Some unfinished business
Suzuka 2014
Japanese Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton sets the pace on first day of practice in China as Alonso splits the Mercs
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Posted By: James Allen  |  18 Apr 2014   |  8:33 am GMT  |  146 comments

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton set the pace on the first day of running in Shanghai, but Fernando Alonso’s performance in the Ferrari meant that it was not the customary Mercedes 1-2 on the time sheets. In front of new boss Marco Mattiacci, the Spaniard set the second fastest time, just over a tenth slower than Hamilton. He had been the pace setter in the morning session.

Nico Rosberg was third, ahead of the Red Bull pair, with Daniel Ricciardo ahead of world champion Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton had a problem with the suspension on his Mercedes earlier in the day, but was on form in the afternoon session, setting competitive times in both the qualifying simulations and the long runs looked very strong, especially on the medium tyres, as did Rosberg.

Pastor Maldonado had a troubled session, crashing at the pit lane entry, damaging the Lotus. The Venezuelan was already under the spotlight after being hit with three points on his licence for causing a collision with Gutierrez in Bahrain.

But team mate Romain Grosjean was closer to the pace than Lotus has been thus far this season in 9th, using the updated Renault engine and aerodynamic developments.


There was quite a lot of tyre graining for many runners, in some cases quite early on the long runs on the soft tyres, four or five laps into the run. But the problem cleared up after a graining phase, with Nico Rosberg able to run in the mid 1m 44s after 12 laps on the soft tyre. Red Bull and Ferrari looked to have less problems with graining and degradation than others. The graining reduced with higher temperatures, as one would expect. The medium tyre looked both durable and fast and could well be the preferred race tyre once teams have done the analysis.

Many drivers suffered the customary Shanghai problem of preserving the front left tyre, which is the one which gets the most stress through the long Turns 1 and 13.

Williams noticeably did a lot more running than in Bahrain, gathering homework and data on tyre performance. The team has suffered higher tyre degradation than others and this has cost them points so far this season. Bottas worked on a 22 lap run on medium tyres, while team mate Felipe Massa worked on the softs.


New Ferrari boss Marco Mattiacci made his first appearance in the pits, wearing sunglasses throughout the session, as he moved around the Ferrari garage, getting up to speed on the team he will lead from now on. He was due to give his first media briefing a couple of hours after the session ended.

It is set to be wet for qualifying on Saturday, with better weather forecast for Sunday’s Grand Prix, where the homework carried out today on the tyres will be crucial. The track is likely to be green after the rain on Saturday, so graining in the opening stint of the race on Sunday will be significant.

But teams will likely have a free choice of starting tyres after the expected wet qualifying, so the strategy should be fascinating on Sunday. Some teams may be attracted by the performance of the medium tyres today to consider starting on that tyre, especially if they are likely to be in traffic for the opening stint.

CHINESE GRAND PRIX, Shanghai, Free Practice 2
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m38.315s 25 Laps
2. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m38.456s +0.141s 28
3. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m38.726s +0.411s 30
4. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m38.811s +0.496s 30
5. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m39.015s +0.700s 31
6. Felipe Massa Williams 1m39.118s +0.803s 25
7. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m39.283s +0.968s 25
8. Jenson Button McLaren 1m39.491s +1.176s 29
9. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m39.537s +1.222s 36
10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m39.648s +1.333s 26
11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m39.736s +1.421s 30
12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m39.744s +1.429s 29
13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m39.759s +1.444s 28
14. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m39.830s +1.515s 25
15. Sergio Perez Force India 1m40.124s +1.809s 32
16. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m40.359s +2.044s 32
17. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m40.395s +2.080s 30
18. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m40.455s +2.140s 12
19. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m42.327s +4.012s 27
20. Max Chilton Marussia 1m43.473s +5.158s 30
21. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1m43.530s +5.215s 32
22. Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1m43.679s +5.364s 32

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146 Comments
  1. Gaz Boy says:

    Ferrari revival? Or flash in the pan? Time will tell. Having said that, the Prancing Horse was pretty decent around Shanghai and Barcelona last year – both of them “front limited” circuits where the front tyres grain badly from excessive understeer, so maybe Fernando has a driving technique that can manage the understeer better than his rivals.
    Speaking of technique, Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss said the key to their success in F1 was not how late or hard a driver brakes, it is WHERE he takes the brakes off that matters. Interesting – that nano-second between throttle and brake pedal movement the car is fundamentally unbalanced…… I wonder if that comment is relevant to the left-foot braking drivers of todays F1?

