What really happened in behind the scenes decisions that shaped Hungarian GP
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jul 2014   |  6:57 am GMT  |  417 comments

Among F1 teams this week, the word has been going around that Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix will make an ideal test case to use in future on new race strategy engineers coming into the sport. The teams will show them the videos of the race and all the real time data playbacks and ask them, “What would you do in this scenario?”

As these Strategy Reports have shown countless times, decision-making is the nub of F1 races and Sunday’s event, with its changeable conditions and two safety cars, was full of fascinating scenarios, which teams had to decide on quickly.

With the benefit of hindsight, there are decisions that would probably have been made differently, but hindsight isn’t one of the tools at your disposal when you are making split second decisions.

Here we will analyse some of the most talked about scenarios and look at how the decisions were arrived at.

Lewis Hamilton

Could Mercedes have played it differently with Hamilton?
As interest in, and understanding of, the strategic side of F1 racing grows, many fans have questioned whether Mercedes played the wrong card with Lewis Hamilton, putting him on the slower medium tyres at the second stop on lap 38, with 32 laps to the finish. Should he not have gone for two stints on the softs from that point?

This decision led to the intersection of Hamilton and Rosberg around lap 50 as the German on a three stop strategy came up behind his team mate who was running to the finish on his medium tyres. Hamilton refused to let Rosberg through, as he did not wish to lose further points to his teammate in the championship.

This team order was both unnecessary and unhelpful to team spirit, as the team has since acknowledged. The pair are racing for a championship, so why should one move over, even if it is common practice in a “two-stopper ahead of a three-stopper” scenario?

We’ll come onto the messy start to Rosberg’s race later, but Hamilton’s strategy was dictated first of all by passing Vergne quite easily (something Rosberg had failed to do) and then by running in clear air until the end of the tyre’s life. This took him to lap 38.
It was Alonso’s stop on lap 38, which Ferrari did because they didn’t want to be undercut by Hamilton, which triggered Hamilton’s second stop. Mercedes pitted Hamilton a lap later, to maintain track position over Rosberg, who was was coming through and getting close to being inside the margin for Hamilton’s pit window.

So why did they put him onto medium tyres? They did this because Alonso had put on new softs, so there was little point in doing the same plan, as they felt Hamilton would not be able to overtake him.


In practice sessions and the race to that point, no-one had done 32 laps on a set of softs, which is what Alonso would need to do in order to make it to the finish without stopping. From practice the predictions ere 21 laps maximum. Factor in cooler temperatures and you could push it to 25 laps. Add in some skilled tyre management by the driver and you might get to 28-29 laps. But 32 laps was hard to imagine. It highlights what an outstanding drive it was by Alonso.

Mercedes certainly didn’t think that they could reach the finish on softs, but they could on mediums. So the strategy, which gave Mercedes the widest range of options with Hamilton, was to go on the mediums; that way he would beat Alonso when the Ferrari most likely stopped again and rejoined behind him. Failing that he could try the undercut if he was in his slipstream and do a final stint on the softs to finish ahead of him.

Hamilton wasn’t going to win the race at this point, Ricciardo already had it under control in a superb drive which featured an ideal blend of patience, waiting for opportunities and boldness, taking the opportunities to overtake aggressively when they occurred. The strategy was perfect, helped by the first Safety Car, which vaulted Ricciardo ahead of Rosberg, Bottas, Vettel and Alonso. Ricciardo did the main damage to Mercedes with his pace between the Safety Car periods and he was also helped by Vergne holding cars back.
If Mercedes had pitted Hamilton for softs and then again later for softs he would still have been beaten by Ricciardo. So he was racing Alonso and Rosberg for second place.

He beat Rosberg, but of course, it transpired that Alonso and Ferrari decided to go for it and tried to make the finish on the same set of softs. This wrong-footed Mercedes and Hamilton, who due to the pace offset from soft to medium, could not pass Alonso.

With hindsight, it was a mistake, of course. Had they known that Alonso was going to go 32 laps to the finish on the softs, Mercedes would have put Hamilton on softs on lap 39 and asked him to attack Alonso, whom he would have passed easily in the final stages.

Hence why the 2014 Hungarian GP will be a case study for future F1 strategists – what would you do in that scenario, knowing what you know at the time, not what you know in hindsight?
There were other decisions like this, such as Williams decision to do two stints on medium tyres with Massa. This was probably due to a lack of confidence as much as anything.

Massa was second behind Ricciardo on lap 23, when both pitted. This gave them 47 laps to the finish, which Ricciardo did on two sets of softs, the ideal strategy. Williams have not always enjoyed the best tyre management, although there have been some notable exceptions this season, especially with Bottas.

The reason Massa pitted was that Raikkonen was entering the pit window gap behind him, so his hand was forced into pitting earlier than he would have liked; just 15 laps into the stint on softs, rather than the target 22 laps.

From there Williams were not confident of making it to the finish on two sets of softs so they went for mediums. This worked against Massa as he wasn’t able to rebuild the gaps after the second safety car. In practice though he would probably have still finished behind Rosberg in fifth place.

F1 safety car

How did the top four cars at the start miss out on pitting under the safety car?

F1 teams have very sophisticated video and data technology, which allows them to stop and replay real time data from races, down to milliseconds to analyse sequences of events.
The scenario which occurred at the end of lap 8 was highly unusual and it caught out the leading four cars at the time; Rosberg, Bottas, Vettel and Alonso.

When Ericsson crashed, the leader Rosberg was in Turn 13, close to the end of the lap. A yellow flag icon was shown by Race Control for Turn 13, but teams don’t pre-empt Safety Cars based only on that.

It was a few seconds later that the TV image was shown of the damaged car and it became likely that a Safety Car would be deployed. At this point, Rosberg was already past the pit lane entry, so he was committed to another lap. Bottas, Vettel and Alonso were 10 seconds behind him at this point – the Mercedes had been extremely fast on intermediate tyres. They just about had time to react, but didn’t react quickly enough to make the call to pit.

The bad luck part was that, unusually, the Safety Car itself went out on track very quickly and actually picked up the leader, Rosberg, who failed to get through by a few metres. It therefore also caught Bottas, Vettel and Alonso in its wake. Normally the Safety Car goes out at such time as cars that have missed the pit entry are able to go around at the official 80% of race lap speed and make the stop the next lap.

The problem for the leading four here was that the Safety Car itself only travels at 55% of the race lap speed, so they lost tonnes of time behind it and by the time they had made it in and out of the pits, Rosberg had dropped to fourth, Bottas to 11th, Vettel and Alonso to 7th and 8th.

This was very unfortunate as the Safety Car is basically and equalization metric; the cars are meant to all do the same pace, but here that did not happen.

After criticism of the Race Director’s decision not to send out the Safety Car in Hockenheim last week, it looks as though he was a bit more responsive this weekend and whereas Rosberg benefitted in Germany, he clearly lost out here. Leaving aside the human decision making side, the sequence of probabilities is such that this scenario is unlikely to happen again for a long time.

Rosberg was now in a different race, mixed up with cars on a variety of different tyre specifications and on a track where it is hard to overtake cars on similar tyre specifications unless you are prepared to be very bold.

To compromise him further, he was passed by Magnussen, and when he tried to repass, he lost ground and let Alonso and Vergne past him. He then could not pass Vergne, who had good straight line speed in the Toro Rosso and was very sound on the damp but drying track.

With some issues on braking, making no headway between the two Safety Car periods, and seeing that Ricciardo was making tremendous progress in clear air during this time, Mercedes feared the chance of a podium was slipping away and decided to change strategy and bring Rosberg in for a set of softs and send him back out into clear air so that he could use the performance of the car.

Daniel Ricciardo

They pitted him on lap 32, which was 23 laps into his stint on the soft tyres and 38 laps from the end. This committed him to another stop later in the race and put him on course to stay behind Ricciardo until the end of the final stint. At this point Rosberg was 20 seconds behind Ricciardo and both had one more stop to make, with the Red Bull race pace pretty strong.

Despite a wobble when his ERS had a problem, it was already fairly clear that Ricciardo was going to win the race at this point. Rosberg was fighting Alonso and Hamilton for a podium.

Report Sm Rect bann

The UBS Race Strategy Briefing is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists and from Pirelli

RACE HISTORY CHART, courtesy of Williams Martini Racing
Look at Ricciardo’s pace (curve heading upwards) which from mid race onwards was a match for anyone in the field, note also how he built the winning advantage between the two safety car periods.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 16.24.50

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  1. Vivek says:

    Hi James.

    Why didn’t Mercedes bring Lewis for a third stop on the soft tyres just like they did to Rosberg (In spite of Hamilton being on the mediums) ? It appeared that pitting for the softs for the third time was quicker than moving on old mediums?! If they had two mercedes cars on softs towards the end, maybe they could have got two podiums. As it is, they had Hamilton blocking Rosberg for 8 Laps.

    1. Ieuan says:

      Probably because passing is difficult as you saw with Rosberg. There is no guarantee that two soft stints would have yielded any better result than 1 hard did. Assuming everyone else was doing two stints from there he wouldn’t have caught Ricciardo and maybe not Alonso either so the chosen strategy was to stay out and hope to keep enough distance and/or stop them overtaking. Seems like a very solid strategy from that point. The surprise for me was Rosberg varying from that.

    2. Paige says:

      Well, once Lewis was on the mediums, he did manage to close in on Alonso. Overtaking him was going to be difficult given the state of the tires (and that he had Ricciardo all over his ass), but if Alonso makes one wrong move or the tires really do die after 25 laps, then he could have taken it. Once he was on the mediums, it was his best strategy to stay on them until the end.

    3. deancassady says:

      Many, many people seem to be missing the big picture about the second stop for Lewis, and the tire choice for that change:
      Lewis beat Nico!

      Forget the team orders; if a driver had yeilded to those team orders, then he shouldn’t even be on the grid; Lewis made the only decision available; of course the call for him to slow down and move over to allow his only WDC rival to gain track position, at this stage of the season, was faulty; end of story.

      If he had gone to soft tires, doesn’t anybody realize that he may have lost out to Nico, in the end?
      But he didn’t on the mediums, and at this stage of the season, the Alonso strategic approach to F1 driving is the correct and only option: do anything and everything to beat your team mate.


      1. Stagin says:

        As much as I would have liked to see Lewis on new(ish) softs at the end of the race, you are 100% correct.
        Keep your eye on the prize!

      2. danny says:

        “If he had gone to soft tires, doesn’t anybody realize that he may have lost out to Nico, in the end?”

        He may have done, BUT he was still in front of Nico after the 2nd stops. So Nico would not have caught him as quickly (unless Alonso really held him up). Even so he still would have had track position so had the option to take his 3rd stop first.

      3. James Allen says:

        But he finished ahead anyway…

    4. Urko says:

      I think that Hamilton didn’t have to pit for 3rd time to finish at least 2nd. They should just put him soft tyres instead of medium. Look how many laps Alonso did on softs. I’m sure that Merc is as kind to tyres as Ferrari if not better. And Hamilton also had more than enough sets of brand new soft tyres (not used before like others). Problem is that Merc was only concentrated on Nico & how to regain all the position that he had lost, but they totally neglected Hamilton, who was at that time in better position to finish 2nd if not even 1st.

    5. Michael Powell says:

      Nico was faster than Lewis! And so it will continue. Lewis might cut across as much as he can get away with before the stewards penalise him, or he collects a puncture, but Nico is fast enough to react, and will win the 2014 Chanpionship. You read it here first. And my predictions, as recorded on this site, have been good so far!!

      1. Michael Powell says:

        BTW, I predict that Lewis will get an extension to his contract at Mercedes because the team are loyal to their drivers. But in all honesty, there are better candidates for the job. I’d be heading to Spain this week if I wanted the best driver for 2016. But I don’t see Lauda and Mercedes ever taking bold decisions, it’s not in the nature of a corporation. We need to face facts, Lewis has won his only Championship, and his many distractions have ensured he has now been overtaken by events. The new wave of drivers is already here.

  2. Vivek says:

    Also James,

    One simple suggestion for this safety car problem could be to ask all the cars to go around at only 55% of speed so that no one is unfairly penalized? Right now other cars can go at 80% speed, and those caught behind safety car have to go at 55% speed.

    1. JBRO says:

      The cars have to be able to go faster than the safety car or they would never be able to catch up for the restart. It’s also more entertaining when things get mixed up!

    2. MrNed says:

      One problem with that my friend – if all the cars were doing 55% speed, and the same speed as the safety car, then the cars would never catch up with the safety car.

      1. newton says:

        why do they need to catch the safety car? It’s there to slow them down, not make a nice queue.

    3. Martin Horton says:

      The solution to the safety car problem is trivial. Formula 1 prides itself on technology. Why not use some? The gaps between all the cars is known at all times. When the safety car pulls in, each car gets a green light on the steering wheel when it’s time for him or her to resume racing. That way the gaps are the same. It would be simple to factor in adjustments for pitstops. Each pitsop would be deemed to have taken a pit lane delta, decided for each circuit, plus the time the car was actually stationary being worked on. This would mean that there would be no intrinsic advantage in pitting under the safety car,

      Sometimes safety cars work in favor of the driver you support, and sometimes they work against, but they ALWAYS affect the outcome. The safety car isn’t called the adjustment car, so let’s use it just for safety. I’m a Lewis fan and he gained an advantage from the safety car in Hungary but by the same token the thrilling finish in Bahrain was only because the safety car worked against Lewis. I enjoy watching NASCAR sometimes, but with all the cautions, I don’t consider it real racing. But it does make for an exciting show. But F1 is about the ultimate use of technology, so let’s use some in safety car deployment.

      1. Ieuan says:

        That is a horrendously convoluted idea, especially if you are going to factor in pit times, how do you manage a gap of 0.05 seconds for example?

        Far easier and simpler to freeze the running order at the time of safety car deployment so that if you pit you always end up ahead of the first person behind you who also pits. That still gives scope for some order change if a driver chooses not to pit but should maintain order for all those who do.

        For example, say of cars 1-10 all bar 3 and 9 decide to pit. from not pitting 3 takes the lead and 9 gains 5 places. That makes a restart order of 3, 1, 2, 9, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10.

        The other alternative is for speeds to be reduced to 55% race speed for 2 whole laps and then 80% until they file behind the safety car. This gives several laps for pit stops, actually reduced the risk for marshals recovering a car and could lead toa reduction in the number fo laps needed under SC conditions.

    4. **Paul** says:

      As I mentioned on another blog the answer to this one is easy, SC comes out, Pit lane immediately closes to drivers until the leading car has made it to the pit entry again, at which point it then opens. The safety car picks up the leading driver only.

      Sure drivers still lose their gaps, but they don’t get hammered on track position as well. With that rule in play you’d end up with fairer races. You wouldn’t get the randomness that a safety car adds, but equally you’d end up with a fairer sport.

      1. Purple Helmet says:

        This doesn’t really help avoid a lottery. Anyone who pitted (by good fortune) before the SC can make up the 20 secs or so they lost, and then the cars in front all have to pit from a big close packed queue and end up at the back. Basically, everyone who pitted before SC will end up at front, everyone who didn’t will end up at back.

        There is only one fair way to do this, which is that every car slows down by having top speed limited or whatever (easy to do electronically). Gaps are maintained, people can pit if they want to and nobody gets disadvantaged. Anything that allows a gap a driver has built up won’t be fair. For example, Hamilton in Bahrain built up nice lead, enough to hold off Rosberg on soft tyres, only for safety car to mean Rosberg has new soft tyres and no gap to claw back. That is not ‘fair’ at all, though I agree it was exciting.

  3. Bart says:

    Brilliant, James, thank you.

    That’s right, they should have fitted Hamilton with softs and told him to pass Alonso as fast as possible. With the performance advantage Mercedes have over Ferrari it shouldn’t have been hard to do. Running in clean air would have allowed him to build around 20 sec gap over the next 15 laps.
    They might have got a bit confused the moment they saw the softs on Alonso’s car. He could have done 3 stops and finished P2…

    1. Ieuan says:

      I’m not convinced it would have been that easy to get past Alonso on just as fresh tyres AND build up 20+ seconds in 16 or so laps, could have meant having to pass him twice.

      1. Bart says:

        Hi leuan,
        even though it might not have been so easy (and I’m sure it wouldn’t have) Hamilton would have pushed Alonso much more making the Spaniard take more life out of his tyres, in which case Ferrari would have to pit their driver again. This would have allowed Hamilton to undercut Fernando. It was worth trying, in my view. I think, Mercedes was looking at the bigger picture (as I explained below), and perhaps, didn’t want to put both drivers on the same strategy (3 stops). However, they could (should?) have been more flexible

    2. KRB says:

      You’re right, it wouldn’t have been hard at all.

      So why did they put him onto medium tyres? They did this because Alonso had put on new softs, so there was little point in doing the same plan, as they felt Hamilton would not be able to overtake him.

      I don’t get that, seeing as he had easily passed Raikkonen earlier, down the main straight (that was in the damp, but still).

      Again, I’ve rewatched those crucial laps between the second SC and the second stops, and I came upon an interesting sequence. You say that basically no one believed they could get to the end on the option tire from lap 38 (Alonso), but here verbatim is what Tom Clarkson said on the BBC broadcast, on lap 30:

      “Ben, I’ve been to see Pirelli, just to talk strategy, and let’s start with Bottas … they see that there’s absolutely no reason to put the medium tire on, unless you’re trying to get to the end of the race because it’s about a second per lap slower than the option tire, so that’s what they think. Now, lap 30 which is where we are now, THEY think with the lower track temperatures we’ve got today – we’re 20 degrees down compared to Friday afternoon when we did the long runs – they think you can get to the end of the race potentially, from now, on the option tire.”

      So Pirelli, as of lap 30, considered it possible to get to the end of the race on the option tire. Obviously they would’ve relayed that information on to every team, so Ferrari would’ve known it, and Mercedes would’ve known it. So Ferrari, armed with the info from Pirelli, would know that pitting Alonso for softs on lap 38 would net them a second/lap in track time, and they would only need 16-17 seconds to make it worthwhile. So even if they had to do two option stints, they’d be ahead by 15-16 seconds (even with the extra pit stop) over a single medium stint.

      Too many things about this race don’t make sense, in terms of how Mercedes played it. A collossal waste of fresh, unused, pristine option rubber.

      1. Purple Helmet says:

        I agree. Hamilton was in front of Rosberg on mediums, and Rosberg had to stop again. If Hamilton is racing for the championship, the choice is a no brainer. You pit before him for softs and go to the end of the race. Rosberg needs to pit too, you’re in front on the same tyre. It seems to me Merchave their plans set in stone and cannot think on their feet, they had a plan to Hamilton to go long and pick up places, but could not adjust that in the light of the safety car and just how far up the pack Hamilton had moved. At least I hope that is the case, because I really don’t want to believe they’re deliberately trying to mess up Hamilton’s chances (though one can be forgiven for thinking that considering his run of bad luck, the team orders and the nutty tyre decisions).

      2. Bart says:

        I don’t quite agree they wasted a brand new set of softs… At the time nobody suspected the softs on Alonso’s car would last long enough. I watched the race on the Italian tv and Alonso was very sceptical about the tyre choice; even 10 laps before the end was he perplexed.
        Mercedes might just have thought Alonso would have to stop again.

        I think Merc pitwall was looking at the bigger picture and wanted to finish with both drivers in front of Alonso, and possibly even Ricciardo, in P1 and P2 (that’s why they asked Hamilton to move over for Rosberg). Ferrari, by not pitting Alonso, and Alonso, by nursing those tyres so splendidly, did a lot of damage to Merc race

      3. Rishi says:

        Good strategy analysis by James here. The data the teams have mean they’re so efficient these days it can be fascinating when it goes wrong. When Alonso pitted my thought from watching the TV was “he must surely be trying to get to the end?!” even though it was on option. Yet the teams, armed with data from otherwise, clearly felt otherwise and so hedged their bets a little bit with Lewis and put him on the primes. An example of Friday’s data perhaps being counter-productive. Didn’t see BBC coverage but good insight from Tom Clarkson to dig that info out (that Pirelli reckoned options could get to the end) as well.

        Incidentally, although James has said “Lewis wasn’t going to win the race at this point”, surely part of the reason they put him on the primes was to give him the opportunity to win? After all, if Alonso had done two further stints on the options, the cards would have shuffled out with Lewis in the lead from Ricciardo, but on much more worn tyres. Maybe they felt he may have been able to hang on from there, using Mercedes’ speed down the pitstraight? To be fair to Mercedes, I think their call did have logic behind it, even if it may not have ultimately proven ‘optimal’.

