Insight: Did Mercedes strategy decisions lead to Hamilton & Rosberg collision and how did Verstappen beat Raikkonen?
Insight
Lewis Hamilton
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Jul 2016   |  3:45 pm GMT  |  254 comments

“Forget everything you’ve known before,” was the advice of one leading F1 team strategist on the morning of the Austrian Grand Prix.

The combination of much cooler temperatures on race day, combined with a lack of knowledge about how the soft tyres in particular would perform in the race, due to lack of dry running in Free Practice on Friday, meant that many teams were going into the dark on Sunday.

In those circumstances, Race Strategy was always going to be critical to the outcome of the race, but the winners were those who had hedged their bets and were most adaptable during the race.

And it was varying strategies that led to the race’s main talking point, the last lap collision between the Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Was it avoidable?

Jenson Button
Pre race expectations

Based on the practice running on Friday everyone was in trouble on tyres.

Pirelli had brought the Ultra Soft, Supersoft and Soft and all teams experienced high temperatures, graining, blistering and loss of performance. Straight away in Practice one, the cars were over two seconds quicker than last year thanks to a new surface. It then rained in Practice two.

There was mild panic in the midfield when it became clear that the Manor had been very fast in the dry; ironically the car’s lack of downforce relative to the opposition meant that it put less load through the tyre and didn’t overheat it. The Manor, in Pascal Wehrlein’s hands at least, was a real threat for points, especially when he qualified up in 12th place.

This prompted McLaren and Toro Rosso to save two sets of soft tyres per car for race day, as it looked like the only way to do the race would be two stops, with a short first stint on ultra softs followed by two stints on Soft. But the great unknown was how hot the conditions would be.

McLaren benefitted hugely on Jenson Button’s car from this decision and the cooler temperatures on Sunday also helped the car operate better. Because he’d grabbed the opportunity of mixed conditions in qualifying to line up third on the grid, Button was able to execute a strong race and score a solid 6th place.

Red Bull was one of the worst for rear tyre graining in practice and that makes Max Verstappen’s 56 lap stint on soft tyres in the race all the more remarkable. His team mate Daniel Ricciardo was not able to get the tyres to last like Verstappen did and was forced onto a two stop strategy.

He’s one of the best in the business at maintaining tyre life at a good pace, so we have to view Verstappen’s performance here and in Spain with completely fresh eyes.

Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg
Mercedes drivers collide – why did Hamilton not stick to a one stop plan?

Were Hamilton and Rosberg always destined to come together at some point in this race? Their second collision in five races meant that the team dropped another 6 points to add to the 43 lost in Spain, which is causing the team now to consider some kind of team orders.

Analysis of the strategy decisions shows that trouble was almost inevitable; if it had not been Hamilton trying to pass Rosberg at the end it would have been Rosberg trying to pass Hamilton in the final stint if the Englishman had stayed on a one stop plan and there was a high chance of it getting messy.

This was a case, for Mercedes ‘ strategy decision makers, of being damned if they do and damned if they don’t, trying to make a fair competition. But they had no reason to expect that the pair would collide so soon after Barcelona.

As Rosberg started in sixth place on the grid, due to a gearbox change following a suspension breakage, he was always going to run a flat out two-stop strategy, with an early first stop on Lap 10. He was the faster Mercedes driver all weekend, but was having to make up ground after the suspension failure.

Hamilton, in contrast, was on pole and on a flexible strategy, which quickly evolved into a one stop once it became clear that he was going to get around 20 laps out of the first stint on Ultra Soft tyres.

Pirelli felt that in the cooler conditions of Sunday the soft tyre should be okay for 46-50 laps, Hamilton was on that plan. He had done the hard work by getting to Lap 21 before stopping. Raikkonen pitted a lap later from a set of Supersofts, while Verstappen had stopped on Lap 15, so of the three drivers he was facing the toughest challenge to reach Lap 71 on a set of Soft tyres.

