Webber losing ground at starts: Canadian GP Strategy preview
Webber losing ground at starts: Canadian GP Strategy preview
Posted By: James Allen  |  09 Jun 2011   |  5:09 am GMT  |  78 comments

The analysis of the way the teams are likely to approach this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix shows that qualifying will have little importance and it will be all about running your fastest race, as overtaking is set to be very easy with the double DRS zone.

Webber: Losing ground at the starts (Red Bull)

But analysis of the driver’s start performance, a key factor in race strategy, shows that after six races Mark Webber is the worst starter in the field, having dropped 11 places so far. As his margin behind team mate Sebastian Vettel has grown this season, from hundredths of a second to tenths, he can ill afford to give away more ground to Vettel and other rivals at the start.

Williams have also had some bad starts, giving away 18 places in the first five races, but in Monaco they started to reverse that trend with Maldonado making up a place.

In terms of strategy planning, we are likely to see teams trying to save as many new sets of soft and supersoft tyres as possible in qualifying because the key this weekend will be to run your fastest race and that means spending as little time as possible on old tyres. We should see the front runners doing four stops for this reason. The soft and supersoft lasted well in Monaco but with the many traction events on the lap in Montreal, the wear will be a lot higher.

The expectation is that the supersoft will be half a second per lap faster than the soft, but for how long will it stay that much faster? That is the key question for the race

Part of the reason for this is that with two DRS zones, on the long straight to the final corner and then the pit straight as well, overtaking will be very easy. So the best strategy is to plan to do your fastest possible race.

It should be a thriller.

For a look at all the factors that will go into how the strategy will be planned for Sunday’s Grand Prix go to UBS Strategy Briefing and click on the Canada circuit map for the Briefing, which is prepared by me in conjunction with strategists from several of the F1 teams.

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I think that the safety car might play a role in this race given that this circuit is quite friendly with Bernd Maylander. There are many sections without run off areas plus the wall of former champions (the new champs don't kiss it that much).

The other question is will it be a record 5 stop strategy given the bad treatment the bullet-proof Bridgestones had last year. Some suggest the super-soft will hit the cliff after 2 laps !

More seriously, if the tyre degradation is a huge issue, what would happen ? Will the FIA reduce the race distance for the sake of safety. No one seems concerned but unless the circuit has been resurfaced, I fear for the degradation. High degradation will be Button one and only chance to win a race.

In this race, I predict McLaren/Ferrari/RedBull in race trim. I predict Jenson for the victory and I predict that Hamilton won't criticize any driver or steward or even his team.

P.S : my second prediction is much riskier than my 1st


The significance of this race for both Mclaren drivers is incredibly high in my estimation, not only from a WDC points perspective but also in terms of their partnership and the public perception of each driver.

Hamilton desperately needs to bounce back from his shambolic Monaco weekend. Many consider him favourite to win in Montreal and with good reason. In the past he has demonstrated a propensity to win the next race following a dismal weekend and his record at Montreal is stellar to say the least with 3 poles and 2 wins since 2007.

Button meanwhile surely must sense that this weekend offers his best opportunity yet to take the fight to Hamilton in a straight up race at what is undoubtedly one of Hamiltons strongest circuits.

He will carry the confidence from his strong performance in Monaco through to this race where Mclaren are expected to have the best race package of all teams. When also taking account of other factors such as ease of overtakes, the potential for high tyre degradation and the extreme probability of heavy rain on race day it seems that everything is falling in to place for a supreme Button performance.

As such I expect that he will be quite bullish this weekend.

In reference to the psyche's of the two Mclaren drivers, qualifying for this race could prove to be very significant.

If Button was to somehow out-qualify Hamilton at this circuit I reckon that Hamilton would be massively despondent and it could be a catalyst for a shift in the balance of performance between the two heading into the remainder of the season.

Incidentally the average qualifying position for both drivers is currently exactly equal at 3.83 with Hamilton currently holding a 4-2 lead over Button on outright qualifying performance.

Such a result would also invariably turn heads amongst the viewing audience, even amongst some of Buttons many detractors. As a Button fan primarily, I still expect Hamilton to beat him in qualifying at this race but it would be epic if he didn't.

I hope dearly that for the first time this year we bear witness to a race with both drivers on the same strategy and starting from close positions on the grid so finally we have a good example of the relative race pace of each driver this season.

It's going to be a stonker of a race!


