F1 Winter Break
Hamilton Sets the pace in Barcelona As Vettel Loses Track Time
Posted By:   |  09 May 2014   |  3:08 pm GMT  |  174 comments

Lewis Hamilton topped the opening free practice sessions for the Spanish Grand Prix by a comfortable margin, heading Nico Rosberg by 0.4s, with Daniel Ricciardo in third place. Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, hit trouble, the champion being forced to sit out the whole of the afternoon session.

Hamilton had the edge on the qualifying simulation runs, with 4/10ths over Rosberg and a second over the next non-Mercedes car, but his long run performance was also strikingly fast and consistent. Rival teams had hoped to close the performance gap on Mercedes with their update packages, but if anything it appears that Mercedes may have pulled further ahead,

“It’s been a great day today and I’m happy to be back in the car after what feels like quite a long break,” said Hamilton. “I can feel the positive step forward that we’ve made with the car so a big thank you to everyone back at our factories for all of their hard work since China.”

Mercedes team CEO Toto Wolff added, “Barcelona is a milestone in this year’s calendar in terms of understanding the relative performance of different teams and we are pretty happy with how this first day went.”

This morning’s first session saw Hamilton head the McLaren of Jenson Button by 0.9s. Behind them Nico Rosberg and Vettel ran into problems. For Rosberg, a cooling issue was resolved prior to FP2 and the German immediately found himself on the tail of his team-mate. However, Vettel suffered more serious technical problems. His RB10 rolled out of Turn four and to a halt after twenty-five minutes of FP1 and the damage caused by the electrical fault forced to sit out the remainder of the session .

The day went from bad to worse for Vettel as the problem could not be fixed and the World Champion was unable to take to the track in the second session. This will put the Red Bull Racing driver on the back foot heading in to a weekend in which he would have hoped to get the better of his team-mate.

Ricciardo had another strong day and though he was unable to challenge the Mercedes pair he enjoyed a 0.6s buffer over the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, a gap that will give Vettel some confidence before he returns to the car on Saturday morning.

Ferrari and McLaren, though, seem to have made the biggest strides since Shanghai, as Raikkonen shadowed Alonso to take fifth place with Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button taking sixth and seventh place, respectively.

Ferrari President Luca Di Montezemolo was in the garage today prompting a more aggressive approach by his drivers and looking to build on Alonso’s impressive podium last time out. Home favourite Alonso claimed an emotional victory here last year and was today hustling his F14 T around the Circuit de Catalunya trying to drag every bit of performance from it.

For McLaren, who led the Constructors’ Championship after the first race in Melbourne, recent races have proved less successful as they have dropped behind Mercedes, Red Bull and Force India. This weekend and with two weeks of upgrade preparation behind them they look likely to put themselves ahead of the Force India and Toro Rosso cars that they have been battling with previously.

Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Free Practice

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m 25.524s
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m 25.973s
3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m 26.509s
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m 27.121s
57. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m 27.296s
6. Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m 27.788s
7. Jenson Button McLaren 1m 27.811s
8. Felipe Massa Williams 1m 27.824s
9. Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m 27.866s
10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m 28.049s
11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m 28.074s
12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m 28.246s
13. Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m 28.284s
14. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m 28.698s
15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m 29.105s
16. Sergio Perez Force India 1m 29.129s
17. Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m 29.493s
18. Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m 29.991s
19. Max Chilton Marussia 1m 31.148s
20. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1m 31.338s
21. Marcus Ericsson Caterha 1m 31.586s
22. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull no time

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kenneth chapman

no big surprises there regarding mercedes. they re simply the best out there at the moment.

what i really like to see is ricciardo right up there, slipping in a super lap with no fanfare, chest thumping or outward manifestations of the 'look at me'syndrome.

ferrari are right up there ready to pounce if there is any value in reading todays time sheets.

i don't see any major alterations occurring in FP3 so what we see here might just be close to the grid placings tomorrow.

obviously vettel will feature tomorrow so i expect that he will be right up there with ricci as well.

so top six....two mercedes,two red bulls and two ferraris....maybe?


A Noah's Ark grid?


It seems so, Barcelona is one of those "car" tracks where they tend to run in pairs, a bit like Monza

It will be fun to watch the team mate fights though, and the Merc customers mid six, which might be close on race pace after tyre and reliability issues are figured in


What the hell was I thinking?

I actually let myself think that there would be some chance this Mercedes Hyper-Drive equipped Silver Bullet would suddenly be challanged in the European season?!

I had hope for a while during this 3 week period that the foregone conclusion that is 2014 wasn't a foregone conclusion after all, when in fact it was a foregone conclusions all along! (yes, that's Murray's)

It's going to be a MB sweep season. I can't belive I double guessed my earlier conclusion that it would be the case. I thought C63 and KRB could be counted on to bring me back to reality, but I was wrong.

Mercedes, all the way, all the time...



I thought C63 and KRB could be counted on to bring me back to reality, but I was wrong.

I think you knew all along really, didn't you - I just didn't want to dash your hopes 😉

Did you read above; Hamilton almost half a second up on Rosberg and Vettel in trouble? Is that what they call a win win situation?

kenneth chapman

sadly, yes.


Hope for the best, expect the worst.

Could be good advice for the Spanish media too come to think of it...but anyway, you can't be blamed for hoping that the other teams might close the gap a bit and for what it's worth I was hoping the same thing also.

Still, it's a long year and who know what will happen?


nothing will happen, Random ...

... Hamilton will be deemed as a poor driver -" he only wins as he has the best car" will be said ( see F1 fan comments history) and we all will be waiting/hoping for 2015 to bring back F1 to us in true


There's already a bit of that going on so I'm sure you'll end up being right, but if indeed he does end up winning the WDC then hopefully there will also be some recognition that - fastest car or not - he still earned it.


