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Mercedes bosses accept that team orders aren’t going to work in tight title battle
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Lewis Hamilton leads Nico Rosberg
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Jul 2014   |  3:06 pm GMT  |  348 comments

“If Lewis had let Nico go, Nico could have won the race with a different strategy.”

So said Toto Wolff, the Mercedes F1 team CEO, addressing the team orders row that was one of the main taking points of Sunday’s Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was asked by his team to let Nico Rosberg through with 24 laps to go in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix and didn’t heed the call. Hamilton was on a long final stint on medium tyres, not needing to stop again, Rosberg on a three stop strategy had another stop to make.

To be clear, it is normal practice in modern F1 to let a team mate by if you are two stopping and he is three stopping; we see it all the time. This is not exactly a team order, it’s more of an agreement between the team and its drivers, a protocol.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

It happens usually when a team splits the strategies, especially common when the situation is unclear as to which is the best route to go – on a messy complicated day, like Sunday, with rain and safety cars – and splitting strategies offers the best chance of getting at least one ideal outcome.

This was the situation with Mercedes in Hungary. Hamilton had taken new soft tyres at the first stop, Rosberg used softs. Hamilton was able to get to lap 39 before stopping again, which put him into the window to take the medium tyres and run to the end of the race.

Rosberg had to stop on lap 32, too soon to do anything other than take softs again, committing him to making another stop before the end of the 70 lap race.

Where team orders have been controversial in the past, is where teams have asked drivers on the same strategy to move over.

What was controversial about Sunday was that the matter involves two drivers fighting each other – and no-be else – for a world championship. In that context eery point counts and it is debatable whether that was a reasonable thing to ask Hamilton. Also the fact that it was his engineer who asked him, rather than the management figures, Wolff himself or Paddy Lowe, undermined the power of the command

Rosberg had 14 point lead before the race and now it’s down to 11 points.

So you can see why Hamilton was reluctant, even though he knew that this was one of those circumstances which the team had agreed earlier in the season, the drivers would be asked to move over for.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg

“I was thinking: ‘I’m in this race, I don’t understand why I have to let him past,'” Hamilton said. “I’m sure the team did it for the right reasons.
“If I had let him past when they asked me, he would have caught me with a couple of laps to go, for sure.”

Mercedes F1 team chairman Niki Lauda backed Hamilton up, ” He did the right thing ignoring the order. We will forget this episode in a hurry.”

For his part Rosberg said, “I didn’t ask for team orders, it was the team (who made the call).”

Many fans here have pointed out that Hamilton held up Rosberg for nine laps and that wrecked Rosberg’s three stop strategy, meaning that he wasn’t able to make the most of his fresher tyres and challenge Daniel Ricciardo for the win at the end. Others have argued that it was wrong of Mercedes to ask Hamilton and they should have let the strategies play out with no outside assistance.

Toto Wolff now accepts that this was the wrong card to play and clearly there have been behind the scenes conversations where it has been agreed that in the interests of fairness, they should let the drivers get on with it, even if they are on different strategies because the team has decided to operate it that way.

“I don’t want to play the vicious general and say ‘ you must adhere to the rules’ – we could have come over the radio in a harder way, Paddy (Lowe, Mercedes operations chief) could have come over radio, but he didn’t and it was because it was very difficult to judge what was right and wrong at that stage of the race, ” said Wolff.

“We will not have that situation again because we will try to learn. We cannot expect the drivers in the second half of the season to move over for their main competitor.”

“We need to analyse how we ended up there and we need to again discuss the racing between the two. It is getting intense.

“You let your team-mate by and he wins and you lose another eight or 10 points, you damage your own campaign.”

Mercedes are keen to avoid accusations of favouritism towards Rosberg, the German driver in the team.

* Watch out for our UBS Race Strategy Report tomorrow here on JA on F1, where we will analyse the decisions and the behind the scenes situations which made Sunday’s race, with help and insight from some of the leading teams’ strategists.

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1

Hurray for common sense!

Just let the racers race! If Rosberg Junior wanted (wants? as in the future?) to pass Lewis, he has to do it or merit.

I'm not against team orders per se, but when its a fight for a WDC between 2 team-mates with no one else, a team should do the smart thing and just like the drivers race it out. As long as they don't take each other out, anything goes out on the track in terms of racecraft and race fighting.

Do us spectators want to say a contrived result or a fair sporting contest? The latter I'm guessing.

Race hard, race fair, no contact, don't take your team-mate off, best man wins.

How it should be!

2

ofcourse and lets not care if the team loses a race, as they did at the ring.

3

This will perhaps be controversial, but if Lewis was paying Mercedes Benz £20 million a year to supply him with a potentially world championship car I would say they are giving him value for money and they should do as he says.

But that is not the case. He is their employee. Yes a highly paid high profile member of the team, but an employee nevertheless, like everybody else in the team. They are paying him, not he them.

He really should not let his ego and strong feeling of self-importance cause him to disobey a direct order from his manager.

Now it could well be that the manager's decision turns out to have been wrong, and the way F1 is publicised often makes the driver think he is separate from the team rather than a member of it, but the manager is there to manage his department. He can't do it effectively if he has a disobedient employee who puts his own interests above that of the team.

So what we should have been discussing (IMO) is whether the manager made a good decision in instructing Lewis to let Nico by, or not, after the race was over and Lewis had done as he was told.

Then we would actually know.

Now we are just massaging egos and over-exagerating the role of the driver in the team performance. One would expect Niki, great man that he is, to see it the way he has.

4

I wonder if you'd be saying that had the roles been reversed and it was Rosberg who benefitted by not letting his team mate through on an alternative strategy.

5

That is a BS call by Mercedes. If Rosberg and Hamilton were fighting for a race win with no one else in contention (usual 2014 race with no rain etc), then this call is absolutely 100% correct.

The difference in this race is they weren't sure of a win and were looking at a podium with Lewis and a possible win for Rosberg. So by defying team orders, Lewis costs Merc a win, and that's ok so Merc doesn't get blasted from British fans as favouring their German driver??? Basically a PR stunt

Absolute Garbage! Let me ask all the Hamilton fans, what would you say if roles were reversed and Rosberg ignored team orders to stay infront (when not fighting for an easy 1st and 2nd place)???

6

No other car on the track would have just moved over for him, especially considering he barely got within a second of Lewis. If this had been any other car then there would have been no whingeing from Rosberg. Two drivers fighting for the WDC, you must have been at the scotch if you think one is going to just move over for the other and let him mosey on down the road. And frankly after what Rosberg did in Monaco he'd need his head examining if he thought Lewis was going to do him any favours for the rest of the season.

7

If Lewis was all over Nico' rear end and was clearly being held up I would say he should yield (unless it's the last few laps maybe) but otherwise not and I don't think Lewis would want it either. Nico wasn't pushing LH andLH is still in the title fight so why would he give one iota?

I think British fans would prefer to see Lewis beat Nico on merit.

8

Why dont you ask yourself why they didnt put Lewis on the soft tyre- he was after all in front & he most likely would have won the race ..Thats right everyone else knows but you still havent worked it out yet have you..

9

what would you say if roles were reversed and Rosberg ignored team orders to stay infront...

We will never know as Mercedes have said, that on reflection, they were wrong to ask Hamilton to yield position and will not ask either driver to give way from here on to the end of the season. Hoo-bloody-ray I say 🙂

I think they should also stop the flow of information between the two sides of the garage as well - may the best man win.

10

The point is, is the team called Mercedes GP or "Hamilton GP"??

Lewis's actions are always about one person, guess who?? He cost the team a chance at more points due to him placing his interests above the team (whether right or wrong), and that is not for him to decide!

11

If the roles were completely reversed, then firstly Rosberg would have done exactly the same as Hamilton. I'm sure of this. The gap was too great and the speed advantage of the car behind wasn't clear.

Secondly, I don't think Hamilton fans would have complained - fans of all drivers want to see racing and team orders are only really legitimate on tough overtaking tracks where a tyre strategy means someone is clearly faster. Are Rosberg fans kicking off about Hamilton? Or are they grudgingly respecting that he's a tough driver who's going for the win - especially when he's had much worse reliability than Nico.

Finally - can we stop saying that Lewis ignored the team order - he didn't, he just said that Nico needed to get closer.

12

I'd say Rosberg cost Merc a win when he couldn't get past Vergne. I am far from convinced that Rosberg would have won this race, he would have had to overtake Lewis and Alonso who have been the two best defensive drivers this season before tryng to catch Ricciardo. I think the best he would have got was 2nd and more likely would have ended 3rd... And if that was the case team orders would have had to been issued to give the place back to Hamilton otherwise all hell would have broken loose!

13
Drgraham lewis

Do you really think LH would sit behind NR moaning about being let by?

Or actually even sit behind?

He would be past in very little time given any type of small grip advantage let alone newer soft tyres.

You bias is clouding your thinking.

14

Totally agree.

Lewis was right to ignore team orders as it was an absurd directive for him to yield & move over & give the advantage to Rosberg. Who has had a trouble free season with just a few glitches.

Lewis needs to have freedom to race. Mercedes are so far up in points that it would take a calamitous error for them to loose the Constructors title.

There is now a belief that this is not an even keel regarding who should win for Mercedes.

Even though from a media point of view Mercedes shows a neutral attitude. But preferential leanings seem to be for a blond haired blue eyed driver.

Needs to be a full on race to the end without interference from the paddock.

Total Racing means Total Racing & not a pick n mix title hunt favouring Rosberg.

15

Lewis had the only reply that mattered on the day, over team radio:

"If he can get close enough, he can overtake"

Says it all, the team is streets ahead in the constructors; there is no real fight between them and any of the other teams....so this is a straight fight for the WDC, so as long as both cars get decent points each race....Mercedes just have to let them fight it out for the back half of the season.

On another note....love Ricciardo's comments that he could still theoretically win the WDC with 9 races and double points at the end of the year to go....he keeps putting in races like that and Nico and Lewis start getting a bit punchy with each other...you never know. That's why I love this sport.

16

I think that's the thing. A few GPs ago it looked as though MB would win every GP, but then they lost in Canada and now the best they got last Sunday was P3. There were circumstances at play, but letting RB and someone like DanRic get momentum is a bad idea. Pressure builds and more things are likely to go wrong. There would be a few worried heads at MB, it should be OK, but what if???? Imagine losing the WDC with that car?

17

What is Tot Wolff smoking???? Dow we FANS watch the sport for the manufacturer's championship or driver's championship? Utterly disrespectful to our intelligence.

18

There is no prize money for winning the driver's championship. As such the teams are far less concerned about the driver's title, whilst the fans have very little regard for the constructor's title. This has been a disconnect for as long as F1 has been in existence.

19

Well said.

20

I always thought Formula 1 was motor RACING............as in competition. As in competitive drivers duking it out for the honour of the WDC.............

Human beings are competitive by nature - restraint via team orders is an affront to our competitive instincts!

21

rubbish if louis had had the same strategy as nico he could have also won. thats obvious as nico pitted for his 1st softs before ham pitted for the harder tyre. Mercededes gave nico a better option for winning & louis an option to finnish as high as he could. which is what he did. I don't want to believe in favouratism but the stratagy for this race is suspicious.

22

It really isn't as simple as that - you have to factor in the traffic, gaps etc both were running in during the rapier stages of the race

Rosberg stopped on lap 32, Hamilton lap 38, so they were on different plans anyway

23

Hi, that's not how I see it- at the time it was still a possibility that Hamilton could win- even the commentators felt he had a good chance- No one could was predicting how much faster the new tires were going to be, you could even argue that once they saw how much time Riccardo was making up they should have pitted Rosberg earlier if I recall.

24

Gaz,

In the end we know with 100% certainty that Lewis could not win this GP. We saw that it couldn't play out.

I think we can make a fairly educated guess that had Lewis not held up Nico for 9 laps a few things are certain. 1. Nico doesn't have to close the 13s gap at the end, which he did. By virtue of not needing to close that gap he arrives in the end with even fresher rubber, only Daniel on comparable, and likely already ahead of Daniel. Another words, odds are real that Lewis hold on Nico cost the team the win.

Yes, Lewis can't lie down. But he put himself in front of team in a crazy GP not allowing the other driver's strategy to play out. I know some will bring up recent issues Lewis had, but 1/2 are his doing (errors in quali). You can't bring that baggage to a new GP, and in this case he did not put team first when I'm quite certain he knew he wasn't going to win. I have a feeling Mercedes really wanted to go into the break with a win. It's a long gap to the next GP. Whatever they say in the press, it feels to me like the top brass feel Lewis holding Nico cost the team a win here.

25

Lewis could not win the race with the tyre selection he was given, however changed to a three stop strategy the question becomes more difficult to answer particularly if he had been put on the softer faster tyre. Perhaps it's easy to be critical of Mercedes because when the decision was made it was difficult to see if the three stoppers would make it through on a track that is supposedly difficult to overtake. As it turned out though Alonso was a sitting duck for Ricciardo with Hamilton not much better off and really unable to defend against him. No I think Hamilton was perfectly within his rights to keep Rosberg behind. Rosberg should have made better attempts to get past rather than just waiting for Hamilton to let him pass.

26

Mercedes has virtually sowed up the constructors championship so the only thing that remains to be decided is the drivers championship. They have admitted and rightly so that they should not have imposed team orders. Lewis and Nico were in the same race so it was completely wrong for Mercedes to impose team orders. If you start looking at which strategy is quicker and force the drivers to let one another past according to this you may as well run the race in a simulator.

27

Except one thing boyo...Even when Lewis was asked to step aside, Nico was never close enough to pressure him into feeling obligated to do so. As Lewis said, and rightfully so, tell him to speed up and I'll let him by. But to expect lewis to slow down, near stop on track in the middle of a fight, be it for lead, 3rd or just a handfull of desperately needed points was an asinine expectation.

And another thing. I assume many of you saw the post race interview with Nico. And likely noticed a look in his eyes that may have appeared to be perhaps frustration. It wasn't. What it was was realization. Realization that, without the mechanical/technical problems Hamilton has faced this year, Rosberg would be getting crushed right now in the WDC. He's not once been able to beat lewis in a straight up fight on the track. Even when he's got a slight advantage, as he has had in a couple of races (newer, faster tyres) he can't get round lewis. And I think that realization is what is stuck in his craw after that race more than anything else. Without Hamiltons problems, he can't beat him. Before Sunday Nico may have been calm and collected. But now he KNOWS he won't win in an equal footed battle. Lewis is at the end of the day, the superior driver. Maybe not the tactical mind of Nico. But damn sure the harder, guttsier, and bottom line FASTER man. Lewis has just unwittingly dropped the equivalent of "Fat Man" or "Little Boy" on Nico in the mind games war.

28

pit stops for both drivers with 20 or so laps to go would have made for a very exciting race, merc team would look at their best and we would have had an honest sweet or sour taste to binge on.....

29

@Sebee: "... and honestly he was super lucky last 2 races with the SCs."

