German GP shows who’s getting on top of the tyre “lottery”
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Jul 2012   |  3:50 pm GMT  |  157 comments

The top three cars separated by less than three seconds with a handful of laps to go; it’s the ideal scenario for F1 racing and this is what we had in Germany.

All three leaders had followed the same strategy of soft/medium/medium tyres, but this was a weekend which showed a lot about how far many teams have come in getting on top of the Pirelli tyres, which were described by some as a “lottery” early in the season.

The tyre selection for Hockenheim was soft and medium, the same as in Melbourne and four other events this season. In many ways the race track and its demands on the tyres were comparable with Melbourne, but it showed how much progress some of the teams have made and how others are still struggling to balance tyre temperatures and this is affecting their strategies and how much impression they can make on the race.

Earlier in the season some teams experienced a difference in temperature from front to rear tyres of as much as 20 degrees, which played havoc with balance. Ferrari, Red Bull and Lotus lead the way in terms of progress made on balancing temperatures, Sauber have been pretty good all along, while McLaren have lost out recently but are now getting closer and Mercedes still seem to have significant problems.

In Germany there wasn’t much to choose between the performance of the soft and medium tyres. It came down to preference, although some teams that go well on the soft found that over a stint the soft would be around 2 seconds faster.

It was certainly faster in the opening laps of a stint than a medium and this raises the question of whether Vettel could have attacked Alonso at the first stops.

Pre-race expecatations

The pre-race wisdom was that the soft tyre would be similar on pace to the medium in race conditions, even though it had been 0.7s slower in qualifying trim. The softs were expected to be good for up to 21 laps and the mediums 24 laps. This tended to push teams towards thinking about a soft/medium/medium strategy, which is what the podium finishers used, but it did give scope for soft/soft/medium and we saw that this was actually a little faster. With such tight battle at the front to the end, had one of them taken a gamble, we might have seen something different.

The battle among the front three
Alonso’s engineer Andrea Stella has said that the only time they were worried on Sunday was after the 1st stop when the medium tyres were taking time to come in. Alonso had pitted on lap 18 and Vettel didn’t stop for another two laps.

Alonso did a 23 lap middle stint while Vettel did only 21 laps. Arguably, looking at what Raikkonen did on soft tyres in the middle stint, there might have been an opportunity here for Red Bull.

Having watched Alonso go to the medium tyre, by switching to softs Vettel might have got ahead of the Ferrari, but in all probability Alonso would have reacted by doing a soft tyre stint at the end, while Vettel would have been forced to use mediums and this probably would have evened things out. It’s a fine margin, but it would have been interesting to see Red Bull try it.

Red Bull and Ferrari did not do a lot of race preparation work on the tyres in the brief time the track was dry at Hockenheim. So they went for the medium as the preferred race tyre, also Ferrari put Massa onto it on lap one after he was forced to pit for a nose change, so they were gathering data on it as the 1st stint unfolded.

The softs degraded at 0.1s per lap on Sunday, while the mediums degraded at 0.08s per lap, so there was very little in it on degradation. It was more about relative pace.

Strategy wise the main move between the top three was an “undercut” by Button on Vettel for second place at the final stop. This was helped by the fastest pit stop carried out by an F1 team in 2.31 seconds as Button pitted a lap earlier than the German and then put in a fast out lap to be in front when Vettel emerged from his stop.

Raikkonen and Lotus on form: If only they could qualify well

It was another strong showing by the Lotus team with Kimi Raikkonen classified fourth but promoted to third after Vettel’s penalty. Once again they showed that if they could get to the front they have the race pace to win. In Hockenheim they pitted Raikkonen early on lap 11 and stayed on the soft. By doing so he jumped Webber, Hulkenberg and Maldonado. Then by using Lotus’ gentle action on the tyres he did a 27 lap middle stint, which included overtaking Michael Schumacher, that gave him the platform for his fourth place finish.

