They think it’s all over – but is Nico Rosberg’s grip on the 2016 F1 world title as firm as it seems?
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Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  11 Oct 2016   |  2:16 pm GMT  |  124 comments

Nico Rosberg leads his Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton by 33 points after he won the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend while his title rival finished third. There are a maximum of 100 points available from the four remaining races.

But can it still slip away from Rosberg’s grasp? We’ve dug out some memorable moments from recent F1 history where the driver in Rosberg’s position has not managed to hold on, as food for thought.

Since the 2000 season, the driver leading the championship with four races to go has claimed the crown in 13 out of 16 years, and only three times has a points deficit been turned around into a triumph.

So is Rosberg’s maiden world championship victory – and his first title since he won the inaugural GP2 championship in 2005 – a foregone conclusion?

Nico Rosberg

The German driver can now afford to finish second to Hamilton at all of the remaining races in the 2016 season and still claim the crown, but that scenario is not very likely as Mercedes has only managed four one-two finishes all season, a third as many as last year. As was proved in the recent Malaysian Grand Prix, unexpected reliability problems could also yet hurt either Mercedes driver.

As we outlined here, both Hamilton and Rosberg have been hit with mechanical troubles during the 2016 season, but the Briton’s issues have certainly come at worse times.

Race starts are another big variable which has hurt Mercedes this year; Mercedes has admitted that its clutch system is difficult for its drivers to use and causes problems during race starts. “The clutch we are giving them is not perfect,” said the company’s motorsport boss Toto Wolff after Hamilton lost six positions on the run to Turn 1 after a slow getaway in Japan. “It is difficult to handle the clutch in the right way.”

Japanese Grand Prix 2016

Hamilton appears to be having more issues with this than his teammate, but Rosberg has lost out to faster starting cars on several occasions this year too.

As has been the case in the last two years of Mercedes’ F1 dominance, if its cars are not running in clean air they struggle to get back past their competitors. This was evidenced by both Rosberg and Hamilton each finishing third in the last two races after losing places at the start (the former was spun around by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in Malaysia).

The clutch issue could also trigger a further potential problem for Rosberg – other teams taking points away from him. This year, the third season in a row that it has won the constructors’ championship, Mercedes has only scored four 1-2 finishes compared to the 12 it scored in 2015 and 11 in 2014, which is in part down to the improvements made by its rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.

Max Verstappen

If a start issue costs Rosberg places to those teams that he could not fully recover over the course of a race – as Hamilton could not in Japan – he can only afford to finish third once (assuming Hamilton wins all of the remaining races) and come second at the other three races and still win the title.

While those are all hypothetical scenarios, there are several instances in F1 history of drivers overturning large points gaps and winning the championship.

Christian Horner, boss the Red Bull team who saw Sebastian Vettel win the 2010 title despite being third in the championship entering the final race (see below), believes that Hamilton should not give up in his quest to beat Rosberg to the 2016 championship.

Nico Rosberg Lewis Hamilton

“He only needs that sniff of something,” said Horner. “A DNF from Nico and a win from Lewis and he’s right back in the game again, so things can change very quickly.

“We saw it with Kimi [Raikkonen] when he stole the championship from under the noses of Lewis and Fernando [Alonso] in 2007. There are still 100 points available in this championship and it would be a foolish person to rule him out at this stage.”

With all of that in mind, here are five memorable occasions the world championship was won by drivers fighting back from behind in the closing stages of the season.

2007 – Kimi Raikkonen

Despite going into the final two races of his first season as a Ferrari driver 17 points behind the McLaren pair of Alonso and Hamilton, (with a maximum of 10pts available for a win) Raikkonen remarkably took the title with two crucial victories as his rivals faltered.

Kimi Raikkonen 2007

Alonso lost valuable ground by crashing at the Japanese Grand Prix, but it was Hamilton’s worn tyre wear induced DNF and gearbox problems at the Chinese and Brazilian races that left Raikkonen with a slim chance to win, which he went on to do by just one point.