    3. Nickh says:

      Why did Mercedes think he wouldn’t be able to pass Alonso? Odd considering the performance of their car. Truly believe Hamilton would have won had they fitted the softs instead of the mediums, they would have given him the grip and confidence to dive down the inside, the medium tyre was just slow on every car.

      1. Bart says:

        Probably because it’s Hungary and earlier in the race Roseberg couln’t get past Vergne and Hamilton couldn’t overtake Vettel. You never know, especially when you race Alonso in a fighting mood. And then I very muchh doubt Lewis would have been able to get to the finish line with the same set of softs.

        However, I still think they should have fitted him the softs as I explained above

  4. C63 says:

    Excellent post race analysis as always – thank you. As I have said before on this forum, hindsight makes everyone an expert. It’s not quite so easy to make the important decisions in real time and neither is it easy when you have the responsibility for the consequences of those decisions.

    1. C63 says:

      James, sorry to go off topic – please can you write an article examining the extraordinary decision to invite Flavio to chair some kind of F1 committee tasked with spicing up the show! It seems to be largely unreported and has slipped under the radar. Thanks

      1. Random 79 says:

        Flavio? As in Flavio Briatore?

        What are they thinking?

        More to the point, after a great race like the one we just had why does it need spicing up in the first place?

      2. Gaz Boy says:

        Flavio back in F1?

      3. Harvey says:

        Perhaps Flavio can give some pointers to the Race Director on the deployment of the safety car!

      4. Adam says:

        James please do cover Flavio and committee, one, why the hell we should ever listen to a [mod] about anything and two, what the committee may propose when we already have great racing this year?!

        With Flav on board we can assume reverse grids and other such nonsense will be proposed. So why did Bernie ask him? As a distraction from his issues and because he does not take the committee seriously one assumes might be motives. Please don’t sit on the fence, tell us what you think and what you would suggest….. unless you are on the committee maybe?????

      5. C63 says:

        According to the article I was reading, the committee comprises of the Totonator, the ghastly little man Horner and Flavio Briatore – (aggghhh).

        I can’t help but feel if the answer to the question is Flavio Briatore, then someone is asking the wrong question!!!

      6. Lindsay says:

        A mod? I always had Flavio picked for a rocker. Huh.

      7. JohnBt says:

        No Flavio please! Very bad image for F1.

      8. RichyS says:

        Depends if your idea of spicing things up involves running with illegal traction ℅ trol, or deliberately crashing to win a race.

    2. Andrew M says:

      I appreciate it’s very easy to sit at home and say what was right and what was wrong, and of course we don’t have the data that the teams have. However, the Hamilton-to-medium decision felt wrong at the time (both Sky and BBC commentary teams were puzzled by it) and it turned out to be wrong in hindsight, so it’s really hard to justify no matter what way you look at it.

      1. Tickety-boo says:

        You’re absolutely correct. For all the performance that is within the car, they are evidently not the sharpest knives in the block as a team when it comes to thinking and responding rapidly and that may come to undo them at some point in the not too distant future, exhibited by their request through the race engineer to Hamilton to let Rosberg through (that should have come from Paddy directly and the fact that it didn’t doesn’t sit well from a respect perspective) does not present Mercedes in an altogether positive light. They, in my humble opinion, are living with the benefit of the Brawn legacy at the moment without his genius on the pit-wall.

      2. Ieuan says:

        Not really. Your main competitor for the race stops for softs, indicating a definite further stop so why wouldn’t you go the other way and put on the hards and just shadow Alsonso until he came in again?

        They made the sensible “safe” choice, it was only the unthinkable stint that Alonso did that made it wrong in the end.

      3. Andrew M says:

        @ Ieuan Because it wasn’t the safe option at all. The safe option no matter what way to look at it was to mirror Alonso and Rosberg, the gamble was to go for mediums, and it’s a gamble that only just broke even because Hamilton disobeyed the team orders. If Hamilton hadn’t done that he would have lost out to Rosberg comfortably.

        Also, they frankly should have anticipated that Alonso would try and stay out, he didn’t have to stop again due to the wet race and he had nothing to lose. Mercedes haven’t been tested strategically very much at all this year (in fact probably not at all before this race), and they’ve been found wanting.

  5. Craig D says:

    Great analysis. Proabably the best yet! It was a very interesting strategic race. It’s interesting that Ricciardo pitted at the second safety car but other near the front didn’t; probably due to the damage he’d done before, building up a gap the others had so he wouldn’t fall to far back into the pack.

    I also thought Ricciardo was further behind Hamilton after his last stop but it was only 5s or so, so yeah, Ricciardo was clearly the favourite to win by then. Again, kudos to Alonso for his final stint.

  6. Random 79 says:

    There you have it, so can we please stop with the “Rosberg would have won if Hamilton had let him through” arguments now?

    Even Mercedes acknowledge that Hamilton made the right call, which really says it all.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Indeed! As I said before, just let the racers race…………….with no contrivance or conspiracy theories please!
      Bit off topic, but sort of related, but has anyone seen that Macca “Tooned” cartoon featuring Bruce McLaren? That has to be the worst NZ accent I’ve ever heard – sort of sounds like a weird hybrid Kiwi/UK Home Counties sort of voice………….I know Bruce and Denny (Hulme) lived in the Home County of Surrey, but still………………..it’s almost as bad as the AUS accents when the Simpsons went Down Under…………..especially that Australian father and son who took Bart’s prank call in the first place. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Danny Boy, Mark W or Jonsey speak like The Simpsons seem to infer Australians do!
      Mind you, in the (surreal) world Of The Simpsons, Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme are hobbits, Mark W and Danny Boy are oafish boot kicking knuckleheads who travel everywhere by Kangaroo pouch (Bart Vs Australia) , and of course Jenson and Lewis wear bowler hats, carry umbrella’s and, worst of all, have crooked teeth (The Great Big Book of British Smiles/The Regina Monologues).
      Be great to see a Simpsons transformation of all the drivers!

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        PS Who is that grouchy, dour Scottish bloke on “Tooned”?

    2. C63 says:

      well said – very magnanimous considering you are not a Hamilton fan :-)

      1. Gaz Boy says:

        RE C63: If its true Flavio wants to come back to F1, then perhaps somebody should show him a picture of General Montgomery and the Desert Rats and he’ll run away? Or a picture of a Lancaster Bomber? He’ll certainly run away scared then…………..

      2. Random 79 says:

        Thank you C63, that’s just the way I see it.

        If it had been Rosberg in front with Hamilton behind I would have expected Rosberg to make the same decision.

    3. C63 says:

      One bit of good news – at least Sebee can stop worrying about the poor boys and girls at Mercedes not receiving their ‘win bonus’. I know that was a big concern for him and he felt Lewis owed them big time. Now at least, he can relax ;-)

      1. Tickety-boo says:

        Oh, that made me laugh so much that it hurts badly….. :)

      2. Random 79 says:

        True, but I think after the repeated SNAFUs Mercedes might owe Hamilton a win bonus or two themselves ;)

      3. Sebee says:

        A few others and I are simply trying to return some balance to the discussions here. Otherwise, this mob will whip itself into Lewis frenzy, storm a tatoo parlour and all get the same I♥Lewis tat.

        As a side note, can you imagine the JAonF1 2014 book sales if Lewis wins? What’s your forecast James, 15-20% more units sold than if Nico wins? :-)

        You C63 should be more concerned than me about how the poor boys and girls at Mercedes feel about not getting their win bonus because it will be Lewis’ hydraulics, or loose electronic harness or potato in the exhaust that may even the scale. I think the reality is that had Lewis let Nico by and had Mercedes perhaps done a two X supersoft strategy with Lewis like KRB wished, P1 would have been in play for them, and without doubt way more points on offer too.

        Hey Random, SNAFU is an acronym for what exactly? Here is your chance to shine on, you crazy diamond!

      4. C63 says:

        A few others and I are simply trying to return some balance to the discussions here…..

        If you say so. Personally I think you were just slagging Hamilton (as usual). Desperately searching for a negative in an overwhelmingly positive result for him. I tend to be a cynic, so maybe I should give you the benefit of the doubt.
        Anyway, the main thing (apart from Hamilton beating Rosberg, of course 8-) ) is that James analysis of the race confirms the win bonuses at Mercedes were unaffected by Hamiltons actions – so you can rest easy :-)

        SNAFU – Have you really never heard that before? I believe it is military slang and It stands for; Situation Normal All Fu##ed Up.

      5. Sebee says:

        C63, F1 is one of those sports where very much like life, there are many ways to see the situation. This Hungary race is actually a good one to watch again. And if only we can place ourselves into the position of the pitwall and drivers at the moment, most importantly without using any forward information from that point on what happens I think you can see that some of the call make sense. I don’t know if factual or for drama but commentators kept harking at the rain before end of GP point as well.

        Bottom line, we all look at our choice drivers through rose colored glasses. You guys have brought “us” non Lewis fans back to the ground on a number of occassions. And I have admitted that Vettel or RBR have done wrong as well. Not like I would follow Vettel down the gates of Marussia or anything. I think we’ve had 3 days and all things considered it was what it was. I think Nico had a shot. KRB thinks Lewis would on 2 x SS instead of mediums, and who knows what really would have happened. Lewis got some back, and as I pointed out SC Mercedes has been his saviour when AMG F1 Mercedes was his point of failure. I still don’t change my mind on Lewis and think he will have more reliability issues than Nico unfortunately. But he sure as heck seems extra motivated and puts on a show when he does, so since I’m not all-in with Lewis like you are, I hope he has to earn his giant stipend through more hard faught drives against circumstances beyond his control. Sure as heck makes good watching. And if he can grind it out in light of such events and claim that WDC, then henceforth he will no longer be seen in many eyes as a champion of luck.

        …hey, maybe that’s why he’s having so much bad luck? To make up for that 2008 Toyota good luck? :-) Oh…another can of worms.

        As for SNAFU, I think we should leave it to Random to impress us with what it really means. Oh, the pressure!

      6. Random 79 says:

        …and there goes my chance to shine. Now I’ll never be famous :(

      7. Andrew M says:

        “I don’t know if factual or for drama but commentators kept harking at the rain before end of GP point as well.”

        If we’re taking that into the equation, the Hamilton-to-medium decision makes even less sense, as everyone around them would get a free change to inters.

    4. Trent says:

      I think Hamilton made the right call too, but I do understand how events led to the ‘team order’ being issued. Teams have a philosophy to ‘go for the win’, and for (an admittedly brief) moment there it looked like the best chance for that was to let Rosberg through without hindrance.

      There’s a championship at stake, and that changes the complexion of these things. But Mercedes also had a rare opportunity to, for example, match the Mclaren record from 1988 (defeated in only one race) so the wins still mean a lot to the team. It’s a tough position to be in, and this set of circumstances was actually pretty unique.

      I things went down in the right way in Hungary, but I don’t think Mercedes deserve too much criticism.

      1. Random 79 says:


        The team made the right decision for the team and the driver made the right decision for the driver.

  7. Nika Wattinen says:

    James – No mention of McLaren’s calamitous decision to stay on inters… What do you think we could have expected from them if they had made the switch to slicks (assuming same choice as when they finally come back in)?

    1. James Allen says:

      Button would have been 5th ahead of Massa or just behind

      1. Adam W says:

        The interesting hypotehtical on this is what it would have done to Daniel had Mclaren got their stop right. Jenson was ahead of Daniel before the stop and should have stayed ahead. Jenson would probably have continued to hold Daniel up and given how close it all was at the end Fernando may well have won! Fundamentaly I don’t think Jenson had the pace to win himself even with the right strategy call the best he could have done was 5th behind Rosberg.

      2. Stephen Taylor says:

        Where could Kimi have finished had he qualified higher up hypothetically James if you were to guess also accounting his pace in the race?

      3. Adam W says:

        Stephen, in my view it would have depended how well/badly he did in qualifying and the opening laps. If he got ahead of Jenson (and so couldn’t pit early under the safety car) then no better the FA. However, if he was behind Jenson and Daniel then who knows – first or second would have been on. Between JB and DR would have been the sweet spot with a real prospect of the win.

    2. Ieuan says:

      They would have likely fallen away behind the Williams any way so hardly calamitous.

  8. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    The two safety car really helped Ric. The first one allowed him to gain some good seconds of advantage and he could run in clean air the following laps, while the second one granted him the oportunity to pit and rejoin the race 6th right behind the other cars with a set of 10 laps fresher tyres. From then on it was a question of not making mistakes. Its also impressive how Fernando overtook Vettel, Vergne and Rosberg in two laps, he beat the Mercs there.

    1. JB says:

      Ric isn’t the only driver who benefitted. Hamilton, Alonso and Raikkonen benefitted even more than Ric.

      One thing I am really impressed is that Hami, Alonso, Vettel could have done another pitstop so that they are super fast at the last 15 laps. But they didn’t. Which gifted Ric the win.

      That said, Nico did the extra pitstop but he couldn’t made it work. Which justifies my option to choose Ric as the DOTD.

      1. Hansb says:

        Why did Alonso benefit from the SC ?
        The first SC threw him back to 8th place outside of his control while at the second SC he decided not to come in for new tyres.
        He did gain places with that but not because of the SC but because his competitors decided not to run such a bold strategy.

      2. Hunter C says:

        Alonso didn’t benefit from the 1st sc, he went from 4th to 8th after the pitstops. Had to drive his way back up to 3rd before the 2nd sc. Ric benefitted got 6 positions for free plus got to close up the 20 second gap.

      3. Ieuan says:

        Why did Alonso benefit from the SC ?
        The first SC threw him back to 8th place outside of his control while at the second SC he decided not to come in for new tyres.
        He did gain places with that but not because of the SC but because his competitors decided not to run such a bold strategy.
        without the second SC he definitely wouldn’t have made it to the end without a further stop.

    2. JB says:

      impressed* = surprises

    3. S. Butts says:

      Ric didn’t benefit from the 2nd safety car at all. He lost the advantage he had and would have had to pit anyway. The 2nd safety car made his job a lot more difficult and several drivers had the oppurtunity to win it.

  9. Sergio says:

    I agree with you about unnecessary strategy. Both Mercedes drivers are fighting for the WDC and there is a big gap between them and the rest. Said that, all the “team spirit”, “team work”, etc., etc, that English Media use to say, it seems that from now can be avoided thanks to HAM. Again HAM decided how to make the rules. HAM is the boss, the “manager”, the guy who has the power to do whatever he wants. There is no coherence at all in England media, or maybe there is: the “privilege exception of an English driver”. I said that I cant support (in Hungary) team orders, but YOU, the English Media told us dozens of times the importance of a TEAM. Maybe the team is wrong, maybe not, but this is not relevant in this case. For me HAM is the spoiled child of F1, the kind of guy who always has a YES independently if is good or bad. HAM is a great product for some media, but he has only 1 WDC with all this support. I bet all my money if ALO or even VET has this support (with the power to alter the rules and punishments in the past) both would be XX WDC. F1 is more than racing cars.

    1. Maverick says:

      I think you are harsh here on Hamilton. Saying that, his talk about Rosberg having privileged upbringing and not being a German was ridiculously cheap. I have never seen a sportsman talking about another sportsman like that.

      1. C63 says:

        @ Maverick.
        his talk about Rosberg …….

        You do realise he didn’t actually say those things the way they were reported in the media, don’t you?. As usual, it was all blown up massively out of proportion and context. Even Rosberg defended Hamilton over the way the ‘not really German’ remark was reported.

        I have never seen a sportsman……

        You must have been living in a cave if you have never heard two sporting rivals having a dig at one another. Sportsmen do it all the time – it’s part of the game, it also helps to sell tickets.

    2. Dutch johhny says:

      Amen brother. Brtish bias at its best(not directed to you james). Funny if vettel or alonso where in hamiltons shoes and done the same, i doubt we would see the same reaction from the britsh media.

    3. racer44 says:

      OK you made your point…..

    4. Sergio says:

      I must say I thank James Allen’s professionality and I think he’s out of this. Of course everyone has its own preferences and I respect them, but I can’t stand when Media are trying to influence Sport, (specially when you have such strong influence) and there are some “British sport journalists” that they do it.

      1. C63 says:

        I assume from your comments that you are not British – what is the media like in your country? Are they all paragons of neutrality and a shining light of truth, only interested in the facts without fear of the consequences to their circulation figures? BTW, This is a serious question and I am not trying to score points, but I find it hard to imagine other countries media is really any better than we have here in the UK.

    5. KJ says:

      You must feel a heck of a lot better now that you have got that off your chest

    6. Dan says:

      Are you serious?

      Under no circumstance should Hamilton HAVE to slow down for Nico,

      Lewis said he would let Nico past, but Nico wasn’t quick enough, just like when he tried to pass Vergne, who Hamilton passed straight away…

      So please give the anti Hamilton bias a rest.

    7. Michael in Sydney says:

      I agree in concept with you – there is always a bias in any media. There are the usual reasons for this, and it does not matter about the subject of the story. The British are particularly prone to home bias – it’s humanly natural, but their application of their bias is often a bit wide of the tasteful mark. A good example is their coverage of the Ashes (cricket) over the past few years. If I recall correctly, and I am no cricket fan, a couple of years ago we Aussies were beaten fair and square. But of course, the British media caned our teamed and the English cricketers went home absolute heroes. Fast forward to the next Ashes, I think, and the reverse happened. And guess who they turned on: themselves. Their captain was crushed by the criticism. At least we don’t see that in F1. Though imagine if Rosberg was the one sledging Hamilton with a cock-and-bull story about Hamilton not being British….

      Put simply, if an editor thinks that it will get tongues wagging and people clicking, i.e., that it will be read more than another story, it will get published. Simple. I often declare that I do not respect Hamilton as a person, I respect him as a driver. But one thing that I do note with consistent objectivity: that on many websites, including this one, look at the story headings when you first connect. Hamilton is everywhere. He abounds column inches (that’s an editorial term, of course) and I question if he is that “Box Office” as so often, so laboriously, gets pointed out.

      BTW, agree with Maverick and have said this before. Lets raise the bar editorially and as sports professionals. Good racing demonstrates drivers want to get on with the job of being professionals, but don’t spit the dummy when the tide appears to be flowing against you.

      On a related point, James, I applaud the new column from JB. Good editorial innovation from a future champion.

      1. Sergio says:

        I had no intention to do a naïve proclamation of Media integrity. All Media in every country are doing the same with their particularities, but talking about F1, things are too biased, even to influence to the WDC. In fact F1 is an English product exported to the World. They deserve some kind of influence in their own Creation: Ecclestone, FOM, Whiting, even major part of Teams crews are British. It’s fair to be proud of it, I congratulate them & I thank them for the Entertainment. Said that it’s important to measure the words used to understand the message (My English it’s poor, sorry): I firmly believe HAM has some privileges that other drivers don’t thanks to some”English Lobby Media”. It’s not a question about like or hate this driver, I talk about questions apart of racing. I can prove all I say with FIA decissions, English Media silences about 2007 (Official Version), Press conferences questions focused in the “enemy”, FOM biased Video Edits, Replays or maybe better to say No replays of HAM infringements in a Race, repeated benevolence with HAM as a First Driver able to committed a fault, etc, etc. All of this is nothing about HAM control. He is a driver, he can drive, he can complaint by radio, in Press conference, etc.but his manifestations has more effects than other drivers. Mercedes has to be “aware” of HAM treatment when ALO was absolutely demonized without problem at all in 2007 accused to be a black mailer and to ask for n1 status. A “very clear affair for a British or English speaking citizen”. Lately was the turn of Vettel as the bad of the movie. It’s completely ridiculous. HAM carrer has a Media “bodyguard” that others dont have.

      2. newton says:

        Do you even know Lewis as a person? Your disrespect for him comes from what you get from the media, and as you’ve made it clear that you don’t respect them, your disrespect for Lewis is built on pretty shaky foundations.

    8. Thompson says:

      Sergio, not only would I take that bet I’d take all your money too.

      With ref Vettel he got his WDC’s at the expense of Webber (regardless of his issues now) .

      Alonso had his team mate slow down on more than one occasion and even had his engine seal broken when he had been out qualified fair and square…. I see Flavio had a mention in this thread so let’s mention crashgate.

      Hamilton has had no such favours….. 08 was the complete opposite of fairness and that was Max and the FIA with their hidden agenda, be fair – so far this is a legitimate fight for the WDC.

