Analysis: When you know that even the top F1 teams are left guessing
Insight
Ricciardo, Hamilton
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  02 Aug 2016   |  11:26 pm GMT  |  162 comments

The first half of the 2016 F1 season ended with a really strategic race and one where the pre-race planning had to be completely revised once the race started.

This is something we have seen plenty of times in the Pirelli era, but this race caught even the best-prepared teams by surprise.

When the front running teams split strategies, you know that they are looking for clues and answers and this led to the race’s central strategic theme between Mercedes and Red Bull.

Whereas in Spain back in May, Max Verstappen was given the strategy with the harder tyre at the first stop, in Germany it was Daniel Ricciardo and it brought him the better result this time; although second place here is hardly compensation for the win he lost at Barcelona.

Pirelli
Pre-Race Considerations

Friday practice running was very interesting with Mercedes looking fast on the single lap, but Red Bull and Ricciardo in particular, looking very fast on long runs. Ricciardo did a particularly strong soft tyre run, which hinted at what was to come in the race.

Although Pirelli were saying before the start that three stops was marginally faster than two, most team strategists were briefing that this would be a straight forward two-stopper with superoft-supersoft-soft being the fastest way. How wrong that turned out to be!

Ricciardo
Top teams split strategies

The win was never in doubt for Lewis Hamilton, after he once again sprang into the lead on the opening lap. Both Red Bulls also got ahead of pole sitter Nico Rosberg, but the bold move was Verstappen’s around the outside of Ricciardo into second place.

This put the strategic ball into his court, as it had been with Ricciardo in Spain. And from here, as in Spain, the Red Bull car behind on the road ended up with the better strategy and the better result. Ricciardo was put onto the soft tyre at the first stop and Verstappen the supersoft.

This tyre turned out to be less good at that early stage of the race, when the cars were still heavy on fuel. After an overcast morning, the temperature came up quickly in the hour before the race and the cars all experienced higher energy in the corners, so the tyres suffered from thermal degradation, unlike Friday, making three stops inevitable.

The smart thing to do in that situation is to split strategies and get a read early in the race on the soft tyres. This opens up the rest of the race for you; depending on what new tyres you have left for the race. Red Bull and Mercedes had judged it perfectly with a new set of softs and a new set of supersofts available to use for each driver.

Ricciardo’s second stint, using the soft tyres, is what set him up for this result as he was able to run a fast 21 lap stint, which meant that he came through in the third stint on supersofts behind Verstappen – when he was on his soft tyres – and the teenager had to let him through.

Verstappen has understandably painted this as ‘taking one for the team’, as he had the less competitive strategy, but in fact Ricciardo had generally more pace in Germany, as the race history chart below clearly shows and this was his day.

After a demoralising May, being denied the wins in Spain and especially Monaco, the last two races showed the Australian back to his very best and keeping Verstappen behind him. The second half of the season between these two will be fascinating as Verstappen’s learning curve has been almost vertical and he has been outstanding given the circumstances, since his move to Red Bull in May.

XPB

Verstappen then had to contend with Rosberg trying to come back through from fourth on the same tyre strategy as the Dutchman. Nothing worked; Mercedes tried an undercut, but the pit stop was slow.

Later, when Rosberg served a penalty for pushing Verstappen off the road in an overtaking move, the timing of the pit stop was intended to pull Verstappen into a longer final stint on supersofts than he would ideally have liked, with 22 laps to the finish.

That didn’t work either; Mercedes stopwatch malfunctioned and Rosberg lost another four seconds, then Verstappen was able to maintain a strong pace throughout the final stint and Rosberg on softs couldn’t challenge.

Ferrari meanwhile had two new sets of softs saved for both drivers, but no new supersofts. Ferrari did not split the strategies of its two cars; they were running in fifth and sixth places with a big gap back to the next battle, between Hulkenberg and Bottas.

They put both Vettel and Raikkonen onto softs at the first stop, but their pace was not close to Ricciardo or Hamilton who was also on the soft in that stint and that will make demoralising viewing for Ferrari as they go into their winter break.

XPB
Force India trumps Williams

Behind the six top team cars at the front, there was another terrific battle for ‘best of the rest’.

If Ferrari feels blue having been overhauled by Red Bull, then Williams must be feeling similar after losing out to Force India in Germany. They still have a 15 point lead over the Anglo Indian squad, but in the last three races Williams have been outscored by them 22 points to 4.

Both Force India’s Hulkenberg and Williams’ Valtteri Bottas had saved two new sets of soft tyres for their race.

But Williams tried to do a two-stop strategy, after both Bottas and Hulkenberg had stopped on Lap 12 for the first time. The second stint was comparable on both cars, but early in the third it was clear that the two-stop plan wasn’t going to work.

Hulkenberg pitted on Lap 32 onto supersofts, while Bottas pitted a lap later onto another set of softs to go to the finish. But by lap 41 it was clear that the degradation was such that this was not going to work out well.

At this point there is only one outcome likely if nothing changed.

If you look at the race history chart below you can see that Williams could have pulled out of the plan around Lap 46 and given Bottas a final blast on supersofts.

There was no risk from behind as the gap was good to Button. But they stuck with it and Bottas’ performance fell off a cliff at the end, to such an extent that Button finished ahead and Perez almost caught him out too.

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

Indicating the relative pace of the cars, the gaps between them. An upward curve shows good pace, sudden drops indicate pit stops.

Look at the pace comparison of Ricciardo with Hamilton and Ricciardo with Verstappen. This was a strong race for the Australian.

Ferrari clearly doesn’t have the pace in comparison with the two leading teams in this race.

Also look at the end of the race as Bottas tries to hold on with a two stop strategy that is not working. He loses the additional place to Button.

Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing

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162 comments

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1

I was a bit disappointed that this report made no mention as to Nico Rosberg's lack of pace, for me the biggest mystery of the race. People are quick to say that anyone can win in a WO7 but Nico couldn't even regain second place and I am still not sure why.

2

If Rosberg had caught the pair of Red Bulls towards the end of the race, does anyone really believe he'd attempt another overtake after his steering issue earlier in the race. Better to finish 4th than risk another, larger, penalty.

3

Look at the graph that James so kindly posts for us. It shows Nico was pretty much on the pace. He was dealt a 5 second penalty and another 3 seconds due to pit error. So...he would have been in contention for a podium otherwise.

Hamilton won the race in the last few of laps before his first two pit stops. He then just maintained a gap and cruised.

4

Lewis was able to up the pace when necessary by a second a lap. No reason why the other car would not be able to do the same or close to it. It looked to me like he had settled for forth.