1976 – James Hunt

The 1976 season and the title battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, immortalised in the 2013 film Rush, went down to the wire after the Briton closed the points gap to the Ferrari driver who missed two races as a result of his enormous accident at the Nurburgring.

Lauda came back quickly despite his injuries – he sensationally finished fourth at the Italian Grand Prix just six weeks after the crash – but he pulled out of the finale in Fuji due to the torrential conditions while Hunt finished third to take the title by a single point.

2000 – Michael Schumacher

Schumacher won his first title for Ferrari – and the Scuderia’s first since 1979 – by overturning a deficit to McLaren’s Mika Hakkinen in the final four races of the 2000 season.

Michael Schumacher 2000

The German driver took three consecutive victories to win his third world title with a race to spare (which he also went on to win) as an engine failure at Indianapolis cost Hakkinen dearly.

1986 – Alain Prost

Prost’s second title bears similarities to Raikkonen’s triumph in 2007 as he beat two bitterly battling teammates to take an unlikely crown.

The Frenchman was 11 points adrift of Nigel Mansell and one behind Nelson Piquet in the second Williams (in the days when a win was worth 9 points) with two races to go, but a second place finish at the penultimate round in Mexico and then a victory in Australia after Mansell’s tyre exploded (the Briton was running in the third place he needed to secure the title) was enough to claim the championship by just two points.

2010 – Sebastian Vettel

Four drivers – Vettel, Alonso, Mark Webber and Hamilton – arrived at the season finale in Abu Dhabi in mathematical contention for the 2010 title.

Sebastian Vettel 2010

Alonso and Webber were separated by just eight points, with Vettel 15 behind the Spaniard and Hamilton nine further adrift and with a very outside shot of winning the championship.

Ferrari concentrated on covering Webber’s race strategy – a grave error as Vettel won the race while Alonso and Webber got stuck in the pack down in seventh and eighth, famously behind Vitaly Petrov’s Renault. The result was enough to give Vettel his first world championship by four points over Alonso.

Who do you think will win the 2016 world championship? Do you have a favourite title comeback story? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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1

All this talk about Nico getting one DNF and HAM is back in the game for the WDC. Has anyone considered the fact that Nico could pull a dirty one on HAM and cause a collision (Prost-Senna; Senna-Prost) to secure his first WDC? Personally, I would not put something like that past him.

For the great contributors on here that are hoping there would be no mechanical issues on both cars, I can only say that one DNF for Nico with mechanical issues would make for a great 2016 F1 finally. Guess when they say no mechanical failures on either car they are actually hoping that if something should happen, it should not happen to Nico.

I disagree with most that Nico is a great driver as he is just a fortunate one this year and will agree with the comment that if he does win, he will go down in history as a good driver like Keke, not a great driver.

Finally, I believe HAM will get in there and silence all the [Mod] 😉

2

I think that a mechanical DNF will strike again for Mercedes, Lewis had such bad luck I wouldn’t be surprised if he had another just to top it off, on the other hand Nico has had a relatively reliability friendly season so he’s about due one.

3

I would like Lewis to win it, but as I’m sure I’ve said on this site and know I have on other sites. Lewis is having the same sort of 2016 as me. It is just not his year, the racing gods are not smiling on him. I think he’ll be lucky to get his 50th win this season. Its disappointing, but at least Mercedes will have 2 WDC’s. I just hope that Lewis has no more reliability issues, the clutch will stay an issue for both of them.
Looking forward to 2017 and seeing what the new rules will bring, more competition would be good.

4

It is not over until it is over. The person who has the most points wins the championship! Any thoughts on what is fair or not – is pointless. Life is not fair!

5

Rosberg cannot really win it, only Mercedes’ poor reliability can cost Lewis the title, that is a damning reminder of all those engines he has had go pop, while Rosberg has suffered none.

If you remove the engine failures from the outcome, Lewis has trounced him, yet again, and everybody can see it.