      No suggestion of wrong doing (bar Monico, again not Hamilton)

      1. Sergio says:

        I dont think so. Do you know the Qualy agreement between 2 drivers & Ron Dennis? Do you know what HAM did at HUNGARY qualy? Do you know MONACO problem with engine heat of 2 cars and HAM insubordination? Do you know ALO problems with tyre pressure in 2007? Do you know what Norbert Haug told ALO about chances to spoil him? Did you read a lot of headlines about that year backdoor? I bet for sure pal.

      2. Sergio says:

        Ron Dennnis had a big promess a great product. The Bristish Shumacher successor remember? He was the HAM’s father in law. Why he put him with ALO? The Best of the grid. He RISKED a lot doing it. Maybe you think F1 is just Sport fair & square and I respect that but I dont think so, I know that. HAM had his FIRST PRIVILEGE complaining at Monaco 2007 and I didnt remember if he was accussed to be a WHINER when he lament his N2 STATUS. All media accept his CLAIMS IMMEDIATELY. In that time HAM SR. was close to the British Journalists asking and saying things about his son, ALO was ALONE. The EQUALITY TERMs supposedly was the SAME for BOTH, but IT WASNT. They decided to let LAST LAP in QUALY alternatively: one GP HAM, next ALO, but McLAREN & HAM DIDNT ACOMPLISHED until ALO did what you know in HUNGARY, because again he was ALONE. He discovered some “ISSUES” with his car. Do you remember the ZERO chances to go fast in BRASIL? DO you THINK ALO WAS Suddenly slow? The best evidence is to see ALO CAREER. He is the Best, and RIGHT NOW HONDA WANTS as THE FIRST OPTION THE SPANIARD not HAM:

      3. JF says:

        I think all of the conspiracy business is just BS. Interesting gossip but no more.

      4. Thompson says:

        Sorry Sergio but you’re making this stuff or at worst distorting it.

        Alonso was a 2 time WDC leaving behind a trail of angry cheated teammates, Trulli, Fiscicella . Protected and indulged by Flavio. This carried on when he returned to Renault – Piquit.

        Hamilton was a rookie in a competitive car with equal opportunity and was fast out the box to everyone surprise. He did the right thing, give Alonso the finger.(alternative was to become a Rubens or become Lewis Hamilton)

        Alonso did what Alonso does but failed – he picked the wrong person to mess with in Ron – Hamilton did what he’s done at several key points in his career – he opened his mouth and brought the whole can of worms into the open – it’s at this point all hell broke lose.

        We were all there for crying out loud it was only a few years ago.

      5. Sergio says:

        Hey Thompson, I hope you’re not a journalist. Do you know what I mean? The Non sense prize go for you! I didn’ read you before, when I did you made me laugh. Thanks for your joking. Cheers!

    9. Andrew M says:

      “when ALO was absolutely demonized without problem at all in 2007 accused to be a black mailer”

      I suppose if you don’t want to be known as a blackmailer you should try and, you know, blackmail people. Problem solved!

  10. Keith says:

    James I believe there is an omission above, Toto believed that Lewis cost Rosberg the win by not moving aside under team orders.

    Therefore Mercedes KNEW Rosbergs strategy was the one to be on? Or are you suggesting they didn’t have a clue (rain wasn’t likely at this point)

    Mercedes are damaging their own brand at present – they need to understand fans have lost trust in them because of the events they see unfold. Strategy calls like this are 100% under their control, with a undercurrent of problems on Lewis’s side of the garage it is no wonder that people believe they favour the German.

    Even Nikki is covering their back by saying decisions were made in panic – because they were do wrong – if strategists panic – sack them fir they aren’t up to it. I suggest they are up to it – they panicked as they appeared in vain to try to get Nico past Lewis.

    Mercedes need to sort this out or their greatest triumph could scar their brand and damage their road car business for years.

    Oh how they need Ross Brawn – but Toto wouldn’t be able to be in TV would he ( I men what on earth is a commercial director doing on the pit wall making race decisions !) scandalous !

    1. racer44 says:

      You are spot on. The driver should have a say in strategy which they don’t at Merc

      1. C63 says:

        I think you will find Hamilton had a say in Mercedes strategy at Hungary ;-)

    2. John Marshall says:

      Really? You’re not going to buy a Mercedes road car because of the F1 team at this race? That’s a bit thick on the hyperbole, isn’t it?

      At the end of the day (season), most people won’t remember anything except that Mercedes won the WCC and either Ham or Ros won the championship.

      1. Keith says:

        Thick Hyperbole?

        Clearly you’ve never been involved in marketing / strategy John.

        People correlate brands with their impressions gained of that brand over time. An F1 race provides adrenaline highs and lows for spectators. If that experienced is high, low, tarnished or improved because of a factor, the mind stores that information in the subconscious.

        In a few years time a customer may go to buy a car, consider a Mercedes E class, but just doesn’t buy it because “Mercedes” doesn’t fit with his wants, likes and aspirations, in other words “Mercedes doesn’t represent him – a car is a status symbol after all.

        This occurred because in his subconscious, his mind has ticked a warning marker against the brand over one or many occasions, though he may never consider that instance ever again, the impression has been made. Its how companies build their reputations and maintain positions. Or similarity destroy them.

        I’d be obliged before you infer someone is thick in the future you may consider that your comments may be more a reflection of your own ignorance and tone it down.

      2. Dan says:

        But Mercedes missed a trick, imagine the publicity of Hamilton winning from the pit lane. They had the chance, but chose to favour Nico with the quicker strategy.

      3. KRB says:

        @Keith, agreed. Little impressions here and there add up to something much bigger. There was a joke slogan re: Mercedes … “Not Just for African Dictators Anymore!” How many movies have people seen where the villain arrives in a black Mercedes? That stuff sticks in your head subliminally. I recall Sebee going on awhile back about how he regards Mercedes drivers as arrogant and snooty … it probably all originated from some Saturday afternoon movies of his youth, seeing some heinous villain getting away with gross atrocities, all with the help of his black Mercedes-Benz. :-)

      4. super seven says:

        I won’t buy a Mercedes, but that’s more to do with the fact that they have one of the worst quality reputations in the USA car market (according to JD powers). All the problems with Lewis’ car,though not really related to their road cars, aren’t exactly helping that reputation.

      5. Sebee says:


        Miami Vice. Often a white one, sometimes black, but always an AMG!

    3. Keith says:

      Ive been ruminating throughout the day, in light of the current sequence of events over many races and all of the above and subplots – I ask – Is Toto Wolffs position on the pit wall now untenable.

      Why does a business Director reporting back to Mercedes belong there?

      Surely he has no right to make racing calls and influence strategy – or is his very presence the cause for concern – does it raise the question – “Why do Mercedes need a Business Director to make race strategy calls for drivers” And why do circumstance, events, reliability, political support, information sharing within the team etc appear to favour Nico / the German?

      Toto states he understands business and structure (whilst ousting Brawn) so surely he must see that his position can now be seen as conflicting from a sporting point of view.

      I would assert because of the strategy calls in this race and the attempt to undermine the lead driver that Toto’s position is untenable and he has to stand back from all track side duties. If only to preserve the integrity of Mercedes the brand.

      Mercedes press statements appear in damage limitation from this race, Hamiltons correct response to their request to move aside, not only shocked them but has exposed them. Mr Wolff is in for a few difficult weeks me thinks – bet he is glad the summer break is here!

      If you truly understand ethical business Mr Wolff – stand down, fall on your sword, youre still a shareholder and can enjoy success but your very presence raises grave concerns.

      1. Keith says:

        Apologies John – I never read the “on the” between the “Thick Hyperbole” – touche’d myself me thinks.

      2. Becken Lima says:

        You are spot on, Keith.

        Bearing in mind how Nick lauda and Toto Wolff behaved after the race – Wolff blaming Lewis for a missed a win and Lauda on Lewis side – I think Mercedes is facing a huge conflict between its corporation demands (Rosberg/Wolff) and those racers embodied in Lewis and Lauda.

        I´m not naive to sugest that Mercedes are plotting against Lewis, but lets be honest: even with Lewis´ global appeal as F1 star, Nico is the perfect silver boy to fullfill the dreams of Daimler board.

        And by being a marketing man, Mr Wolff knows that Mercedes sucess on F1 this year would be even sweeter with Rosberg grabbing the championship.

        AS F1 fan for years, I believe on Mercedes F1 team, but if you put toghether all those facts that are undermining Lewis campaign this year – the poor reability, the StrategyGate in Hungary and finally that Team Orders – then you have a pot full of acts to justify and good numbers of conspiracy theories spread by Lewis fans all over internet.

        I remember fans being hard on Brembo Twitter account after that dangerous brake failures on Lewis car in Germany.

        So, with or without Wolff, Mercedes needs to quickly fix and clean up those impressions left on Lewis campaing this year.

      3. deancassady says:

        ‘business ethics’
        maximize profit by whatever means can be got away with, and/or for which the risk*cost for not getting away with something cleanly, is less than the profit derived from the course of action.
        Toto is indeed an expert in ‘business ethics’

    4. Ieuan says:

      No, they didn’t KNOW until Rosberg closed as quickly as he did during that stint, which was after the tyre choice had been made.

  11. TGS says:

    Can you make the graph bigger James or allow us to open it in a new tab?

    1. Brent says:

      Enlarge your page size.

  12. aveli says:

    you’re right james this race makes an excellent case study but “hamilton refused to let rosberg through” rather hamilton refused to slow down for rosberg to pass him and rosberg failed to get close enough to pass hamilton.
    10 laps to go, it was obvious that alonso wasn’t stopping and but mercedes still didn’t pit hamilton for those option tyres, they left him out to struggle to the end. the last stint on option tyres would’ve sealed the deal for hamilton regardless of what ricciardo, alonso and rosberg did.
    ferrari have a test driver at their road car factory who tests cars by driving them to destruction. I am surprised f1 teams do not test they tyres by driving them to the canvas during free practice sessions. that would give them enough data to understand numerous dimensions of the tyres.

    i find this bit amusing. “f1 teams have very sophisticated video and data technology, which allows them to stop and replay real time data from races, down to milliseconds to analyse sequences of events.” because i have done exactly the same on my tv for many years now. for many years, real time television can be paused, rewound and fast forwarded to live so if it wasn’t done in f1, i would say they are were asleep in terms of technological advancement.
    now we can put a tomb stone on all the negativity and ideas about improving the spectacle because there is no doubt it is at it’s best. all that is required now is to provide the circuits with sufficient training on marketing the events ahead of race weekends. let every race except the last, double points, be a wet start.

    1. Ieuan says:

      Rally or would it have left him behind Rosberg who had by that point already pitted?

      1. aveli says:

        how many times have we seen hamilton behind rosberg on a track where overtaking is possible and not being able to overtake?

    2. newton says:

      I’ve wondered that as well. Of course the track evolves over the course of a race weekend so they can’t be 100% certain of longevity, but how many times have we heard about teams being surprised at drivers going longer than expected in a race?

      1. aveli says:

        i guess what we observe is a tiny part of their job but a significant part nevertheless.

  13. aveli says:

    now which one of these is more intelligent, rosberg questioning the team why hamilton is not allowing him through or hamilton refusing to slow down for rosberg through?
    collectively, the mercedes engineers failed to recognise their error until hamilton tutored them after the race. i am crazy in love with the truth.

    1. JF says:

      This is all heat of the moment stuff, under huge pressure. Its amazing that mistakes are not much more common. These guys all do a great job.

      1. aveli says:

        how does the say go?”if it was easy everyone would be…….”

      2. C63 says:

        Exactly right. Also, in some respects it’s harder for Mercedes as they are expected to win every race. I suspect this hampers their strategy calls in these sort of situations as they can’t just ‘roll the dice’ like some of the [currently] less competitive teams do, eg McLaren with the inters at the first pit stop, or Ferrari running Alonso to the end of the options.

      3. OscarF1 says:


        Had Ferrari pitted ALO for softs on lap 38 and then again around lap 54, he would have achieved a 3rd or 4th place which, in my opinion, is worse than 2nd.

        Their strategy did, however, rely greatly on a gamble: the ablity of ALO to make those used softs last for 32 laps.

  14. Damonw says:

    I still don’t get your way of thinking.

    Hamilton had just done a 31 lap stint on the softs and was setting fast laps at the end of the stint, why on earth they put I’m on the primes with 31 laps to go I’ll never know.

    The team let Hamilton down bigtime by not mirroring Rosberg’s strategy, a 3 stopper was the way to go without a doubt.

    1. James Allen says:

      31 lap stint featured a number of laps at Safety Cars speed for the second SC

      1. Damonw says:

        Maybe so but the tyre was still going strong when he pitted plus the car would have been considerably lighter.

        He still had another brand new set anyway if they did eventually give up.

      2. Dan says:

        Exactly James, so to split the remaining stint into two was surely the best for Hamilton rather than Nico, as Lewis had his full allocation of tyres available.

        This smacks of favouring Nico, If you ‘had’ to split the strategies as Toto said, then it was clear Hamilton was the one most likely to make the 2 stints on soft work, not Nico.
        It all points to preferring Nico over Hamilton

        I have to say, never has a race had me so annoyed for so long afterwards.

      3. aniphatak says:

        Did the Merc race strategists assume that Alonso would stop again since he was on soft tyres? With that assumption, Medium tyres provided the best chance for Lewis to finish ahead of Alonso.
        Unfortunately for Lewis, Alonso did not pit and he could not overtake Alonso. But, amazing drive by Alonso.

      4. TheElf says:

        Raikkonen did 30 catching & fighting Felipe every corner and his times were as fast as the front 3 at the end. This whole business of why Merc never put Lewis on them is just ALL rubbish. Same for Alonso doing 32 when he did half of them in clear air–Whoopitydoodah..!- Totally overated

      5. Nickh says:

        With Lewis’ car much lighter and the track rubbered in it was a big error to put the very slow medium tyres on. He would have definitely passed Alonso and won had they fitted brand new softs

  15. mtm says:

    Hi James,

    The lap graph at the bottom is not linked to the full size image. Also your site appears to block right clicking which doesn’t actually stop anyone from making any of those actions, it just makes it burdensome to get the information to view the actual image. Which for anyone who wants to look more closely is http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/wp-content/uploads/Screen-Shot-2014-07-28-at-16.24.501.png

    Also on the F1, I’m not sure it was clear Ricciardo was going to win. It was clear he had the pace to win but he also had to pass not just two drivers, but two world champions to get there.

    There was mention that the speed of the safety car was to do with getting the medical car out to the incident as quickly as possible, as there was a fair bit of damage.

  16. San says:


    Thanks for answering a question that must have been asked a thousand times by now: Hamilton on softs instead of mediums.

    Can you please take a stab at the other question asked on every single forum which is if Hamilton had let Rosberg by quickly, where would have everyone ended up?


  17. Peter Catton says:

    James, Why did Mercedes think they would not get past Alonso (with Hamilton) if they went to the soft, surely with the engine advantage they would have got past, he hardly struggled to get past Raikkonen earlier.

    1. James Allen says:

      No, they didn’t believe it was possible or at least felt it would be extremely difficult. This is Alonso we are talking about

      1. aveli says:

        with all due respect james, hamilton has not found it difficult to pass alonso all season. even in the same car in 2007 he mangled it in his rookie season so why not now? i think the mercedes team were focusing on doing their best for rosberg while paying little attention to hamilton. they will now surely sit up and pay good attention to hamilton, the boss.

      2. aezy_doc says:

        But they believed Rosberg could pass Alonso. Hmmm.

      3. PeterF says:

        Yes, but that’s also Hamilton we are talking about as well. Backing Hamilton to overtake on fresh tyres is a smart move every time, (especially in this year’s Mercedes) no matter who is in front of him.

      4. Larkin says:

        But they did think rosberg could. Hmmmm.

      5. Thompson says:

        But the Merc was at least 3secs faster than the field James, if Rosbergs times are considerd.

        Plus after passing Verne Hamilton opened up about 25secs on Rosberg – a pitstop.

        He could have won the race. On brand new rubber with 15 laps to go.

      6. Mike from Medellin says:

        Yeah, Rosberg is an amazing overtaker. He was Mercedes man to overtake Alonso on fresh softs….please!

    2. JB says:

      I think Hamilton could have won if he had an extra pitstop at around 55.
      He would be able to charge to the front group like Ric did. Since Red Bull is a lot slower than Mercedes, Hami would have win by default.

      Anyway, hindsight is always easy to recognise mistake so I won’t dwell on this. I’m just super impressed with Ricciardo overtaking world champions (i.e. Hamilton and Alonso).
      You could argue that Ric had fresher tyres… but then I would reply ” so did Nico Rosberg”.

      1. Dan says:

        What a great point.

        Nico was behind Lewis on fresh tyres twice and couldn’t get past Lewis, yet Riccardo got past Lewis in a slower Red Bull on fresh tyres.

        Nico wouldn’t be challenging if other teams were more competitive in my opinion, he can’t cope with Hamilton on track and will only beat Hamilton, if Lewis has a problem.

      2. Tomas Shecter says:

        I doubt it! Hamilton would have been 15+ seconds behind RIC and on same tyres( Ric pitted for new softs on 55). Mercedes is quick but he would have had to have lapped at over a second a lap quicker every lap, plus pass RIC. Ric wouldn’t have been slowed by Alonso so much as he had no DRS like Hamilton had been getting off Alonso. You must have seen how once RIC got Hamilton he immediately passed alonso at the start of the very next lap.

      3. James Allen says:

        Exactly, and RIC would have got past ALO much sooner if he hadn’t had to pass HAm first so he would be a lot further ahead of ALO at the end

      4. aezy_doc says:

        Ric ‘might’ have gotten past Alonso sooner, and if he had, Hamilton would have also passed Alonso, and Rosberg would have as well. A missed opportunity for Merc to have two cars on the podium.

    3. Ieuan says:

      They would need to pass him TWICE most likely

    4. JohnBt says:

      Nando has been known as the wily old fox and if you’re behind him you start worrying quite a bit, lol.

  18. Peter W says:

    Hi James
    Maybe it’s just me, but the graph is too small and it’s difficult to read!

    1. James Allen says:

      Sorry, it should click to enlarge. Will fix that

  19. timorous says:

    I knew at the time that the Prime was the wrong tyre so how a team of people with data coming out of their ears could not baffles me. Hamilton pitted on Lap 8 for the Option and they lasted until Lap 39 where he entered the pits. That is 31 laps, OK some of that was under safety car conditions but the track was greener at that time, the car was heavier, he had a lot of overtaking to do and he was in dirty air. Those factors offset the savings made under the safety car meaning it would have been easy to run to the end on the Option. The fact Hamilton was able to do 4 laps at the end of that stint that matched Ricciardo’s lap times who pitted 15 laps later than Hamilton just showed how much pace he had.

    I was screaming at the TV for a good 5 minutes the second I saw the Prime go on because I knew, sat at home with a small amount of data that it was a bad call. It also would have freed up Rosberg and allowed him a shot at Alonso so chances are it would have been a 1-3 finish.

    If this was a tight championship like future ones are likely to be this sort of strategy error could cost them the WCC or a WDC. Atleast they have the opportunity to fix it now before it really hurts them.

    1. Damonw says:

      Finally someone with some sense, and even if his first set of options started to give up he still had another brand new set of the soft tyre.

      Mercedes failed Hamilton bigtime, if I was Lewis I would be livid!

    2. Ieuan says:

      So you would have made the call that likely would have let Rosberg leapfrog Hamilton? Better result for Merc perhaps but not for Lewis.

  20. LollipopMan says:

    Great analysis. I wish the conspiracy theorists would take the time to read dissections like this so they can better understand race strategy and not jump to neurotic and irrational conclusions, like “Mercedes hates Lewis and are sabotaging his championship”. What aberrant nonsense. Why would Mercedes pay 20 million quid a year to a driver they dislike? Why would Lewis’ own Brackley mechanics not give their utmost for him? Moronic madness. Grow up, and take the time to properly study and appreciate this wonderful sport and the talented, hardworking people in it.

    1. aezy_doc says:

      I’m not a conspiracy theorist, at all, but i do know a bad strategy call when I see one. At the time it was obvious he should go onto the softs.

      1. Larkin says:


      2. LollipopMan says:

        Who’s to say HAM wasn’t behind that strategy call? Do you have access to the radio transmissions? Even if he didn’t make the call, as a top-level driver, he does have the right to veto any strategy call from the team, as he did by ignoring its request to let ROS through. He’s as much to blame as the team for the tyre strategy.

      3. aezy_doc says:

        Yup, could be Lewis, could be the pit wall – either way it was the wrong option at the time and in hindsight. Going on to the options again would have given Lewis, well, options. Going on the prime meant he was committed.