5

He did regain second place but lost it to a 5 sec penalty and then a "bonus" 3 sec penalty while in the pits...

6

Nico should have given the place back to Max and then attacked him on the next lap with a faster car and DRS. We have seen Kimi, Vettel and Alonso do this this in previous years to avoid a stewards review. If he had done that, he would have most likely lost less than the 8 seconds he lost and still made 2nd place. In addition, you can make the argument that with a faster car, he could have let Max make the corner, but with the RBR on the outside of the track Max was going to run out of space before the next series of corners anyway. Both failures to act proactively show Nico still has some racecraft homework to do. I think he has better mechanical/technical skill than Lewis, but he lacks the raw ability to think on his feet, and that is his one weakness - and what separates the merely good from the great. I think that is what Lewis exploits more than anything else in Nico.

7

It seems to this day, Rosberg can't work out what he did wrong; either in Austria or Germany. Too much time in his youth spent watching Michael Schumacher.

8

A good point. I think the answer lies in something we have suspected for a while. To beat the Mercedes you need to get in front of it early on, it is miles faster than anything else in clean air, however it seems to struggle when having to follow other cars. I think this is compounded by the fact Rosberg (like people thought about Vettel a few years ago) only seems to be at his best when he can start on pole and runaway into the distance. Hamilton is better at scrapping and hauling his car through the field.

9

I do remember the Red Bulls of the V8 era had the same problem as they were set up to run in clean air but when they got caught in traffic it really hit their performance.

10

Why is why when Vettel started 24th (in the pit lane) in Abu Dhabi 2012, he managed to still make it onto the podium. Must've truly hit dat performance doe, right? Sheesh, couldn't even manage 2nd or 1st!

11

It was a general observation and there are obviously examples where they managed to cut throw the pack. If I remember correctly, when Vettel started from the pit lane it was covered by parc ferma conditions so they set his car up specifically for cutting through traffic with good top speed and was also helped by nearly a third of the field getting out of his way (2nd Red Bull Car, both Torro Roso and Michael Schumacher).

12

Story of Mark Webbers life....poor starts, dirty air.

13

The story of Mark's F1 career was purely that he was beaten by a better man. Fast over one lap for certain, and if RB had hired a number 2 to back him up when DC left he'd have probably won a title. But DC outperformed him so he became a number 2. And that was that.

That and a HELL of a lot of moaning!

😀

14

The story of Mark's F1 career was purely that he was beaten by a better man

Another point you need to be called on... Mark Webber was only ever beaten by one better DRIVER as team mate ... and that was influenced by team politics.
However, he never had a team mate that was a better MAN beat him in his entire career.... a subtle difference that may be lost on you?

15

Ahh yes, the Aussie Grit. What a man! Better than all other men. Clearly.

😀

Really, you guys are so easy!

16

"But DC outperformed him so he became a number 2. And that was that."...is the mis-statement of the day!

2 years together in a fairly unreliable RB, but when they did both finish MW owned DC 11 to 3, or 31 points to 22.

He became a number 2 because Helmut came along with the wunder-boy, and the rest is history.
Not even Mark debates that Seb was faster than him. He had his chance in 2010 and from a points perspective was only 5% from the championship.
In a lot of peoples eyes that first year together set the tone going forward, both for the teams priorities and for his own driving "edge".

17

He became a number 2 because Helmut came along with the wunder-boy, and the rest is history.

Absolutely. And history has a habit of repeating itself...

What a differing view of "owned" we have. For instance, 2007, MW finished two places below DC in the championship with the SAME number of retirements. Funny that.

Seriously, just so easy!

😀

18

@ exigency.... 'DC outperformed webber?' where did you get this from? In my recollection DC was being so badly outperformed by webber that he chose to retire! If the two seasons that they raced together at red bull webber finished up in front of DC 10 times to 3! they both suffered many retirements but in most case webber was in front of DC when he [ MW]retired the car. i have yet to look at the quali results but the races showed how dominant webber was. If i am wrong i'm sure that you'll let me know.

19

you're right kenneth webber finished ahead more often, nearly as well as thee two compare..

Hamilton v Button stats compared (highest respective tally in bold)
Qualifying
Faster qualifying time: Hamilton 44 / Button 14
Poles: Hamilton 9 / Button 1
Front rows: Hamilton: 23 / Button 9
Races
Wins: Hamilton 10 / Button 8
Podiums: Hamilton 22 / Button 25
Points finishes: Hamilton 45 / Button 47
DNFs: Hamilton 13 / Button 8
Best race result (inc DNFs): Hamilton 32 / Button 26
Ahead in two-car finish: Hamilton 24 / Button 13
Championship
Overall points: Hamilton 657 / Button 672
Seasons finished higher in standings: Hamilton 2 / Button 1
Highest championship placing: Hamilton 4th (2010, 2012) / Button 2nd (2011)

20

@ aveli....you know, i'm not in the slightest bit interested in your abnormal fixation with all things hamilton.

21

now this is freaky, why are you telling me something you think i know?
please try telling me something i don't know. am keen to learn.
i wonder why you read information which interest you the least by the way..

22

@ exigency.....nice try pal. Of course it was a hook, according to you, but it doesn't fly. you'll have to do better than that.

23

i can tell by how ignore all things hamilton. obviously!

24

The story of Mark's F1 career was purely that he was beaten by a better man. Fast over one lap for certain, and if RB had hired a number 2 to back him up when DC left he'd have probably won a title. But DC outperformed him so he became a number 2. And that was that.
That and a HELL of a lot of moaning!

Mark freely admits that Seb was a better driver, and I don't disagree.... However, Mark pushed him hard in their early years together and almost one a WDC in 2010, and probably would have faired better against him if it wasn't for the small matter of driving with fractured ribs - no mean feat, and shows he was tough as nails. If he had had a number two driver in the sister car during the golden years of RB, he would no doubt have been crowned world champion at some point.

As for his time with DC. In the two season they were together, DC only qualified ahead of him something like 3 or 4 times if I recall correctly.
In 2007, when both of them finished a race, DC finished ahead of MW only once!
In 2008, only twice!
In 2008, MW was consistently in the points... DC was not.

They also shared a team mate in Christian Klien.
MW consistently handed Klien his pants... DC did not.

I think that says as much about your bias and selective memory as it does about Mark Webber's driving ability.

25

Ha haa, Clive, this one is even better!

Yeah sorry mate, I know, he was better, no doubt about it. Good rant. And yep, I said that about a number two. But then my mum would have done ok in that car with a solid number two... Just as a certain German did!

