the season more like 2010/2012 rather than 2011/2013…

      1. Sebee says:

        Are you saying you’d like to see Vettel win the WDC in the final race of the season like he did in 2010?

        Jokes aside, we’re going to see the pattern for the next while quickly once we get back to Europe. Team now can develop a bit, bring new hardware to Spain and hopefully bridge this gap. Newey is catching up on his bathroom reading daily with all the photos of MB cars, I am sure! We do have 16 races worth of points on offer, that’s 112 point difference between wins and 2nd alone. As much as I and others here have “surrendered” there is still a way.

        However, if Lewis and Nico keep taking the wins for MB in the first 3 races back in Europe, then it will truly be over.

        I can’t wait for Monaco this year too. Lewis remembers 2013 I’m sure. Which one of the two drivers will graduate to the multiple winner list this year with this MB bullet? Saturday will be interesting, no doubt.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        Well personally I probably wouldn’t be hoping for a last minute Vettel victory but as a fan of F1 and dramatic spectacle it’d be massively thrilling if he had the chance – I will feel good for Lewis (or possibly Nico though we all think it less likely) if they sew up that 2nd (or 1st!) championship to their name but there’s few sporting spectacles like an F1 final race that can decide the title. It’s a shame the double points finish might try to artificially engineer it as it’s one of those things which when it happens organically is truly great viewing.

      3. hal says:

        Lewis has 1 DNF already.

    2. All revved-up says:

      At least we have two drivers fighting for the championship – even if WCC is all sewn up.

      Better than last year – where both WCC and WDC were sewn up 4 races from the end.

      Still – one can always hope for a better spectacle.

      That said – I feel Rosberg needs Hamilton to have some car problems to have a fighting chance for WDC.

      1. Sebee says:

        Are you so revved-up that you don’t see this WDC is “nearly” sewn up with 4 races from the start?

  25. Harry says:

    Interesting article especially about Ricciardo’s start and the various teams strategies. Has Hamilton maturated as he could have had a Grand Chelem this weekend, but seems to be more concerned about looking after the engine. As there have only been 8 by Jim Clark in F1 it seems to me that Hamilton is very focused on not overtaxing the car.
    Rosberg is doing a good job, but he has to start beating Hamilton soon otherwise he is hoping for DNF’s due to mechanicals. Possible of course as this year has already show.
    The chart shows quite clearly how much pace the mercs have the beginning of the race Hamilton is above his average race speed, frightening for all the other teams.
    Great drives by Alonso and Ricciardo and the gap is closing, but slowly. Roll on Spain and with major updates coming should be interesting how this shakes up the grid.

    1. Andrew M says:

      I don’t think Grand Chelem’s mean all that much to the drivers, as they’re kind of random; I mean you can lose a Grand Chelem despite dominating the weekend just because someone from the midfield tried to chance their arm on a one stopper, or if a car had to make a late pitstop and then banged in a fastest lap on fresh tyres and no fuel.

    2. aveli says:

      it’s not easy to beat the best driver to have stepped foot in the sport in the sister car.

      1. Martin says:

        What? Elie keeps telling us that Raikkonen is the best. How will I know who’s right, and why?

    3. Richard says:

      Of course DNF’s can happen to anybody, and Hamilton has already had one due to a minor issue with the engine. I suspect Mercedes reliability is going up not down as they become aware of the potential, and put fixes in place to reduce the risk. Rosberg has really got to understand how he can improve, rather than becoming irritated, otherwise Hamilton is going to rack up race after race as he sticks it on pole, and controls the race. It seems as thought Hamilton has got on top of how to set this car up as set up mistakes can give either driver an edge. Right now though Hamilton is firing on all cylinders!

  26. TheSynMan says:

    “But the fact that they followed the correct initial instinct – to get Ricciardo ahead of Vettel – showing that Vettel does not necessarily enjoy any superior status.”

    Letting Vettel get away with ignoring team orders clearly indicates his superior status.

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      Let’s wait to see if Dan ever gets the undercus on Seb in a race when he’s running just ahead of Seb.