      4. Mike from Medellin says:

        Absolutely. It wasn’t a conspiracy…it was blatantly done to compromise Hamilton. The team order served to compound this.

    2. TheElf says:

      @lollipopman just like timorous above said -anyone with half an ounce of sense would have realised Hamilton should have gone on the Options Not the primes like Mercedes put on !. I was screaming at the television set when it happened.
      “Why would Mercedes pay 20million quid..”.. – Very simple it gurantees them WCC and WDC regardless of which driver gets it!. With Lewis they get a proven wc who can push the team forward and drag Nico along with him- as he has done since last year.. Mercedes are guaranteed a championship this year and getting Nico to win whilst keeping Lewis no2 is very easy to do with te gap they enjoy to the rest of the field.. They feel compelled to repay Nico for his loyalty for the last 5 years and running in MS shadow for the most part .

      If you dont believe in conspiracies in F1 – you are incredibly niaive. Crashgate in 2008, Spygte 2007, Ferraris Santander grab of 2009 using motivation spin, Raikkonens car being sabbotaged by the late Nigel Stepney- ferrari engineer who was terminated mid season,the list goes on, & on & on & still people call them “theories”. Mercedes all but confirmed team orders were behind their decision to ask Lewis to let Nico passed which shocked everyone including Lewis and We still see these idiotic comments about hindsight. When someone puts a gun to your head and is about to shoot- dont wait around to blame their neighbour.

      There is no doubt Mercedes want a 1-2 but everyone in the world knows which 1 & which 2. Lewis showed in Bahrain he is ftoo good for Nico. Since then the team are using every strategy possible tto equalise them. Sadly most casual fans dont know half the things that go on in F1. Its very simple wherever there is alot of money and pride there is alot of wheeling and dealing – dont ever doubt that.

  21. Vivek says:

    We don’t have information of when Dan took on used tires and when he took on new tires.

    When the second safety car came out on Lap 22/23, only 3 drivers stopped. Dan & the 2 Williams. Dan was probably the only one to take softs. 47 laps were remaining and it was the most ideal opportunity to do 2 evenly spaced out soft tire stints. The only driver to do this was Dan.

    Dan also made these tires last for 30-31 laps, stopping on Lap 54. This is equal to what Alonso managed to do, but on a heavier car. This is what gave Dan a relatively short 16 lap final stint on soft tires with lots of tire life to attack and get the job done in the last laps.

    This means Dan’s middle stint on the soft tires was equally instrumental in ensuring his victory.

    1. f1Jay says:

      Very good spot Vivek. Another reason why DR is contender for DOTD. I was initially in the camp that he stayed out of trouble, kept his head down.

      1. Mocho_Pikuain says:

        4 of those 31 laps Daniel did were under safety car period, Fernando had to do them all under race conditions, and this proved crucial in the end.

  22. AlexD says:

    James, I know you will not say it and it is perfectly OK, but I sense Alonso is your DoTD. Alonso is the DoTD for me, certainly. We, fans….do not always know the context and what does it mean for each driver to execute a specific strategy. We pick drivers that we like, we see what we want to see and we make choices emotionally mostly without digging much deeper to understand what it means for A, B or C driver to make a certain thing happen.

    What you explain about how Alonso managed to make his tyres work for 32 laps and almost won the race is exceptional…It is not just this race, but almost every race and every year. It is easy to get used to his performance race after race, but how many people would be able to keep this highest possible level of performance in an under-performing Ferrari for 5 years already and….keep amazing race after race?

    The saddest thing is that we do not see him fighting for the title when he is at his prime.

    1. glennb says:

      I’m a RBR fan and have been since their inception. I’ve suported DC, Webber, Vettel etc and now Ricciardo. Above all I am a fan of the sport and appreciate a great drive from whomever it comes from, especially the younger guys – the future of F1. After decades of following F1 I have come to the following conclusions regarding the current crop.
      Hamilton, on his day is the fastest guy out there.
      Vettel has been the best qualifier.
      Ricciardo is the most exciting prospect out there.
      Alonso is the best, complete racer/driver I have ever seen. Have a look at his overtakes in his career as well as being overtaken. He’s been involved in some classics.
      It IS sad not to see him fighting for titles.

      Footnote: Webber was better than his results show. He was racing in the wrong era is all. Alonso adapted, Webber didn’t.

      1. puffing says:

        Good post, IMO.
        I think I agree with you at least in 95% of what you said. The remaining 5% is that I think too that in a car like RBs of recent years, not only Vettel, any top would have been an excellent qualifier. Vettel was certainly excellent, but “the best”? Disregarding the car he had? I believe we will agree in that the car and the way it is set—for the quail, for the race—is a major point in getting P1 in qualis.

      2. glennb says:

        Yeah, fair enough mate. Good reply. Seb had a great car, no doubt but he still got it done, often at the last gasp. My point is, I guess, is that he consistently made use of the brilliant equipment at his disposal. Rarely wasting an opportunity. Webber was a good qualifier too yet Seb generally did him. I admit it’s easy to forget how dominant his car(s) have been but I still see something special in the guy, especially on saturdays. Lewis would be right up there on my list of great qualifiers too.
        Enjoy the summer break ;)

      3. puffing says:

        Thanks for the replay. Enjoy the summer break too ; < ) !

    2. Quercus says:

      Of course, it helps if he strategically cuts the corner too, at the right moment. That’s not to take away from the quality of his drive but it’s a pity he’s done this in two races now. If he does it at the next race we’ll know for certain it’s a game play.

    3. JohnBt says:

      [The saddest thing is that we do not see him fighting for THE TITLE when he is at his prime.]

      My poor son has been so sad since 2007, I’ve seen him on many occasions with his eyes tearing and he tries to hide it.

  23. Witan says:

    I must disagree with one element of this article, the assumption that if Hamilton had pitted again as Rosberg did then Ricciardo would still have won.

    If Hamilton had pitted he would have had newer tyres than Ricciardo, and it was the latter’s newer tyres which allowed him to overtake Alonso and Hamilton. Rosberg’s pace on the new set of tyres after the last stop was, at points, nearly three seconds a lap faster than the leading three.

    So that assumption in the article is almost certainly incorrect. Mind you all this is speculation, isn’t it?

    1. James Allen says:

      Here’s how the works:
      This report is the product of conversations with the actual strategists of several leading F1 teams and this is how they saw it, as well as my own interpretation

      1. aveli says:

        are they the strategist who got it wrong or the ones who got it right?

      2. aezy_doc says:

        It is much easier, as you say, with hindsight. I don’t believe like some that Merc were in any way trying to ensure Nico beat Lewis. But I agree with Lauda – they panicked. They saw a driver who started last having made up 15/16 positions and saw that as accomplishment enough. They turned their attention to their driver who was now 5/6 places behind where he started and were trying to recover his race too. This I feel is because they only have one strategy team working for the team, rather than one each for the drivers.

      3. Ade Abiose says:

        And they (the strategists) got it wrong in my opinion.
        It’s not like that’s never happened before,ask any of the drivers each of which will provide instances that this has been the case at some race in their experience.
        The Redbull pitwall got it entirely right during the race,the result confirms this as well as hindsight which is not entirely redundant.

      4. PeterF says:

        I had had the feeling Vitan is correct as well, looking at the pace of Rosberg one has to wonder how fast Hamilton would have been over two stints with new soft tyres and lowering fuel levels… surely he would have been in with a chance to win! The graph shows a steep increase for Rosberg on those softs at the end, what would have Hamilton done?

      5. Witan says:

        If the Merc strategists led you this way they must have been asleep during the race. If it was right to bring in Rosberg why was it not right to bring in Hamilton?

        I suspect no conspiracy but a sclerotic inability to think on their feet somewhere down the line, front line engineers, back room strategists or the top team.

        The failure to bring Hamilton in cost him a win in all probability but all Wolf can talk about is Hamilton stopping Rosberg winning, Meanwhile it is the team strategists who cost Hamilton a win from the pit lane.

      6. Larkin says:

        That’s what I think aswell

      7. TheElf says:

        Then please explain why Hamilton was so much faster than everyone on softs & why the team switched him to mediums. The deg rates were very similar and he still could have gone the extra stop like Nico..Hamilton would have won that race because he would not have caught & passed Alonso earlier and Dan would not have seen the back of him.. The minute Mercedes stuck mediums on him- I knew they were gunning for P3 maybe P2 oh well they got that right…& sucked eggs with Nico..

      8. Mike from Medellin says:

        As we know…strategists always get it right.

        Any seasoned armchair enthusiast could have worked out what was going on. Hamilton should have been put onto softs.

    2. Brent says:

      Also Alonso is holding up Ricciardo and Hamilton while Rosberg closes.

    3. Hansb says:

      Of course Ricciardo would still have won.
      If Hamilton had pitted again he would be about 20 seconds behind Ricciardo and even fall behind Bottas, Massa and Räikkönen.

      1. Tomas Shecter says:

        Agree completely. Hamilton would have been too far back if he had pittted again. RIC was always in the box seat.

      2. Andrew M says:

        He wouldn’t have been behind Bottas/Raikkonen et al though, Rosberg only was because Hamilton didn’t let him through.

  24. krakinho says:


    Great insight as always, but there’s something I slightly disagree.
    Rosberg just wasn’t good enough in drying conditions, and that was his main and only problem why he failed to win or even make podium in a superior car.
    His top speed in Hungary was 313,4 Km/h (only Hamilton and Bottas were marginally faster) compared to Vergne’s 300,3 Km/h.
    So it wasn’t lack of top end speed, but rather lack of skill or balls in those conditions.
    If he wins this years WDC it will remind me much to his father’s own WDC back in ’82. who also wasn’t the fastest out there, but merely the luckiest. Nico has huge car performance advantage this year, coupled with reliability issues of the only guy who can beat him, he’s pretty much destined to win WDC. I hope this won’t happen that way, but on merit.
    But merit is something he didn’t show this year.

    As for the SC, there’s something I’m not so clear about.
    At the time of Ericcson’s crash, Rosberg was some 54 seconds ahead of him, which at his present pace gives him another 48 or so seconds to complete that lap. Given that accident happen some 23-25 sec into the lap, that leaves Mercedes and Rosberg with some 10 sec to react and get into the pit entry (three guys behind some 10-15 sec more). Okay they’ve failed to do so, but did SC actually picked them up at the exit of the pit lane (I don’t have recording of the race to check), but if I remember correctly at one point medical car was overtaking SC going towards the accident spot, while bit latter TV shows two cars stopped by the wreckage of the Ericcsson’s car. Was that a medical car and SC as well?
    If yes, who picked up Rosberg? Or was Rosberg and 3 guys behind were driving at 80 or more % of the speed during the lap 9 (past the point of accident)?
    Intriguing to this is that Magnussen who didn’t stop and who was 45 sec behind Rosberg at the time of accident and 50 sec the following lap when Rosberg was picked up by SC, actually came behind Rosberg after Nico made his stop.
    If Nico was doing 55% of the speed + pit stop, how is this possible? Magnusen was slower only 8 seconds on a first lap of a SC, compared to his last lap before SC.

    It he 80% of the race speed a official rule during the SC period? Or it’s just a rule of thumb?
    Does anyone ever enforced it?
    I see that during a first SC period there were a cars lapping at 1:55 (Magnussen did on lap 9, which some 10 sec faster than 80% rule). On lap 10 Maldonado did in 1:47,6 etc.

    1. aezy_doc says:

      Rosberg had passed the pit entry when the SC was called and he didn’t pass it in time, so had to follow it around. The three following should have come in but didn’t react quickly enough.

      1. krakinho says:

        Well Rosberg was some 10 sec away from pit entry at the time when SC was called out, but missed the opportunity, as well as other 3 behind even though they had additional 10-15 sec to think about it.
        What I don’t understand is how did Rosberg ended up in front of Magnussen who didn’t pit, given that Rosberg was apparently lapping at 55% of his race pace, while Magnusen was actually doing 90 or so %.
        On top of that Rosberg pitted, so even more time lost.
        At the time when Rosberg crossed start/finish line right before SC picked him up (SC was stationary while waiting for him – even more time lost) he was some 50 sec ahead of Magnussen. Rosberg was supposed to do 55% of his race pace which is arround 2:41, while that particular lap Magnussen did in 1:55. That’s where all Rosberg’a advantage was gone and there’s pit stop he did on top of that.
        So all in all Rosberg should come out of the pit stop behind Magnussen if the math is correct. :-)
        Obviously he did way faster than 55%.
        Also noteworthy is fact that while Rosberg was in pit lane, Massa was ahead of Magnussen 0,42 sec crossing the start/finish line, and yet he managed to get in front of Rosberg, while Magnussen didn’t.

  25. Brett says:

    Alonso continues to show incredible ability. He is now the only driver to have scored points in every race – just imagine where he’d be if Ferrari gave him a title-contending car!

    As for Ricciardo, this kid can do nothing nothing wrong! He certainly was fortunate to benefit from the set of circiumstances presented, however you’ve gotta be in it to win it!

    1. aveli says:

      alonso opted not to stop as planned. he drove well but he finished second because he realised that if he had stopped he would’ve fallen back. is that decision what you’re applauding? after following the race on 5live i thought alonso was the man until i watched the hi lights on bbc and realised exactly what happened.

    2. aezy_doc says:

      They’ve given him a reliable car.

      1. James Clayton says:

        I remember pre-season Ferrari did a lot of talking about “this year is going to be won and lost on reliability” and “we’re focusing on reliability first” and now look; two of the least reliable cars are pos 1 & 2 in the championship :)

  26. Pat says:

    Mercedes have been consistent with their strategies all year. When Rosberg pitted he was the lead driver and so was put on the `optimal` strategy in the expectation that whenever Hamilton did pit, the undercut would see him emerge behind. Thanks to a bit of luck with Vettel, an epic overtake on Vergne and some tardiness in traffic from Rosberg, Hamilton stretched his lead and then became the de facto lead driver.
    Mercedes had plenty of data – Hamilton’s own 31 lap stint on the options and Williams’ lack of pace on the prime to see that two stints on options was a faster way to the end of the race than a single stint on mediums. Particularly as Hamilton had new options to spare.
    I suspect Mercedes are guilty more of being inflexible and dogmatic rather than, as some have suggested, favouring one driver over another. If they really did want a “team win” then they should have recognised that the driver best placed to deliver it had changed by mid-race.

    1. aveli says:

      any strategy which involves asking the teammate to let the other pass is the wrong strategy.

    2. aveli says:

      unless the other had no chance of winning the championship.

    3. aezy_doc says:

      Inflexible because they don’t have a strategy team for each driver.

    4. Witan says:

      That isn’t Merc strategy at all.

      They do have rule which most teams follow, that the car ahead on track has the right to come in first. Shouldn’t that have been Hamilton?

    5. Pat says:

      aveli – I’m sure that none of the strategies intended that the drivers ended up on the same bit of track let alone one having to move over for another. It was circumstance that led to it, specifically for the reasons I gave the undercut didn’t work out for Rosberg. Mercedes could have seen it coming and put Hamilton on a strategy which avoided it. As Nikki Lauda said, when it did happen the team panicked.

      aezy_doc – possibly. But even without they could have reacted to what happened in the race. Up until his 2nd pit stop Rosberg was more likely to deliver the win for the team but then it all changed.

      Witan – what I say is exactly Mercedes strategy. Invariably the better strategy is to pit before whomever you’re racing either to undercut or avoid being undercut yourself. In fact Rosberg was ahead and took the stop no doubt expecting to undercut Vergne and pull away from Vettel and Hamilton. Had he not pitted, Hamilton would not have been allowed to because he probably would have ended up undercutting his team mate. What we’ve seen at previous races from Mercedes is where possible they give the driver behind an alternative strategy (which can’t be `better` – otherwise why not put the guy in front on it`) which notionally gives them a better chance than simply following their team mate for the whole GP but probably, given their pace advantage, really just ensures they don’t end up near each other until the very end of the race. Toto Wolff said after Silverstone that Hamilton would not have been allowed to one-stop (had Rosberg not retired) – we can only assume that’s because the driver behind isn’t allowed to win via a better strategy.

    6. LB says:

      +1…well articulated

  27. M Wishart says:

    Once again, thank you James for this wonderful insight to the race.

    But it is just a shame you don’t get the same feeling sat at home only able to watch the racing highlights and not able to see the build up to all this unfolding, instead just jumping from one part to another.

    Yes I am having a another dig at “Paid for Racing”

    1. aezy_doc says:

      Me too. I hate having to watch highlights.

    2. Random 79 says:

      As far as pay TV is concerned I say feel free to dig as much as you like :)

  28. tifoso says:

    I havent done all the math, but I wonder if Alonso could’ve faired better with a Rosbergesque late stop. During the racd I was screaming for Alonso to stop late. It looked to me that he had the gap to Rosberg, about 23 seconds. I was thinking if he made it out ahead of Rosberg, and dispatch Lewis, he would’ve had much newer tires than Ricciardo.
    On that strategy, he would still end up 2nd, but with a good fight for Ricciardo, rather than a defensive haul to the finish.
    Its clear the F14 T had the pace this weekend, as evident by Alonso’s string of fast laps. I dont know, 2nd is great, but the Scuderia needed to take that golden opportunity for a win. Theh have nothing to lose by doing so really.
    I may be wrong, F1 strategists are smarter men than I, but I feel like it happened again…
    I’d Like to hear what others think.

    1. Ben says:

      According to an interview with Alonso after the race he said that he was on the radio to the team discussing whether he should come in to the pits with 10 laps to go for a new set of tyres. The strategy computer said that pitting for new tyres would guarantee 4th place and staying out would also end in 4th place but if he was able to hold on he’d have a shot at winning so they decided to gamble on the win, it didn’t quite pay off but he was able to get 2nd instead of 4th!

    2. aveli says:

      alonso on fresh rubber is no match for rosberg on the same.

    3. Ade Abiose says:

      You are not wrong,
      Phrase it differently though
      F1 strategists are fallible like the rest of us.

    4. Random 79 says:

      If you’re right then you said it yourself: He would still end up 2nd.

      So what’s the gain? I tend to think that Alonso is one of the best – if not the best – defensive drivers out there so being in front is naturally a better position for him.

      As well as that I think that at that late stage most drivers would prefer to keep position and defend rather than lose a place or two on the hope that they could take the position back again before the end.

    5. Pat says:

      Possibly, although as you say even with hind-sight it’s not clear the outcome would have been any different. What I liked about Ferrari’s strategy is it played to Alonso’s strengths; controlling his pace, managing his tyres, superb defensive driving, etc. He drove superbly and the strategy gave him a chance at the win. No need for regrets.

  29. Andrew M says:

    “If Mercedes had pitted Hamilton for softs and then again later for softs he would still have been beaten by Ricciardo.”

    I would love to see some further analysis/justification of this. As Rosberg proved he would have been on the same piece of track as Ricciardo with much fresher tyres. Also, if that’s the case, people claiming Hamilton cost Rosberg a win are certainly wrong.

    The Alonso point is interesting though, it is the one decent reason I’ve heard of so far for putting Lewis on the medium tyre. However, Mercedes must also have known that Rosberg would at that point most likely finish the race ahead of Hamilton on the counter strategy (as in their mind Hamilton was going to let Rosberg through), so it still doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

  30. Andrew M says:

    “Rosberg had dropped to fourth, Bottas to 11th, Vettel and Alonso to 7th and 8th.”

    How did Bottas lose out so much more than everyone else from second? Did he have a slow stop or get caught in pit-lane traffic or something?

  31. aezy_doc says:

    The better strategy for Hamilton, even without Hindsight, was to do inter, soft, soft, soft. His tyres were unused. He would have been faster than Alonso and would have overtaken him easily (as Ricciardo did). Possibly wouldn’t have won (although – admittedly given hindsight – if Fernando had held Ricciardo up for long enough, there would have been a decent chance), but would have had a better chance at second.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      I agree, but hindsight is a wonderful thing………………
      What’s that cliche Soren Kierkegaard said: “Life can only be understand looking backwards, but it has to be lived forwards.”
      Probably the best and most relevant advice for understanding motor sport strategy there has ever been………….

    2. TheElf says:

      Exactly, at the time I said he should go on softs given he had 2 new sets to spare from quali. He was a minimum 1-2 sec a lap even in traffic. He would have caught Alonso by lap 55 on fresher softs and cruised to victory ( many others did 32 laps on softs) or come in again and do what Nico did. He was in the box seat but Mercedes put him in the back seat to Nico..