26

That's funny DC outperformed Webber. Tell me another one. 🙂

27

@AG

It's only banter mate! 😉

28

Banter?
....or Bias?

29

@LKFE...yes, correct gain. the 'exig' would like you to believe it was banter but he messed up and got called out. He is now trying to back out....very fluffy.

30

Well, I believe Nico has some issues with W07, he doesn't always "feel" the car the way he wants to. Just look at Monaco and at some other races this season. Probably in Germany he also lacked some confidence.

31

you're right, hamilton is leading the engineers to design and build a car more to his liking than rosberg's.

32

It's possible, but you would think that after putting it on pole with a one lap run the confidence would be a given

33

Jake the snake, 1.9 laps. He only missed the final corner on his first run.

34

If you look at the onboard footage, especially from Hungary and Germany, Rosberg is really fighting the car whereas Hamilton is alot smoother with minimal steering input.
That has to have an effect on tyre deg and it's compounded when he's in the dirty air of other's.
Obviously it's helping Lewis by being out front in the clean stuff however o think he's naturally a far smoother driver anyway.
We all saw what happened to Verstappen last weekend with his tyres when he had his problems due to oversteer.
Hopefully next season the only way to drive these car's will be to wring the neck off them so maybe Nico might be better suited to them...or not.

35

Lack of everything regarding the performance of Rosberg.
Can't overtake with taking a fellow competitor off the track.
Lied through his teeth about full lock.
Then on the radio giving it the full Pink Flying Elephant Whopper about his oh so excellent overtake. Must have got tips from The Watergate President Nixon Tape trial. Ever growing nose. I dare say he'll probably have a few birds perching on it in Spa.😉

36

@rupertdabear
Like it👍🏻 a man who speaks his mind.
And great nic, there's a name I haven't heard of in years. Forgot all about old Rupert.

37

Thanks I'm waiting for Badger to start the flying car and then we are off on another hair raising adventure 😆 probably something about another missing scarf or hat 😉

38

Too right...:
Nico: "He moved under braking"
Reality: Verstappen jinked left out of the way of Rosberg's dive - had he not moved then Rosberg would have piled into the back of him!

Nico: "I had full lock on"
Reality: Rosberg didn't even attempt to turn the wheel until the front of his car was at the track limit, giving Verstappen nowhere to go but off the track. Only then did he turn the wheel. It looked very deliberate to me - just like in Austria, Rosberg seems to think driving someone off track on corner entry is the same as squeezing someone on corner exit.

39

Maybe the aero is so optimized for clean air it is supersensitive when stuck in traffic....

Maybe his head dropped and he kind of gave up,

Maybe he was fuel marginal, when we used to see fuel graphs on TV HAM regularly used to be better on fuel than ROS.

Perhaps I just snooze more during the races now but I don't recall seeing much telemetry or live data on battery use of fuel, ALO was in fuel save mode maybe others were to.

40

When Ros lets his head down the aero gets all mixed up.

41

To be fair we have seen the Mercedes struggle before when it's running in the turbulent air. Their aero seems to be upset more so than other cars. The Red Bull looks the car that's least affected running in the wake of another car.

42

I too found Nico's lack of pace surprising. He had his little moment but we all know how that worked out!

It does seem that the Mercedes really struggle in dirty air.

43

Curious, I agree. Toto said something about having a lack of pace in the car but neither he or Nico said anything specific. Maybe they avoid discussing engine issues as policy. However if it had been a car issue I doubt if Nico would have sounded quite so depresssed! I even wondered if Nico was having such a bad day he did not want to have to stand on the podium but that would not make sense.

44

Toto is normally quick to blame problems as a technical issue with the car. The fact he didn't would indicate the issue was with Nico. Perhaps he has to set his head to "Default Chassi 1" and reboot.

45

No grit thats all. Lost his mojo. Not fit for purpose driving a good car like that simple.

46

I find it interesting that the conventional wisdom has been that the SS tyre would perform better than the Soft, early in the race under a heavy fuel load. All other things being equal, I don't get that.
I love the irony that RIC's "good manners" in T1 ended up getting him the better tyre strategy for the race.
Who said "nice guys always finish last"?

47

RIC's "good manners....

That's quite a good spin on what actually happened 🤔

48

Beaten by a better, hungrier driver?

😀

49

How ARE all your predictions going? What is now 1/7 in qualiy and 4/4 in the race?

50

😀

Tick tock mate.

If at the end of next season I'm still wrong, I'll gladly hold my hands up and give Daniel the props he deserves. Max is just finding his feet from what I can see. I've been wrong before and will be again but I firmly believe Max is very much the real deal.

51

C63, I think RIC got caught out by VES in that first corner, but he seemed careful to avoid contact. Equally, i got the impression that VES wasn't backing out. Even Brundle at the time said something along the lines that RIC was being a bit gentle.

Contrast that to some of the MB boy's recent clashes, and I think "good manners" is a reasonably accurate description!

52

just what a teammate should do. Do not take out your teammate if he is quicker.

53

It looked to me more like Ric got caught napping and was mugged by Ves !

54

Yes, that's what i said, but my point was that they were side by side at the end of the turn and he let VES back on the track before he ran out of ripple strip. I'm assuming he would have had to lift a bit to do that. Would he have done that if it weren't his team mate? Who knows!

55
Guybrush Threepwood

James, I've noticed Max is always a couple of km/h faster than Ricciardo in speed traps during qualifying. Could this mean that Max favours a lower downforce setup which would induce more sliding which wears the tyres out faster? This may be one other reason why Ricciardo seems to have been better at managing his tyres.

56

Possibly but thick of Max's long stints that have brought great results like Spain - he can certainly keep the tyres alive later in race

He's taken too much out of them in first part of the last two races though

57

Mercedes screwed Rosberg for good in Germany.

First of all due to the slow pit stop +0.6 sec and wrong calculations ROS came back after the 1st pit behind both McLarens.
Won't comment the extra penalty time, but what is clear is AMG Mercedes is a mixed team among Briton and German people.
We know which side is winning the war.

Then the undue overtaking punishment over VER.
ROS made his move and was overtaking VER in a parallel trajectory.
However VER swerved to the right under heavy braking.
Then ROS had to react and it prolonged his braking distance.
So VER just had to wait a little instead of going out track.
The road was not 100% blocked.
Must admit that that kid is very wise.

58

sorry but rosberg screwed himself over by refusing to take the fastest line around a corner, going straight instead, to stop another car from turning right. there was no need for it after all rosberg was faster and should have just gone about driving around that corner as normal. instead he wanted to bully a teenager..he worked hard to earn everything he got there..