Raikkonen was the highest placed finisher to do soft/soft/medium, which Lotus are convinced was the fastest strategy last weekend. It didn’t work for everyone: Schumacher tried it but the Mercedes’ continued roughness on rear tyres meant that he ended up having to make a third stop which cost him fifth place. He was also hamstrung by having only one new set of medium tyres for the race.

Kobayashi stuns with a reverse strategy

We have seen a number of drivers in the Pirelli era come through the field in a quick car with a reverse strategy to everyone else, but usually it is because they have saved new sets of tyres from being eliminated early in qualifying.

On Sunday Kamui Kobayashi came through from 12th to fourth (after Vettel’s penalty) on medium/medium/soft strategy – but as qualifying had been wet everyone had new tyres to use, so he didn’t have that advantage. So how did he do it?

The Sauber is extremely fast on full tanks, so he had a strong opening stint and as he had started on mediums, he was able to go to lap 22 before his first stop. At that point he was up to fourth and he came out from the pits in ninth place, but in a position to attack with two short stints of 21 and 24 laps. He passed Webber and Perez in the middle stint and Hulkenberg in the final stint and then inherited a place from Schumacher when he made his third stop.

He even looked like he might mount an attack on Raikkonen on his final stint on softs but his pace dropped off at the end. Nevertheless it was a great return to form for the Japanese driver and an illustration that if you have a quick car you can make a different strategy work. Also it was impressive how easily he was able to overtake.

However like Lotus, Sauber have to deal with the fact that they do not qualify well.


Alonso: SN MN (18) MN (41) 2
Vettel: SN MN (20) MU (41) 2
Button: SN MN (19) MN (40) 2
Räikkönen: SN SN (11) MN (38) 2
Kobayashi: MN MN (22) SN (43) 2
Perez: SN MN (17) MN (40) 2
Schumacher: SN SN (14) MN (36) SN (52) 3
Webber: SN MN (12) MN (40) 2
Hülkenberg: SN MN (12) SN (31) MN (46) 3
Rosberg: MN SN (12) SN (32) SN (50) 3
Di Resta: SN MN (10) MN (39) 2
Massa: SN MN (1) MU (24) SN (47) 3
Ricciardo: SN MN (19) MN (38) 2
Vergne: MN MN (6) MU (27) SN (45) 3
Maldonado: SN MN (13) MN (38) SN (57) 3
Petrov: SN MN (14) MN (32) MN (50) 3
Senna: SN MN (1) MN (25) SN (47) 3
Grosjean: SN MN (1) MU (24) SN (42) 3
Kovalainen: SN MN (13) MN (31) MN (44) SU (53) 4
Pic: MN SN (21) MN (43) 2
De La Rosa: SN SU (20) MN (45) 2
Glock: MN SN (19) MN (40) 2
Kartikeyan: SN MN (22) MN (46) 2
Hamilton: SN MN (3) MN (31) SN (47) 3 NC

Kindly provided by the Williams F1 Team

Note Kobayahi’s strong pace in the opening stint and the way he picks up places as others pit. Also note Raikkonen’s middle stint on soft tyres and the relative pace of Vettel and Alonso before and after the 1st stops

Strategy Insights
Strategy Briefings
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

would be interesting to know if Lotus and Sauber are struggling on 1-lap pace due to their “softness” on the tyres over a long stint. Also interesting that Ferrari seemed to have cured the issues with “switching on” the medium compund (especially directly after pit-stops) that have blighted them since the start of 2011.


Ferrari’s cure was hiring ex-Bridgestone chief late last year / early this year 😀


I’m new to this report – can someone please explain how the graph works? Time difference to what exactly?


The zero line represents a car that drives at the winners average speed all the time. All the differences are time differences to that car.

In the beginning, everyone is lapping slower than winners average speed, hence they fall behind. In the end, they drive faster and hence start to catch up this imaginary car. The winner will just reach him at the end of final lap.