      I fancy that Horner already has a list of excuses for compromising Dan’s strategies at the ready…

    2. German Samurai says:

      Imagine the uproar if Hamilton was told to let Rosberg through in Bahrain.

      Massa ignored a team order to let Bottas through in Malaysia. Not a peep from anyone except to say they are happy to see Massa standing up for himself.

      What a joke.

      1. aveli says:

        hamilton is special.

      2. Ed Bone says:

        Difference being that Merc was neutral on who won in Bahrain, no constructor points advantage either way.

        But Vettel ckearly comprised the team by not letting Ricciardo past, therby denying the opportunity of a podium and therfore more points for the team.

        Truthfully, Vettel is a pampered little baby who throws all his toys out when he cant get his own way.

        Reminds me a lot of Alonso.

      3. aveli says:

        the drivers are in a competition to collect as many points as possible so if ricciardo is faster than vettel why does vettel have to allow him to pass? he should find his own way around vettel. if he can’t find his way around vettel what hope has he in passing alonso?

      4. Ed Bone says:

        They are also in a team. The goal of the team overall is score the maximum points using both cars at each race.

      5. Chapor says:

        Buuuut, at the beginning of the race in Bahrain, Massa had asked the team to tell Bottas to back of… And he did. And then refused to return the favour… Hmmmmm….

  27. Roberto says:

    As soon as I save up enough money to buy my own F-1 team, my driver’s contracts will say, “If you violate my team orders, you don’t get paid for that race.”

    1. AuraF1 says:

      Given how rich and determined they are, you might find they disobey anyway.

      1. Jean-Christophe says:

        At some point money isn’t their main concern. Although it still counts. McLaren offered Lewis more money than Mercedes but he left anyway

      2. Kbdavies says:

        Yes, Macca did offer him more money; AFTER he declined their offer of a pay cut,giving him less than JB was earning at the time.

    2. Random 79 says:

      Just offering a punishment won’t cut it; you need the classic carrot and stick approach. A more effective contract would read:

      “If you violate my team orders you don’t get paid for that race, but if you do what I tell you there will be cake after the race.” :)

      1. Andrew M says:

        No cake for Seb, just a large slice of humble pie.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Very true

      3. jakobusvdl says:

        That would work, except for the drivers who are on the fresh air diet to keep their weight down

      4. Random 79 says:

        Sadly even more true

    3. j says:

      Too bad most of the drivers are paying the teams.

      You give me a car that DNFs, I don’t pay you my sponsorship money for that race.

  28. PxB says:

    On lap 26 when Rocky said “Daniel is on a 2-stop”, Vettel’s reply sounded like “pit confirm, boxing”. But he didn’t come in and 2 laps later we heard “stay out, it helps us”.

    The article makes it clear Red Bull would have settled on a 2-stop by then. Could they have let him think he was 3-stopping, knowing it would make him more likely to let Ricciardo past?

    1. Clarks4WheelDrift says:

      I see what you mean, though maybe he was on a potential three stop due to tyre chewing, but they realised, when he was passed by his two stopping teammate, it was game over already so they just had to avoid as much traffic as possible.

      The strange thing is, for a potential three stopper he lost a lot of time to Alonso as soon as he realised he had to drop out of his dirty air. Also, would running the medium compound when he did be optimal for a three stop?

      They did say, DC I think, that the drivers can communicate to the team via pre-defined message buttons on the steering wheel, to give them info without using the radio to not let everyone else know. Didn’t realise this though it would make sense to use it to secretly pass info on graining or undercut pitting.

  29. Muna says:

    Japan 2013 again RBR lying to their drivers about strategy to benefit the other driver. Can they not just take a page from Rob Smedley ” Ok Sebastian, Riciardo is faster than you!”

    1. Horoldo says:

      That is exactly what he said first. Then said do not hold him up.

  30. darren w says:

    Fun detail about Mercedes using track position to lure Alonso into the pits early. After such a bad start that was a nice tidy race by Rosberg.