59

However VER swerved to the right under heavy braking.
Then ROS had to react

So Rosberg's reaction to a car coming in from the left... was to push him harder to the left... and you don't see a problem there?

I suspect these last couple of years at MB has seen Rosberg become lazy
in his race craft and exposes Nico's default tactic of playing dirty. It seems he has learnt that if he doesn't have a power advantage on the straights, the only way he can win a corner against a better driver is to push the other car off the track.

Frankly, I think the 5 second penalty was too lenient, and MB made a mistake re-signing him.

60

You are funny DeWeberis .
Have you considered a career in the church. Bishop of Bath and Wells job is going vacant . Since Slack Bladder & Percy got the preliminary sketches done of the Bishop 😄
Hilarious post.

61

😀😀"We know which side is winning the war"😀😀
Sorry I thought I was listening to an episode of Black Adder Goes Forth.
Mercedes didn't screw Rosberg for good😨. He messed up with the awful lunge on Max. Complained he was on full lock, when really, he tried to push Max off the track. He tried the same on Lewis in Austria. He needs to go and learn what a steering wheel is used for. A Full lock is when the front tyres cannot turn anymore in a given direction. If he does that at Spa he will get a volley of disgruntled Belgian Max Fans and they'll also be a huge amount of Brits going there so he'll probably get the same if he does it Lewis.

62

Deweberis. "The road was not 100% blocked". I suppose that's technically true, but that doesn't look like a cars width to me....

63

it probably is in DeWeberis (and ROS) universe 😉

64

Hahahahahahahaha!!! Good one Tim.

It's that Max's fault. All that "swerving" to the right!!!

:D:D:D

65

Exigency, looks like a good job he did swerve to the right.....

66

The really funny thing is that perhaps if Max hadn't swerved towards Rosberg and just held his normal braking line, he could have then easily repassed him by taking the tighter line and ducking back underneath him.

67

These conspiracy theories are really boring. Both Hamilton and Rosberg have had their fair share of misfortune this season. This is kind of given away by the fact that Hamilton has already used his entire engine allocation and we're only halfway through the season. Rosberg has qualified 1st or 2nd every race this season, that clearly shows that he has had very few problems at all in qualifying. That cannot be said for Hamilton. These things tend to even out over a season. If Mercedes were so intent on making Hamilton win the championship, why re-sign Rosberg?
And, sorry, Rosberg was correctly penalised for the Verstappen overtake. Yes, Verstappen did move in the braking zone (and yes, something does need to be done about this) but surely, that move would have meant that Rosberg had to deviate to the inside of the corner, not carry straight on...? What is clear is that Rosberg was lying. He claimed that he was on full lock when it can be seen from on-board footage that, not only was he not on full lock, he was not even attempting to turn. He drove the other driver off the track and only when he had done that did he decide to turn in. The difference between this and other unpunished overtakes was that the others were where the overtaking party had slid off line (whilst taking the normal racing line) due to being on the limit of traction. Rosberg left the normal racing line, through choice (his wheels were not locked up and he was not steering into the corner) and forced the other driver off the track. It was a dirty move and was correctly punished.

68

mercedes didn't just resign rosberg, they paid half as much more for his signature, £50m for a two year contract...

69

I like how rosberg thinks the TV audience and the pundits are blind idiots when he contradicts the cockpit video evidence.

70

he said if you don't take that shot, you'll never whether you got it or not....
the guy is not stupid.

71

AMG Mercedes re-signed Rosberg because Lewis needs him for the team to work.
Rosberg has been building the team since the start: the second coming Silver Arrows legend.
Rosberg would win all championships on his own if Lewis wasn't there - since their pairing.
[Mod]

And the most efficient braking is the one done straight line.
If Verstappen hadn't swerved to the right and Rosberg didn't move to avoid him, his braking distance would be shorter and no punishment would be necessary.
I would like to see the telemetry of ROS, bcs to change his trajectory under heavy braking you must lift the brake pedal pressure a bit, otherwise you might spin.

72

AMG Mercedes re-signed Rosberg because Lewis needs him for the team to work.

You and Nico have something in common....
A sense of honesty.

73

What Verstappen did in that turn is spit to the sky.
VER interfered with ROS braking process, mining it which let to ROS prolong the distance.
ROS didn't force VER out of the track.
VER chose to go there.
So in the end ROS punished was undue bcs VER forced himself out of track.
In the end VER was lucky and it - the spit - didn't fell on his face.

74

look at the images.. ROS was in first gear, almost to a complete stanstill when he started turning the wheels. ( at full lock to make the corner before the track ended)
VES tried to got to the racing line with his move ( btw one move is allowed,) and it's quite hard to go around a corner without moving 😉
There was NO moving under braking, that was part of the ROS fairy tale and his growing nose....

75

Although it is possible that Rosberg failed to turn in sooner to avoid the risk of spinning (I am sure anyone with racing experience is familiar with the weight transfer to the front under heavy braking, making the rear go light on turn in and increasing the likelihood of spinning), it surely follows that just because it was an error of judgement does not meant that it should go unpunished.

76

Spot on Scott.

77

"If Verstappen hadn't swerved to the right and Rosberg didn't move to avoid him" - i think you are entirely missing the point here - Rosberg didn't move to avoid him, he didn't move at all. He carried on in a straight line. Had he really thought he was under a threat of contact from Verstappen then he would have swerved right, to have avoided it. He didn't. He carried dead straight and made no attempt to turn into the corner. Let's put it this way, had Robserg taken the corner, as he should have done (i.e. turning in on, or around about, the racing line), and had he been on the limit of his grip due to braking, he would have understeered away from the corner and into Verstappen. That would have been clumsy but, depending on the extent of the understeer and lack of control, unpunished. That is what has happened lots of times. Verstappen would then have had two choices - carry on his line and risk contacting Rosberg on his inside, or deviate from his line and lose position. Either way, Rosberg completes the pass cleanly. If Verstappen takes the latter option it gives him the option to take a tighter line into the corner, get better exit and potentially retake Rosberg at the next corner. That's how all the other drivers behave in that situation... except for Rosberg. This is no "fanboyism", this is just looking at the facts - Rosberg made absolutely no attempt to take the corner - Verstappen's movement had absolutely no impact on this decision whatsoever.

78

I am not defending Rosberg, but the reason he wasn't on the racing line was because he braked MUCH later thus running MUCH deeper into the corner. Isn't that obvious?? People seem to be confused between braking and driving straight on. If you turn sharply on full brakes, you will spin. If he had locked up and made it look messier, it's highly likely he wouldn't have got a penalty.