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      PS A No.13 Lotus car crashing……….so what’s new eh?
      At least Pastor has picked a fight with the pit-lane barriers, rather than his fellow drivers.

      1. Random 79 says:

        To be fair to Pastor the pit-lane barriers started it ;)

      2. EiEi says:

        Comment of the day

      3. PxB says:

        No doubt the crash was caused by the new low nose!

      4. Brent says:

        I thought Maldonado did a great job. He would have had that corner if someone hadn’t put those barriers there. And even with someone throwing obstacles in his way he managed not to interfere with what was going on with the real drivers. If that’s not improvement, well, what is?

      5. mem says:

        all the top teams probably warn the driver of any potential tricky section ad infinitum. I guess lotus team have slackened off. wonder how much the damaged components cost?
        F1 driver with 100 things going on could forget.
        why try to maximise pit entry speed when you are off the pace and need to build mileage. They need to sit down and look at the big book of procedures left by brawn and the people that followed.

      6. Random 79 says:

        You should join Pastor’s PR team immediately :)

      7. Quade says:

        Maldonado is the only driver with enough talent to actually crash into the road when driving in a straight line. What a guy!

        Whoever shifted the pit entrance needs to be quickly hunted down and SACKED!

      8. Alexander Supertramp says:

        The barrier clearly should have left more space!
        On a more serious note, he did apologize for crashing, so there’s hope..

      9. Matt says:

        Hey, it wasn’t Pastors fault, he didn’t know what those barriers were doing, they were not in their usual place, and they weren’t doing their normal thing. Luckily it was a “soft” crash.

        I also enjoyed his earlier off when his steering wheel was behaving abnormally and made him go off track.

      10. Matt says:

        Actually, looking back at the events I think he was trying to text while driving, maybe he was trying to take a “selfie” with his dash mounted camera! Smile Pastor…Look Out!

      11. Brent says:

        He had better be careful texting is illegal while driving in Montreal.

      12. KRB says:

        I could not believe Pastor’s comments about the new penalty system. He just doesn’t get it. But then I guess what’s a race ban when you’re driving a 2014 Lotus? He’s not like Grosjean who actually has to perform to keep his F1 seat.

      13. Alec Tronnick says:

        Clearly a “racing incident”

      14. warley says:

        Malonardo has joined a select bunch. I recall Coulthard and Hamilton doing something similar and Massa was overtaken going into the pits. Don’t worry Pastor, it can happen to the best. He may have been thinking about the cringeworthy Microsoft/Lotus TV ad which is enough to make anyone run off the road!

      15. Andrew C says:

        Pastor said that he had a conversation with the barrier and they agreed that it was just an ‘incident’ and that it would be unfair to give penalty points or to be too harsh on either of them. It’s part of the job to push to the limit at all times so I forgive the barrier on this occasion.

      16. Jean-Christophe says:

        Come on guys! This was just a misunderstanding!

      17. Nick says:

        Yeah come on guys, dont forget a stunning win in 2012 Spain, the man CAN do it and has.

      18. KRB says:

        Just watching back the Bahrain GP, and did anyone else see Maldonado’s crazy move on JEV, on lap 1? You can see it in the FOM feed, it’s in the background.

        Maldonado darted at JEV, a clear move over at him, and drove him off the road, on the run down from Turn 8 to Turn 9. That was a clear case of crowding another off the track, but there was no penalty. I realize that Race Control goes a little easier on incidents on lap 1, but that’s usually at the start and the first few corners. This was a clear case of two cars being side-by-side, and one driving the other off. It totally ruined JEV’s race, as he retired later on with ‘collision damage’.

        If he had done the same thing while near the front, with one of the DWC leaders, I reckon it would mean a race ban. We shouldn’t value some drivers’ races more than others, but that seems to be the case here.

      19. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

        Brundle was on form today. Discussing the previous #13 outing in FP1 where he followed the escape road instead of the track briefly, Martin said “I think I know what it was – I saw the road move” … LOL.

    2. Martin says:

      Hi Gaz, school time :-)

      Let’s start with this “fundamentally unbalanced” stuff. I’ve no idea what you were thinking about when you wrote that. Quite simply when a car is coasting around a corner it is experiencing a centripetal force from the tyres to make it turn and drag forces from the tyres the air and the transmission. There’s nothing unstable about it – looking at the acceleration gradients these are simple functions that relate to velocity and corner speed.

