Insight: Ferrari and Red Bull turn down Mercedes’ gift – Ricciardo races wrong car
Start Monza 2016
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Sep 2016   |  4:37 pm GMT  |  183 comments

It doesn’t happen often that a Formula 1 Grand Prix is won on a Saturday, but that was the case with this Italian Grand Prix. Nico Rosberg had an easy win.

Mercedes took the opportunity to qualify on Soft tyres, rather than SuperSofts, so they could start the race on them and do a one-stop strategy. No-one else did this.

Was that something that Ferrari and Red Bull could have managed also? And if they had, would they have been able to get a better result, given that Lewis Hamilton messed up his start and fell to 6th place on the opening lap?

And even after Red Bull opted against it, could Daniel Ricciardo still have raced the Ferraris instead of Valterri Bottas’ Williams with better strategy?

All will be revealed.

Sebastian Vettel
Pre-race expectations
Monza has traditionally been a one-stop race, as the relative pace of the cars out on track at 360km/h compared to those travelling at 80km/h in the pit lane, makes it less attractive to do more stops.

This year Pirelli brought the supersoft tyre in addition to the soft and mediums used last year. Many drivers managed the 53 lap race with one stop in 2015, starting on the soft and switching to the mediums around Lap 19/20. But the supersoft was around 0.8secs faster than the soft so many drivers wanted to take it for qualifying, even if it would mean a shorter first race stint than on soft.

The top three teams, Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari all knew this would be a crucial decision and spent time evaluating the soft and supersoft tyres during practice.

Ferrari Italian GP 2016
Ferrari and Red Bull avoid the risk

It is very easy after the event to look back and see how teams could have got a better result from a different strategy.

It was as clear as day from Friday onwards that Mercedes was going to go for a one stop soft-medium strategy. They had the pace and they are always able to make the medium tyre work.

So there were several considerations for Ferrari and Red Bull, that appeared to be around half a second a lap slower than the Mercedes. Could they accept the risk of qualifying on softs in Q2 and ending up outside the Top 10 if it went wrong?

In Ferrari’s case, at their home Grand Prix with chairman Sergio Marchionne there on Saturday telling the press an hour before qualifying that the team had failed this year, was that an incentive to take bold risks or a dampener, which made them risk averse?

Sergio Marchionne

Ferrari used a set of softs in Q1, (a tactic which also saved both drivers a new set of supersofts for the race) to get an indication of whether it would be possible to get through Q2. Vettel did a 1m 23.077s and Raikkonen a 1m 23.217s. The prediction after Q1 was that the cut off time to get into the Top 10 would be 1m 22.9s. Allowing for track improvement of 0.2s and some driver improvement due to familiarity with the same tyre compound, Ferrari could be confident that they’d be at least 0.2 to 0.3s inside the cut off.

But both drivers have made mistakes in qualifying recently, especially Raikkonen, so there was risk there too. It would be tight. In the event the cut-off prediction was correct; it was Hulkenberg’s 1m 22.951s.

Ferrari would have made it. But they did not try. Part of this may well also have been a fear of using the medium tyre. They called their supersoft-supersoft-soft strategy ‘aggressive’ but in fact the opposite was the case. To qualify on softs, that would have been aggressive.

Neither did Red Bull, who were a little slower than Ferrari in Monza, although they did at least have a look at running soft with their first runs in Q2. Ricciardo’s 1m23.004s run was right on the limit. Verstappen did 1m 23.096s. Rather that go for another run on softs they opted for the safe route and ran supersofts to be sure of making the top ten.

Was there a wider consideration here for Ferrari at least? How likely was it that one of the Mercedes would make a poor start in the race? It had happened six times already this season, so the probability was there.

The same thing happened again as the world champion fell to sixth off the line, behind both Ferraris and a Red Bull. But they weren’t in a position to capitalise on the track position gift this gave them.

Ricciardo, Bottas Monza 2016
Daniel Ricciardo races the wrong car

Having found himself in this situation Daniel Ricciardo had quite a lonely afternoon, behind the Ferraris and having only to deal with the Williams of Bottas, but he brightened up an otherwise rather dull afternoon when he had to overtake the Finn late on.

However the reality was that Red Bull made a mistake on strategy at his first stop, which cost him the chance to race Raikkonen for fourth, rather than Bottas for fifth.

Ricciardo has shown exceptional ability to keep the tyres going this season and he managed to reach Lap 16 on his supersoft tyres, one lap after Raikkonen pitted. At this time his tyres were still performing fine and he was doing consistent mid 1m 28.4s laps. There was no pressure from behind so he had the luxury of trying something different.

Ricciardo Monza 2016

Had Red Bull left him out for two or three more laps he could have switched strategies onto a one stop and run the medium tyre for the rest of the race. That would have put him ahead of Raikkonen on Lap 34 when the Ferrari made its second stop.

It is possible Raikkonen might have overtaken him before the end, but not a dead certainty, considering how hard the Finn has found passing Verstappen’s Red Bull in similar situations this year. Ricciardo would have been racing a Ferrari for fourth, rather than a Williams for fifth and not obliged to make a big risky overtake.

That said, once Red Bull missed that strategy opportunity, they did well to leave him out longer on the second stint and take the supersoft tyre for the final stint to attack Bottas. His pass was one of the best of the season so far.

Grosjean Monza 2016
Haas has a howler

The Haas F1 team has had a pretty successful F1 debut season with four points-scoring races. They were well placed to add a fifth at the home of their technical partner Ferrari, with the new updates on the power unit giving them a boost. Guttierez qualified 10th, but dropped to 18th at the start, while Romain Grosjean was in a strong position behind Alonso and Hulkenberg, but then the team basically went AWOL strategically.

The Frenchman started the race on the soft tyres and stayed out on them far too long before pitting on Lap 28.

He lost so much time as his lap times deteriorated on the worn tyres, that his rivals had almost a pit stop worth of time advantage over him, negating all reason for one stopping.

And as Hulkenberg was two stopping, a chance went begging for the one stopping Haas driver to score another point for his team.

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 Grosjean trace. It’s hard to understand how they could have left him out so long on a track with a low chance of a Safety Car, dropping like a stone; losing so much time and track positions.

Also look at Ricciardo’s trace relative to Raikkonen and Bottas. He could have easily been in a different race after Lap 16.

Compare Rosberg’s pace in the long final stint on medium to Vettel’s on Soft. The pace is similar.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 15.28.46

Tyre usage Monza 16

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They (Ferrari and Red Bull) should have split their strategy and therefore at least attempted to put at least one of the Mercedes’ under some kind of pressure. They (all) need to understand that they are competing in ‘mini endurance’ races at the moment and so need to start on the slowest tyre possible to eke out their first stint and give them some flexibility in terms of strategy and to allow their drivers to make some choices whilst driving e.g. save tyres and leapfrog or go on full attack and stick to ‘Plan A’ (whatever that is!!)


Was surprised there was no comment on why the Ferrari’s didn’t split there strategy to try and keep 1 car ahead of Hamilton. I doubt it would have worked but doing a 2 stopper had zero chance of staying ahead of LH and they were far enough in front of the opposition to give it a go.


May be neither driver wanted to take risks and possibly be left in the cold (low points) in front of their chairman and home crowd?


James. Bitt offtopic but ves overtook hulk in lesmo 2 according to verstappen. Have you seen any footage of that surley a pass there would be worth watching.


Small correction, for Ferrari and RB to get out of Q2 they had to beat P11 time, Massa’s 1,22.9. Hulkenberg’s time is irrelevant, they could still all have finished behind him and got to Q3. Was very close though.