79

NickH, the offence is forcing another car off the track, if you do it on purpose or by mistake doesn't matter. Nico chose when to put his foot on the brake.

80

I think the offence is plainly misjudging his braking. I'm not sure why Verstappen didn't cut back underneath him, as it clear Rosberg was not going to make the apex.

81

NickH, I think cutting back in only works if the two cars are side by side in the braking zone, Nico was a long way back and would have reacted to Max braking early by doing the same. I think Max was already braking when Nico started the move, I'm guessing but I wouldn't have thought he could have braked any differently.

82

Utter piffle DeWeberis.
Lewis doesn't care who his team mate is. As for Rosberg building the car err it's Aldo Costa and his team that do more than the drivers. Lewis has had just as much impact snd input as Rosberg.
Lewis car set up is generally more on late braking and carrying speed through a corner. His driving style is based on his natural ability to squeeze every ounce of speed on a knife edge. So it is more jittery skitish set up.
That style set up is the same in his Mclaren days. So it's the driver in the car that gets the best out of the machine. Plus race craft. Natural skills in a dog fight on track. That is one of many areas that Rosberg lacks.

83

@dewebris
Lewis need Nico!!. Please don't make me laugh😂😂
He doesn't care who his teammate is, he said it himself .
I think it's commendable that you praise Nico so much, someone has to👍🏻

84

Good one James k
👍

85

James k
Couldn't stop laughing when I read DeWeberis post. He should have his own show at the Edinburgh Festival. 😆😄

86

@flamer
Yeah, he's a class act, that deweberis.

87

Yep James k there goes another wild off field sweeping comment from DeWeb😂

88

@vern
Nice with a little comedy thrown into the show😂

89

Just like they screwed Hamilton in Austria......keeping him out too long to cover Vettel, two slow pit stops!!!!!

[Mod] happens get over it, Merc favour neither driver.

Rosberg completely in the wrong on Vestappen overtake, you must be the only one out there who thinks he did nothing wrong.

90

Go look at the footage again. Your man is a [Mod] and did not turn in. Shumachar who got away with it turning in to Damon Hill in Australia he is not and i think he did same to Villneuve in Austria too but got punished. [Mod] on sport is not good and he needs to be delivered from it. Also those who are in denial of the action.

91

And you really believe all that?

92

Stonking race from Ricciardo & Button.... there's life in the old dog, yet!
I don't know about Lewis... it looked like he basically put his feet up and pressed cruise control in the Winnebago.

Spa can't come quick enough... if Lewis does take a double engine penalty
it should be a belter of a race for him with extra sets of fresh tyres (not used in qualifying) and see him monster through the field. I expect he will break Nico, psychologically here... probably permanently, especially if he (nico) tries the same stoopid trick on Max again and loses a front wing in the process.... could be on the cards.

Also interested to see what Max's home town fans can come up with with respect to banners hanging from the grand stands (like Silverstone)...

Ooooh Yes... counting the days.
praying for rain.

Spa... my favourite race of the year.

93

Yep the Max fans will be out with their pitch forks if Rosberg tries another move like that.
Reckon Lewis will take the double engine penalty at Spa. He is superfast at Monza. Probably want to extend his lead in Spa.

94

The FIA have three weeks to think about this two for the price of one deal on engine penalties. The have some previous when it comes to changing rules mid season and they might decode on one race penalty per engine. Well see I guess.

95

FIA never do ""thinking in advance"" that's the problem.

96

they're travelling by caravan apparently!!

97

@lkfe
😂😂👍🏻

98

And what to think of Hamiltons setup for Spa: It can be focussed on racepace alone. He doesn't have to think about one lap speed, only about stint speed.

I think he will be flying through the field and demoralise Rosberg big time. This could be one very special race to become a historic win. At the same time it could also quickly turn in to a downer when he crashes in the midfield 😉

I will be attending Spa, can't wait for it.

99

@joost
Agree.
If he gets round the first lap unscathed, then it should be a great race🍻

100

James what is the y axis of this graph showing?

I'm presuming it's a gap in seconds from something, but what is that something? ie what is the zero second line based on?

101

Its interesting to see that VET dropped his pace compared to ROS in the last sting and really hit the skids in the last few laps, Fuel again or tyres...

We don't seem to hear much about fuel these days

102

Only with Honda engines it seems.. Button was saving fuel from the start and was afraid he could not finish

103

Suppose a car was going round at a completely constant speed equal to the winner's overall average speed for the race. The y-axis shows how many seconds behind (or ahead) the actual cars are relative to that theoretical car.

As the cars speed up as the race goes on (lower fuel) the actual cars tend to "catch up" with the theoretical car (i.e. their slope is upwards). You can see it clearly in Hamilton's graph - he is faster each time he changes tyres so the four sections have increasingly steep upward slopes.

It's an ingenious way of presenting the data. Kudos to whoever invented it.

Another little point about the graph - very clearly shows how badly Alonso suffered from the need to save fuel, eventually three people finished between him and Button despite being close at the last round of stops.

104

...it also shows what a dissaster the 2 stop strategy was!!!

105

It shows how the drivers times compare to a car doing a theoretical average lap time based on the winners race time. You will notice that Hamilton as the winner finishes on 0, his average lap time for the race is equal to the total duration of the race divided by the number of laps, so this average lap time includes everything like pit stops and safety cars. The y axis numbers themselves don't really tell you much its the shape and behaviour of the lines that are of interest.

The gradient of the lines show how they are doing relative to that average lap time, you see they catch up through the stint as the fuel burns off, it tapers off at the end as the tyres wear out then falls sharply down when they pit.

The steeper the line the more quickly they are going so by the steepness of the lines you can compare how people did over a stint. For example look at Hamilton's line in the first stint compared to everyone elses, he absolutely smoked away from everyone, going faster than the average time where everyone else was equalling it or slower.

106

Happy to stand corrected but i believe Zero is average lap time of the winning race time, with the axis then seconds you are slower or faster than that average. Hence why Hamilton's line ends at 0 at the end of the race.

107

Hi Ben M. This had me puzzeled for a while too, but I am pretty sure the zero line is the average pace that's why it always drops off at the pits and the leader always finishes on zero.

108

The Y-axis line = (Number of Laps Completed X Winner's Average Lap Time for the Whole Race) - (Time Taken to Complete All Laps to this point).

Or to put anther way, it is the differential time between each driver and a virtual car running at the average pace of the winner (without pit stops).

This is why the winner's differential at the end of the race is zero... his average pace per lap eventually catches up with his final average pace per lap.