"Who knows what will happen?"

We all do. One of the Merc drivers will win the championship. Which of them is what we don't yet know.



Get ready to recalibrate your gut 😉


I predict with my uncanny mental powers that if Lewis takes the lead in Spain he will be WDC unless he suffers enough DNF to put him back behind Nico.

Nico is good, but he will get nervous if he gets another 2nd spot in Spain...which leads to overdrinving which leads to more mistakes etc...

I am still unsure about Dan RIC finishing in front of Seb V. ..gut feeling says VET can't be outclassed all season.


I'm pretty sure we do...

Here's a clue: His name rhymes with...nothing really 🙁

Come to think of it neither does Rosberg's...


There hasn't been a wet race yet..........and I got a feeling when I collect my Silverstone tickets it will rain, rain, rain on the weekend of 4th to 6th July 2014.

Oh, by the way, how much do you think a weekend ticket - from Friday morning to Sunday - is for an adult who doesn't mind sitting on the grassy banks? Yours sir for UK £170 per adult. If you want to sit in the grandstands, an adult ticket is about on average about UK £300 per adult, although the Club Corner grandstand is UK £450.

And no, I'm not having a go at Silverstone or blame them - they only just break even even if they had a sell out over the weekend. Something to do with the fees charged by a small chap with a pudding basin haircut who works for FOM/CVC.............


Don't forget the flight and accommodation costs for those of us who are geographically challenged.

Yes, I think I'll stick with my TV and recliner TYVM 🙂


You still sound hopeful. Give up already!


You're right, I really should, but then what would be the fun in that? 😉


W05 Hybrid is a complete package. It has no weakness unlike W04. It is fast in every type of corner/sector.

I was kind of surprise when the media was talking Red Bull up for Barcelona. Red Bull was not faster than Mercedes in the second sector in China (at least not faster than Hamilton), which is more or less like Barcelona.


Here is the thing...

Whenever I see an older Mercedes (90s, 2000s even last model years), they really look aged, older than they are. The designs don't hold up well over time when compared to a BMW or a Audi. It is obviously my personal taste I'm expressing here. The new face of SL for example, my long time favorite in their lineup looks like it was stuck on the old car, which it was of course. And some of the design language just doesn't speak to me.

But I just saw the new A class in person in Europe a few weeks back and I have to say, the darn thing has something. Proportions are right, style looks good. It's one heck of a nice looking little car. I think this A will put the volume up and perhaps pull Mercedes up from the 3rd spot it is in for premium brands behind #1 BMW and #2 Audi. I may have to talk myself into that A45.



Lewis hasn't got a pitbull!


Lol! Say it like it is. Mercedes makes drab looking cars.

kenneth chapman

well not so much lately but i do agree that they have been in the past. over the years i have have owned numerous BMW's and even more mercedes benz plus porsche but have finally come around to audi.

the TT i had was superb and i now drive an A5 which is a really great all

round drive with subtle sophistication when it comes to design values.

would i change, yes. my next car will be a maserati ghibli although being a four door is not my ideal i find it has about everything i need in a car given my 'advancing' years hahaha.

David in Sydney

I generally don't like Mercs, save for the original SLK, the original A-Class (although it drove like a shopping trolley) and the new GLA (which looks like a toy soft roader).

I'm a Mazda and BMW man, depending upon my car budget at the time I buy.

Why doesn't BMW enter an an engine supplier? Surely they are as proud an engine manufacturer as Mercedes?


Think you just did.. Hang in there Sebee my bro just mentioned a Golf R40Coming out - same engine designer as the the A45 - packing 297kw )395bhp) out of similar 2.0l 4 turbo. all drive and a new suite of body panelling..I too like the look of the Merc- its like cage fighter meets playboy ! but this golf looks like a weapon of mass satisfaction also



you are of course right. I wasn't really thinking about the A Class AMG when I wrote my comment (but the C63) - which was silly as that was what you were talking about. My bad 🙂


Seebee, have you not shared the road with a Saturn?


@C63 the A45 amg has 265 kw (355bhp). As stated the guy who designed the A45 engine designed the R40 so he knew what he was aiming at. That said the Merc is better looking to me


395bhp sounds a little down on power to me. If you want a weapon of mass satisfaction get an AMG Merc' . Trust me, you won't regret it 🙂


Here is general pitbull owner profile. Is this our Lewis?

Pit Bulls

Pit bulls have a strong desire to please and will do anything for their family or friends. Pit bull owners are courageous, full of vitality, and are constantly looking out for those they love. They enjoy being around children and make excellent parents and grandparents. There is no better babysitter than a pit bull.


I have seen the R40. I don't know, it's hard to spend that type of coin on a VW even if it is nice. WMS - I like that statement a lot by the way.

I actually at this point have an incredibly hard time picking out a car I like.

I have a hard time with the three pointed star as well. I just find "arrogance" from those driving it, as if they are special, not sure I want to be part of that club. In my years on the road I've come to a few solid conclusions about cars and the people who drive them.

Here they are to ensure I offend a good slice of people.

1. Toyota Corolla drivers don't know how to drive.

2. Volvo drivers are only just second to Corolla drivers.

3. Porsche drivers tend to be 50 year short haircut gentlemen who driver their Porsches significantly below car capability.

4. Mercedes drivers tend to feel they are entitled to own the road.

5. Hummer drivers think they are driving a tank.

Of course these are not scientific observations that reflect 100% sample accuracy. Simply, I've seen enough unusual behaviour from these drivers to make them stand out, and I think the cars they choose reflect their tendencies. Just like dogs look a lot like their owners, and of course you can tell quite a bit about the owner by the type of dog they have. I'm thinking about getting a Vizsla, what does that say about me?