I think tyre strategies are far more interesting and decisive than the endless discussion here about (un)fair wheel-to-wheel combat. Usually it’s the strategies the drivers get tossed that will decide the actual outcome. In this respect Ferrari and RBR appear to be preoccupied with one another rather than with MERC.
I can imagine Ferrari wanted to make Q3 at all costs and not risk failure with softs. However, arguably the second best RB would only be 6th or 7th in Q3 (as it turned out Max was 7th). Just wondering… could RBR have split strategies in Q2 by say only sending out Ric a second time on supersofts whilst resting Max and seeing whether his yellow Q2 time would be sufficient? Would failure to make the last 10 really have been such a disaster? If I’m not mistaking, Max would have ended up 11th or 12th (exactly where he found himself anyway after a bad start) but with the huge advantage of being the only one in the same mix with the mercs: start on softs and a clear one stop option. He would presumably have sailed his way thru the field, overtaking a couple of lesser cars and seeing all of the tough supersoft competition drop off later, possibly even going for P3. (In addition, he seems to struggle a bit with the SS/full tank combination, so no bothering about that.)
Now that would have been really interesting…


“But both drivers have made mistakes in qualifying recently, especially Raikkonen.”

Bo****s. Actually Räikkönen was the better Ferrari driver in quali in recent races.


Qualifying: Vettel vs Raikkonen: 9-5

In the last four races: 2-2.
In the last two races: 1-1

Räikkönen is not the better driver but if you really want to find two (2) consecutive races when Räikkönen had better grid position, you’ll get to the only Germany/Belgium pair.


I was a bit confused when I read the words “Ricciardo races the wrong car,” because I thought it meant that the team had literally put him in the wrong car. Wow, I thought, fitting the wrong tyres is one thing, but giving him the wrong car entirely?! Those fools!


I watched F1 and the Moto GP. I have to admit that I did sleep through part of the F1, the usual comments apply. Pretty bloody boring. The best drivers in the world, the best designers & engineers, historical tracks and the end result is NO REAL RACING!
But Moto GP was just incredible. Apart from the unforseen winner dominating, the racing down the field, pure aggression and overtakes would have left the paying crowd thrilled. And paying TV customers delighted.
Please, somebody, somewhere, please take note.


Mate, I must agree with. Lately I am doing the same thing and that is a shame since F1 is what I like at most in motorsport, but it is just a sprint to the first corner, then almost nothing…


Yep you stick to watching Moto GP and we will stick to F1.
Moto GP was okay other Marquez aka The Joker trying his damdest to take out Rossi. The guy is a menace and someone will end up losing their lives.
He gets away with too much. Race control has a poor record other than the boundary line judgements.
Another driver who isn’t the flavour of Moto GP unless he is in Spain otherwise it’s Rossi all the way.
Nice to see Pedro giving him a race for position for a change. Call Crutchlow for me has been the most improved rider this year. Otherwise it was a dull race. Lowe and Zarco clash in Moto 2 was idiotic and Zarco deserved a disqualification and 1 race ban.


Yep you stick to watching Moto Gp and we will stick to watching F1

Or ‘ we ‘ can stick to watching both as you obviously do as well.

I take it you didn’t get all that knowledge of the British Gp and insight of Marquez from a newspaper clipping….


you got that right, Vinales, finally, the next Marquez (except hopefully not as ruthless/borderline sociopath).


It was quite sad that the entire race just gets decided at the start. After years of watching F1, I do fast forward some bits when the race looks settled. It’s a bad habit in motogp where something is almost always happening.

And yes to the haters (not you f1ona) we will complain about starts if Lewis is getting bad ones and the team says it isn’t his fault. There are more Lewis fans than Nico fans.


motoGP is all about tyres as well ; the michelins have different characteristics from the bridgestones


Fully agree….the Silverstone MotoGP race was terrific….was there in the Luffield stand and though Vinales led the race, the passing and re-passing behind him was full of tense moments. The images from the swiveling rear camera on Rossi’s bike were stunning. ITV4 shows the full races on Monday evenings…every lap, despite the ads. No DRS passes in MotoGP…its all down to the rider !


What is the problem with Ferrari and the mediums? Is it because they can’t run as much downforce as the Mercs with the mediums hence cannot warm them up to the optimum temp??


The main difference comes down to the chassis/suspension design. If you think back to when Mercedes first bought the team from Brawn, their first few cars absolutely destroyed their rear tyres. They had real problems with them.
Mercedes have worked to stop that happening, but they fundamentally still have a car that’s mechanically harder on its tyres than their immediate rivals. Oddly enough, this has worked out quite well for Mercedes. With their aero package it gives them good performance on the Medium, Soft and Ultra-soft tyres. Their performance on the Super-soft is worse because the car overheats the tyres.
Ferrari and Red Bull on the other hand have cars that are mechanically light on their tyres. This means they work well on the Soft and Super-soft tyres. However, they struggle to work the Medium and Ultra-soft tyres hard enough mechanically to keep their temperatures in the operating window.
In theory, Ferrari and Red Bull can compensate for this with their aero package, but the effectiveness of that varies from circuit to circuit.


Thanks for the information guys👍🍻


Ferrari just isnt as aero efficient as the Merc or the Red Bull- they generate more downforce without extra wing- meaning they dont lose pace with more drag whilst keeping them in the optimum working range. Mercedes seem to get them working better with both aero and mechanical loads- but thats probably why they are also marginal on SS/ US. If that Red Bull had just a little more power (maybe 30bhp) I reckon it would win most races- it is that good!. Its also why in the hands of Ricciardo it looks after its tyres so well.


I’d say the Red Bull’s strength is it’s suspension compliance over bumps/kerbs and traction in slow corners, as well as it’s downforce.

The Red Bull’s weakness is that it produces too much drag in a straight line – it has done since God was a nipper – and I’d say the Renault/TAG engine is lacking in mid range torque compared to Mercedes, and not just on outright power.


“The Red Bull’s weakness is that it produces too much drag in a straight line”

Totally disagree with this Gaz Boy.. Quite the opposite.. There is no way it could do what it does at Spa and Monza if that were the case. Agree about the traction, suspension even gearing & braking too. But when your on throttle 60-70% on circuits there is no way you can sustain the pace they do with drag And a known PU deficit


@ james K…I have an email copy of your question but it doesn’t seem to be here…ref foreign languages. To answer, yes i could hold a very limited conversation in spanish and german many many years ago. I bothered to learn enough to get by with the basics so that i could find my own way and also show some courtesy to my hosts. I can still understand a bit when it is spoken and written but like all things practice makes perfect and in my case most of it has been lost. Both my sons have acquired language skills and the eldest can converse in japanese and is thoroughly fluent in thai both written and spoken. my youngest son speaks fluent japanese as well. Both of them have to work hard to keep it up as they don’t use it on a daily basis any longer. My grandson also speaks thai and english and is currently learning spanish as well. He loves it and is doing well. he can also speak a little chinese but hasn’t followed tht up so far. being multi lingual opens up a myriad of alternative choices in life and i encourage it here in my own family.


I was happy that HAM bogged down on the line as it gave some excitement for the race and closed up the championship. That must be the one thing a lot of people hoped for to make it exciting. Watch the Merc(s) drive through the pack.

I think if ROS wins the title this year, next year should be dynamite. Really want to see a different person winning the title rather than having the same person win it consecutively like VET.


This strategy report is just another strategy for James to take cheap shots at Raikkonen again. Whilst I often appreciate the amount of information that goes into these often they fail to specify other options that teams could take.

Ive often said its always wiser to run the prime tye (in this case Soft) in the middle of a race when the fuel load is heavy as Ricciardo did. I dont think Anyone was going to get any closer to Mercedes doing the 1 stop for Mediums. Ferrari in particular are notoriously worse on the harder compounds as they lack DF compared to Mercedes and indeed the Red Bull. So I think a one stop – would have been stupid forget aggressive. Aggressive was what they did but the right option and I expected this before the race was SS, S SS. Also there is no guarantee that the Ferrari wouldnt have ended up where Hamilton did at the start had they start on Softs too..Instead they rightly took the fight to Rosberg.