      To your braking technique question, there are several parts to the question. The first thing is the nature of the cars. The lower performance levels of the tyres and the brakes along with the much lower drag meant the drivers were braking much earlier for corners. The drivers also needed to double declutch to look after the gearbox and brake smoothly. The reliability of the cars was less to. The lower drag of the cars meant that coasting from the start of the turn-in phase to the apex had a gentle reduction in speed.

      Piero Taruffi published a book in 1957, “The Technique of Motor Racing”. I understand that in it he explain the concept of braking in a straight line and using the concentric circles approach to maximise the corner radius and from that the apex speed.

      What Moss and Stewart were referring to was that by using Taruffi’s method the full capability of the tyre is not being used in the transition from braking to turning. In those days a tyre may have been able to generate 0.9 G. The vector sum of the braking force and the cornering force cannot exceed 0.9 G. Ideally the rear tyres would be at 0.9 constantly all through the braking, turning and acceleration phases until the engine runs out of torque or hits the rev limit. If a driver tries to go from full braking to full turning force almost instantaneously then the springs and the tyres will bounce and the car will slide.

      What Stewart and Moss did was to ease off the brakes (the less hard bit) and start to turn into the corner. As they increased the steering input they reduced the braking level. This reduced the rate of rearward and outward weight transfer and slightly reduced the distance travelled. The apex speed tended to be slightly lower as the approach angle was tighter than the Taruffi method. (Inducing late turn-in oversteer here is an option for the talented, but that has to be quelled at some point again, which brings us to the Vettel technique and exhaust blowing). But overall, the braking while turning allowed later braking, and so over a 200 m distance they had a slightly higher speed. A small loss at the apex was recovered before the exit and so there was a net gain.

      With the current cars the braking performance is much greater and so for many corners braking while turning is a necessity to be competitive. The large amount of drag that current F1 cars make mean that the coast phase is a significant braking effect. By left foot braking it allows more positive control from the driver and can save some time in some corners, as Mika Hakkinen worked out when he started the current trend.

      The current cars have a much lower centre of gravity and this allows the driver to be relatively more violent with the brake or steering inputs without upsetting the tyres, but smoothness is still a good thing, so in that way what Jackie and Stirling say is still relevant.

  2. Dufus says:

    RIC still faster than VET this year.
    Qualy should be golden as RIC is both faster in the Dry and the Wet…

    1. Bo says:

      Dufus, yes I noticed this, right out the box, every track pretty much every time quicker than Seb. Seb must love Ausie teammates.

      Remember in the Junior test at the end of 2010 or 2011 Ric was very quick in the redbull, actually lapping faster that Vettel fastest race lap, in Bahrain.

      Inetersting season so far, for the rest of teams.

    2. Mhilgtx says:

      It seems his long runs we’re more constant and he had better wear rates one his option tires than Sebastian as well.

    3. aveli says:

      be patient.

  3. goferet says:

    Lewis appears to be in a good place mentally for despite missing the majority of FP1 was able to go fastest on the soft tyre after one run.

    This of course is the direct opposite of Maldonado who seems to be battling some mental demons at the moment.

    Good showing by Alonso, the new boss couldn’t ask for a better welcome on his first day but considering Mercedes are about a second faster than Ferrari, I would say Kimi’s time of 9 tenths off is somewhere were the team should be >>> maybe not.

    Red Bull look the most threatening this weekend and with the showers forecast in qualifying, what is to prevent the team locking out the front row.

    I think Mclaren would be disappointed if they do not net a podium this weekend because after Bahrain, Jenson was of the view the team are the second fastest.

    Glad to have Lotus back in the top 10 and with Grosjean’s speed, the team could pick up some good points.

    As for Williams, nothing seems to be going their way at present so lets hope this weekend sees a change in fortunes for the team.

  4. Damon says:

    Something fishy at Mercedes, Lewis is not one to usually complain at all about the car. I smell sabotage!

    1. James Clayton says:

      wonder how many will bite…!

    2. SaScha says:

      I don’t believe on coincidences anylonger as ALL technical problems ONLY appear at Lewis car this year.
      Especially after Rosberg said he is going to win the china GP. IMO everytime Lewis comes close he will suffer a technical problem or DNF. I guess ther will be a gearbox change before the qualy or the race to make sure he is behind Rosberg this time

      1. Dave C says:

        Just like all Rosberg suffered last season then yeah?