  31. Ahmed says:

    Ricciardo would not be able to attack alonso simply because of thr straight line speed deficit. Earlier in the race we saw vettel challenge alonso n quickly gave up saying it ws not possible. Even if ricciardo had 2 more laps to nail on track at full steam, at most he wouldve been within drs range but not close enough to take 3rd. He lost 3rd place at th start(apparently his grid spot had an oil slick)…. Close but no cigar, maybe monaco will be better for ricciardo, who knows, his first podium may just be a 1st place finish at the crown jewel of f1

  32. Fastfastfast says:

    I hate team orders.

    Here’s another perspective on it:

    Last year, I watched the Malaysian GP with the sound off because I didn’t want to wake my wife and my kids up because it was 2 in the morning here.

    All I saw was Seb passing Mark and then Mark retaking the lead and then Seb finally passing Mark for the lead. In another part of the track, I saw Nico pass Lewis and then Lewis retaking the place back, twice.

    I said to myself, this is damn good racing. After the race, I turned the TV off and went back to bed satisfied that I had just watched one of the most exciting races in a good while.

    It was only after reading about the race in the morning that I discovered about team radio controversies with both Redbull and Mercedes, which incidentally, were the two teams that provided the most entertainment in the race.

    Team radio and the ensuing controvery ruined that race for me forever. From an all time classic to a political dud. They said it was one of the saddest podiums ever with Seb confused, Mark irate and Lewis clearly apologetic and felt undeserving of the podium. All this because of team orders.

    Please watch the 2012 Malaysian GP with the sound off and tell me that wasn’t great racing between Seb and Mark and Lewis and Nico.

    1. JB says:

      Even with sound on, the duel between Webber and Vettel was absolutely the most exciting bit of 2013.

      The commentator David Croft was 100% excited about it and conclude that it was one of the best fights he had seen.

      Then the story flipped 180 deg when Mark Webber’s famous Multi-21 term popped out at the end of the race.

      To be fair Mark Webber never listened to team order as well:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKvQ112a0eo

      1. Fastfastfast says:

        I actually don’t care what drivers choose to do with team orders, they should do as they please. They could listen to them, ignore them or decline them, I don’t care. What I don’t like is giving them team orders in the first place. I especially hate it when the team ask drivers to move over for their teammates, let alone, hold station. It’s a race for pete’s sake. So let them race. Isn’t this what Sundays are for?

        The only time they should have team orders is when it is mathematically impossible for one of the drivers to finish ahead of the other and of course, the obvious one, when your teammate is the only one in your team who is mathematically still capable of winning the championship. That’s it.

      2. justafan says:

        Very good post! Agree fully.

      3. Horoldo says:

        To be fair, RB are in damage limitation mode in terms of points. Makes no sense holding up one guy if they thought he could get more points.
        I’m sure they wouldn’t have asked him to move over if 4th and 5th were all that was possible.
        Dan was catching Seb and Alo at 1+ sec per lap. And was nearly matching Ros at the time this happened.

    2. Richard says:

      Yes this is very true. I’ve been saying on this blog for some time that what F1 really needs is to remove two-way radio. Drivers will just have to bloody welll get on with it!!!

      1. Fastfastfast says:

        No, no, that’s a bit extreme. The drivers and the teams need to communicate, especially with everything so technical and “gadgety” nowadays.

        Perhaps, they shouldn’t be broadcasting it. We never used to hear team radio and it didn’t take away from watching the race.

  33. KenC says:

    “offset”, shouldn’t we be calling this the over cut, since the “offset” is just the opposite of the undercut?

    1. Random 79 says:

      With the way they edit the team radio it should all be called director’s cut ;)

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        surely who ever has to give way takes ‘a hair cut’….in a manner of speaking.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Unless that was a reference to Webber last year you lost me :)

      3. kenneth chapman says:

        @ random 79…. have you not heard the expression before? it means that you ‘take a loss’. i thought that it was common parlance….evidently not.

      4. Random 79 says:

        Nope, that’s a new one on me :)

  34. A-P says:

    Would Hamilton being ahead of the zero-line for his first stint, and never after, be an indication that he eased-off some and simply “managed the gap” for the rest of the race after an initial charge, or was something (weather, mechanical glitch, whatever) actually slowing him?