However several things happened. First Hamilton’s pit stop was two seconds slower than normal and he came out of the pits behind Rosberg. This wasn’t in the plan. He had tyres that were 11 laps fresher than Rosberg’s, but the German pulled a five second gap on him.

The Safety Car then came out for Vettel’s accident and that allowed Hamilton to close up on Rosberg. Although Hamilton said after the race that the Safety Car had hurt him, it was the opposite. It had helped him close the five seconds to Rosberg.

Paddy Lowe

However from this point, things started to unravel for Mercedes. First they began to doubt Hamilton’s soft tyres would make it to the finish. For once they had a clear lack of knowledge on which to base the strategy. Mercedes also calculated that if Rosberg continued on his two stop plan and Hamilton on his one stop, Rosberg would pit a second time and would lose 19 seconds of race time in the process but his lap times would then be over a second faster than Hamilton’s to the finish so he would catch him and easily pass him.

To try to keep things fair between them, Mercedes decided to switch Hamilton onto a similar plan to Rosberg, but to give him the chance of an undercut. However, the undercut would be tough to pull off as he would be moving onto the Soft tyre and the warm up on the out lap would be slower than on the SuperSofts, which Rosberg was compelled to take as he had no more soft tyres left.

On Lap 54 he pitted, but Hamilton made a small mistake on his out lap at Turn 2 and with the slow warm up of the tyres, his out lap was 1.4 seconds slower than Rosberg’s so Rosberg retained the track position. Hamilton had probably been brought in a lap too late.

Hamilton questioned why Rosberg had been put on the ‘faster’ tyre, but was told that the Soft was the better tyre for the last 17 laps. And that proved correct, as Rosberg’s SuperSofts were fading badly at the end.

Together with his brake issue, this meant that Rosberg was losing ground quickly at the end to Hamilton. And as Hamilton went to pass, they collided, with Rosberg taking the blame from the FIA Stewards for the collision as well as coming off worse in car damage, which meant he finished fourth.

Could Mercedes have played it differently? Leaving both cars out on one stop plans would have been very risky for Rosberg to reach the flag. And Hamilton would have been making a pass at the end of the race, when both cars would be on the limit of tyre life, so that sounded too messy.

In hindsight the one stop Hamilton was on would have turned out more favourably than they imagined, as the low degradation on the soft meant that Raikkonen easily made it to the finish on similar age tyres.

It was an uncomfortable case of risk and guesswork for Mercedes, highly unusual for them to have so little knowledge of the soft tyre and a bad situation was compounded by the fact that their drivers were not able to cope with converging strategies, which should have led to a good sporting battle, not the pair colliding and costing the team points. This must be especially painful for the whole team, given the effort Hamilton’s side of the garage went to in order to help repair Rosberg’s car after the accident on Saturday morning.

It was noticeable that Mercedes boss Toto Wolff sent Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles up onto the podium to collect the winner’s trophy – the team’s 40th Grand Prix victory of the hybrid turbo era – after such a difficult afternoon.

Max Verstappen
Verstappen performs a miracle – again

The most impressive drive of the day was undoubtedly Max Verstappen for Red Bull. The teenager again showed amazing control to drive at a good pace, keeping a faster Ferrari behind him to the flag on fresher tyres, to score his second podium finish.

Verstappen qualified behind his team mate Daniel Ricciardo again, but beat him at the start and once he got onto a set of soft tyres in the second stint and Sebastian Vettel had retired, he was in a position where he had nothing to lose once Raikkonen made his late first stop and came out behind him.

The thinking was – if the tyres started to fade, Raikkonen would pass him, but equally he could pit and finish behind the Finn anyway. So once the Safety Car intervened and gave them a couple of slow laps to cool the tyres down, Red Bull opted to roll the dice, even though nothing they had seen on Friday suggested that it was remotely possible to do 56 laps on a set of soft tyres.

Some have questioned Ferrari’s strategy here. Raikkonen, like Vettel, had started on supersofts after a cunning decision in qualifying, which gave them more options.