I have to ask, do you really watch the races Sebee? He was not lucky at all in Germany with SC's. Read this:

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/07/21/2014-german-grand-prix-review/

The first SC stopped him from going through the tail-enders more quickly, and the fact that the Magnussen-Massa crash threw Ricciardo backwards made it even worse for Lewis. Of course he gained two places with MAS retiring, and MAG pushed down to the back. Suppose some will find fault with Lewis for that!

Then of course the non-deployment of the SC after Sutil's spin-out hurt him, as he pitted earlier than he otherwise would've, b/c they were anticipating a SC. If there had been a SC then, that bunched him up behind ROS and BOT w/o taking any life out of his option tires, I dare say he might've been on for a win in Germany. That would make up for his lead being erased in Bahrain by the SC. Forget that Nico couldn't take advantage of his opportunity then ... that shouldn't matter. It's equality of opportunities that we should all be concerned with, not equality of outcomes. There's too much of the "oh but Nico needs the help" sentiment going around ... of course that totally betrays what people think about the two drivers' respective abilities, but still doesn't make it right to afford Nico some artificial advantages.

SC's weren't the reason for Lewis' progress through the field in GER. They were more of a help in HUN, but again not decisive. In the first SC period in HUN, he was 13th, still behind ROS, ALO, VET and BOT, all described as hurt by the first SC. Yet he passed all but one of those 4 in the remaining laps.

Even with the horrible qualifying sessions in GBR, GER and HUN, Hamilton could've won all three races.

30

You're right - Lewis holding Nico did cost Mercedes AMG the win in Hungary. But they are pragmatic enough and, more to the point, realistic enough to know that the most coveted prize in Formula One is the WDC, not the WCC.

Both the Chairman and Executive Director have come out and quickly admitted the team made an bad error of judgement attempting to interfere with the destination of the 2014 WDC.

31

Lewis was ahead of Nico by over a pit stop BEFORE he pitted for the pointless slow tyre.

How can you say Rosberg on the faster soft tyre strategy had a chance of victory but not Hamilton when hamilton was already over a pit stop ahead.

Your opening comment makes mathematically no sense whatsoever.

33

Mercedes hire Lewis to win for them and paid handsomely for the privilege. If a racing driver, who is still well and truly in the title fight, moves over for a competitor what does that say about him? Do you think Senna would have ever moved over for anyone?. Ask DC how it felt when he threw away his one and only possibility of a WDC by letting Hakkinen by on the promise of "your turn next year David". You gotta take it whenever and however you can or you aren't a top driver.

34
Mohamed Chaudhry

Mercedes are well ahead on the constructors standing and hope to win it well before the last race.

What is disappointing is that the fans are the real reason why F1 is so successful and the sponsors pay big money to advertise to such a large fan base. That said, why does a team with so many points in the constructors need to predetermine who wins? Its us fans who lose out. Its a race. There has to be a limit to team orders especially when circumstances change in favour of that team. When Ferrari use dot determine their favourite driver to win, it put me off completely such that I lost faith in this sport. The same use dot happen with Redbull, with Webber the ultimate loser in most cases. Let it be a race to the wire. Mercedes have so far done a good job managing it and yes they have admitted that they made a mistake in Hungary. Now lets move on and race.

35

Sebee,

Please share your wisdom on this:

1) HAM is leading ROS in lap 5x correct?

2) Given Merc past practises, the leading car gets the priority if a pit stop is coming, correct?

3) If Merc pits both ROS and HAM for fresh tyres, HAM will go 1st correct?

4) HAM has a set of BRAND NEW soft, ROS has a set of used soft correct?

How will HAM not win this GP with 100% certainty if ROS has a shot in it like you claim to?

How WISE!

36

@Sebee, Lewis would not have defended if Rosberg had caught him on the pit straight ... he just said that he wasn't going to purposely slow on the straight (which he would've needed to do, as it turned out, for Rosberg to get by) so that Nico could go by.

I would expect Nico to do the same in the future ... keep his foot on the pedal, but don't be stupid with your teammate if he's coming past. That's of course while the WCC is still not decided. I think after that, when no one else can win the WDC, that it will truly be "gloves off" stuff, of course w/o being stupid or illegal (i.e. no Schumi on JV in Jerez '97).

Nico did the same in Germany last year ... he held Lewis up for 8 laps, even though they were in different races. They clearly were in different races then, and neither was on for the victory on the day, or in the championship. If Nico was prepared to do that then, when relatively little was at stake, I wonder what he would/will do when the stakes are at their highest? I don't buy this "Nico is an honest driver" garbage ... Monaco was evidence of that for me (didn't see any sawing of the wheel as he was sliding off in Q3 in Hungary, did we?).

I had a link to a NY Times piece around the time of the Rascasse-gate episode, and they quoted Rosberg in it, and he basically said that Schumacher's error was in making it so obvious, and that the drivers by that time would know all the tricks to making deliberate actions look like mistakes. If someone wants to take a run at finding that piece (I forget what I put into Google to get it, and now can't find it), and posting it here, I'd appreciate it. It was quite illuminating.

37

You are correct - Lewis did not put the team first - he put his personal title ambitions first. And frankly that's exactly what he should do, and exactly what I expect Rosberg to do if the positions are reversed. It's not as though Mercedes are in a tight battle for the constructor's title, it is all but won. It's time for the drivers to fight for the other title.

39

Nico lost the race by letting JEV pass him and then fail to get passed him for 18 laps> I've no axe to grind with Nico, he's a fine driver but losing the GP was his fault. Also if you study the radio traffic, LH did not refuse to let him pass, he simply refused to slow down and told his engineer that if and when Nico closed up he would not fight him

40

OK.

Lets play this one out. It's the last race of the year. Both drivers from the team are joint first on points, 60 clear of the 3rd place runner. The team has more than half the races won, and has the constructors championship even if neither driver finishes

In the closing laps the cars lie 2nd and 3rd. The car in 3rd could catch and pass the leader, but the car in 2nd has enough to defend but not to mount an attack. The team can get one more victory by changing the result of the drivers championship.

Should they give the order ? Would the driver be within his rights to disobey.

If the championship is likely to be decided by less than 16 points (fair chance) the telling Hamilton to help Rosberg get 25 points instead of 12, and take 12 instead of 15 himself (net loss of 16 points) is really the same question.

As Lauda said it was a order that drivers would disobey (yes as Brit's we'd all be complaining if ROS had been told to move over and had refused - but he would be right in the same position to disobey and I think HAM would have got past somehow) in which case the team needs to think about what it can ask. That's what Wolff has recognised.

41

Sebee, I find it quite remarkable that no one seems to be asking the question of why Hamilton did not or was not invited to stop for fresh boots after Ric (or same lap) and 1 lap before Ros (as is normally the case for the lead car on the road).

If Hamilton stopped I cannot find any reason why he wouldn't have finished 2nd or higher - he would have closed up the gap to Alonso as Ros did and would have been far better placed to pass him on fresh tyres as Ric showed.

The win may have been out of reach if Ham did pit because Ric would have cleared Alonso quicker and it is clear that passing cars on track with similar tyre wear was tricky.

My point is Merc should have switched strategy for the lead car on track but they missed the opportunity - surely this is a big strategic error by the team as it cost Hamilton a certain 2nd - if Hamilton had pitted I'm sure the result would have been Ric, Ham, Ros, Alo.

Does anyone disagree - I can't believe there is no focus on this glaring error so perhaps I've missed something - if I have please enlighten me!

42

I think its pretty clear thay Mercedes would have walked away from this GP with more points if Hamilton had of let Rosberg through, which has been a pretty standard practice for drivers on different strategies in recent seasons.

Its equally clear that Hamilton put his personal results before those of the team. Luckily for him the car is so utterly dominant that Mercedes will still win the constructors in amy case, so its unlikely the team will do anything in response.

Your comment is perfectly logical, but best of luck getting a positive response from all the Hamilton fanboys around here 🙂

43
kenneth chapman

having read all the what 'if' scenarios and the 'conspiracy ' theories the one point that has been totally overlooked is the 'pre race protocol that has been established. as agreed, a different strategy between drivers calls for a different set of on track 'intra' team rules, as evidenced in prior races. if the protocol was to be altered then it should've been spelled out prior to the race start and agreed to by both drivers and the team.

from all accounts this was not done and the team went ahead with the 'protocol agreement' which hamilton chose to ignore. he was wrong IMO. like almost 100% of posters here i deplore team orders however they are legal and are implemented continuously within a lot of teams. the simple fact is, hamilton chose to ignore the team instructions. there can be no more team orders implemented in MB now as hamilton has defied the team. each driver is now on his own. should make it interesting over the next eight races.

44

On soft tyres I beg to differ..

45

Here is what I have to say to you guys. Just don't lose your heads when Nico ruins Lewis' strategy in a race. And guess what, it will happen now and you better not come here and sulk.

KRB, obviously at that time in the race they saw the gaps and the plan was as it was instructed. Lewis made no call for change that we know of and honestly he was super lucky last 2 races with the SCs. Also, Nico did have pole, that should give him some priority and considering the SC misfortune it was OK for team to adjust strategy. I can see this one is delicate and it is what it is. Even I'm 51/49 here. I still see the road to P1 more certain tthrough Nico. And why not have Lewis move AND do your suggestion for Lewis by the way?

46
Matthew Cheshire

But is a team win the most important prize here? Mercedes have the championship sewn up. A win is just a footnote here.

Mercedes is getting enormous interest and exposure because the driver's championship is wide open.

Mercedes can't lose unless their eventual champion is seen as an unfair winner. Manipulating the races at this point is a massive "own goal".

One more win for a team with an avalanche of victories? Or the kudos of delivering real racing and a popular champion? There is no rational comparison here.

47

@Sebee: "Well, no bonus before summer break. Thanks Lewis!" 🙂

Hmm, wrong. They should be thanking the Merc pitwall for not seeing the bleeding obvious, in that Hamilton, in passing Vergne on track, and Rosberg in effective terms, was now their best bet for a win on Sunday, with the added benefit of fresh option rubber, and being able to see Alonso pit for options on lap 38. Right then, they should've known that Alonso would either have to pit again, or be slow in the last stages of the race. They knew for sure that Ricciardo would have to pit again, and that he would likely go to options again. So why wouldn't they put Hamilton on the same strategy, and have him use the Merc's superior speed to take 1st position back on track?

Lewis' best lap was a 1:27.380, on lap 36! That was on 28-lap old option tires, with mid-race fuel onboard! Alonso's best was a 1:27.419 on lap 40, on two-lap old options! If HAM had been put on a 3-stop, I think he would've been all over RIC's back by the time he pitted on lap 54 (end of lap 53). RIC's tires had gone off on lap 51 ... he dropped nearly 2 secs to the ALO-HAM-ROS train in two laps then. At that point, HAM can stay out and try the overcut (ROS in his last stint when in clear air was lapping 0.6s faster/lap than RIC, on scrubbed options), pit 2-3 laps after him, and then blast it in the final stint.

To put it in perspective, ROS after his final out-lap was 18.6s back of RIC, needing to first clear Kimi and Massa ahead of him. ROS closed that gap to 5.4s two laps from the end. So I don't see how he could have resisted HAM who would have come out at most 3-4 secs behind him, with no one between them. The podium then would have been HAM-RIC-ROS, or HAM-ROS-RIC.

Nice going Merc pitwall!

48

@garret bruce

"Can someone please explain how a slower driver (for whatever reason) who is blocking/holding up any competitor is reason for people to suggest that is “racing” or, as some put it “letting the racers race?”

With respect I will give you an example.

Senna blocking Mansell at Monaco in 1992

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7928772.stm

Its considered by many to be one of the greatest races in motorsport history.

49
Richard Lagesse

I may be wrong but how can it be said that Lewis 'blocked' Nico on that stint, he never tried to pass!?

50

But Lewis was out of position due to car failure during qualifying, otherwise both Mercs would have been on similar strategies. Would have been harsh for the team to tell him to lose more points for the team to get a win when they pretty much have the constructors championship already.

51

100% certainty that Lewis couldn't win this race?!? I dare say that Toto, instead of saying what Rosberg could've done if Lewis had let him by, he should've been talking about what Lewis could've done, if the team had put him on the 3-stop, all-options strategy. After he cleared Vergne he got himself ahead of Rosberg ... he did this in 7 laps after Nico had pitted on lap 32. If Hamilton had taken on softs at that pit stop, he would've passed Alonso and Massa (even before he bailed out for another stop), and would've closed down on Ricciardo up front. Rosberg was making up 3 secs/lap on the top 3 in his final 13-lap stint, on USED options! That was also after he came out behind Kimi and Massa. What could Hamilton have done on NEW options, considering his earlier speed on the softs, and the likelihood that he would've emerged 3rd at that last pit stop, only just behind RIC? The Merc was working well on the softs yesterday, and they should've left well enough alone.

Toto, I think you just missed out on making F1 history, in helping your driver win from the pit lane!

52

Guys,

Didn't Nico get asked to hang tight behind Lewis last year, and even though he was faster at that point, he held and played for the team?

Where was that?

I know WDC is at play, but mid race this wasn't a big deal. And honest truth is that he was told about different strategy, right? So he should have know that the pitwall wants first and foremost a P1 for one of their cars. They didn't think at that point that they could get Lewis is P1 with a strategy. Sure, we can theorize about what would have gotten Lewis there. But I think the plan, as it was layed out was more obvious and probable if Nico gets on with it on his 3 stop without the Lewis hold-up. And Lewis turn himself into a speed bump at a track where it's entirely doable. Nico must have asked himself, how badly doesn't Lewis want me to get pass and probably decided to play safe for...wait for it...the Team.

53

Becken Lima, so Nico is bad and Lewis is great because he passed JEV? Forgot that Nico helped JEV wear the tires by 10 laps. If you guys think Mercedes wants P3 P4 finishes just so these two can fight for WDC, you better check your thinking process.

54

Sebee, do you actually understand F1 at all? Lewis was faster than Rosberg... he couldn't get within 1 second (DRS range) and Lewis did say "let him get closer and I will let him overtake" on the team radio. Lewis would have had to drop several seconds or just braked heavily in the main straight to let him past - Lewis was just naturally quicker on this circuit.

What was Lewis to do then... pull up the hand brake for the position swap?

Your first point is also rubbish and Toto Wolff would do well to keep his mouth closed because he clearly favours Nico and is now been found to be out of his depth.

Lewis did not cost Nico the win but Mercedes did cost Lewis the win and this is how...

Lewis was a stop ahead of Nico and came out of the pits 3 seconds ahead... if he had gone onto the soft tyre then both he and Nico would have had one more stop each to make.

However, Lewis would have been on rubber than was several laps newer and three seconds ahead of Nico giving him far more chance to chase after Ricardo and Alonso and the win after they had both (Lewis & Nick) made their second set of stops!

Does that make sense to you?? They were clearly favouring Nico and only looking at a way of getting him the win or ahead and not Lewis - i.e. they favour Nico.