Although Rosberg has improved, clearly, he is still grossly inferior to Lewis in many aspects. His deluded [Mod], running other drivers, usually Lewis, but others have suffered, off the apex of corners shows what a [Mod] he is, how limited he is at the limit, how he really has zero guile when it counts. Four times I believe we have seen this absurd narcissistic trick from him, yet “amazingly” no other driver, pay or star, has managed to get tangled up in such a stupid move. Why is that ??

6

Go Nico!

7

Note that how many times that Unfortunate name “Alonso” is mentioned here. What a driver. I always feel for him.

8
Berk in the Merc.

The heading photo says a million words.

9

I am no fan of Hamilton and will prefer NR to win, but I don’t think Rosberg’s name will appear on the WDC cup … he just does not have what it takes to be WDC. IMHO
If I’m wrong come end of the year … I’ll eat my hat. But I don’t think it will come to that …

10

Before the season started most people thought it was Lewis’s title to lose. How prophetic they may turn out to be.

I don’t catalogue race by race data but feels to me that Nico has rarely made costly mistakes this season. He’s had races, Monaco for example where he was nowhere in changeable conditions and looked average at best, but for the most part he’s been consistently good – sometimes great.

Ignore Lewis’s mechanical failures because if he could get the car off the line we wouldn’t be talking about them and he’d be much closer in points. Lewis has had mechanical issues but he’s also caused himself a load of problems or had bad race weekends. He’s had periods of sublime brilliance but usually book-ended by very poor races.

Lewis needs to put in back to back faultless weekends until the end of the season and based on his form this season I don’t see that happening. Even if he does Nico will be there or there abouts and still take the title.

Unless of course a Austin and Brazil are wet races…

11

Agent Orange. Ignore Lewis’ reliability problems? Hmm, I can see it suits your purpose to do that, but really it is the main reason for Nico’s lead, a 25 point loss at Sepang along with a handy couple of points for Nico can’t really be ignored can it? Even if we forget the races Lewis had to start at the back and the poor starts, removing that one failure would cut Nico’s lead from 33 points to five!

12

Presumably you didn’t watch any races before Sepang, if you did you would note that Lewis won 6 out of 7 around mid season so his form has shown he already put in ‘back to back wins’ and he is capable of doing so again.

Probably worth checking the facts before writing utter drivel #justsaying

13

Whoa! Calm down there BigBadBear. :o)

You’ll remember those 6 out of 7 were preceeded by 0 wins and ended by a poor start in Monza with the disastrous weekend of Baku in the middle.

With a dominant pole position he gifted Nico the win in Monza. Nico didn’t beat Lewis in Monza, Lewis lost the race through a mistake.

Baku – people talk about the engine mode but had he not made mistakes in qualifying he wouldn’t have been starting from 10th in the first place.

Not suggesting Lewis isn’t capable of back to back wins!

I am suggesting his form is erratic this season. Either sublime brilliance or near disastrous weekends.

Of course Lewis is capable of winning the remain last four races, qualifying on pole and with fastest lap too. But this season you just ‘know’ he’s going to mess up a quali or start and gift a race to Nico.

And that is what this season will go down as – one that Lewis gifted to Nico. Nico has made no mistakes that I can recall. Certainly none that cost him dearly that I can think of.

Lewis has made mistakes that have cost him dearly. Mechanical issues aside without his own mistakes he’d be leading the WDC right now CupCakeBear.

14

His 6 of 7 was followed by Spa… really need to check those facts again.

Rosberg has made mistakes, see Spain, Monaco, Canada, Britain, Germany, Austria, Malaysia.

While Lewis has had some bad races, Nico has had plenty of bad weekends which he might encounter again in the next 4 races.

15

@TimW A fair point and ignoring mechanical would be churlish. There is no doubt those issues, especially early in the season, played a big part in hand the initiative to Nico. What I am suggesting though is despite great efforts to pull it back Lewis has then often caused his own problems handing it back to Nico.