Its all well and good to talk up Ricciardos good drive in the race and suggest maybe he could have attacked Raikkonen after the first stop but then Conveniently excluded the mistake?, cockup, strategy, politics – call it what you like – to put KR on a Used set of SS instead of a new Set!!( Pirelli report showed a new set available to him). & exactly what pace difference would a Set of Mediums have over a set of Super Softs . Minimum 1.5sec x 19laps =28.5s – so No cigar there either at lap 34.

Ricciardos pass on Bottas was great to see but also it must be noted that Dan did so on new SS compared to well worn Softs on Valterris car. A little perspective folks- we also know the DF diff between both cars.


Spot on, again, Elie.
No doubt about the systemic biases.
Race boring.
MMC (Mercedes Managed Championship) all the way; and I am never convinced when one, (or rarely the other) Mercedes driver has a drawback.


Now that was way under the belt. Why would a respected F1 journalist do that??


I wouldn’t take it too personally – a rhetorical question is just pure supposition. It’s like saying “What if a sudden downpour had happened?” or “What if a meteor crashed into the Ascari curve?” or “What if Fernando Alonso had a shave?”


@KRB- Yes sorry Meant the best racing tyre. Mediums were not even considered for the race by most teams as they were only going to go backwards compared to the Mercs on them


The prime was the medium, the option was the soft. Or are you saying which tire turned out to be the best race tire?


No idea where you got the idea that James was taking pot shots at Raikonnen from. I think he does an excellent job of staying impartial. As for not bolting on a set of new SS, it is possible that the set they put on the car had been cured (ie one heat cycle put through them) this wold say they have been used but in fact they are better than brand new ones.
Raikonnen has definitely raised his game again this year but he is simply not on the same level as Vettel. I know he’s your favourite driver but it is hard to argue otherwise.


Nonsense why would I want to take cheap shots at Raikkonen?


Maybe thats something you can tell us. Its “that”‘obvious


dear James, it has not been unusual for the press to make veiled or for that matter open criticisms of Kimi. One can probably understand this too, given the short shrift that the fourth estate tends to get from him. I just read an article elsewhere that so obviously excludes him from who can be considered as talented drivers of F1s so called golden era 🙂

Though not in this particular race strategy report, generally speaking, I do feel that this website has also been similar. But, I must say, it certainly affects us fans much more than Kimi himself, who obviously is “least bothered” 😉

Having said the above, Kimi recently seems to have found some form. A new wind, possibly because of Max cheesing him up too frequently ! I hope he continues the form and has a few more career hooray’s next year in higher down force cars, that would hopefully suit him even more. F1 would deserve a few such performances.


@Vivek- “given the short shrift that the fourth estate tends to get from him”
You hit the nail on the head.
TBH Hes probably not the sort of character I could get along with but as a racer he is exceptional on the limits – theres noone out there like him even if a a few are quicker at times. The reason comments about him (particularly his racing) affects us is the fact they are coloured by what people think of him as a person.. & are often wrong, that & the fact he doesnt defend others.. Which makes him an easy target..People will always defend the truth…


@Elie: You are right. I would also most certainly not get along with him, but he has a certain appeal that brings him legions of fans. I thought the save on the Kemmel straight @ Spa was probably epic (given the speed). I don’t think anyone bothered to mention this.

I mentioned elsewhere that Max is fortunate that most of his recent borderline driving tactics has happened with Kimi. I would imagine a lot more fireworks post races, had Max has as many run ins with say Seb OR Lewis.

@James: I take your point in spirit and this is not take away anything from your website (I am a fan of your website too), but one probably only needs a pint sized magnifying glass in Kimi’s case. I did not spot you highlight much about what many overwhelmingly felt were unfair moves by Max @ Spa. Generally, he tends to get defended on the basis that the stewards did not see a need to punish him. At the same time, most fans and the drivers themselves agree that the stewarding across races itself is not consistent.


Max had a fight with Vettel on Spa……. Nice to see, no fireworks after the race. So your comment is a little bit strange.


I think there’s a chance next year’s cars will go back to the way he prefers them. Cars with a lot of downforce don’t require as much steering input which could be why he was very effective in the older cars with plenty of DF.


-“But both drivers have made mistakes in qualifying recently, especially Raikkonen,”-
*On the contrary Raikkonen qualified ahead of Vettel at Spa and would have been ahead at Monza but for Seb using the off track. He was much quicker the run before too.
-“considering how hard the Finn has found passing Verstappen’s”
*What has ability /lack thereof to overtake Verstappen whose was driving like an idiot got anything to do with his ability to overtake Ricciardo?? (Who he has past beautifully at several races thisnyear) Ricciardo doesnt drive like a temperamental little brat trying to get ” payback.

Alonso ran into the back of Gutierrez in Australia at less speed with an unintentional block by EG. Yet Raikkonen was effectively brake tested and swerved on at 320kph which most professionals know was potentially catastrophic for both drivers- but instead of praising Raikkonen for his skill & avoidance you attack him for not colliding & doing what most “less talented” drivers in F1 would do- that is -run into him. The only reason Max didn’t get black flagged is because he is 18 & stupid – you know the very thing we were told to overlook (rightly) when he entered F1.

I actually like Max Verstappen but when he does something stupid Im not going to stand with the restnif the tribe and praise him.

Every opportunity you get to highlight Raikkonens problems be they his fault or not- You do so. You never do this for any other driver who have done much worse- several of us here know it. Its blatantly obvious.. You use these common subliminal methods to point out the negatives every time.. Its ok its your site..


If you look through a magnifying glass at one topic only, in which you have a keen interest, you will find what you are looking for.

An overview would say that we highlight the good and bad in all drivers.


No worries, James. The little mob strikes again. There is no better example of fan-bias opinions.


Show us where you’ve criticised Button or Massa. Show us where you’ve used words like “silly” against anyone else.The magnifying glass comes out for a reason. I can fill pages worth of insults on Raikkonen from this site but I’d be lucky to fill a paragraph on any other driver. Like I said several others have noticed it too, its not a problem we’l just keep highlighting it when/ if you allow us to do so.
Dont worry your not the only one that does it, listening to our broadcasters here you can see there is this constant attack on him especially when contract time comes round – followed by the usual bigging up of Ricciardo, or any other new star that will inspire some new interest.


James the saying you are looking for is…

When the only tool you have is a hammer.

Then every problem is a nail!


Thats perfect DRG and your addressing it to the correct person too..


Hi James, have you considered starting some videos and starting a channel on Youtube?


We have that already

Check it out


How about reading your post race analysis using your best commentary voice in front of a camera – or overlay the voice recording over a powerpoint of still images from the race. If you are too busy, you can get Alex K to prepare the slide show with relevant images.

You can disable commenting on Youtube to force watchers back to your website for commenting.

Honestly, we don’t get to hear enough of your commentary (I can’t get your radio broadcast from my country).



I have a few ideas.

BTW – I quit BBC Radio at the end of 2015 after BBC TV pulled out, meaning that there were far fewer resources for the radio team to deploy.


Sad loss James.
You are missed.
Sadly you only hear the squeaky voices of the new commentators and sometimes they let McNish commentate otherwise it’s really poor.


Mercedes gift – it is exactly what it is. This is already 3rd year running watching and waiting when Mercedes gifts something. When i`ve been pacient 3 years ignoring f1 sites living and operating inside the Mercedes gift championship then when i read this attitude has been taken so publicly as a core of a sport i will go and check my head.

Tornillo Amarillo

James, Mercedes has an excellent aero an PU, while RB is good in slow corners, should the standard wider tires for next year give a total advantage to Merc?