The Mercedes Strategy director needs to be replaced and it is now crystal clear to the world that Mercedes are favouring Nico Rosberg who will be there paper champion.

I'm sure that if Lewis continues to fight against all the barriers put in his path another convenient mechanical break down will take place, courtesy of the rouge & planted engineer.

This is also a PR disaster for Mercedes by the way 🙂

The whole world is watching you Mercedes and they want the best driver to win - not the German/Monaco very good driver - the best one!

55

Had Louis let him through, chances are he would have won the race.

What you failed to understand is that Hamilton is fighting his team mate for a championship and letting him go by whether or not he (Rosberg) was going to have to pit is irrelevant because at the end of the day it only means loosing more points to his rival.

In this case keeping him behind is exactly what he needed to do and did.

56

If the team was so desperate for a win, one would ask why they didn't pit Lewis for soft instead of Nico as he was the leading driver at the time and should have got preferential call for the strategies.

57

Can I ask.

Rosberg was behind but according to Toto was on a wining strategy, so why didn't they put Lewis who was in the lead on the wining strategy instead of putting him on the slower tyres that didn't last any longer.

58

What you say is obviously correct.

But,how does this affect the WCC for Mercedes Benz ?

They already have it in the bag,& as this is the only thing that MB should concerns themselves with re team orders then IMO Mercedes should just butt out.

Mercedes Benz should remember that the fans make the show what it is,and with fan numbers in decline team orders are not helping the issue.We come to see a race,with drama,not a pre ordained result.

59

"...Lewis holding Nico cost the team a win here..."

No. You´re wrong!

What cost Mercedes a win here was Nico unable to help himself. He spent 10 laps (10 LAPS) behind Vergne after the safety car. Hamilton passed Vergne in ONE lap with tyres in the same condition as Rosberg´s.

That, in fact, shows again how Hamilton race craft is miles ahead of Rosberg´s.

Another point to make is that, not allowing Rosberg to pass at delivering a very smart statement to the team in that confusion moment of the race ("I'm not slowing down for Nico. If he gets close enough he can overtake."), shows Lewis is smarter racer than all we think.

To close the case, Lauda and Wolff agree with Lewis, so why there still people trying to make Lewis looks silly instead of praise him for think for himself in a Championship already won by Mercedes?

60

It's possible the brass, especially Wolff, think Hamilton cost them some points. But Hamilton is racing for Hamilton, and Rosberg didn't really make it look like a serious effort to pass-- As David Hobbs commented, Rosberg was on faster tires, he should have caught up to Hamilton and blown past on the straight with DRS.

On the other hand, had Rosberg passed Vergne as quickly as Hamilton did, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Finally, Mercedes can afford to finish 3-4 for the rest of the season, and still win the championship even if Red Bull finishes 1-2 for the rest of the season.

61

I can't imagine anyone blaming it on 'recent issues' they've got nothing to do with it.

If it means winning the title, of course a driver would put himself in front of the team, he'd be stupid not to. why would he hand his main competitor several points for the good of the team who are going to win the constructors title anyway. nuts.

62

" odds are real that Lewis hold on Nico cost the team the win."

I highly doubt Nico could have won even if Lewis pulled into the pits when Nico was still two seconds behind him. A driver who on the day had trouble passing Verne, and a driver that said he would not fight for the position, but hes not going to slow down. There is no way Nico was getting past Alonso.

63

Simply imagine Nico being behind another driver other than his team mate, would that have yielded the same result (being held up for 9 laps or so). Nico is a racer and he needs to learn independence as racer, not rely on nationality, team, status (son of world champion etc) to win instead of crying so that they can let him get past...

64

Maybe the team should have pitted both drivers for fresh soft tyres, the strategy would have worked for Lewis, Mercedes failing to spot the chance cost Lewis the win you could argue as he would have been much faster on fresh soft tyres and closed the gap as quickly as Nico did but would have retained track position over Nico. As someone said, splitting the strategy is in effect putting one driver on the wrong strategy, in this case Lewis. If you think Nico could have won then obviously given fresh rubber then so could Lewis. A missed chance by Mercedes overall.

65

Agree that if Lewis lets Nico through, Nico goes on to win or at worse, take 2nd. That said, if Lewis lets him through, he may as well have handed him the championship. So Lewis made the right decision to fight for the championship. If that doesn't sit well with the team, that they don't understand it, time for driver and team switch.

66

Oh, before you guys beat me up think about this. How many people on that team get a monetary reward of some sort for GP win? Including the higher ups most likely? Well, no bonus before summer break. Thanks Lewis! 🙂

67

Your logic is peerless.

So Hamilton 100% could not win, correct? But Rosberg could?

Ok, how about this then: What would have happened if Hamilton Mirrored Rosberg's strategy? He had track position so he would have been on the same tyres as Rosberg but ahead of him on track. So could Hamilton not have won then?

68

You must be joking? When was Rosberg all over Hamilton? You expect alot from someone which had to start from the pit lane to give to someone which started on POLE for godness sake. Why should Ham suffer from Rosberg and the team's misjudgement of safety cars together with Rosberg's poor driving mid race?

Like the commentary said, Hamilton would've lost about 2 sec if he was to slow down for Rosberg. I believe it would've been around 3 because after the swap, he would've been in the dirty air of Rosberg for a few laps.

69

I reckon had Lewis pitted for softs when rosberg did, he could have won. Either way, Nico would have passed Lewis only to stare at the back of the bus that is Fernando Alonso until his pitstop. I do think Lewis didn't play for the team (though he didn't out and out refuse like Vettel did earlier in the season 'tough luck'), but I also think it was an unreasonable request.

70

if they believed nico could win the race on the soft tyre,eventhoughnico was trailing lewis,then why do you believe lewis couldnt win on the soft tyre,being ahead of nico.and lewis had a few set of brand new soft tyres.

71

P.S. Racers can race, as Ricardo and Alonso have clearly demonstrated. Trying to wreck a competitor and blocking is NOT racing.

72

i see what you mean sebee but if rosberg had a chance of winning that race while behind hamilton why could the team not have given hamilton that same chance? why start him in the pit lane? why could they have pitted hamilton for soft tyres as rosberg closed on him? that would've ensured rosberg's strategy played out given the team another 1-2 finish.

i think the concentration of ethanol in lowes blood is near critical. that could be affecting his judgement. have a look at the colour of his nose when you next get the chance.

73

Very well said ! Can someone please explain how a slower driver (for whatever reason) who is blocking/holding up any competitor is reason for people to suggest that is "racing" or, as some put it "letting the racers race?" We all saw what happened in Canada when a slower driver was blocking and both cars were eliminated. The team lost, the competitor lost and the driver causing the problem lost even more respect.

74

Do you respect Lewis more or less for what he did?

75
alexander supertramp

Well, Lewis could have won with intermed./soft/soft/soft.

76

RE Sebee: Very valid points, but a wet but drying track always brings chaos and confusion when it comes to tyre calls and overall strategy. Add in a couple of safety cars to the mix and for the teams trying to work out the best tyre choice and strategy is virtually impossible!

Personally, I think its very difficult to criticise the teams on strategy because nobody knew what a "green" track (i.e all the rubber washed away) and cooler track temperatures than on Friday/Saturday would be like for the tyres.

Rain affected races are always hero or zero events, always.

77

No, he put himself in front of his teammate, which he is perfectly entitled to do in a championship fight.

The constructors championship is all over bar the shouting, and Mercedes don't need to use team orders to complete the process. Glad to see that they climbed down, but they should have never issued the order in the first place.

Lewis didn't need to win. He did need to beat his teammate. By not allowing Nico by, he accomplished that goal.

78

One thing I know no matter what you will never choose a side that favours Hamilton. Nikki agrees with Hamilton and in hindsight even Wolff realises it was unreasonable to ask this of Hamilton.

The question no one seems to be asking is why didn't they switch Hamilton on the same strategy as Rosberg once he was ahead of him. Its not conspiracy (because Merc is an international brand) but a probably playing it too safe.

79

Really!!.Considering he was on the slowest tyres a win was possible with quicker tyres (ask DR). He made up several positions without the help of a safety car so proved that overtaking was possible. I wouldn't say the safety car helped LH, more like it hindered NR.

80

Full marks to Mercedes this season, when they've made a mistake they have held up their hands and admitted it. Their more open and honest approach is a breath of fresh air, though of course it is easy to be open and honest when you have a significant pace advantage.

Now if only we could be confident that the championship will come down to the racing and not reliability.

81

+1. I'm impressed by Toto. If Merc screw up, they say we screwed up, non of that Ron speak or Ferrari and their " we have to look at the data" line.

82

There's also the clear argument that Rosberg's lackadaisical performance in traffic (specifically losing position to Vergne and Alonso), combined with Hamilton's successful attacks, compromised the formers strategy more than him chasing an identical spec car down a straight and expecting it to move over...

Given the conditions, there was no guarantee either would make any progress on an already difficult track and it could have easily ruined both races.

The PR explosion had Lowe or Wolff pressed HAM to move would have essentially ruined any enthusiasm for the championship, regardless of whether he has listened and obeyed or not.

83

Fastest car on the grid always makes every pass look awesome. Sometimes Hamilton's own mistakes put him in a difficult situation, sometimes reliability. Rosberg on the other hand, is always wise with his words in public or press as well as better at understanding the track characteristics & car. That is why Rosberg is able to put his car in a better position get the best result. So, both drivers are better at something than the other one. Mercedes has shown "ZERO" favouritism to Rosberg or Hamilton so far. If anyone thinks otherwise, it's only because some people are too biased. Whoever wins the wdc this year would be worthy one. Having said that, Ricciardo is the best driver of the first half of the season by a long shot. He proved the best in every situation; e.g.: overtakings, spectacular moves, speed, managing tyres, making up places with talent rather than the sheer speed from the machine etc. Ricciardo 10/10, rest of the field is around 8.5/10 at most.

84

I don't think you are comparing eggs with eggs. Ricciardo has done a great job - he has really shown Vettel up, it's getting embarrassing for the 4x WDC - but the pressures of being in the hunt for the WDC and racing for RBR at the moment are completely different. If next season RBR have a dominant car as they have had in the past , then that will be the time to judge Ricciardo. Can he do it when it really matters, that's what sorts the men from the boys.

85

Yeah, Rosberg sure had a better understanding of the car this weekend to get pole position.

"Hey guys, if my car isn't set on fire, I'll be able to take a comfortable pole!"

If only Hamilton had thought of that...

86

You mean Mercedes not telling Hamilton to get out the way & the subsequent " we are not having team orders " wasnt a clue at favouritism.. Really !smoke+gun=shot fired

87

This is a good point.

After lap one, Hamilton didn't put a foot wrong in the race and outperformed his starting position and strategy. Rosberg had some bad luck, and was then sub-par, and yet it appeared Merc wanted to bail him out at the expense of their other driver.

One thing I find strange in all of this is that, while they were on separate strategies, part of Hamilton's strategy must have been predicated on keeping as many cars behind him as possible throughout his sting. Was it that clear at the time that Rosberg was the pony to back? Given their performances thus far in the race, I'd argue that he was not.

I just found the whole thing a little bit embarrassing for the team - for Hamilton (being asked to let his teammate by on the straight), for Rosberg (needing the orders despite it being clear that he should have been much faster, plus the fact he couldn't get closer) and Mercedes for being seen to be so limp and indecisive (during and post race).

88

It uncovers the Mercedes muck over the last 5 months

89

Great points about Lewis being more effective in getting through the traffic.

90

Why wasn't Lewis allowed to pit again to cover Rosberg? Why was Lewis on the slower tyre? All those nonsense protocoles and agrements are killing the sport. When will Team Bosses understand people are more interest on Driver Championship than the Constructor? We pay or invest our time to watch Sportsmen compete against each other, not to see Team doing business. Toto Wollf should be ashamed of himself.

In the same context, if Lewis pitted, while he was ahead of Nico on merit, he could have challenge for the win as well.

91

Raul, yours is maybe the most sensible post I've seen so far on this issue. At a time when the sport is battling with dwindling viewership, you have a potential world champion asking to be let through and be gifted an advantage, if not a win. And they expect the masses to flock from "x-factor" and Kardashians to watch F1 "Team Business".

92

You need to understand the context of the situation then review

Without all the data you can't say for sure what was right and wrong, also No-one would have predicted Alonso would do 32 laps on softs, not even Ferrari at the start of that stint

With hindsight, if you knew that he would pull it off, the yes you would put Hamilton on two soft tyre stints

93

James. If the team had said to lewis before his final stop; 'Lewis, Nico is doing 2 stints on soft, would you like to cover him and do the same? Or would you like to go on mediums until the end?' ... 'By the way we're not sure which the quicker strategy is.'

What do you think he would have chosen to do?

My understanding is that the driver is allowed to choose his own tyre strategy, so Mercedes clearly haven't given Lewis all of the information here. It's pretty black and white, these two are fighting for the world title on their own and Merc shouldn't be turning it into a lottery by splitting strategies.

94
Drgraham lewis

Actually they did not need any data.

LH was in front. NR was not fast enough.

Swap strategy when a gap was available giving the front running guy whoever it is the best chance of a win. Play safe with the slower driver who had trouble overtaking all day.

95

So james you're saying "No-one would have predicted Alonso would do 32 laps on softs, not even Ferrari at the start of that stint".

I don't think that was the case as when hamilton did his 2nd pit stop raikkonen was on 31st lap of his soft tyre stint which continued for 2 more laps and hamilton himself did a 31 laps stint on softs, and the condition of track was damper and with more fuel onboard. So from this data it was very possible for alonso to do 32 laps on softs.

Also mercedes have better tyre durability than ferrari so as they pitted hamilton after alonso did his stop, they knew alonso is on softs, so why choose the slower tyre when they had new softs for another 2 stints if needed.

I just think mercedes wanted two different strategies for their 2 drivers so badly (to put them as apart as possible on the track) that when they committed rosberg to a 3 stopper, they had to put hamilton to a 2 stop strategy!

96

You forgot the safety car, which extended those stints. Alonso did 32 racing laps...

97

James, I hope you can ask Merc how the 2nd stop tires were decided. Obviously Nico couldn't go to the mediums stopping on lap 32, or he would be very slow at the end. But surely Merc must have seen what Hamilton was doing on his worn softs during laps 32-38, and what Nico was doing on his new softs (scrubbed I assume) during the same time, and seen that like for like Hamilton was in a better position than Nico at that time. As they crossed at the end of lap 31, HAM was 1.3s behind ROS, with VET in between them. The next lap ROS pitted, VET spun out, and then on lap 34 HAM passed VER. By the end of lap 38, HAM was ahead of ROS by 25.4s, effectively 5 secs up the road from him. They had just seen ALO go onto softs on lap 37, and HAM had just resisted RIC for 13 laps on options that were 14 laps fresher than his! So why wouldn't you put him on brand spanking new options, knowing that he will pass ALO on track, and force RIC to bail out for another stop earlier than he otherwise did?