What does Lewis' dog say about him? 🙂


Perhaps Sebastian has run over a nun, or walked under too many ladders????

Seriously, it is better to have a fault in practice rather than the race itself I guess, even if the team and driver has lost valuable track time.

Ferrari looked OK(ish), but Merc's pace and advantage has already caused some forlorn looks up and down their rivals pits.

Force India seem a bit have a little bit of their fine edge. Have they shot their bolt a bit too early? Time well tell.

Still, on the bright side Macca seem to have taken a step forward, and Pastor has done two whole sessions without stuffing the Lotus into the barrier or pit-lane! And he seems to have decent pace too! Well done him!

PS Didn't realise Sauber were running over-weight for the first 4 fly away races - was that the Montoya spec cars?

Matthew Cheshire

Vettel should have stuck with "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". But seriously, when you struggle, and mess around with everything there is far more chance of a failure.

I'm not sure the macs are improving. I still think of Torro Rosso as Minardi in drag. "Maclarens stay ahead of Minardi" is hardly a great headline.


My favourite quote from the BBC live text:

"Interesting to see Red Bull continue their habit of only having technical problems on their #2 driver's car!"

Mmm, Schadenfraude schmeckt sehr gut.

Matthew Cheshire

Yes. If DR stays ahead this time, he will be Vettel's Vettel. Das Schmecht gut also?


that's the best yet. thanks


Extra cheesy 🙂


That's how Montoya liked his burgers - also with added relish.

I think that on race weekend the drivers are on the Smoothie diet - perhaps a certain crushed fruit drink manufacturer beginning with I should sponsor an F1 team, and by the look of it probably be Jenson's personal sponsor too.


No probably the Mansell spec but either one was kinda ok!


Last year Our Nige on a BBC interview, was complaining that during the previous turbo F1 era in the mid 80s he had a 0.5 second deficit to Mr Prost, Mr Senna and Mr Piquet because he weighed at least 2 stone (12.6 KG) heavier than any of them.

Which does beg the question, why didn't Nigel shave off his moustache? That would have saved at least 0.2 seconds compared to his slightly built rivals.

Also, noticed how Derek Warwick has got stuck into some steak, mushrooms and chips lately?


why didn’t Nigel shave off his moustache?...

He did. I remember reading (in his autobiography?) that the team were moaning at him about losing a bit if weight and he shaved off his moustache as a bit of a joke. Which is ironic really as his moustache was a bit of a joke in itself 🙂


You missed the start of 1988 - he made a comment along the lines of "I've lost weight (as suggested by Williams), now you make the car faster".

While Mansell is correct that he had a weight disadvantage, the current ~ 10 kg is worth 0.3 seconds would be less in those days as the downforce levels weren't as high. The extra weight would have been a continual problem in the race for tyre wear though. Whether that is 0.5 of second a lap on average over a race is harder to judge than just a fuel effect calculation.


Perhaps vettel is having 4 years worth of bad luck in one season


Strange how the reliability issues always strike their #2 driver 😉


It's about time he had some bad luck as he had nothing but good luck before - duck, incoming:-)


Well with Webber retiring someone had to get it and I can't think of a better candidate 😉


Generally, I think Mercedes W05 is a better car than Red Bull RB10 at least for now. I don't think their one second gap to Red Bull is only through a straight line speed. They are faster than Red Bull in every sector.


It's a myth that this Redbull chassis is the best, Merc has them covered in all areas and you'll all find out at Monaco when Merc will still be the quickest, today with their 1sec gap they didn't even look like they were trying but still the gap doesn't look as big as it did when they blew the field away in Bahrain when they were over 2.5sec faster whilst fighting each other. Redbull needs a miracle now maybe they can match Merc's chassis by mid season but with the engine freeze there's no way Renault can overcome the 100hp deficit. The championship is Hamilton's to lose Rosberg hasn't got enough quality in him to beat Hamilton only Alonso and Vettel on this grid can beat Hamilton over a season in the same car.


Power and delivery is mostly Mercs forte. China & Bahrain showed in the approach to fast corners the RB10 is still the benchmark. I would go as far as saying the RB 10 chasis is probably the best chasis theyve made- Cheko Perez said something similar too.. But these cars with brake/ Harvesting and energy delivery are far more mechanical driven formula. Not saying the Merc is brilliant in most areas but the mechanical advantage is quite tremendous


Have you noticed the Bull is running more rake - nose down, rear end up - than any other car? That means it probably has the best front wing/floor combination of any car on the grid, as to run a car with such extreme rake means the aero map has to be very consistent.

Also, Red Bull have good suspension compliance, clever differential settings and sharp steering, it's just that the Renault is down on torque compared to the Mercs (which of course means inferior acceleration).

I wonder, would a circuit like Silverstone with pre-dominantly mega fast corners denude the torque advantage of the Mercedes engine? Or is that just wishful thinking?


I think Mercedes wheels turn faster than the ones for other cars...


Isn't it possible that Mercedes might have compromised their approach to fast corners for straight line speed to gain overall lap time in Bahrain and China? Have you considered that? If the RB10 is the best chassis as we thought, been a second down in Barcelona proves otherwise, though it's just Friday.

I know that Perez said that RB10 is the best chassis on the grid, medias and none Mercedes fans believed that the gap would be closed here because of the circuit layout plays to the hands of Red Bull, but so far the stopwatch in Barcelona says other wise. The best chassis shines in Barcelona. One second is to much, unless Red Bull are sandbagging.


Mate do you understand that 80bhp is a huge diff regardless of circuit.Seems Merc have found a few things but still - why is Red Bull that far ahead of all Renault powered cars, other Merc powered cars, and Ferrari-- its obviously not a power advantage and every other thing you said is it....