Jo Torrent, at timea I respect your views

However I bet London to a brick on that Allonso

will have first win of a current season at the

Canada GP,are you game enough to reconsider

your prediction.


I will be very happy if your prediction proves true. I don't understand "I bet london to a brick"

When you'll have more experience of F1 you'll respect my opinions always rather than at times 😉


Mr Torrent,in my bit of woods which is Oz

at the Horse race when is a certainity it

can only loose if its brake a leg,saying goes

city of London to a house brick on, that it will win.

I raced not the open wheelers,but so called

tin-tops,I attend when I could most of F1 meetings it did not matter where, I witness the death of R Petersen,and whether you agree

or not the F1 today is not even a replica of

raw F1 of yesteryear.


They're not expecting a worrying high level of degradation. The Pirelli tyres wear differently to the Bridgestones and so, just because Bridgetone suffered here last year, doesn't necessarily mean Pirelli will be catastrophic. High wear, and four stops seems the word on the streets.


I concur, I too think the safety car will make an appearance (or two) on Sunday, which will mess up certain drivers strategies and\or lose them places whilst queueing behind their team-mate in the pits as all n sundry dive in for new rubber, which is why (imo) quali is still important as having grid\track position over your team-mate generally means you have first call on stopping... unless of course, you're Mark Webber.

I'd like to see a Button victory, however I think Hamilton and Alonso will be ultra-focused this weekend. The both know they need to win now to have any chance of the WDC this season, both go well in Canada too.

Canada's always a good race though, always thrills n spills with overtaking... so this year should be even more mad. Bring it on! 🙂


I think I read here that Pirelli were planning to bring the same compounds at Montreal as at Monaco?


Off topic : questions



would you please ask Dominicali why he voted for Bahrain race in the FIA council and against with FOTA ?

would you please thank Mark Webber for the quality of his understanding of the world and for his courage. He would've made a great champion.

final question, can you tell us if Bernie wants TODT out of the office or if he wants only to weaken the Frenchman or if it is my imagination.

If it is not my imagination, is it related to TODT wanting more money for the FIA ?

Off topîc : observation


I was stunned when I heard an English minister criticizing the FIA position on the Bahrain race. He is the only minister worldwide to comment on the race.

It is not that the other countries don't care about Bahrain but they simply don't care about F1.

The recent reactions from the press worldwide show how F1 has become an almost exclusively English business. It is a tribute to England success in a very highly competitive business but in the same time it is not good for such an international sport to be dominated by a single country.

The reaction of the French press was very telling in that respect being very discrete on one hand and even when mentioning the FIA decision to put the race back not even a single article I read put the slightest blame on Jean TODT. Some like Libération & Figaro preferred to blame Bernie instead as the one who wanted the race back.

It tells you how much in disarray is the French F1. Their only successful figure is Jean TODT & the journos patriotism prevent them from blaming him.

Instead some like Jean-Louis Moncet, who spent decades in F1 emphasized the possibility of Spa & French Paul Ricard to be alternative GPs in the future.


Another point I noticed in the BBC interview of TODT was his lack of charisma and his absolutely lack of communications skills. That is a point where Mosley is absolutely magic being very articulate, very persuasive, etc...

In the Ferrari days, TODT suffered with the Italian press and he was saved thanks to LdM charisma and flamboyance. TODT did the job, LdM the communication in a way even if it is not as simple as that.

Now he is on his own, the head of the FIA and his communication skills won't save him from any crisis as happened this time. A weakness Bernie is probably well aware of.


I agree with a lot of what you wrote and thought I too would add my thoughts on Todt:

This whole episode reminds me a lot of Todt's handling of Austria 2002 (only of course Bahrain is a much more serious situation). In both instances Todt has been shown to be completely incapable of having a balanced view of a situation; incapable of seeing the wood for the trees - his mind getting completely stuck on one thing without seeing the bigger picture. Back in 2002 this meant getting Schumacher 4 more (rather unnecessary) points come what may, and to hell with what anyone else thought. In 2011 this means getting Bahrain back on the calendar come what may; what do human rights matter compared to a Grand Prix?!

When I was at school, we were taught the importance of balancing views; learning to obtain a variety sources of information and not taking one as the gospel truth, recognising potential for bias, etc. This continues to university and employment; it would not be adequate to reference just one source for a report. But Todt is completely incapable of this. How could he have possibly thought it adequate to use that FIA report on Bahrain as his only source of information? A high school child would have been taught to take a look at who was showing that FIA representative around the country, and to balance it with opposing evidence - it's not like it's hard to find. Instead he still just keeps on quoting that single reference as if it was written by God.