      2. Damon says:

        They didn’t have the best car last year by a mile though, think about it. ;-)

    3. Mike from Colombia says:

      Feel that Mercedes are definitely favouring the slower of the two drivers.

      Rosberg has it handed to him in the last 2 races and his lack of racecraft in the last race would have clearly made him be perceived as a number 2 at any other team

      If Rosberg is being favoured then Mercedes will score a marketing own goal, we have already had 4 years of bland robotic German world chanpionships.

      Hamilton knows what is going on but has to bite his lip. Very interesting that he decided to reveal the Mercedes help dossier prepared for Rosberg.

      1. Damon says:

        That’s the thing if I so much as sniffed that I wasn’t getting equal treatment I’d be straight to the press to tell the world!

      2. aveli says:

        nothing fishy going on. mechanical failures are part of the game. hamilton could experience melbourne all over again after all those machine are extremely complex. i’m surprised so many cars make it to the end.
        it’s at least better for hamilton to experience these problems now rather than during qualifying or the race.

    4. Grant says:

      Still too early to know that for sure.

      Maybe the engineers on his side of the garage are just not good as the other side.

      1. Damon says:

        Well if that’s the case it’s time some p45′s were handed out because this is getting beyond a joke!

    5. Mhilgtx says:

      Actually they were having issues with their FRIC setup.

    6. super seven says:

      Not likely.
      There are probably more British than Germans working on the Mercedes team. Lewis still put in a faster lap than Nico, despite limited running.

      Whomever wins this year between Nico and Lewis won’t have a question mark against that victory related to unbalanced team support.

      Curious to see the summary of the long runs. Daniel seemed to do much better than Sebastian at Red Bull, but I didn’t catch a comparison between Lewis and Nico.

      1. James Allen says:

        No, I think there is still transparency

      2. Darrin from Canada says:

        James, missed you during P2 commentary, usually my highlight of the race weekend! Did TSN here in Canada switch the commentary feed?

  5. Random 79 says:

    “Pastor Maldonado had a troubled session, crashing at the pit lane entry”

    I have to admit that’s pretty impressive even for Maldonado and in all seriousness at least he didn’t involve another car (this time) :)

    1. Brent says:

      It wasn’t his fault. The stewards moved the barrier to try and discourage racing.

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      This is a just a warm-up for his big circus act during the race………….
      PS Have you noticed in the last 10-15 odd years F1 has featured South American drivers with a surname beginning with M and who seem to have a regular “nice chat” with their fellow competitors?
      I’m not a conspiracy theorist but………

      1. Random 79 says:

        Okay Gaz, we’re going to need to see a list.

        In your own time :)

    3. foreverf1 says:

      I think James made a typo – “session” should read “season”. ;)

      Or is it “career”.

    4. C63 says:

      They had a clip on Sky of the Lotus mechanics watching that incident. I have to say it didn’t appear as if they hold Maldonado in very high regard! I would imagine it’s a bit disheartening working for a team that is obliged to accept a driver of that quality :-(

      1. Random 79 says:

        Agreed.

        Those mechanics work flat out to get the cars ready for the drivers.

        When one gets damaged through racing on track then I think most times they’d think “disappointing, but at least he was pushing for a good result for the team”.

        But something like this? I’ll refrain from typing what I think their thoughts might have been in this instance because I’m pretty sure it would modded, but let’s just say it would involve a few four letter words ;)

    5. toleman fan says:

      He’s the new David Coulthard.

      At least he didn’t blame the engine’s ‘idle strategy’.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Lets hope Pastor doesn’t start wearing tight white jeans!!!!

      2. Random 79 says:

        “Idle strategy”

        That’s a good one – I’m going to use that next time I don’t get something done on time :)

  6. Random 79 says:

    Does anyone else reckon Stefano might be kicking himself right now?

    1. Sebee says:

      Why? Mercedes were running the car at 87%. Reality will be confirmed tomorrow and Sunday.

      Need I remind you that post safety car in battle mode they pulled away from the field at 2s a lap? Not 1s, bit 1+1s, which in F1 is….like forever.

      1. Dave C says:

        It was more than 2sec a lap and they were fighting as well, it was like the 2.7sec gap they had to RBR I predicted during winter testing. Something is obviously going on hidden in that car to make it that quick, I don’t believe they can be that much quicker than McLaren if they running same powertrains.