He took the tyres to Lap 22, but had Ferrari suspected that the race would end as it did, they would have pitted Raikkonen four or five laps earlier when he had a gap over Verstappen and could have pitted and retained track position over the Dutchman. But they clearly didn’t want to attempt such a long stint, which is why they executed the way they did and lost to the Red Bull.

Raikkonen’s other problem was that he didn’t have a new set of soft tyres, only a set that had done three laps. Still he should have been able to pass Verstappen. He came close on the final lap, but yellow flags meant he could not try a move. But he’d left it too late by then anyway.

Pascal Wehrlein

A day of opportunities
The top ten featured several names that have not had much opportunity to score points in recent races. As well as Jenson Button, who made the most of McLaren’s strategy planning on Friday and the cool temperatures on race day, one notable drive came from Pascal Wehrlein, who maximised the opportunity that presented itself for Manor and scored his first point in F1 with a 48 lap second stint on soft tyres.

Romain Grosjean was another notable performer in seventh place. He managed to stretch a set of supersoft tyres until the Lap 26 when we saw the Safety Car, which was triggered ironically by Vettel trying to extend his super softs! This gave Grosjean a chance to pit and save 10 seconds compared to a pit stop at racing speeds (reminiscent of the gamble the team made in Australia that also paid off). He then went to the finish on a set of softs in a one-stop strategy that put him ahead of Sainz, Bottas and Gutierrez.

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several of the leading F1 teams’ strategists and from Pirelli.

Report Sm Rect bann

RACE HISTORY GRAPH, Kindly Supplied by Williams Martini Racing -Click to Enlarge

Illustrating the performance gaps between the cars during the race. A line which moves steeply upwards shows strong pace. Sharp drops indicate pit stops.

Look at the pace of the Mercedes compared to the rest – clearly faster and putting more load through the tyres as a result. Compare the Ferrari pace with Red Bull’s – this was quite a result for Verstappen. McLaren’s pace is better compared to Toro Rosso, for example, if you look at previous Strategy Reports and see the relative pace earlier in the season. McLaren’s improvement is clear to see.

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1

There are too many tyre choices and too little insight into making them work for each team. We would be better off with just one wet and one dry compound and let teams do the best they can with it. I don’t want to hear this or that team lost ther race because they picked the wrong tyre etc etc. Tyres should not be the determinant factor in winning a race. The driver’s skill should be the thing gets him over the line. With all the problems F1 teams are having with their tyres, would you buy Pirellis for your car? I sure as hell won’t.

2

There are more collisions between Merc team mates then any other in the past. This number is only going to increase. But one person could stop this is Nico, i am not saying he must stop driving but he could try to be himself.
The advantage with Lewis is that whatever he is (good or bad, lying or truth, angry, happy, grit whatever) he is being himself and Nico is trying to be Lewis.
This will not go well with Nico, If Nico want to win and the same time fans, he must try to he himself. Prost never tried to be Senna (I am not saying Nico is Prost).

If Nico won the AustrinGP, there would have been whole cry here, Merc would have issued a statment to Fans.
If Nico came second, then he is only second best.
What i dont understand is who ever be Lewis teammate this will continue except for another Brit. Now there are lot of comments Pascal would be nice pair with Lewis, but the things would continue.
I also see very nice comments about Seb in recent times, 2 years back in this same forum he was thrashed and now is nice guy in paddock and he will make a good pair with Lewis (?)
Lewis won the GP in style, including the botched pitstop, outlap issues, even he had break heating issues, he had high tire were in FP,s, setup issues, but when it mattered he came out best in worst tangle (I am here to win, I will win).
At the same time nothing to take away from Nico, good FP,s, checkout the opening stints they are good, still crashed in FP, usual average quali, had kevlar stuck underfloor, Aero part dangling on the sidepod, break by wire problem.
Untill the tangle he did good, came out worst out the tangle (yes he created that)
Lewis is best but I will also look at what other drivers are doing best. This is the only thing keeping me glued to F1 weekend. After few years whole paddock might be new, I will be still there watching F1 in TV, and timming in laptop and still enjoy the battle. If you ask whom U support, that is complex, b,coz i dont support drivers, but enjoy their driving, Hakinnen 1999, Shumi, 2000, 2001, Kimi 2003, Alonso in 2012, 13, always JPM . Big fan of Williams BMW and Mclaren Benz (black and white).