OK, but if for the first 3 laps Button (for example) is lapping slower than Alonso’s average lap time, in order to catch up with this imaginary car at the end of the race, Button must at some point do faster laptime than the imaginary car, right?

Well I don’t see Button’s curve line go above the zero line. It is always on the minus part of the graph. Therefore it means that Button’s laptime it is for the whole race slower than the average, which doesn’t makes sense.

I am ready to give up on this graph..


Hi James

When you first used the chart in the strategy reports it took me a while to understand them, but now I really appreciate it, and the analysis, and always look forward to reading the article. However I have noticed that comments and queries from readers always come up about the chart. Maybe it is worth preparing a FAQ link at the base of the chart. Maybe run a competition as to who can write the best summary (so you don’t have to do it).

FYI – Always enjoy your articles and your responses to queries.





The vertical axis is not velocity to see Button’s car above the zero line when he drives faster. The axis is time and hence the negative time gap attained in the beginning due to slow speed is being removed in the later part when the car moves faster.


The chart doesn’t show average lap time, but time difference to the imaginary car that drives at the winners average speed all the time. The graph for some car would be above the zero line only if that car was ahead of the imaginary car at any point of the race. That doesn’t happen often (but may happen in rare circumstances).

Like James mentions, the fact that the graph rises means the car is lapping faster than the imaginary car (graph rising means time difference get smaller).


NO but it rises, doesn’t it? This is the way F1 teams express a race and this chart comes from one of the teams. I thought fans would appreciate getting closer to the sport by seeing it as F1 teams look at it


The zero line is simply the race winners average lap time (total race time divided by the number of race laps). This is why his curve can go above the line if he’s lapping faster than his average, and below the line if he’s slower than his average or doing a pitstop or safety car period


I am also having difficulties with this graph. Always had.

James, if the zero line is Alonso’s average lap time, how come his curve line never goes above his average?

His fastest lap will have to be below his average and when he pits (therefore that particular lap will have +16 or 20s) will have to show above his average.

Again, if the zero line is the average, when he does a lap 1 sec faster than his average, his curve line should drop below the average, showing -1, isn’t it?

Instead, your graph shows the curve line always below the average time.

I am sure there is a logic at how that graph is designed and how it shows the lap times, it’s just that I haven’t figured it out yet.

Some help would be great.


Go back to calculus: the slope of the curve goes upwards whenever he is lapping faster than average, downwards when he laps slower than average.

It just happens that the first laps are slower than average due to the extra fuel, so the slope is downward, and then starts to lap faster after the first tire change, when the weight of the car is far lower.


It’s the distance in secs behind the imaginary car which is doing the winners’ lap time every lap.


What was up with Webber being so slow on Sunday? Is this a repeat of 2009 and 2010? In 2009 Webber won in Germany then podiumed in Hungary and moved into 2nd position in the championship only about 15 or so points behind Button, and with the Red Bull now looking superior. I confidently predicted Webber for world champ in 2009. What happened next was bizarre, a series of botched pitstops and nonsensical strategies, and Webber failed to score any points in the next five races (though Japan was down to his car being unable to be repaired in time for qualifying). All this happened just after Webber had re-signed for RedBull for 2010.

Then in 2010 we saw Turkey, with the whole Red Bull team turning on Webber for an incident that most regarded as Vettel’s fault, as Vettel turned into Webber, while Webber was holding his line in a predictable manner. Then before the British GP Webber apparantly re-signed for Red Bull in 2011. Then we saw Britain 2010, where parts on Webber’s car were moved to Vettel’s car. The remainder of the season showed a clear preference from Red Bull management for Vettel to win the championship and not Webber.

In 2011, Webber was already miles behind Vettel. So it made sense for Red Bull to want Webber to score as much points as possible to win the constructors.

Fast forward to 2012, and Webber has just re-signed for Red Bull in 2013. The first race after re-signing, and after being very quick in Britian, his pace was nowhere in the race in Germany. There seems to be a common link with 2009, 2010 and 2012.

