Analysis: Lewis Hamilton’s foiled plan to beat Nico Rosberg in Monaco pit stops
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Posted By: James Allen  |  27 May 2014   |  5:10 pm GMT  |  212 comments

The Monaco Grand Prix has triggered plenty of debate after the controversial incident in qualifying where Lewis Hamilton was denied a shot at pole through the error on the last lap of his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg.

It meant that in the race, having lost the start to the German as well, Hamilton’s only shot at winning was to jump him in the pit stops.

However, a Safety Car during the pit stop window changed the game; after both drivers had made their stops on the same lap, Hamilton was heard to complain to his team about the strategy call.

So could he have won the race if things had been done differently?

Here with input from several leading strategists is our analysis – the UBS Race Strategy Report.


Pre-Race Considerations

As always at Monaco, the teams had less knowledge than they would like going into the Grand Prix, this time because of a wet FP2 session, so limited long runs.

However with the Pirelli tyres this year being harder than before, it was clear that the race was a one-stop, the question was how early could you pit and make it to the finish on your second set of tyres?

And conversely, for a counter strategy, how late could you leave it on the first set and make gains by stopping later? And what effect would a safety car have on the race?

In the end we got a safety car and a race of high attrition, with many leading cars eliminated. It was a day for staying out of trouble, as points were there for the taking, as Marussia’s Jules Bianchi proved.


Could Hamilton have beaten Rosberg on pit stop strategy?

Lewis Hamilton was not a happy man going into Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix and he was even less happy after he was called in to pit on the same lap as race leader Rosberg, meaning that he had no chance to try something strategy wise to beat him.

He was heard to question the decision, also suggesting that at McLaren he would have been allowed to pre-empt the safety car and come in early after Adrian Sutil crashed heavily on lap 24.

The first car to pit was Jenson Button. Mclaren always brief the drivers that there is a “Safety Car window”, where they can pit at their discretion if they see an accident or “SC” boards, before the team see it and if they are in a late phase of the lap.

They were very clear on this and it’s something that other teams have been encouraged to try and copy. This is not a policy in place at Mercedes. This is what Hamilton was talking about when he referred to McLaren.

Mercedes run a clear policy of leading driver stop preference in races, something which Hamilton has benefitted from in the previous four races this year, which he has won.

Here, the situation was that Mercedes had a 1-2 and a margin of 12 seconds over the third car, Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton was in Turn 13 when the TV cameras revealed that Sutil had crashed heavily, so there was time to call them in.

However there was no guarantee a Safety Car would be deployed, as later incidents like the Gutierrez shunt proved. This was an exercise in managing probabilities – it was 90% likely that a Safety Car would be used, but there was 0% risk to Mercedes of losing positions by by doing an extra lap and waiting to see if a Safety Car was deployed. This is because in that situation, all the cars are obliged to run at a set Safety Car speed, which is 140% of the normal lap time.


If Hamilton had pitted and there had been no Safety Car he would have been behind the Ferraris and could have been vulnerable to Ferrari deliberately leaving one of their cars out to block him while the other built a gap. Given that the “blocking” car would be Alonso, this is doubtful, but you never know.

Incidentally, Button didn’t gain any places by diving into the pits, because everyone went at the same speed once the “Safety Car Deployed” signs went out. It only works when someone does something wrong or unusual – in Australia Button gained two places with this trick because Alonso stacked up the cars behind him. Here there was nothing there for the taking.

But still, it can bring a gain and Hamilton will have remembered that he lost places to Vettel and Webber in this way under the Safety Car in Monaco last year, a painful memory so he felt it was worth a try.

The point is that, from the Mercedes’ point of view, there was no obvious gain for Hamilton in making a stop after Sutil crashed, but there were some risks. Mercedes has a single head of strategy on site and his job is to deliver a Mercedes 1-2 finish. However he has also been tasked with giving his drivers a chance to race.

And it is here that Hamilton’s real frustration lay, because there was a plan in place..

As Rosberg the leader had stop priority, the only way for Hamilton to beat him was to wait until Rosberg had stopped and then push like mad on the supersoft tyres for the next lap. At the same time, Rosberg would be on an out-lap with new soft tyres, which were quite hard and took a long time to warm up. This would have been Hamilton’s opportunity; to offset himself against Rosberg, then pit and hopefully emerge ahead of the German, if he had struggled with new tyre warm-up.

To pull it off he would have needed to have been more than 6/10ths of a second faster on old supersofts than Rosberg on new softs on that lap.

But because the Safety Car came out in a pit stop window, he never had the chance to try it.

So he was immensely frustrated – on top of his resentment at the manner in which he felt Rosberg had gained the advantage in qualifying – and this is what came out over the radio and after the race.


Counter Strategy helps Hulkenberg and Bianchi to strong points finishes

Two standout results in Monaco were the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, going from 11th on the grid to 5th at the finish and Jules Bianchi going from 21st on the grid to 8th on the road, 9th after a 5 second penalty was applied. This gave Marussia a breakthrough first points finish.

Both did the same strategy: start on the soft tyres and then take the supersofts at the pit stop under the Safety Car. This called for them to do over 50 laps on a set of supersofts. Most teams had budgeted up to a maximum of 45 laps, but Force India has always been able to try these strategies because it can look after its tyres.

In Hulkenberg’s case this was a masterstroke, because on new supersofts he was able, at the restart after the Safety Car, to overtake Magnussen who was on the harder tyres and struggling to warm them up.

However the surprise for Force India was that tyres were dropping off badly in the closing stages, unlike Bianchi’s which still had good pace. Hulkenberg was however able to hold off Button to the flag.


Bianchi’s pace was something of a revelation and this result was well deserved. It was a shame that they drew an additional penalty for taking their original 5 second penalty during the Safety Car period, rather than just adding it on at the end. The Marussia was able to hold off Grosjean’s Lotus comfortably enough in the closing stages and his lap times were comparable to midfield cars.

Another driver who tried something different was Massa in the Williams. He did not pit when the Safety Car was deployed, at which point he was lying in 11th place. It was an unusual call and a roll of the dice really, perhaps hoping for a race stoppage or a track blockage to give him a gap to pit into. With everyone doing one stop there were few other obvious ways to gain.

With attrition and problems for other runners this meant that he was fifth in the second stint of the race, with a stop to take.

He took it on lap 45 and dropped back to 11th again. But with more attrition, he rose to 7th at the flag.


The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen, with input and data from several teams strategists and from Pirelli

For an interactive graph, which can isolate any particular driver for analysis or compare a number of drivers, click here INTERACTIVE MONACO GRAPH

RACE HISTORY GRAPH, Kindly Supplied by Williams – Click to enlarge
Note how the field is held up in a train behind Hulkenberg in the final third of the race.

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212 Comments
  1. Matthew Cheshire says:

    Brilliant speed by Ricciardo at the end. The Red Bull usually seems more competitive in the final stages. Is that strategy or the reducing weight helping the power deficit?

    1. Glennb says:

      I recall Dan saying that he was conserving tyres in the middle of the race and had enough left to make a red hot charge at the end.

    2. Limelee says:

      I’m not yet buying into the Ricciardo camp. He keeps finishing behind cars which he is faster than and chasing down people in the closing stages without passing. He is quick, but his race craft is so far questionable. The only evidence you need is how often he is behind his slower team mate on race day. Despite better qualifying positions throughout the season.

      1. TGS says:

        2nd in Australia, retired in Malaysia, passed Vettel and Hulkenberg in the closing stages for 4th in Bahrain, passed Vettel for 4th in China, 3rd in Spain, 3rd in Monaco while outpacing BOTH Mercedes for the first time this year. As for evidence, when not retiring he has finished behind his slower team mate exactly zero times. Come on Limelee, get on the bandwagon! The smiling assassin is a future world champion!

        Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free.
        We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil, our home is girt by sea.
        Our land abound in nature’s gifts, of beauty rich and rare.
        In history’s page let every stage, Advance Australia Fair!!!

      2. Malcolm Smethurst says:

        And laugh off all the things that can kill you with a carefree shrug.

      3. Matthew Cheshire says:

        Had to laugh at that. Thought you meant Vettel at first but his slower teammate, as you say, was Vergne.

        Vergne is no slouch. He should have been 6th on Sunday.

