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

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

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

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

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

Lewis Hamilton

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

F1 safety car

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel Ricciardo

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

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

Report Sm Rect bann

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

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

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 16.24.50

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Hi James.

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


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


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


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


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

Lewis beat Nico!

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

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

But he didn't on the mediums, and at this stage of the season, the Alonso strategic approach to F1 driving is the correct and only option: do anything and everything to beat your team mate.



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

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


But he finished ahead anyway...


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

Keep your eye on the prize!


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


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


Also James,

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


Brilliant, James, thank you.

That's right, they should have fitted Hamilton with softs and told him to pass Alonso as fast as possible. With the performance advantage Mercedes have over Ferrari it shouldn't have been hard to do. Running in clean air would have allowed him to build around 20 sec gap over the next 15 laps.

They might have got a bit confused the moment they saw the softs on Alonso's car. He could have done 3 stops and finished P2...


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Mercedes might just have thought Alonso would have to stop again.

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


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


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


Hi leuan,

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


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


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


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

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


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

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


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



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


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


No Flavio please! Very bad image for F1.


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


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

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


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

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


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


Flavio back in F1?



Flavio? As in Flavio Briatore?

What are they thinking?

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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



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


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


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

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


...and there goes my chance to shine. Now I'll never be famous 🙁


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

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

...hey, maybe that's why he's having so much bad luck? To make up for that 2008 Toyota good luck? 🙂 Oh...another can of worms.

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



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

If you say so. Personally I think you were just slagging Hamilton (as usual). Desperately searching for a negative in an overwhelmingly positive result for him. I tend to be a cynic, so maybe I should give you the benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, the main thing (apart from Hamilton beating Rosberg, of course 😎 ) is that James analysis of the race confirms the win bonuses at Mercedes were unaffected by Hamiltons actions - so you can rest easy 🙂

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


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

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

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

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


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


Oh, that made me laugh so much that it hurts badly..... 🙂



well said - very magnanimous considering you are not a Hamilton fan 🙂


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

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


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


Indeed! As I said before, just let the racers race................with no contrivance or conspiracy theories please!

Bit off topic, but sort of related, but has anyone seen that Macca "Tooned" cartoon featuring Bruce McLaren? That has to be the worst NZ accent I've ever heard - sort of sounds like a weird hybrid Kiwi/UK Home Counties sort of voice.............I know Bruce and Denny (Hulme) lived in the Home County of Surrey, but still....................it's almost as bad as the AUS accents when the Simpsons went Down Under..............especially that Australian father and son who took Bart's prank call in the first place. I don't think I've ever heard Danny Boy, Mark W or Jonsey speak like The Simpsons seem to infer Australians do!

Mind you, in the (surreal) world Of The Simpsons, Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme are hobbits, Mark W and Danny Boy are oafish boot kicking knuckleheads who travel everywhere by Kangaroo pouch (Bart Vs Australia) , and of course Jenson and Lewis wear bowler hats, carry umbrella's and, worst of all, have crooked teeth (The Great Big Book of British Smiles/The Regina Monologues).

Be great to see a Simpsons transformation of all the drivers!


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


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


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


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


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

Stephen Taylor

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


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


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


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


impressed* = surprises


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

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

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


Why did Alonso benefit from the SC ?

The first SC threw him back to 8th place outside of his control while at the second SC he decided not to come in for new tyres.

He did gain places with that but not because of the SC but because his competitors decided not to run such a bold strategy.


without the second SC he definitely wouldn't have made it to the end without a further stop.


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


Why did Alonso benefit from the SC ?

The first SC threw him back to 8th place outside of his control while at the second SC he decided not to come in for new tyres.

He did gain places with that but not because of the SC but because his competitors decided not to run such a bold strategy.


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

Michael in Sydney

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

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

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

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


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


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


Are you serious?

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

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

So please give the anti Hamilton bias a rest.


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


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


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


OK you made your point.....


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


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


@ Maverick.

his talk about Rosberg .......

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

I have never seen a sportsman......

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


'business ethics'

maximize profit by whatever means can be got away with, and/or for which the risk*cost for not getting away with something cleanly, is less than the profit derived from the course of action.