  32. Ben Bailey says:

    James you state it want forseen that any driver could do 31 laps on the soft tire hence merchant switching Lewis to the medium but Lewis himself had just done 31 laps on soft and only pitted to for strategy not because they were dead. The team were right to pit when they did but terrible mistake not going for the soft. Lewis would have won for sure and not have been caught by the poorly driven ( up till this point) second merc. Great report though.

    1. James Allen says:

      I hear what you are saying, but this report is the product of conversations with the actual strategists of several leading teams and this is how they all saw it, as well as my own interpretation

  33. Kristiane says:

    Hi James,

    Great report as always.

    A little curious on how teams are operated. Can you provide a little insight into whether teams have one race strategist for both sides of the garage or do they have one strategist per driver?

    I’d imagine it must be a nightmare if there’s only one strategist (as with the case with Mercedes) where he has to think in almost lightspeed for strategies of both cars, which is difficult enough already, and adding in potential troubles such as one driver not working out to what he calculated (disobeying orders, a spin, etc) just makes his job under even more pressure.

    1. Adam W says:

      I supect you’re referring to Lewis’ comments that McLaren has 2 strategists and Merc only has 1. My view of life is that one of the things Merc should consider for the rest of the season is seperate strategists – paid a bonus for each point scored by their driver. They will need to agree some “rules of war” e.g. lead driver on the road gets preference but needs to decide to pit by a certain point in the lap and whether the lead driver gets the right to change his mind if the second driver says he wants to pit to undercut him.

      1. rob says:

        I don’t understand the ‘single strategist’ angle. He spends 5 minutes working out how Nico is going to win, then the next 5 figuring out how to get Lewis to beat Nico?

        that isn’t logical. whose strategy does he work out first in a situation like Hungary?

        2 strategists trying to beat each other. 2 drivers trying to beat each other. This ‘single strategist’ will only bring questions and headaches to the driver that finishes behind.

      2. Kristiane says:

        Thank you Adam.

        Do you know if other teams have two strategists as well? Is is McLaren the only team that enjoy that luxury? I’d imagine at least the top 4-5 teams have two but it seems strange that Mercedes only has one.

      3. Adam W says:

        Sorry, I don’t know the answer the that Kristiane (although someone else on here might) I only know Merc have (or maybe had) a single strategist because Lewis made a comment a couple of months ago. A single strategist makes sense when you have one aim – maximum constructor’s points. Once both drivers are fighting for the championship it starts to become difficult to work.

    2. super seven says:

      Mercedes need to fix the strategist problem. Having only one person deciding the strategy between the two title contenders is going to cause all kinds of accusations of unequal strategies, as it has already.

      I have to admit that I’m very surprised that a top funded team like Mercedes can’t afford a two person strategy team to keep things fair between the drivers.

      1. super seven says:

        Perhaps Lewis should consider hiring Ross Brawn to come back as his personal pit lane starfish?

      2. James Allen says:

        They have a very experienced guy heading it up, bear in mind that he was mentored by Brawn through Honda and Brawn/ Merc years.

        He knows what he’s doing!

      3. newton says:

        “personal pit lane starfish?” there’s so much I still have to learn about this modern F1.

      4. Mike from Medellin says:

        Mercedes need to fix the Wolff problem. The most pointless, self promoting individual in the pitlane.

      5. super seven says:

        Blasted auto correct software. Strategist, not starfish

  34. Pkara says:

    Great breakdown of race strategies.
    I think there was no other option but to use the mediums for the last stint for Lewis. Just in general. If they had pitted him again to go on the faster tyre he would’ve had Rosberg stuck in front of him. I certainly don’t think he had the ability to overtake Alonso while Lewis would(As he showed with JAV) . Having to pass Alonso left the door open for Riccardo then Lewis was attacking Alonso while defending his position from Rosberg. Which ultimately let Alonso (who gained am advantage missing the corner & got away with it) have enough of a gap tp remain in second. Then we had Rosberg attempting a pass which Lewis defended brilliantly. Shame Lewis had a brilliant chance to win or come second. But hats of to Riccardo. Think Spa will be Mercedes and Williams track unless it rains again.
    Hope the Mercedes mechanics give Lewis an equally drivable car in Quali at Spa & not a fireball like I Hungary.

    1. Pkara says:

      Like I = Like in :-)

    2. Gaz Boy says:

      Mercedes reliability has been appalling. The issue at the first race in Australia is understandable, the first race of a new formula there will always be niggles.
      To have niggly issues at the start of the year is acceptable, but to have consistent – and very worrying – reliability problems such as a gearbox issue, brake failure (yikes!) and a leaking fuel tank (Kentucky Fried Mercedes?) just smacks of sloppy discipline and poor preparation on Mercedes part.
      I think us spectators would have presumed that by mid summer reliability issues would have been sorted. We were wrong…………….

      1. kenneth chapman says:

        @ gaz boy….you hit it on the head there. the second last mercedes that i owned was so bad that after 7000kms i took it back to the dealer, gave him the keys, and demanded a new replacement car? they gave me another brand new car as a result!!! trashed gearboxes, three blown up oil coolers, body panels that didn’t fit etc etc etc.

        there is a lesson in there somewhere…..

  35. Gaz Boy says:

    I don’t think any team can be criticised for strategy in the race on Sunday. If Budapest had been bone dry, then yes – but a wet but drying track is a complete lottery. When a track dries out enough for the use of slicks, the circuit is “green” – ie all the rubber washed away – and also incredibly abrasive. Also, the track temperatures were around 20 degrees cooler than previously on Friday/Saturday.
    So on a circuit stripped of all its rubber and with an abrasive surface, its impossible to know what how the tyre compounds will react. There is no data to base a judgement on: it’s all pure guesswork. A driver/team just has to make a decision on the spur of the moment and hope it’s the right one.
    Wet but drying circuits are hero or zero races: the normal dry race strategy goes out of the window. Nobody can predict how a tyre compound will perform on a green track. It’s pure supposition. Which is why wet but drying races are so intriguing!
    Congrats to Danny Boy, but also big shout to Red Bull too. That Bull chassis is a nimble, agile car producing lots of raw downforce, which is ideally suited for the Hungaroring. If you look at photos of the Bull it is running quite a lot of “rake” – nose down, rear end up – and to do that a team requires an aerodynamic map that is incredibly consistent. That’s the key with the Red Bull: it produces lots of downforce, but its also clean, consistent aerodynamic grip because of the effectiveness of the front wing and floor. The Bull also seems to have a good aerodynamic centre of pressure/centre of gravity which is a real advantage of tight, twisty circuits as that means the low speed change of direction will be sharp. Bodes well for Singapore!
    The Williams chassis should be back in contention at Spa and Monza where aero efficiency – the ability to produce high speed downforce with little penalty of drag – is the key, so perhaps the Hungaroring was just a slight aberration for Frank and Claire’s team.

  36. hutch says:

    Wow, look how steep Rosberg’s comeback was at the end of the race. That is scary pace!

    1. aezy_doc says:

      Exactly. Had they put Hamilton on the same tyre at the same time, they’d have had 2 cars on the podium and possibly a first place.

  37. MistressofSpeed says:

    A huge thank you for this James.

    Dear All,

    Still in Budaoest but soon on my way home so what a relief to read this strategy report.

    Having spent the evening of the race avoiding a rather loud American screeching that Lewis should obey orders I found no-one who could tell me why Rosberg wasn’t making progress.

    It’s not easy trying to watch the cars pass by while glancing up at the big screens to decipher what’s happening elsewhere on track. I could see that Hamilton, on average was passing a car per lap at the start but as the race went on I could only assume; and, that’s code for HOPE, that Rosberg was nursing a problem such was the lack of information being filtered through the noise of the engine and the euphoria of the crowd around me physically demonstrating their desire to push Hamilton’s W05 along the straight and on to a victorious result.

    They were doing it for Ricciardo and Alonso too so Hamilton did not gain an unfair advantage!

    So thanks again. I only wish I could find the American and introduce him to your site.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thanks, be sure to tell all F1 fans you meet about the site!

  38. Adam W says:

    Great analysis as always. It seems to me as though the strategists can only do so much, in the end it is up to the drivers to make their strategy work. Jenson did this time and again in his championship year. The top 3 all made their strategies work on Sunday but ultimately Daniel won because he had track position following the first safety car. Rosberg’s strategy was compromised by the first safety car but what really did for him was his errors/lack of speed following the safety car which allowed Alonso and Vergne to pass him. This was magnified by his inability to re-pass Vergne. Without this Rosberg would still have won the race. Without hindsight, Lewis’ strategy is sound. It gave him track position on Daniel and therefore a chance at the win. One might have run him longer and pitted on say lap 44 for softs but only hindsight lets you try that alternative (although the data from the Williams cars on the mediums (which seemed slow) might get you to this idea. The strategy call the surprised me was on the second safety car, with both Mercs held up behind Vergne I was amazed that they did not pit one of them (I guess this may have put them in traffic though). I was also surprised that McLaren took a punt with both their drivers on the first safety car – with Kevin it made sense he gained track position initially but it seemed a little risky with Jenson (although McLaren may have known they really didn’t have the pace to win unless they took a flyer – Jenson was losing ground quickly to the leaders in the first stint). With Williams I struggle to see why they went to the mediums with both cars. This is the second time this year they have been really conservative on strategy and it has cost them.

  39. goferet says:

    For sure the Hungary race was a tough exam for the boffins in the paddock and I believe it once again showed that Red Bull have the best bunch in the paddock, followed by Mercedes, then Ferrari >>> Mclaren may still be lacking in this department as witnessed in China 2007.

    Okay, during the race, I thought Mercedes made the right call to put Lewis on the mediums because with the track being hard to overtake, this meant Lewis could hang on till the end even with shredded tyres with no fears of getting overtaken.

    The problem arose that the medium tyres weren’t working on a cooler track so Lewis didn’t have pace he needed to push Alonso in the last stint which would have made Alonso’s tyres degrade faster.

    As for Ricciardo, he had to switch his strategy as it became clear that the softs wouldn’t make it for as always track position is everything. Luckily for Ricciardo he still had enough laps to pit again then try and pull himself in contention but his pleasant surprise was he managed to overtake both Lewis and Alonso >>> which wouldn’t have been the case without DRS like in the old times e.g. Bousten vs Senna in 1990.

    Likewise Alonso changed his strategy towards the end as it became clear the victory was in sight.
    Like everybody, Alonso was of the view with difficulty in overtaking he had a shot of making it.

    Regards, Rosberg, Bottas and Vettel, definitely, the safety car ruined their strategies but what really ruined Rosberg’s race was when he suffered brake issues and thus got overtaken by Mini-mag, Alonso & Vergne.

    Overall, interchangeable conditions are hell for it’s really a gambling session unlike full wet or fully dry conditions were the control is more or less in the driver’s hands.

    1. Gaz Boy says:

      Don’t know about you Goferet, but doesn’t the Sunday just gone make us all wish F1 went to climes with a high percentage of rain!
      Why not go to places with high annual rainfall? Hawaii? Oregon? British Columbia? Amazon Jungle countries such as Guyana? Vietnam? Thailand? Madagascar? Uganda? Wales? The West Country? Yorkshire? Cumbria? Scotland? New Zealand?
      I know I’m joking, but one of the reasons Interlagos is usually rain affected, and therefore sensational racing, is because a) Sau Paulo is a high altitude city and b) it’s right next to the mighty Amazon Jungle – and jungle areas get lots of rain!

      1. goferet says:

        @ Gaz Boy

        Perhaps the best solution is bring in Bernie’s sprinklers. Only then would be guaranteed thrills and spills Lol…

      2. Larkin says:

        I wouldn’t say no to a race here in guadeloupe. Tropical climate and lots of rain.

    2. Tomas Shecter says:

      I disagree with RIC not being able to overtake the leaders without DRS. HAM had used DRS when he was overtaken by RIC. So they cancelled each others DRS out. Watch the replay…..

  40. Jake says:

    Thanks James, one of your best.

  41. goferet says:

    But Hamilton’s strategy was dictated first of all by passing Vergne quite easily (something Rosberg had failed
    to do)

    I believe Lewis was able to overtake Vergne for Rosberg had already done the hard work of wearing out Vergne’s tyres because as soon as Lewis had overtaken, Vergne pitted.

    1. aezy_doc says:

      It also had something to do with a certain Mr Vettel doing donuts again.

    2. Phenom says:

      The nature of that move was very risky and pure Hamilton, I have not seen Rosberg pull off anything like that so that assessment is wrong.

      1. goferet says:

        @ Phenom

        That’s true.

        The nature of the overtake was difficult considering it was done from the outside.

  42. Miha Bevc says:

    Great review. Thanks!
    I still think running medium tyres was a mistake. OK, Hamilton wanted to do somerhing different to Alonso, Williams were to conservative, but what about Vettel? Why did he went for medium tyres? Red Bull strategy is rarely conservative …

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, with hindsight it was a mistake for several runners

    2. Adam W says:

      I suspect Red Bull may have used him as a test bunny for Daniel so they knew which tires to put him on when he made his final stop and when to stop him. They also needed to roll the dice with Vettel after his spin.

  43. Ben Z says:

    Mercedes should be heavily fined for illegally ordering Louis Hamilton to let Rosberg past.

    1. aveli says:

      it’s not against the rules. teams are only penalised if they break the rules.

      1. Ben Z says:

        I thought that when Vettel passed Webber lat year after he ignored Team Orders to hold his second position – Team Orders were scrapped.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Not so Ben, it was just an internal issue for the team – although if I remember right James did get one or two reader comments discussing it ;)

    2. aezy_doc says:

      Illegally? What? Team orders are allowed.

    3. Random 79 says:

      “illegally ordering”?

      Team orders are legal now and have been for a while.

      Regardless of that, what they should be doing is slapping their collective foreheads.

  44. Sergio says:

    With too many variables, strategy becomes a computer game, or an intuition simplification.
    So any opinion becomes irrelevant, all is true and at the same time false, because at a certain point hypotheses have too much weight.

    This excess makes annoying to understand a race for lots of people.
    Same opinion for actual technical specifications, so called too complicated, but maybe they simply have lost the focus in my opinion.

    And in the medium term wheel to wheel random combats will loose their interest in front of a low comprehension of the overall history. Is like to see a film with intense scenes but not understanding the history, nobody waits to see the end.

    We are living a fake peak interest on this, but there could be good opportunities to take it as a starting point. Let’s hope in the next meetings they will be able to address well this variables.

      1. Sergio says:

        My comment was focused on the management meetings that are being held these days.

        It is just an opinion on the “soft variables” considering future scenarios. I think it could be a significant change on the overall focus given to the sport.

        To address the question I’d say it will be by moving the balance from technique/ team to the driver.
        i.e. giving more power than control, making the team race together with the pilot by continuous development and therefore making pilots “training” with the car.

        I understand that some things can sound really weird today, but they say: “It is needed to imagine the future before creating it” and it can be about two macro-scenarios:
        1- Google driving electronically efficient aero-cars or
        2- Pilots mastering car efficient-driving, where the technological efficiency follow but don’t drive.

  45. monktonnik says:


    Any insight on why Mclaren made that tyre choice for the first safety car?

    It seems like one of those days (Hungary, Changeable Conditions) where Jenson could have done better and their decision seemed to err on the side of caution.

    1. James Allen says:

      They have the same weather radar as all the other teams. They were trying to be overly bold and it backfired. Button would have finished 5th or 6th, around Massa

      1. monktonnik says:

        Thank you.

      2. aveli says:

        is button not supposed to excel under changing conditions?

      3. Our Nige' says:

        No, Button has built a reputation for rolling the dice in changing conditions such as these, he doesn’t excel at driving in them. He knows he isn’t particularly special in the wet, just as he isn’t particularly special in the dry and so if he rolls the dice by doing something different on tyres, it at least gives him a chance if the weather then comes to him. If you look at all of Button’s wins in the wet they have all come about in this way. Unlike genuinely great wet weather drivers such as Senna and Schumacher, Jenson Button Is rarely, if ever at all, the fastest guy on a wet track when he is on the same tyres as everyone else. So in Hungary on the weekend, he decided to do his usual trick and take the gamble, only this time it didn’t work out. Pure and simple.
        Never mind, people will soon forget about it! He’ll do the same thing again the next time, it might work out for him, and you guys will be raving about his wet weather prowess again. Entirely sensible tactic if you ask me….for a very mediocre driver.

  46. Siddle says:

    I am very grateful for this insight into a complex race on Sunday

    Of course 20/20 hindsight is a marvellous thing. That was not the point. Mercedes were woefully short of calm considered thinking during the race. This is not a surprise. They stated after the British GP that strategy could not be changed. They confirmed that they would not have allowed Hamilton stay on a two stop as strategy’s were already set.

    Before the second tyre change they were confronted by the pole sitter Rosberg being only a second ahead of his team mate who started in the Pit Lane. Mercedes lost the plot and as their Chairman stated panicked.

    In the article it states

    ‘In practice sessions and the race to that point, no-one had done 32 laps on a set of softs, which is what Alonso would need to do in order to make it to the finish without stopping. From practice the predictions ere 21 laps maximum. Factor in cooler temperatures and you could push it to 25 laps. Add in some skilled tyre management by the driver and you might get to 28-29 laps. But 32 laps was hard to imagine. It highlights what an outstanding drive it was by Alonso.”

    This is true particularly regarding Alonso’s incredible driving but ignores the fact that he, Alonso, had already just completed 29 laps with a heavy full load albeit that there were a number of laps under the safety car. It was an increasing possibility particularly as their own driver Hamilton had completed two more laps and was happy with the condition of his option tyres.

    To put a driver of Hamilton’s ability on the slower tyre, when he had new options available, in the now less certain probability that Alonso would have to stop was inane. When strategists predict what other teams will do it is like predicting the weather around Budapest. Not a certain science.

    But put Hamilton on the better tyre and anything could happen and probably would have. After the first tyre change under the first safety car he was 13. Two laps later he was 9 and Rosberg had dropped from 4 to & 7. That Rosberg was thinking championship is a given but so was Hamilton. No computer would have predicted that or at least the percentage probability was negligible. But it did happen before the tyre selection was made on Lap 40. Or was it? I get the feeling that the decision on tyres was made before the race started and they were simply keeping to plan. If they had put new options on Lewis they would be asking him to do as many laps as he had just completed without a problem and lighter on fuel. Have I missed something?

    The problem that Mercedes have is that their car is so good that most of the drivers on the grid could bring it home for a win. It is when things are not going well or as predicted that a handful of drivers including the three on the Podium on Sunday can achieve special results. I am not convinced that Rosberg, excellent though he is, is that handful particularly after Sunday.

    If the strategists could not even predict that putting Hamilton on slower tyres than his teammate who he had track position on was going to give them a situation is almost beyond belief.

    It is fortunate that Hamilton’s refusal too pull over prevented a huge PR disaster for Mercedes. For a team to claim as Paddy Lowe did earlier this year

    ‘Imagine if we imposed team orders. What a terrible thing that would be for F1 and the Mercedes philosophy in Motor Sport’

    and then allow matters to unfold as they did is incredible.

    Roll on Spa.


    1. aveli says:

      does it rain at spa?

  47. Grant H says:

    Im glad reports are comming through that standing starts after safety car is going to be shelved

    Take hungry toward end of the race seb, lewis and fernando would have been sitting ducks on a standing start due to tyres, during any standing restart the pack would crunch up potentially causing some safety / big crash risk

    I also think starting from pit lane needs a think, purpose of parade lap is to warm up breaks etc seems crazy for safety that pitlane starters are not allowed to warm tyres etc especially during wet

    1. James Clayton says:

      “Im glad reports are comming through that standing starts after safety car is going to be shelved”

      Can you provide a source please?

      1. Grant H says:

        Hi, my twitter feed was full of reports ecclestone is calling for it to be cancelled, even pundits such as bbc’s jenie gow reporting, if u go on twitter and type ‘standing starts’ u will see what i mean, cheers

    2. Drgraham lewis says:

      Absolutely – and a serious risk…

      All for what?

      I guess to get started on time…

    3. James Clayton says:

      “Hi, my twitter feed was full of reports ecclestone is calling for it to be cancelled, even pundits such as bbc’s jenie gow reporting, if u go on twitter and type ‘standing starts’ u will see what i mean, cheers”

      So absolutely NO *reports* coming through that it’s going to be shelved then..?

      1. Grant H says:

        Ok then !!! Usually what Bernie says comes true!!!

  48. BMG says:

    They really earnt their money last weekend, James would they ever consider restricting team radios?

    They have a purpose but it would be interesting to see how the drivers would react under race conditions to some decisions like we just experience.