        Riccardo has been conservative during races. But think about the importance of not crashing for DR. The whole of his time at Torro Rosso was a job interview. But now he has a renewed contract and he’s got points and the team behind him. He will be cutting lose soon.

      4. Justin says:

        5-1 in Ric’s favour vs Vettel on race results would suggest otherwise.

      5. justafan says:

        Some of those being team orders.

      6. Wade Parmino says:

        You can’t be serious.

        Ricciardo will finish 3rd in the championship. No doubt about it. Considering the ridiculous dominance of Mercedes, 3rd place is like a win.

      7. Gaz Boy says:

        Daniel is driving very well, but who wants to finish 3rd? The way racing drivers are programmed finishing on the bottom step of the podium is the 2nd of the losers!
        A racing driver and team exists to win, not to pick up a bronze medal! As Damon Hill so eloquently put it:

        “Winning is everything. The only people who remember you coming 2nd or 3rd are your wife and your dog.”

      8. Yago says:

        You make a point there. He is not absolutely maximizing his car’s performance by details like the starts. However, he is confortably beating Vettel, and he is constantly fast, independent of the track and tyres. And he is actually managing the tyres very well.

        So for me he is doing a very good job in a very good car. Not the best job out there, but on the top five. He is a very good driver, that’s for sure.

      9. Lindsay says:

        “He keeps finishing behind cars which he is faster than and chasing down people in the closing stages without passing.”

        Hahaha. Did you not see the Mercedes pulling away from the Red Bull in the acceleration zones, even on worse tyres?

      10. Limelee says:

        Exactly my point. After the Mercedes, the Red Bull should be 3rd and 4th all day long. And for whatever reason, Daniel hasn’t been spending his races in 3rd, he’s been lower down. He’s often chasing down slower cars in the final stages, which suggests he’s out of position!!! He is very fast, he has been excellent on Saturdays. But on Sundays, his race craft, his ability to execute strategy and extract maximum performance is not quite there. If he was a rookie, then I would understand but were talking about a driver with over 50 Grand Prix to his name. He was the same at Toro Rosso, qualified well but went backwards. If you look at Hulkenburg. There’s a guy who qualifies above his cars ability and maintains that position, or who executes strategy to maximise a result. And often spends afternoons with no TV cameras on him because he’s in a no mans land between the cars he should be beating and the cars which he shouldn’t. And often gets his car ahead of the slower driver of a faster team. I’m not saying Ricciardo is no good, but he has a long way to come if he expects to be challenging for championships. Vettel has made a career out of making sure his car is in the best position to score maximum points as quickly as possible, and when he gets his act together then Daniel will have to really step up to compete.

      11. kenneth chapman says:

        @ lindsay…did you see the lap chart of the race that james posted on here a few days ago?

        you might then just like to modify your last post!

      12. Marc Saunders says:

        I believe RIC is copying ALO´s style. Impressive the RIC line in the graph above. It is practically horizontal at about 10 sec. behind Nico. He is obviously doing a conservative race. The question is what is he conserving: the motor? the fuel? the tires? whatever it is I believe he is doing an extraordinary job managing a huge amount of variables and minimizing the risk.

      13. Yago says:

        I think Ricciardo’s problem right now is that first lap. And that’s something that is difficult to practice, you can have the ability or you don’t. Look at Alonso, who is the best at that, or Hamilton and specially Vettel, who is also superb in that first lap. Or even Kimi is quite good also. Then look at for example Rosberg who is clearly not that good, and independently of how hard he tries is never going to be.
        This first lap magic is something that distinguish the very good from the great, and is crucial to maximize car potential, specially when you don’t have the fastest package.

      14. Limelee says:

        I agree it’s the first lap which is one of RIC’s downfalls. Getting yourself into the right position to attack the leaders is paramount when you haven’t got the fastest car! Alonso is streets ahead in this area. But I’m not sure Hamilton is any good at first laps!! It’s been one of his few weaknesses over the years. He’s as good a front runner as anyone, and usually takes it if he is able to keep up with the leaders but his biggest weakness is his starts. Hamilton is quick but speed isn’t everything, and this is where my problems with Ricciardo stem from. I’ve seen nothing on race day to suggest he could be a great beyond a turn of speed. Hamilton and Alonso are both super quick. But they also improvise and create advantages against faster cars through opportunism, aggression and skill in the race. He had great opportunity in China, but didn’t execute the strategy well enough and didn’t take advantage when he was in front of Roaberg. He could’ve been 2nd that day but came home fourth because he was outraced by Alonso and unable to keep Rosberg at arms length.

    3. Lindsay says:

      In the post race interview, Lewis said that the dirt in his eye cleared up with five laps to go. However, you can see from the chart that this did not result in any improvement to his lap times. In fact, his lap time continued to drop off. The drop of in lap times is quite similar to what Fernando showed in the latter stages of the race. This is quite curious. Had his tyres gone off?

      1. Matthew Cheshire says:

        Hamilton’s lap times were falling away like Rosberg and Alonso. But those two were just phoning in the last laps with no one near them. Was Hamilton defending and dealing with bad tyres? If he had Riccardo’s pace for the last 5 laps, he could have caught Nico.

        That end of the chart will surely encourage Red Bull.

        “I’ve got something in my eye!” Is the F1 equivalent to “the dog ate my homework”. I’m suspecting Hamilton was making a mountain out of a molehill there. His tyres were shot, and so was his patience. Maybe rattling his cage with the team too. It was very odd.

      2. aezy_doc says:

        Why would Hamilton -if he was making it up – not maintain that there was something in his eye all the way to the end of the race if he was looking for an excuse? He had something in his eye, then his tyres went off. Why is that so unrealistic?

      3. Wade Parmino says:

        Since he’s never made such a claim in the past ever, I think he should be taken at his word.

      4. kenneth chapman says:

        @ matthew….how true that is.

      5. paul murray says:

        After backing off because of eye he lost tyre temp

      6. Lindsay C says:

        Backing off didn’t affect Ricciardo. He came back & got his tyres up to temperature.

      7. Lindsay C says:

        Is Wade referring to Lewis or Nico?

      8. HP says:

        yep, his tyres were gone. and that’s why someone, in another article, mentioned that a bug in his was just an ‘excuse’ :P though i don’t buy it.

      9. Yago says:

        Alonso’s times dropped because he lost the brakes on the right side of the car for the last part of the race. It had not to do with tyre management, however even without the problem of the brakes he would have not been able to follow Ricciardo I believe.

      10. Elie says:

        Of course his tyres are going to go off & many many laps of being in Nicos turbulent air would do that!

        Why do people act so childish and question the dirt in eye. For which Lewis did not blow it out of proportion after the race. Lewis spent many long laps glued to the back of Nicos car and it was clear by long before the end of the race he was not getting past– he did not need any excuse- he drive a great race.

        The trailing/ attacking car will always suffer worse deg all other things being equal so no much to read there folks

      11. littleredkelpie says:

        Ha! the dog ate his homework alright. He expects us to believe it was the scariest moment of his racing career, or words to that effect, and yet even though the team immediately implored him to get back to the pits, low and behold it cleared up before he got to pit entry. And if it didn’t clear up, then it was so death defying as to have no impact on his lap times. Rubbish.

      12. aveli says:

        is it rubbish because he managed it and don’t imagine it possible?

      13. Lindsay C says:

        Would Mercedes not be asking the same questions?

        Probably why Lewis did not “blow it out of proportion”.

      14. Matthew Cheshire says:

        In my slightly humble opinion, Lewis had destroyed his tyres and was going to lose to Rosberg by a big margin. He probably did get something in his eye, but he used it to explain away His weakness to Rosberg. When Ricciardo caught him, it was conveniently forgotten.

        If that all sounds too childish to be true, look at the behaviour on the podium.

    4. Juzh says:

      Nah, it was clear ric was saving tires for the end of the race and merc were doing the opposite.

      1. justafan says:

        F1 should be about racing and not tyre saving tactics.

  2. MJSib says:

    James, do you have any idea what the “data” Lewis referred to shows or doesn’t show?

    1. matthew says:

      Thinking now of Rosberg’s Q3 ‘cock-up’ – I mean lock-up – watching replays of the incident, Nico’s body language and answers to questions, my opinion remains the same as it was upon first seeing the incident on Saturday afternoon. The German recognised an opportunity afforded him to influence both his and his team-mate’s starting positions in the most important qualifying session of the year… And took it.
      Now that’s my opinion, and you may agree or disagree, but the arguments against seem weak at best.