Yes, a good leader needs strong leadership. But they also need a balanced and overall view of a situation and to make decisions according to the overall situation. Todt does the opposite, he solely concentrates on a single element, and to hell with anything else that might scupper that, however important it might be, however strong the evidence is, however wide ranging the repercussions.

Todt was of course immensely successful at Ferrari, and although I didn't agree with all he did, when he became FIA president I had high hopes that he would come out of that sort of trance he was in at Ferrari, and recognise that running the FIA was a role that needed a much more balanced approach; to run an organisation of many stakeholders, not just one. But he has shown himself completely incapable of that.

The fact that he didn't even know that to change the calendar he would need agreement from the teams was pretty embarrassing, and perhaps highlights again that he can't see the detail around his single aims.


I'd be interested James to know whether you think this Webber starting issue is a new one.

Without doing an in-depth analysis, starts would seem to me to have always been an issue for Mark.

Not necessarily in the initial getaway, but in what seems from the other end of the television to look like an overly tentative approach at the first turn.

I'm not sure if it's braking early, or being a little overcautious, but for a guy who has put some bold moves on people at other times of the race, he often seems to come off on the wrong end of the exchange in turn 1.


Bear in mind, Scott, that if the car you're driving has been set up in the pits not to make a good start, then you'll be in amongst more other cars at the first corner, and in the braking zone, therefore will have fewer options to make up, or evan hold, ground. It's all to do with the team not wishing to have Mark upsetting Wetils chances!!!



A McLaren win on the cards but how I wish its Button's rather than the ever complaining Lewis'.

That said, teams will bring rear wing updates to reduce the drag as much as possible and enhance traction off the corners because in Montreal, you don't have a fast sweeping corner which needs good downforce. And because of exactly that, I double Vettel or Redbull can mount a challenge for victory.

Hamilton can ill afford to not win after an erratic Monaco GP which he should have won with the machinery beneath him. There are chances of rain and on changing conditions, Button could match anyone and hence, I wouldn't mind him walking away with the glory, me being a Vettel fan.


Two DRS zones.. Twice as much froth and bubble.

You know what's disturbing: this issue of manufactured overtakes, manufactured pace differences due to high tyre wear, is all going to quietly rescind as we all become accustomed and acclimatized to pop "racing". We'll forget that "running the fastest race", as James says, once meant a sprint without arbitrary restrictions to produce an illusory spectacle. And we'll forget what it once took to pull off an overtake.

I only hope that someday the sizzle fizzles, and we long for a return to something more substantive than a colorful light show.


Did I read somewhere Alonso saying that with the 2 overtaking zones, a driver will be able to use the same position close behind another car to use it twice ? In other words, he can pass with it, then use it again to stop being repassed. Is this really right ?


The way I understand it is the following car must be within 1 second of the leading car at the timing loop prior to the first DRS zone. Once the car has been confirmed to be within 1 second, DRS is activated for driver in the DRS zone (again probably tied to the timing loops?). So yeah, the passing driver in DRS zone 1 may be able to use DRS again in zone 2.

DRS is silly...


Personally I think qualifying is always important especially if you can pole it for then a driver can dictate a race & besides it ensures a driver avoids the chaos that may happen behind him in terms of crashes or losing position and if am not mistaken, doesn't the pole guy usually win Canada.

For a guy that has lost places & not shown up during qualifying this season, Mark Webber's Twitter name is rather deceptive though Canada presents Webber's best chance for victory & if he doesn't win there, we won't win anywhere coz Vettel won't appear in Canada after his good run, I also I believe he's due a visit in the Wall Of Champions.

Jenson too has a good chance of victory in Canada more so after Monaco slipped from his fingers.

Unfortunately Hamilton has no chance of bagging Canada for he won it last year & has a long over due meeting with one of the Canadian walls.

Hamilton will come into his own from Valencia onwards


There was almost no substantial evidence to the claims you just made! To say Hamilton has no chance of winning because he won it last year!?!?! It's such a baseless comment! Imagine if a journalist wrote that!

Due to the tracks characteristics, McLaren and Ferrari should be right up there with Red Bull here, and probably faster in race trim. Vettel's been so supreme this year though that he could still pull it off. However, logic states this should be a McLaren/Hamilton victory but Alonso will be eager to make amends for what could easily have been his victory last year.