  49. Dan says:

    One thing though, Rosberg lost about 10 seconds before his last stop behind, Bottas and then Lewis.

    If Lewis would have had the softs on he wouldn’t have lost that time, he would have infact gained more time, added to the 3 seconds he was ahead of Rosberg after the pits, surely he’d of had a crack at winning? It would have been a straight duel with Riccardo.

    My point is, Rosberg had a chance of winning on a 3 stop, which was slowed down behind Lewis, meaning Lewis had an even better chance on a 3 stop didn’t he?

    Yes hindsight is a wonderfull thing, but Mercedes pace advantage is so much more on fresh tyres

    1. KRB says:

      Indeed. And in that scenario it’s more likely that Alonso doesn’t resist Hamilton coming by (at least the first time) as he would be thinking that his race ultimately was with Ricciardo later on. Seeing how easily Ricciardo blasted by Alonso, and from how far back, and considering both of their speed trap times were down on the Merc’s, HAM on two short fresh-option stints would’ve had both of them.

      1. Tomas Shecter says:

        Ham would have had to catch RIC who would have been 15+ seconds up the road though. Mercedez is fast but how fast.

  50. Vinola says:

    There were 2 strategic errors with Hamilton’s race, first the decision to put him on mediums. That’s marginal, although I don’t quite understand the rationale for that as you put in this article- that Hamilton couldn’t pass Alonso on fresh softs?.. What’s the basis of that?. But the more crucial error, that of failing to pit Hamilton for softs- just before Rosberg as he was leading by 2 seconds -was more egregious and no one including JA has explained that yet.

    1. James Allen says:

      Why should he pit ahead of Rosberg, he beat him anyway?

      1. Vinola says:

        Points differential; he could have won (and I haven’t seen any detailed analysis contradicting that assertion) or at worse second- both positions ahead of Rosberg but with better points differential.

      2. aezy_doc says:

        Only just James. At that point Merc were looking to get Rosberg on a podium and for that to happen he needed to pass Lewis on track. If they were looking for higher than the third step then Rosberg also needed to pass Alonso. You say that they put Lewis on the mediums because they didn’t think he could pass Alonso – so why did they think that Rosberg would have been able? Lewis should have come in and gone on options to the end when (or just before) Rosberg did. They would have finished where they did at worst and both would have had a great chance of nailing Alonso.

      3. Larkin says:

        Exactly; Everybody in the sport is trying their damdist to convince us otherwise.

      4. TheElf says:

        So he could win – thats why & he had every reason to believe he should including pitting ahead of Rosberg because .. You guessed it he was in front!

    2. KRB says:

      Agreed that they should’ve pitted him for softs for the 3rd (and 4th) stint. Not sure what you mean about pitting him before ROS. If he pitted before ROS, he would’ve come out behind ROS, and in traffic, just as ROS ultimately did. He needed the extra 7 laps to fully effect the overcut, giving himself a full pit window plus 5 secs. Of course he then got a stinker of a pit stop, but his safety margin was such that even that couldn’t screw him up.

      AT THAT POINT, pit him for softs, to hunt down ALO and then get on the back of RIC, before passing RIC (and ALO again) in the final stint.

  51. Andy says:

    “Mercedes certainly didn’t think that they could reach the finish on softs”

    Yes they did.

    Hamilton did 30 lap on a set of softs on his second stint while he did overtake several cars and also ran many laps in Vettel’s dirty air.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes, but don’t forget many of those laps were at Safety Car speeds.

      I know for a fact that they didn’t believe they could get to the end on softs.

      1. aezy_doc says:

        That’s why they should have gone soft-soft.

      2. Siddle says:


        Thank you for confirming what Mercedes thought.

        What I and many others are repeatedly pointing out is that were not thinking clearly.

        If a driver, any driver, has multiple sets of option tyres and that he should use only one of them when they were clearly the better tyre is beyond belief. Particularly when he has just completed the same number of laps on the tyre in question. They could not even believe or trust in their own data or more importantly their own drivers ability.

        Hamilton would have still had the chance to pit again if the battle was with Alonso or indeed his own team mate.

        It should not happen in any team but it happened, on Sunday, in Mercedes. It is incredible.

        Thank you for trying to explain the inexplicable. Clearly Mercedes F1 have got a lot of sorting out to do in the break after a weekend that was a shambles.

        This is not to take anything away Daniel, Fernando or indeed Lewis who all drove fantastically to produce a memorable Grand Prix


      3. James Allen says:

        Don’t forget when he had on his set of softs, there were 4 laps spent under a safety car.. big difference

      4. Larkin says:

        How do you explain that they tried 2 soft stops for nico to try & win when he was behind louis? If nico could do it why not louis. Sorry James but your thinking just doesn’t make sense.

  52. F Zero says:

    This race shows they can get rid of that annoying rule mandating the use of both tire compounds.

    This race was exciting because teams were using whatever tire they wanted, changing their minds as the race developed, and things got very confused for them, which was great for us.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Agreed, it would be nice to see it happen.

  53. dufus says:

    Disco Dan, the smiling assasin.

  54. William Russell says:

    Great article! Do you think Nico would still have won had Vergne and Alonso not got past him? Surely he’d have been at least second.

    1. James Allen says:

      The Vergne thing really hurt him. Remember it’s all relative to Ricciardo’s race. He would have been much further ahead of Alonso at the end if he hadn’t had to clear Hamilton (which he would not have had to do if Hamilton did two stints on softs (instead of 1 x Mediums)

  55. Grant says:

    1st mistake was pitting Lewis so soon after Alonso, especially after Lewis had reported that he was still feeling very good on that set of super-softs.

    2nd mistake, with the track rubbering in and the good work that lewis had done with first set of supersoft, the logical thing to do would have been to let him finish the race on a similar set.

    1. Siddle says:

      My thoughts exactly.

  56. KRB says:

    Sorry, but I still don’t buy that Hamilton couldn’t have won this. Rosberg finished only 6 seconds behind him at the line, and was 5 secs back two laps before that. That was with Rosberg losing time behind Vergne at the end of the 2nd stint, behind Bottas early in his 3rd stint, and behind Lewis later in the 3rd stint. Take that lost time out, and Rosberg finishes ahead of Ricciardo, so Hamilton further up the road would’ve done even better.

    1. James Allen says:

      The only possible way to have won it was by extending the middle stint, while he was ahead of Ricciardo but the tyres were at end of life according to Mercedes, so that wasn’t really an option.

      1. aezy_doc says:

        In hindsight (!) they could have won it if Alonso had kept Ricciardo at bay long enough. However, I don’t think anyone saw Alonso going to the end.

      2. ajay says:

        Hi James, The one variable that we have to take at face value is that Mercedes did not think they could get Hamilton to the end on the softer tyre- I think they could- and that’s because their modelling was wrong as given by what they expected Alonso to achieve. We will never know but I think that is what a lot of us are saying here-

      3. KRB says:

        Extending the middle stint? I meant for HAM to go to the 3-stopper, after he had cleared VER, and had jumped Nico in the pit window. Pits and emerges ahead of ROS, with better starting tires and the offset in his favour, passes ALO and closes down on RIC. Forces RIC to pit earlier than he did (lap 54) to guard against undercut, and then HAM either gets by on the overcut, or on-track via the offset and again the totally fresh option rubber!

        If Toto truly believes that Nico could’ve won, then it’s nonsensical for him to not believe that Lewis could’ve won, as he was in a better position at the time, with better arrows (fresh options) in his quiver to call on.

        Before this race I didn’t think Wolff had any preference as to who wins it. It seems clear to me now though, that push come to shove, he’d side with Rosberg. Niki it seems is the only one fighting Lewis’ corner, and saving the Merc F1 team from themselves. They seriously are missing Brawn’s commanding presence.

      4. Drgraham lewis says:

        Yet he was still putting in faster laps and did not report issues James?

        Puzzling really.

      5. danny says:

        Surely HAM would have easily passed ALO if he had fresh options at his second stop. At worst he would have been able to do an undercut for a third stop by saving tyres at Ferrari pace. If he’d been able to pass quickly on the third stint he might well have been able to catch RIC with the Merc’s superior pace and two brand new sets of options.

        Also wouldn’t have been in Rosberg’s way so ROS could possibly have passed ALO as well.

        I reckon with both Mercs on a soft-soft strategy (and no fuel limits due to earlier SC) they could have really pushed and got a 2-3 or even 1-3.

        I don’t think ROS would have got past RIC though (although he may have caught him).

  57. Geoffrey says:

    Wow what a detailed analysis, and explained to so many people why Mercedes put Medium on Lewis, because no one, even Alonso himself believed a set of Option tyre can last 32 laps, something never happened in this year.

    Hungary GP track is famous of hard to make overtaking, as you can see Ham cannot do it on Alonso for so many laps. Therefore if they both on Soft + Soft, Ham will still behind Alonso and thats why Mer took the gamble to undercut him. As if Alonso pit, he will move back to 4th and Mercedes can guaranteed two spots on podium.

    What a classic F1 race with every possible things happened…Thanks all the team and drivers for such entertaining race

  58. Kev says:

    James, would hamilton allowing rosberg to pass have helped him in his fight against alonso as rosberg would put have put alonso under pressure in trying to get past him. Hamilton was just keeping a two second gap to alonso but surely rosberg and alonso fighting would have helped hamilton and maybe would have forced alonso into a three stopper. After all the only reason rosberg caught hamilton at the end was becouse he was held up by alonso. Could it not have been hamilton and ricciardo fighting for the win and rosberg and alonso fighting for third?

    1. James Allen says:

      Maybe but it would have meant Rosberg outpointing Hamilton and that is clearly his focus

  59. Basil Binx says:

    Where would Button have finished if McLaren had fitted the right tyres? I reckon he would have had a shot at the Podium on a track like Hungary. I thought this might have been coved in the strategy report.

    1. James Allen says:

      Probably just ahead of Massa, according to a few F1 team strategists I spoke to

  60. Brent says:

    Thanks for the consistently great work James. Have a nice break.

    I think Rosberg would have had second, had Hamilton let him through when asked, but there is no way he was going to win.

    There is nothing I desire to see more in F1 then Alonso in a car that can race on equal turf with Hamilton, Vettel, Raikkonen, Ricciardo… the lot of them. There is no better driver in F1. He is the complete racing package and stands alone.

    1. James Allen says:

      No break – we have some great things lined up for the summer to keep F1 fans entertained.

      So keep coming along

  61. Grabyrdy says:

    “The reason Massa pitted was that Raikkonen was entering the pit window gap behind him, so his hand was forced into pitting earlier than he would have liked; just 15 laps into the stint on softs, rather than the target 22 laps.”

    I don’t understand why it should be so important for them not to be undercut by Kimi. With DRS and higher top speed it should have been easy for Massa to repass him if he got behind. Why allow this to upend their whole strategy for the race ?

    In general, I wonder if some teams are not a bit old-fashioned about undercuts in this DRS age.

  62. olderguysrule says:

    Thanx for the info James. I watched the race a second time trying to figure out the reshuffle in the race as a result of the safety car. The safety car deployment is really a lottery. It’s bad enough that the leader loses his advantage. Then, depending where your at on the track you could gain or lose how ever many positions. Has there been any “real” discussions about using the double yellow flags and computers to achieve the same thing?

  63. clyde says:

    In the interest of fairplay why don’t they ban the cars from pitting during the safety car period.
    This would ensure no one gains an unfair advantage like DR did and no one loses out like Rosberg did .

    1. Random 79 says:

      It is fair.

      The teams (and drivers) make their own call, some get it right, some get it wrong, and anything else would be boring.

      For instance, I could say that in the spirit of fair play once someone has proved that they’re the fastest by qualifying on pole no one should be allowed to overtake them, but while I’m sure that sounds to everyone like the most amazing best idea ever somehow I can’t see it working…

      1. clyde says:

        Wasted sarcasm
        how is it fair when the top three are missed by the safety car and lose positions on track as they cant pit for an entire lap
        So far this year, the safety car has been deployed at a time giving the leading car the opportunity to pit before catching the safety car. This nullifies the opportunity of the lead car being jumped due to the opportunity of others further back to pit and gain an advantage.

        In Hungary, this was not the case.

        The timing of Charlie Whiting’s decision to deploy the safety car meant the pack was shuffled. Rosberg with a 9 second lead was in fact least affected amongst the front runners by having to pit a lap later than those behind Vettel who all had the opportunity – deprived of the first three – to dive into the pits a lap earlier than the leaders.

        the safety car has been manufacturing race results for years, based upon the timing of race control’s decision on when it should be deployed.To ensure the integrity of the race, the Ericsson incident in Hungary would have meant delaying the decision to deploy the safety car by around 38 seconds, under double yellows, and the race leader would have been able to pit and come out in the lead behind the safety car.
        Here’s the order pre safety car

        Rosberg (9 seconds ahead)










        The snake which eventually followed the safety car for 6 laps, was in the following order.





        Magnussen (up from 19th and didn’t pit)





        Let’s remember, the safety car was introduced to improve safety during a Formula 1 race, not to ‘spice up the show.

      2. James Clayton says:

        “It is fair.”

        How is it fair? Some drivers have passed the pitlane entrance before the safety car comes out, and some haven’t.

        Yes there’s an element of strategy and teams making the right call on whether to pit and what tyres to use, but there is also undeniably an element of chance as to where you are when the sc comes out.

      3. Random 79 says:


        Yes there’s an element of chance, but everyone has the same chance.

        If there was a rule saying only those in certain positions or on certain tyres or something like that could pit under the safety car then I would say it was unfair, but so long as the teams and drivers can freely make the decision they think is best for them then I maintain it’s fair.

  64. Sebee says:

    May I point out again that by the time Lewis gets on the tail of JEV, JEV’s tires are 10 laps for the worse. Does anyone have data on JEVs lap times say 2 before Nico gets there until 1 lap after Lewis passes? It seems to me like his tires dropped off rapidly, making him easy pickings by the time Lewis gets there. JEV pits shortly after if I remember right, correct?

    So it’s perhaps a bit disingenuous to compare what Nico did and what Lewis did with a “different” JEV by that point.

    1. Msta says:

      This is a good point. Note too that at the same time Rosberg was struggling to pass the Renault powered Vergne, Hamilton also could not pass the Renault powered Vettel. At this point in the race all of the leaders down to Hamilton were running at more or less the same pace as shown by the slope of the curves after the first safety car period. Lewis passed Vergne on his in lap.

      1. jake says:

        ” Hamilton also could not pass the Renault powered Vettel” The difference was that Hamilton was at least trying to pass Vettel, and the pressure may have been a contributing factor in Vettels spin. Correct me if I am wrong but I did not see any serious attempt by Rosberg to pass Vergne.

    2. Gazza says:

      Easy pickings.???
      Lewis had to overtake JEV around the outside of turn 4 with arguably the best move of the race.
      Your constant picking of holes in anything positive to do with Hamilton is bewildering.
      Perhaps you feel it’s payback for negativity shown to Vettel in previous seasons.?

      1. Sebee says:

        Why so agressive? Why is any view that questions views automatically wrong? Are you saying there is no validity that JEV was driving hard to keep Nico at bay and put in 10 hard laps on his tires, then they were spent.

        Did you see the difference between newer rubber and worn rubber at the end of the race? Which is another point, this green track was rubbering in more and more with each lap passed after the initial rain period. As laps got counted off drivers got more feedback and confidence. So not only was JEV on spent rubber after keeping Nico at bay, now the track is more rubbered in and drivers knew what to expect.

        Perhaps I could pose a question back at you? Why does everything that Lewis does such super hero stuff that can’t be questioned? Perhaps there is explanation for certain things. No doubt that was a nice pass, but there were factors in that pass. Oh, and best super hero move was indeed by Vettel. :-)

      2. Gazza says:

        “Why so aggressive”
        No, as I said bewildered.

        “Why is any view that questions views automatically wrong?”

        I,m only questioning your views as you offer no evidence to back them up.

        “Are you saying there is no validity that JEV was driving hard to keep Nico at bay and put in 10 hard laps on his tires, then they were spent.”

        Nico spent 10 laps behind JEV in a car that was at least 2s a lap faster and never even got close to an overtake. I think this because JEV with Nico behind was constantly in the mid 89s, Lewis went straight to a low 87s once he had cleared JEV and his tyres were 1 lap older than Nico,s. JEV had gone to an almost dead 90s on the last lap before pitting so his tyres were hardly hitting the cliff. The main factor in that pass was Lewis’s overtaking prowess. Its effect had little bearing on the race because JEV pitted straightway, but it highlighted the difference between Lewis and Nico with regard to passing cars.

        “Did you see the difference between newer rubber and worn rubber at the end of the race? Which is another point, this green track was rubbering in more and more with each lap passed after the initial rain period. As laps got counted off drivers got more feedback and confidence. So not only was JEV on spent rubber after keeping Nico at bay, now the track is more rubbered in and drivers knew what to expect”

        What’s new rubber got to do with it.? Lewis’s and JEV,s tyres were the same age he spent all this time close behind Seb and the rubbering in would helped defending as well as attacking.All the above counts both ways.

        “Why does everything that Lewis does such super hero stuff that can’t be questioned?”

        Lewis is not perfect by a long way but lately you always seem to find a negative hypothetical explanation to almost anything positive about Lewis with absolutely no proof whatsoever. For instance “Lewis is overtaking more but thrashing the car which is why he has more mechanical DNF,s or Lewis is saving more fuel but is damaging the engine gearbox in the process.”

        Surely if your going to level these sort of criticisms its only fair to ask for some proof, otherwise it just looks like anti-hamilton rhetoric.

        Lastly Lewis,s spin at turn 2 was just as super hero as Seb’s :)

    3. Mark says:

      Don’t forget Lewis’s tyres were also worn out by the same 10 laps.

      1. Sebee says:

        Yes, but fresher than Nico’s right? And perhaps he was on a bit of “coast/stand by” waiting either for mistake or Nico to get by. So he wasn’t charging as much. JEV was probably driving his skin off for that period of Mercedes pressure.

    4. aezy_doc says:

      It may have had something to do with JEVs tyres AND I think the track drying. Hamilton’s tyres were one lap older than Rosberg’s and the same age as JEVs were they not? Still it was a great piece of overtaking.

    5. Dazzler says:

      Do you want to point out that Hamilton spun in lap one as well ? Rosberg was unlucky with the Safety Car on Sunday but his lack of risk-taking & poor overtaking performance cost him as well. He should never have let Magnussen past him

      He may have got fastest lap, but he was out-classed by Lewis and if that continues he will learn what it really takes to be a Champion from someone who has won and lost titles before.

    6. LB says:

      Yeah right…and Lewis’ tyres were miraculously unaffected by his consistent (but futile) attacks on Vettel.
      Running in Vettel’s slipstream while Vergne was running in clear air somehow hurt Lewis’ tyres less!

    7. Rohind says:

      Hamilton passing JEV had no relevance whatsoever as JEV pitted fo tyres soon after

      1. Sebee says:

        Yes, because his tires were cooked keeping Nico back, Lewis makes pass, JEV says “I got all I could out these.”

      2. aveli says:

        how did vergne and alonso end up in front of rosberg?

    8. KRB says:

      @Sebee, didn’t I tell you about the wonderful world of Event & Timing Information on the FIA’s site? Go to the Hungarian GP page, look under Timing, check out the Race History chart. It’s all there for ya.

      On the first lap of green light racing, after the first SC (lap 14), Hamilton went from 13th to 9th, passing GUT, BOT, PER and HUL. In the same lap, ROS dropped a spot to 5th, with MAG on inters getting by. On the very next lap, ALO and VER got by him, which set up the 2nd stint train behind VER. The fact is that ROS’s times trailed off before JEV’s … on laps 30-32, VER was quicker than ROS and had broken DRS before the end of lap 32. THAT’s why ROS pitted then. It would’ve been nice to see if VER pitted then, as ROS was told to do the inverse, but I doubt whether his tires could’ve handled it.

      VER’s time on lap 33 is 0.5s slower than his previous, but more importantly HAM’s lap was 1.2s quicker than before, reducing a 2 sec gap down to 0.4s, and passing him on lap 34.

      Contrary to what Rohind says, I think it’s clear that VER would have stayed out if he had been able to keep HAM behind. After HAM passed, VER pitted clearing the way for RIC behind.

      ROS – on options 4 laps old – then took 2.5 laps to clear BOT (laps 36 to start of lap 38 into Turn 1), who was on mediums that had done 13 laps. This, even though he had just lapped 2.4s faster than him on lap 35, and BOT did not have any DRS benefit.