Starts were changed this year to involve the driver’s more as the automatic launch control systems were deemed to take the emphasise off the driver’s themselves.
Yet everytime a driver has a poor start many blame the car, or the clutch or whatever other excuse tickles their fancy at the time.
If the driver has a poor start it’s hardly the team’s or the cars fault.
Feel, reaction, anticipation aren’t an inbuilt systemin the car that can malfunction.
If a driver has an ordinary start, chances are, it’s the driver’s fault!


Who needs to watch the race when you can just read James thorough race report instead.


Interesting that RIC did the whole race on used tyres? How does he not have one set of news to put on at all? VES had at least one set of new softs to use, but they both went for the soft on their first run in Q2? What happened to RIC’s other set?


RIC did have a set of new Soft tyres, but he didn’t use them. Part of the reason for that is that at the final stop Red Bull decided to do the opposite of whatever Bottas did. Bottas went for the Softs, so Red Bull went for the Super-softs (all of which had been used in qualifying).
As to why he didn’t put the new Softs on at the first stop. Well, presumably the original plan was to run a SS-S-S strategy. Putting the super-soft on at the end was a strategy change. Given the original strategy, and since RIC wasn’t fighting for position at the first stop, the RB strategists obviously felt that running the used Soft earlier was preferable to running it at the end, when RIC might have had to fight for position and a new Soft tyre might have been an advantage.
In contrast VES, who was fighting for position after a bad start, took the new Soft at the first stop.


Bags, that makes sense to me now. Cheers.


I don’t get that either. They start with 13 sets of tires, and have 7 left for the race. I guess even reconnaissance laps on race day would count against a set.

It wouldn’t be too hard for that data to be updated in real time. Not sure how often the Pirelli rep would miss knowing which set of tires are on the car. Even if they didn’t get the bar code of that tire, they could look at the sets still in the garage to find the missing one.


KRB…they found them!
….back of the garage in Monaco… 🙂




Hi James, I think you might be missing or perhaps more accurately understating the effects of the rivalry between team mates. The head to head qualifying stats is one quoted numerous times during the GP coverage as well as reporting pre and post event. I often suspect it gets more coverage than race finishing positions as reports use it as measure of a driver’s outright “speed”. For example Ricciardo is “faster” than Verstappen because he has out qualified him 6 to 2 etc. Whereas race results often end up in the “better racer” grab bag or “benefitted from better strategy by the team” as if the driver had no involvement in the strategy and/or didn’t sacrifice his qualifying stats to gain an advantage in his race strategy.

I would add that the “chase for stats”, ie; pole positions, is a contributor as to why Hamilton often has a car that appears to be set up for one lap speed in comparison to Rosberg who seems to concentrate more on race pace.

In regards to Q2 (on softs) versus Q3 (on super softs), looking at the attitudes of the cars, their aerodynamics and the sector times shows set up differences and driver attitudes between the super soft and the soft tyre. The subtle change in the settings on the car for a Q3 run on super softs compared to the run in Q2 on softs could easily result in the loss of the thousands of a second that can often determine pole position.

As recent events have shown a driver can lose his job despite having more race points than his team mate.


I think you’re wrong on Lewis going for a “quali” setup at Monza. James has many contacts in the team, so maybe he could put that question to them?


Yeah KRB everones wrong, only youre right


Who’s “everyone” SB?!? You, kenneth, and Gary?? You’ll forgive me if I don’t believe it just because any of you three say it, as a) you all have no inside knowledge, and b) you’ve all repeatedly shown yourselves not to be fair and objective observers of F1 when it involves a certain Mr. Hamilton.

If you can provide any links to articles that say or suggest that Hamilton had a quali setup, citing sources within the Mercedes team, I would warmly welcome that.

Until then, I will hope that James is able to ask the question and report back. I will say that Rosberg saying nothing about a different setup in the post-quali press conference, when he would’ve been desperate for anything to grab onto to explain that gap, leads me to believe that there was no difference in setup.

JA’s race reviews are of course must-read F1 material, but also right up there are Mark Hughes’ race reviews. His Italian GP review is below. See what he writes about the qualifying gap.


A whole article about tyres – whoopee. Not your fault, but what a yawn-fest. Managed to watch 9 laps before resorting to fast forward on the Sky box – I think that’s a new low. I managed 29 laps for Spa! Would switch to sports cars but a) the races aren’t shown in NZ, and b) the cars are even more ugly than F1.


James, very interesting read. Always enjoy the insights.
I thought your suggestion of moving Ricciardo to a 1 stop was spot on especially he had no new softs or super-softs for the race.


Whatever it be, RedBull and Ferrari cannot beat Mercedes unless Mercedes hands it over to them through driver error, pit crew screw up, mechanical failure or just through boredom. Any strategy goof-up, they can still recover in the race through their sheer pace.

All the media pundits have to play a card to keep the interest going in F1 and so they talk of the immense possibilities of what might have been, but probability-wise those possibilities have a negligible chance. I have been watching F1 for over 15 years and the Monza was the first race where I dozed off intentionally during the half of the race knowing fully well that ROS, HAM and VET will be the order of the race finish – the rest of the positions are irrelevant anyway. And boy, I made a good choice, the result was exactly as I expected.

The biggest news of F1 this season has been Max-Ferrari drivers controversy – nothing else. It shows what a farce F1 has become.


Just to add

If 1 of them got drive through on first lap like spa or monza where overtaking is possible the gye surly get P2 utter dominence and they deserve it other teams couldn’t catch (even touch) them by anyhow in 3 years (not talking about small budget teams)


Do you remember the Schumacher years when it was obvious who was going to win during Friday practice plus there was hardly any over taking?


2001 was OK with some competition, 2002 and 2004 were a complete rout by Ferrari, 2003, 2005 and 2006 were all very competitive. So 2 out 6 years were of full domination. Now in RBR domination time, we have 2010, 2012 as competitive, 2013 was OK in the beginning, 2011 was a rout. So again it is only 1 of 4 seasons was “boring”. In Merc domination, all three years we are sure besides Merc there was no other car that could win unless Merc gave it up somehow.

So yes, this is the most boring domination in recent years with the handicap of no one can develop the PU further where as no such restriction was placed when others were dominating.


In 2011 and 2013 the WDC title was effectively over early. Count how many rounds there were in those championships where Vettel held a points lead > 25 pts (i.e. over a race win). Now do the same for the last 3 seasons. Late last year, and early this season are the only real times that the WDC leader has enjoyed a sizeable lead.


I was not complaing, I appreciating their gr8 work in spite of Ferrari fan


James, why did McLaren pit Alonso with 3 Laps to go? Makes no sense


alonso asked to stop for a fresh set of supersofts to set fastest lap ; he wasn’t going to score a point anyway , couldn’t even catch button


James you have to agree that had either Red Bull of Ferrari done what you suggested, mercedes would still have won the race.


Mercedes probably would have won but they could have got a car or two in front of Hamilton and Rosberg has been known to make mistakes when he is put under pressure so you never know.


As no doubt all my ‘detractors’ will most likely question why i still bother to watch F1….the reason is simple, that i live in a fantasy world whereby some strange happening will cause mercedes to seriously stumble and get beaten outright by a better faster car/driver combo!! I want to be there when it happens…if ever.


Out of curiosity, do you speak another language apart from English?


Yes he does its called 🐂😉


I think you over estimate your effect on people Kenneth. To Have “detractors” you have to trigger an emotional response in people one way or another…. At first you were mildly annoying but your comments have just become “Meh”… not good, not bad… just Kenneth. But you crack on, me old Mucka. Your input is appreciated.


Blimey Kenneth, you must have in a slovenly state during the summer of 2004 when Schumi and Rubens carved up most of the wins…………

Or in the summer of 1988 when Senna and Prost carved up most of the wins………….

The constructors cup is simple – if you’re not winning, you’re not trying hard enough/not being smart enough. Simples.