    1. Andrew M says:

      I think that Mercedes just have so much pace in hand that after the first stint Hamilton just managed the gap without stressing the car. They were even really conservative in the first stint, they actually lost about 7 seconds to Alonso by pitting as late as they did, but frankly it doesn’t matter.

    2. Nator says:

      I reckon the Mercs are holding back as to not embarrass the rest of the field.

      1. littleredkelpie says:

        +1. More likely they are acutely aware that if they are seen to be untouchable by the rest of the field, they risk ‘intervention’ from the knobs who run this circus in an effort to even things up with more rules – because as we all know, old fashioned racing is so ….old fashioned.

    3. Mike Dee says:

      Well, the zero line also takes into account pit stops, so being ahead of the zero-line does not mean you are going faster than your average lap excluding pit stops.

      1. A-P says:

        Pit stops happen every race, so that was not what was different.

        I have in part misled myself anyway, in that it’s the gradient between laps on the line that shows the speed, not the absolute position of the point on the line at the lap end, that shows the difference in speed between one lap and another.

        But (if I recall correctly) it is still unusual, in the absence of safety cars and changes in weather, for even a front-running lead driver to be ahead of the zero-line in his first stint. I should not have tried to guess the answer at the same time as ask my question, so, to hopefully better state what I’m trying to ask all along:

        Hamilton’s race history line manages to stay above the zero-line for his first stint. How was it he was particularly less-slow in his first stint compared to his race average, compared with what we see of the early race leader in most/all other, non-safety-car, non-rain-affected races, since we’ve had these graphs available?

  35. Sri says:

    James, if you get a chance can you kindly elaborate what set-up difficulties Vettel and Raikkonen are facing and what their respective teams are doing to address that (or have done)? Both of them seem to have been caught out by these new technologies. Definitely they are not that bad compared to their respective team-mates. It would be really nice if all of the top drivers had good cars so that they can fight well in the front.

    1. justafan says:

      For Kimi and Sebastian last year’s rules were quite good. This year’s are not so much to their liking. But I guess they will improve with time.

    2. Grant says:

      I doubt there’d be anything wrong with their cars for 4 consecutive races.

      They probably just need to adapt to the new car designs, and they are struggling to do so.

  36. Richard says:

    RBR, they slipped up. Or SV did. We now know it would have been close but he was going faster so should have been allowed to go through. SV made his decision without a thought for the team. Horners stance in the team is really poor. RB get bad publicity after every race for all manner of reasons.
    LH is flying at the mo and it does not look like Nico can keep up. However NR dresses it up he has been comprehensively beaten at every race they both been in. If Merc can keep his car going I see no reason why LHshould not win the DWC.

  37. oddball says:

    Imho i thought it was a rather good race strategy wise.Alonso as usual totally out drove his car and Dan did the same,the two mercs were in a totally different leauge while Sebastian threw his dummy out of the pram. At what point does Christian horner finally realize that he has no control over the world champion?. He just looks a fool (and i am sure he is not) every time he has to change his story or whitewash over the cracks.The redbull team is risking a huge divide in their garage.Dan is obviously the peoples choice in that stable while Seb is the goldenboy for the management (at the moment) fair play to Mercedes for letting the drivers race..we are in for a memorable season but maybe for the wrong reasons

  38. stevo says:

    So Vettel basically refused team directions until he got sick of seeing Ricciardo’s front wing in his mirror and was coaxed into believing they were on different strategies, when they weren’t.

  39. GP Back to Adelaide says:

    Any news on this James?

    From pitpass: “Reports that the flag error is linked to the F1 Live Timing app, which is proving increasingly erratic and unreliable, remain unconfirmed.”

    There has been nothing but reports of bugs and lag from the 2014 pay-up-front edition of the official live timing app. You’d think that if they were going to gut and skin the original and give you “extras” with the new paid version that it would at least work. It wasn’t working at all for FP1 in China. And it could possibly have led to very embarrassing situation for F1 at the end of the race…(if Vettel had let Ricciardo through without delay). I bet KK isn’t grinning about it

    As much as Bernie assures us that there will be a new improved paid version in June, I feel that F1 has already scored an own goal on this matter. I’d like to know the following:

    1. Is there anywhere you can write to – a feedback page for example – to report the issues?

    2. Is there anywhere online that you can get a refund?

    3. Do the new plans include a windows version? If I’m doing o/s business travel with a Samsung slate running Windows 7 (which unlike android / iOS, supports all my business software) and a blackberry then how do I access the full package?