      ROS can blame the SC timing all he wants, if it makes him feel any better. Simple fact is that Alonso was just as hurt by it, but finished 2nd in a slower car. The reason why is that while ALO could take his opportunities as they came, ROS couldn’t. Just like VET losing last year’s GP riding behind BUT for lap after lap, despite having the car with the best race pace, they couldn’t make it happen at crucial times.

      1. Vinola says:

        Great observations and synthesis.

      2. Rohind says:

        Agree with you that Ros should have done better to move past Verne, considering that he is driving Merc.

        But cant compare it with Vettel’s last year. I believe James had written an article about why Vettel couldnt clear button then. It was explained that Vettel was running a set-up with lesser top speed

  65. dren says:

    While this was a great race to watch, the first safety car gifted the win to Ricciardo as long as he drove like he is capable of driving. Always a shame when the safety car eradicates an enormous initial lead. Good for viewing, a shame for the leader.

    1. Random 79 says:

      A shame for Rosberg? Perhaps, but he’s still leading the championship so I’m sure he’ll survive :)

      1. aveli says:

        dou mean you hope he survives?

    2. Random 79 says:

      Do you mean “hope he survives” as in “hope he doesn’t die”? In that case yes, of course I hope he survives.

      Or do you mean “hope he survives” as in “hope he maintains his lead in the championship until the end of the season in order to beat Hamilton and take his first WDC? In that case meh…although I suppose it couldn’t hurt to have a new champion in the field :)

  66. Kris says:

    James, I find this line interesting:
    “Hamilton wasn’t going to win the race at this point…”
    Is that your view or is it that of the Mercedes team, or both?
    I ask because I still don’t understand the Mercedes and Rosberg (and others’) stance that Hamilton defying team orders cost Rosberg and the team the win. They’re still saying that.
    Given that, at one point, Rosberg had had one stop more but was more than one pit stop behind, then Hamilton was clearly their prime contender to win the race at the mid point of the race. As such, isn’t it fair to say that the team’s decision to prioritise the trailing driver over the leading driver is what cost them the race?
    I still can’t get my head around the inaccurate perception that Wolf and Rosberg are trying to create.
    I wasn’t convinced that Lauda would bring anything to the operations other than a famous face, but I’m truly glad he’s there to tell it how it is on behalf of the team. I hope he’s equally frank in team meetings because Sunday and comments since have been pretty embarrassing.

    1. Larkin says:

      well said

    2. Vinola says:

      Precisely. Mercedes bias was fully exposed in Hungary.

  67. BluesPaul says:

    James, may I ask
    is it not true to say that Ferrari were podium contenders here only because they did not have to use the medium tyre, and could use the softs throughout [after the inters for the wet start were done with]??

    The track cooled by the shower also improved the tyre deg for the Ferrari. Not taking anything away from Alonso’s drive, but it would not have been possible if he had had to do a stint on mediums after starting on the soft.
    pl check fp laptimes.

    So it would have been a HAM / RIC / ROS battle and ALO would not have figured above p4.
    HAM was out of luck, so too ROS.
    ALO is drenched in the stuff!

    1. James Allen says:

      Certainly helped, but Alonso’s driving was astonishing, all rival teams agree that!

    2. KenC says:

      Impossible hypothetical to answer. If Ferrari had to use the mediums, then you are assuming there was no rain! Without the wet track, there’s a good chance there would have been no Safety Car periods, so Alonso would have started 5th and attacked as usual and fought for the podium. So, if he had to use the Medium, he would still have been a podium contender.

  68. Ben says:

    Hi James, thanks for a great strategy report. It was really useful because there was so much going on during the race and I was only able to watch the highlights it helped me understand everything that went on – at least for the front runners.

    One question I would like to ask, if Hamilton had moved his car over to let Rosberg past and Rosberg was only able to get to 3rd and not pass Alonso would the team have ordered Rosberg to let Hamilton back through?

    1. Larkin says:

      good point

    2. KenC says:

      No, Lewis would have overtaken him. ;)

    3. aveli says:

      they simply messed up and you, hamilton and i know that.

  69. Dhel says:

    Isnt this what Wolff said a few weeks ago? What had changed before the Hungarian GP that cause this change?

    Mercedes will restrict the race strategies that can be adopted by drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in their fight for the 2014 title.

    Until now, the dominant team has given its driver duo almost free rein to battle for the championship, despite constant speculation that Mercedes and its parent Daimler might prefer to see German Rosberg ultimately triumph.

    Autosprint now reports that one of the ways Mercedes is moving to demonstrate absolute equality between the pair is to limit them to very similar pit strategies.

    “The drivers must comply with the same number of pitstops,” said correspondent Alberto Antonini.

    That aside, the Hamilton and Rosberg camps will be free to wage their battles, even at the risk of some loss of ‘transparency’ as outlined by boss Toto Wolff recently.

    “As an individual, you cannot dominate alone in motor racing,” Wolff is quoted by Speed Week. “Our position is a testament to how well we work together.

    “But of course there are areas where you keep certain details to yourself to develop an advantage, and this is also accepted by the team. But it must not have a negative influence on the development of the team,” he insisted. (GMM)

  70. Michael says:

    I understand that each team´s ambition is to maximise the finishing positions of their cars, and that that is made much more complicated at tracks where it is difficult to overtake. Add a wet track and a couple of safety cars and they have a tough job on their hands. That said, I think they need to understand that we, as fans of F1, want to see racing drivers racing against eachother. We want to make our opinions of who is the best by watching them `race. At the mid point of the race the Mercedes team had time to analyse and make a calmer decision.

    We dont want to see drivers letting drivers by. If we wanted to know who was the fastest at going around a track, we would only watch qualifying on Saturdays. You have to let the guys race, and asking for help from your championship rival is unacceptable.

  71. Shri says:

    James you might have some insight to my question – In order for Nico to win, what made Merc Strategist think that the following will happen ?

    1) Hamilton will move over for Rosberg 2 times, once when the request was made and then again in the end to allow Rosberg win the race
    2) Rosberg will overtake Alonso twice, once Hamilton moves over and then again at the end of race
    3) Rosberg will overtake Daniel in closing stages

    All this knowing he cannot even dispatch Vergne and let few other drivers go past him earlier in the race.

    1. aveli says:

      i hear you but they just tried their best which was fun to watch.

  72. Franci says:

    The reason for both Hamilton’s tire decision and the team orders seems clear, though it’s not an explanation Mercedes is ever likely to publicly admit.

    The Mercedes race strategists ( the computer wizards who determine strategy on the fly ) were unlikely to have been charged with maximizing points for either Lewis or Nico. They were likely told to prioritize race victories over all other factors.

    If this was the direction given to them by the team leadership, they cannot be blamed for believing Hamilton had fewer victory prospects than Rosberg. At that point in the race, Hamilton did have fewer victory prospects than Rosberg.

    If the strategist’s charge was to focus on race wins, they would seem to have knowingly sacrificed Hamilton’s strategy by giving him the medium compound in order to assist Rosberg’s win. Hamilton outperformed the strategist’s greatest vision and threw a wrench in the works, which explains the ill conceived team orders. The strategists likely told the pit wall that the victory strategy was being compromised, it was. The reaction was team orders.

    This was not done because the team favored Rosberg, but because on that day, at that time, Rosberg had the better chance of winning. If the race strategists were told to maximize victories over all other factors, they certainly did their job as directed.

    Wolff seems to have admitted this when he stated they had split the strategies of the drivers. They haven’t split strategies all season, why start now?

    From here on out, the Mercedes strategists will have to stop focusing on race wins and start focusing on maximizing each driver’s points.. This could be difficult. It may require a pair of dueling strategic computation teams in order to achieve equality between Lewis and Nico, each group of wizards focused on maximizing points for their given driver.

    1. Kris says:

      I find this part interesting:

      “If this was the direction given to them by the team leadership, they cannot be blamed for believing Hamilton had fewer victory prospects than Rosberg. At that point in the race, Hamilton did have fewer victory prospects than Rosberg.”

      At around the mid-point of the race, Hamilton had stopped once, Rosberg had stopped twice. The gap between Rosberg and Hamilton was more than a pit stop, so Hamilton was the leading driver. And yet, there was no attempt to maximise his strategy. I still don’t get why that isn’t being picked up on and analysed.

      1. aveli says:

        at mercedes the lead driver is defined by their qualifying position, hence the big story at hungary.

      2. aveli says:

        aware they all hungary?

    2. Brian Bell says:

      Too complicated…..Merc thought Alosno was stopping again.

      If Alonso had pitted around the same time as DR, Hamilton would have won the race. Hamilton was much quicker through the corners, even qiven he was running in dirty air. Alonso nailed the last turn every lap, so was effective at keeping Hamilton behind as he couldn’t get the power down as effectively with his harder tyre. With Alonso out of the way Hamilton would have been able to stay away from RIC for longer and would have been able to defend more strongly if RIC had caught him. If they had known Alonso was going to the end the would have told Hamilton to push at the start of the stint…..instead he held a 3 second gap, which is enough to run in ‘clean’ air and protect your tyres.

      I still think that there was enough info available to work out the a 31 lap stint on the option was a possibility…..Hamilton’s mentioned on the radio that his tyres were still good after 30 laps and he could run a lap or 2 more. OK, there were SC laps, but later in the race the track would be rubbering in again and the fuel load would be considerably less.

      Panic thinking also hurt ROS…he couldn’t get past JEV, so they pitted him, and put him out in traffic. This allowed Hamilton to run quicker and end up in front….At the point Hamilton had opened a full pitstop gap on Rosberg, the strategists should have really started from the beginning. Go soft soft for Hamilton and he isn’t going to be in Rosberg’s way…..go for single soft stint and Hamilton can pass Alonso and stay in front of RIC after RIC pits. Rosberg doesn’t lose any time because he can’t pass and end up around 10 seconds I think they wasted a possible 1-2 by ??????? brain fart???

      James….do you know if there are any jobs going as strategists….the current bunch don’t seem to be able to think on their feet.

      *I’ve just read this back and it seems that none of the strategists actually considered a Hamilton win….(by design or by panic?)

      1. aveli says:

        the mercedes team plan for the driver who qualifies ahead to win the race so the other driver has to plan on track activities to beat the strategist which was what hamilton did.

    3. KRB says:

      By lap 38 there was no need for a sophisticated computer, to tell them what was the best option. It was right in front of their eyes. HAM was ahead of ROS on track, putting in fast times on option rubber at the end of his 2nd stint. ALO had just pitted for softs, and RIC was already on his 3rd stint with softs. VET, MAS, and BOT on mediums behind were no longer factors in the race.

      Just as in a football match, it was clear (or should’ve been) that HAM was up for this race, while ROS was having an off day. In footy, ROS would have been subbed off either at halftime or just after half. So why not unleash your faster driver, armed with two more sets of untouched option rubber, on your slower rivals with scrubbed tires? I just don’t see any downside to them doing that, at all.

      1. Drgraham lewis says:


  73. goonerf1 says:

    How about, to do away with this element of luck reverberating around when the safety car comes out and where certain drivers are on the track when it does etc etc, we just give all the drivers ONE set of grippy, durable race tyres, that can do the entire race distance, and leave the guys to it.

    Have a spare set in the garage for unplanned circumstances, ie: punctures.

    All conspiracy theories/stories disappear in an instant. Any element of luck around the safety car disappears in an instant. The position you’ve earned, is the position you maintain.

    Yes, it’s a shame the leader loses his lead, but let’s face it, it’s only a shame for the leader. For the rest of us, it’s great! And where marshall’s safety is concerned, it’s a small price to pay quite frankly.

    All this means, the race winner is decided by who drives best lights to flag. Not luck!

    If you want strategy to play a part in races, by virtue of pit stops and different tyre compounds, every so often, questions over the legitimacy of a safety car and how subsequent strategies affect team mates are going to arise.

    Personally, I’ve never been a fan of this. I’m a fan of seeing racing drivers RACE.

    Everything else should be left at the door.

    1. Random 79 says:

      They tried that in 2005.

      If I was being polite I would say it sucked.

      1. James Clayton says:

        Didn’t the tyres have to do quali as well in 2005?

      2. goonerf1 says:

        So 9 years ago. 9 years is a long time for most things, let alone F1. A lot has changed since then. The engines and aero packages for a start. Therefore, how those tyres were used is different, so that argument doesn’t really stack up in my opinion.

        I fail to see how grippy tyres, so drivers can race, brake late etc, and durable tyres so they can get right into the drivers gearbox without fear of the aero off the car in front ruining their performance, would fail to create great racing to be honest.

        Furthermore, you can design a tyre to degrade in 2 ways. 1, it flings off marbles, or 2, it loses rubber almost like a fine dust. Some guys from Michelin were having this discussion over the Le Mans weekend. I found this very interesting and thought it’d be good for F1.

        I’d go the latter route tbh. Sticky, durable tyres, so drivers can race each other harder for longer, which makes more laps of the race more exciting for us fans,. Tyres that degrade to almost like a dust, so the track is kept as clear as possible, so going off line to attempt an overtaking manoeuvre isn’t the equivalent of taking your life in your own hands.

        How would that combination not create great racing for the entire race distance? Or is that not what people want?

      3. Random 79 says:

        @James – Yep, that’s correct.


        “I fail to see how grippy tyres, so drivers can race, brake late etc, and durable tyres so they can get right into the drivers gearbox without fear of the aero off the car in front ruining their performance, would fail to create great racing to be honest.”

        First of all having the best tyres in the world won’t let an F1 car get into the gearbox of the car in front without fear of the aero off the car in front ruining their performance – as soon as it’s in the “dirty” air the aero performance will be affected.

        The only way to stop that is to take off all the aero bits (especially the front wing) and make them more like normal cars with mechanical grip, but of you do that then they won’t really be F1 cars anymore anyway which kind of defeats the purpose.

        Secondly, when there are two cars and drivers of similar performance then yes, durable tyres can make for an exciting race, but what happened more often was that we ended up with a procession of cars with little overtaking and even less chance of an exciting race.

        It’s true that 2005 was a while ago and the regulations have changed since then, but the basic situation is the same. I’m not sure if you were watching F1 back then, but if not then trust me when I say that a race like Hungary is light years ahead of the races I used to fall asleep through.

  74. Neil Jenney says:

    Great race, great breakdown of the action. I found the dramatic contrast between Ricciardo’s swashbuckling approach and Vettel’s defeatist radio message stating he may as well stay out and hold track position jolting. I’m curious if a more aggressive approach would have yielded a better result for Sebastian.

    1. KenC says:

      Uhm, that’s the difference between a 2-stop and 3-stop strategy. The 3-stop has to make some passes to make his strategy work. The 2-stopper has to grin and bear it while his tires give up. Vettel stopped on Lap 33. He went 37 laps on his last set of tires, so I’m not surprised that he was only trying to survive to the finish.

    2. aveli says:

      vettel has woken up, just you watch out for him during the second half of the season. he and the team understand why he finished where he did. watch this space.

  75. Very much appreciate the ‘arms-length’ factual description and explanation. Thank you James!

  76. AlexD says:

    James, can I ask a question? What bothers me…saddens me…is the fact that we do not see what Alonso could do with the car capable of fighting for the title. What other team principals are thinking about him? Can he be given a drive in a different team instead of other top driver, say at Mercedes or Red Bull next year?

    Ferrari is not the place….he will not click another title there and will not fight for the title race after race.

    Do you think that there is a chance for a crazy turn of event and us seeing him joining a winning team?
    Thank you.

    1. James Allen says:

      Everyone is well aware of his quality and has their reason for employing the drivers they do

      If the will is there on both sides, things may change somewhere

    2. goonerf1 says:

      I’ve said this for a long time, I’d much rather a premier racing series came along that put driver skill first.

      I’d much rather watch a racing series where all the cars are the same, (with different colour schemes and sponsors), and watch the likes of Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel etc, battle it out race long every fortnight. Not just when/if their car is capable for a few laps. Or because their tyre strategies have crossed over for 10 or so laps.

      We are being depraved of a lot of good battles. Simply because the car comes first. How boring!

      The great racing we have seen so far this year, unfortunately, is the exception, not the norm.

      If someone with much more money than myself came along and set up, say, essentially, a GP2 series, just with more BHP and the aero ratio/configuration to suit, that would be the best single seater racing series beyond a doubt. And it’d be far less expensive!

      And what kind of self-respecting “racing driver” would want to driver a slower car? An F1 car in this case. They care about racing, not fuel flow limits or managing the gap. God I’m yawning just typing it.

      I can’t remember the last time I saw a dull GP2 race. They certainly don’t need safety cars and changeable weather to make their races exciting.

      How would such a formula not create great racing?

      F1 is too manufacturer focused now. Too focused on corporate and marketing. There is definitely room for a new racing series to come along, one which puts driver skill and fan entertainment first.

      If I win the euro millions, I’ll be on it :).

  77. adam lucas says:

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s what has kept me a F1 fan for 35 years. Before the season started lots of people were convinced the new cars were too ugly, too slow, too complicated, too quiet, ad infinitum ad nauseam. But every race there seems to be plenty of drama, great racing, lots of controversy and more comments than usual. Just when you think it can’t get any better it does.

    1. Random 79 says:

      Unfortunately just like the FIA the fans are sometimes prone to knee jerk reactions.

      I think there are a few ways that F1 could be made better, but it’s still a hell of a lot better than it was ten years ago :)

  78. Kris says:

    Any thoughts to doing a vote up/vote down feature for comments?
    I love the fact that people are free to comment here without registering, etc. but sometimes, with so many comments, it’d be great to be able to vote up comments so that when reading, those comments deemed to be most insightful are naturally at the top.

    1. James Allen says:

      We are looking at a hierarchy of comments and various options of that. We might employ something if we find one we like

  79. Richard cummins says:

    I am completely confused by all this talk of who,when,what if? For goodness sake Lewis started from second on the pit lane!!! James Allen puts him On the same graph as people on the front of the grid. LH could have won this race but didn’t. Alonso(the second coming of Christ) drove straight through a chicane which if he had not would have allowed LH into an overtaking position. No mention from Allen?? This was a great exciting race and we should be thanking the top three for a very very good entertaining race. Nico Rosberg should have won this race but did not because of his overtaking skills.

    1. aveli says:

      well said. isn’t the truth more interesting?

  80. Anthony says:

    Hi James,

    I remember Lewis saying a few races back (maybe Monaco?) that Mercedes had only one strategist for the team, where McLaren had one for each driver. Do you think this difference might be influential in pressurised scenarios – workload must be a factor, and I suppose that opposing analysts might have pointed out the obvious problem with team orders before it went over the radio!

    I would be interested to know which is the more common analyst/team set up.

    1. aveli says:

      yeah, i remember hamilton saying that too. he also said the strategists looks for the best strategy for the lead driver to finish ahead, which is consistent with what we witnessed at the hungarian grand prix.

  81. Stuart Atkin says:

    What hans’t been mentioned is that Dan also lost almost two seconds in a pit stop where he was made to wait for an incoming car passing his pit box. His stop time was shown as 4.1 seconds which for RBR is much longer than normal.

    1. KenC says:

      Must have been his 2nd stop, under a SC, when Massa was coming into the pits. Actually, since it was a SC period, the time doesn’t matter since it’s negated by the SC. What you might lose is track position, but if you look at the T&S, you’ll see that there was a 7 sec window where Dan could fit in behind Lewis and ahead of Bottas. The extra time in the pits didn’t cost him a thing. In fact, it was brilliant to pit right then, as you lose far less time if you pit immediately under a SC. Lewis was only 11 secs behind when the SC came out, and Ricciardo was able to pit and come out on his gearbox, since the field had slowed by the time he came out. In other words, he gained time over a normal pitstop, not lost, as you thought.

      1. Stuart Atkin says:

        Yes, think you are right. I was so wrapped up in events that it only registered as a delay. Anyway great analysis from James on a very action-packed race!

  82. Chromatic says:

    Where is Elie?

    Her take on this race would be interesting as always.

  83. Frederick says:

    “So why did they put him onto medium tires? They did this because Alonso had put on new softs, so there was little point in doing the same plan, as they felt Hamilton would not be able to overtake him.”

    Your statement above does not seem accurate. I believe the top ten drivers all used the max allocation of of softs in qualifying so Alonso’s tires were at least 3 laps old when he switched from the inters.
    The F1APP indicates Alonso never used a NEW set of softs for the entire race while Hamilton had access to 3 NEW sets of softs since he did not set a time in Q1. In addition, Hamilton did 31 laps on the first set of softs with a majority of the fastest lap times set after Vettel spun and he overtook the Toro Rosso. I cannot reasonable see how Mercedes thought Alonso could not run 34-35 laps on the second set of softs with a lighter Ferrari on a more forgiving track (temperature wise) on Sunday compared to Friday practice – besides as you so aptly stated THIS IS ALONSO! This reasoning lacks imaginative or logical thinking by Mercedes strategists.