      Of course it’s nigh-on impossible to prove that a driver chose to cause a caution flag to be waved, but the actions – when seen from Nico’s on-board camera – appear very suspect indeed. Approaching the Mirabeau corner braking area at a different angle to his usual line, then sawing at the steering wheel before locking the right-front wheel would be frowned upon if performed by a rookie, but when a seasoned race-winner drives in such an erratic and frankly out-of-character way it’s explained away (by many) as nothing more than a mistake.

      A well-timed ‘mistake’ certainly.

      Checking telemetry will prove very little more (in this instance) than what one can see from the onboard camera. The fact that Rosberg locked a wheel and went into an escape road is not in doubt, it’s the timing and whether he ‘chose’ to do it that are the questions – and telemetry won’t give you answers to these uncertainties……this was written by darren heath.

      1. MJSib says:

        If Nico had made the same lock up during the race, would he have used the escape road? I doubt it which is why even if the lock up was an error, his actions immediately after are what shows his guilt

      2. Mhilgtx says:

        Nico did lock up there in a few laps during the race. I still am not sure he purposely did that to screw up Lewis and Daniels lap but it’s part of the risk the sport takes with the current qualifying format.

        With that said it’s by far the easiest to follow and most exciting format of any of the racing forms I follow.

      3. KAlan says:

        Would the telemetry not show how fast he was going on this lap compared to his previous hot lap? Would it not show where he braked this time around compared to the last time, if he braked slightly late and could it not show the amount of pressure he applied on the brake?
        Am just curious. Maybe James can shed some light on it. I think it’s that telemetry which Hamilton might have been talking about.

      4. James Allen says:

        Yes and they found no conclusive proof it was deliberate

      5. Nator says:

        Yes, but no matter what the data shows, Mercedes will never say any different.

      6. shortsighted says:

        Whether it was deliberate or not is besides the point. The point is that Rosberg brought out the yellow flag that impeded other drivers to improve on their time. Why was he not penalized while others who impeded were whether it was deliberate or not?

      7. aveli says:

        in my view, rosberg planned his monaco race 3 months in advance. he understands the telemetry and knows how to manipulate it to show what he wanted it to show but hamilton saw evidence in the telemetry others may have missed or chosen to miss.
        piquet jnr described how to crash without it showing in telemetry perfectly.

      8. Tom in Adelaide says:

        Also, watching the on-board, it’s obvious that he could still have made the corner. His lap time would have been woeful, but he didn’t need to take the escape road.

      9. Georgep says:

        According to BBC, the stewards found that Nico was going 7 mph faster into the corner compared to his first timed lap. This could easily have caused a braking problem which provoked his reactions on the steering wheel.

        Nothing we have seen from Nico would indicate toga the might cheat to win [mod].

      10. uan says:

        Interesting, because Lewis was claiming that the telemetry shows it was purposeful.

        I’m inclined to believe it was a genuine mistake, but he had a choice to go into the run off or run close to the barriers and make the turn.

        He choose the most advantageous option. And both were legitimate options open to him at that point. I actually don’t see anything wrong with that, no worse than an opportunistic move that has a low chance of success and takes out a car (like Kimi’s move on MAG).

      11. paul murray says:

        You are talking about the man that lost ten places under the safety car.KM had PU problem and had let JB pass,should have done the same for KR.

      12. Tickety-boo says:

        Spot-on. I’m no fan of LH and his sulking tendencies but this was quite the underhand trick pulled by Nico and shatters his ‘clean boy’ image although I haven’t forgotten his efforts to run people off the track when being overtaken a few years back and Lewis had to take to the dust to avoid a collusion…

      13. flesh says:

        @Tickety-boo I remember that race you are referring to. it was Bahrain 2011 or 2012 and nico drove Alonso of the track also in the space of a few laps from running lewis off.

      14. Matt says:

        …and risk stuffing the car into an unyielding barrier, possibly knocking corners off, meaning potentially dodgy repairwork overnight?

        I don’t buy it. Too risky.

        Bravo Ricciardo. Not often you see a line trending up at the end as much as that.

      15. Dr T says:

        +1 and +1 again Matt – beat me to the point

      16. cartweel says:

        Have you ever driven a car “in anger” and have a rear lockup? These guys are good, but I suspect that Nico crapped his pants just a little when he hit the brakes and got rear lock on a downhill run into a wall-lined corner. If he actually planned it, he deserves it anyway. You should notice that when one of these cars locks the rears (has happened a lot this year), a quick spin and accident is the normal result. This wasn’t a schumi “spin”- any punter could pull that off. IMO Nico did well to not smash the car. End of story- sorry Lewis.

    2. Slick says:

      My guess is that the following conversation took place before the race – “Nico, there are three run off areas on the track. You need to push beyond the limit on these three corners”, “But if I push beyond the limit I might stuff it up” “If you don’t push beyond the limit Lewis will beat you anyway and besides, the worst that can happen is that you stuff it up, go down an escape road and cause a yellow flag which would stuff Lewis’s lap” “So you mean I get a free run. I can go beyond the limit in these 3 corners. If I make it I get pole, if I don’t make it I still get pole?” “Correct”.

  3. jim charlesworth says:

    2 things – 1) If Hamilton allows his head to get clouded (as in the past) and loses focus, he will lose the championship and the support of his team

    2) when will any of the top teams stop chasing after old hands (alonso, raikkonen) and just hire hulkenberg…!?

    1. Neil Jenney says:

      #2 is a great question. I can’t help wondering what is wrong with Hulkenberg given his obvious talent. Yes he carries a size and weight penalty, but I can’t help wondering if he’s somehow offended the ruling classes in the paddock. Is having Willi Weber as manager having an adverse affect on his career? How about an article on Nico’s career so far and what’s he’s done right and what he’s done wrong?

      1. Tornillo Amarillo says:

        Exactly, what was wrong with HULK, his manager who is not getting a top seat? Obviously HULK could get many podiums in a top team, so what else he can do? Poles? Hardly this year.

      2. HP says:

        Willi Weber is not his manager anymore.

      3. Jimbo says:

        Weber hasn’t been Hulkenberg’s manager since 2011.

    2. DS says:

      1) Agreed.

      2) I believe its mainly due to 2 reasons, the top teams prefer the tried and trusted ‘top’ drivers so as to maximize their chances of getting results and they can afford it. The other reason would probably be the fact that Hulkenberg is ‘too heavy’ for this year’s car designs which can be a (significant) disadvantage.

    3. Gil Dogon says:

      3) and when will Bianchi get a chance to show of what he can do with a half-decent car ?

    4. Tealeaf says:

      Raikkonen, Button and maybe even Alonso will be retiring within 2-3 years, it would be a complete utter joke if Hulk doesn’t take at least one of them seats in the top teams, maybe even Redbull will have a spare seat sometime in the next couple of years if Vettel decides to go to Ferrari or if Riccirdo fails to perform when championships are at stake.

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        Ah Tealeaf, thank goodness yourself and Aura F1 both agree with my sentiments that The Incredible Hulk is, pound for pound, one of the best drivers in F1 and deserves to be in a Big Boys team to challenge for a WDC.
        Could he win the WDC? Well, at the very least he has the credentials required for a consistent season long WDC campaign. As well as speed, maturity and consistency he has that all important facet – mental toughness and mental agility.
        The failure of the Big Boys to sign him up shows an incredible lack of imagination and error of judgement in this writers opinion. Martin Whitmarsh made a pigs ear of judgement by signing Checo; the Mexican is a fine journeyman driver but not a future WDC. And Ferrari overlooked him too, which was also a lapse in decision making.
        Ah well, hopefully – hopefully! – that situation can be rectified and one of the Top Teams will get Hulky to sign a contract, give him a competitive car and team environment, and watch him let rip!
        PS Surely there is more people out there on this forum who also think the Hulk, along with Daniel, Kyvat and Bianchi can challenge for WDC in the not too distant future?

      2. Dr T says:

        Why would the Hulk want a McLaren seat at the moment? Poor 2013 car. 2014 car has only had one good showing

      3. Thompson says:

        It’s not the cars .

        McLaren may have let themselves down over the last couple of seasons operationally but you don’t forget all you’ve learned academically over night

        The team have made race winning cars for too long to start making duffers.