Atleast he isn't presenting opinion as fact, just opinion as opinion.

WEbber is better on the brakes hene why he out qualified Vettel last year at this circuit amognst other places. Monza too.

Vettel is better getting on the throttle.

Webber's problem seems to be that he brakes way to early for the corner. He nearly lost another place in Turkey I think to hamilton as he braked way too early.


Yes, but he's not a journalist. That's why reading posts on forums like this, and this one in particular, are such fun - some of the comments make better points than any journalist ever does (partly, imo, because the journos are part of the circus and might lose friends and connections if they go too far with criticism - mind you, having said that, I see Roebuck put his foot in it on the Motorsport blog by calling Lewis 'boy' in a slightly demeaning way...), some are funny, some irrationalor weird, and some downright demented.

Monkey Nutter says: let the nutters have their say too. Hamilton to win in Canada (dry or wet, but anyone's race if the SC comes out..)


MN: spot on, it's also funny when the other nutters have their say and fanboys swoop in like archangels attacking an defending as if the original poster was blaspheming holy scripture.

It hurts to say but if James is right about the strategy this weekend it seems Lewis will be at the top when the dust settles. Button only shines when the fastest strategy requires nursing tires, he has proven almost every race that he can make a strategy with one less stop work but it has only paid dividends on select tracks and even then he still hasn't won a race this way. One could even argue that his closest shout was monaco and he did more than the average number there. I would love to see him win this weekend, but "fastest race" really isn't in his vocabulary.


@Monkey Nutter

Well said! I couldn't have put it better myself. Nine times out of ten, using logic in sport is craziness in itself. Sport is illogical & understandable.

@Craig D

The evidence I have that Hamilton has no chance at winning in Montreal for Lewis wins that race every once in two years

Also if I may remind you, whenever Mclaren & Hamilton in particular are overwhelming favourites to win on a track before the event, something horrible always happens (Have you forgotten Monaco already)

So don't put your money on Lewis winning this race but rather place all your money on Hamilton winning the WDC - Trust me!

Grayzee (Australia)

James, Is there a regulation that drivers MUST set a qualifying time, in order to start the race. Do they have to do so in each of the sessions they progress to? I would hate to see drivers not bother to do a qualifying run in Q3 because they would be happy to start P10 and save a set of tyres.(Or in Q1 and 2 for that matter!)


This is the rule (from the Formula 1 website):

31.2 No driver may start in the race without taking part in at least one practice session on the second day of practice.

Practice sessions on the second day includes "Qualifying Practice".

So, drivers can skip any session they like, but if everyone does, the final tie-breaker for starting order is the number of the car. That makes me think everyone would at least enter the track, since the time when one does that is also a tie-breaker.


Both Massa and Schumacher have started tenth in races this year having not set times in Q3. They did go out on track but aborted the runs without setting a time, i.e. out lap, started the hot lap but then pitted.


Could it be because his KERS has failed every race this year? Starts have always been an achillies heel for Webber for some reason...


Meh, I have just been reminded that Jenson & Webber have never won in North America. Damn, this fact cancels out those two from victory immediately considering their age & the time they have been in the sport.

Okay lets make a recap, out of the running are, Alonso, Vettel, Hamilton, Webber & Jenson.

OMG who really is going to win this Canadian race? I think for the first time we're going to get a random person bag their first win possibly Rosberg or God please Schumacher or Kobayashi 🙂


I suspect it won't be decided by superstition!


@Col There's a fine line between superstitions & stats and you know what they say, numbers don't lie


Really? There's lies, damn lies and statistics and below all that there is superstition. Maybe if Button or Webber drive the whole race with their fingers crossed they might have a chance?

Seán Craddock

James what do you think about the double DRS zone? Personally I think it's going to make overtaking even easier. I predict we're gonna see a more confusing and easier race than Turkey with more pit stops and easy overtakes.

In my opinion, I think that if one car uses it's DRS to overtake from the hairpin to the chicane, the second car should be allowed to use it on the pit straight.

I don't think the FIA understand what fans want. We don't just want to see cars overtake, we want to see BATTLES! What's the fun if one person is left defenseless?