That is the singular most important fact….mercedes have taken us all on an uneventful ride to ‘boredom city’. It is highly likely that mercedes will win 20 out of 21 races this year a very sad statistic and one which highlights just how hollow these championships have become.


Like Vettels and Schueys
Dull as dishwater too.


Red Bull years were also dead boring with Vettel.
So we’re the Ferrari years with Schumacher.
Mansell years were great.
Senna years were great.
Clark years were great.
You can keep going on to through the years until to get to the Chapman years if you like ( they were awesome).
Or The Bentley Boys at in the roaring 1920s . They they were more Le Man.
No doubt with the changes in 2017 some team will rise to the top and then spend 4 years being great and making F1 dull in your eyes…unless it’s an Aussie winning then it will be how wonderful F1 is…no doubt !!
That is F1 where one team rises to top and no one can catch them. If you don’t like it then stick to Aussie Rules Football. You seem to be regurgitating the same soundbites. If it’s not boring Mercedes it’s personal attacks regarding a driver in the Mercedes team or how sad the English are abroad. Though at times its amusing to see how the Aussies perceive their place in the world. It’s also rather like a whining tannoy alert for an impending tsunami…of Aussies in Camden 😉




FF, it’s been talked about ad-nauseam on the this site…the “MB years” comparison to the the “RB years”, but it’s a very shallow comparison. Granted, most of 2011 and the back end of 2013 were fairly monotonous, but 2010 and 2012 were cracking racing years, with multiple race winners, and NOWHERE near the predictability of this current run. With respect to RIC, VET, and VES -there would not have been a non-MB win that wasn’t self inflicted in the last 52 races (with the possible exception of Singapore 15).
And it’s not about who “rises to the top” and no one else is good enough. It’s about who invests more to get a jump on the competition, and then the rules are locked down PREVENTING anyone from catching up!!
Your nationalistic assault is fairly breathtaking to say the least, and demonstrates either a lack of understanding of the power shift in the sport, or an ignorance of what motivates people to watch it.
It’s not Brexit!


Think FF made some good points.
If you want to play the ignorance card LKFE you have have to look at what some people dish out about Lewis on some articles…and yes they are masquerading as points regarding the race but with a starboard side soundbite regarding how the English are abroad and why doesn’t Lewis speak another language. Or of British walking into restaurants and asking if they speak English (think that one was from a Kenneth post). So after a while it does grate on people and so if Fast Freddy wants to vent let him. He hasn’t said anything too over the top. I mean how many people have been to a pub in Camden. The areas a Aussie home from home on a Thursday or is it a Tuesday😀 I haven’t been there since 2015. Head for Dingwells on the Canal and your guaranteed a vegimite sandwich and a cup of char as most come from the land of plenty. Sorry I went all Men at Works👷


Biff, i wasn’t playing cards -merely call the guy(?) out for making broad nationalistic generalisations because someone doesn’t like their driver. It’s a bit of a theme on this site that any anti-hammo views are set to by the LHFC vigilante gang. He’s the current WDC in one of the most dominant cars in history -so he’s going to be fair game, just like Seb was, and just like Nando was. (Personally i think LH is still the best driver in the field, but i think the quality of the car has dragged him back to just above Nico’s level -that car breeds complacency!
There’s lots of stuff that he does outside the car that isn’t my cup of tea, and sometimes I’ll comment on that when the topic is up for discussion -he puts his life outside the car up for all to see, so any commentary he draws can hardly be personal?
I thought Fast Freddy went over the line when he started stereo typing Aussies, and he certainly didn’t dispell any of the arrogance claims with his quip …”its amusing to see how the Aussies perceive their place in the world”…..
We can all do that -it’s not a particulary high form of humor.

For the record also, in my day there were a lot more Aussie in Earls Court and Kensington, but I confess that I did pitch my tent in Camden for a little while, seeking the company of my countrymen at the Worlds End Pub (with its claim to be “Probably the worlds biggest pub”) -i think it might fit 4 or 5 times into the Coogee Bay Hotel here in Sydney -which ironically, is full of Poms! 🙂


Fast Freddy. Your comments are insulting. What have you got against Australians? Have you even been there? Or met any Aussies? You have a serious Xenophobic issue. Some also could call it a public display of ignorance!


David calm down.
Don’t light the litmus paper and go overboard please. He could be from New Zealander living in UK for all you know . Then it would be a bit of banter and Aussie slating. I see no problem with his comments.


I take it fast Freddy is English. If he is then I’m sure he’s met more Aussies than you have changed your underpants. He’s commenting on a post Kenneth wrote on the last thread that seemed to stereotype the English as arrogant. This is an F1 site. Let’s talk cars, teams and drivers. No need to get personal.


Well said James k
Top draw 💪


Don’t hold back Fast Freddy 🙋👍


Yep I reckon you are correct Felix. They would dialled up their engines and ran off leaving a massive gap in 3rd place.


i think some tried fantacy f1 and it didn’t work.


Easy win for Rosberg.
Good recovery from Lewis.
Ferrari and Red Bull are improving steadily bodes well for an exciting race in Zika GP err I mean Singapore (get the groin guards ready lads , yes I know the Zika virus doesn’t need to attack the groin, just a comical outlook) plus an outside chance of Mclaren on the podium at Singapore.
I think Mercedes will have very learnt from their mistakes last year. Though the electronic problems maybe more to do with the interference of Singapores own electric grid affecting the electronics on the new cars.
Regarding Monza with Bottas William ahead of Perez Force India means the fight between Force India and Williams just got tasty for the remaining GPs. Renault Sauber and Toro Rosso are just coasting till the end of the season.
Toro Rosso will be glad to see the back the 2015 Ferrari Engine that lacks more power than the Honda.


Hindsight is a great thing. More than anything I think Mercedes simply had the pace to pull a one-stopper while the rest didn’t or at least it would have been too risky to try. Ferrari in particular didn’t need to risk in their home race.


I doubt Ferrari were looking ahead at the Mercedes at all as well.
They would’ve been entirely focused on staying in front of those behind as obtaining a podium in their backyard was iimperative to save face on what has been an underwhelming season to date.


No chance, Ferrari would have been going for the win at home. Winning is all they care about, especially at Monza


‘Considering how hard the Finn has found passing Red Bull’s Verstappen..’

Haha. Always tricky trying to overtake a driver who has no issue putting their opponent’s life at risk.


The only reason the strategy might have made sense was that Red Bull and Ferrari are fighting for 2nd in the WCC. Otherwise since it was clear from the Mercedes strategy of a stop, they should have at least split the strategies and put one car on a one stopper. A race of missed opportunities for everyone, apart from Rosberg.


Aaah yes! I’ve been looking forward to this article & the graph aaaaaaalll day 🙂


How is that Mercedes can build such a fantastic car yet cannot solve the clutch problems which have dogged both of their drivers starts all season (Ham more than Ros, but both drivers have suffered). It doesn’t make sense.


It is an interesting conundrum but it does make the races a lot more exciting. Ferrari have traditionally always had great starts and I believe that Mercedes just haven’t put that much resources into it. It could simply be a procedural thing (not taking into account how much the clutch cools down while they are sat in the grid) or it could even be down to the drivers. Would be interesting to have an article going into it in a lot more depth, James? Have start procedure radio bans been lifted like the rest of the radio ban does anyone know?


Mercedes just haven’t put that much resources into it….

That doesn’t seem likely to me – what’s the point of spending hundreds of millions of dollars developing the best PU and chassis (they are the class of the field) if you cannot get off the line reliably ? Why do they not spend entire practice sessions on the starts alone – it’s the only weakness in their armour. It’s not like they are daft.


Automated launch control was made illegal from 2016 onwards, so its now a manually driver operated process. Definitely something most drivers spent considerable time practicing to optimize. Some a more comfortable with it than others, as temps in the various mechanic components makes a difference in how you set the biting point most optimally on the race start.