        Thier problem is drivers – doubt Hulk will be their savior ( currently getting a discrete kicking by Perez.)

        Anthony Davidson is a good car developer, if you’ve followed his career. Currently working for Sky & Mercedes.

        Macca should consider alternative drivers and start using 1st practice more strategically.

      4. aveli says:

        the likes of kvyat and magnussen are also queuing to enter f1 so hulkinberg and his management team need to strike while the iron is glowing.

    5. Gazza says:

      Did you not see Jenson Buttons piece today on Lewis?

      Quote
      “I remember with Lewis when we had a tussle in a race, or there was an issue between us or with the team and Lewis, he would have a really bad race and be quite outspoken and emotional about it.

      “But then the next race he would destroy me. He would come back stronger than ever.

      “So the mind games people play on him will not work.”

      Not sure where some people get all the this mental weakness stuff from (2011 off track issues excepted).

      Mostly wishful thinking I suspect.

      1. KAlan says:

        The mental weakness issues? Right there in Button’s quote ” he would have a really bad race ”
        Sounds good when there is a “next” race and he would destroy Button, but sometimes there isn’t a next race, it could be the last race of the season with the title on the line, plus we don’t know how poorly or how well Rosberg will react to it on track.

      2. Gazza says:

        So you expect Lewis to never have a really bad race.?

        Funny how some people always want to set the bar to impossible heights for him.

        Still I suppose after 4 wins on the trot the backlash from his detractors was inevitable.

      3. GP says:

        There is one major difference, Button never pissed Lewis off anywhere near what was on display this weekend.

      4. Gazza says:

        Lets see what happens in Canada shall we.?

      5. Micky D says:

        GP….

        I take it you don’t remember Jenson “not seeing” Lewis in his mirrors in Canada, just before closing the door and putting Lewis in the wall?

        Me.. I believe Jenson, but I also remember a mightily pi**ed off Lewis at the time.

      6. GP says:

        Like I said, JB never did anything to provoke the kind of reaction Lewis had this weekend.

      7. flesh says:

        I agree I also believe people go out of their way to unsettle lewis because when he is rattled he is less of a threat. How wrong they are.

    6. Elie says:

      Because Raikkonen, Hamilton, Alonso are still the best racers in F1 by a long shot. In a year or so time Hulkenberg can take his pick. For now hes still in a Mercedes powered FI that should be fighting in the top 6-8 or better anyway.

      1. justafan says:

        I agree with you about Alonso and Hamilton, but I would definitely replace Raikkonen with vetted.

    7. furstyferret says:

      It seems that is what you hope for jim, lets look at the season sor far 6 races in,4-2 in wins- 4-2 in qualy to lewis, all 4 of lewis wins deserved, rosbergs 2 wins, oz due to lewis dnf, which a lot of people on this site conveniently forget, and monaco due to a slightly dodgy yellow flag, but were give benifit of the doubt, lewis feeling the pressure you’re have to try harder, ps if things were turned around and lewis secured pole with a dodgy yellow flag, this forum would go into meltdown, benefit of the doubt, sadley I dont think so..

    8. Andrew M says:

      By far the worst thing to come out of this weekend is the fact that suddenly every F1 fan in the world has become an amateur psychologist.

      (Emphasis on amateur)

  4. Gaz Boy says:

    Excellent analysis.
    All the conspiracy theorists can be put to bed really. On a street track such as Melbourne, Monaco, Montreal (well, it is sort of a street circuit) and Singapore where the walls/barriers allow little room for run off areas there is always going to be a high probability of a safety car.
    Perhaps Lewis should just chalk up it to experience and deliver the perfect riposte at Montreal – being quick, taking pole, good start, control the race. Mind you, easy for me to say that – I’m not fighting for a WDC!

  5. KenC says:

    Good analysis.

    During the race broadcast, I presumed Lewis saw the result of Sutil’s crash and knowing that he was in his pitstop window, thought that pitting out of sequence with Nico was his only chance to get past. Why wait for the stewards to decide when you’re already in your pit window and you need to pit out of sequence to have a chance?

    I suppose there was some risk of getting stuck behind the Ferrari, but no decision to win is riskless. Driving behind Nico the whole race may be riskless from the teams’ point of view, but it’s pretty useless from the drivers’. 2nd is the first loser.

    In the US broadcast, F1 analyst Steve Matchett, totally didn’t understand why Lewis would be questioning the pitstop strategy.

    1. Ian Gore says:

      To be fair, the US commentators couldn’t figure out Bianchi’s penalty either. They seemed convinced he would be disqualified. I guess they didn’t know about the ‘after the race’ penalty available this year.

      They were happy to keep on explaining what DRS stands for, for any new viewers.

    2. Kev says:

      Mercedes could not have pitted HAM after SUT crashed because if there was no safety car then this would just have allowed HAM to undercut ROS and get the advantage. Mercedes have always pitted the lead driver whether it is ROS or HAM. HAM was just unfortunate that the safety car didnt allow him to get a free lap to gain position

      1. chris green says:

        agree totally. it shows mercedes are disengenuous when it claims they want to see their drivers race. i read several different f1 websites and the consensus seems to be that rosberg did pull a swifty in quali. you would think that merc would be keen to even up the score come race day and give Ham every chance. But no.

        i think that lauda is stirring the pot. he didn’t get the nickname of The Rat for nothing.
        His situation at mclaren in 84-85 is similar to rosbergs current situation. Prost was quicker than lauda and lauda used every trick in the book to try and beat prost. i think he is mentoring rosberg.
        merc also need to get another strategist if it wants to maintain the claim that its drivers are free to race.

      2. James Allen says:

        If you read the piece, it shows that there was a plan in place to give Hamilton a chance to get Rosberg in the pit stops. He didn’t get to try it because of the Safety Car

      3. Kev says:

        My point was not that mercedes are disengenuous but that they are fair on both drivers as the lead driver gets priority on the pit stops. HAM would have had priority if he had the lead

      4. justafan says:

        The problem is the backslash they got after prioritising Hamilton last year. That’s why this year they’re letting their drivers race, like Williams 1986 for example. Or McLaren 2007.

    3. Rod says:

      Why didn’t he just stop when he learned of the crash? He still had time and knowing that the team would always pit Nico first, he should have just go in the pits and take his chance.

      1. L.B says:

        If he did, he’d be painted as a villain who disrespects his team’s strategies when they don’t work for him.
        The downside was too much…if his forced undercut worked, he’d have earned the ire of his team (which is doing its best to remain neutral).
        If it didn’t work, he’d still earn the ire of his team and he’d have the extra embarrassment of being stuck behind the Ferraris.

    4. harold kwok says:

      There is only one strategist in Mercedes whose aim is to maximize team points and not trying to give one of the drivers a chance that may have considerable risk to overtake the other driver. Lewis pointed this out but nobody seems to have picked it up in the discussion or strategy analysis.

      1. James Allen says:

        It is spelled out here..??!

      2. gpfan says:

        Other than that, it is not mentioned!
        ;)

      3. Dan E says:

        This is 2014 James, you can’t expect people to read the article itself. I’m afraid this one’s on you for not having all the pertinent points in the headline (which still needs to be short and punchy)…

      4. Arnie S says:

        You can’t expect people to be able to read anymore :)

      5. shortsighted says:

        Can someone help to point out the part that James referred to? I don’t seem to be able to find reference to having two strategists in the team. Must be getting old and stupid.

      6. uan says:

        Then what’s Lewis’s problem? He knows the team, he knows the choices they will make. His one option was the over cut and the SC took that away. Frustrating for sure, but that’s not the teams fault.

        He can also talk all day and night about what McLaren would have done, but the biggest thing Merc did that McLaren couldn’t do in the last few years, is give him a car that is dominating the competition, and looks to win out the entire year. I’m sure he’d take his car over 2 strategists on the team every time.

      7. shortsighted says:

        Not worthy to reply. Let’s wait and see whether Mercedes will employ one more strategist.

  6. Pkara says:

    Should have brought Lewis in so he could undercut Rosberg. But strategic plan at Mercedes is too let the leader come in first. Even though the opportunity was within the time frame for Lewis to come in.
    Should have two strategists one for Lewis & one fir Rosberg. That way its all square & even Stevens.
    So in some respects there is an inequality regarding freedom to race your team mate.
    Neutrality must be a natural state for fairness & makes for a spectacular form of entertainment.