It's like what Jeremy Clarkson says, the FIAT Panda can easily overtake a Ferrari F430 when I'm doing 60mph and it's doing 55

What I love seeing is people attacking at the next corner after being passed. I think we can all admit the the Hamilton-Raikkonen battle at the end of Spa 2008 kept us on the edge of our seats


I must be getting old as I loosing interest in this seasons F1 championship - 'overtaking should be easy' - this isn't what F1 should be and it's not what I want to see.

Soon we'll have 4 cylinder engines in F1 and soon after that larger rim wheels and longer lasting engines etc etc

Reading his forum as I do daily it's clear many here don't go back that far regards F1...............guess it must be me then?

I say free up the rules, bring back an element of (real) danger (the run off areas on so many modern tracks are so dumbing down F1) and unreliability that so used to spice up races right till the end and let the races such as Hamilton race (maybe them more would do the same), how Senna would fair in today's F1???? In my view he would be constantly up against the stewards.......


I think McLaren are going to be the team to beat in Canada, or otherwise speaking Hamilton is going to be the driver to beat in Canada. I say they will be 4-5 tenths in front of Red Bull and Ferrari, with Renault possibly in the gap between these two and Mercedes if they can prove Monaco was a one-off bad display. Then it will be Force India, followed by Williams, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Lotus, Virgin and HRT.

So my tip for the win in Canada is Hamilton, followed by Button in second in a McLaren 1-2, followed by Alonso, Vettel, Webber, Massa, Petrov, Schumacher, Rosberg and Di Resta.


If it is true that this race is going to be overtakey, I hope at least one of the drivers tries to qualify as high as they can in qualy2 and then save all their nice new and shiny tyres for the race. This might be good for a upper mid field team like Renault or even Massa. It would be interesting for someone to try it on purpose rather than being forced into it by circumstance.

Maybe they'll all do it - that would make a dull qualifying. But after all it's the race that's the thing.


Kobayashi for a podium?


Hi James,

A question. Why do the teams still need to use both types of tyre, option and prime? I was under the impression that the rule was brought in to stop teams running the whole race on one set as the Bridgestones were so wear resistant? Now, with such a big difference between the grades, why not allow the teams to do what they want? Run 5 stops on the super soft options or 3 stops on the harder prime. Who cares whether they run both types? For decades, teams had the choice and the racing was great. Seems like a rule that's a little out of date.


I also question the need for parc ferme. With engine restrictions etc can't do quali specials anymore. I think they should just make a semi-ferme rule where teams can make setup change between quali and race but can't change major components or bodywork (unless damaged and then like for like).


Agreed, also why do we still have the rule that the top 10 must start on their quali tyres while those below can choose whatever.

With the big differances in option/prime tyres and the big advantage from a brand new set of tyres, qualifying 9th or 10th must be a big disadvantage relative to those starting 11th or 12th.


I second this.

It does seem strange to keep the rule requiring teams to run both types of tyre given the levels of degradation we've seen and hence, multiple stops.

I suppose that if the rule was changed now, it would make a difference at certain circuits but less so on those with highly abrasive surfaces, as very few teams would have enough sets of options to do the full distance... perhaps Sauber?

I think the biggest impact would be on qualifying, which is already suffering in 2011, as teams would seek to save yet another set of options for the race.

My personal opinion is that the cars competing in Q3 should all be given a free set of new options for the first set of options that they use in Q3. The team would then start on the set with which they set their fastest time and return the other to Pirelli before the race.

That way, we would see 2 qualifying runs from each driver in Q3.

If we just introduced a free set to be returned after Q3, then the teams would surely just use those for a single run and bank the other set of boots for Sunday.

I’m sure Pirelli can stretch to 10 more sets of options per GP – FIA, FOTA, Pirelli - please make it happen.


Good question and one that will surely come up tonight at the Fans Forum in Montreal


The race could be a thriller but will overtaking be so easy that the race becomes an exaggeration of Turkey with people complaining the race was too artificial and wacky?!


The wackier the better! 🙂 So I'm expecting Dick Dastardly and Mutley, the Slag Brothers, Prof Pat Pending et al to make an appearance 😉



To be fair to Webber he lost a load of places in Malaysia because his kers wasn't working.


If qualifying - in Canada - is of less consequence, then surely the start of the race is too?


I think Lewis will get it together in Montreal. And I'll be pleased for him.

I know he moans on but such is life. We all moan, don't we?

Plus, however badly he handled his emotions after Monaco, I think the boy has a point... Especially on the Maldonado pass; he shouldn't have been punished for that.