Or not being able to fix it quickly. Lewis should pronounce publicly that Mercedes will show its technical prowess and excellence in resolving their clutch issues, and that the F1 media should hold them to it. Then things would happen.


That’s my point KRB. Mercedes used to eat their tyres – no more, they are now one of the kindest cars on the grid when it comes to tyres. They’ve spent God alone knows how much refining the PU.They have a team of over 1100 people back at base and access to thousands throughout Daimler Benz – If they needed to move the Alps 6 feet to the left in order to gain a tenth, one gets the impression they would do it. Yet this clutch issue just keeps on dogging them – what’s the point of having the quickest car on the grid (by some margin) if it cannot reliably get off the line? Why don’t/can’t they fix it? It just doesn’t make sense (to me at any rate).


Think about it for a bit longer C – then have a think about Toto and his recent comments… Then think about Bernie and his threats and how ‘boring’ it is.

Add all this up and they are quite happy to keep Lewis on the back foot all year along with a few but not as many Nico moments (no back of the grids for him) to make this ‘show’ despite the fact when you grind the year down to its absolute basics take out the qualy anomalies and look at the basics,. Lewis is actually further ahead this season than he has ever been against Nico in all aspects of the weekend.

That would not be too good for the show if we did not have these ‘random events’ would it?

And for that – well I absolutely will lose all respect if they continue this ridiculous farce that makes people happy just because LH is not showing exactly what he can do!

I don’t care if it’s the equalising tyres or the aero issues or indeed the clutches.

I just want to see the racers race. Not set deltas on tyres that simply bunch up the fields ability depending on their clutch!


I dunno – what you appear to be suggesting is that Mercedes are deliberately holding Hamilton back . I just can’t see that – I’ve never bought into the conspiracy theories.
Hey ho, whatever the reason it keeps the L8ers happy as they have something with which to criticise Hamilton.


Could be the drivers…

James, great writing.


Could be – but all the other drivers at all the other teams don’t appear to suffer in the same way. So on the balance of probability I’d say say that’s not the most likely explanation.


@ C63…I recall that when the rules were changed by eliminating the involvement of the pit wall in sighting lap adjustments to bite points etc etc and the clutches refined to one step that it was said that some drivers will adapt better than others. It apparently brought back the need for skills of timely co ordination. Given that both mercedes are supposed to be identical one would have to assume that if one driver suffers more that another and there is no apparent mechanical failure, that the fault would have to lie with the driver. It matters little who that driver is. As an appropraite anecdote, when i was a teenager, so long ago, i drove and raced in club events a morgan +4. It was fitted with a racing clutch and believe me when i say it had a savage bite. So much so that i could never guarantee getting away smoothly especially when driving in city traffic. I was erratic to say the least but sometimes [rarely] i got away smoothly but that was the exception rather than the rule.


If both the Mercedes drivers had always struggled getting off the line – I’m not just talking F1, but throughout their career – then I guess you might have a point, but they haven’t so that doesn’t seem a reasonable conclusion.


No it doesn’t seem like a reasonable conclusion. What is a reasonable conclusion is that when when Hamilton wins in your eyes he is the greatest driver ever and when he doesn’t win it is the team or the universe conspiring against him


team or the universe conspiring against him….

Sorry David – you are wrong. I’ve never said that – plenty of others have but you won’t find me amongst them. When Ham had all his problems earlier in the season I was one of those who repeatedly rejected the conspiracy theories – check through my posts if you don’t believe me.


There is no “clutch” problem at Mercedes! The problem is the Mercedes starts determine who wins the race, and thus the most likely WDC. Add that level of pressure to the intense, split second start process in F1 and you get the problems like the one Lewis suffered at Monza. Mercedes management have a “NO BLAME POLICY” on driver issues, which means they do not hold their drivers PUBLICLY accountable even though I suspect the closed door debriefs make those things clear to both drivers. Toto Wolff slipped up when he told Sky Lewis assumed responsibility for the start over team radio (even though Lewis had a different interpretation for his message)! Very hard to fix a problem with driver input.


Here we go Kenneth on a one stop strategy to have a go at Lewis Mercedes and the general world of F1 racing. Press the Australian skip button please 😆.


I think the randomness of clutch performance is down to temperature and the Mercedes seems more sensitive than others. I heard Hamilton saying the optimum bite point is different from race to race depending on how hot the clutch gets.


I have heard that as well – but why can’t they fix it? It’s not lack of resources.


C63, maybe they have no idea what’s wrong with it, I seem to remember it being said that these poor starts aren’t repeatable in practice. The stinker for Lewis at Monza now puts both Merc drivers level on the number of poor starts this year, but then we have seen poor starts for lots of drivers this season, both Red Bulls st Spa for example. Perhaps it’s just symptomatic of the V6 turbos that they are tricky to get off the line. Did the recent relaxation of the radio rules extend to coaching the drivers on the start procedure?


Maybe I just don’t notice the other drivers having a similar problem (or perhaps it isn’t as noticeable as they aren’t starting on the front row) – perspective can play tricks with your mind 🙂
It just appears odd to me (at least) – with the start becoming almost a lottery – that Mercedes aren’t putting it to bed.
As for the relaxation of the rule – I’m pretty certain that advice from the pit wall re the start is still on the banned list.


C63, having said that about the V6s bring tricky to get off the line, it didn’t seem to be as much of a problem last year or the year before did it? Maybe it’s a lead time thing, a clutch redesign would take months and they don’t have the time?


I read that too, and that before the team could tell them the clutch temperature but now they can’t.

The formation lap by Lewis in Monza did seem odd. He went out really fast, and only slowed halfway down the back straight.

He’s had decent starts from Austria to Belgium, while Nico had a couple of bad ones in Hungary and Germany. So far they’ve always had decent starts when there’s only been one Mercedes on the front row (RIC getting by at the start in CHN can be put down to the softer tire).


And also how long they are sat on the grid waiting for the rest of the cars to line up causing it to cool down


Seems like the ‘General’s’ strategy to order taking the hill and defeating the enemy when the troops were out of ammunition didn’t work and then ordering a retreat to fight again next year didn’t have the desired effect either. Hmmmm – what do ya suppose is going to happen next. . .?


‘call the ghostbusters’.


Sixth time?!! I really lost count of that, Mercedes has to fix this asap!


fix what, the race starts? if that’s what you mean, it is the driver that needs to sort out his race starts.


I thought Lewis Hamilton drove quite a mature race, taken in the round. Once he was upto 2nd place, he was a dozen-odd seconds behind Nico Rosberg, and once both had pitted for mediums, not hugely faster. Therefore he two options:

a) Crank up the revs and boost chasing hard after Rosberg for glory, but potentially sticking the Merc into the barriers and wrecking the engine = 0 points

b) Turn down the revs and boost, accept that Monza was not going to be a winning day, settle for a safe second place, nurse the engine, bring it home, keep the engine fresh for the balance of the season = 18 points.

Contrast that with the Lewis Hamilton of Monza 2009, when in a vain attempt to chase down the Brawns towards the end of the race, he crashed – but that was the exciting but impetuous, hair trigger happy driver of yersteryear. Now, it’s “bank the points” and live to fight another day, in another continent, in another time zone.

Amazingly, after 14 races in 4 continents over 7 months with around 2630 miles of racing, hundreds of pit stops, 17000 KG* of fuel consumed, and tens of thousands of miles travelling by air and truck to the races, there are just 2 points between the 2 Merc bruisers. In other words – it’s effectively a 7 race world drivers championship in just 2 months.

*Top Gear maths


he tried a) then settled for b) haven’t you seen lockup and chicane cut on turn 1.