    1. James Allen says:

      Undercut was tricky in Monaco as the new soft takes time to warm up. He had a plan, as outlined in the piece to jump him through an offset

      1. Pkara says:

        Point taken. How much temp does the track loose in a safety car phase?

      2. cartweel says:

        That isn’t the issue under and SC since everyone is in the same situation for tire temps. It only matters when a car pits for new cold tires and has to race a car that is still out on old but warm tires. This weekend it took new tires a few laps to come up to speed so the undercut strategy wouldn’t work as easily as when the new tires are up to speed very quickly.

      3. Pkara says:

        I know about the tyres. From a track dynamic whether there is a negative variable on all cars regarding the rubber laid on the track from race progression. Could the slower laps in a safety car procession have a lowering of track temp which causes changes to how the track responds.

    2. Kev says:

      Im sure ROS would have liked the undercut in Bahrain and Barcelona

      1. cartweel says:

        Forget the undercut, I’m waiting to see a ROS or HAM uppercut…

    3. kenneth chapman says:

      surely two strategists would only cloud the issue further and become problematic for the team if they, as independent strategists, took decisions relative to their designated driver?

      as long as mercedes adhere to their policy re pit stop priorities then he will have to like it or lump it.

      1. Elie says:

        Thats right. Also the computers are doing the calculations far quicker than any 2 people ever can. So its just a question of what the “team” want & in those super close situations and ultimately thats the team bosses job- not even the strategist- Per Ross Brawn last year

  7. Ed says:

    So Bianchi served his 5 second penalty under the safety car which isn’t allowed, thus incurring an additional 5 second penalty. Would he have gained any additional places during the pitstop phase if they had simply run the stop as normal and taken the 5 seconds at the end of the race? He’d have been out of the pits 5 seconds sooner with everyone running at SC pace.

  8. Slick says:

    As regards the Merc strategy call on the prospect of a safety car, what struck me afterwards was that in previous races they had gone with a slight gamble strategy for Rosberg (running second) by putting him on the harder tyres for the second stint. They either did this to give him a chance at the win or to split the strategy to negate another team trying something different. Either way, when presented with an opportunity such as the prospect of a safety car they should have given Hamilton the option of a slight gamble if for no other reason than to cover the prospect of Ric or Alonson taking that option. In the end they got somewhat lucky that neither did and it wouldn’t necessarily have changed the result if they did but there was still a chance that they ended up 2,3 rather than 1,3. My guess is they simply lack the capability for instant strategy calls given the number of managers they have rather than anything untoward but it is something that Alonso could definitely find himself the beneficiary of in coming races.

  9. stoic says:

    My understanding is that the 5 second penalty Bianchi incurred was not a drive-thru but rather just an additional time added on a pit-stop or if not stopping will be added to race time. As Monaco is a 1-stop race and the best time to stop during the race was on the safety car period leaving them no choice but to take the penalty on that stop, I think it’s unfair to punish them further. I think the rule about not taking the penalty during safety car period should only apply to drive thru and stop-go penalty.

  10. Mickiehill says:

    Why couldn’t Hamilton make the call himself and dive into the pits? Even if it went against protocol Mercedes would still have changed his tyres..

    I understand Mercedes position and the strategy implications outlined above make sense, but if Hamilton saw an opportunity to pit why didn’t he go for it and deal with the consequences after…

    1. HP says:

      If he did then Rosberg can start doing the same whnenever he’s behind Hamilton. And remember, Rosberg didn’t do it in last 4 races when he was behind him.

    2. Elie says:

      Because the team would not be in a position to have the tyres ready. Toto Wolfe tweeted answers last night on this.

  11. goferet says:

    Certainly, every year Lewis learns a new lesson at Monaco and after Perez’s shunt in 2011 qualifying, he learnt never to wait to put in a bunker lap.

    Now the biggest lesson Lewis took away from this weekend is never to be behind your teammate during qualifying on street circuits.

    Regards the race, for sure, Sutil’s safety car spoiled the battle for I recall Rosberg was struggling with his supersofts at the time and Lewis had turned up the pressure so it would have been interesting to see if he would have stretched his first stint then do the business in the pitstops.

    Other than that, the Mercedes team has been doing good with their strategy calls and so I think they made the right choice not to pit Lewis first because it’s unfair for the driver behind to pit first especially when they’re next to each other for this would give the impression of favoritism.

    I think teams like Mclaren’s safety car procedure only applies if the driver behind is a long way off from the lead driver and so if he were to pit first, it wouldn’t affect the lead driver like what happened between MiniMag and Jenson at Australia 2014.

    I believe Pirell’s former tyres were robbing smaller teams of possible points for thanks to the durable tyres we saw Hulkenberg and Bianchi make their strategies work.

  12. The internal squabbles between Hamilton and Rosberg are good for entertainment. Let it continue to the final race please .

    1. Robb says:

      Yes! Finally someone agrees with me. Malaysia 2013 was the most unhappy podium I’ve ever seen, but was the whole “Multi-21″ saga bad for the sport? No, it brought a nice bit of drama to the season. Senna and Prost podiums were often somber, non-congratulatory affairs but it was their intense rivalry that made F1 interesting. It is these different personalities, including the ones we don’t like, which make things interesting by giving us heroes to cheer for, and villains to cheer against. Long live intense rivalry over smiles, pats on the back and PR speak.

      1. cartweel says:

        I like squabbles and this year is turning out to be quite entertaining, but I hated Malaysia 2013. Merc is doing the right thing to publish car data internally. The multi-21 is a situation I hope never happens again- they need to race on an even platform and not with one driver taking an advantage like Seb did.

      2. justafan says:

        They were on even platform.

  13. Rayz says:

    Very competitive pace from Raikkonen according to this graph. During the periods where he was in clear air, his pace was more than a match for Alonso. And given how close they were in Barcelona, I think it’s fair to say that Kimi is getting close to being a thorn in Fernando’s side. Raikkonen has been unfortunate a few times already this year. Between himself, Vettel and Perez, I can’t think of a race where something bad didn’t happen to one of them.

    Fair play to Bianchi as well. While Chilton was crashing into a Ferrari under the safety car, Jules was once again showing why he is a future champion in the making. Everything Max Chilton isn’t.

    1. Elie says:

      Kimi is already faster there is no ifs or buts about it. He wont look back from here..His only hassle (like 2009) is his team and Fernandos sponsors.

      1. paul murray says:

        Good post Elie but it was mid-way in 2008 that Ferrari alter the car to suite Massa.

      2. Elie says:

        Cheers Paul, Yeah I know all the politics behind that. Ferrari had agreed with Santander behind closed doors around end of April 2008, because all the BS talk about motivation started in May despite Kimi winning in Barcelona only weeks before.

        Karmas a b#%^ though isnt it – look at what it got Ferrari and Fernando in the 4 years that followed !- you never ever put a good man down – no matter how much you pay to do so..

      3. justafan says:

        Fernando is the better qualifier. Qualifying is very important these days.

    2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

      Nah, look the graph after lap 20. Alo keeps Ric pace, while Kimi loses about a second per lap with the other two. The start gave him a nice oportunity because in monaco you can hardly be overtaken if you dont want to, but his pace is still far from Alonso’s.

      1. Elie says:

        He opened up 4.5 sec to Riciardo and Ricciardo managed a similar gap3 sec . Of course you back off when your tyres are shod and you have a comfortable margin leading to your pit stop- common sense.. Something people here lack . Raikkonen is a marginally quicker than Alonso already

      2. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Incorrect. The most important moment to have a gap with the car behind you is the previous laps to the pits, that is NOT the moment to back off, is the moment to push. Thats what Kimi, Fernando and Ricciardo did, and The Spaniard and The Aussie were clearly faster. Common sense.

      3. Elie says:

        He still had 2 to dan and 2+more to Fernando.thats like10 sec on another circuit. You go 1 cm too wide at Monaco & your finished on worn tyres.He got his safety margin when he needed it- not when you think he needed it.. You are not a better driver than Raikkonen and his engineers – they know what margin they need. Mercedes were much closer & it was still a forgone conclusion. Besides the undercut is less favourable at Monaco because of traffic & tyre warm up on this years Pirellis as James has already indicated.. So you obviously dont understand.otherwise you would think before you post.