@James: why Nico was allowed to race when an aero part was creating safety issues? I was waiting for Charlie to ask Marshals to wave flag to retire him. Am i wrong here?

3

Great report (as usual, thanks James).
1. Mercedes is managing this championship.
2. The suggestion that Nico was faster all weekend (except of course… on track, in the race), can easily be managed by the team; of course, in the race, under the spotlight, it is much more difficult to do discretely).
3. I’d like to write, once again, that I do NOT decry Rosberg’s actions, he’s got to do everything he can get away with, to try to win the championship (while one might say, he didn’t get away with crashing into Hamilton on the last lap, look again, since it had no impact on his points won).
4. If you are Mercedes management, and the one (better on-track) driver, runs away with the championship, the fans, and PAYING ADVERTISERs would be fleeing faster than the bankers out of London, wouldn’t they? Why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to preserve the only competition in the category? (Of course you would!) The only problem is… the kind of people who pay very close attention to what is going on, like fellow posters and readers on this site.
IT’S OBVIOUS!
But totally understandable.

I believe, that even if Ferrari were to get a massive performance improvement from the car, Mercedes would just pull a few more of their saved up gadgets, out of the bag, and STILL WIN!
Jock Clear is looking more and more like a Mercedes mole.
The story behind Vettel’s tire explosion is weak.
Verstappen is the real thing! (I still stand by my opinion that at 17 years of age, one, everyone, doesn’t have the adequate maturity to decide to drive in F1, by on driving merit, it is a pleasure to see a meteoric rising star and to know what it is as it is happening); way to go MAX! (I still would have liked to see Kimi higher on the podium, especially since it was only strategy that kept him behind the Red Bull.)

Hoping for a first lap Mercedes incident this weekend, so it can REALLY be competitive.

4
devilsadvocateq

Yeah, I think Merc. strategy definitely played a big part in it, primarily leaving Hamilton out too long on the ultra soft on his first stop, but then they couldn’t have foreseen two slow pit stops for Hamilton and they cant control things like the bad out lap on his first stop.

Credit where credit is due though, Nico made some really impressive time on his very long stint on softs in the middle bit of the race. That was instrumental in him even being in with a chance of pulling off the undercut when they pitted Hamilton for his second stop.

My question for James is, why did Mercedes put Rosberg on the super softs at the end. Most of the commentators were pointing out how it would put him at huge pace disadvantage in the closing laps of the race and even from the start of the stint he was having trouble. So again, if they really wanted the undercut to work then why change things up when he clearly had dominant performance during his middle stint on the softs? Did he just not have a set left?

5

I think saying Kimi’s tires were much newer than Max’s is a stretch. As James goes on to explain Kimi’s were scrubbed and had 3 laps on them which means they were only 5 laps fresher than Max’s over all since Max had a new set on his car. I would have liked to see Kimi get by Max, but it was not like he had a new set of super softs on his car. He was going much quicker than Max in the end on tires that were not that much newer.

6
Tornillo Amarillo

Rosberg was losing ground quickly at the end to Hamilton.

How was ROS losing ground, what were the lap times for both? Is it tyres or traffic?

7

Great report and analysis!