      2. Random 79 says:

        True enough, but just looking at the time sheet from Friday (even though it’s only practice) I still think he would been thinking something along the lines of “what the hell…?”

    2. HP says:

      haha yeah, he might be thinking he quit too early, but we will find out on Sunday

    3. Gaz Boy says:

      Yes and no.
      Yes – perhaps the Ferrari has potential great pace after all?
      No – perhaps the Ferrari doesn’t have potential great pace after all?

      1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Schrödinger would be proud of you.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Lol :)

      3. Random 79 says:

        Way to commit Gaz ;)

    4. Grant says:

      I doubt he regrets, he’s moving had more to do LDM’s roller-coaster emotions than the car’s performance this season.

    5. Bart says:

      Do you think it was his decision?

      1. Random 79 says:

        Surprisingly enough I do.

  7. Rohind says:

    Oh my…Ricciardo is consistently ahead of Vettel in the time sheets..Almost 2 tenths down on softs and half a second on mediums.Looks like this year is getting tougher and tougher for Vettel

    1. Sebee says:

      I have a feeling that this car is not to Vettel’s liking. Where as Daniel is more comfortable slippin’ and slidin’.

    2. Anil Parmar says:

      Vettel’s long run was very poor compared to Ricciardo’s. Surprised to see him struggling so much.

    3. Brent says:

      It will be interesting to see how Vettel reacts if Ricciardo continues to get the best of him.

    4. aveli says:

      that’s exactly what vettel wants you to say only for him to show you his true performance later on.

    5. egon says:

      I have noticed the same. Yet Vettel has not forgot how to drive. Everybody has said in previous years he was bloody quick. I don’t understand either. James, what do you think, why Vettel is almost always slower than RIC?

      1. James Allen says:

        He’s having problems coming to terms with the new tech more than Ricciardo, it seems

        But he’ll get it sorted and will be competitive, for sure

      2. Nathan Jones says:

        Oh, how gloriously ironic! And before the season began Lewis was being painted as some moronic driver, who only knew how to use his go-fast pedal, while dragging his knuckles on the asphalt by the sidepods; Vettel was being championed as the consumate techno-wizard driver of the new age (along with Nico). And not a word from the journos who were reveling in pushing this image.

        Not to mention, I’ve still heard nothing from the writers who were telling us that Lewis had been kicked out of his own party at McLaren by Jenson – now that JB is propping up the midfield and Lewis is mixing it 2 seconds a lap quicker than him.

      3. daniel says:

        I’m an Aussie and a Ricardo fan, but I have to agree,I think once Vettel gets his head around the new tech, he will be a real challenge for Dan.

      4. Ash says:

        James,

        Where can I buy that crystal ball you seem to have?

      5. Rohind says:

        Problems again in FP3..Hate to see Vettel like this. Doubt he’ll make it into Q3 again. Same with Kimi also

    6. Random 79 says:

      Hang on a sec, I’ll just get my violin… ;)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Is that the new turbo-electric hybrid violin with ERS built in for extra volume?
        PS What instrument does Pastor play? Second fiddle.

      2. Random 79 says:

        No, it’s more like one of those imaginary violins you play with the tips of your fingers ;)

    7. Grant H says:

      Yep 4 titles was mostly the car

      Que the abuse from vet fans

      Hahaha

  8. aveli says:

    maldonado is a star!

    1. AlexD says:

      But ideally I would to see him leave F1, the guy is a mess

      1. aveli says:

        no, i like him. he has entertained us immensely with surprise incidents like a victory in a williams and a few mishaps. he introduced how to flip an f1 car and without it we may not have witnessed that spectacular ending to the bahrain race. he ads that element of surprise. f1 would be less interesting without him.

    2. Brent says:

      More like an asteroid. Just maintains his path until he hits something.

      1. Grant H says:

        Lol

      2. aveli says:

        he’s an essential f1 ingredient, like salt is to chips. on his own, he’s awful but add him to the grid of 22 cars and he brings out the f1flavour.

      3. Rob says:

        Lol best analogy for PM to date!

      4. Random 79 says:

        Well said!

  9. Richard says:

    I don’t think the times are yet representative as I expect Ferrari were on lower fuel than Mercedes, although if Alonso were to qualify ahead of Rosberg it would add an interesting mix to the preceedings, and if they finished the race in that order Hamilton would then be level with Rosberg in the standings. It’s early days, let’s wait for qualifying!