German Samurai

Ferrari must be quick. Even Kimi is up there LOL.


Or maybe, Ferrari found a setup that Kimi likes a little more.

It's amazing how F1 fans will write off drivers after just a few races. Kimi has shown time and again how quick and class of a racer he is. Like every driver, he can struggle when the car isn't set up the way he likes it, when he has to adjust to new tires or brakes, etc..


If its so quick why didnt Fernando go P1 -I mean if he / you think he drives 150% all the time- how come hes barely .165 faster. I mean c'mon you think Kimi is s£€* dont you ??. So why wasnt it a whole 1 sec or more this time...

Maybe its because Kimi missed half the Friday sessions due technical problems the last 2 weekends & parts of sat prior to that!!. Reality is this is the 1st weekend since Malaysia thats started ok for him.

Lets hope they both get a clean Sat so that they can both challenge Ricciardo because he was consistently faster than both F14T's in long run.

kenneth chapman

am surprised at the low volume comment re ricciardo. he's done a superb job so far this weekend. yes, it is only FP but he is showing that he can put in some interesting times. quali is what really counts so i am sincerely hoping that horner and co. dont give vettel ricciardo's front wing!!!

kenneth chapman

@ elie.. his long runs were great and providing he gets a good start he could be right up there.

i am becoming heartily sick of this hamilton/mercedes drum banging. we are all well aware of what is happening. the story though is just where the red bull/ferrari/mclaren teams are. mercedes are so far in front that they are largely irrelevant to the storyline.


Yeah I agree- I was just addressing the usual thoughtless comments on other drivers.( prob shouldnt bite)

Dans long runs were excellent I was watching sector splits on the app and I really think hes a chance at taking Rosberg on what little evidence we have so far.


Ferrari must be quick?

Nope, wrong mate.

The gap to Mercedes have not decreased by any margin since china. RBR have amplified their car and easily moved ahead of Ferrari between Shanghai and Barcelona. Dan Ricciardo times today clearly barbs this.

Ferrari have plenty of work to do, in case if they need a victory or two as we move forward this season. Otherwise Ferrari could have the first winless season in sometime come the denouement. Alonso have saved Ferrari in 2011,2012 and 2013 with some consummate victories and excellent performances.


Reality check. This will be a winless season for 10 teams.


Do you really believe that, or are you just saying it to make me happy 😉


Oh you never know, maybe Ham and Ros will eventually take each other out...maybe even in the double points round.

Matthew Cheshire

So far there has been a 1 in 4 chance of a merc retirement. So both could DNF once in the next 16 races.

So there's going to be something a bit interesting once before 2015:)


I agree.

Ferrari's front suspension is rubbish. Pull rods on the front axle of an F1 car? Yes, there is a slight aerodynamic benefit, and certainly a lower centre of gravity. However, pull rod suspension is "droopy" and has poor compliance, very limited travel and geometry, and is very difficult to adjust as the dampers and rockers are mounted low down in the monocoque. I bet that Ferrari on a tight, bumpy track like Monaco coming up will give the drivers a very poor ride and probably has the compliance and suppleness of a brick.

Is it a co-incidence that the fastest two cars are ones with the best suspension compliance? The whole point of suspension has to be give an F1 car a degree of suppleness and compliance over bumps and kerbs. Or I am wrong?

I suspect poor suspension compliance is partly behind Kimi's struggles this far as he has gone from a Lotus with superb suspension/wheel/axle compliance and good ride quality to arguably one of the worst riding and least supple cars in the F1 business.


"The whole point of suspension ..." - is to maintain as closely as possible the vertical force vector (the so-called normal force) in the equation for coefficient of kinetic friction. As you can imagine this is VERY difficult to do for a tire going UP the leading edge, then DOWN the trailing edge of a bump at 100's of Km/h. Add to that the complexity of the lateral forces in cornering and you begin the appreciate the 3-D mathematical problem that is suspension design.

This is why engineers came up with active suspension systems as they were capable of rapid reactions to these changes.


Just to add, yes the primacy of a chassis is to generate good, efficient downforce, but a car also needs suppleness and compliance to ride the kerbs to maximise the extra performance available from more downforce.

German Samurai

Maybe RBR have made a massive improvement, but Ferrari were the best of the rest in Shanghai and Barcelona has the same characteristics as Shanghai.

So Ferrari will be very strong and likely the best of the rest.


Beat me to it 😉


One guys surprised me a lot - Rosberg. Why is he talking about regaining the momentum he lost in the last 3 races? He said that he doesn't like the fact that he lost 21 point to Hamilton and he wants to regain the momentum. He never had it. All things equal, he would be more than 30 points behind Hamilton if not for the failure on Ham's car in Australia. The guy never had any momentum over Hamilton. If not for the engine failure, most likely it would have been 4:0 when it comes to wins.

Ferrari fan speaking.

Matthew Cheshire

Hey Alex, I bet you tell kids that Santa doesn't exist too. Rosberg isn't going to trouble Hamilton, but no-one wants to admit 2014 is another season of single driver domination yet.


But Santa doesn't exist, so are you going to keep lying to your kids?


@ AlexD Bravo, I'm glad somebody finally pointed this out. Hamilton was on pole in Australia and he probably would've won that race also. Rosberg is delusional. He isn't in the same league as Alonso and Hamilton. The racing gods need to hand him a DNF


Because he needs to believe himself capable of improving and having a chance at a World Championship in the best car he has ever had.

I don't think it's more complicated than that. Does it perhaps shade the fact that Lewis is proving much better in the wet and more tenacious in close quarters? Probably.

I like the fact that he is showing no signs of admitting defeat though. Perhaps in some conditions and on some tracks he will have a better chance to beat Lewis...like Bahrain. I know I enjoyed that show much better than I would have if he had just tucked in behind Lewis and cruised on to the finish.


