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

Strategy Insights
Strategy Briefings
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

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.

Top Tags
SEARCH Strategy