Another reason may be that Lewis has no more engines left, totally pointless trying to close an 11 sec gap on a power hungry circuit only to have to take a engine penalty later on in the season



Lewis got 3 new engines at spa. Did you not know this??


Lewis took penalties for 3 new engines at Spa, I believe he has more engines available than Nico now.


Making a big joke out of the FIA racing regulations in the process.

Anyway, F1 is already too overregulated, so would enjoy a lot of more free spirited innovation.


Lewis has no more engines? I take it you missed Spa where he had a 50 odd grid place penalty because he took 3 new engines. He now has an engine advantage over Rosberg


The difference is that in 2009 the tires would allow you chase someone down. Now if you have to come though the field you can’t compete with the race leader that has run in clean air because you have used so much more tire life.


“..It is possible Raikkonen might have overtaken him before the end, but not a dead certainty, considering how hard the Finn has found passing Verstappen’s Red Bull “

James is forgetting that RAI couldn’t pass VES because the teen was not driving within the rules. That’s what all the fuss was about.
Kimi is currently a match for Vettel in every department, esp qualifying, and that should be acknowledged, hopefully by James also in due course……


While in qualification both drivers are 7-7, yet in the 9 races both have finished Vettel has beaten KImi 7 times . And in the 5 races either one of them retired Vettel was ahead in 3 while Kimi was ahead in the other 2((Kimi already has one less retirement than Vettel)

Before claiming Kimi is currently a match for Vetetl in every department, The facts are that stats speak a different story. Vettel average start is 5.07 to Kimi’s 5.36, Vettel’s average finish is 3.91 to Kimi’s 4.58. Vettel’s Podium finish is 6 to Kimi’s 4, All in all a much better year for Kimi but still far from being a match for Vettel in every department other than qualification.
Kimi finally has a car he can push and although his qualifications woes are behind him, His long run pace is nothing to scream about. Expect strong results from Kimi this year but I still expect Vettel to beat him at the end of this year and next year too.


You seem to forget that Vettel has whacked into Kimi twice at the start of races and consequently ruined two races – China was a recovery drive after turn one, as was Belgium, where his wing and floor were also damaged for the rest of the race, which probably explains the pace differential between them that you claim existed. Raikkonen was far quicker than Vettel in quali there – even after a small error at the last corner he was still several tenths up and pushing Rosberg for the pole. Let’s get this into perspective – Raikkonen has basically been on Vettel’s pace this year and the car seems far more to his liking.


The just 7 points difference between the two Ferrari drivers is certainly much closer than its been for many years, so they are closely matched. Think we also have to give Kimi credit for that Ferrari essentially ruined his race results a couple of times this year by bad pit-wall strategy calls? Not saying that Vettel didn’t suffer from similar… ;o)
I think we all can agree on its a very strong driver pairing and its obvious they get along extremely well!
I have no doubt that Ferrari would win a WDC with either of them if Ferrari just could provide them with a competitive car.


Read the reply to NickH below. In china Kimi ran wide during braking and Vettel took the inside line. But Vettel himself left some room on the inside for Kyvat. So Basically Kimi triggered the incident but Vettel was also responsible for leaving room for Kyvat. So they are both to blame. In Spa Max took a line that no one would ideally take because with the amount of steering lock available on an F1 car it would have been impossible for Him to make the corner at that angle without running wide or into someone. Basically Max pushed Kimi into Vettel’s path and it was Kimi’s front Wheel that hit Vettel’s rear Wheel so Vettel was sufficiently in front and cant be entirely blamed.

Anyway there was no difference in pace between Kimi and Vettel in spa because while running in clear air their laptimes were identical. Kimi struggled to overtake as easily as Vettel and hence the gap got extended. And as for Kimi being much better this year. I completely agree. Without a pull rod front suspension in his Ferrari, Kimi is definitely back


To be fair in China and Spa Raikkonen had been looking quicker than Vettel and could well have finished ahead in the races only to have both races ruined at the start.


Based on your reasoning or logic. One can also deduct that Vettel had been looking faster/was faster than Kimi in Australia, Abu Dhabi, Russia, Austria and Monaco(the races either one of the drivers retired from and which we dint consider to arrive at the 7-2 equation.

So iF you give Kimi those two races you mentioned i.e China and Spa(although on race pace Kimi was no where close to Vettel on sunday in spa) and deduct the same from Vettel it would be 5-4. Now adding the 5 races I dint use because one of the drivers retired it would be back to 10-4. To Be Fair, Your reasoning doesnt change anything.

The good news is that Vettel is still quicker than Kimi but not by such a great margin as last year. Kimi has definitely improved this year. But its not just down to him or because Vettel has dropped the ball suddenly. Its because getting rid of the pull rod suspension was the best thing Ferrari could have done and after struggling for 2 years Kimi finally has a car he can show his true potential in.

If Hamilton isnt ready to switch to Ferrari for 2018. I expect Ferrari to retain Kimi for another 2 or 3 years with one one year extensions each time.


My actually point was that it was Vettel who twice hit him! I don’t disagree that Vetel has still probably had the slight edge. Kimi’s found some form though and hopefully he will carry it through the rest of the season.


Vestappen was driving within the rules hence why he hasn’t been penalised for his defensive manoeuvres but it is the unwritten rules that he has been braking. As for Kimi being a match for Vettel…. he has definitely improved compared to the previous few seasons but I wouldn’t say he has been a match for him at all, the only reason he has been so close in the points this season is because Vettel has had a lot more reliability issues. He has raised his game and Vettel is getting a bit bored and frustrated with the team but Vettel is definitely still the better driver.


Get your facts right, VES WAS driving within the rules.


Disagree. The regulations contain a catch-all clause under which Verstappen, or any other driver accused of driving dangerously, could theoretically be charged. It states: ‘27.5 At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.’
It has been reported that Charlie Whiting met with Verstappen to let him know that in HINDSIGHT, he should have been reprimanded for his move on the Kemmel straight. It was made clear to him, (and Horner has confirmed), that if he does that again he will be shown a black and white flag. Max broke the rules, but wasn’t penalised.


Vettel has come down to Kimi’s level. A driver of 36 years just doesn’t find 0.25-0.3 secs.


No the car just suits him better.




James, with respect Spain is a place where nearly all the drivers struggle to overtake normally. Its usually harder than Monaco . The only reason there was lots overtaking in 2013 for example was because of high degradation . Unless someone has completely run out of grip there it is very unlikely someone will overtake there.


Spain was because the Ferrari wasnt performing well in the slow corners of the Catalunya track’s sector 3 as acknowledged by Ferrari themselves


Spain – is an aero effieicency track more suited to Red Bull. Monza has 2 Ferrari suited straighte and a Ferrari PU that gained more HP since Since spain.. But yeah.. Its not certain…..


That’s not fair. Is almost imposible to overtake in Spain under current regulations


true, James, spain was different to hungary and spa.
But in Monza the Ferrari had a pace advantage over the RB….


No one overtakes in Spain James! Not even the great Samurai himself could overtake Maldonado.


In an alternative dimension [Marvel’s “What If”]:
Vettel had an excellent start but Lewis – starting right in front of him – got in the way.
Sebastian had steer right and left and lost some momentun.
I believe that if Lewis has had a better launch Vettel would reach the chicane in P1.
Then, Ferrari could risk a one stopper with a stint of 37 laps on Prime tires to the finish line.
Too many ifs, but possible.

I really enjoyed HAAS’ low downforce rear wing.
The first innovation introduced by the american team.
I guess that if teams can purchase a share of F1 in the future, HAAS won a prized lottery ticket.


Believe “if” & “buts” ?
Lewis got in the way. What part of racing have you omitted out of your Rainbow Strategy?