What do you expect him to say? He is out there to race and win.

By the way, Hamilton has a frightening advantage on long-run and short-run pace

Bert Puttocks

Well said, the only reason he is leading the championship is because of LH's DNF.

Rosberg seems delusional, he is not as fast as LH.


If Hamilton wins Spain and Monico this could damage Rosberg psychologically.


Completely agree.

It also starts to become a bit annoying. He is already saying that he hasn't had a normal weekend yet, one without "strange things". It doesn't sound very convincing from somebody who constantly losing the intra team battle. He talks as if he is from the same, maybe even higher calibre than HAM. Although I think he can push Lewis, the way he does at the moment, to get the maximum out of himself.

Hamilton is on another planet, compared to Rosberg.


Load of cobblers!! How come Rosberg had more DNF'S than Hamilton last year if that's the case???


I said it before, and I'll say it again...

I have a feeling there is something about the more demaning way Hamilton drives the car that I feel contributes to the failures.

It's a small contribution, but Hamilton's style makes it. He just asks more of the car, perhaps carries more energy into movements, is more agressive over kerbs...I don't know what it is. But with tolerances being what they are, I feel this "1%" that Hamilton's style adds in terms of forces, contributes to his failures/DNFs. So don't just chulk it to bad luck. I felt this way during his larger mechanical DNF count at McLaren, and I still feel the same way. Notice he seems to have more of these failures, and usualy at highest performance level (P1). Maybe goferet can correct me on the stat here if my feeling is wrong.

He rings the neck of the car to get that extra time, and something has to give once in a while.


You're talking nonsense!


To paraphrase Sebee: "URRGH! HAMILTON SMASH!!!"

I mean, seriously? His aggressive driving style is killing the car, while preserving his tires. How does that work? Not to mention his engine started dying before the lights went out in Australia, so apparently, he was too aggressive ON THE FORMATION LAP.

Last year, everyone was saying Hamilton wouldn't be able to adapt to the new regs, that he couldn't deal with the technical aspects of the ridiculously complicated Power Units, because Hamilton "only knows how to drive flat out".

Since I never saw the 2008 F1 season, I've been watching it recently (not highlights, full races). The Big Thing at the beginning of 2008 was the lack of traction control and ECU-managed engine braking, which was causing spins and lockups up and down the grid.

Hamilton had less problems adapting than the rest of the field, and it's one of the main reasons he won the championship. His driving at Silverstone was amazing-- Massa on the other hand, spun his car, what, 5 times?

Finally, Hamilton went nearly three seasons without a mechanical DNF, his first being a brake failure in Abu Dhabi in 2009.

I think you need a new theory.


Please do not let facts get in the way of your opinion. Might as well you say the earth is flat.

The races this year has shown Hamilton using less fuel and caring for his tyres better than anyone so which part of the car is he ringing the neck out of.

I call your theory reasoning backwards. Come to a conclusion and then try to fit the facts into it.


I call your theory reasoning backwards. Come to a conclusion and then try to fit the facts into it...

I like that line. Do you mind if I use it on another post? Of course I will pretend it was mine and not give you any credit 🙂


This is just all conjecture.


nonsense,lewis car was fine in fp1 and fp2.it was nico's car that had a problem.the dnf lewis got in aus cant be down to his style of driving.



He rings the neck of the car to get that extra time, and something has to give once in a while....

I know what you are saying and I used to think the same about Mansell. But, Hamilton retirement in Australia was a failure on an insulator sleeve on the spark plug (a $2.00 part) I can't see how that is due to anything apart from bad luck .


If Hamilton's car fails you tend to blame it on him, but if his team mate's car fails you blame it on the team. Hamilton beat Rosberg last season, but you said it was because of Rosberg's car failed too many times. I didn't hear you blame Rosberg for his car failures. That is double standard my friend.

Hamilton's car failed in the first lap of the first race and you want to blame it on him. If that's the case then Vettel would be blamed for his car's failure in the first race and today too. Your comments against Hamilton is unfounded. Kimi Räikkönen had almost the same reliability problems in his McLaren days, mind you.

Happy to see u back on the forum.


I can understand where your logic stems from, but the outcome is wrong. Its the structure and integrity of the car which decides the overall problems. The difference between how hard each driver pushes a car is miniscule - maybe 2 tenths at most, the rest is the car set-up.


Exactly. Style of driving has nothing to do with reliability problems - how would one explain Kimi's run of 38 consecutive race finishes, but then compare that back to his days at Mclaren where he was hounded by problems out of his control. Simply put, Mclaren have had a long history of developing quick but unreliable cars....


Actually, I never blamed any failures of Rosberg's on the car. Don't recall ever caring about his failures.

Look, seems like whenever these guys perform at a very high level demanding everything of their equipment things can happen. I think we've seen Hamilton retire from P1 often enough to know that it's not just bad luck - no one is that unlucky. He pushes the car hard. I think same about Vettel.

There is a reason why the teams tell them to ease up and protect the equipment after race is under control and knock it off with the fastest lap attempts.


Yeah, Hamilton really destroyed the engine in the warm up lap at Melbourne.


That all makes sense. But maybe Mercedes have realised that and built the 2014 car more robust to allow HAM to wring its neck?


Sebee it was a €2 spark plug lining that failed in Aust. ( first engine with very few k's too) Absolutely nothing to do with how the engine was driven. I would have thought Bahrain would have been more chance of failure because they were both hard at it!

If a driver cant drive a car on the very limit then hes not going to win. Just ask Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.


@ Sebee

Am afraid I haven't kept track of Lewis' DNFs

But I think DNFs just happen for instance last season Rosberg got the majority of failures and before that it was Schumi.