109

The 0 line is the trace that would be produced by an imaginary car lapping at exactly the average pace of the winning car.
Now that you know you can forget this as it has little meaning to us mortals.
The purpose of this imaginary car is to give us a graph that shows relative performance of each real car.
So what does the graph show us? You ask. Good question.
It gives us the race order throughout the race. If you drop vertically down the graph you will cross each car in their track position at any point in the race.
It gives us the gap (in seconds) between any two cars. Each devision is worth 5 seconds, count the devision to determine the time between any two cars any time during the race.
It gives us an indication of race pace. This can be judged from the slope, the more positive the slope the faster the race pace at that part of the race.

110

Just as a follow up - I think RB missed an opportunity to force Hamilton to push his engine harder for longer. Once it became obvious that Max on the Supersofts wasn't able to gap Daniel on the Softs after their first stops I think they should have swapped the cars and let Daniel try to press on. Up until we heard the radio message to Daniel about how close he was to Max, he was running about a 1.2 - 1.4s behind Max for quite a number of laps. You don't run that close behind a car in modern F1 without having more pace than the car in front.

He then dropped back to a 2s gap and started lapping as quickly as Max again.

If they'd swapped the cars and let Daniel run in clean air, Hamilton may have been forced to run his engine at full power for more of the race, rather than just towards the end when Daniel was closing on him on his last set of SS's.

Not enough longer term thinking about pushing Mercedes into having to take engine penalties or perhaps even creating a situation where they experienced an engine failure during the race. Instead they've missed an opportunity to put Mercedes on the back foot. Why let them decide when to take the engine penalty? RB need to use every trick they can.

111

The counter is that RIC would also be pushing his own car harder and threatening his own result. Without knowing their true pace / fuel / tyre situation, its hard to guess whether it would have significantly changed overall pace.

HAM likely has to take a PU penalty very soon anyway, and in his position, I'd take as many engine components as might be necessary in one go (plus a healthy margin). Reprimand too if I could figure a way to guarantee exactly that.

For the race itself though - this is essentially the approach HAM and merc used in Monaco: try to put some stress onto RB and see if they fumble it - and it worked for them.

112

Sour grapes

113

[Mod] Try using some critical reasoning instead of viewing everything through the filter of your obvious devotion to Lewis Hamilton.

I'm a realist. It's obvious [Mod] that Mercedes are going to win this on the trot. All the more reason for a team that is thinking to try and take advantage of any issues they know that Mercedes have - such as Hamilton trying to nurse an engine.

It has nothing to do with "sour grapes" about whether RB won or not.

[Mod]

[Do not abuse other posters or your comments will be automatically deleted - Mod]

114

@benm
I'm a realist

With all respect Benm, you say your a realist, then you seem to be telling Redbull how they should have run their race🤔. Don't you think the experts there know what there doing👍🍻
But I've heard Ferrari need a good strategist. Try them😊
Otherwise I enjoyed reading your post. Cheers.

115

So there is one Merc that can't turn right and another Merc cruising around 6 seconds clear of P2 on effectively 3 cylinders. Lewis most likely to take his penalty in Spa, which should hand an easy victory to Rosberg and make a decent race at the same time. IF it rains RBR could be into the fold there. Funny how Christian Horner was interviewed by SkyF1 after the race and said they are catching Mercedes Benz... The Renault engine is clearly still a long way off. Meanwhile I wouldn't be surprised if MB have found another 15BHP to introduce next season with the aero changes!

116

Oliver, when Lewis says he turned down his engine it doesn't mean by 50%!

117

Thanks TimW, I am aware that engines are not turned down by 50%... It was more an exaggeration to help convey my point. Lewis was in a class of his own cruising around relatively unchallenged, while his team mate and any other competitor for that matter, were nowhere near.

118

Oliver, Spa will be good. If its wet Lewis could win from the back....

119

I agree TimW, Pretty sure thats where he will take the penalty. With Monza being so low on downforce, cars will be more competitive in a straight line. Merc have the Chassis & Engine to get the balance just right in Spa. I think they are the only team which run a dedicated rear wing for Spa, if i am not mistaken. They ran something similar at Baku, too, so would be surprised if that re-surfaced. Add some rain into the mix and we have the basis for a brilliant race!

120

Why Merc denies Ham will need an extra engine, this will be a case for sure. But I think in SPA, they will "suddenly decide" to equip him with extra #6 PU, perhaps the best place for this kind of operation (I think even better than in Monza).
One can reckon that after 10 place penalty he will start at P11 or P12 and by lap 5-6 he will jump over the most of front runners.
Will be fascinating to see his assaulting break through on this fascinating track.

121

I think he has two engines (ICE) units left.
It's the other bits he has used up through failures.

123

Taking an extra PU will mean that Hamilton will have to start from the Pit Lane. Taking a new Turbo-charger or a new MGU-H will cost 10 places, and 15 for both of them at the same time.
I suspect, that they will take 2 new PUs instead, as they can "only" be punished once for it (i.e. starting from the Pit Lane). They changed the rules last year, when McLaren were getting 150+ penalty places.

124

So that's a couple of races in a row that Max has taken too much out of his tyres at the start... Is this a chink in his armour or is he just adjusting to time at the front?
Ricciardo does seem to have his confidence back after the disappointments earlier in the season. It will be very interesting between these two for the rest of the season with the pendulum swinging backwards and forwards many times I think.
Hamilton was in a world of his own this weekend (and for the rest of the month as well). While there were more question marks over Rosbergs wheel to wheel racing credentials. He's a quick driver no doubt but does struggle in traffic and when over taking. It is hard to see how he bounces back from here, especially since even though Hamilton has some penalties coming up he now has a decent sized points cushion.
Woeful mistake from Williams, watching both Bottas and Masa going backwards at a fast pace must have been painful. McLaren on the other hand do seem to be moving forwards, they have always been good at developing the car and I think they could be there and there abouts next season especially if Honda finally pull their finger out.

125

Great race for me. Loads of highlights and a champion's performance from Lewis.

Have Mercedes swapped the garages back again? Earlier in the year there was some disgraceful pit stops for Lewis. The ones in Austria especially. The crew were just sat there taking their time.

Now Nico is having the same issues. It's just inexcusable that a team of their stature makes such basic operational errors.

I found Max playing the team game so willingly rather interesting. I'm guessing next season might be a bit different!

Daniel drove really well. Jenson drove really well. Williams and Ferrari shocking. Especially Seb, he seems to have completely lost the wind in his sails recently.