Toto is indeed an expert in 'business ethics'


You are spot on, Keith.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Apologies John - I never read the "on the" between the "Thick Hyperbole" - touche'd myself me thinks.


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

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



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


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


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


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


Thick Hyperbole?

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

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

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

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

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


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


I think you will find Hamilton had a say in Mercedes strategy at Hungary 😉


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


Enlarge your page size.


you're right james this race makes an excellent case study but "hamilton refused to let rosberg through" rather hamilton refused to slow down for rosberg to pass him and rosberg failed to get close enough to pass hamilton.

10 laps to go, it was obvious that alonso wasn't stopping and but mercedes still didn't pit hamilton for those option tyres, they left him out to struggle to the end. the last stint on option tyres would've sealed the deal for hamilton regardless of what ricciardo, alonso and rosberg did.

ferrari have a test driver at their road car factory who tests cars by driving them to destruction. I am surprised f1 teams do not test they tyres by driving them to the canvas during free practice sessions. that would give them enough data to understand numerous dimensions of the tyres.

i find this bit amusing. "f1 teams have very sophisticated video and data technology, which allows them to stop and replay real time data from races, down to milliseconds to analyse sequences of events." because i have done exactly the same on my tv for many years now. for many years, real time television can be paused, rewound and fast forwarded to live so if it wasn't done in f1, i would say they are were asleep in terms of technological advancement.

now we can put a tomb stone on all the negativity and ideas about improving the spectacle because there is no doubt it is at it's best. all that is required now is to provide the circuits with sufficient training on marketing the events ahead of race weekends. let every race except the last, double points, be a wet start.


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


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


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


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


now which one of these is more intelligent, rosberg questioning the team why hamilton is not allowing him through or hamilton refusing to slow down for rosberg through?

collectively, the mercedes engineers failed to recognise their error until hamilton tutored them after the race. i am crazy in love with the truth.


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



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

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



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


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


I still don't get your way of thinking.

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

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


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


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


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


Did the Merc race strategists assume that Alonso would stop again since he was on soft tyres? With that assumption, Medium tyres provided the best chance for Lewis to finish ahead of Alonso.

Unfortunately for Lewis, Alonso did not pit and he could not overtake Alonso. But, amazing drive by Alonso.


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

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

It all points to preferring Nico over Hamilton

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


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

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


Hi James,

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

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

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



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

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



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


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


They would need to pass him TWICE most likely


I think Hamilton could have won if he had an extra pitstop at around 55.

He would be able to charge to the front group like Ric did. Since Red Bull is a lot slower than Mercedes, Hami would have win by default.

Anyway, hindsight is always easy to recognise mistake so I won't dwell on this. I'm just super impressed with Ricciardo overtaking world champions (i.e. Hamilton and Alonso).

You could argue that Ric had fresher tyres... but then I would reply " so did Nico Rosberg".


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


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


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


What a great point.

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

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


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

Mike from Medellin

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


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

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

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


But they did think rosberg could. Hmmmm.


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


But they believed Rosberg could pass Alonso. Hmmm.


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


Hi James

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



Sorry, it should click to enlarge. Will fix that


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

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

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


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


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

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


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


@lollipopman just like timorous above said -anyone with half an ounce of sense would have realised Hamilton should have gone on the Options Not the primes like Mercedes put on !. I was screaming at the television set when it happened.

"Why would Mercedes pay 20million quid..".. - Very simple it gurantees them WCC and WDC regardless of which driver gets it!. With Lewis they get a proven wc who can push the team forward and drag Nico along with him- as he has done since last year.. Mercedes are guaranteed a championship this year and getting Nico to win whilst keeping Lewis no2 is very easy to do with te gap they enjoy to the rest of the field.. They feel compelled to repay Nico for his loyalty for the last 5 years and running in MS shadow for the most part .

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

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


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

Mike from Medellin

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


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


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




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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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


I'm a RBR fan and have been since their inception. I've suported DC, Webber, Vettel etc and now Ricciardo. Above all I am a fan of the sport and appreciate a great drive from whomever it comes from, especially the younger guys - the future of F1. After decades of following F1 I have come to the following conclusions regarding the current crop.

Hamilton, on his day is the fastest guy out there.