Rosberg will need to have one DNF to be on equal terms with Hamilton this season. Anyways, this weekend Hamilton will be ahead in points....Rosberg never had any momentum.


Can't help myself pointing out that if Rosberg had finished second to Hamilton in all four races he'd only be 28 points behind!


assuming a mercedes 1-2.


Hamilton wow the lad is certainly on the limit


Revealing day at the races, as we got to see what the teams have been up to after the new parts have been bolted on.

And if today's times are representative then it's still Mercedes up front which in a way isn't surprising as it's very difficult for the other teams to turn around a deficit in 2 weeks time.

The surprising thing though is on a track that has few straights, we weren't expecting Red Bull to be a lot closer.

Anyway very strong long run pace from Lewis, the only hope for a good race is if he isn't on pole like Bahrain otherwise, it looks check mate for the rest.

Riccardo appears not to have lost his mojo with the 3rd fastest time however the same can't be said for his teammate as he continues to suffer from reliability woes.

Ferrari have done their homework and appear to have got on top of Kimi's earlier struggles so it will be fascinating seeing both drivers fight on an even playing field this weekend.

Am not too sure what to make of Mclaren's upgrades for in 2014 the team appears to do well in free practice only to fade in qualifying and the race.

Williams, Torro Rosso and Force India may have stood still in the development curve whilst Lotus have shown a ray of hope in reliability with the most laps covered of anybody with Maldonado.

Overall, the Spanish race will be all about who can join the Mercedes boys on the podium >>> but who knows maybe we will have a sting in the tale seeing as Rosberg has never finished higher than P6.


Goferet, I know you like your stats, and here's one about the Spanish Grand Prix: the 1980 GP in Spain at Jarama - which was subsequently declared non championship (something about a row between the FIA and the British kit car teams) - went ahead netherless on the 1st June 1980 when air temperatures were 38C! That surely most qualify was one of the hottest races in the European season, even if it was subsequently declared non championship.

Also, 21 out of the 23 races held at Barcelona have been won by a driver starting on the front row..............the only odd ones out are 1996 and 2012.


Last year Alonso won from 5th on the grid


Sorry mistake, I meant 2013!


@ Gaz Boy

Thanks for the stats.

Yes it has always been difficult to overtake at Barcelona and that's why a good qualifying is imperative.

Incidentally 2013 is the only time a driver won from lower than P3.


Funny how it's always Red Bull's second driver that has issues with the car 🙂


I spat my coffee out. You owe me a cuppa.


Maybe would be more accurate: "Hamilton sets the pace in Barcelona as Rosberg & Vettel losses track time"


Just like Hamilton lost practices in Australia and China??




I'm over this MB domination already. Bring back the good old days when RBR were untouchable. MB are ruining the sport. I think I speak for everyone when I say the fans were a lot happier when Seb was dominating.

Matthew Cheshire

Definitely. Who wants to moan about a Brit when there's a perfectly good German to whine about?

Vettel needs to grow a Dick Dastardly mo to get his mojo back.


Nice work glen, that got a few good bites 🙂

I too look back on those early season's of the 2010's when one team set the pace, but others still pulled out wins and podiums..........oh yeah and the noise, that was better too, and the tyres, and the front wings, and those narrow DRS slots, all better 😉


So clearly you speak for everyone 😉


Spot on Randomness. I'm pleased with the support shown by fellow punters on this forum. This forum has, as a majority, supported RBR / Vettel for some time now and we are putting our collective feet down.

Bring back the RBR domination now!

Thank you all for your support.


Nicely done 🙂


Er, what? Seriously?


Guys he's yanking your chain!!!!


+1 😉




Words fail me...


I wasn't happy when Seb was dominating! I am much more happier now. At least the cars are no more planted on the tarmac. The drivers are wrestling their respective cars now.

You better start enjoying the new formula because FIA are not ready to bring back the Exhaust Blown diffuser.


Guess you prefer a different dominatrix.

David in Sydney



You aren't speaking for me and I am a fan - I can't get enough of it 🙂

Hamilton half. A second up on Rosberg and Vettel in trouble, what's not to like?


Pretty much everything you just mentioned 😉



Love it!


Well as a Vettel and Red Bull fan, I definitely enjoyed the days of RBR dominating.

But I don't think you speak for the fans when you say "we miss Seb dominating". Because now Hamilton is dominating, a driver most fans consider better and "more deserving" of a front-running car than Sebastian.

But in terms of closeness, yeah at least other people had a chance to fight Red Bull in the past few years.


No, you don't.


You are a card!


You speak for everyone? I don't think so, possibly all Vettel fans though.


Really? I was miserable when RB were dominating and I do prefer this season to what we had last year. Ferrari fan


Poor Kimi down in 57th place (from the positions listings) 😉


He was probably was hoping to be 69th.


He has no-one to blame but himself - he really should have pulled over for an ice cream on his hot lap just to add those precious minutes 😉

Slightly more seriously, I'm actually a little surprised he didn't nominate it for himself.

I think there's one past champion who might have and it's not like Kimi has never used James Hunt as an alias before 🙂


Lol - Well spotted 🙂


The only way is up from there 🙂


Well it looks like a lot has happened yet not much has changed. Mercs with Ham way ahead with Ros not far behind. The sneaky Ricciado doing business as usual with the master Alonso close or even above challenging and hopefully Vettel and The Iceman back on their game. I absolutely love this year and hope one or more of the teams can give the Mercs a run for their money. Of course realistically it looks like the Mercs have this year in the bag. But who will be next?


Fastest Mercedes-engined non-Mercedes chassis is 2.2s off. Somehow makes you think it's not just the power-train.


Good point! Mercedes car is good and I don't believe it's all down to the engine.