8

In my personal view the battle between Lewis and Nico is fascinating. Lewis is the racer and dares to trust his skills and experience during the race. Nico, I have always found more calculated. and he clearly struggled to improvise and act on conditions during the race. Let’s face Lewis has trumped Nico several times during the races in the past. I think that is a quality of Lewis. Nico is now trying to do the same with Lewis and is clearly less good at that. By the refusal of Lewis to avoid a collision at all costs with his teammate Lewis gives a signal for the coming season .He is not afraid to take on the fight and will not accept to be driven off the track. It was a matter of waiting until one of the drivers of Mercedes would show this , it does not surprise me that Lewis is the one.Compare this with the situation at RBR . Ricciardo is a complete and fast driver. He let Vettel sweat in the past. He now faces a 18 -year-old teammate . Who wins his first race in the RBR . You can discuss about the strategy of the team, but it is difficult to sustain denying that Max seems to be a genius in the field with tire management combined with his race pace. Max already has the nickname “tyre-whisperer”. Max took Daniel in Austria with a brilliant overtaking maneuver on the limit , but without damage and without contact. Once the drivers do battle at RBR also through “do or die actions” it will also appear at RBR who has the most talent to deal with this pressure during the race and who is wisest to enforce the number 1 position in the team.

At Mercedes I put my cards on Lewis

9

I really hope next time they collide (LH & NR) they take each other out so someone else can win the race. And by the way, check this, quite interesting insight from NL:
http://www.planetf1.com/news/lauda-says-hamilton-lied-about-relationship-with-rosberg/

10

I’m convinced that the only problem with what Nico did is that it was not well disguised . At that corner on that track it was just too obvious. The first lap issues are often in a melee with high fuel so it’s easier to blame other factors. I have no agenda against either driver or Mercedes . I just think there was little camouflage for nico to pull off a bit of karmic justice to Lewis.

11

Mercedes have a chance to fix things. It is a perfect opportunity. I am sure they are considering it. What are the facts:

1. current pilots cannot co exist peacefully.
2. rosberg ‘will stop at nothing’ to get the title. ie he will continue driving dirty. (he deliberately did not turn the wheel to make the turn and caused the incident)
3. rosberg is the inferior pilot and makes a lot of mistakes when under pressure.
4. Werhlein is great talent and a lot cheaper than Rosberg.
5. Rosberg’s contract expires end of 2016.
6. Rosberg driving tactics are not up to par with Mercedes philosophy

Isn’t it obvious that Mercedes should not sign Ros and go for Pascal…

12

still there will be conspiracy theories. 🙂

13

Hi James, I’m getting replies to me comments emailed through, but when I click the link, it only brings me to the article and not directly to the comment.
It used to take you to the comment, as I’m sure you know, finding a specific comment in amongst 500 is difficult. Still love the new format.

14

@ dan…the same here. has been doing that for quite a while now. terribly frustrating and many times i simply can’t be bothered to search hundreds of comments to respond to. i do feel rather guilty as those people who bother to respond to one of my posts certainly warrant either an acknowledgement or a decent reply. that is, that excludes those posters who i purposely don’t bother responding to.

15
seifenkistler

Wasn’t telling Lewis on the radio that soft would be better at the end compared to Rosberg a forbidden coded strategy help to attack at the last rounds?

16

Hi James,

Somewhere I read that during the overtaking maneuver vs his team mate on the first laps, Max V. used the entire electrical charge of the battery.

I thought the power accumulated by the battery is harvested and managed intelligently by the PU’s software system. Perhaps is to be re-programmed in respect to any particular track’s layout. e.g. using of more charge at the acceleration point, especially at the starting stage of a long straight, during uphill etc.

But it was interesting to hear regarding the usage of electrical charge. Do the pilots have the access for the usage of battery power? (as it was in the era of KERS)

17

good point, is it also anything to do with Tyre management.

18

Unless Ferrari fires their strategist I dont think they have a hope in hell of winning a race this year. Pitting Kimi on L22 put him in no man’s land. They should have either kept him out, or tried to pit him earlier to possibly undercut Hamilton. But instead they get flustered and pit him as soon as Hamilton pits, thereby losing track positions to both the redbulls. Neither did they cover RBR, nor did they gain anything on Hamilton.
Their strategy recently has been very reactionary. Its unfortunate, cause I just dont think their results show how good their car actually is. And it’s robbing us of a proper fight between the top 2 teams. While VES is a very good driver, if Ferrari didnt screw their strategy up, in both instances Kimi would have been ahead, and both Kimi n Seb could’ve won a couple of races.