Vettel has been the best qualifier.

Ricciardo is the most exciting prospect out there.

Alonso is the best, complete racer/driver I have ever seen. Have a look at his overtakes in his career as well as being overtaken. He's been involved in some classics.

It IS sad not to see him fighting for titles.

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


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



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

Enjoy the summer break 😉


Good post, IMO.

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


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

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

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


Of course Ricciardo would still have won.

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


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


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


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


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

Mike from Medellin

As we know...strategists always get it right.

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


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


That's what I think aswell


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

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

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


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


And they (the strategists) got it wrong in my opinion.

It's not like that's never happened before,ask any of the drivers each of which will provide instances that this has been the case at some race in their experience.

The Redbull pitwall got it entirely right during the race,the result confirms this as well as hindsight which is not entirely redundant.


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


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



Great insight as always, but there's something I slightly disagree.

Rosberg just wasn't good enough in drying conditions, and that was his main and only problem why he failed to win or even make podium in a superior car.

His top speed in Hungary was 313,4 Km/h (only Hamilton and Bottas were marginally faster) compared to Vergne's 300,3 Km/h.

So it wasn't lack of top end speed, but rather lack of skill or balls in those conditions.

If he wins this years WDC it will remind me much to his father's own WDC back in '82. who also wasn't the fastest out there, but merely the luckiest. Nico has huge car performance advantage this year, coupled with reliability issues of the only guy who can beat him, he's pretty much destined to win WDC. I hope this won't happen that way, but on merit.

But merit is something he didn't show this year.

As for the SC, there's something I'm not so clear about.

At the time of Ericcson's crash, Rosberg was some 54 seconds ahead of him, which at his present pace gives him another 48 or so seconds to complete that lap. Given that accident happen some 23-25 sec into the lap, that leaves Mercedes and Rosberg with some 10 sec to react and get into the pit entry (three guys behind some 10-15 sec more). Okay they've failed to do so, but did SC actually picked them up at the exit of the pit lane (I don't have recording of the race to check), but if I remember correctly at one point medical car was overtaking SC going towards the accident spot, while bit latter TV shows two cars stopped by the wreckage of the Ericcsson's car. Was that a medical car and SC as well?

If yes, who picked up Rosberg? Or was Rosberg and 3 guys behind were driving at 80 or more % of the speed during the lap 9 (past the point of accident)?

Intriguing to this is that Magnussen who didn't stop and who was 45 sec behind Rosberg at the time of accident and 50 sec the following lap when Rosberg was picked up by SC, actually came behind Rosberg after Nico made his stop.

If Nico was doing 55% of the speed + pit stop, how is this possible? Magnusen was slower only 8 seconds on a first lap of a SC, compared to his last lap before SC.

It he 80% of the race speed a official rule during the SC period? Or it's just a rule of thumb?

Does anyone ever enforced it?

I see that during a first SC period there were a cars lapping at 1:55 (Magnussen did on lap 9, which some 10 sec faster than 80% rule). On lap 10 Maldonado did in 1:47,6 etc.


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


Well Rosberg was some 10 sec away from pit entry at the time when SC was called out, but missed the opportunity, as well as other 3 behind even though they had additional 10-15 sec to think about it.

What I don't understand is how did Rosberg ended up in front of Magnussen who didn't pit, given that Rosberg was apparently lapping at 55% of his race pace, while Magnusen was actually doing 90 or so %.

On top of that Rosberg pitted, so even more time lost.

At the time when Rosberg crossed start/finish line right before SC picked him up (SC was stationary while waiting for him - even more time lost) he was some 50 sec ahead of Magnussen. Rosberg was supposed to do 55% of his race pace which is arround 2:41, while that particular lap Magnussen did in 1:55. That's where all Rosberg'a advantage was gone and there's pit stop he did on top of that.

So all in all Rosberg should come out of the pit stop behind Magnussen if the math is correct. 🙂

Obviously he did way faster than 55%.

Also noteworthy is fact that while Rosberg was in pit lane, Massa was ahead of Magnussen 0,42 sec crossing the start/finish line, and yet he managed to get in front of Rosberg, while Magnussen didn't.