They're good on tires and they're quick through the corners, chassis and tires of the Merc look pretty good. Even though the engine is surely the finest Formula-1 has to offer at the moment, and an engine is an integral part of the car, other teams were not that good on the chassis and aero side, despite having the same engine.

Yes, that's quite a car that Mercedes built!


It's a great car. Make no mistake. Hamilton will make it look supernatural but this car will a WDC out of any driver.



In the first few races it seemed their powertrain was way ahead. Williams, McLaren and Force India were frontrunners and although still fast, on average they seem to drop back now. However the W05 is defending its advantage over Redbull and Ferrari. That MB chassis / aerodynamics must be best of the grid.


Wow is Hamilton quick. 1:25.524 against last year's Rosberg quali lap of 1:20.718. Blisteringly fast, eh? I just love this Formula One World Championship sponsored by Mercedes-Benz. What sounds! What excitement!


Yes, Especially on TV you can clearly see the difference. Wow. It's insane....sorry for being sarcastic

Get real.


Reality is: The fastest lap in the race (1:28.918) was just 2.6 seconds shy of last year's fastest lap (1:26.217), even though we have harder tires and tamed aerodynamics (no beam wing, smaller front wing, no blown diffuser). Since this is pretty new technology and since one can expect the teams to find about 2 seconds a year after a bigger regulation change, I bet that next year the times in the race will be pretty much on par with last year's.


What a way to do your AR collection! Shame them into payment! How did that method work out for Kimi? 🙂


Well, at least that settles it. It's Lotus' fault RBR aren't winning. 🙂


Just as I expected, Mercedes isn't dumb enough to stand still and wait for others to catch up! The Brackley outfit is not the same one we saw in 2009. If this goes on, Lewis Hamilton could rightfully do a "Schumi Ferrari 2004 Season" and leave the rest of the pack fighting for leftovers.

All the other teams have made some progress as well. Especially McLaren. Not sure if we can trust the times as it remains to be seen if Williams can show more pace tomorrow.

Kimi seems to be closer to Alonso this time around which goes to show, he just needs a trouble free weekend to show what he's got. It will be interesting to see what he is going to do tomorrow.


Kimi is an even slower Massa. They both need to have everything right to have exceptional performances. He will not push Alonso too much if any this year. Alonso can be exceptional in non exceptional machinery, while Kimi and Massa can't.


Boring sounds, boring championship race.. Nothing seems to change in this season


Poor Rosberg. By the end of the year he will find the situation completely intolerable. He does not seem like the type who is willing to accept himself as a Barrichelo. I hope he leaves joins Ferrari, and 'Nando joins Merc. 🙂


James if you put a Ferrari engine into a red bull were would they be ? Few tenths faster do you reckon ?


@ Irish Con Stop dreaming. Redbull isn't winning anything this year.


I guess they would be at Maranello.


Black flagged for having the wrong engine, I expect. 😉


Ricciardo (Red Bull) had a better straight line speed than any Ferrari car in the second practice Speed trap in Barcelona. So I don't think a Ferrari engine could have made any difference to Red Bull current situation.

Barcelona Speed trap – second practice.

1. Hamilton - Mercedes - 335.1

2. Kvyat - Toro Rosso - 334.5 - Gap-0.6

3. Hulkenberg - Force India - 333.6 - Gap-1.5

4. Vergne - Toro Rosso - 332.2 - Gap-2.9

5. Rosberg - Mercedes - 331.5 - Gap-3.6

6. Perez - Force India - 330 - Gap-5.1

7. Massa - Williams - 329.9 - Gap-5.2

8. Bottas - Williams - 329.6 - Gap-5.5

9. Ricciardo - Red Bull - 329 - Gap-6.1

10.Button - McLaren - 327.8 - Gap-7.3

11.Sutil - Sauber - 326.9 - Gap-8.2

12.Raikkonen - Ferrari - 326.9 - Gap-8.2

13.Gutierrez - Sauber - 326.7 - Gap-8.4

14.Magnussen - McLaren - 325.9 - Gap-9.2

15.Kobayashi - Caterham - 325.4 - Gap-9.7

16.Ericsson - Caterham - 324.5 - Gap-10.6

17.Alonso - Ferrari - 322.4 - Gap-12.7

18.Bianchi - Marussia - 321.6 - Gap-13.5

19.Maldonado - Lotus - 320.4 - Gap-14.7

20.Chilton - Marussia - 318.6 - Gap-16.5

21.Grosjean - Lotus- 317.7 - Gap-17.4


The Toro Rossos and Magnussens McLaren and Alonsos Ferrari fly in the face of those who complain about weak Renault engines.

I'm always baffled that TV commentators keep repeating that those cars with a lot of top speed have a power advantage, while aerodynamic drag is actually much more important than a few horsepower on the top end. And because of that it's, for a large part, a question of setup.

It is true that a more powerful engine allows for more wing angle, but that manifests less in top speed than in lap time.


Wow, Lotus were slow on the straights. No surprise with the top six, all three cars have always been up there on the speed trap times.


Surely there are Universal Laws in Gene splicing that prevent the artificial crossing of a Red Cow with a Prancing Horse 😀


No put a Merc engine in a RB10 and were would it be winning.


Forget it that is something you will never see more chance of seeing a Mercedes engine fitted anyway if Adrian Newey does stick around at Redbull as opposed to jumping ship to Mclaren (personally i reckon hes Ferrari bound fairly shortly) expect to see a Honda engine in the Redbull within a few seasons if Renault do not sort things out/pull out of F1 both of which i doubt as they prob have a better long term engine history than any of the others. BUT really think Mercedes are going to have the edge on them all appart from say Honda (lets see what they bring) Certainly going to be a interesting couple of seasons ahead 🙂


You can't just place another engine into car and add or deduct time. The chassis and integral parts of the car are designed in conjunction with the engine each team were given.