I was watching the timings on the F1 website during the race. At one point on the Soft tyre Grosjean was a whole two seconds a lap slower than half a dozen cars behind him. The field was doing 1m 26s and he was 1m 28s. And it wasn’t just for one lap it was for several consecutive laps. I’m sitting there thinking: “You need to pit” and he doesn’t. As I watched the timings, it seemed obvious to me that Grosjean was going to go backwards positionally – which is exactly what happened.

I remember reading an Autoweek article in May this year on Haas and strategy. The article credited their chief race engineer, Ayao Komatsu, with the early successes. He’s still on the pit wall but, given this performance and the relative lack of other points scoring positions, I do wonder how good he really is.


Great detail James. Under-ambition underachieves!


It’s not that big a deal, but did anyone find out why Alonso pitted again on lap 49?

Did he just want the fastest lap? Or was there a problem?


He was being petulant and gave up. He failed to make the tyres last and was sulking because Button was faster than him on the day (affectively making up 10 places on him from end of lap 1).


After a slow pit stop due to malfunction of the semaphore, Alonso ruined his soft tires (great blistering) in his attempt of chasing for Grosjean. Alonso reentered pit to exchange the damaged tires for other soft set. That ended his overall race.

In the end, and this is my opinion, Alonso reentered to pit to take a super-soft set with only a few laps of use. With it and very few kilos of fuel, he drove the fastest lap.

I think at least Alonso got fun and he and the team left a small record at Monza in these years of misfortune. Plan C? Plan D? Great laughing because of it? I dont know.


Fresh Super Softs and a five lap glory run. That he put in the fastest lap of the race rules out a problem with the car.


Yes, That is what he has been reduced to currently OR maybe he was trying to cover up the Button overtake. For his sake, I hope McLaren make a competitive car next year, but I have my doubts about Honda. They did not have a great racing engine when they were a racing team (before the Brawn take over). Hope they surprise us all.


If you look at Honda in their previous years and in other forms of motor sport (ie moto gp). They always tend to do things differently from everyone else and this creates loads of problems that they have to solve causing them to be off the pace for a few years but after a few years of development they some how manage to pull it together and getting a winning engine. The same can be seen to be happening now. When they first re entered F1 in the Hybrid era they had serious problems with the energy recovery but they have put loads of effort into it and it is now believed to be the best energy recovery unit on the grid, it is overall horse power that they are struggling with now. They are slowly getting there but don’t seem to be too far off, especially if you look at where they were in Spa. Next year really could be a good year for McLaren and if Alonso pulls off the seemingly impossible we will all have to eat our words about his poor decision making skills!


Good comment Ben. I had the same types of issues with my CRV… 🙂


Ferrari’s main problem is they are not competitive on the medium compound. They avoid it at every opportunity they get. To try and match Mercedes soft/medium strategy would have disadvantaged them significantly and possibly dropped them into Red Bull’s reach. Toto Wolff clearly hinted after Spa, that the unusually high tire pressures are hurting Mercedes tire usage. If Mercedes are allowed to run lower pressures (I believe the Monza tires pressures were reduced on Saturday) it’s total package is unbeatable compared to anyone else in 2016 F1.


Earlier on in the season Mercedes had been using certain tricks to lower the tyre pressures after the cars went out on track and this was a big part of why they were so dominant. Now that the FIA have closed the loop hole that Mercedes were exploiting this means that they are now running similar tyre pressures to everyone else. I think this might be what Toto Wolff was complaining about, so if everyone else was able to run lower tyre pressures than that advantage would be negated because everyone would be able to do it as well. They are pretty much untouchable anyway


I think their package is pretty much unbeatable regardless of tire pressures. They just state it to be so in order to make F1 appear as still competitive.


James I think the hp difference in bhp between the Ferrari and the Renault PU is still significant enough for Kimi to have just gone sailing past Daniel to be honest. Giving how superior the straight line is over the Ferrari I think quite frankly it would have been a a bit of a walkover Yes Kimi has had trouble passing RB’s this year once in Spain where it is really difficult arguably harder to overtake than Monaco and at Spa Max was doing that reckless darting around . I think Kimi would trust Daniel in an overtaking situation than Max. Trust is a key part of wheel to wheel combat.


I think respect and race craft skills are the key ingredients to wheel to wheel combat in F1. Some newcomers have made a joke out of F1 by racing as bumper cars.


Well, I don’t think you’re right about Ferrari sailing past Red Bull, or anyone else for that matter.
If you look at the top speeds from Sunday, you’d see that Ricciardo had the 4th fastest with 356,4 km/h behind Ham 359,0 km/h, Button 358,3 km/h and Bottas 357,6 km/h.
Raikkonen did 341,1 km/h and was 16th fastest, while Vettel was the slowest of all (copmared with those who finished lap one without damage) with 330,9 km/h.
This is indication that Ferrari ran more wing in search for more downforce, the same goes for Grosjean – 341,2 km/h – 15th fastest.
Ferrari powered Sauber did 349,6 km/h – 12th fastest and Gutierez did 356,3 km/h for 5th fastest.


@Krako -i suspect those speed trap klicks aren’t representative as I know RIC (for one) put in a stonking coupke of laps just before he got passed Bottas, when he had the benefit of a tow from the Williams (which IS very fast in a straight line). I think thats when he pulled the 356. If you look at all the other speed trap times in practice and qualy, he’s down in the very low 340’s. I can’t account for the Ferrari times being so low, but put it down to them not really being in a race with anyone.
In the sceanrio being put forward by James, i do think that Kimi would have caught and passed RIC as RIC proved how powerful the DRS is on the Monza straight, and if RIC was on the medium tyre, he would have been fairly defenceless under braking.


Ricciardo indeed did his fastest speed trap at 15:11:37 hours, which well could be the time when he was passing Bottas.
Raikkonene did his at 14:09:27, very early in the race, while Vettel did his at 14:50:40 hours…probably overtaking backmarkers, which meant he did use DRS, and yet he did only 330,9 Km/h.
We all know that speed traps from qualy to race mean little, or nothing, since teams are tempering with cars, regardless of parc fermee. If nothing else, they add, or subtract the front wing during the pit stop(s), and in the race they do have a tow from the car(s) ahead.
Qualy setup of the car can be very different from the race setup, coupled with battling with the cars around, give us different speeds at the speed trap.
All I’m saying is Ferrari got their speed trap reading really low, given this is Monza, and they would have hard time passing.

Also intriguing fact is that Rosberg and Hamilton did their fastest laps of the race at lap 26 and 27 respectively, which in my mind tell me that they had given up racing anyone half way through the race.
Most of the other drivers did their fastest laps on lap 40 and latter.

Another interesting fact, back in 2014 Ricciardo was the fastest through speed trap on a race day, with 362,1 Km/h, given how bad was Renault engine back then, this was indication he ran no wing whatsoever. 🙂


Yeah, I’ve got no idea how he pulled that 362 out…must have been a DRS, ERS, tow, tail wind, sun on his back, in the tuck position….job.


His weak PU dint hinder him from overtaking one of the fastest cars in a straight line on the circuit . Riccairdo had a fairly good chance to keep Kimi behind him if they had opted for a longer first stint. But this is all speculation.


I agree, I think Kimi would have ended 4th anyway. The article suggests Ricciardo should have fitted medium tyres on Lap 18–19. But given they managed quite well the supersoft, I wonder if they could warm up quickly the medium compound. I remember Russia (low degradation), they fitted M after the unexpected first pit stop and they struggled to heat the tyres. In Monza (no fast corners) these problems could have appeared again: low tyre temperature -> sliding -> wearing -> strategy doesn’t work!


The race was won on Sunday at the start, not Saturday 🙂 For that to have been the case ROS would have needed to have qualified on pole.


The race was won by Mercedes on Saturday by both cars qualifying on softs, no matter which merc driver won.


Hindsight makes every strategy report obviously more intelligent. I would like to see such brilliance while the race is on ! Then that would mean something.

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