James, it really does start to look as though they've got Nico's prospects in their minds first and foremost. I have no idea why they would, as that result yesterday (to go along with Bahrain, Malaysia, and China) should be all that's needed for them to know crystal clear who they should be throwing their main long-term support behind.

I feel a bit robbed out of potentially having seen a monumental win from furthest back in F1 history.

98

Correct me if I am wrong but had Hamilton not already completed 31 laps (8-39)on a set of soft tyres, could he not have done the next stint which was also 31 laps on soft tyres or switched to two stints like Nico if performance was dropping off too much,although he seemed to be setting fast times at the end of the first set. I think the extra pace on the soft tyres would have covered another stop.

99

Yes but don forget the second safety car L23 - made a big difference to tyre life

100

James, I may be wrong but I think that first Ferrari saw KR do 32 laps on the soft for his early stint and so they decide FA can do this also. Please correct. Stefano.

101

Oh come James, We no you're not a Lewis fan but if Rosberg could do it then certainly Lewis could, he had stayed out longer, this season he has being making he's tyres last longer. There was no need to put him on the slower tyre every knew this, why did not Merc.

If ROsberg could have won when he was behind Lewis, then that stands double for Lewis.

102

Totally agree James. With a track that is wet but drying, and significantly cooler track temperatures compared to Friday and Saturday, it would be impossible for the teams to know how each compound of tyre will work on a "green", abrasive track.

A team just has to make a decision on the spur of the moment in wet but drying conditions - it is a total lottery of a race.

103

Dissappointed with some of your comments here regards could have worked for Nico but maybe not for louis. Esp. as louis was further up the road.

104

Well said James.

I doubt if any computer would predict Alonso achieving that terrific feat or somebody from from the Pit Lane being 1 sec behind the pole sitter before the second tyre change.

If races are going to be determined simply by what a computer predicts either on a Saturday night or during the race it is pretty much is a waste of time watching or attending a Grand Prix.

Daniel and Fernando both rolled the dice with backing from their team and brilliant driving produced a fantastic F1 race that wants me and other F1 fans coming back for more.

Poor old Ted K on Sky even missed one of Ricci's tyre changes he was so busy working out afterwards how Nico could have won.

Strategy is absolutely vital in F1. It is one of the dimensions that make F1 so special but if teams are so focussed on achieving what they thought was possible on Saturday and impossible on Sunday F1 has a big problem.

It is good for Mercedes F1 that they have a Chairman who immediately saw the huge error that they had made and said so. Well done Nikii!

The rest of the season is as good as the first half I shall be very pleased.

S

105

It's not so much Alonso being able to get 32 laps out of his tires, but that Ricciardo and Rosberg were almost certain to pit for new softs before the end of the race, putting Hamilton at a serious disadvantage.

As the pit stop delta is only about 16 seconds, and both Rosberg and Ricciardo demonstrated that 16 seconds isn't that tough to make up with fresh softs vs. worn mediums, it's puzzling why they didn't hand Hamilton a fresh set of softs (since he had two unused sets in the garage).

I think Hamilton's previous observation that McLaren had separate strategy engineers for each driver, and Mercedes has one strategy engineer for both drivers, might be the real issue here.

That, and Mercedes is really missing Ross Brawn right now. 🙂

106

Not buying it.

Mid race, after both drivers had pitted twice, Lewis was the one ahead. He was ahead on merit. On that period, both had pitted the same among of time.

I read Toto Wolff said Lewis cost Nico the win. That's mean, they were trying to win the race with Nico. How could they decided to win it with Nico when mid race, Lewis was the one in better track position than Nico?

107

Without all the data?

Hamilton had just done a 31 lap stint on the Softs and was setting fastest laps before he boxed, he then was put on Primes to do the exact same number of laps on a tyre that was much slower.

108

Given Nico is the title rival, surely it made sense to mirror what Nico was doing, considering he was in front? Lewis clearly wasn't happy about trying to do such a long stint on the mediums, and it proved to be the wrong decision.

109

but if they believed nico could win the race on softs,then lewis being ahead of nico could have won on softs.merc knew bottas was slow on the meduims,plus the deg between the 2 tyres was very similiar,but the soft tyre was faster,and lewis had brand new softs.most ppl watching the race who commented at the time thought putting mediums on lewis car was a strange decision.skyf1's pete gill also thinks merc made a big mistake.read his conclusion to the race on skysports website.

110

Could they not have brought in Lewis a lap or two before Rosberg on softs? It would have freed Rosberg earlier and also given Hamilton a chance to win with maybe Rosberg on podium (or did they not expect Rosberg to be catching the front runners that quickly)?

111

they use the data like weather forecasters do. while it's raining, we can all see that it's raining. if we looked up before the rain we could also see the clouds moving or gathering.

112

with all due respect james, armed with all the data a simulation software, they have got it wrong in the past, got it wrong on sunday and ever shall be. they don't know for certain. the data only helps improve their perception. they don't know, that's what they measure and collect variables. by watching the race, we also collect a huge amount of data albeit analogue. it is this data we collect that help us understand what's going on or what other choices they may have had.

113

Surely, they could have had Hamilton on a 3 stopper, with fresh softs a lap before Rosberg pitted. That was 14 or so laps to go and Nico was 2 seconds behind when he pitted. Indeed, Lewis questioned the wisdom of going long on the mediums well before Nico caught up with him.

The issue is as clear as day, Mercedes were intending to get Nico the win and that's what dictated their strategies. I would hope someone would press Toto at the next race if Mercedes compromised Hamilton's race. I'd like to hear him answer that.

114

didn't "the computer" determine that staying out or going in for fresh tyres was a very close decision for Alonso. If they didn't think Alonso was very likely to make the distance they wouldn't have taken the risk. I'm sure Mercedes must have similar intelligence.

115

"This was the situation with Mercedes in Hungary. Hamilton had started the race on new soft tyres from the pit lane, Rosberg on used softs from pole. Hamilton was able to get to lap 39 before stopping, which put him into the window to take the medium tyres and run to the end of the race."

Seeing that the race start was wet, and they ALL started on intermediate tyres. Come on James, after the failure to see marshalls running across the track at Hockenheim, to this. You are better than this.

116

+10000. for this post. James replied immediately to the fact that he didn't see marshalls cut accross the track. And now he tries to write a novel implying about 31,32,etc lap stints. And how the team couldn't have called hamilton on Lap 38 but normal to call in Rosberg on lap 32. WHo will have fresher tyres at lap 70. I don't just understand why James see's nothing good in Hamilton. James plis read the Italian web site http://www.yahoo.it and use google to translate it and see their own perception of what happened on sunday in hugaroring. [mod]

117

Yes, I had not seen that at the time, but when I checked I corrected myself here straight away, several times.

118

First 8 laps on inters. No big deal.

119

Toto is right that they need to analyse how they got there but I doubt they will understand that they failed on strategy calls. When Hamilton pitted on lap 39 he was clearly the front runner for a Mercedes win. He had track position, 7 less laps to cover on tyre strategy and a rack full of brand new options. And yet Mercedes were still entirely focused on how to get Rosberg back in front (a place he deserved having only lost it through the safety car) and salvaging as much from the race for Lewis having had to start from the pit lane. It just didn't seem to occur to them that the pendulum had swing completely over to Hamilton for the win and salvaging Rosberg's race. Had they put Hamilton on options rather than primes then by lap 58, when Rosberg pitted again, Hamilton would have likely been past Alonso and 10 to 15 seconds further down the road. He could have pitted again, re-passed Alonso and comfortably held off the challenge from Ric.

120

+1 here too.

For the record, not a Lewis or Nico fan, nor do I think Mercedes are trying to fabricate a german win..I think they will be very happy with just GETTING the win.

BUT - I just don't understand how Mercedes, Seebe and James etc can't see that if Rosberg was on for the win with one tyre stop left, how lewis wasn't either with a switch to the same strategy as Nico was on at that point.

I have to admit, at the time it didn't occur to me either but neither drivers plan was fully clear to us (well me) at that point..

But if Lewis was in front on the road it MUST be that the same strategy could have worked for Lewis too.......

What are we missing?

Seebe, your comments have historically been pretty spot on so I am sorry to say that your current focus on Nico is clouding your overall judgement IMO.

121
Drgraham lewis

We are not missing anything. The focus was on NR getting back his losses of the day all the while rigidly employing a corporate mentality to agreements and race strategy and ignoring what their eyes were telling them. At the expense of the lead driver who really did have exactly the same chance as Rosberg but was crucially in front and the better racer in traffic.

Just look how many places he has gained this year let alone other years.

Unsurprising that the more flexible and experienced team saw an opportunity and took it with a great drive by Ric.

122

And they could have pitted Rosberg on to options on lap 50 or 52 to give him more laps to catch up, not on lap 56. In fact Martin Brundle had to mention this fact before they actually did pit him. Terrible terrible calls. The pit wall is to blame for the lack of points, not Hamilton. Red Bull showed how a championship team handles pressure and I guess this will be a learning experience, unless as you say they fail to understand.

123

Fantastic analysis, spot on. They missed an opportunity for a race win with Lewis. Nico was lost the race by not passing Vergne quick enough not by being held up by Lewis, not sure how people can't see this.

Lewis did nothing wrong and everything right on Sunday, Mercedes blew an incredible win and squandered a fantastic story by making a terrible strategy call.

Fair play they now admit it but their brand is tarnished by this. ( and catastrophic brake failure and a car in flames, notice how quick they blamed the brake brand)

I would also add that it's completely clear to me that this team are focused on the the WCC and what that will bring to the Mercedes brand rather than the WDC, Toto et al have talked around this a few times.

After the WCC is won I expect the entire championship to be a no holds bar fight to the end.

124

The team felt that nico on 2 sets of soft tyres could win the race as stated by wolf after the race, so logically lewis in an identical car switching to 2 new sets of softs at the same time and having a track position advantage would have had the same opportunity, so why didn't the team offer Hamilton the same choice especially when he questioned the ability of the medium tyres to last to the end which was a direct response at being asked to move over.

Mercedes stuck rigidly to the pre race choice of a split strategy based on Hamilton's starting position. So the reality is this cost both their drivers a chance of a race win. It strikes me the only person thinking clearly about the final stint of the race and the relative tyre life was Lewis and he absolutely made the right choice to go against the team to protect both the huge and unexpected gains he had made in the race and his points in the championship.

I think it is very disingenuous of wolf to imply that Lewis cost Mercedes a win but he will forgive Lewis for being understandably selfish, when in fact he should be apologizing to both drivers for the pit wall not making the best choices in the heat of the battle which is completely forgivable and something that lauda doesn't seem to have a problem acknowledging and then moving on from.

125

"Mercedes stuck rigidly to the pre race choice of a split strategy based on Hamilton’s starting position. So the reality is this cost both their drivers a chance of a race win. It strikes me the only person thinking clearly about the final stint of the race and the relative tyre life was Lewis and he absolutely made the right choice to go against the team to protect both the huge and unexpected gains he had made in the race and his points in the championship."

Exactly. Why aren't more people picking up on this?

Why is it that Mercedes are being forgiven for openly having backed the wrong pony at this point in the race and making a real meal of making sure that pony got to the front. It was confusing then and non-sensical now.

126

+1 A major breakdown in race management from Mercedes, undoubtedly. Hamilton had a stack of new soft tyres and had made aggressive progress through the field. It's as though the team pulled the plug and focused SOLELY on Rosberg's race. You can bet that's what Hamilton felt during and after the race.

I don't buy the conspiracy theory that Mercedes deliberately favour Rosberg. However I do think behind the scenes politicking since Monaco - when Rosberg span off track to thwart Hamilton's qualification lap - has pulled the team over to Rosberg's side. The same happened at McLaren when Button joined, a steady, quiet but effective erosion of Hamilton's position in the team, eventually leading to his departure. (And look where McLaren are now.) I think this is down to Hamilton's 'give-me-a-car-and-I'll-do-the-rest' mentality - witness this race, he clmbed into a newly built car and drove it from scatch to 3rd place! That's what he does. However it means he ignores (or neglects) the kind of subtle manipulation other drivers employ to get their way in a team. Fortunately he does seem to have Lauda looking after his interests this season, otherwise I suspect he'd be lost by now.

127

David

Very well said.

S

128

Precisely. If you haven't read Peter Gill's well thought out piece on SKY I urge you to do so. He correctly argues that Lewis did Mercedes a favor: Imagine if Lewis had slowed down and allowed Nico past who then finishes first and thus extend his lead in the championship? Imagine the opprobrium Mercedes would have attracted and quite justifiably so?

129

Yeah right ....these are the same people who castigated vettel for multi 21 , Different strokes eh

130

Multi 21 was completely different - end of a race, no strategic variation.

If you cannot see how then...

131

@Vinola

opprobrium ....

Is that a word you use regularly in conversation 🙂

132

and they had all the data yet again.

133
alexander supertramp

+1

134

All of which begs the question, why did they put Lewis on a different strategy anyway? Can you imagine the outcry if he'd fought his way ahead of Nico from the pitlane only to be beaten on strategy by Nico? The medium tyre was widely regarded as the slower tyre by about 1.5 seconds/lap, and Nico setting times 2/3 seconds faster at the end made a mockery of the whole idea; can you imagine where Hamilton would have ended up if he'd mirrored Rosberg like he should have done?

Pro-tip Mercedes strategists - you have the fastest car in the field by a country mile, use the strategy that allows your drivers to drive as quickly as possible!

135

Just read some of JA's replies to other posts, "YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND WHY". Plus they were on different strategy before the race started as the main article suggests. It is not unusual in a changing weather condition. There will be no argument of course if they were in different teams. It is hard to judge without the full data & calculations leading up to the race. Mercedes is only saying the right things because of the tension amongst the drivers & the media craziness. Yes there is no guarantee that Nico would've won if Lewis didn't hold him up, but with different strategy it would've given him a better chance, as James mentioned its an unwritten agreement between drivers & the team to let the 3 stopper pass. Don't tell me you haven't witnessed that before! Regardless of what Mercedes is saying, the issue is that Lewis might have cost the team a victory (maybe not). We will never know of course. But we at least know that Lewis didn't let Nico to give the win a go. There are thousands of Mercedes employees around the world, especially the F1 factory workers in England would have loved to go to break with another win, not to mention the extra money for the extra points. Who is to blame for that? Lewis Hamilton is the only option for me.

136

Why on earth should it be hard to judge. As a spectator I want to see racers race and I judge it on how good they are at attacking and defending their position. Nico, on winning pole position on Saturday, said he was very happy, but his happiness was somewhat dampened because he did not get the opportunity to have a gloves off fight with Lewis. He was given two golden opportunities to have that fight on Sunday, instead he held back and expected the team to ask Lewis to let him through without the fight he missed out on on Saturday. The best laid out plans get changed sometimes during a race; I think Mercedes messed up

137

"Plus they were on different strategy before the race started as the main article suggests."

The safety car totally changed all the strategies, making this point totally irrelevant.

"There will be no argument of course if they were in different teams."