    I believe Mercedes locked Hamilton into a two race stop strategy from the start and then REFUSED to alter this strategy after the safety car lottery came to his unexpected assistance while punishing his teammate (the pole sitter) – I suspect because Nico would have been mad as hell after all the consistency he has shown this year. By constantly trying to be AGNOSTIC between Nico and Lewis Mercedes has continued to make matters worse for both sides of the team.

    I hope the one result of Sunday’s mess is the realization that the SINGLE RACE STRATEGIST format at Mercedes has failed – since every couple of races the weather, race conditions, or every good/bad fate likes to shuffles the deck and all the best laid plans are CRAP. Toto, Paddy and the team strategist did not react wisely on Sunday and now forced one driver to look like an ass (bigger?) and the other like the teacher’s pet.

    1. KenC says:

      No doubt Nico and the other three leading cars were hurt by the first SC; however, Lewis wasn’t helped as much as you think. He was 13th before and after the first SC, that’s because even though Nico and Seb and Fernando and Bottas were disadvantaged, they still came out of the pits ahead of Lewis. Lewis gained some time on the leaders, as did every driver outside of the 4 unlucky ones, but he gained ZERO track position.

      1. Frederick says:

        The safety car advantage to Lewis was he DID NOT have to use his tires to chase down Nico since he was right there in front of him after the safety car pit stops had played out. Yes, technically all the top runners were affected by the safety car but there is a big difference between losing a 9 seconds lead in F1 and losing 2-3 seconds when your running lower down the rank. So track position was not gained but tire life was remarkably preserved AND since Nico could not pass the Toro Rosso it gave Lewis the opportunity to undercut his team mate when his pitted later in the race… which he did easily in his superfast run from lap 33 to lap 39.

        It was this push that I believe highlights Mercedes DUMB strategy decision error by failing to take the risk of putting Lewis on 2 soft tire stints for a historic victory from pit lane. It to me that appears Mercedes chose to believe Lewis could not win the race from lap 39 onwards and chose NOT to help him try. Why? will be the big unanswered question of this race.

    2. Mike from Medellin says:

      100% agree. Great post.

  84. John says:

    Great write-up (as usual). Thank you!

  85. Martin Horton says:

    I think the key to the race was Nico’s inability to pass JEV. That effectively ruined Rosberg’s race but also Hamilton’s. When there are 4 cars running close together, while 3 are allowed to use DRS only the second in line, Rosberg in this case, gains an advantage since those following are using DRS against a car using DRS, Thus, because Rosberg couldn’t pass JEV, it meant Hamilton couldn’t pass Vettel and so Lewis was being held up. When Rosberg pitted and Vettel spun, Hamilton caught JEV in a flash and passed him in a brilliant move, but by that time, Alonso was down the road a little. It’s really rather amusing that Rosberg is allowed to demonstrate that he can’t pass a Toro Rosso and no one comments on it, and at the same time he is impeding the progress of Hamilton, and yet, later Hamilton is expected to slow down and wait for Rosberg to let Rosberg pass. Rosberg NEVER looked like he was in a position to challenge Hamilton even though he was on the faster tire.

    Nico is, in my opinion, an excellent #2 driver, but he simply isn’t as good as Lewis. Lewis would have passed JEV and been off after Alonso. Had he passed Alonso, Ricciardo, even though coming on strong, might not have been able to catch Lewis. But for the bad luck for Lewis, Nico would be a distant second in the championship by now. If Lewis had won in Melbourne, at no time would Rosberg have been ahead of Lewis in points.

  86. Tim says:

    It does baffle me that they haven’t adopted the old ChampCar/NASCAR rule: When the safety car comes out, PIT LANE IS CLOSED.

    We should not have a situation where teams are making an instantaneous decision to get cars in to the pits.

    1. James Clayton says:

      I agree 100%. They could justify it in the days of refuelling – you can’t have cars running out of fuel. But these days there’s no need to be able to access the pit lane under the safety car.

    2. KenC says:

      Exactly, the Safety Car did the right thing in picking up the race leader, but because the SC comes out from the end of pit lane, it might happen more often than not that the race leader has passed pit entrance when the SC comes out. Thus it’s far more likely for this predestined bad luck to occur. The simple solution is to close pit lane until the leader has been picked up by the SC and then the field has packed up, just like they do it in the US, only then is pit lane opened and the lead car gets to choose whether to go in or not. The way it is now, is patently unfair and results in a gimmicky outcome. I’m baffled that people don’t seem to realize that Ricciardo won because of the two SC periods. Without them, he would have finished off the podium.

    3. Daryl says:

      I agree, it would make it fairer (preferred). But I do enjoy the way it mixes things up sometimes.

    4. Elie says:

      Great idea Tim, But F1 management like to even things up with all kinds of things including safety cars and I doubt they will allow “genuine racing”

  87. Craig in Manila says:

    Am getting very tired of all the talk about strategy.

    At least in rallying they tell you the name of the co-driver who is telling the driver what to do but, in F1, it’s some guy/girl sitting in front of a computer who then relays scenarios/strategies to the pitwall for deciding upon best one. Pitwall then tells driver to speed up or slow down or pit now and also decides what tyres he should use.

    Just remove pit-to-car communications : let the driver decide what he wants to do based purely on what he feels and what he wants.

    He can then be held accountable for the driving and the strategy and, at end of the year, we have a true driving champion and no questions about whether the Team were doing something to favor one driver over the other.

    1. aveli says:

      i see what you mean but I think there are many racing series which follow the principle you have described. f1 is different from any other racing series and enjoys the most following.

  88. Chris G. says:


    Do you think it might be possible to provide a bigger version of the Race History Graph? Or have it so you can click for a larger item?

    I think its great how you provide these strategy reports, but it would be nice to have a larger version to look at and see things a bit more clearly.

    Keep it up!

  89. Anand says:

    Few races back I commented on how James Allen glorifies Ricciardo. Now I eat humble pie. This affable Aussie is indeed a future potential champion. Looks like he has the speed, the guts, the finnese and head bolted to his shoulders. Apologies James! Kudos Dan!

  90. KenC says:

    “Look at Ricciardo’s pace (curve heading upwards) which from mid race onwards was a match for anyone in the field, note also how he built the winning advantage between the two safety car periods.”

    Love your work James, but this last comment makes absolutely no sense.

    The winning advantage was not built between the two safety car periods. Any advantage is negated by the safety car period. The winning advantage was gifted by virtue of the first SC giving Ricciardo track position. Once he got into first, like all frontrunners, look at Rosberg’s first 8 laps, with clear air, he’s going to exhibit good speed. That’s expected.

    As for Ricciardo’s mid-race pace, the only one who seems to exceed it is Rosberg, but of course, of the frontrunners he was the only other one on a 3-stop strategy. One wouldn’t expect the other podium finishers, Alonso or Hamilton to be on the same pace as they were on the 2-stop strategy.

  91. Johann says:

    The amount of bad luck Vettel has had this season is incredible. He just can’t seem to catch a break this season… And Ricciardo seems to have everything going for him..
    Not counting Austrilia.. Since Ricciardo got disqualified.
    1) Bahrain.. Power problems
    2) Spain.. gearbox fails.. starts P15
    3) Monacco… Seb running third, Kimi running 4th.. loo and behold, Vettel’s engine goes kaput and kimi picks up a puncture and Ricci inherits 3rd.
    4) Canada… Hulk holds Vettel up on in-lap.. speeds up for Ricci when Vettel is in the pits
    5) Austria.. ECU goes to sleep for 60 seconds
    6) Silverstone … unlucky with pit strategy..held up by Alonso
    7) Hungary… loses out to first SC.. Wrong mode at SC restart allows Alonso to overtake him.. Spins due to mistake by trying to push a little extra because Rosberg pitted … As always, things fall into place for Ricciardo..
    For those saying Hamilton pressured Vettel into making the mistake, I’d like to point out that it was actually Rosberg pitting that lap that forced Seb to push a little harder as Seb would have no DRS to defend against Hamilton.
    And everyone wants to read this as Ricciardo showing up Vettel??

  92. JohnBt says:

    Alonso’s 32 laps on the softs was astounding and Ric was such a smooth operator.
    And good on Lewis to be disobedient, I dug that a lot.

    To James and all the fans lets make a collective wish that we have a similar weather condition for Spa and thrill us with even a better race than Hungary. This year has been very very good, much more than I expected.

  93. Slick says:

    Toto Wollf has written on his blog about the alternative strategies:

    “When the safety car came out we chose to split the strategies, and offset ourselves to the cars ahead, in order to create opportunities to win, or worst case finish on the podium. When we did so, Nico was running two positions in front of Lewis. We put Nico onto an aggressive three-stopper, and Lewis onto a two-stop, with a long final stint on the prime tyre.”

    This is what I find disturbing about Mercedes strategy calls and makes them so different from Ferrari for example. They make a decision and change of circumstance simply means that they either persist with the decision or try to get back to a position where the original decision still has validity. As Toto says (and it seems quite a defensive statement), when they made the decision Nico was running two positions ahead of Lewis. But then two things changed after they had made this call; 1 Lewis ran a couple of laps longer than expected, 2 Nico was expected to be behind Lewis after the pit stop. Rather than react to the changed circumstances they instead chose to persist and attempted to get back on strategy by asking Lewis to move over. In their strategy world he simply wasn’t meant be there.

  94. Thompson says:

    Looking at the graph it’s clear Hamilton should have been pitted around lap 55. He was clearly ahead and would have stayed ahead of Rosberg.

    Although no one could foresee Vettels spin seeing it happened right after Rosberg pitted, after Hamilton cleared Verne – he had the Pace

    Looking at Rosberg after he pitted his pace on the soft, Hamilton could have won with DR 2nd possibly 3rd for Rosberg – Alonso 4th.

    Would have loved to be in the after race meeting, if a graph such has this was shown.

    Can the 2nd half of this epic season get any better.

    James, when are you going to do the half term report?

  95. Paige says:

    The issue I have, James, is one that maybe you can shed insight on.

    It was widely reported that there was very little difference between the soft and the medium in terms of degradation. However, there was a big difference in performance, which was obvious to see in the race.

    Given that there was not much of a difference in terms of degradation between the soft and mediums, I just don’t see any other call but to go with softs and hope that you can get by Alonso and eke the tires out to the end, while hopefully having enough of a gap on Ricciardo to take it easy after he gets past Alonso.

    Lewis probably could have gotten to Alonso within about 10 laps on the softs while not taking too much life out of them. With more grip on the tires at that point, it would have been easier for Lewis to get the run off the final corner and DRS him. There’s every chance he could have gotten by Alonso before Ricciardo made his final stop and pulled enough of a gap to look after the tires and have a prayer of holding off Ricciardo.

    And if the tires did go off, the worst that could have happened would have been that Ricciardo and Rosberg get by and finishes third- right where he finished anyways. The rest were too far back to have a go at him.

    1. James Allen says:

      There was a difference in tyre life though – the medium would go longer – hence the decisions on Vettel, Hamilton etc

      Remember degradation is the loss of performance over a series of laps, bit the tyres life

      1. Paige says:


        re: Degradation. Yes, that is the definition. My point about the performance of the softs vs. mediums was that the softs had more performance to begin with.

        There may have been a difference in reality. I was just going on what I had seen from sources over the weekend: one of which, ironically, was Lewis Hamilton, who made comments on Friday along the lines of mine. I’m perfectly happy if my comments were wrong, but it turns out that maybe they were not.

  96. Snowy says:

    When Fernando Alonso and another pitted (can’t remember who) Ted Kravitz pronounced “I don’t expect to see them again”. When Lewis Hamilton was given a set of medium tyres one lap later my heart sank. I instantly phoned my brother to discuss just what a hideous and fatal mistake Mercedes had made. If I could judge this in real time from the comfort of my armchair why can’t Mercedes with all their… oh wait… it is actually blatantly obvious why, they are arranging strategy by committee and incapable of flexible and intuitive action.

    The medium tyre should have been consigned to the waste bin at the start of the race, as it was by every team bar Williams and Mercedes. It was obvious to any one with half a brain that it wasn’t going to have any extra longevity because it was going to be worn out before it got up to temperature.

    I am not a rocket scientist but I know for a fact that I would have given Lewis an excellent chance to win that race. And I do not buy the “he’d never have caught Ricciardo” because Lewis had 3 sets of brand new softs and would have blown past him the same way Daniel actually got to do to Lewis.

  97. Jason says:

    All Mercedes did was deny us a grandstand finish. Lewis on soft tires would have been 1.5 – 2 seconds faster than Alonso in stint 1 and 3 seconds+ faster per lap in stint 2. Lewis had all of his softs left from qualifying. Something Nico did not.

    Lewis on a 3 stopper would have won this easily I feel. Sure it relies on overtaking but Dan made it work and are we saying his car is as good as the Merc? No. Or that he is as good as Lewis at overtaking? Maybe. We just don’t know but we were denied the charge from Lewis.

    1. RS says:

      More conservative thinking from Mercedes. I agree with you. I have another thought on strategies below

  98. Juan Diego says:

    Mr. Allen:

    You said: “Ricciardo did the main damage to Mercedes with his pace between the Safety Car periods…”, but I have to disagree here because any gap gained by pace before a Safety Car is cancelled after its deployment; only position matters in that situation. Ricciardo was leading between the Safety Car periods whereas the Mercedes had different luck: Rosberg lost one position but Hamilton gained seven positions.

    In my opinion, it was the three stops strategy that Ricciardo/Red·Bull chose right after the second Safety Car deployment what made him challenge Alonso and Hamilton for the win in those last laps. That short last stint on softs turned out to be 1.5-2 seconds faster than Alonso’s and Hamilton’s pace, which allowed Ricciardo, and also Rosberg later, to recover the gap deficit they had very quickly and, in Ricciardo’s case, to overtake them with a significant car advantage.

    Interesting that most teams decided to keep their drivers on track after the second Safety Car deployment; it makes me think that then they thought it was the safer strategy —even Red·Bull did it with Vettel.

    As an Alonso fan, I’m very disappointed with what happened after the first Safety Car deployment: its exact timing altered too much the order, as it put Ricciardo in the lead by chance, which gave him the fundamental advantage he needed to win: he went from P6 and 6 seconds behind Alonso to P1 and 6 seconds ahead of Alonso. I seriously doubt that he could have recovered all that even with the faster stops strategy he/Red·Bull chose after the second Safety Car.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      what position did ricciardo fill after the second safety car relative to alonso?

      1. Juan Diego says:

        P6 Ricciardo and P1 Alonso, but obviously Ricciardo with one more pitstop. Then it was when he/Red·Bull chose the three stops strategy that turned out to be the right one.

  99. Juan Diego says:

    Ok, in order not to contradict my initial point, I’ll reword my last paragraph dismissing time gaps: after the first Safety Car deployment, Ricciardo passed from P6 to P1, gained 5 positions, whereas Alonso passed from P4 to P8, lost 4 positions.

    Another fact of interest is that the 6 seconds deficit Ricciardo accumulated from Alonso during the first stint for being stuck behind Button despite he seemed faster, was precisely what made him, and Button, not to miss the pit entry when the first Safety Car was deployed.

  100. kn says:

    The pace car really shouldn’t have come out when it did. Poor decision. It was very entertaining hearing Rosberg cry over the radio about Hamilton not letting him pass. Hey Rosberg, maybe you should drive faster if you want to pass. Having said this, that was a rather bold move by Hamilton driving Rosberg off the road at the end of the race. The claws are out and I see a cat fight the rest of the season. Sweet.

    Ricciardo, what a race. You are a rock star.

  101. Pkara says:

    James ,
    Please note the above posting had a comical theme (though the commentary was acceptable however excited the chap became)

    I like the fact this posting is still awaiting moderation…

    As you couldn’t comment on a fellow colleague :-D

    So totally understand the neutral silence :-)

  102. RS says:

    When watching the race, one thought crossed my mid re: Hamilton’s stop on lap 38-39. I understand that Merc was responding to the Alonso’s attempt to block the undercut. But from what I was seeing Hamilton’s lap times were not dropping off. Given that Alonso was coming back out into traffic, would it not make more sense for Hamilton to run a few laps in the clear and close the gap to Alonso ? He may even have come out ahead after the pit stop.

    It certainly looked like Mercedes was not aggressive enough in their pit strategies for this race. I understand the call to go to mediums. I have no problem with that decision at the time. But it doesn’t seem that they adjusted tire strategies to what the track (and lap times) were showing. Hamilton’s car at that point was showing longer life than expected on the soft tires.

    Of course this is all speculation, maybe Hamilton was complaining about the set of softs he was on.

    And I’m biased, I think that Mercedes strategies have not showed much in race adjustments. Maybe they need Ross Brawn back :) Make him strategist for whoever qualified 2nd :) But then again when you have the best car by far, you don’t develop aggressive in race strategies….

    1. KRB says:

      I have a major problem with the decision to go to mediums at the 2nd stop. That decision was made before Rosberg’s stop, when Hamilton was still stuck two positions behind him! But when Rosberg pitted, and emerged in traffic, Hamilton was able to jump him through Vettel spinning out and then passing Vergne. So then, with Hamilton ahead of NIco by a pit-stop and then some, and with no potential traffic to drop into, and with Alonso taking options on lap 38, it should’ve been easy for them to change the strategy and switch Lewis to a 3-stopper, the same as Rosberg. They would’ve had a full minute to decide on this … I think 5 sec’s would’ve been enough for me to size up the situation on the pitwall. It had the extra benefit as well of making sure that the two drivers wouldn’t intersect on track.

      I hope Wolff and Lowe are pounded with this missed opportunity scenario, from now until the next race. How they could miss out on such a historic opportunity (a win from pitlane!) is beyond belief.

  103. Jonno says:

    I understood it was a known fact that tyres last longer at the end of a race. The cars weigh less and the track is rubbered in. If Mercedes haven’t caught on, their stats men need sacking.

    As for not believing Hamilton’s Mercedes running the same tyres as Fred’s Ferrari was at some disadvantage – that is beyond belief. No car is faster than a Mercedes so far this year when they are on the same tyres after the same number of laps.

    Can anyone explain why Mercedes have 2 ‘bosses’ on the pit wall during the races? Isn’t Lowe there to make strategy calls during the races. Is Woolf there to look after his boy, because he’s only getting in the way from I can make of it.

  104. Jonno says:

    Oh forgot. Early in the race Rosbery forced Bottas right off the track. He needs reminding that if you do unto others, it’s gonna get done to you.

  105. kenneth chapman says:

    must admit to having a chuckle when i read of ricciardo’s frivolous comment after he put the pass on alonso, ‘that’s how it’s done, ladies’. great sense of humour at a critical time of the race! cool guy.

  106. Rob Ducker says:

    James you say “So why did they put him onto medium tyres? They did this because Alonso had put on new softs, so there was little point in doing the same plan, as they felt Hamilton would not be able to overtake him”
    So what chance did he have in overtaking him with the mediums? None.

    Surely the real reason is that they didn’t feel that Hamilton would be able to run his softs to the end of the race and that he and Rosberg would then be competing side by side for the last 30 laps – which they didnt want. Hamilton had 2 sets of brand new soft tires in the garage.

  107. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    Off topic, now they would thinking, every team would cheat in the last race for 50 points, specially the underdogs of the WDC, and after that last race in Abu Dhabi who cares if they cheat…
    That first last race for 50 points would be pretty interesting… Could Ricciardo catch up?

  108. BobbyT says:

    There was no mention of McLaren’s unfortunate roll of the dice with the Intermediates after the first safety car. That call took them out of the race completely.

    Nevertheless I love the action the safety car brings, I’m not sure standing starts from next year are the way to go but what I do know is that if I was the one making the calls on the pit wall as to what to do in a race like we had in Hungary I would certainly get it wrong (every time I’m afraid)….

  109. BenM says:


    I stumbled across this, this evening whilst reading up on algorithms for a project I’m working on.


    I (and I think a lot of your readers) would be fascinated to learn more about how F1 teams use these sorts of tools to make decisions during races. Perhaps a future article?


  110. FLEX_BANKAI says:

    Simulation of the 2014 Hungarian GP will be the reference test as is the Kobayashi Maru for Starfleet: Impossible to pass!!


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