    Talk about an entire sport shooting itself in the foot…

    1. Gerard says:

      I agree I paid for the app on my iPad and it is honestly pretty crappy, it lags and the live TV coverage in Oz is faster which didn’t used to be the case. When the app first came out I was in the webber supporters stand in Melbourne and we were all amazed at its speed of info at the track but now it’s just rubbish, having no FP1 was just wrong. Don’t sell it if it doesn’t work lads. :(

  40. Bullish says:

    Alonso Vs Ricciardo
    Did the race strategy employed by Red Bull hinder Ricciardo’s chance at catching Alonso, forgetting about the Vettel issue?
    Alonso made a much earlier pit stop that Ricciardo and ended up a long way in front of Ricciardo after they had both pitted. This meant that Ricciardo had a sizable gap to make up.
    Should Red Bull have pitted him earlier to avoid the gap?

    1. justafan says:

      Definitely. They should have avoided the undercut. No podium for Ferrari then. But you never know.

    2. monkian says:

      Vettel was first online road so they had pit him first. Either way their strategy was poor as Alonso was not made to overtake Vettel. If Vettel could have held him up for a couple of laps, with his deteriorating tyre, it might have given Ricciardo a better chance of catching up. The Ref Bull doesn’t have the SL pace to overtake though. If he could have sustained pressure for a number of laps… But Alonso has been around long enough to have adapted knowing the RB could not get near where it counted

      1. Gerard says:

        True to but still it is possible to pass FA it’s been done before and will happen again you just need the chance to get up behind him in the first place

    3. Grant says:

      +1
      A poor strategic move by RBR there.
      Especially since it quickly became clear that the price for staying out longer was quite steep.

    4. Gerard says:

      The extra effort required to pass Vettel would have also taken a toll on his tyres which could have given DR that little extra he needed to catch FA faster possibly so therefore SV needs to not argue and just move over DR had already caught him and there is the proof he was faster.

  41. Ken Kilpatrick says:

    Vettel is only interested in Vettel, I hope he has a really poor year, and Dan beats him every race….

    1. justafan says:

      What do you expect from a WC? To be more interested in his team mate than in himself?

      1. Grant says:

        I expect all professional drivers to respect their team’s orders.
        It is a team sport after-all.
        I also wish teams would choose not issue such instructions, unless the benefits are without doubt (e.g. an additional 2 points will help teammate behind win WDC).

  42. Anand says:

    James, You mention about Mercedes crew selling a dummy to Ferrari in the pits forcing Ferrari to pit sooner. I remember that being illegal in the past. Was that so? If so, when did it become legal and why?

  43. Mark says:

    Niki Lauda gave Lewis Hamilton a ‘money can’t buy’ reward for securing his first-ever F1 hat-trick – a ride on his own private jet.

    Lewis has his own private jet, so how much of a reward is this??

    1. Random 79 says:

      Maybe if Lewis wins 5 in a row he’ll even let him fly it.

      Can you do burnouts in a jet?

  44. fox says:

    Next big updates will be with fuel. Ferrari had new fuel in China. Red Bull will have new fuel in Spain.

  45. Mike Dee says:

    I think RB need to be clearer on the team radio for team orders. I’m sure if they told Vettel that Ricciardo is running at 0.5 seconds faster than him, and that Ricciardo could catch Alonso whereas Vettel could not, he would have complied more easily.

  46. Tim says:

    The explanation that Red Bull gave with reference to Vettel and Ricciardo being on different strategies, and then changing their minds later in the race, is a pure smokescreen to cover the fact that Vettel did not respond to a team order.