On the other side of the grid, either Marussia do very well with Bianchi, not far from the rest, or Caterham has no updates working? 1sec between Bianchi and Kobayashi, they were usually pretty close.


Brilliant radio of van de garde - to not swear and sound like someones about put to much sugar in your tea! Impressive


whilst i think these cars are looking better in appearance than in previous years gone by im still annoyed by these front wings. they just look ugly and ridiculous. Why cant the FIA for once stick to what was supposed to be proposed and have all cars use one flap only across the whole have front rather than these hideous multi flaps.

OK james what do you think of these suggestions to improve F1..

1. Increase Rear wing width

2. Increase rev limit to 18,000

3. Bring back refuelling. except make one change that no tyres can be replaced until fuel has been delivered at a specified rate. as is the case in fia gt championship etc..

4. one flap only across the whole front wing but make this smaller in width .


I'm not James, but in case you'd like to read my opinion:

1) No. I Like cars wiggling with their tails, those kind of driver errors cause good "No-DRS" overtaking opportunities.

2) You may even increase the rev limit to 22.000, but it wouldn't have any effect, since the fuel flow limit is currently already forcing the engines to not rev more than 12.000/min, since more makes no sense (try drinking a pint of beer in 10 seconds through a fine straw, won't happen, because of the beer flow limit).

3) Refueling was about the biggest mistake in Formula 1 history. I don't want any more "overtaking in the pits", I want to see teams making very swift pit work, where the speed of the stop solely relies on the crew's skill and determination, not on the amount of fuel that is put into the car. Pit stops are a hell of a lot more exciting since refueling got banned again. And car setups got more challenging too: 160 kilos of fuel divided by 3 stops (4 stints) makes just 40 Kilos difference for the setup. 100 Kilos from start to finish is substantially more to handle and you will (today) always see the lap records falling by the end of the race, and some races climaxed again because of that and because some could push harder with full tanks and some got along better (relative to the others) with empty tanks (gaining in the end and having another chance to attack in the last laps). With refueling the race was often done and positions were taken when the last pit stop was solved, that's not my definition of excitement and I'm glad it's not like this anymore.

How about this:

a) Simplify wings and allow for more ground effect for about the same amount of downforce. Wings are more sensitive to bad air than ground effect aerodynamics, so it would allow cars to follow closer in mid speed bends and create new opportunities to overtake without DRS. If that would make cars sit lower, the skid blocks don't look too shabby when they're touching the ground.

b) ban double points before they even happen. Yes, it will make the last race more vital, but it will for sure lead to some ridiculous tactics like miraculous "failures" in the race before (from cars that are out of the points) to save the engine for the last race.

c) tune up the track side microphones and tune down the commentators voices, so we get more of that gorgeous new engine sound.

d) bring helmet cams and tune down that super effective image stabilization of on board cameras: You have to see some vibrations and knocks that come through the car, to make it look as fast as it is.

Kenneth M'Boy

Is it too early to speculate that Seb has secretly signed for another team and Red Bull aren't happy?

Or are those 3am nappy changes affecting him more than what he thought?

James, when does his contract with Red Bull expire?


Mercedes are looking ominous, and I think they are starting to challenge the 'popular' perception that Red Bull have the better chassis.

I believe that Mercedes not only have the best power-unit package, they also have the best chassis, meaning that they have the complete package.

Mercedes look unbeatable right now, and it seems like the world championship is over for all the other teams and drivers. The other drivers and teams will be battling for 3rd place in the Drivers Championship, and 2nd place in the Constructors Championship.

The only chance for those other teams maybe Monaco, where they would have to somehow out-qualify the two Mercedes, and then use the narrow track confines to keep them behind. However, I cannot see that happening right now.


hay all you goldfish. one of the best races ever few weeks ago. easy to forget i suppose


Sorry James as this isn't the subject here but is there anything being done about the drivers championship controversial and deeply unfair last race double point regulation?


the action off the track was more interesting.

renault can't pay its engine bills , caterham shows all the hallmarks of a team about to implode and sutil has to go on a hunger strike in an attempt to stay competitive. these new f1 machines take too long to repair - there's going to be a lot of exhausred mechanics by mid season. all in all a right old mess.

meanwhile the spin doctors keep telling us how great it all is. sunday will be a yawn fest.


..and Sunday was a great race. I'm glad you were so wrong.

To your points: once engines will be entirely frozen (refer to the Annual F1 Engine Homologation Table in the F1 Technical Regulations, Appendix 4) their prices will drop. What makes the engines so expensive at the moment is first and foremost the development costs. At the moment teams and teh governing bodies are also trying to allow trading or standardizing of some parts that each team has to built on its own. That will cut some cost, or at least allow smaller teams to put the money where real performance comes from (Aero), to become more competitive.

The weight issue will be either addressed for the next season by adapting the minimum weight, or it will take care of itself when development will finally lead to lighter cars and parts. At the moment things were built to expectations, once more experience has kicked in and development keeps improving all the time, the issue will vanish slowly.

Exhausted Mechanics? Actually things have already improved for the mechanics in 2011 when curfew regulations were put in place and, since then, have been extended, so there is a limit of how much these people have to work. Also further development will take care of the issue: Teams will eventually build cars that need less repairs or they will strive to find the best compromise of packaging and ease of access (because accessibility and fast repairs help competitiveness).


Just want to check that all the fans complaining about the (lack of) engine noise do realise that this is because the engines are just more efficient at converting fuel into HP, and therefore more powerful than a "noisy" engine would be.

All that noise that people got used to was just wasted power. It takes energy to produce sound, and the 2014 power units are making use of much more of that energy, resulting in less exhaust noise.

I thought racing was all about optimising everything, including engine power...

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