    1. Alexander Supertramp says:

      Unless there are technical problems, it’s a Mercedes 1-2 again.

    2. KRB says:

      Rosberg would be 1 point up still, no? He’s 11 pts up … a 1st and 3rd would be 10 pts difference.

      I agree that I think both Merc’s were running high fuel, so I wouldn’t expect a 1-3.

  10. Grant H says:

    Any word on how long run pace compared nico vs lewis

  11. Becken Lima says:

    Wow, Fernando splitting the Mercedes!

    Mattiacci doing a fantastic job so far! :D

    in a more serious note, James, a question: lower temps, all those corners after the start, and the front tyres suffering from graining in a certain phase of a stint; don’t you think these track and temps characteristics could favour Lewis over Nico in the intra fight at Mercedes these weekend as it happened in Malaysia?

    1. James Allen says:

      Hard to say, the engineers will see the subtle differences in the data

    2. KRB says:

      Seemed to be a helluva lotta roll in Hamilton’s car. Sure you want some, but it looked to be too much.

    3. Gaz Boy says:

      Lewis will probably set up his car with the aero balance/aero centre of pressure shifted towards the front axle to protect the front tyres. That will make the car very twitchy, but Lewis likes turn in and pre apex oversteer, so it shouldn’t be an issue for him.
      Not sure about Nico and his driving technique and set up preference…………but he did win here in China 2012 so he does have form around Shanghai, but that’s irrelevant as he didn’t have Mr Hamilton as his team-mate then!

      1. aveli says:

        he has raced in China for 8 years and only managed to win once with a car much faster than the rest of the field, we hardly saw him after the start. like his melbourne victory, a vettel style victory and was 3rd once.
        we’ll find out soon enough.

  12. AuraF1 says:

    The new boss is just proving how Italian he is by wearing sunglasses in grim weather. This is scientific proof of true Italian heritage…

    1. KRB says:

      I thought talking-through-hands was? I’m an honorary Italian (thru marriage), so I can say such things. :-D

    2. Mike from Colombia says:

      I smell disaster. We might have another Cesare Fiore here…

    3. C63 says:

      Kimi was wearing sunglasses in the dark at Bahrain – maybe it’s a Ferrari thing!

    4. Random 79 says:

      Okay, now it makes sense:

      LDM: “Marco, I need a replacement for Stefano.”
      MM: “‘Kay”
      LDM: “Ever run a race team before?”
      MM: “Nope”
      LDM: “Oh” :( “Do you know anything about F1?”
      MM: “Nope”
      LDM: “Seriously?”
      MM: ” Seriously”
      LDM: :( “Okay then…well, do you wear sunglasses even in grim weather?”
      MM: “Sure do”
      LDM: “You’re hired!” :D

    5. super seven says:

      Scientific proof of an extreme lack of sleep on Mattiacci’s party, more like :-D

    6. aveli says:

      was domenicali not italian?

      1. AuraF1 says:

        Not enough for Luca it seems…

  13. Nick Lynn says:

    Good point about the braking. We tend to think of how late into the corner before the brakes go on and much less about how early they might be taken off. I recall Lewis saying how quick Vettel was able to get on the power last year.

    Might be a good topic for you to discuss and analyze James.

    1. audifan says:

      that was just a function of downforce , time having changed he so far seems unable to equal ricci this year

  14. Patrick McLaughlin says:

    James,

    Are Ferrari running light on a Friday ? They have been up there in most Friday sessions and then disappear in Practice 3.

    1. James Allen says:

      Probably a bit. But most people run fairly light in quail sim runs.

  15. Alex Trickle says:

    Wow.. people are hailing Ric for beating Vet in Practice 2 of the 4th race of a season. This is quite frankly ridiculous – hey may beat him this weekend but even still I’m making no conclusions and sure as hell not just after FP1 and FP2.

    Glad to see one of the Lotus cars looking semi competitive finally. Fingers crossed for Grosjean to get some points and Maldonado not to make their insurance premium increase any more.

    1. KRB says:

      Agreed. I just read Button’s comments on Ricciardo being the only one that could challenge Mercedes, and just thought ‘there he goes again’. Button has said so many comments that turned out to be diametrically opposite to what eventually unfolded, that I’ve lost count.

      For just one example, I harken back to his comments post-Malaysian GP 2012:

      “Even after such a bad race – and that’s hopefully my bad race for the year gone – I’m still only 10 points off the lead, and that’s Alonso in a Ferrari. That’s not the worry.”

      http://tinyurl.com/button-eats-foot-exhibit398

      Stick to your own knitting, Jenson!