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

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


They've given him a reliable car.


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


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


Mercedes have been consistent with their strategies all year. When Rosberg pitted he was the lead driver and so was put on the `optimal` strategy in the expectation that whenever Hamilton did pit, the undercut would see him emerge behind. Thanks to a bit of luck with Vettel, an epic overtake on Vergne and some tardiness in traffic from Rosberg, Hamilton stretched his lead and then became the de facto lead driver.

Mercedes had plenty of data - Hamilton's own 31 lap stint on the options and Williams' lack of pace on the prime to see that two stints on options was a faster way to the end of the race than a single stint on mediums. Particularly as Hamilton had new options to spare.

I suspect Mercedes are guilty more of being inflexible and dogmatic rather than, as some have suggested, favouring one driver over another. If they really did want a "team win" then they should have recognised that the driver best placed to deliver it had changed by mid-race.


+1...well articulated


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

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

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


That isn't Merc strategy at all.

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


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


unless the other had no chance of winning the championship.


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


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

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

Yes I am having a another dig at "Paid for Racing"


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


Me too. I hate having to watch highlights.


I havent done all the math, but I wonder if Alonso could've faired better with a Rosbergesque late stop. During the racd I was screaming for Alonso to stop late. It looked to me that he had the gap to Rosberg, about 23 seconds. I was thinking if he made it out ahead of Rosberg, and dispatch Lewis, he would've had much newer tires than Ricciardo.

On that strategy, he would still end up 2nd, but with a good fight for Ricciardo, rather than a defensive haul to the finish.

Its clear the F14 T had the pace this weekend, as evident by Alonso's string of fast laps. I dont know, 2nd is great, but the Scuderia needed to take that golden opportunity for a win. Theh have nothing to lose by doing so really.

I may be wrong, F1 strategists are smarter men than I, but I feel like it happened again...

I'd Like to hear what others think.


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


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

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

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


You are not wrong,

Phrase it differently though

F1 strategists are fallible like the rest of us.


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


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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


I agree, but hindsight is a wonderful thing..................

What's that cliche Soren Kierkegaard said: "Life can only be understand looking backwards, but it has to be lived forwards."

Probably the best and most relevant advice for understanding motor sport strategy there has ever been.............


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


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


Hi James,

Great report as always.

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

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


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

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


Blasted auto correct software. Strategist, not starfish

Mike from Medellin

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


"personal pit lane starfish?" there's so much I still have to learn about this modern F1.


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

He knows what he's doing!


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


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


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


Thank you Adam.

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


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

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

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


Great breakdown of race strategies.

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

Hope the Mercedes mechanics give Lewis an equally drivable car in Quali at Spa & not a fireball like I Hungary.


Mercedes reliability has been appalling. The issue at the first race in Australia is understandable, the first race of a new formula there will always be niggles.

To have niggly issues at the start of the year is acceptable, but to have consistent - and very worrying - reliability problems such as a gearbox issue, brake failure (yikes!) and a leaking fuel tank (Kentucky Fried Mercedes?) just smacks of sloppy discipline and poor preparation on Mercedes part.

I think us spectators would have presumed that by mid summer reliability issues would have been sorted. We were wrong................

kenneth chapman

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

there is a lesson in there somewhere.....


Like I = Like in 🙂


I don't think any team can be criticised for strategy in the race on Sunday. If Budapest had been bone dry, then yes - but a wet but drying track is a complete lottery. When a track dries out enough for the use of slicks, the circuit is "green" - ie all the rubber washed away - and also incredibly abrasive. Also, the track temperatures were around 20 degrees cooler than previously on Friday/Saturday.

So on a circuit stripped of all its rubber and with an abrasive surface, its impossible to know what how the tyre compounds will react. There is no data to base a judgement on: it's all pure guesswork. A driver/team just has to make a decision on the spur of the moment and hope it's the right one.

Wet but drying circuits are hero or zero races: the normal dry race strategy goes out of the window. Nobody can predict how a tyre compound will perform on a green track. It's pure supposition. Which is why wet but drying races are so intriguing!