@Vanilla Not suggesting Nico has never made a mistake – I am suggesting any mistake he’s made hasn’t been that costly. Spain both drivers lost out so kind of negates the impact.

Lewis Hamilton – 180 odd races, 49 wins and 3 WDC. Clearly a brilliant driver.

The last 3 seasons driving the best car on the grid by quite a margin. Never had more than 5 consecutive wins in his career.

In the similar situation Vettel has 9 consecutive wins. Schumacher 7 – and this was when there were less races to win in a season.

So I’ll still maintain, that despite all Hamilton’s brilliance (and he is a brilliant driver), he’s not as consistent nor dominating as his ability suggests he should be.

At his best he completely destroys Nico but this season he hasn’t been at his best on too many occasions.

16

Mechanical failures or a wet weather race could turn the whole thing upside down. Whatever happens, I hope it will be exciting and that it will be a great battle. I don’t think it’s over.

17

I am going for Rosberg. In 2010, my heart sank when Webber lost the Championship… not to mention the next few years. Rosberg reminds me of a similar situation – He is just the underdog and I really hope he gets up. I really do.
(I am not saying either is a bad or good driver either, not looking to insight an argument. Just like the fact that Rosberg is right there…. that’s all).

18

Reminds me of Webber too, and I think he’ll lose the lead just the same. This year is going to be the high point of Rosberg’s career, most likely, whatever happens.

19

Everyone likes a trier. No need to explain, I get it.

20

JAWA your comment that 2007 was the biggest choke of all time…..you seem to be pointing that at Lewis…..where you even alive then? McLaren screwed up winning the WC for Lewis by keeping him out on badly worn tires trying desperately to win it all in that China race…..and the next race car problems screwed up his race. The choke was by McLaren. Lewis missed the WC by one point in his first year in F1 competing against a two time world champion……nobody has come as close as that before in the history of F1. But for his team he could already be a four time WC. When you write stuff on here base it on reality and not your fantasy.

21

@ David

Thanks for your comment.

Just to remove any doubt in your mind, I was indeed labeling 2007 as a “choke” and pointing that to Lewis and to certain extent to McLaren as well.

You are entitled to your opinion and so am I.

In China 2007, all Hamilton needed to do was finish P5, and yet He lost the car entering the pitlane !!! (I guess, that happens quite often.)
I guess, I must have missed all the radio message of Hamilton requesting the team to pit earlier !!!

But, I would recommend you to watch at least the first lap of 2007 Brazilian GP and see how a “supremely”confident Hamilton, without showing any pressure, first allows Raikkonen through and then gets overtaken by Alonso.

And when Hamilton attempts ovetake around the outside of Alonso,(what was it turn 4, if I remember correctly), locks up heavily and takes a “serene measured” drive around the track limits of the circuit (simply to check the greenery, I guess) to allow 3 more cars through. And he was P8 already by the end of lap 1.

But, I guess that must have been a “higher force” or team sabotaging his driving via a remote control in the pit-lane.

The gear box problem only struck him after 6 or 7 laps, after that if I’m not wrong. And mind you there were media reports suggesting, it was actually Hamilton who pressed a wrong button !! Those reports were, of course, rubbished by McLaren..

The funny thing is he almost did it AGAIN in 2008 !!! When Vettel driving a Torro Rosso, (yes a Torro Rosso) overtook him, but thankfully we had a certain Timo Glock on dry weather tyres out there.

Personally, I haven’t seen a bigger choke than 2007. In case, you have, feel free to highlight it to me , the example of any driver loosing a lead equivalent to 42 points (current system) in a matter of final 2 races..

I have no doubt, Lewis must have grown stronger from his experiences of 2007 and 2008.
And I certainly have no doubt, he is capable of winning 4 races in a row like he has showed this year in July.

But, like any other driver, he is human and is susceptible to pressure. But, I guess, for his fans, it will always be the team to blame, never him…!!!

All the title wins are down to Hamilton and failure to win is down to teams ??? Isn’t it?