I think it is apparent that Red Bull want Webber to do well and to score as many points as possible. They know that Webber is an extremely quick driver – that’s why he has been re-signed again and again and again. However, they want Webber to do well, but not at the expense of Vettel. And on that basis, it is always difficult to tell whether Webber is getting the same level of support as Vettel.

I cannot see Webber winning this year’s championship on the basis of what we have seen in 2009 and 2010 when Webber was in championship contention. Red Bull clearly did not support Mark’s ambitions as much as Seb’s (James wrote a briliant piece noting that after Germany 2009, Red Bull were not happy with Webber winning over Vettel).

The reality is that Seb Vettel is an extremely quick and very intelligent driver. To beat him with the same level of support he gets is a mighty challenge, to not have that support, makes it impossible unless a series of misfortunes happen to Seb. I do not believe Mark gets the same level of support as Seb, therefore I cannot see Mark having any chance of winning this year’s championship.


I totally agree with this and think mark is a great driver but in a world of grams and hundredths it must be hard being one of the few big boys in F1 with more limited option of moving ballast to help with weight distribution and balance. This then makes his achievement in 2010 more amazing with everything else tied in as well.

Does anybody remember any key words for that article that James wrote on the German GP 2009 i’d love to have a look at it. Thanks for help in advance.


I’m not fond of conspiracy theories but I think you might have something there. The fact that red bull and vettel have get out clauses on their contracts based on performance you might start to assume that vettel could be signing for Ferrari in 2014 unless red bull show him a certain level of point scoring prior to the final negotiation.

Red Bull have a tough choice really, Vettel is their star and they want to keep him for years to come but webber (who may retire in the next 2-3 years) keeps throwing the plan off by beating seb when it’s least convenient. Webber is in none of the red bull advertising campaigns, even slightly, it’s entirely focused on seb.

Given schumacher is 8 years Webbers senior you do get the impression webber might stick around F1 a lot longer than originally anticipated and you think red bull would be wise not to throw their lot solely behind seb. Especially since seb might have a few silly overtakes that get time penalties like Germany keeping him behind mark. So challenge alonso or accept defeat but keep your lead driver clauses in place?


Why is it that a green track produced minimal/not severe graining on a traction limited circuit?


James, Kimi set a 1:15 during Q1 when all others did a 1:16. Any idea why he couldn’t replicate that kind of performance on Sunday. I didn’t see any blistering pace from Lotus like during Q1. They matched the front runners sometimes but they aren’t at the right position to challenge even if they have the pace at some circuits.


All good points, but let us not forget how qualifying set up the race. Imagine if Vettel or Button (or others) had been on pole, or if the Saubers had made it to Q3. Alonso won the race because of his performance on wets on Saturday and softs & mediums on Sunday.


So basically he did everything right during the weekend, what is your point then?


It’s interesting that Webber pitted on lap 12 but stayed on a 2 stopper.


and not once would the drivers have been pushing to their limit, on any given lap. If the impact the driver had in f1 was already at a low % before, it is virtually Zero now.

how can people be enjoying this?

what i really enjoy about watching races in the bridgestone/michelin tyre war era was that, as Mark Webber said in a recent press conference, you KNEW that every driver was having to basically do quali laps, every lap, to get the most out of the weekend.


Interesting summary (as ever), James.

Does the relative performance of the tyres show that Pirelli are getting it wrong ?

I though the idea was for the softer compound to be significantly faster, while not lasting as long.

Or is it just that the teams had insufficient dry practice to get the best out of the option tyre ?


Nigel, I completely agree with your post, that question has also been bugging me for a couple of races now. It seems if there is rain on the Saturday, then the fastest tyre on Sunday is the medium/ harder of the two. Very strange.


Another valid consideration is that the softer of the two tires can overheat and lose performance. Fast in the first two or three laps, slightly overheats, but then falls off and plateaus at a slower pace for a long period.