Canada will favour the McLarens, who have looked pretty racy even at the circuits that are Red Bull bankers. Lewis is too fast a driver not to make it count and he'll romp away with it.

I love Jenson but I cannot see him beating Lewis in a straight fight on pace. The track is too wide, with too many places to overtake and if we see a 'normal' race then I'd put my money sqaure on Lewis's nose.

Fernando will put up a good fight I'm sure but I can't see - even with his mighty skills - a way of keeping a marauding McLaren behind, particularly with two drag-strips and double DRS zones added to the mix.

Let's not discount young Sebatian in his 'Bull. It wouldn't be the first time that he's won when he had no right to but for the sake of the season, a good, old-fashioned DNF would breathe much-needed life into the WDC.

Oh how virtuous that would be... But knowing this season, lady luck would turn up half-cut and it'd be Mark left spluttering along with a box of neutrals instead.

Whatever happens, I cannot wait to find out what this wonderful circuit has in store for us. What a great track.

Roll on Sunday.


Re. It being easy to pass - I wonder if this will be true in the race? I agree, on paper it should be so, but we have had a few other races this year that didn't play out exactly as expected.

If it is easy to pass - I look forward to it. It's been interesting so far this year to have races where tyres / drs have had a varying impact on the race strategy.

And yes, let's hope Webber can make a better start for a change.


It's easier to pass in Montreal anyway, without DRS and tyre variations


Does anybody know why we have two DRS zones? With overtaking being easier than normal at Montreal anyway, it seems rather pointless and does run the risk of being a farce.

Also, if a car gets past in the first DRS zone, can the driver then use it in the second to try and repass? I think this will be a very important point in determining the outcome of a race which more often than not puts up surprises.

As for who will win, I havnt a clue, crystal ball's broken.


my take is that the DRS regs are left open each race (as opposed to being fixed for the entire season) so that the FIA can handicap the team leading the championship (at the moment redbull). if redbull keep winning i'd expect both more and longer DRS zones. the FIA are just trying to help the other teams catch up.


I dont know why the have two zones but yes,

once acticated the overtaking car can use DRS in both. So if it has completed the overtaking in the first zone, it can use it again in the second zone to pull away...


That is ridiculous. The rule should be that they can only be allowed to activate the DRS once per lap, either before or after the hairpin, but not both. Either that or have a second activation point at the apex of the hairpin for the second straight.

Edward Valentine

It's very difficult to pick a winner alright especially if the rain that is forecast actually falls. If this is the case I'd say any one of 12 drivers could win it, basically anyone from Williams up.


quick question, does anybody know if DRS is allowed to be deployed if it rains?

Michael Grievson

i dont think so

Edward Valentine

It is not allowed to be used in wet conditions. As soon as the track is declared wet by race control the DRS is disabled.

Edward Valentine

It looks there will be rain on Sunday. Does anyone know what the tyre deg is for the Pirelli wets? Also what are the grip levels for the wets and inters? I remember that the Bridgestone inters were very versatile and that at most tracks drivers could stay on them upto around 15-20 seconds of a dry laptime.

Also, due to the chaotic nature of the Canadian GP I think that there will be an unusual winner on Sunday. I would say perhaps Heidfeld or Rosberg may land themselves on the top step... Stranger things have happened.


I wonder how drivers will set up their cars, make them as slippery as possible in order to try and cancel out the double DRS zone, I dont want to see a situation that Rosberg had in Turkey where he pretty much just gave up as he knew he was defeated before the corner.


my 2 tips for the weekend are for mercedes to be very competitive in q3 thanks to the best drs and usually good braking and traction but poor tyre wear in the race. i think the tyres will hold up pretty well also. im guessing a 2 or 3 stopper.


It seems Mark Webber is able to drive the car better than anyone when the car is light at the end of the race, but not so ggod as others (Vettel) when the car is loaded up. He has the fastest lap for 4 out of the last 5 races, all at the end of the race. Bring back the fuel stops, so strategy makes the race even more interesting and unpredictable.


I think his late pace is usually down to fresher tyres.


They all had fresh tyres at the end of the last race in Monaco as they were able to change on the grid for the restart, and he still got fastest lap. Only difference in the cars was the weight from less fuel, as compared to the beginning of the race. I now think that Mark has had better times in early practice where they run light on fuel and not as quick as Seb on a full tank for final qualifying. maybe he needs to have a lower centre of gravity (too tall lol)


Do you think that it's possible RB are giving Webber a slightly different starting software setup to Vettel; favouring their "Golden Boy" and avoiding any of last years conflict?


why would they do such a thing like that for and harm there chances in the constructors championship where the most money is?