22

Re: the first lap of Brazil 2007, Alonso brake-tests him heading into turn 4. So he had to bail so as not to be out right there. Being P8 at the end of lap 1 would’ve been fine, he could have easily got to the P5 he needed from there. Then the odd gearbox gremlins set in … do you not wonder about the timing there? That was beyond weird … he needed to go through an entire reset procedure.

As for China, that’s at McLaren’s door. There was no need to stay out so long, others had switched to dry tires laps before and were benefitting. Should have been an easy call. Dennis in trying to win it all there, lost it all.

23

Re : the first lap of Brazil 2007, he did NOT need to overtake Alonso at all, after he already messed up his own start. A cooler, calmer mind would have assessed that.

Funny, you mentioned about how Hamilton needed to go through an entire reset procedure, when according some of the media reports after the race , that gremlin was triggerred by Hamilton himself.
But , (as expected), McLaren denied that. And to this day, the electronic glitch remains a mystery !!!

As for China 2007, my mistake. Apologies !

I completely forgot to recall the part of the race where Ron Dennis was driving the McLaren and slid wide while entering the pitlane. So, obviously it’s 100 % Ron Dennis’s fault. Like I mentioned, it happens all the time.
Driver’s lose the car while entering pit-lane. Even when the tyres are punctured or just 3 wheels left, it’s COMMON for driver’s to loose the car entering the pitlane.
So, no question arises for Ron Dennis to take a cautious approach for entering the pit-lane on worn tyres. No nerves there at all !!!!

But funny enough, following were the words of a certain Lewis Hamilton (who obviously was on the pit-wall, instead of driving the car), in the immediate aftermath of the race :

“Prior to entering the pit lane for my last stop I was constantly talking to the team. Although my tyres were in poor condition we took a joint decision to get through the last rain shower before changing to dry tyres. I was trying to be very careful…”

“When I was out of the car I was just gutted because it was MY first mistake all year and to do it on the way into the pits was not something I usually do,You cannot go through life without making mistakes. But I am over it and we look forward to Brazil. We still have points in the bag.”

But, how dare I even entertain the thought of Hamilton feeling the pressure of championship fight and make some mistakes as a result of it ?? Isn’t it ?

As, was evident next year in Brazil 2008, Hamilton with his calm controlled driving was always in control, and letting a Torro Ross through was part of his grand awareness of Timo Glock up in front on dry weather tyres …!!

I can tell you, if he brings the same confidence of the last 2 races of 2007, to the next two races this year, then good luck to him ….

May the “HIGHER” forces be with him.

24

Jawa, Hamilton wasn’t trying to overtake Alonso then … Alonso slowed big time, trying to get Hamilton to hit his back and break his nose.

Re: Hamilton’s statements, I’m glad you at least did some legwork. What’s Hamilton going to say there? He trusted the team, he was a rookie. He had already gone off at turn 1 in the laps before pitting … it was a stupid and unnecessary gamble from the team.

http://m.gpupdate.net/en/f1-news/170171/hamilton-was-out-a-lap-too-long-whitmarsh/

“McLaren F1 boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted his team left Hamilton out on track a lap too long and that pushed his tyres past their limit.”

http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2007/10/07/team-and-driver-errors-caused-hamiltons-retirement/

To read that now, and see the chunks of time he was losing, and that they still didn’t call him in, it seems rather strange. Sebee has a theory that McLaren scuppered both drivers, because they were made to throw the titles to Ferrari because of the Spygate affair. Not sure about that, but only waiting until you’re losing 7.7 secs in one lap to the sister car before calling him in?!? That’s very odd.

Re: the gearbox gremlins, I would like to know what a driver would need to do to require a full reset. It shouldn’t be possible for that to ever happen through driver input.

I didn’t intend to write so much, ‘cos I thought your reply was needlessly long and didn’t want to replicate that, but here we are. Apologies.

25

I’m glad to see ,that you were glad to see the legwork. Oops !!

But, a little disappointed that you have not bothered to read Hamilton’s statement in the link submitted by YOU yourself.