      4. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Again, false data. Just look at the graph, his gap with daniel is under one second before the safety car, meaning its was possible for an under or an overcut. But still, that wasnt my point. I just wanted people to see that, in the moment when you have to push harder, Fernando was faster than Kimi. The finn was ahead because of the start, but he never showed to have a pace close to Fernando’s in all the weekend.

      5. PP says:

        because he was in traffic? while alonso was driving in a mile of clear air

      6. Bart says:

        In the first stint Kimi opened a 7s gap on Alonso by lap 16, but over the next 10 laps (by lap 26) the gap was already down to 3,3s. I think Alonso was trying to do the same thing he did in 2012 – slow opening laps to save the tyres, close the gap before the pit stops and do one super fast lap more than Kimi.

      7. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        Traffic? What traffic? Kimi had more space with Lewis than Fernando with Ricciardo. There were a couple of lapped cars (Fernando and Ricciardo had to overtake them too) but that doesnt make you lose a plain second per lap for a 5 laps period. He was just slower.

    3. Kiran says:

      In any opinion on Kimi, please don’t mention AlonSo.
      If you have to, please address him as the complete driver who drove the car at 120 – 150% of what is possible my rest of the mortals.
      Also, please clearly mention how Kimi gained because Alonso is the best at giving feedbacks and developing cars. [well, this was the main, of all the abstract statements going for him till about... hmmm .. 3 yrs back]

  14. VV says:

    This must be a one-off: a whacky strategy from Williams actually turned out to be a good ‘un (admittedly with a bit of help from other drivers).

  15. Brian McNamara says:

    Lewis’s focus on being the last car for a qualifying lap worked against him. If he had been on track ahead of Nico he could have still improved his time.

  16. Brian McNamara says:

    Yellow flags behind you don’t preclude you from setting better times do they?

    1. Michael says:

      Correct. I don’t think Rosberg would’ve went off with Hamilton in front of him. I say this because I still believe he did it deliberately.

      1. justafan says:

        Stewards found out it wasn’t deliberate. Accept it.

      2. Michael says:

        @ justafan I do accept it. But, I can’t wait for Canada. Hamilton is going to get his revenge and Rosberg won’t have anywhere to hide. Everybody knows Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a Hamilton favorite.

    2. Tickety-boo says:

      Nope, so long as you’re beyond the flag zone indicated by green, then you’re good to go.

  17. RichB says:

    I wondered why button hadn’t made up places after he pitted first under safety car

  18. Lawrence says:

    Great report James. Thanks. Really looking forward to Canada. I can see LH winning as he seems to be good there and if there is a ding-dong battle LH will win. He seems the better in that kind of situation. I rarely ask questions as I think it can be a bit unfair but what do you think of DR being consistently faster than SV? I am big SV fan and I am beginning to think DR has the legs on him.

    1. gpfan says:

      Tonight, Montreal “Les Habs” play against
      New York. They are down 3-1, in a best of
      seven.

      Should Montreal perform a miracle and win
      three on the trot, they shall be in the
      Stanley Cup finals. If that happens, one
      shall be ecstatic at the Grand Prix of
      Canada (providing one is attending).

      If watching on the telly, then it is just
      the race for you.

      Montreal, GP and hockey all at the same
      time is better than anything one may
      imagine.

      1. cartweel says:

        This is the first year in 15 I am not going to MTL for the race. If the habs make it to the cup finals I may just go anyway… Can’t imagine cup finals AND the GP at the same time- Epic does not justly describe it. Montreal is the best race on the calendar- and I have been to a lot around the world. The support is awesome for F1, but hockey is a completely different level.

      2. gpfan says:

        LOL. Have not gone in 15 years,
        And, I’m in Toronto!

        I have been to a few, but Detroit
        was probably my fave. ‘Course, it
        was a different time. Shared porta
        potties with the teams, Rizla and
        Marlboro girls handing out fags and
        Penthouse girls with the latest
        edition.

        Made the 20 or so Montreal races
        seem tame. Silverstone is magic,
        too. (Phoenix was crap).

      3. James Allen says:

        Montreal is magic, you should reconsider. Austin is also well worth a trip

    2. Michael says:

      @ Lawrence Agreed. But, it looks like Hamilton is also very good at most of the remaining tracks. I don’t see Rosberg beating him. His only saving grace will be DNF’s and the double points race at Abu Dhabi.

  19. Ahmed says:

    So here’s my conspiracy theory wrt the “data” hamilton was referring to… All of a sudden there’s a lot of talk about this higher engine mode which hamilton and rosberg are not allowed to use and yet it seems tht one of them are going out and using it on alternate weekends… After viewing the data, hamilton saw tht rosberg may be pushing the higher engine mode n that’s how he ws quicker. He wouldn know this frm viewing the data because he knows what it is that he was looking for in the data, obviously the stwewards would be oblivious to this n even if they weren’t, it would make no difference to them… But to hamilton, it would be more to be annoyed over.

    As I said, just a conspiracy theory at most but one that fits well in its environment ;)

    1. Ahmed says:

      Hw would* know this from viewing…

    2. HP says:

      They are allowed to use that ‘high speed mode’ in the quali. as James has already said, Redbull had that magic button as well and Vettel used to use it on his final quali lap.

      1. justafan says:

        Ric does not have the same button as vetted?

    3. snarfsnarf says:

      Are you joking? That wouldn’t fit anywhere. Mercedes already came out and explained that the overtake button would not be allowed to be used again. You think Lewis is such an angel he wouldn’t call it out?? This is not a conspiracy theory, just a waste of time… Don’t bother.

      1. Ahmed says:

        Do I really need to answer your first question? Calm down, no need to get so worked up over a little banter ;)

      2. flesh says:

        @ snarfsnarf Your last post was a little rude and quite aggressive this is an open forum for anyone who has an interest in the topics offered to voice there opinion. if you don’t like or disagree with a comment do it constructively I think you should apologise for your bad attitude!

  20. richardc says:

    I have just watched the Nico “incident” again and have just noticed something not previously reported. Nico is seen in the escape road coming to a standstill….he then is frantically trying,as quickly as he can to get the car into reverse. This action does not appear to be that of smeone who has just screwed up his qually but someone who knows he has about three seconds to get back on the track to make the yellow flags wave him to pole!!

    1. HP says:

      Yellow flags were already showing once he went into the escape road!

    2. Tim says:

      I didn’t see any footage of Rosberg reversing back onto the track immediately as reported but that would be a very dangerous thing to do and he should’ve been penalised or at least reprimanded. Not only did he ruined the hot laps for the remaining 9 cars on the track but it’s just down right unsafe. I think the rules say u can only reverse out if u’re stuck in a dangerous position on the track. But he was in the run off area which supposedly is safer than reversing out. However that would be academic anyway coz him going off already brought out the yellows which means everybody must lift at least going into Mirabeau.

    3. Kev says:

      The yellow flags were waving from the moment he took to the escape road and cleared the moment he drove off after reversing back onto the track. If he had sat in the escape road the yellows would have kept waving

      1. Robb says:

        Well, it never hurts to make sure.

  21. Steve JR says:

    Whether Hamilton is right or wrong in his analysis of the weekend, his conduct can only be seen as ungentlemanly and destructive. Perhaps Nico did steal the win with foul play on Saturday…only Nico knows the truth. Sadly for Hamilton (and I genuinely like it that he’s in F1) his manner is coming off as childish and history will judge him as such.

    He should really look to be the coolest cucumber on track and ironically for him, Nico is someone he could learn from. While Alonso and Raikonnen are both older, they really set the standard of maturity that he desperately needs to emulate

    1. Ed Bone says:

      Alonso, Raikonnen set the standard. You are absolutely joking, surely?

    2. Michael says:

      @ Steve JR Alonso? U must be joking.
      Have u forgotten 2007 when he lost his mind at McLaren? lol

    3. lethalnz says:

      not one of those F1 racer is a gentleman,
      even Lauda a 3 times world champ says,

      Lauda said: “You have to be a bastard if you want to win in Formula One. No question. You cannot win being a nice guy. Tell me one nice guy out there. Do we start with Fernando Alonso? This is a breed of people who are 110% focused and use every trick to blow the other one off.”

    4. C63 says:

      While Alonso and Raikonnen are both older, they really set the standard of maturity….