Of course not, that's so obvious it barely needs mentioning.

"...as James mentioned its an unwritten agreement between drivers & the team to let the 3 stopper pass."

To some extent, but I think the rule should be more nuanced than that to take into account other factors, like whether the two drivers are likely to be on the same piece of race track at the end of the race, and whether one driver has to significantly disadvantage himself to do so. I didn't think there was anything wrong in Massa not letting Bottas through or Vettel not letting Ricciardo through in the famous "tough luck" scenario, and I don't think Hamilton did anything wrong here.

"...the issue is that Lewis might have cost the team a victory"

Possibly, but in my opinion if the team did that they only have themselves to blame, because if Rosberg was going to win on that strategy, Hamilton certainly would have done so, so by not putting him on that strategy they shot themselves in the foot.

138

they need to learn to evolve their strategy inline with the evolving race. if they haven't got that as part of their simulation software, then their software is in need of a serious upgrade.

139

going through traffic is risky. he would probably have ended up in the same barrier perez ended up in.

140

I didn't see any issue with the call, normal strategy. But considering Rosberg was not really getting close enough to Hamilton at this point in the race, Hamilton did the right thing and just kept on going. The onus was on Rosberg to catch up and make the pass. May have cost Merc the victory, but their point lead is comfortable enough for now!

141

This was my take as well. I don't think Rosberg ever really got close enough for Hamilton to yield. I quite agree with Ham when he said he wasn't going to slow down in order to let Ros by (or, something to that effect). If Ros had been hounding Ham for a couple laps, riding his tail, then I would have said Ham should pull aside and not hold him up. However, this did not happen. Maybe Ros was just waiting for Ham to make room? thinking he'd rather not get tangled up in a dumb move? I don't know, but I can't fault Ham for not slowing down to let Ros by.

As for Mercedes, I'm not sure which one, Ham or Ros, lost out on a victory, but it sure seems like their strategy cost one or the other a win. Maybe they just didn't have the tires for it? I'm looking forward to James' strategy report to see if there is additional information on this situation.

142

Err check the timing sheets - Rosberg was less than a second behind Lewis for more than 1 lap around the time the radio message was made.

143

Didn't I hear Rosberg say "he's in my way" or "why is he not letting me by"?

Rosberg: "I didn't ask for team orders."

I was stunned to hear the call to Lewis, after everything that he's dealt with in the last few races.

144

The bizarre thing is that they threw away a 1-2 by not pitting Lewis and Nico with about 15 laps remaining for soft tyres. Given how slow Alonso and Ricciardo were going (Alonso was doing 1:31's at the end), they would have easily made up the pitstop loss time.

Like you say James, this wasn't so much a team order, it was more team protocol, in the same way BMW asked Heidfeld to let Kubica through in Canada 08. Of course, it would ultimately cost Nick the win, but hey ho.

We had an awesome race yesterday. Let's hope it's not ruined by people repeating the 'Merc favour Nico' line.

145

“If Lewis had let Nico go, Nico could have won the race with a different strategy.”

I cannot understand why they would possibly think that Rosberg had a better chance of winning the race than Hamilton. Mid-race, Hamilton had a pit-stop over Rosberg, and if they had put Hamilton on the same strategy as Rosberg, Hamilton is definitely in front of Rosberg and with a better chance of taking the victory! But alas, they put Hamilton on the slower primes, which is baffling because the lead driver usually gets the optimum strategy.

146

many can see what you see because we all collect analogue data processed by a much superior processor, the natural brain.

147

poor strategy for lewis actually hurt both lewis and nico.if they had of put lewis on softs merc might have got a 1-2 or 2-3,merc were too concerned with nico's strategy.most f1 fans agree lewis did the right thing,i hope lewis reliability improves.

148

Toto says that Lewis could have cost Nico the race win. What he doesn't seem to realise is that Mercedes could have cost Lewis the win (ignoring the car going up in flames in qualifying) - if they had used the option tyre in the final stint for Lewis, things could have been very different.

If there is a perceived notion that Mercedes are favouring Nico, and reading the comments on the Mercedes twitter/facebook it looks like there is by the amount of abuse they are getting, it could end up in tears for all involved.

Perception is reality after all...

149

i hear you. they should try their best to be fair and accept the outcome after all we can all make mistakes.

150

don't worry sarcosuchus, hamilton has a huge following and we will get busy on twitter if we notice any wrong doing. power to the people.

151

Tonto Wolff is not fair minded. Remember a few races ago that he let slip that Lewis used a forbidden setting to keep ROS behind him, but very conveniently omitted to point out that ROS had also done the same at some point. And here he is trying to sell everyone some guff, genuinely thinking people are too stupid to see through his bad logic.

And people accused Lewis of being paranoid that the team were out to get him...

152

It's reasonable to assume that Rosberg would have made no further progress up the road had he passed Hamilton. If Hamilton had slowed to let Rosberg through, Alonso would certainly not have moved over.

153

how about assuming pitting hamilton for the softer tyre as rosberg approached him?

154

Personally, I think Lewis was quite right to stick to his guns yesterday. 11 points difference at this point of the season means there's a real and close championship battle out there.

Of course, that's how lots of us feel right now because we're a largely partisan, UK-based lot on here, and Lewis has had more than his fair share of bad luck recently. I suspect that had it been Nico who was refusing to move aside for Lewis to pass when asked so to do we'd be far more critical.

Where one driver has a chance of the WDC and the other doesn't, where there's a real strategic importance or where one driver is a clear no. 2 to another, drivers should be heeding team orders.

Where both drivers in the team are both fighting for the title (particularly when the team have essentially have enough points in the constructors' championship) then each man for himself!

155

Lack of authority, nothing more nothing less...

156

too many bottles in those fridges. nothing to do with authority. hamilton expressed his authority loud and clear! lowe was too busy in conversation with raikkonen to go on the radio to hamilton.

157

i think the most important question is why they did not call hamilton in first if that was the winning strategy... if it works for rosberg, it would have worked worked for hamilton too and there was more than enough time to make up their mind...

158
Drgraham lewis

Wow - according to James you could not possibly have figured that out.

You had no data - 🙂

And Lewis had new softs not scrubbed ones...

159

At the time, it appeared that Lewis was racing Fernando for the win.

3-stops is probably a little faster in simulations, but it requires the driver to make passes on track, so the default strategy is 2-stop and teams only go to the 3 if the driver has trouble with his tires or runs into traffic, where switching puts him into clear air. As you can see, Nico could not make his 3-stop work, as he couldn't make enough passes and some of the cars he passed were also on 3-stops, making it harder. Ricciardo made his 3-stop work, because he had far fewer cars to pass, and they were all on worn 2-stop tires.

Ultimately, the problem was not focussing upon the right car. After the first round of pitstops with the Safety Car, it should have been obvious the two cars fighting for the win were Ricciardo and Alonso. Ricciardo because he was the biggest beneficiary of the first safety car which put him in the lead, and Alonso, because of the 4 lead cars that were disadvantaged by the first Safety Car, Alonso was the only to recover. Ultimately, anyone who had a chance of winning, needed a strategy to focus on those two. Apparently Merc focussed upon Alonso and were not able to cover Ricciardo.

160

and you had no data.

161

All the more reason not to split strategies.

162

sarcosuchus, if you looked above, you may have noticed that james said earlier that it was impossible to know without all the data.

163

and you did?

164
alexander supertramp

Constructor's championship: 344 points left. Gap between Mercedes and RB (the only reasonable challenger): 174 points. There is no way Mercedes is losing the constructor's title. Throw out team orders and throw out transparancy and let them split strategies. Wolff explicitly stated that completely different strategies might be possible in the future (e.g. Lewis 1 stop/Nico 2 stop). I think it's time for these two to take the gloves off completely.

BTW James, do you think you could wright a piece on the driver's respective "engine consumption"? Can we expect penalties in the future? Paddy Lowe said Lewis' car was basically written off (engine included) by the fire, what are the future implications of that loss?

165

I think in the preview James said that teams tend to use an engine at the end of it's life cycle at Hungary as it is not a power track. The issue isn't the burned out engine, but the one he ran the race with being a problem later. Is that right?

166

This situation at Mercedes highlighted once again what a media savvy operator Wolff is for not only has he given Rosberg tips on how to avoid controversial media bombs but also whenever trust issues arise within the team, the management get on top of that before it gets out of hand.

So yeah, seeing as the team have learned from this race on what to do in the future regards team orders, there won't be any misunderstandings in the future.

P.s.

Interestingly, Rosberg said the thing that miffed him most about the race was the fact he wasn't able to make the move into turn 2 stick on the last lap.

167

If, if, if - F1 is IF spelt backwards.................

Rain affected races are a total lottery, even when the track dries out.

PS Damon Hill was the last reigning WDC who failed to win a race in the year following his championship. Is it possible that this situation may repeat itself this year???????

168

@Gaz, It's not like anyone expected Damon or Jacques to win races with midpack teams. Now, Vettel, that's a different kettle of fish. He's with the same team, unlike Damon or Jacques, and the car he's driving is a race winning car, as Ricciardo has done it twice.

169

But he did come second in an Arrows. In the dry. And only then due to his engine developing a problem on the last lap (at which point Villeneuve overtook him). Both brilliant and heartbreaking all at once.

I'd love to watch that race again.

170

@ Gaz Boy

For sure just like life, F1 is all about Ifs, buts and maybes.

Oh, I didn't know Damon Hill held that dreaded record, for it's something I would have associated Jacques with.

As for Vettel, we're not too sure whether he will suffer the same fate because in the past he has tended to be stronger in the second half of the season.

171

Question is, what do Mercedes top management think and I don't mean the Mercedes F1 racing team managers. They probably think they could have been advertising another race win in the press worldwide today but that it was thrown away by internecine squabbling. They may prefer to secure a win rather than worry about which driver has to take it. Business is business!

172

Uhm, Dieter probably knows enough to realize that they've already publicized how many wins they've had this year. He's probably much happier that the sporting news has stories of Lewis' historic drive from pit lane to the podium.

173

...where they were beaten by an Austrian soft drink company with a second rate French engine! I really don't think they will be very happy!

174

Nope, they think they have the championship wrapped up, so isn't it great that we can stay in the headlines.

175

they can still advertise the fact that they are leading both championships by a huge margin. can their advert include the words fair, efficient, ethical and intelligent?

176
Paul Rodríguez

Lewis was right not to slow down, but only because Nico was never close enough. It wasn't a matter of moving over, it was a matter of slowing down, which, I think, it's totally unacceptable. Bad handling of the situation on Mercedes's part.

177

With all the Hamilton fans breathing down Mercedes’ neck, i wonder what can Mercedes possibly lose by sacking Hamilton ? Its not like Hamilton is fighting for the title in a substandard car. The car is 1.5 sec/lap faster than the rest., and you can put a Chilton in it and he would be fighting for wins. The cars in todays F1 is such a huge differentiator that it is hard to judge if the best driver is winning. Hamilton’s career when his car wasn't creme’de la creme is quite ordinary. From that perspective, there has been only one guy who has consistently overcome his car deficits and punched way above the weight of his machine – that is Fernando Alonso. If i were Mercedes, i would let Hamilton go at the end of this year and hire the Hulk. As long as Mercedes keeps building cars this fast, why bother with all the drama ?

178

Cause that makes German car makes very nationalist will be a massive PR blunder in UK and US where Lewis is big, Merc are in it for images, the shit storm they would get would be nuclear

179

Hamilton maybe big in UK, but nobody gives a rats behind about him in US. I'm sure if i am buying a $60k Mercedes, i'll make the decision based on Lewis Hamilton's employment (rolls eyes)

180

Wow-- You REALLY don't like Hamilton, do you?

Hamilton has gained, on average, 20 positions in the last two races. The Torro Rosso that Rosberg, in an identical car, couldn't pass and eventually pitted to get out from behind, Hamilton passed, on the outside, in turn 4 of the first lap he was behind... again, turn 4, widely regarded to be the most difficult corner at the Hungaroring.

Actually, reading the rest of your post, there's no point in responding. You must be talking about a different Hamilton.

181

@ Grat, Hamilton has a car which allows him to gain the positions from back of the grid. If he were driving a Sauber, he sure as hell wouldnt be making up 18 places by half the race ! Hamilton passing on turn 4 and Rosberg not passing Vergne were at 2 different junctures of the race, with 2 drivers on completely different strategies and different points of tyre life.

The fact that Rosberg - who many thought would get walked all over by Hamilton has managed the same amount of points underlines what I'm saying. Mercedes should spare the "Hamiltonian drama", and hire the hulk who can give them the same results without dragging the team into muck.

182

Because there is no one else in the field who is as box office as Lewis.

183

Nope, I disagree. Hamilton lights up a GP like no one else. He may not be the best driver (Alonso) but he is exciting - you know something will happen (bad or good) when he is on track.

184

In England maybe, not in the rest of the world - not even close...

185

is that why they went out of their way to create a special contract to lure hamilton to sign? do you think they could attract so much attention replacing hamilton?

186

[mod] Whilst Vettel has had a dominant car for the last four years reaching something like 64 podiums, ordinary Hamilton in a mostly average car has 63. Fan or no fan most of the F1 fraternity rate Hamilton as probably the fastest and most exciting driver in the field. That's why he's on one of the largest salaries. Marketing and business people know their stuff. I'm British but can happily can say I've not rated any British driver since Mansell and even cheered for Montoya in the past. Agree on Hulkenburg though, ever since I watched him win an A1gp race in the wet by over a minute.

187

I had to count Hamilton's podiums from 2010 to 2013 compared to his teammates in that period. 2010-2012 - LH had 22 podiums and JB had 25. In 2013, LH had 5 podiums to NR's 4. So from 2010 to 2013, LH had 27 podiums compared vs 29 for his teammates. Yep, very extraordinary indeed.

188

Stats are also wrong - Hamilton only has 27 podiums for the 4 seasons Vettel was champion. Vettel himself has 53 from that period.

You're comparing their total podium count which includes this year for their entire careers.

189

Hmmm

2009 - poor first half, but McLaren very competitive in second half.

2010 - Macca largely equal to Ferrari, not as fast as the Red Bull outright, but less fragile.

2011 - car lacked qualifying performance of the Red Bull but definitely an equal on Sundays.

2012 - quickest car in the field but too many problems.

2013 - Merc was a qualifying monster but ate tires for the first few races.

Hardly "average" cars. Up until last year, McLaren had actually won more races than Red Bull over the same period.

190

I'll agree that Alonso is possibly the best driver on the grid as he's more consistant than the other drivers (other than perhaps Vettel). But his Ferrari has always been one of the best of the rest and reliability has never been much of an issue. Effectively, unless you have a car that's far superior than the rest, if you have one more failure than your close competitors you're not going to catch them in the championship if they capitalise on your misfortune. As far as I know LH is the only one of the currently driving champions that has won the championship in an inferior car. No one else has. As was the case when SV was beating everyone left right and centre, and is the case now with Mercedes, you're not going to get anywhere near the leading team's point total unless they suffer reliabilty issues. You can't take away that Alonso is one of the best though, even if he is slightly over-rated.