In fact, the link you submit is titled – team AND DRIVER ERRORS that caused retirement….

Do I need to say anything more ?

Here was a driver who lost the car entering the pitlane, made a mess of his opening lap in finale and yet it’s difficult for you to fathom that he made a few mistakes and was perhaps feeling the heat of championship fight. ??

And the reasoning you come up with suggesting notions of deliberate sabotage by the team to it’s own drivers!!!
(God,,, “someone and something” never wants him to win)

17 points (which is equal to 42.5 now) lost in the last 2 races was a monumental choke.

But, I guess for some fans, it’s never Hamilton and always the team to blame.

26

Hmm, why would you assume that I had not read it? I read both links, but unlike you I don’t just grab onto the one quote out of 10 that fits my argument, and then declare victory like some fool.

Read all the quotes from all sources. Now, having read them all, which “sound” more like the real situation? Perhaps the quote from Whitmarsh that they had all the weather info, and were telling Hamilton to stay out? This does require some honest critical thinking, rather than soundbite hunting.

Did Hamilton make a mistake going in too hot, into the pit entry lane? He sure did, but for me he should never have been in that position to begin with! The team should have pitted him 2-3 laps earlier. They wanted their cake and to eat it too, but sometimes you have to bag the bird in hand.

As for Brazil, I guess for you every driver should be ready for a brake test from their teammate?!

TimW, you were right. 😕

27

Firstly, you are the one who interjected in my reply to someone else. Now, it’s a bit desperate for you to seek approval from buddies and call others fools !!

Suggesting that Alonso wanted Hamilton to crash into the back of his car, (and in the process jeopardizing his own chances of winning the championship) does not sound very intelligent to me or “honest critical thinking” (and then you have the temerity to call others fool !!!)

I suggest you watch the opening lap again to see how closely Hamilton was following Alonso on the straight leading to turn 4.

In fact, Hamilton even CONTINUES to follow Alonso when Alonso moves to cover the inside line, and yet you say he was not attempting to overtake him ?
In fact, if you listen to James’s commentary, he described the move desperate and Martin Brundle suggesting exactly, what I did that “Hamilton did not need to do that”.

Re: China 2007, I’m glad that you finally have figured out, (to use your phrases) “ that Hamilton sure did make a mistake going in too hot into pit lane .”

Let me simplify even further for you, McLaren strategy would have costed Hamilton his win or at worst his podium finish.

It was HAMILTON who was driving the car, it was HIS mistake entering the pit-lane that resulted in DNF.

Even if he had taken 10 more seconds to make that entry, he would probably have been champion.

Perhaps, it’s complete anathema for you to entertain the notion of your favourite driver making a mistake or two, or feeling the pressure of championship fight.

Irony is that I was using the example of 2007 to suggest how there’s everything to play for this year. And how Hamilton instead needs to produce his form of July this year,
but, hey, how dare someone even say the obvious that 2007 was a “choke”.

Please, check what “choke” means in sports terminology. One of the definitions you will see will be-
A player or a team who had squandered a large lead in the late stages of the event.

28

Hmm, so if a driver has say a slow puncture, and a team says stay out, and then there’s a blowout, that’s still ALL on the driver? Interesting. McLaren deserve no blame, or just minor blame for leaving him out too long? In my opinion they deserve the majority of the blame. It was a needless and reckless strategy.

Re: Brazil 2007 start, here’s a vid:

https://youtu.be/9mMEQm46loE

Start at 3:52. Hamilton keeping in Alonso’s slipstream on the run down to Turn 4 is totally normal racing. I don’t get how you think that shows he was hellbent on passing Alonso there. Then Alonso brakes far before the normal braking point, far ahead of where the two Ferrari’s had, so Hamilton swings out to avoid a collision. Dennis is moments later asked by the pit reporter about it, to which Dennis smiles “just checking the brakes”.

You just need to watch the start of Belgium 2007 to see what Alonso was willing to do at that point in McLaren.