  16. David Hamilton says:

    Hi james.

    Any news on why lewis was still not happy with his car despite the suspension being fixed???

    Could it be a set up issue or track characteristics? How was his long run pace?

  17. Alexander Supertramp says:

    Lewis gave a weird interview after FP2. I have a feeling not everything is great in that Mercedes garage.

    Mclaren is in the ‘pack’, but rather on the blunt side of it. Red Bull seems to be best of the rest with good long run pace. I think they can take the fight to Mercedes in Barcelona.

    1. KRB says:

      Weird how? Have a link to the vid?

      1. Alexander Supertramp says:

        I think it was the sky interview after FP2. I don’t know, it just felt awkward. I’m probably imagining things!

  18. zx6dude says:

    Maldonado. Lol, at least he attacked the barrier and not another driver!

  19. AlexD says:

    Is there any way to disqualify barriers for causing a collision of Pastor Maldonado?

    1. Random 79 says:

      No, but they were given three penalty points and they’re very sorry.

  20. Fernando "150%" Alonso says:

    “Alonso splits the Mercs”? Samurai style? :D

    1. Random 79 says:

      Well done :)

  21. foreverf1 says:

    Alonso is already showing the new boss who the real boss at Ferrari is.

  22. foreverf1 says:

    It appears that quali will be wet and race will be dry.

    Please let it be the other way around.

  23. Antti says:

    Any information on why Kimi didn’t do any timed laps in the first practice? What was wrong with the car?

  24. justafan says:

    Finally there’s some hope for us Tifosi!

  25. Wes says:

    Just to put this in perspective, they are running over 6 seconds a lap slower than the lap record 1:32.238 – M Schumacher (2004)

    Wow, just wow…

    1. Dave C says:

      Watch some of the videos from the 2004 season, the cars sounded great! cars looked great and most of all it was just visibly quicker back then. The cars now are just lame. Good thing Mercedes are at the front so all the Hamilton fans are not throwing a fit imagine if Mercedes were as slow as McLaren.

      1. Wes says:

        Ha! love that, they might start sounding like his royal hairness, LDM

    2. Random 79 says:

      Most of the lap records were set circa 2004, but so what?

      I’d rather see cars racing at 6 seconds slower per lap than following each other in formation at 6 seconds faster per lap.

      And frankly with Maldonado in the mix maybe slower is better anyway :)

      1. Wes says:

        well then lets put them in pedal cars, they will be 6 hours slower and it will be a battle royal, and crashtor wont hurt anyone!

        F1, pinnacle, period. Going backwards doesnt work for me.

        Put another way, a car from 2004 would lap this field 3 times in a race of around 60 laps!

        I am all for new technology, and frankly what has been done with these rules is incredible. No-one solves a design and production challenge better than the F1 fraternity, not aerospace, not NASA, not even the NSA.

        Still, i am tired of slowing the cars down. Crap-box (but loads of fun) ChampCars from 2002 went this fast with manual steering, manual shifting, and slid all over the place.

        And one more thing, fuel flow regulators aside, why restrict the amount of electrical energy per lap???

        Take that away completely. Let the teams develop REAL serious hybrid power, the kind that can recharge in 30% of the lap and expend for 70%

        Lap times go down, hybrids get better, trickle down gets better

        i dont see the downside here.

      2. Wes says:

        sorry, it would be about twice, F1 passion got the better of me!

      3. Ahmed Sydney says:

        +1 million Wes!!
        Mug you want close racing with no development then go watch a local Go Kart race, or NASCAR!!
        F1 to me is about teams pushing the boundaries and creating the fastest, most technologically advanced racing series with the best pilots in the world testing their skills and being on the limit.

        Current F1 is no where near that dream…

      4. Random 79 says:

        Lol that’s okay – it happens to the best of us :)

        I’m not saying you don’t have some good points there and I’m not saying that F1 cars shouldn’t be the fastest cars in the world, but given the choice between what we had in 2004 and what we have now I’d still take now.

        As you say, going backwards doesn’t work.

        As for what you suggest about the hybrid systems frankly I don’t understand enough about them to say why they couldn’t do that, but I would guess that as the technology improves we’ll start to see more electrical power generated in less time.

        I have to assume that right now (regulations aside) the engine manufacturers and teams would be pushing to get the most out of them they can.