Soft tires like having more rubber on the track. It’s the same in karting; the European soft tires always performed poorly on green North American tracks… that is, until later in the weekend when there was half an inch of rubber on the racing line (no exaggeration). The same thing applies to just about any racing tire that is on the softer side – the surface overheats and the oils start coming out of the tire. If you manage it well (not pushing too hard in the corners, taking it easy with the throttle), you can make it to the end of the race/stint without destroying your tires; if you don’t, the tires wear or blister quite quickly and your pace drops off considerably.

When the track is rubbered in, the soft tire won’t slip as much, and therefore won’t overheat the surface of the tire.

You can’t make a soft tire that will beat a slightly harder tire in a situation where the tires are being worked harder (green track, hot track temperature, aggressive driver, aggressive car set-up, etc).


Not so strange, really. If the soft tire is fragile, the drivers can’t push at 100%. If the medium tire is more durable, they can push hard and not worry about destroying the tire. The soft has the pace advantage for a few laps, but the medium can be leaned on for a whole stint.


Historically it has not been the case that a medium tyre will deliver a better lap time than the soft. In any case, Pirelli expected the soft tyre to last around 21 laps and medium 24.

Your comment is not valid in this case


Not sure if it was just the times the on screen graphics were displayed on TV (relating to speed/DRS/Kers) but Red Bull appeared to a have a much lower top speed before breaking for the hairpin.

I know they have never had the fastest car in a straight line but they did seem to be down about 10KPH compared to Ferrari and Mclaren.

It looked to me like Vettel could only make the pass on Button at the end because Button’s tyres had gone off and he braked earlier.


I don’t know if this applies to all of the speed displays but Vettel lost his full power KERS which could have accounted for some of the attacking top speed difference?


Hi James, great insight once again and this has become my most eagerly awaited article after a GP weekend. Keep them coming.

With the strategy, I think the Enstone bunch dropped the ball once again. As you mentioned in your report they pit Kimi on lap 11 and jumped Hulk, Maldonado and Webber. If the lap times were anything to go by, he was almost 0.5s faster than Webber and maldonado on lap 9 & 0.7s behind Webber, which meant they could have let him do the passing on the track and waited till the leaders pitted to bring him in.

By doing this and the soft-soft-medium strategy they would have given Kimi the best chance to attack the top 3 or with some luck they could have jumped Seb in the second round of stops when he was delayed by Lewis as they anyhow had to pit early since they were running softs.

It seems really cruel that lotus hasn’t won a race but you get a feel that they havent risked much strategy wise since their china disaster. I think they have done extremely well to be just a point behind Mclaren with their limited resources and if they are as cleaver on track as they are with their designs, they will be hard to beat for the 3rd place in the constructors.


No, they got it right with the strategy. It was one of their best to date. They did the damage on new tyres in second stint


I don´t know if anyone noticed this but I think Vettel could have won this race if he had a bit more speed on the straights. Because everytime Vettel got the DRS on Alonso he didn´t seem TO get any advantage at all from it.

I saw some parrarels to Hamilton versus Schumacher last year in Monza.


In order to get more speed on the straight, the downforce would need to be dialed back, which means he would not be close to Alsono at the time he got to the straight!


It’s a common trade-off. Sometimes you’re faster down the straight with more downforce, merely due to the run you get out of the last corner.

I found exactly that when I raced a vintage Corvette at the Toronto Indy circuit a few years ago. Raising the rear spoiler allowed me to take corner two flat out, which gave me a higher top speed down the backstraight, despite the added drag.

Given Hockenheim’s corners before the straight, I could see it being a similar case where running a trimmed out wing would hurt exit speed and reduce your speed down the backstraight considerably.


May be Alonso managed to get the most of his KERS to escape from persecutors..


I think you mean pursuers… unless he was being persecuted?


My bad English, can you understand!