Here’s another vid of the gearbox gremlins:

https://youtu.be/9mMEQm46loE

His movements on the steering wheel look pretty innocuous to me. He went to downshift as per normal, and then everything’s gone. He lost comfortably 30 secs there. Still all on Hamilton though, let’s remember.

I know what a choke is in sporting terms, thanks. You put it all on Lewis, I put the majority of the fault on factors out of his control. That’s where we disagree. I don’t think it’s fair to lay it all at Lewis’ door; you think it’s more than fair. Again, we’ll agree to disagree.

It’s been illuminating Jawa. Now to your last word …

29

Funny, that in your excitement, you have posted the same video twice. Never mind, I have watched the Brazil 2007 start far too many times now !!

Hmm….Fact Check – In China 2007, neither Hamilton had a slow puncture nor a tyre blow-out (thankfully no Pirellis then). So, I don’t get your attempt of diversion by saying, “IF a driver has SAY a slow puncture…..”

And BTW, I have already provided you what Hamilton said after the incident which shows he was very much PART of that RISKY strategy.

Or maybe he was telling YET another lie !!!!

I tell you what has been “illuminating” is your realisation from –

“As for China, that’s at McLaren’s door” —to finally be able to figure out –“Did Hamilton make a mistake going in too hot, into the pit entry lane? He sure did.”

What I see here is, you being confused in your own cobwebs of arguments. Case in point is your ASSUMPTION that I “lay it ALL at Lewis’ door”.

Here, I would suggest you to take a step back and KINDLY read the first 3 lines of my post that you chose to reply, when I said to David that I was pointing it to “ Lewis AND to certain extent to McLaren AS WELL.”

I wanted to rebut your argument about Brazil 2007 turn 4 incident, but, hey !!
What’s the point when you can’t even fathom how Hamilton was trying to regain his position back !!!!!

On one hand you want to argue how Hamilton was never trying to overtake and yet, you can’t even notice how he continues to follow Alonso when Alonso dives to cover inside line whereas all the other drivers stick to the “normal” racing line for that corner.

To me the whole first lap of Lewis was reminder of an English saying, “running around like a head-less chicken”.

Finally, I was amused to read your comment seeking “my LAST word”…. Yeah !!! Right….as if it will enlighten you to view things dispassionately and without being a Hamilton fan.

Trust me, I try to restrict my replies here to posts which I find interesting. I do read many comments and have definitively noticed the fan club where everyone nods “aye, aye” in agreement to hail “Sir Hamilton”.
May be try to view 2007, not as a “Hamilton fan”, then you will realise last 2 races were “one hell of a screw up” unparalleled in F1 history in which pressure and nerves of Hamilton, did play its part.
Enjoy the US GP and rest of the season ….

30

Why didn’t Lewis tell the team his tyres were in a bad way. Or drive in a way that made the tyres last, like Alonso did.

31

He did tell the team. Their Bridgestone rep was apparently pleading with them to bring him in.

Alonso’s tires were 4 laps newer, and he pitted 3 laps after Lewis went out.

You really should do some back-checking before spouting stuff, don’t ya think? Might help.

32
Berk in the Merc

Yes but he did’nt wear then down to the canvas. He could have went on for more laps. He pitted at the opportune time for his race. Lewis had to pit because he couldn’t do another lap.

33

KRB, you are wasting your time. People like this aren’t interested in inconvenient facts.

34

Yeah, McLaren blew that one for Hamilton. There is much wrong with Briatore, but in that instance he would’ve for sure played it conservatively, and bag decent points. Brawn would’ve done the same too.

5 pts from 4th were easy pickings, and that would’ve eliminated Kimi, and meant that Alonso had to win in Brazil. Given that the Ferrari’s owned Brazil that year, it would’ve been title to Hamilton.

35

After Hamilton’s arrogant, ignorant and embarrassing attitude to the drivers press conference I have lost all interest in him. The rest of the drivers looked embarrassed as well. So go on Nico finish the job and get yourself a championship.