19

Yes pretty spot on Ash re Ferrari strategist this year.

20

Lets hope if Mercedes are favouring Nico that it continues for the rest of the season. If the last 2 years have taught us anything its Hamilton has the edge on Nico in most areas. As a neither a fan of Lewis or Nico I wanna see a close battle up front and until the other teams catch up giving Nico a little head start seems like a good idea to me.

21

The recurring line from everyone this year seems to be “the tyres lasted a lot longer than anyone thought they would”. At what point in the season is everyone just going to settle into a 1 stop strategy, no matter how unworkable it initially seems…

22

True – but Ricciardo for example couldn’t do it and he’s good on the tyres

23

” He’s good on the tyres”- This is no something of a permanent trait. Is it? Especially since the cars and tyres change every year. We saw how good Vettel was in 2013 with tyre management, but struggled with tyres in 2014 compared to Ricciardo.

24

That’s the highlight for me in this race.
Does Max have something the others don’t, an extra feel for the tyre wear and a greater ability to constantly adjust his driving?

25

“but the German pulled a five second gap on him.” Yes, and as noted, Rosberg was supposed to drive as fast as possible on a 2-stop strategy, while Lewis was managing his tires to last to the finish, so presumably was driving to a lap time.

“it was the opposite. It had helped him close the five seconds to Rosberg.” That time saving is obvious, but perhaps Lewis was referring to something else? Maybe the softs don’t like to be heated, cooled and heated again?

“Hamilton made a small mistake on his out lap at Turn 2 and with the slow warm up of the tyres, his out lap was 1.4 seconds slower than Rosberg’s” Wasn’t Lewis’ stop 1.2 secs slower, so the outlap error only added a couple tenths. And, as you note, the Softs aren’t going to be as fast as the SuperSofts on their outlap.

“Rosberg’s SuperSofts were fading badly at the end.” Was it the tires or was it the brakes that were fading badly at the end?

“Leaving both cars out on one stop plans would have been very risky for Rosberg to reach the flag” Not a really viable option, since as you note, Rosberg was committed to a 2-stop from the beginning. Hard to change to a 1-stop.

“In hindsight the one stop Hamilton was on would have turned out more favourably than they imagined, as the low degradation on the soft meant that Raikkonen easily made it to the finish on similar age tyres.” Seems like quite a few teams made the correct call when Merc did not. Perhaps you’re being too kind to Merc’s strategists?

“compounded by the fact that their drivers were not able to cope with converging strategies, which should have led to a good sporting battle, not the pair colliding and costing the team points. This must be especially painful for the whole team, given the effort Hamilton’s side of the garage went to in order to help repair Rosberg’s car after the accident on Saturday morning.” Everyone seemed to play fair, except for Nico who seemed to want to force Lewis into contact, to prove some legal point in his mind. Probably something Toto said back in Montreal about the inside driver dictating the line. Nico did seem to refer to that in his post-race interview.

The most interesting thing I got out of the race was that the notable drives were all by drivers, Button, Verstappen, Grosjean, and Wehrlein who stretched their Soft tires for over 45 laps to finish the race.

26

Thanks James for the analysis. Few questions though.
1. Why was Lewis’s stop slower? Is it pit crews mistake or did he not stop accurately in the box? We have seen this quite regularly now.
2. Toto did mention that 1 stop became marginal for Lewis which is why they switched him to 2 stop. How much of it is because he pushed too hard to keep up with Nico post safety car? Should he have drove his race?
3. Also, given Lewis had 2 sets of soft, he could have stopped couple of laps earlier however, need to check if he would have come behind Kimi then.
4. I said that then will say it now – Ricci on one stop wouldn’t have won Spain; He didn’t lose it just on strategy. Max’s race pace is strong. Analysis on the car setup will be nice! Why is Ricci significantly quicker in quali while slower in race trim?

27

Yes. There is a conspiracy hatching inside Mercedes to defeat and overthrow Hamilton which is why they are paying him 30 Million Euros every year.