191

@ zombie

Oh yeah, the same Alonso who has had one mechanical DNF his entire Ferrari career.

192

goferet, Alonso has also been driving red dump trucks . Reliability means nothing when you are driving a car 2 s/lap slower than the leaders.

193

Agree with your view of Alonso, he is a rare talent. Maybe Ricciardo is in the same vein, he seems very adaptable as well as fast-- too soon to tell? Your point re: Hamilton applies to all drivers really. Its hard to shine without a top car.

194

James

I can recall Nikki Lauda earlier in the season saying on camera to the BBC team/Suzy Perry etc that team policy was that Lewis and Nico Rosberg would be allowed to race each other so long as they did not risk taking each other out. Mercedes has invested vast sums in its F1 team and its disappointing to see that senior team managers have damaged their credibility by a lack of clear thinking. After the end NR indicated he was 'unhappy' that Lewis had not let him by. However after Lewis' fire in qualifying, he said that he would enjoy the max adrenaline from being able to compete against Lewis on a level playing field....I paraphrase etc....I am sure that NL is embarassed by the whole thing and it's good to see him being supportive of Lewis.

195

Mercedes definitely compromised Hamilton race in Hungary by sticking to this rigid strategy they have before each race. When weather conditions are interchangeable causing unpredictable racing conditions during the race they should immediately put both drivers on the best strategy, and then let them race. Instead of putting Hamilton on mediums they should have put him on softs and told him that he would be stopping again like Rosberg. What happened to the first car getting preference in strategies? If Mercedes had done that Hamilton might have won the race.

In future, give the drivers their own strategist and let them call their own strategies. Sharing data is ok, but data for setting up the car should not be shared. Then let the best man win.

196

Keep in mind that because of where they started that the "best" strategy for each driver was not the same. And it changed as the race evolved.

197

I honestly do think the team were only thinking about how to maximise the team result not trying to favour one driver over the other. But the fact is that their two drivers are battling each other for the wdc so an instruction like this is completely inappropriate and rather naive.

The fact that the instruction was given shows that the team management are only interested in the wcc. I don't think they care a jot which of their drivers wins the wdc.

If they did have some secret preference for rosberg to win then they could have engineered the positions far more subtely than giving a direct instruction like that.

198

they had no control over the changing conditions. why did the so called team managers shy away from the radio?

199

There is nothing to gain for the TEAM by trying to get Rosberg a win as the constructors championship is all but over so how can anyone not expect the drivers to put themselves first?

200

If ‘double points’ for the final race is still on the agenda then it will make a mockery of any ‘fairness’ in team orders.

201

Right on, dude.

I’m with the true fans – not the rule-book sheep.

202

Absolutely!

As for the [mod] who think that rules set at the start of the season are cast in stone – if the ‘authorities’ can mess around with FRIC at will, they can sure as hell retract this stupid points tweak.

203

the double points were decided before the season started and all the teams signed up to it. it cannot be changed now so please learn to accept it and move on.

204

I think this is where Mercedes miss Ross Brawn. Neither Lowe nor Wolff command the presence of Brawn. Lowe was a sheep in terms of management even at Mclaren and that has followed him to Mercedes, whereas Wolff is more of a businessman than a team principal and I still dont quite understand what he is doing at Mercedes, with Lauda in the picture as well. Anyway, back to the point, Hamilton should not have been asked to move over to begin with, it was a wrong request. If Brawn was in charge, he would not have asked Hamilton to move over in this particular case, and even if the vultures think he would have done the same, I can assure he IF he had made the call, he would have MADE Hamilton move over and not sit back like sheep, once Hamilton did not comply. The Mercedes pit wall covered themselves in shame yesterday, first by making the call and second by not making the driver execute it. Either way, it looks more likely to see all hell break loose between the two drivers after the break, and then the reliability factor will once again be the critical piece in the equation, as soon as Hamilton has another failure, the British press and fans will be quick to point fingers at the 'German team' favoring Rosberg, whereas if Rosberg has a mechanical failure, the British element would consider that Karma, whereas the Germans would come out swinging with theories of their own! I think Ross is sitting back in his living room with a smile on his face and asking the Mercedes board, if their 'multiple team-boss' strategy is blowing up on their face now or not!

205

If Ross Brawn were still in charge, do you think that Lewis and Nico would be allowed to race in the way they currently are doing? I suspect they would not be, as Ross doesn't exactly have a track record of allowing two team-mates to race each other. I suspect we would be seeing a much more tactical approach to racing with the focus on the best result for the team at all times.

206

I dont think Ross would stop them from racing neccesarily, but he would make sure they both fall in line and not disobey a team order. He did the same at Ferrari with Michael and Barrichelo, and at Brawn with Button and Barrichelo. Even in 2013, he ensured Rosberg did not pass Hamilton when they were both trying to get to the end, anyway he was and is a strong team principal and not a sheep like Lowe and Wolff, is my point.

207

Spot on Karima. However, I disagree about Wolff. Toto has done a decent job in shaping the team, and he brings good experience from Williams etc as well. He is an asset, what Nikki and Paddy are doing there however is debatable.

208

Mercedes did not think their car would be as good as it was in 2013. After the 3 years of underperforming, 2010, 2011, 2012, they felt Brawn was past his best and thought Lowe was the next Brawn so they brought him in to replace Brawn. However when the 2013 car turned out to be decent and a race winner, they had second thoughts and tried to get Brawn to stay but it was too late by then as Brawn had no interest working in the role they had defined for him. So basically the Mercedes board dug their own grave, and I dont have any sympathy for them - its fun to see their pit wall squirming and not being in control of their drivers.

209

brawn had the chance to buy the mercedes shares and he slept on it too long allowing wolf to buy them. brawn knew all along how strong the car would be and he told all of them about it. am not sure about what they believe as that wasn't publicised.

210

rosberg brawn went to beg hamilton to join mercedes. who do you think is in charge at mercedes?

211

I find myself saying, again, "every time Toto Wolff says anything my respect for him goes up". Lauda came out and said much the same yesterday - he said (a) he wouldn't have obeyed, (b) Paddy saw it was a mistake to make the request and (c) they didn't force the point. I only had the BBC coverage to go on where we heard Rosberg - who wasn't in the DRS zone, never mind making attempts to pass - ask "Why doesn't he let me by", followed by the engineer telling Lewis to let him by on the straight (whether this was meant to be don't tangle with him, when the moment comes do it on the straight, or "park up and wait for him to come past" wasn't clear.).

Rosberg would have had a better shot at winning the race if Hamilton had let through. Toto seems to have recognised both that and that asking HAM to give ROS a net 16 points (assuming ROS won and he remained behind ALO and RIC) when the constructors championship is as good as won isn't a request any driver would obey. No doubt someone can look back at a recording and say what the gaps were at that point.

I'd put Lauda on Radio duty

Ros: "Why isn't he letting me though"

Lauda: "Because you're not close enough , try harder ! [various words beeped out]

212

For the sake of accuracy, the FIA data showed NR was within 0.6 to 0.8 seconds behind LH for several laps = within DRS zone. Also NR was catching LH at the rate of 0.5 seconds / lap, so he was quicker. Also once NR pitted LH sped up- once again derived from FIA data.

So from a team perspective it was the correct call- LH was holding NR up. IF once believes in team orders, which I personally don't, LH DID potentially cost the TEAM and NR the win.

To repeat myself, I don't believe in team orders regardless of the circumstances. LH crying foul now, having been gifted a podium in the past because of team orders sounds rather hollow. I criticized it then, and I criticize Team Orders now.

Niki and Toto are just coddling LH after his little temper tantrum of "how dare they ask me .."

All too much like a soap opera..

213

OK I didn't have the benefit of the FIA data.

If it were Williams - for example - and they had a one-off chance to get a win, or it were Sauber and it was the difference between getting some points and not, we'd all say the driver who put himself first was wrong and the order to move over was right. But the difference between winning 9 out 11 races and 10 out of 11 is pretty small. 406 constructors points vs 393 is pretty small. But the difference between being 11 points behind in the drivers championship and 27 points behind is big. Would you want a driver who gave up that easily ?

214

I really don't get Merc's thinking here, Lewis could have also won the race if they had brought him in. Rosberg did not have that much pace in traffic as can be seen by him being stuck behind Verne without even an attempt off a pass. As soon as Lewis rocked up behind Verne he was passed within one lap with a superb overtake. I agree that Rosberg could have won the race if Lewis had let him past. But had Merc brough Lewis in when Rosberg was behind and put on a brand new set of slicks (he had plenty due to quali) Lewis would have caught up at the end and probably gone onto win. Lewis was totally correct to hold his ground, he did not choose a 1 stop, the team did, they could have easily switched him to a two stop but it seems like they preferred to give Rosberg the faster strategy. Good on Lewis and well done to Lauda for sticking up for him.

215

according to james he saw expressions on lauder's face which suggest lauder prefers rosberg to win the championship. apparently lauder changed his expression as soon as the cameras were on him.

216

From a fan's point of view, it is obviously better not to have such team orders and to let the drivers battle it out. But this is not purely a sport. It is a big business. Millions of Euros are invested in the team. It is the responsibility of Mercedes to keep sponsors happy, and fight for the best result possible. I can therefore understand why Hamilton was asked to move over. A 1st and 4th placing (or, at worst, a 2nd and 4th placing) would have been better than the 4th and 5th places they actually achieved.

217

Ooops! Sorry for wrong placings, but the point I was making remains the same.

218

Did you watch the race, they finished 3rd and 4th, with Lewis on the podium. If he had let NICO through Lewis would probably not have been on the podium.

Which means he would be even further back in the WDC when Mercedes are over 3 double DNF's in front of their nearest competitor so have got the WCC completely in the bag. So the call for team orders was completely unnecessary.

:

219
devilsadvocate

James... I am eagerly awaiting your post race analysis of strategies and relative pace, specifically, what you think of Hamilton's performance leading up to the call for him to move over and the ensuing laps where he really (at least on the TV) appeared to push to stretch the gap to Nico. Could this have possibly affected his chances later in the race when he was attempting to pass Alonso? Could this have been a tactical blunder in terms of getting the best result for himself?

At least the way it looked to me, if he had passed Alonso in the first couple of laps after catching him he probably could have gotten through before Ricciardo caught him and at least potentially put enough of a gap to give himself a good chance of defending against Ricciardo once he got past Alonso.

By the same token, assuming he had kept driving his target lap and had let Nico by (notice I didnt say slow down), Nico stopped soon enough after that, that Hamilton would have re passed him while he was in the pits , and if that little bit of extra life Hamilton would have had by not pushing to keep Nico behind had allowed him to pass Alonso before Ricciardo caught them, Nico would have had to pass Alonso, Ricciardo (who would have been on similarly aged tires), and Hamilton (not necessarily in that order) for the win. So he pushed more aggressively in the middle/end of the race and guaranteed Nico would finish behind him, but he gave up what I feel was a pretty solid shot at 2nd and possibly the race win by doing so.

Based on yesterdays performance I just don't see Nico having been able to pass Alonso and Ricciardo so if Hamilton could have gotten Alonso sooner before Ricciardo showed up, he had a much better chance to leave Alonso behind and have a buffer for when Ricciardo got past to maybe hold off till the flag or at the very worst come home second. So he gave up a risky 7 point advantage for a marginally safer 3 point advantage and some personal bragging rights for not bowing to the team. Now he has thoroughly poisoned the well against German teamate in a German owned team.

Really interested to see the pace graphs to confirm wif wha I was seeing in the TV actually shows in the relative pace at that point. Maybe Hamilton was just faster at that point, I definitely agree he shouldnt have slowed down, but if he pushed to actively keep Nico behind him, he could have potentially ruined his own chances as we can all agree, getting stuck behind Alonso was what left him exposed to Ricciardo's pass, its way to hard to defend and attempt to overtake at the same time. That Merc should have been able to handle that Ferrari in a one on one fight.

220

Nico would have had the pace, he still might not have overtaken Alonso or Ricciardo.

Towards the end, Nico was catching Lewis at 2-2.5 seconds per lap, but still failed to make an overtaking move stick.

221
Dimitar Kadrinski

The thing is, I am sure they knew what they were doing. Favouring Niko over Lewis. It is not that the both had close racing and they asked LH to move over, Lewis didn't even had to drive defensive ...thats how far behind Nicko was when the order was issued.

I hope i am wrong, but it seems Nicko is favoured by the team. What a pity for Lowe if that is true (never liked the guy sinse he moved over to the Mercs any way)

222

Nico was 0.6 seconds behind Lewis when the order was given.

The radio message wasn't played on the coverage until several laps later when Rosberg had backed off.

223

Instead of backing off why didn't Rosberg carry on the speed and attack Lewis then? He had fresher and speedier tyres. If he was conserving his tyres and waiting for the team to ask Lewis to slow down so that he could pass then that is not racing

224

Fair call by the Merc boys. I haven't questioned Lewis not letting Nico pass. I've taken his side on this one. But, one has to ponder about the precedent this is going to set for th rest of the season. Neither driver will yield for the other now, regardless of strategy or track position. In the extreme case, we should now expect one driver pushing the other onto the grass. If that happens, don't blame either driver. Merc played the team order thing really badly. It'll come back to haunt them now. And, Merc, itself, will have to take the blame if fight gets too personal. Let's hope not.

225

we have already seem both drivers push each other onto the grass.

226

Why didnt merc just mirror ricciardo strategy seemed most logical nearly equal stints on soft

227

Actually having just watched race back i can see that wouldnt have worked at the safety car ricciardo had a 8 sec lead

228

Why did Hamilton's engineers not pit him ahead of Rosberg and put him on the option tyre? Had they done so Rosberg would have been free to move-on with his strategy, Hamilton would have had the opportunity to undercut Rosberg (or certainly to stay in the fight) and - looking at Rosberg's speed at the end of the race - both drivers would have had the opportunity to fight over (probably) the top two steps of the podium. I bet Ross Brawn would have spotted that possibility.

Also agree with @Optimaximal - there was a huge difference between Rosberg's ability to get past people and Hamilton's. Rosberg should reflect on this aspect of why he didn't win the race, not on the fact that Hamilton didn't slow down to let him past.

Finally, I'm pretty sure that had Rosberg easily closed-in on and hustled Hamilton, he would have yielded for the very reason they were on different strategies. That Rosberg appeared unable to close the gap demonstrates that the 3-stop strategy wasn't working, I.E. he didn't have the pace to close-up and pass the fast cars running 2 stops. That being so, the team's request for Hamilton to pull over was a fundamentally bad call. Hamilton saved the team and the brand from a lot of embarrassment and bad publicity.

229

“If Lewis had let Nico go, Nico could have won the race with a different strategy.”

Also if they had pitted lewis just around the time nico got onto the back of lewis, im sure lewis may have gone on to win the race himself, his second stint could then have been options instead of primes

230

James: Why are virtually all you media guys missing the big question:

Toto: You state Lewis perhaps cost Nico the win by not allowing him through, as Lewis was the lead car, why did you not pit him instead when it became obvious three stops were the way to go??