@ Peter C: It’s too late to be hired by Monty Python, I’m afraid.


In which case he should have used all of it. O_o



Spanish Inquisition?


James whats with Hamiltons starts? His launches over the last few races seemed slow to me.


Yes I’ve noticed recently when starting, he darts straight over to cover the person behind him, rather than even thinking about attacking the person in front.

It seems like he has no faith whatsoever in his starting system.


In Monaco he mentioned the team had made him change his map as the reason for his slow start there. Maybe MacL have less effective mapping than eg. Ferrari


In fact, over the last two years


Two questions:

1. Why did Lotus not choose medium over soft in the second stint when Raikkonen posted the fastest time in Q1 with medium tyres? From the graph above, my interpretation is that Raikkonen was actually losing time to the top-3 in the second stint OR is that because he stopped earlier with more fuel in his car the pace of these soft tires is not so obvious?

2. Why did Raikkonen’s engineer give a false information to Raikkonen saying that he was driving faster than the top-3, when he was actually going only a bit slower then them? Raikkonen could have pushed more if he was told he needed to push more and thereby he could have perhaps gained a place – why not stick to the facts?


Those messages are delayed. A couple of laps previously he had been going slightly faster, if I recall correctly.


He used soft in second stint..


That’s what he said.

“Why did Lotus not choose medium over soft in the second stint…?”

is the same as:

“Why did Lotus choose soft over medium in the second stint…?”


Mr Allen.

Your reports of German F1 is simply briliant

that is why you are “Numero Uno “of all Motoring sites, thank you and keep it up.



A good question! And another good question is why have two tyres at all if there is not a clear and predictable difference between the two, *in-the-race*? What is the point of having a fast qualifying tyre that is then slow in the race as well as fading faster than the faster, better all round race tyre?

Surely its better to have either one tyre or two distinctly different ones?

How do you explain to a new person that the faster tyre is the slowest tyre???


Track temperature only if one tyre has not specifically and deliberatly been designed to react differnetly under all conditions.

My point was more retoric: what is the use of a slower ‘fast’ tyre and a faster ‘slow’ tyre? What is the point? How does that make the sport more accessible to new fans?

Surely we either need two distictly different tryres or just one tyre?


Justin yes that is the case, but this is not accidental. All thing we are seeing are as they have been made to be by design. The point I am making is that the whole idea is to have a fast and a slow tyre and that this is not being achieved.

The tyres should either make a real difference in the race or let’s just forget the idea.

Certainly having the slower tyre being the faster tyre is pointless!


they tire’s all have a slightly different range of temps where they work best, if the track temp was more in the sweet spot of the medium then it would be faster than the soft, and vice versa.

The soft seems to work better at a higher temp, which is odd because i feel like it should be able to get to temp faster than the mediums.


Excellent article James!


Why not have a simple three tyre choice of wet, intermediate and slick? Then let’s have some proper racing rather than a strategy game!


…or remove the requirement to use both types of tire. Allow them to do whatever they want, within their allocation.

Having to run both compounds is almost as silly as creating a gimmick that would allow a trailing driver to just open his wing and drive by the car in front! Oh wait…


Thanks, James!

“Lottery”, luck is indeed on Alonso’s side, up until now, everything goes his way. May be being a #1 seeded driver without any challenge from Massa helps him a great deal to concentrate on his driving. Anyways, I think the WDC is over. If there is any chance, it’s, surprisingly, Kimi who could be able to challenge the Spaniard.


Do you really think an unluckiest driver can challenge a luckiest driver for WDC? if Kimi do have little luck with him, he probably have 3 WDC by now.


I don’t see luck coming into it. Ferrari have now developed the car into a good all rounder, focusing probably on tyre management as they quickly realised this was as much key to a race win this year than out & out speed.

Well done Fernando & Ferrari. They just need to sack Massa now…….