28

Drivers are employees of the race team. Constructor points are the only thing that matter for the team. Ergo, you play by team rules or you go somewhere else.

29

But this isn’t in line with what the consumer or sponsers want.

No entertainment = No F1

30

I feel that the type of “team orders” that Mercedes could apply will be things like making the drivers have the same amount of each type of tyre, not necessarily on track team orders.

31

There has been a worrying trend in recent years of certain drivers on the grid deliberately running deep when passing or defending from the inside line in the hope it prevents the outside car from performing a successful undercut.
Whilst this move maybe within the rules it certainly isn’t very sportsman like and near borders on cheating . It’s become more prevelent and is a move being copied by the youngsters in the lesser Formulas.
You see it every year at turn 1 in Bahrain as well as at Belgium, Montreal and Austria to name a few.
Ultimately, that need by Nico to run Lewis deep instead of just defending through the normal racing line is what cost him a guranteed podium. I think Hamilton realized what was happening and eventually turned in out of anger and frustration himself, almost like he was saying to Rosberg ” Hey f#£W&t , you seriously can’t run me any deeper.”
This article also says it’s the second time in five races they have collided when it’s the third. Montreal was an avoidable collision no different to Spain and Austria .
I highly suspect one of them won’t be at Mercedes next year.

32

Sarsippious, I don’t see how they can continue with the current line up either, my (fantasy) prediction. Rosberg to McLaren and Fernando to Mercedes. Perez to Ferrari and Wehrlein to replace him at Force India. Button to Williams replaced by Stoffel at McLaren. Adios to Kimi and Felipe.

33

TimW, could the fact Rosberg hasn’t ( as far as I’m aware ) signed his contract extension at Mercedes be an indication that he maybe trying to keep his options open considering the many still unfinalised line -ups for next season?
I can’t see Alonso going back to the scuderia ( that bridge was well and truly burned ) and Perez just doesn’t seemed to have that X factor they seem to crave.
With Ric locked in at Redbull now it wouldn’t come as a massive surprise to me if Rosberg decides to leave the silver arrows for the prancing horse.
Maybe Lewis comes to an agreement with Merc and he himself lands there.
I think Fernando stays put and has Stoffel beside him as you mentioned.
See Perez remaining for another season with FI and agree Kimi and Massa retiring from F1 albeit somewhat forced.
Expect this will become more and more intriguing as the season unfolds.

34

Sarsippious, thinking about it again, if Fernando could get himself into Merc (Toto did bring it up remember) and Jenson goes to Williams, then because of the Champion clause in McLaren’s Honda contract, then they would have to go for Kimi….

35

Sarsippious, I seem to remember that McLaren’s deal with Honda involves a former world champion being one of the drivers so Rosberg/Vandoorne wouldn’t work, I do think Nico would be a good fit for Ron’s team though, he would fit in well with the McLaren culture and he has time to wait for Honda to come good. Fernando to Mercedes is unlikely, but I would love to see him go there. Nico could go to Ferrari, but that means two German drivers (unless Nico decides to be Finnish again) and maybe his antics in Austria have made him less attractive to potential employers? Ferrari might go for Perez, I guess it depends on what sort of partner they want for Seb, can you imagine the reaction at the Mexican GP if Checo turned up in a Ferarri? The fans went crazy last year anyway, if he had a chance of winning it would be amazing to see.

36

Kimi was also screwed by yellow flags during his in lap too, hence coming out behind the Red Bull. A tad unlucky.

37

“As Rosberg …… He was the faster Mercedes driver all weekend, but was having to make up ground after the suspension failure”

Did you not watch quali James?

38

Yes but take it from me it’s true

39

was lewis the fastest man all weekend in baku then?

40

Now you already know deep down what the answer to that question would be.

41

@James,
Though a long time follower of F1, I don’t have the knowledge to comment directly on team strategy. That said, something really weird seems to be going on with Mercedes this season! Reader comments across a wide range of sites give the impression of a Macbeth-type situation in that. Conspiracy theories, favouritism, et cetera: isn’t that bad for the brand?

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