  26. Ahmed says:

    Considering that mercedes has persistently made four attempts at there new shorter nose makes one wonder what programme th merc boys were running if they weren’t lighting up the time sheets. They arnt overselling their nose the way lotus oversold their twintusk

  27. Mhilgtx says:

    Ferrari – fools gold even if they dominate just look back to last year.

    Pretty disappointed with the normally excellent NBCS coverage last night. ESpecially Will Buxton who said RBR agreed they had exceeded the fuel flow rate on every lap. Not sure that is remotely true. Last race they said RBR didn’t even have a fuel flow sensor on board.

    I expect another Merc walk away but as in all of the races so far the down grid races will be extremely entertaining.

  28. jake says:

    Given the pace advantage Merc had last race, you would expect there to be a bigger gap to Ferrari. Either Ferrari have found 1.5 seconds (not very likely) or the Merc boys are not showing their hand.
    James, do you think Lewis and Nico are holding back from each other. Since data is shared and they are the main rivals, there is no sense giving your rival valuable insight into your technique for this track.

    1. Hansb says:

      New fuel from Shell, new rear wing, optimised software and probably this circuit suits Ferrari better than Bahrein. Still I expect them to drop behind Redbull but lets see.

  29. nealio says:

    James, how do Hamilton’s tires look in comparision to Rosberg’s after their fast runs?

    1. Dave C says:

      To me both looked shot at the front it seems Mercedes needs to manage tyres more than they did at Bahrain.

  30. Sri says:

    Kimi also was in top-3 in practice in Malaysia and Alonso was regularly there and even topped once before. But we know what happened in races. Ferrari will suffer later.

  31. Peter Scandlyn says:

    I always look at the lap time list posted then automatically start counting back from 22, dropping out 1st qual, 2nd etc. Same old same old. There’s occasionally a joker gets in the way but mostly it’s sooo predictable.
    I think Tony thought early on with dumping Cosworth at end of his first season in favour of Renault, his team would move up pretty smartly. Plan B failed and C is looking no better.
    With the new look this season I was hopeful that the teams running at the r send would be in the pack, but nope still there, 2 – 3 seconds off the pace. It would be interesting to see a current DECENT driver have a run in any of the Caterham/Marussia cars and see if they can be lifted.(Only past F1 WDCs presently on the grid need apply – see, I’m trying to be fair here by letting Jenson have a shot ;-))
    I really don’t believe too that Gene Hass with his Dullara daydream has any chance of seeing anything more then that same r send, even if he were to snag a Merc unit. I’t just complete the rear ended triangle.

  32. Ozherb says:

    Questions for James,

    In relation to the penalty points system.

    If a driver racks up the 12 points and is forced to sit out, can the team bring in their spare / another driver during the ban to take over the car?

    And if so, if the offending driver hit the 12 points in a practice / qualifying session, could the replacement driver step in immediately and compete on the same weekend?

    I couldn’t find a reference to this in the F1 regs.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Random 79 says:

      I would say that since Lotus were allowed to bring in D’Ambrosio to replace Grosjean a couple years ago they should be able to do the same now.

      From F1.com: “Teams may use up to four drivers during a season, all of whom may score points in the championship. A driver change may be made with the permission of the stewards any time before the start of qualifying”

      So it looks to me like if the driver gets a ban during quali they’re out of luck.

  33. Sujith says:

    This is a grand prix where we are gonna see a big gap between Kimi and Fernando with the latter being quicker. Front limited circuit and Kimi’s still not having the “feeling” he needs to drive confidently.

  34. JohnBt says:

    Gotta wait for race pace on Sunday then we’ll know if Ferrari has caught up, but I don’t think it will just happen in a host space of time.

    Weather forecasts a dry race but I hope it will be rain then dry up bit by bit, just maybe this weekend that will happen.

    Maldo is such an embarrassment to F1.

  35. JohnBt says:

    short space of time, I meant. Lol.

  36. J Peak says:

    I have read that Martin Whitmarsh is likely to get a payout from McLarens of 10 million. If this is the case then it is obscene. These guys get paid fairly handsomly while they are in the job so why would they get these golden handshakes when they leave. For most of us we work 40 hours (or whatever) we get paid at the end of the week and everything is equal. How or why these people think they deserve more is beyond me. With this sort of carry-on it’s no wonder things cost what they do. It reminds you of the corrupt bankers a few years back.

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