Anyway, roll on Spa. Best race of the season and it could be a very interesting one depending on where Lewis starts!

126

I might be wrong but in terms of pit-stop crew it's the same crew for both drivers.

127

@Al

Well, thank you for that. I never knew that but now you've said it, it seems obvious.

At least that part explains why Nico has finally experienced some shoddy work of his own!

Cheers.

128

Once again Williams lost out because of an overly cautious strategy. Bottas could never have held his position to the end of the race with old tyres. Williams are kings of the fast pit stop and with a more aggressive strategy they could start getting decent results again. Of course it doesn't help that they have only one competitive driver at the moment - Massa's heart doesn't seem to be in it these days.

129

I don't know how you do it james but you made what felt like a 5/10 race go up to a 7! I'll watch it again. All teams hopefully Learned from the first half of the season is don't bother developing your 2016 car as Mercedes are well gone. Do Mercedes have extra advantage on recently laid tarmac? It seems to make their gap bigger. Well done Button and Ricciardo as drivers of the day.

130

Lewis had everything covered.
Turned the wick up when required.
Turned the wick down to save engine.
Brilliant Start by Lewis Daniel and Max.

131

Great insight as always James! I am trying to understand your conclusions on Ricciardo vs Verstappen. In the first stint, the pace was equal. In the second Verstappen was (only) slightly faster on the super soft compared to Ricciardo on the soft. In the third, Ricciardo was clearly faster. In the fourth, the pace was more or less equal, with Verstappen taking a bit of space at the beginning, and dropping a bit more off at the end. So the real difference was in the third stint? Do you attribute that to the driver, or could the temperature and car load at that time make the difference between super soft and soft bigger than in the second stint?

132

Why not produce ONE tyre that lasts way beyond 1 Grand Prix for dry conditions and one for wet and stop all this boring strategy stuff. Then drivers could race each other and drive flat out which would be nice!
It can't help the sale of Pirelli tyres that their tyres struggle to perform for just a few miles can it?

133

You mean like back in the good old days of Schmacher? Now those were largely prosessional races. I don't think having a trye which could last a race would change anything, same goes for having more fuel. Fuel saving has been part of F1 for a long time even in the re-fuelling era.

134

Wasn't it great to hear the radio conversations again?
"Lewis, we are switching to plan B"
"it's hammertime"

Vettel:
"who do you want to undercut?" was hilarious as the radio was played and we could see Sebastian inboard, with a clear straight in front of him.

Really happy to have the radios back as we can also better understand ongoing strategy considerations!

135

Seb was totally right to ask that though! It was completely unrealistic they could undercut anyone and you run the risk of tyres going off the cliff at the end.

136

Vettel: "Who is this bleeping bleep bleep? Why is he bleeping bleep with my bleep?"

😀

137

When looking at the splits graph above, I'm curious, given the clear split between the two tiers (Fer, Merc, RB vs everyone else), how interesting it would be to have two broadcasts. One for the "first tier" and one for the second. Seems like there would always be something interesting worth watching. Not to mention that the second tier teams would get he much needed exposure, which now they only get when they are being lapped or stopped on the track for one reason or another.

Especially considering that there is that bonus for the top X teams. That is a championship in and of itself between the more cash strapped teams.

Alas, the reality of the situation is probably that the first tier teams wouldn't allow a second broadcast lest they receive less exposure.

138
www.deancassady.com

Unfortunately, the mid-field battles in Germany do not overcome the fact that there was no chance for 2016 (outside of some kind of a team disqualification, or something like that), that a non-factory Mercedes team driver would NOT win the championship.
If not Lewis at the team, adding his top-tier driving capability, then another second-tier driver would have made it slightly closer at the front, but would not have affected the inevitable outcome for the season.
While it is sad to see the Ferrari deflation, the (predicted) return of Red Bull to shooting distance from race wins (and the one win where the two Mercedes drivers had taken one another out), offers a glimmer of hope for the 2017 competition opening up to a (at least) a two team competition.
Nonetheless, the suspect objectivity of the enforcement of the rules, and more, what is clarifying as an identifiable trend to favour some racers and discount others, threatens to undermine the legitimacy alomost as much as having one utterly dominant team 'managing' the 'championship'!
Kudos to Hamilton, based on driving prowess, what many hoped from his F1 debut, (almost unbelievably) challenging Fernando Alonso from the start of the race, passing in the first lap (fact checker please), is on the brink of joining the uber-elite of F1 legend, MS, JMF, AP, and SV.
He seems a worthy addition to me, but the spectacle of seeing him a. in machinery so far ahead of the competition, and b. (come on, it must be so difficult to continue denying) clearly better than his team mate, dulls the shine of the accomplishment.

I thought the competition between SV and MW was quite a bit better.

Besides that, I'm hoping to see 'an outlier' in Spa, with lucky number 7 victory in red! (though I'll not be holding my breath nor betting the farm on it).

139

My only quibble with the German GP was that the best overtake of the race Verstappen on Ricciardo should have been illegal. Max overtook with ALL four wheels WELL past the white track limit line BUT in today's F1 that means nothing. The failure to respect the track is the worst non-decision from the FIA. I would like to see a rule that says all cars must have at least two wheels on the black parts they rent for the race or bring back the less safe higher curbs to keep the drivers honest.

140

At last to read that someone else thinks as I do! At least to me Ver's pass on Ric was Red Bull dust, and at best a [Mod] move, and for the commentators to say a brilliant move is ridiculous, it's circuit racing for god sake! racing in the confines of a track, not using a run off area to complete an overtake which is not part of the racing surface, how could any driver defend there position if the other driver doesn't stay in the confines of the racing circuit! Just another example of F1 brain washing [Mod], to excuse a [Mod] move and call it brilliant! what a joke!! Haha.....feel sorry for all the other drivers for none of them could ever be better than the.........Wunderkind!

141

That such small changes in air and track temperature can have such huge effects on the performance of the cars (along with other factors) demonstrates just how finely balanced the cars set up must be,it makes you wonder just how important a accurate weather forecast must be worth.
That aside,Seb Vet would make a great TV presenter,he's funny,witty,engaging and has a great sense of humour......... which he needs more than ever considering what a joke Ferrari are.

142
Devils Advocate

Interesting to read through the comments on here, mainly the ones related to the conspiracy theories at AMG MB. The best are the ones explaining (or trying to at least) why the Silver Arrows don't perform that good when they are not the lead car. Food for thought, why is it only Nicos' Silver Arrow that doesn't do well, yet when the same car is in Hamiltons' hands, it doesn't make a difference where he is at the start of the race or how many placed he loses at the start, he always fights back and finds ways to put that car up front.