Congrats to Danny Boy, but also big shout to Red Bull too. That Bull chassis is a nimble, agile car producing lots of raw downforce, which is ideally suited for the Hungaroring. If you look at photos of the Bull it is running quite a lot of "rake" - nose down, rear end up - and to do that a team requires an aerodynamic map that is incredibly consistent. That's the key with the Red Bull: it produces lots of downforce, but its also clean, consistent aerodynamic grip because of the effectiveness of the front wing and floor. The Bull also seems to have a good aerodynamic centre of pressure/centre of gravity which is a real advantage of tight, twisty circuits as that means the low speed change of direction will be sharp. Bodes well for Singapore!

The Williams chassis should be back in contention at Spa and Monza where aero efficiency - the ability to produce high speed downforce with little penalty of drag - is the key, so perhaps the Hungaroring was just a slight aberration for Frank and Claire's team.


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


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


A huge thank you for this James.

Dear All,

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

Likewise Alonso changed his strategy towards the end as it became clear the victory was in sight.

Like everybody, Alonso was of the view with difficulty in overtaking he had a shot of making it.

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

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


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


Don't know about you Goferet, but doesn't the Sunday just gone make us all wish F1 went to climes with a high percentage of rain!

Why not go to places with high annual rainfall? Hawaii? Oregon? British Columbia? Amazon Jungle countries such as Guyana? Vietnam? Thailand? Madagascar? Uganda? Wales? The West Country? Yorkshire? Cumbria? Scotland? New Zealand?

I know I'm joking, but one of the reasons Interlagos is usually rain affected, and therefore sensational racing, is because a) Sau Paulo is a high altitude city and b) it's right next to the mighty Amazon Jungle - and jungle areas get lots of rain!


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


@ Gaz Boy

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


Thanks James, one of your best.


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

to do)


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


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


@ Phenom

That's true.

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


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


Great review. Thanks!

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


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


Yes, with hindsight it was a mistake for several runners


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


"illegally ordering"?

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

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


Illegally? What? Team orders are allowed.


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


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


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


With too many variables, strategy becomes a computer game, or an intuition simplification.

So any opinion becomes irrelevant, all is true and at the same time false, because at a certain point hypotheses have too much weight.

This excess makes annoying to understand a race for lots of people.

Same opinion for actual technical specifications, so called too complicated, but maybe they simply have lost the focus in my opinion.

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

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


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

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

To address the question I'd say it will be by moving the balance from technique/ team to the driver.

i.e. giving more power than control, making the team race together with the pilot by continuous development and therefore making pilots "training" with the car.

I understand that some things can sound really weird today, but they say: "It is needed to imagine the future before creating it" and it can be about two macro-scenarios:

1- Google driving electronically efficient aero-cars or

2- Pilots mastering car efficient-driving, where the technological efficiency follow but don't drive.



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

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


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


No, Button has built a reputation for rolling the dice in changing conditions such as these, he doesn't excel at driving in them. He knows he isn't particularly special in the wet, just as he isn't particularly special in the dry and so if he rolls the dice by doing something different on tyres, it at least gives him a chance if the weather then comes to him. If you look at all of Button's wins in the wet they have all come about in this way. Unlike genuinely great wet weather drivers such as Senna and Schumacher, Jenson Button Is rarely, if ever at all, the fastest guy on a wet track when he is on the same tyres as everyone else. So in Hungary on the weekend, he decided to do his usual trick and take the gamble, only this time it didn't work out. Pure and simple.

Never mind, people will soon forget about it! He'll do the same thing again the next time, it might work out for him, and you guys will be raving about his wet weather prowess again. Entirely sensible tactic if you ask me....for a very mediocre driver.


is button not supposed to excel under changing conditions?


Thank you.


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

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

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

In the article it states

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roll on Spa.



does it rain at spa?


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

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

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


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

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


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

Drgraham lewis

Absolutely - and a serious risk...

All for what?

I guess to get started on time...


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

Can you provide a source please?


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Yes they did.

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


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

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


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



Thank you for confirming what Mercedes thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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



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


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


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

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


Agreed, it would be nice to see it happen.


Disco Dan, the smiling assasin.

William Russell

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


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


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

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


My thoughts exactly.


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


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


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

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

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

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

Drgraham lewis

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

Puzzling really.


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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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


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