      You really think that?
      Alonso was so mature last season LDM publicly rebuked him. After Spain, Raikonnen mumbled a couple of answers then walked off mid interview because he was so upset with team strategy. Incidentally, if you think Raikonnen is so mature try watching this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZwluGshJ_E – now tell me he is mature.

      1. justafan says:

        Agreed. Alonso is not mature. There was certainly not the ear teaching for nothing.

  22. Rory W says:

    Would it have been worth Lewis taking his own decision and pulling into the pits? There may have been a bit of a wait while the team reacted and grabbed his tyres but could that have helped him?

  23. olderguysrule says:

    James, it looks to be like it’s who’s calling the race. The driver and / or the engineers in the pits. Seems like some drivers are involved in the decisions, and others have little if any input. Kimi’s famous “leave me alone, I know what I’m doing” comes to mind. I got one of those tee-shirts for christmas, one of my prized possessions. :>) Your take on driver involvement to come up with the strategy as compared to the mercs would be very interesting.

  24. AlexD says:

    Honestly, Hamilton would not complain if the pit stop strategy was the same with him leading. Would he want Rosberg to get a better strategy with Ham on the lead? No.
    I think Hamilton shoul accept he can lose some battles, but he is lacking wisdom that he needs to win the war.

    1. Elie says:

      Exactly if the roles were reversed he’d be screaming blue murder if Rosberg had the call on the pits.. Its all “a storm in a tea cup” bought on by capt hollywood. Fastest driver but too much of a sooky baby– still- unfortunately!

  25. Damon says:

    We missed out on potentially a great battle for the win, Hamilton had the speed to close up to Nico before the safety car, it would have been interesting to see if stopping out and hammering some quick laps in would have been enough to leapfrog Nico.

  26. Mitchw says:

    I count three knowledgable F1 journalists reporting that most drivers in the grid believe Nico [mod]. Mark Hughes, Joe Saward and Peter Windsor concur. That it’s not a scandal just because there was not enough evidence to punish Nico doesn’t mean he is innocent. These are the times I feel I’m being takenfor a ride by the sport and should just find another way to occupy myself. I wonder what the Mercedes board really thinks about their [mod].

    1. Mitchw says:

      Sorry about the commenting rules violations, James. Ironic, no? I should have said that many current drivers privately think Nico deliberately caused a caution, and that I additionaly wondered how the Merc board of directors might feel about the conduct of their employee, Herr Rosberg, given the prevailing sentiment.

    2. Mike from Colombia says:

      Mark Hughes does not believe Nico. Read his article.

      Peter Windsor is the David Frost of the F1 world. Completely averse to controversy or strong opinions. Wants to be everyone’s friend and will never take the risk of upsetting any drivers.

      1. justafan says:

        Link?

    3. Samir says:

      F1 is a fairly dysfunctional sport IMO (behold the ridiculous double points), and journalists can’t risk alienating themselves from the sport’s big figures, so they become part of the system. I have seen many journalists use arguments that “if it didn’t get caught by the stewards, then it’s ok to have done something” (Peter Windsor appeared to admire Nico’s execution of the act) or “Hamilton chopping across Rosberg in Bahrain in wheel-to-wheel combat is equivalent to Rosberg ending qualy for 9 drivers who could improve” (courtesy David Coulthard). Lewis Hamilton is unpopular with a lot of the media because of the meaningless things he says and because he is generally not a smooth operator. According to Gary Anderson, payback on track is acceptable for barbs in the media! Who knew? In the aftermath of Monaco, very few media personalities have stuck their necks out, and many have preferred to criticize Lewis for being displeased with what happened. A lot is being made of his statement about strategy, and his cryptic comment on handling things like Senna would. I didn’t see anything wrong with his driving though. I wish people would focus on what happens between those white lines more…Lewis would do best to take a leaf out of Kimi’s book. He has no friends in the media and he shouldn’t worry about what other’s think of him…

  27. Horoldo says:

    Hi James,

    Can’t see sebs line upto when he retired.

  28. Kramgp says:

    I looking forward to Montreal . It’s a great circuit, and the new found distrust between Nico and Lewis will only add to the drama.
    There are a lot of other stories waiting to unfold as we get deeper into the season at Red Bull and Ferrari. So even if Merc have it in the bag constructor wise there is lots to play for.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      +1
      Couldn’t agree more, lots and lots and lots to play for at Merc F1.

    2. Bullish says:

      The most likely way that Mercedes will be beaten this year will be when they take each other out.

  29. M Pountney says:

    Poor little whinging hard done by rich boy. Lewis needs to read the life story of Sir Stirling Moss and learn what being a sportsman is all about.He has already been judged a liar and a cheat by the FIA. In TV interviews his demeanor borders on the blaise to the arrogant. He has fits of jealousy and pique towards most every co-driver he has ever had. In the past, everyone else has always been to blame, Massa, Webber, Alonso, Rosberg, McLaren, Ferrari. The failure to answer Suzi’s after race questions at Monaco were typical of the Prima Donna he is becoming.

    1. Dr T says:

      If it’s too hard to read the story of Sir Stirling, LH can just sit down to a copy of “Roary the Racing Car” on DVD – Sir Stirling commentates it…

    2. Robb says:

      Well then thank your lucky stars there is someone you dislike so much in the thick of the championship battle. It gives you someone to cheer against.

  30. Paige says:

    I think the whole controversy over the pit strategy stems from the fact that Lewis Hamilton really needs to grow up. And a big part of growing up for him is that he needs to let go of his ridiculous insecurity. He behaves as if he must be ahead all the time or his image would be tarnished, as if the opinions of fans or journalists mean a damn thing to determine who wins and loses. If he gets beaten by a teammate, the excuses really do flow from him as if he feels he has a reputation he needs to uphold.

    What separates Lewis Hamilton from the two guys who have accomplished more in the sport- Vettel and Alonso- is that he gives a damn what you think, and the other two don’t. The other two will forget a bad race before it’s even over and be back next time for the kill. I think that in this context, Sebastian Vettel especially deserves a lot of credit for how he is handling his situation. He is not throwing his toys out of the pram at being beaten by Ricciardo or questioning the team or anything. He is playing a team game, he is working on his own deficiencies right now, and he is focused on being back on top no matter how long it takes. Lewis can really learn a lot from Vettel in this respect.

    1. aezy_doc says:

      Have you heard Vettel’s radio this year? ‘he’s too slow’ ‘tough luck’ ‘this is ridiculous’ and so on. Some people have selective hearing and some broadcasters have selective broadcasting.

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        @ aezy doc….exactement mon ami. i have a friend who was at monaco and he has friends of his in the mclaren team where he has spent a lot of time over the past 10/12 years. they tell of stories about vettel behind closed doors that dispel any theories of how accepting he is of the current situation within the team.

        did you notice how horner never said one word about how good and rewarding ricciardo’s drive was on sunday? his ommission was blatantly obvious. daniel is contributing to the teams benefit in a major way.

    2. Krischar says:

      Lewis have nothing to learn from Vettel. If lewis drive alongside Dan Ricciardo in the current RBR he will easily see off ricciardo and would be never in position of 5-1 down after 6 races in qualifying. If anything fans can learn more about vettel now and realise that he is not good enough to have 4X WDC titles. Vettel WDC titles are free hierlooms presented to him by Newey, webber and horner Co.

      1. peruvian says:

        “…Vettel WDC titles are free hierlooms presented to him by Newey, webber and horner Co…” you forgot TRACTION CONTROL, last year he had it inveded in the KERS system, (look up singapore engine sound) and that is why last year RBR had so many issues with the alternator blowing up… now this year Vettels car has broken down several times due to the Traction Control not co-existing well with the new engine/techonology but soon they will, and Vettel will win races this year, of course illegally … I wish there was more youtube videos of ontrack engine sounds, specially coming out of the corners…

      2. justafan says:

        Lewis can learn from Vettel how to win. His stake is one title against four.

      3. SteveS says:

        “If lewis drive alongside Dan Ricciardo in the current RBR he will easily see off ricciardo ..”

        That would be an impressive trick indeed, if his car had serious issues in five of the first six GP’s as Vettels has.

        Outside of this particular site most people have already acknowledged that Seb has been terribly unlucky this season.