I guess the main discussion should be around the race craft of both drivers, but I am sure you all would agree that in that category Lewis outshines Nico so maybe there is nothing to compare really

143

@devils
Agree!
And have you also noticed how Lewis can get his car past others without running others cars of the track at corner entry😄✌🏻️

144

@ james K....COTA ?

145

@kenneth
He was past the apex my friend. See how tight turn 1 is, it nearly turns back on itself. Nico tried to push Lewis tight to the inside. They both braked extremely late. But it was still corner exit.

146
Devils Advocate

@James, Sure he runs them off the track, however he does it by taking the corner and shutting them out as he exists rather than go straight by there side as was the case twice now with Nico. Again, race craft which Lewis posses versus the lack of it in Nicos'.

147

@devils
Precisely 👍🏻

148

Devils Advocate: Couldn't agree more. They both have access to the same machinery but that’s where the comparison ends. If Hamilton had had that disastrous start he would have found a way to get back into the race without running people off the road and that's the difference between the two. Race craft as you say.

149
Devils Advocate

@Adrian: Glad that you agree. It would be unfair to blame the machine if the operator doesn't have sufficient skills to operate it.

The two drivers here have different driving styles and Lewis seems to enjoy a more over steer setup on his car compared to the neutral setup on Nicos'. As I read somewhere and this is a direct quote: "Lewis brakes late into the corner, carrying more apex speed. Often, he trail-brakes into the corners more. This is one reason he is consistently using less fuel compared to Nico". Would love to hear your views @James as well as all those that would see it different.

150

Devils Advocate: IMO Rosberg is not equal to the machinery he has been given (underachieves!) and I really do wonder if he is just a good/above average driver in one of the two best cars on the circuit. Given that Hamilton has won the last two championships and the 62 point turn around this year he clearly has Rosberg’s measure and even if we assume that they are equal in speed and race craft (etc..) its mentally where he can’t compete with Hamilton. Even the Sky commentators were saying post-race that one of the Red Bull drivers may beat Rosberg into second place in the drivers’ championship this year. How would Alonso, Verstappen or Ricciardo go against Hamilton if either of these were his teammates? Interesting to ponder! In relation to the penalty it appeared to me that in a desperate effort to get past Verstappen he carried too much speed into the corner and under braking went too deep causing Verstappen to fully drive off the road to avoid a collision. If he had held his ground Rosberg would have broadsided him. Visually it clearly looked to me that intentionally or unintentionally Verstappen was forced off the road and the stewards saw it that way. However, the FAI have a consistency problem with these sorts of incidents. For example, Alan Jones who was one of the stewards at the Hungarian GP said on Australian TV that Rosberg’s move was perfectly legitimate whereas Emerson Fittipaldi who I think (stand to be corrected) was the steward in Germany thought it wasn’t. Two former F1 racers with two different opinions. These sort of inconsistencies only cause confusion to the drivers and may affect potential race wins or championships.

151

I smiled seeing Verstappen correctly described as "the Dutchman", thinking that only a few months ago he could have been referred to as the Dutch boy.

152

Looking at Ricciardo's pace, a better comparison would be with Rosberg and not Hamilton.
Hamilton was not really pushing at all.
Agree with other comments. An analysis into why Nico had no pace would be welcome. Despite the poor start and slow stop, he should have been able to recover to 2nd.
Hamilton was matching Ricciardo's pace (as James points out) but with his engine turned down. By the same token, if Nico had his turned up, passing the Red Bulls should have been a formality

153

@martin
Imo, Nico must of been so deflated. After qauli, he was biging it up on his high horse, hovering from one interview to the other as if he had just been crowned WDC.
Then to get swallowed up at the start, aswell as showing his lack of race craft once again with his move on max . Maybe it was cologne he wanted to drive to as Horner said, but Max simply got in his way.

154

Martin: Whilst acknowledging his poor start and not feeling comfortable in the car both he and Toto Wolf said post-race that the overriding factor that cost him a podium, or second place, was the 5 second stop go penalty which turned out to be 8.2 seconds. Nothing was really said about a lack of race for the last stint but it seemed that he never recovered from the penalty. Perhaps the real story might be Rosberg’s inability to get the most out of the machinery available to him.

155

James, what is your view on the penalty given to Nico? I'm surprised that so many disagreed. It was a clear breech of sporting regulations.

156

Hi James et al; why does the TV coverage (great btw!) show 2 symbols for each tyre compound, one being the inverse of the other? Eg yellow soft has a yellow 's' on black or a black 's' on yellow?

157

It tells you if it's a new set or a used set. So for example a solid yellow circle with a black S indicates a new set of tyres. whilst a yellow circle with a yellow letter S indicates a used set of tyres.

158

Hi Chris,

Solid one is fresh, outlined one is used.

159

Hi James just wanted to know what option are merc likely to take regarding Lewis engine penalties? If he takes one PU he takes a grid penalty? But if he takes two he starts at the back or pit lane? Is that right? So it would make sense to just take the two considering the points advantage he has at the moment?

160

Not only that but it would hopefully mean no further penalties would have to be taken (assuming no other failures). Lewis is on his 5th MGU-H and turbochargers. He still had 2 of some parts of the PU left to take as i think he is still on his 3rd ICE. But could Mercedes in essence try and use a 6th of everything. i.e swap his engine so he takes a 6th ICE at spa.

161

I appreciate I'm being a dinosaur here, and I understand the sport in its current guise is fascinating in new and different ways, but the controlled nature of F1 is so dominant I find it off-putting. A silly comparison perhaps, but to me it's not unlike the difference between a long car journey 20 yrs ago and the same trip in 2016. A trip to the South of France 20 yrs ago was and adventure. You didn't know how long exactly it was going to take, what with all kinds of delays and hurdles along the way. Nowadays, with navigation, the minute you start your journey you know it's going to take 8 hours and 56 mins. And every time you have to wait a minute longer than usual, you can see the exact damage compared to the original plan. The same is true for F1. The combination of laptop-warriors analyzing the race at the teams headquarters, the tires that need nursing and the fuel, means that an hour and a half race nowadays can be decided on the first corner. A delay of 3 seconds during the race can look an insurmountable obstacle. Perhaps it has always been thus, but when I started watching F1 I had this feeling a race was so long, a 20sec gap could be bridged by a driver on a mission. I don't know. It may have been an illusion, but it added mystery/suspense to the races. Relevance to this article: I enjoy reading these race reports, but they leave me puzzled and bemused also.

162

winter break?

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