Lewis just saved Merc's PR department (albeit for his own reasons!!) from meltdown if Nico had finished in front.

231

Agree. Someone needs to ask Toto why he thought Nico could win the race and Lewis couldn't. Is there any surprise that there are accusations of favouritism within the team with statements like that.

232
Mike from Medellin

Because they all choose to ignore the question for their own reasons.

233

We keep asking why LH was not pitted ahead of NR. Has anyone considered d traffic situation? LH could come out in traffic, meanwhile NR Must stop so he has no choice on d traffic gap.

The British press will always support their own any time. What is more important? Yourself or the team? It is VERY VERY bad to disobey team orders especially when driving an F1 car except LH had another way of knowhing what is going on around him. F1 is big business. There are lots of vieers around the world. The british press never gave Shumacher the respect he deserves simply because he was non british. Even compare the commentary when JB won d WDC to when Vitel won.

JA was right, we don't have the data the team has

234

I want this answer aswell

235

I'm scratching my head too, especially since it occurred to many of us arm chair enthusiasts at the time. You'd think people who spend their days covering the sport would ask that question. Mind boggling.

236

NR was never close enough for LH to let him slide by, lowest he was around 7/10 so LH was right for not slowing down and NR didnt seem to have pace at that part of the race so LH would just be stuck behind NR in hot air. Just to say that I agree with Gaz Boy in saying they should let them race fair and square in a situation like this where frankly its between the two of them so team orders would only bee seen as direct influence on championship outcome and plus last race is 50 points so NR is a long long way of to expect to be No1 driver and have team orders going his way...

237

a small piece of the story. rosberg caught hamilton by as much as 3s per lap and stayed about 1.5s behind while asking why hamilton would let him by. even drs requires a gap of less than 1,0s. rosberg was at fault for not trying hard enough. we saw him side by side with hamilton a few times in the final moments albeit fresher softer tyres, he should've got closer.

anyway, hamilton did as i have as i have always argued, "helping your teammate to beat you is stupid." i don't know why all those so called engineers couldn't figure that out between them? does that mean hamilton is more intelligent than all of them put together? considering he made that decision in the heat of a battle while they sat comfortably in their ice cooled room looking at data.

4 weeks i a long time!

238
Stephen Taylor

I wonder what Rubens Barrichello thought about Lewis not moving over ? I bet he was thinking I wish I hadn't moved over for Michael in Austria 2002.

239

Maybe the multi millions of dollars in his bank account from 2002 till he left Ferrari is a suitable reply to this question......

BUT I see your point....who knows, he may have successfully argued post race and gained additional sway...but against Michael and that team at that time I suspect that would not be the case..

240

track limits fiasco. whiting has to ensure that the same matrial is used on the outside of each curbed corner to ensure fairness. it is not fair to give yourself the chance to be able to introduce a variable as and when it suits you. You also claim it's tough, what caused those crashes and near misses in hungary yesterday?

http://www1.skysports.com/watch/video/sports/f1/9396563/track-rules-&-regs-with-charlie-whiting

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/formula1/28516203

i hope that word, fairness precedes every decision because we all understand.

241

Constructors is pretty much a given for Merc. Drivers WCC still open and pretty much between the 2 Merc drivers. Given this, i don't really see a need for team orders or splitting strategies. Let the drivers and their engineers run their respective races as they want.

242

" “If Lewis had let Nico go, Nico could have won the race with a different strategy.” "

Well if Lewis was put on a different strategy..ie 1 or 2 soft stops at the end..he might have won the race. Especially if they had put Nico on 1 set of Mediums at the end. So that argument cuts both ways and there is no certainty Nico would be quicker on mediums either..

The big issue with most fans was Nico was 2 sec + not closing at all when that message came over the radio. In a race that saw many cars in front fend off others that were right under their wing. The point of BOTH cars strategies was rather absurd. You cannot honestly give the following W105 the advantageous call without weighing up an equal strong strategy for the lead car!. Its something that a few teams strategists have done very poorly - eg Ferrari at Barcelona.(for similar reasons no doubt)

Fact is if Nico was closing rapidly he would either have passed Lewis easily or almost certainly Lewis would have let him by knowing of the alternate strategy & Nicos greater speed. But Nico struggled passing lesser cars and was no threat at that point. Clearly the team wanted to put Nico in front & that is the mystery that noone can understand or accept.

I dont buy Mercedes argument as they have almost wrapped up the the constructors and one or 2 more top 3 finishes either Lewis or Nico cant be beaten either. So even at hungary they had no reason to interfere with team orders.

Now that Mercedes have inadvertently "let the cat out of the bag".. They have been forced to save face by letting drivers race all the time with the knowledge that neither team or either of its drivers will be headed by rivals -barring car failures in the coming race or 2 and further attempts to equalise Nico with lewis will just turn people away in droves.Especially when you have Nico saying he didnt request team orders and Merc fans have "stopped buying it". Merc must focus on having both cars finish well and nothig else.

243

Good points, and adds credence to why Lewis seems to question strategy so often, as it's clear the team doesn't always get it right.

244

"Others have argued that it was wrong of Mercedes to ask Hamilton and they should have let the strategies play out with no outside assistance."

This is not the question at all. The question is:

"Why was Hamilton not also brought in for new soft tyres when Rosberg was, as Mercedes knew this was the faster strategy and are openly saying so. If they wanted the win, why not equip the faster driver who also has the better overtaking skills with brand new soft tyres (he has a few sets of these as he did not use them is qualifying) to get the best chance of a win?"

245

Fantastic race marred again by politics, it's any wonder spectators are not watching or attending meetings in the way they were. Too much interference from the Pit Wall, when one considers the pace of Rosberg after his third stop why did the team not consider doing the same with Lewis Hamilton before Rosbergs stop, it's likely Hamilton would have caught Alonso and Ricardo as did Rosberg on Hamilton thus giving Rosberg a clean run on the Red Bull and the Ferrari and maybe Mercedes would have achieve a one/two. Or was it the teams intentions as it appears to favour Rosberg. This situation has all the hallmarks of Vettel and Webber. Team orders and mechanical defects but only on the one car.

Let the drivers race the cars, Motor Racing I thought was about a Driver and Car as one demonstrating a drivers professionalism while extracting the maximum from the car he's given, the standard of motor racing this year is far above that which we've experienced in the last ten years so let's have more of the same while Raceing clean, Raceing fair and above all racing safely.

246

Rosberg is starting to sound like Vettel. I was surprised not to hear him spouting, "get him out of the way". Don't get spoiled Nico or you may end up like Vettel and lose your racing instincts.

Rosberg didn't even try to get close enough to Hamilton to attempt a pass. Hamilton would have let him past if he made an effort. He just wasn't going to slow down and compromise his own race.

On a side note. Button gambled on tire strategy after the safety car and lost. When the team makes the right call Button gets the credit for being a thinker. When the strategy call is wrong, the team gets the blame.......

247

Thanks Danny, you made my day.

The most annoying aspect of F1 is the media hype around one or other aspect of drivers abilities or flaws. Buttons' astonishing tyre choices in changing conditions is one of them, as was Ham's tyre management a huge flaw.

Button probably called it this time around and it didn't work- with little media reaction. Had it continued to rain and Button conceivably won...well you can just imagine the media coverage.

On this race weekend - I'm with Ham on this one. From the comments I've read here, the consensus seems to be a clear that Mercedes are engineering/would prefer a Rosberg title this year. Ham joined Mercedes on the basis of equal treatment. I hope he gets it, but 4:1in DNF's? ..is mightily discouraging so far. Any more, and even die hard atheist will begin to believe in metaphysics as the only explanation for such uneven failure rate since any other explanation would be unthinkable. Having said that I'm still hopeful Mercedes aren't doing the dirty.

248

+1!

249

Controversial --->>>

A German team with German driver /// of course the top top bods want to see Nico win the championship this year. It is a very obvious situation based on brand & marketing success.

Despite being stunned by the lack of crowds at Hockenheim, it is sad that Hamilton is being made to fight tooth and nail over his own team, time and time again to prove what a great, fast and complete racing driver he actually is.

I've always liked Nico and from the moment Lewis joined the team I always said that his biggest challenge would be Nico.

He just gotta keep fighting in afraid

250

To let the drivers race each other means no orders, period. Nico could not have passed Lewis in a fair duel. Lewis did the right thing.

251

This whole thing would have been avoided if they had put Hamilton on the right strategy, which was to put him on softs and have him go until the end. There was virtually no difference between the mediums and softs in degradation and a big difference in performance. If Hamilton was on softs, Rosberg would never have gotten anywhere near him, and this wouldn't be an issue.

Also, the idea that Rosberg would have won if he was let by is just plain nonsense. He was way too far back at that point in the race, and Daniel was too quick for him to catch.

Rosberg is really escaping the criticism that he deserves for a very poor race on his part. The fact that he couldn't get by Vergne wrecked his race, and that comes down to the performance of the individual driver rather than some team strategy bobble. Rosberg has no one to blame but himself, and nothing to blame but his insufficient performance as a driver for why he didn't get a better result than he did. And there is no "while, my brakes were too cool" excuse to be made here. Hamilton did just fine after the trouble of the first few laps on absolutely brand new and ice cold brakes.

252

We are beginning to see what Button and McLaren fans have had to endure over the past few years. I was naturally expecting some bias in the comments over the weekend's incidents, but some of the stuff I've read since Saturday is just pure madness.

253

@ SilverArrow,

I agree with you all the way. LH had same issue with both Button and Alonso. The guy has to manage his driving style. He has collided with several cars this season all in a bid to over take. I'm sure Nico could have pushed LH hard to over take but i remember rule #1 in F1 is "Don't EVER take out your team mate".

I'm sure that if the roles were re4versed, LH won't mind trying to overtake Nico and risk taking both of them out. The season is still long and roles could be reversed at the end of the season and LH could just need Rosberg to keep the position in order for him to win the WDC. Remember LH 1st championship in Brazil? Barachello thought he had won the WDC until Lewis passed a driver @ the last corner.

254

@SilverArrow, I see you're still enduring the maddeningly stupid strategy call the team made at the first round of stops. That's what you mean, right?

255

Hilarious...

Or is he remembering that refusal to believe the weather behind them on the pit wall and choosing the computer says no moment... Again!

256

I'm with you all the way!

257

In fairness to Lewis, Nico never really got close enough (and wasn't that much quicker, either) to make him (Hamilton) think twice about letting Rosberg through. Had this been similar to the scenario back in Germany'10 ("Fernando is faster than you, do you understand?" saga), where Alonso was so much quicker than Massa and harrying him left and right, looking for a way past (thanks in part to Ferrari telling Felipe to turn his engine down, while ordering Fernando to turn his up), then maybe Lewis would have been compelled to (reluctantly) obey and give way.

So while I am not against team orders (even if I disagree with Mercedes issuing it in this instance), I think Nico should take majority of the blame for not being able maximise the team's strategy and come home with the victory, since he was unable to go faster (let alone keep up) with his team-mate. Remember, in Germany 2010, Massa was also fighting to maintain his position, but what eventually forced him to adhere to the team's instructions was the fact that he knew he was holding his team-mate up, since Alonso was all over the back of him.

258

0.6 of a second isn't close enough? Seriously?

259

Rosberg was waiting for Lewis to put his left indicator light on to signal that he was slowing down for Rosberg to overtake, Seriously !!!!!

260

Puzzles me how many so called experts of the sport fail to see how much Mercedes shafted Hamilton.

Lewis had just done a 31 lap stint on the Softs and was setting fastest laps before he pitted, they pit him with 31 laps to go and put him on the much slower Prime tyre. They messed up big time and they know it!

261

Agreed. What I don't understand is why no F1 journalist put this question to Paddy & Totto?

262

The race win is largely meaningless, Merc will win both titles this year so the focus should be on the legitimacy of the drivers championship. Lewis was absolutely correct not to let Nico by as it would have severely damaged his own title challenge. As aside, Rosberg was never close enough to be let by.

So in the context of the title battle, it played out completely fair.

263

did rosberg try to slow hamilton down on purpose, to minimise how many points hamilton could score? after all he made a more purposeful attempt in passing hamilton on the last lap than he did before his final stop.

264

Changing Lewis to the harder tyre was very bad decision by the team.

He could've won the race had he been kept on the softer tyre (ref Alonso), and it's unlikely Rosberg would've caught with him so quickly.

After causing him to catch a fire in Q3, incorrect tyre choice for last stint, adding insult to injury by askin to move over was just in bad taste.

PS: Nico really needs to learn how to overtake, he wasted a lot of time behind a hardly competitive Torro Rosso.

265

Eh? Hamilton was behind Alonso and they both 2 stopped. His tyres were struggling enough on the primes so he'd have struggled even more on options, especially as he needed to catch Alonso too first. Perhaps he would have got past Alonso before the grip went with the options, but Ricciardo may still have had him with his fresh options after making short work of a lonely Alonso.

266

The softer tyre was 'thee tyre' for this race.

It was more durable, and was faster for many laps.

The harder tyre lost performance and degraded much quicker than the supersoft, and all those that chose suffered as a result.

267
Richard cummins

I am wondering how much the strategy guy gets paid?. Seriously everyone seems to see it but him? LH could have won it as well as Nico. However LH started from pit lane so no one really expected him to win. This was an own goal by the management and they have to stop being old. Women about it and realise that LH is an exciting drive who can win the DWC. In Nico they have a pro driver who will stay up all night to read data and copy LH driving. The choice is simple..... Which do you want, a racer or a boring thinker?

Bet James was squirming when Lewis was getting all the praise.

268

James,

Righteousness of the move aside, why this double standards by the media????

Everyone from Jennie Gow to Andrew Benson is trying to justify what Hamilton did.

But the same media had Vilified Vettel for Malaysia-13 for disobeying team orders and was partly responsible for booing he received. Wasnt he fighting for championship that year?Wasnt he entitled to fight for a race win when he had a chance, seeing how close the championship was in 2012

Now that Hamilton had disobeyed the team orders, obviously Lauda and Wolff have to justify this in front of media.Though I'm sure they will not be too pleased behind closed doors that this has cost the team a victory.

269

Spot on.

No Vettel fan myself, but either decry both or neither...

270

This is going to come back at Hamilton. Mercedes is not gonna spilt the race strategies anymore.

Both the cars will get the same strategy with leading car getting first call on pitstops.

271
Graham Beastall

I can understand lweek feeling down at the end of the race. He knows the strategists support in mercedes had let him down. The "team" was not fully behind him in my opinion. My next car purchase will be a Ferrari. They tend to support their fastest driver all the way. I advise Lewis to sign with Ferrari and leave the german tunnel vision and "rules" behind him. Lewis you ar so much better than this. A shame Ross is not still there to support you.

272

The other question is why didn't they pit Hamilton at the end as they did Rosberg. He had plenty of new tyres.