Actually, I think Massa has improved quite a bit lately. To be honest I don’t think he is a top class driver, probably about where Button is in my opinion, but I do like the guy and I hope he keeps his seat at Ferrari. I believe he’ll continue to improve.

I mean just think back to 2007 (I THINK, if I recall correct), Alonso, Kimi and someone else I can’t remember took half a year to understand the new tyres they race before they found form. So it’s understandable if Massa needs time.


Had Fernando had real luck, he would be 4 or even 5 WDC. Kimi wasted all his career luck in 2007. He has never been the best driver out there, only all what happened in 2007 made him win by a single point.


You may want to review the 2007 season. If anything, Kimi was unlucky during the mid-season there, with car related DNF’s that Lewis or Fernando didn’t have. Kimi was on all accounts the best driver of the year and deserved to win, luck had nothing to do with it. He was also the best driver in 2005, lost the WDC only because of the fragility of the McLaren car.

It’s the same mistake as when saying “Alonso was unlucky not winning WDC in 2010, due to bad strategy in Abu Dhabi…” No, Alonso lost the WDC much earlier in the season due to his own mistakes (he made unusually many of those in the beginning of the season)


“Anyways, I think the WDC is over.”

Fernando, is that you?

Bring Back Murray

They might as well just engrave his name the trophy right now



If you give me a sample of the data you use to plot the diagram, I can write a script that would make the diagram more interactive. It would be a small contribution from a fan to the best F1 website ever.

I’m not looking for actual data, just the format used.

Great analysis as usual by the way!


It’s from Williams and it just uses the lap times available on the Race History on the FIa website under the section Timing Data

the pimp's main prophet

All it takes to get on top of any problem is a Spanish driver in an Italian car designed by a Greek engineer 🙂


Great combination to create fast cars, bad combination to create strong economies. 😉


The missing ingredient in both cases was bucket loads of cash 🙂


Better together than alone!

Tornillo Amarillo

Good for Kobayashi.

James, what people say about him, is he going to be replaced by Kovalainen next year, or Sauber is looking for a driver if Perez goes to Ferrari?


I hear Lewis is still available…

Bring Back Murray

That’s harsh! 🙂


That was an important result for him


i thought the same, it was good for him to out perform sergio. hope we see alot more from him in the future, hes deserving of a top drive.


It does seem the tyres are becoming less of a ‘lottery’ now. Whether or not we’ll get to the stage where drivers can go ‘maximum attack’ for a stint on these Pirelli’s is another matter


Maximum attack is totally gone now. Not just because of the tyres as when the new rules come in, the cars will be harder to drive.


Well I find that an incredible shame then. In what is being talked about as a ‘golden era’ with some of the hardest chargers the sport has ever known, I really loathe the fact that the pure pace element has been largely minimised. Managing tyres should of course be a part of F1 but there must be scope to see the best flat out in pursuit of the win surely?


Don’t be. In reality, there’s nothing particular exciting about maximum attack when you’re driving the grippiest, four-wheeled, engines around a race track.

If you understand the physics surrounding racing, watching somebody drive a difficult car is far more entertaining and much more challenging.

Think Q2/Q3 of Hockenheim but multiply the speed by two or three. I can assure you that when the new rules come in, it will be enjoyable to watch.

Bring Back Murray

It would definitely have been nice to see Jenson have more of a go at Alonso wouldn’t it after getting past Vettel.

Then again Alonso showed real skill managing his tyres, then driving off into the distance once he’d neutralised Jenson’s challenge.

Is this a case of six of one, half a dozen of the other?


James, I remember you said that Red Bull are the team to look out in Germany, as they had taken a massive step in Valencia and I said that it was not true as everyone else was held up by slower car in Valencia and that gave Sebastian free air to get that 20 sec gap. Who do you think has the fastest car now and how much will it affect Red Bull if they change there controversial engine map?