    3. sebsie says:

      What separates Lewis Hamilton from the two guys who have accomplished more in the sport- Vettel and Alonso- is actually the equipment they’ve had at their disposal so as to accomplish more :-)

      1. justafan says:

        You sound like the Mercedes would be no match for the RBR and the Ferrari?

    4. Dr T says:

      Yes – Vettel is not throwing his toys out this year as Renault haven’t given RB the equipment to challenge Merc.

      In any event, SV threw his toys out from 2010-2013 at the expense of Mark Webber

      1. SteveS says:

        I never knew that “throwing toys out the pram” was a euphemism for comprehensibly outclassing your teammate.

  31. RobertS says:

    James, I’ve heard several drivers talk about how hard the tyres are and the warm up times. How do these tyres compare to the tyres from the tyre war days. Can the driver push them for quick sprint or are they too hard? Do they still wear out quickly even though they are hard??

  32. Ed Bone says:

    Very good explanation of HAM’s race strategy, and why it failed.

    Could do with the same depth of analysis of the ROS/HAM Q3 incident, as it was pivotal to the outcome of the race.

  33. Messrine says:

    Hamilton played mind games prior to Monaco comparing his upbringing with Rosberg’s, which was unfair. Rosberg cannot help how he was brought up. And let’s face it Hamilton exaggerated the poverty of his childhood (he didn’t come from the ‘gangsta’ backstreets whatever he likes to have his fans believe. That aside, Rosberg did his talking on the track and beat him fair and square (he was cleared by the stewards) and won the race. Move on!

  34. mofs says:

    Thinking about Massa’s strategy, I initially thought there was no point. However the Williams was out of position and being held up by slower cars. By not pitting Massa during the original safety car period, they gained track position and were able to run at the pace of the leaders (the Ferraris, Mercedes and Ricciardo) thus gaining time over their competitors in the midfield who would’ve been held up by slow cars. The flaw in this plan was that a second safety car was always likely and ultimately bunched the pack up again, gaining them nothing.

    1. jayF1 says:

      good spot!

  35. rogerS says:

    james, what if hamilton tried to stay on track during safety car… ok rosberg would catch him but you also mentioned that bianchi and hulk did over 50 laps on super softs… so if hamilton also had done the same, rosberg tyres would also start graining so maybe he could have beaten him if he thinks he is really a fast guy…

  36. ErikT says:

    It seemed unfair to me to have the pitwall telling HAM which turns ROS was coasting into. Sharing information across the garage is fine, but I don’t think HAM would be OK with the pitwall sharing his strategy with ROS. Nobody has mentioned it, so maybe it is just me, but it seemed dirty during the race.

    1. sebsie says:

      Where have you been all along? Mercedes does this all the time – both ways!

  37. Sujith says:

    Ferrari also follows Mercedes’s policy for pitting the lead man first (Except for Spain, I guess they had their reasons)

    But yeah, if they had the McLaren policy of responding to an “SC” we would have seen a different race at Melbourne for Kimi. As soon as Bottas brushed the wall at turn 10 and broke his wheel, we saw pictures of the wheel rim on the racing line, then we cut to the start finish straight where Kimi was driving past the pit entrance! I was screaming at my seats for Ferrari to call him in. It did not happen. They could have avoided the double stacking there and saved Kimi the 2 positions he lost.

    They should have anticipated an SC, seeing where the debris was on track.

  38. Basil Binx says:

    Hi James,

    A bit late to the party and not sure if someone has mentioned this, I read some calculations that showed that had Hamilton stopped before the safety car, he would have lost time to Rosberg instead of gain.

    This was put down to the others running at racing speed while he pits, and then him running at the safety car delta speed while everyone else pits. So in the end the outcome would have been the same, but as you say the risks were greater.

    1. slick says:

      I have been working through scenarios as to whether time can be gained or lost. The net effect assuming all else stays the same is zero however the potential is for Rosberg to have lost time in the pit lane due to the number of cars stopping at the same time and having to avoid an unsafe release.

  39. seifenkistler says:

    Off topic:
    Anything about the accident Rosberg had when doing Mercedes ad’s with the german soccer team?

    Read they were doing the ad on a road closed for public when tourists either were on the road or did something not exspected.

    Rosberg reduced speed and the follow up car driven by DTM racer Wehrlein tried to evade and hit the tourists ???

  40. Arnie S says:

    I was standing between Saint Devote and Tabac and I was surprised that there wasn’t a single attack in St Devote. I think HAM need to respect other peoples wins, since he’s not completely innocent either. 50% of what happened is to blame his crew and team for.

    A shame that Chilton ruined RAI’s race. RAI kept RIC at distance except just before the pit-stop (SC). ALO could not keep up with the pace of RIC during the race, he was always way after. Good job from Bianchi and Ericsson.

  41. Arya says:

    James, I am little curious about Williams. During every race this year, they seemed to have the best fuel consumption among the whole grid. Have they compromised the sheer speed and power that Mercedes-powered cars are enjoying to benefit from better fuel consumption? If yes, are they getting anything good out of this approach?

  42. Steve Baumgartner says:

    Does anyone know if Lewis stopped at one of the health aid stations to have his eye flushed? It’s obvious that Lewis was not at the drivers posts in a timely maner, at the very end of the race. Nico and Recardo had to wait for Lewis to show up. But, he did have his helmet on still. Would he be required to drive up to the finish poles with his helmet off?
    If he had stopped at the first aid station?

  43. JohnBt says:

    Matter of time Lewis and Nico will take each other out somehow, just a feeling. Unless either one is a few cars ahead ahead for a clash. Well as Nikki said one has to be a b*****d in F1, I totally agree with him.

  44. Bru72 says:

    Nico drove a faultless race. Lewis stuffed it up with his side of the garage, but blames only them for it….publicly on radio. Nice, what a great team player.

  45. Supersi says:

    Its a bit silly by rule writters really, to think that giving certain drivers who have provisional pole the oportunity to create a yellow flag in the last few minutes and take pole.
    We see it in many other sports where the play gets stopped for the incident and then gets resumed once its cleared. What about extra time in most field sports or tie breaks etc.
    The list goes on. The clock should pause on a yellow or red flag and then resume afterwards, then cheating affairs like this wouldnt happen.

  46. CJ says:

    Lewis Hamilton has become a spoilt brat. He needs to grow up to realise the talent he has and WORK within the team and stop believing he has a god given right for everything to go his way

  47. eff1ohsaurus says:

    so, here’s my 2 cents…

    Lewis has a sense of “entitlement” which grates me…if he doesn’t win then it’s everyone else’s fault besides his; he questions the strategy but politely forgets that in previous races Nico was faster but did not get the 1st call on stategy; statements made about the telemetry and what he “swa” smack of Spa when he tweeted the traces whilst at Mclaren.

    No-one expects Nico and Lewis to remains BFFs whilst competing for the most coveted title in motorsport, but at least Lewis can be civil and treat his rival (and I expect the same of Nico) with respect, nevermind the media and the world watching…

    and about yellow flags…the rules are there. if you go out last on the last run you run the risk of a yellow flag upsetting your run. If Lewsi was so far up on Nico’s time as he suggested, why could he still not beat polem considering how close he was on his 1st run. A waved yellow does not mean you cannot improve your time – all that was needed was that he show he had backed off in that sector…

    We’ve had plenty waved yellows in the final seconds or minute of qualie, and its never been an issue, but now, because Lewis didn’t get pole at Monaco – now its and issue and they want to possibly change the rules in qualie and add a minute extra…stupid really…anyone remember a certain Mr Senna putting his Mclaren into a spin at the last corner of Magny Cours to get pole…i think he crossed the line going backwards…nothing was said then, if i recall correctly (James help me out if my memory is faded or jaded, please)

    my advice to both Lewis and Nico…move on to the next race and focus on the next battle. do your taliking on track and stop playing as if it’s primary school…”its unfair, he did this, you did that” all seems a bit juvenile. If Lewis is really that good – and i do belive he is – then he can beat Nico in a straight fight to the title…

    However, i’ve noted more ranting via radio from car Lewis than Nico – showing me that one is getting on with the job (and winning on the day) whilst the other throws the baby out with the bathwater whenever he doesn’t get his way…

    my 2 cents…

  48. Thompson says:

    Lol…….

    So qualigate roles on.

    Was interested in kimi’s graph, but for misfortune he would have beaten Alonso pretty comprehensively.

    Wonder how they’ll fair this weekend

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