It looks like a rather slow thinking team not to change tactics once they saw how close Hamilton was challenging for a win.

Conspiracy theorists may wonder if it was to give Rosberg the edge, while I think it is poor race management

If Hamilton had pitted for new tyres at the time Rosberg did then we would have seen whether Rosberg could have overtaken Hamilton?

The real injury here was to Hamilton not Rosberg, an injury inflicted by his own team again.

273

It really is so nice to see Mercedes trying to play it fair and being quite open about their internal politics. So different than Ferrari and Red Bull. The latter has actually slowly morfed in to the most awfull team. It really was a new low point when Horner was complaining about reporter asking about the political and ethical aspects of going to race in countries like Russia where human rights violations, corruption and violations on international laws are going on. He exhalted him self and f1over any concerns about anything happening in any country where f1 is going to race. There really is a big weight on the choulders of f1 in these shady and morally corrupt characters in high places of our beloved sport. Ofcourse I dont even have to say where its coming from (the little guy)..

274

Sounded to me like Horner would be a perfect replacement for Bernie, as they seem to have the same disregard for the World around them.

275

"...Russia where human rights violations, corruption and violations on international laws are going on.."

The USA has Guantanamo, indefinite detention without trial (NDAA), ultra-heavy lobbying of congress by corporations, and over a million casualties from the last Iraq war which no-one can offer a just reason for. But are you or anyone campaigning against F1 in the USA?

276

Russian GP Yes or no could be a good discussion topic for the summer break!

277

Well said.

278

James

Nico was behind Louis when he stopped for his 1st set of softs. If merc thought that Nico had a chance of winning with a 2 stop dash on softs why didn't they put Louis on same 2 stop stategy? he had at least 2 new sets. And a better chance of winning.

279

[in hindsight]

Mercedes should've put both Hamilton and Rosberg to the faster three stop strategy. It would've been a thrilling finale with Hamilton and Rosberg battling it out for the top spot. It would've been another Mercedes 1-2 me think?

There was no reason leaving Hamilton out giving Rosberg the faster strategy. They were third and fourth respectively.

Anyway, I am looking forward reading the Race Strategy!

280

Tyre strategy is a nonsense. If F1 wants to be forefront of motoring technology use 18 puncture less tyres and let the drivers race and do their own tyre management.

281

How the Tyre and PIT stops decided the winner?

Interesting stuff - read here - http://thisisf1.com/2014/07/28/how-the-tyre-and-pit-stops-decided-the-winner/

282

That graph has quite a lot of errors in it. For example, it shows Alonso's second stint as 32 laps on new options, and his 3rd stint as 29 laps on old options. His second stint was 29 laps, and his 3rd stint was 32 laps. I'm not sure about which stint had the new options, though you would think it would still be the 2nd stint. Rosberg's graph is wrong as well, b/c his 14 lap stint was at the end, not the 2nd stint. Another one incorrect is Maldonado's, that shows a 9 lap stint at the end. That in fact was his 2nd stint, which he curtailed after running into the side of Bianchi. The same with Bianchi, his 8 lap stint was his 2nd stint, as they both dived into the pits the lap after contact. Bottas' graph is also wrong, he ended with an 11-lap stint on options, which I would assume were not the new ones (new options would've been the 2nd stint, surely).

Graphs can be useful, but it has to show correct information.

283

JA, was referring to the graph in the link provided by the original poster. Lots of errors in THAT graph.

284

It comes from Williams and is based on the Race History data timings from FOM

285

James,

I fully respect the fact that you work for the BBC but, shortly after reading your piece, I read this article:

http://www1.skysports.com/f1/report/22058/9397796/conclusions-from-the-2014-hungarian-gp

It's a Sky article but I think it perfectly articulates what many readers here are trying to get at with the excerpt below:

"Credit for Hamilton for his clear-thinking in such trying circumstances. And yet, after further reflection, Hamilton might well ask why his own crew why, if they knew that Rosberg was behind him on the road and had to change tyres again, they didn’t call him in for an identical strategy to run to the end on the faster soft tyres and cover off the World Championship leader in the process. Had they done so then Hamilton would probably have won the race too. Look at how the numbers stack up: Rosberg crossed the line just six seconds behind Ricciardo having fallen over two seconds behind his team-mate prior to his final stop and then losing a chunk of time when he re-emerged behind Raikkonen and Bottas. The opportunity was there for the taking.

As opprobrium is heaped on Mercedes, the irony is that the most damning accusation of all has been largely overlooked. It’s not that the team misjudged the race, the World Championship battle, public perception, strategy and all the rest; no, the ultimate mistake Mercedes made on Sunday was failing to spot how Hamilton should have won the race."

I don't know how anybody could argue with this. What's your view?

286
Michael in Sydney

Kris, I think your post should have been the first one attached to this story!!!

287

As I just mentioned when I gave my own thoughts below, without Hamilton in 2nd with his own DRS on Alonso, I think it likely Ricciardo would have made short work of Alonso and been much more than 6s ahead of Rosberg at the flag. I therefore think Hamilton wouldn't have won but probably would have beaten Alonso for 2nd. So from a Championship point of view it would have made sense to mirror Rosberg but I think he had a stronger chance to win doing what he did, if only Alonso had pitted like others on his type of strategy. Even then, most would have thought Lewis would have passed Alonso on his better tyres and engine/car.

288

It will all be explained in Strategy Report tomorrow

289

Can't wait either!!!

You will see James that we are all anticipating your strategy report tomorrow with bated breath looking for that killer piece of fact/info to justify MB skewed strategic decisions which seemed to prioritise Nico's race winning considerations over Lewis's.

The polemics that'll be engendered should the position one can infer from your replies to the posts thus far be sustained in the report should make your/our/this the F1 site non pareil.

Número Uno. Keep up the good work.

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Can't wait. I'm curious to see the data that backs up Mercedes' lopsided race strategy.

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I'm surprised at nearly every other post suggesting Mercedes messed up Hamilton's victory chances by not putting him onto softs and 3 stops as well. It's all very well being strategic gurus in hindsight but even then, I'm sorry but for me, that conclusion doesn't play out when you analyse the whole strategic picture. Lewis going on to 3 stops would only have increased the chance of Ricciardo winning. Bear with me! This is my assessment (feel free to correct me if I get the details wrong, there was a lot going on)!

Mercedes were giving Lewis a great winning strategy when they chose to have him do one less stop and go to the end on primes. Martin Brundle at the time mentioned "Lewis is going to win this". The curve ball that people have failed to point out and Mercedes understandably failed to predict was Alonso not stopping a third time and doing 32 laps (I think) on options. That is what prevented Lewis winning. So let's logically go through the strategy Mercedes were expecting:

Strategy A - Lewis goes to the end on primes (2 stops) - what he did:

1. Lewis was the lead 2 stopper. Hungary is difficult to overtake so taking the option to keep track position and do one less stop made sense (and was a possibility thanks to Hamilton having fresh tyres, as James says).

2. The expectation was clearly that all the front runners on softs would need to stop again. This would have given Lewis the lead and a decent gap (I think Ricciardo had to close something like 13s to catch Lewis and Fernando after his stop - I forget now).

3. With clear air and therefore less damaged tyres, and the pace of Mercedes, I'm sure Ricciardo wouldn't have been able to close up to Lewis in time. Lewis would very likely have won.

The only reason it looked so good for the likes of Ricciardo and Rosberg was because of Alonso. Rosberg would never have been closing on Hamilton at 3s/lap and Hamilton would comfortably have beaten Nico if Alonso had done as they expected.

This is why I gave Alonso my DOTD vote. He did a real game changing move there and very nearly pulled it off for a victory. As it was he got 2nd out of it and beat Hamilton. I bet my bottom dollar that the real-time Monte Carlo simulations the strategists at Mercedes were running would have given a rather low probability of the event that Alonso did not do 3 a stops. They were expecting Hamilton to have the lead at then end of the race and defend if need be (which he's as a good as Alonso at).

But imagine Hamilton did do 3 stops and go on to softs, as many complain he didn't. For sure that would guarantee he should have comfortably beat Rosberg but this just gives Ricciardo an even greater chance of victory...

Strategy B - Lewis copies Nico and ends on options (3 stops):

1. Remember Ricciardo was the lead 3 stopper. In fact thanks to the first safety and the Verne train earlier in the race, he had a big gap to Lewis and Nico.

2. Lewis pits at a similar time (almost certainly just before) Rosberg. This pretty much guarantees Lewis beat Nico. Good for him but he wants to win!

3. Ricciardo also on 3 stops is well up the road rapidly catching Alonso.

4. Ricciardo will have breezed past Alonso. It only took him so long to get the lead because Lewis was there also getting DRS and causing a stalemate. With Hamilton now out of the picture (because fell behind him when he pitted for his third stop for options), Alonso would have been easy meat.

5. By the time Lewis on his softs got to Alonso (remember it took Rosberg till the last 2 laps, so we can predict it may have taken till, say, 5 laps to go for Lewis), Ricciardo will have been way down the road.

6. The Red Bull was decent here and even with the Mercedes pace I don't think Hamilton would have had the time to hunt down and pass Ricciardo.

So yes, with a 3 stop, Hamilton would have likely beaten Alonso to 2nd but not Ricciardo for the win. But with his 2 stop, Lewis was in a great position to win but Alonso played a blinder. You can't criticise Mercedes too harshly for not predicting that. I guess if Mercedes had focussed less on the computer models they could have thought more as humans and figured that Ferrari had nothing to lose and they'd try and stay out for the glory! But 32 laps on softs! No one expected that (although it was repeatedly said the two compounds had similar degradation here, I acknowledge that).

Finally, regarding the team orders thing, it should not have happened, but the key failing for Rosberg (beside the SC misfortune) was not being delayed behind Hamilton but not passing Verne earlier in the race. If he'd done that he'd have been up there with Ricciardo fighting for the win, but few seem to have focussed on that.

Sorry for the length, oops!

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Actually several have indicated NR inability to get past Verne as the primary cause of his troubles.

Everything else spiralled from there but regardless - they should have been more flexible and taken the lead racer as the one with most chance.

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Made a prior comment, but it appears to have gone into the void. Anyways, I would agree if the Merc pit wall had pitted Lewis before Alonso pitted. But Alonso pitted first, and they were able to see that he put on options. Ricciardo was on options, and Rosberg would again go to options. So they should have put Lewis on the same strategy. He had totally fresh option rubber for each stint, so would've had 2-3 really good laps at the start of each stint, that the others would not be able to access. The mediums were at least 0.8s/lap slower than the softs, and that's what ultimately kept Lewis behind Alonso. If he was on softs for two short stints, he would've passed Alonso on track, and then been closing on Ricciardo. Seeing as Rosberg finished 6 secs behind Ricciardo, having had to clear Kimi and Massa first, I don't see how he could've kept Lewis behind, who likely would've emerged a clear 3rd from that final stop, with only two cars ahead.

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Yeah, you're right that if they'd gone to options straight after Alonso, then Hamilton would have found it easier to pass him and then he would pit again later, as Rosberg did, and then re-attack and pass Alonso on better rubber. I really don't think Hamilton would have been able to catch and pass Ricciardo though, especially as with this strategy Lewis would need to pass Alonso twice! There's the race history graph up now in the other post and you can see the gap Ricciardo had at this stage and his pace. It was too much I feel.

So yeah, what you say would have got Hamilton 2nd (and I too say that in what I wrote above) but in doing what they did do, and IF Alonso hadn't have stayed out, Hamilton would have had a much bigger lead (and better conditioned primes) over Ricciardo at the end of the race in which to try to hold on to the win. Whether he'd have done it is another matter however...

I don't like that Sky report piece that uses the Rosberg being only 6s behind Ricciardo line to imply Hamilton would have been even closer and hence would have won because, as I mentioned before, that gap would have been much bigger if Ricciardo hadn't have had Alonso AND Hamilton to overtake at the end. It's a distorted fact that would be no longer be valid in the 3 stopping Hamilton scenario. Statistics can be dangerous!

But sure, in hindsight Hamilton would have likely finished 2nd on 3 stops so that would have got him more points, but again, it's hindsight!

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Michael in Sydney

Indeed. I think Martin B also said that Ricciardo was going to win this as well - though can't recall exactly the timing of both comments. He too was totally taken aback that Alonso could stay out on the same set of tyres for so long and hope to make it to the end: importantly a podium position. A complete game changer that did it's part to shape the race outcome.

Whether Ferrari's strategy was to make it home to the podium or to bag as many points as possible is a moot point. Alonso in P4 in the WDC with, relatively, so few podiums. Consistency proving to be important in F1 again.

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Michael in Sydney

Absolutely right Dr T. As an Australian, that certainly stood out for me and co-incidentally worked for Daniel.

I guess the point here is that despite the fact that it was a different car and track, Alonso (one of the very best) was also able to make it happen in the different conditions on the day. It surprised Martin Brundle - and equally, no doubt, pleased him as it did me.

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Remember a few races back when Daniel made a set of (I forget what) last some ridiculous amount of time - it has been done this season

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Great post, I hadn't thought that Mercedes had expected Alonso to stop again.

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Great piece/analysis Craig D.

I agree completely. Also that the biggest factor for Rosberg was not making a move on Vergne earlier. He looked too conservative and 'just happy' to sit behind and not take any risks knowing HAM was behind him at that stage. Whereas HAM was very decisive in his move on Vergne.

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You will enjoy tomorrow's Strategy Report!

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Hi James.

I am not sure if anyone picked up on this issue; during the first pip-stops under the safety car period Nico came back into P5 just behind Kevin Magnussen. However, during the lap 10 Nico overtook him into P4. How was that not picked up by the stewards?

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James. Not much has been made of Merc's decision to split the strategies. I personally don't think it is fair on either driver to be doing this. It happened in Bahrain to the detriment of lewis and it happened again here. When lewis pitted for mediums he had Rosberg covered, the minute he went on to mediums my brother and I called it. Splitting the strategies was no issue for Rosberg in this situation as he was behind and unlikely to pass lewis on track given he was on slightly older tyres. There was no logical reason for lewis to go on to mediums. His main concern was always to beat Rosberg not to win the race. Splitting strategies turned the whole thing into a lottery when it should have been about raw speed. My personal view is that Mercedes would have saved themselves this headache of they'd put lewis on softs, he may even have won the race.

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"“If Lewis had let Nico go, Nico could have won the race with a different strategy.”"

Uhm, this only makes sense if Lewis has no chance to win; and, the team needs the points. In this case, Lewis has a chance to win, AND, the team doesn't really need the points. They've essentially locked up the title with almost double the points of the nearest team with half a season left. There's no need to strategize for the WCC, they only need to think about the driver's title.

If Toto thinks it through, he'll realize that Lewis is in front of Nico. While Nico is definitely on a 3-stop strategy, Lewis is on a 2-stop, which still can be changed to a 3-stopl, and in that case, Lewis is in front. He has a BETTER chance of winning than Nico if they both do a 3-stop.