That 1.5s advantage people keep talking about was over the McLaren, which was far from being the second fastest car out there. However, when Grosjean took second he was only 12s behind but it was up to 20 by the time of the first stops so the RB was still the fastest car out there by some margin. I suspect though that it was track specific, Red Bull and Vettel have been very good around there for some time now.

They still have the fastest car over Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus but I’d say that gap is more like 1 or 2 tenths at most.


I wrote a comment a few weeks ago regarding the “Red Bull renaissance” at Valencia. Basically I said I’ll believe Red Bull will refind their dominance it when I see it replicated on a track temperature that ISN’T 50ºC.

Silverstone and Hockenheim have shown me to be correct, and I suspect a potentially hot & sunny weekend in Budapest may also prove me right.


With a dry qualifying the outcome would have been different. We will see in Hungary. Yes I think they will have their wings clipped on engine mapping, however


Love the turn of phrase there James. So apt.


I tend to agree with you. Silverstone last year was purely a software restriction for that one race if I recall correctly, and it threw them back into the pack and alowed Alonso to win quite easily despite Vettel’s pitstop problems. RB do seem to be the team who rely most heavily on the engine maps and, whilst I appreciate the technical skills involved in writing such programs, they are a bit too invisible for fans to get excited by, (even nerdy ones like myself!) but if they are stretching the rules by using them, and this years car is as reliant on them as last, I think we could see Alonso walking away with this title.


I’d rather to see Alonso or anyone to walk away with the title through skills than someone relying on some tech gizmo or EDB that makes the car PlayStation-like to drive.


James, that was precisely my question to you. Do you think the mapping has anything to do with the huge difference in valencia?


Just read a column from Jaime Alguersuari and he says he has no idea how Red Bull lost 1.5s/lap advantage all of a sudden – well they never had it in the first place. Gap in Valencia was all down to the fact that it was a mixed up grip and Seb ran in free air.


*mixed up GRID


You know the thing that replaced the anticipation of years gone by???

Yes, back in the day, the F1 fans used to sit on the edge of their seats wondering if their hero’s engine would make it to the end.

But now, it’s all about will the tyres fall off the cliff like we saw with Lewis in Valencia or Jenson at Hockenheim — Much fun.

That aside, in my view, Ferrari & Red Bull have always been good on the soft tyres & super softs as shown by last year and by some coincidence last year’s rubber was made even softer for this year.

And so you have a situation, those two teams didn’t really have a tyre issue (as shown by their race pace since Australia) whereas Mclaren are good on the hard tyre (especially Lewis) but unfortunately, that tyre hasn’t been used a lot this season and that’s why Mclaren haven’t had a say in proceedings of late (e.g. Lewis was the only one to do a two stopper at Barcelona).

Anyway it’s just perfect that Mclaren’s upgrades have fixed whatever problems they were facing, and now, let the real games begin.

Regards Lotus & Sauber’s qualifying pace, could it be argued that their drivers are’t great qualifers.


Kimi has 16 pole positions to his name. Grosjean has qualified in the top five a few times this year. You could make the poor-qualifier argument for Kobayashi, but that’s about it, really.

I would say that Lotus and Sauber both need to work on their qualifying pace if they want a shot at a win… perhaps both car and driver need to improve a bit, but I wouldn’t put the blame solely on the drivers.


+1 – I reckon Kimi or Romain in a Red Bull would probably win half the half the Qualis so far! It’s def not driver.


McLaren haven’t fixed their car yet. Although the upgrades have certainly helped, they’re still having set-up issues, especially regardinf rear and front tyre balance. (They still use up their rears far too aggresively).


For cars that are gentle on tyres, it is logical that they can’t generate heat fast enough during qualifying.


The real games started in Australia, Mclaren had the fastest car by then, but they were not capable of capitalizing, while Alonso scored a lot of points in a dog of a car. We will see if Mclaren can recover the lost ground now that Red Bull and specially Ferrari have sorted their problems. We shall see.

Top Tags
SEARCH Strategy