    Whether we like them or not, team orders are a fact of F1 life. Teams are out to maximise the number of points they win, and actually don’t care which driver gets them. This only changes when one driver has a chance at the title, and needs to be ahead. Either way, its the the team’s call to maximise points. Red Bull believed (correctly in my opinion) that Ricciardo has a better shout at taking Alonso for 3rd, and to maximise that opportunity they need to get him past Vettel immediately. Vettel refused, and displayed his true nature. I have a lot of respect for Vettel as a racing driver, but every so often the charming mask slips. He is being outdriven by Ricciardo, he doesn’t like it, and while he was happy for team orders to be applied in his favour, he does not respect them when they work the other way. Horner was covering for him. For me, I’m loving the way Ricciardo has stepped up and he is the star of 2014 so far.

    1. justafan says:

      Team orders are nonsense. They are killing the sport. Just let the guys race fair and square. Please.

      1. Tim says:

        From a purist viewpoint I agree with you, however team orders have been around for as long as the sport has existed. Even in 1955 Fangio was instructed to let Moss through to win at Silverstone. It’s a fact of F1 life.

      2. Gerard says:

        This is a team sport which has worked to SV s advantage for years, now I’m sure Seb doesn’t like the fact he is compromised by the new cars but it is clear he is not as fast as his team mate so in a team sport you move aside for the better performing player. They do it rugby or any other team sport you might not like it so maybe a bit of bench time for Seb might put it better in his brain !!

      3. Cordova says:

        The British Grand Prix was at Aintree in 1955, also it’s never been confirmed that Fangio let Moss win though there are definitely some suspicions.

    2. Random 79 says:

      +1

  47. JohnBt says:

    Alonso knew he would’ve been overtaken by Ric if Ric had passed Vettel that’s why he said he was lucky despite his good drive and standing on the podium. Pity Stefano wasn’t there and Alonso paying tribute was inevitable, also the preparation from Stefano will bring it up till July.

    Will miss SD, such a pleasant character win or lose and have always liked the way he spoke with sincerity. Like to wish him the best in his future endeavors.

    I thought Massa was a bit wild, must be his frustration pent up from the years playing second fiddle to Alonso. There was a possibility Massa could’ve taken out a few cars. Willaims has the pace though, it’s the craft of driving which can be improved.

    Oh no, Vettel’s gonna get slugged big time. Emotions from fans keep the fire alive, good for F1.

  48. Reuben says:

    The drivers talk a lot of team talk these days…”great result for the team”, “happy for my team mate” and so on and it’s all a load of bull. They’re all there to win for themselves, not for anyone else.

    If I was a top driver in the highest form of motorsport, I wouldn’t move over for anyone, team mate included.

  49. Paul D says:

    I’m amazed at how convincingly Ricciardo is beating Vettel this year.

    I thought Vettel was special, I was clearly wrong.

    1. littleredkelpie says:

      +1

    2. Random 79 says:

      Just because Ricciardo is beating Vettel doesn’t mean that Vettel isn’t special, it just means that maybe Ricciardo is even more special :)

  50. Damon says:

    I still don’t understand why Redbull didn’t pit Ricciardo at the same time as Roserg. Nico caught upto Daniel pretty quickly but the was dropping back before the pitstops .

  51. Stephen says:

    Race results being classified two laps earlier means that it really didn’t make any difference as Ricciardo would have had to give 3rd place back to Alonso if he had caught and passed him at the end.

    1. Bullish says:

      Would have resulted in another trip to the Appeals Court

    2. Random 79 says:

      That’s true in hindsight, but it doesn’t change what was going on at the time.

    3. Gerard says:

      That’s true

  52. Superb analysis. That’s the type of articles that I enjoy the most on ypur site James.

    What was your feeling about Ferrari aside the dummy from Mercedes? Did they play it out well or would you say they’ve been flattered through other teams’ strategies?

  53. kenneth chapman says:

    well that may have been the case but it would’ve shifted ricciardo’s star rating a few notches higher.

    i just hope that he can continue on his merry way without too much ‘interference’from the ‘pit wall mafia’.

    behind closed doors i would suspect that vettel is throwing shoes at all and sundry. he is now going to get a new chassis. if the shoe was on the other foot would ricci have got a new chassis? i very much doubt it. i would think that they would be peddling the story that ricci wasn’t yet up to speed and the jury is out regarding his potential.