Not likely but it is possible, because with Webber they know they can count on him to get back to say 3rd or 4th with that car after a bad start, so they know they can focus on one car only (Vettel's) & still bring home the constructors championship.

Other major rivals (Mclaren & Ferrari) do not have this luxury as they do not seem to have fast enough cars for BOTH drivers to be able to finish ahead of both Red Bulls in any given race, hence this tactic mentioned could definately be used by Red Bull without it affecting their constructors championship challenge so much.

The key will be to watch & see whether Webber "suddenly" starts having better starts & races in the 2nd half of the season after the (drivers) championship outcome becomes a forgone conclusion.....But I'd bet if you asked Webber right now where the extra speed Vettel seems to have on occasion (when it counts) comes from, he'd give you that slightly puzzled & annoyed look in reply that would tell us he doesn't get it either & is simply trying to do the best he can in the situation he is in....


I also expect the SC to make an appearance. The double DRS zone with only 1 activation point is ridiculous though, because it's not exactly impossible to overtake into the final chicane as it is, and the DRS will make that even easier. The bonkers part of that is that because it's only 1 detection point, if you get ahead in the first DRS zone, you'll seemingly still be able to use the DRS to pull away on the start/finish straight, which is absolutely stupid. However, DRS may not end up being used in the race this weekend, because there's most definitely a risk of rain for Sunday, and of course, if it rains, the DRS is disabled.


Also in response to the 1st post (Jo Torrent), the FIA wouldn't be able to reduce the race distance based on safety for a few reasons. 1 is that we've seen this year that degredation on Sunday can be alot more/alot less than originally predicted even after Friday running, so in that respect it'd be impossible to do so. Also, as far as I'm concerned, the tyres 'falling off the cliff' doesn't mean safety is compromised, or the drivers are in any more danger, it merely means they'll have less grip, and go slower, but it wouldn't be any more dangerous in my opinion. Don't know if you're allowed to put tyres on that've already been used during the course of the race, but if drivers pitted so much that that became an issue, then I'd imagine if the rules allowed it, they'd be told "stick on a previously used set, they're not dangerous".

The other Ian

They could use Intermediates, if they run out of Dry weather tyres.


James, ...[mod] as a loyal Australian I cannot let the slur against MW stand unchallenged. Has anyone else survived two high speed somersaults and landings in a forest in a Merc sports car AND been game to stay behind the wheel? A very sloppy search of Google reveals that by comparison Seb Vettel's worst racing incident was to wear a pair of underpants that were half a size too small (apparently H Marko popped them in Seb's locker by mistake, if you get my drift).


is a traction event the same as a corner? thanks james 🙂


exit of a slow speed corner or chicane


Last season, Christian Horner said Webber was riding the mother of all hot streaks. A little cruel but he pegged it. Webber's a very good driver but he's up against a pretty crowded field of great drivers. Without a hot streak, it's going to be long season.


Just a thought,

Since Redbulls real strength is qualifying, could the inclusion of an extra DRS zone be an attempt to lessen the importance of qualifying position and hence negate this dominance and bring the championship alive a bit?


James, excellent strategy preview, as usual. Montreal is indeed a track where pole position is not as important as on most other tracks. I recall Kimi winning from 7th on the grid a few years ago. Would you tip Lewis for the race win here ?


If one of the DRS zones is in the back straight, we're gonna have some fun battles. Breaking into the the "wall of champions" chicane is going to be crucial, and might also have some shunts there. Cant wait for this race!! It doesnt hurt that I dont have to wake up early or stay up late to watch qualy AND the race.


It's always assumed DRS will make it easy... well that may be the case for 1 to 1 drivers, but when there is a line of them then they all have DRS bar the front guy, and he has an easier time as the drivers behind are looking in their rear view mirrors to try to make sure they are not overtaken..


Where is the activation zone for the second DRS? Are we going to see DRS overtakes into the final corner and then repasses using the DRS on the pit-straight?


Ok, so Webbers starts are poor.

Have you got anything more for us James ?

I'd like to know why ?

Im sure there would be a lot of people asking you

for a more in-depth analysis if it were lord Hamilton.

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