  54. keke says:

    It was quite appropriate since the initial post was about how marshals waved the flags at incorrect times… :)

  55. Cal says:

    For some reason this time this whole “DR would have never gotten passed alonso if only..” annoyed me so much this week. FA gave up something like 3 seconds on the final lap only because it WAS the final lap, and anyway, had the race been longer like DR wanted that would have been reflected in everyones strategy, possibly stretching their first stint just about enough to make to the end in the same exact fashion – again – with the same result, not to mention the tyres would have been all developed with enough rubber to reflet longer races anyway :|

  56. kenneth chapman says:

    following on from what i posted earlier re vettel being given a new chassis i have had some time to more fully reflect on what is happening.

    horner stated earlier that vettel was having difficulty in coming to grips with the changed technique in driving these cars. that was also the tenor of vettel’s own reasoning.

    it now seems that vettel will be receiving a new chassis…why? i have no idea. usually a new chassis is only delivered if the old one has developed an unfixable flaw. have red bull found a tweak that they can incorporate without falling foul of the FIA which will deliver an improved performance for the goldenchild and therefore eliminate the edge that ricciardo has been able to establish?

    knowing the MO of horner et al i have every reason to expect that something is not quite right here and maybe we are witnessing a bright new star being hobbled at the start of the season. i hope not but we already know that horner is only there to do the bidding of vettel.

    daniel would be wise to watch his back.

  57. flesh says:

    I think its easy to vilify red bull for extending vettell every ounce of leeway both now and historically especially given that Mercedes have openly allowed to let there drivers battle it out at the moment, but I have a feeling that may change but lets be honest vettell has delivered red bull so so much success over the past four years why would you not continue to show him that level of support and favouritism Ferrari have done it with Alonso and if maclaren had done it with Hamilton instead of dividing their loyalties with button lewis would of stayed with maclaren in formula 1 teams there can only be room for one number 1 and even for a moment if that number 1 feels he and his position is been compromised his performance level will diminish and seldom does it return formula drivers are a rare breed and they need to be treated accordingly

  58. kenneth chapman says:

    @ flesh….’red bull should show him [vettel] that level of support and favouritism’. really?
    i believe that each year should see a reset of the pecking order within the team especially when a new car is introduced each and every year.
    let us not cloud this issue by introducing other teams and their strategies.

    basically i would hope that ricciardo is being given the exact same level of support that vettel gets. horner did state this at the very beginning of the season. what we have witnessed is, again, vettel giving horner the finger, in a literal sense.

    don’t be mislead by the ‘i relented and let him past’ angle. that was a ruse to salve some of vettels fastly diminishing credibility.

    now he is getting a new chassis and marko is saying that maybe there is a ‘hairline crack’ that is hindering vettels performance!! these chassis can be tested to isolate problems like this and yet we have not heard anything about these tests.

    as i said earlier, i do think that they,red bull, have some chassis changes in mind that will give vettel a degree of performance not shared with ricciardo. red bull have form so why would they change the habits of a lifetime.

    if i am wrong then expect a ‘mea culpa’ but my suspicious mind thinks otherwise.

  59. flesh says:

    You make a valid point regarding vettell and his so called under performing car and the problems it may or may not have and equally ricciardo is doing a sterling job as the new boy but lets be honest vettell is doing so badly that anybody could be made to look half decent in the other red bull but my over all point is there has to be a clear distinction between two drivers and there respective talents and history its ridiculous to suggest that ricciardo be afforded anything that puts him on an equal footing with vettell the last time that happened it was lewis Hamilton and Alonso at maclaren and we all know what happened there they both spent too much time and effort focusing on each other and raikkonen sneaked the wdc you cannot have two equall drivers because at some point you have to make a choice between the two could you imagine vettell and ricciardo been treated the same upto the last race of the calendar and either of them could win the wdc based on who came out on top in that last race then been told go and race boys may the best man win we in the garage are completely neutral at least one if not both of the drivers would try and sabotage the other ones race resulting in a bloody catastrophe for them both and the team formula 1 drivers are selfish, self absorbed paranoid and very insecure and they do not and will not ever share what could be there glory

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