36

Here’s my ‘prediction’…

Lewis dominates the weekend in the USA, where he’s done well in the past. He comfortably wins, Nico comes home second. The points gap goes down to 26.

In Mexico, Rosberg is doing well in a race that he won last year, but Mercedes reliability strikes again, this time for Nico, and his engine explodes. Hamilton inherits the win, there’s now only 1 point in Rosberg’s favour with 2 races to go.

Brazil is a rain hit race, and the two Mercedes drivers collide into the first corner. Riccardo takes the lead, Nico only loses one place but the damage prevents him from challenging for the win, and he finishes second. Lewis has to pit for a new nose, but fights his way back up to third in drying conditions. Nico regains 6 points and is up to 7 points ahead.

The season finale in Abu Dhabi is suitably boring and uneventful. Hamilton nails pole, and Rosberg has no opportunity to challenge in the race. They finish with a 1-2, leaving them with an identical points tally! What are the chances?

Of course, on countback… they’d both have 9 wins in this scenario. In fact, they’d have the same number of second places too. Lewis would clinch it with four third places to Nico’s 1.

The closest championship in F1 history? Still don’t think it would make an exciting movie…

37

Hamilton only won in Texas last year after he deliberately forced Rosberg off the track . Then threw his hat at him, which was the point at which Rosberg had had enough. Hamilton has plenty to regret from that race meeting, he lit the fire.

38

Gary, it’s funny what people remember, and what they forget about races depending on their point of view isn’t it?

39

Rosberg was still leading the race, long after the first lap, first corner incident. It was the “gust of wind” remember, that blew him off the track. That was a weird episode.

40

You would need Lewis to come 4th, not 3rd, in Brazil for your equal points scenario to come to pass. Not sure how that would then affect the countback.

41

I’ve no idea who will win the WDC. It’s too close to call. As others have said, a DNF one way or the other can swing it either way, bringing Hamilton closer to contention (he’s still in contention of course), or enabling Rosberg to build a bigger cushion. I’d like Rosberg to win it. He’s worked hard to raise his game this season.

42

its either rosberg or hamilton. 50-50. no other choice.

43

Nico will win it, then paddy and lewis will be off for an Italian.

44

It ain’t over tell the chubby lady… Rosberg has been doing exactly what he needs to do, and to be fair to him it not his fault he has not had much competion. So let’s see what happens in the coming four races. What I find odd though are comments questioning Hamilton state of mind. Which race where those people watching? He qualifies 0.013 seconds behind his team mate, just try to start and stop your I-thingy stop watch in that period, it’ll give you an indication of how close it was. He has a bad start and all of a suden his head not in the right place. What!!! Utter rubbish. His pace especially on the hards at Suzuka suggested he had the pace to win, yes we’ll never know for certain, but he looked fairly on it to me. I’m looking forward to the next few races and let’s hope we finally get to see them battle it out in track.

45

The Nico has already won it hyperbolic media stories. He’ll probably have a DNF then not have enough points margin come the end. He needs a couple more wins, then Rosberg will be in touching distance.

As for the driver who wins the first X number of races goes on to win the championship, or a driver who wins 8 or more races wins it, in a two horse race of the largest calendar going, the first point is not really valid. Then the 8 races one, Lewis can win 8 races as well!

As for luck, when Hamilton has had penalties, China was the worst. A lot of the field wiped itself out the way at Russia, and Belgium was the same, while Monaco was Ricciardo bad luck. Malaysia was a real race DNF which was his greatest misfortune. Bahrain bad luck was contact with Bottas, but fortunate to have a car so quick he took advantage of a Vettel/Ferrari failure to make the podium.

Rosberg has had some bad luck in Great Britain, Malaysia as well (but not as bad as Hamilton). His stupid move at Austria was also bad luck, in that he got serious car damage. Then there was coming up against Verstappen with dying brakes in Canada, and also a broken stopwatch and borderline Verstappen defending in Germany which kept him from recovering from his own poor getaway.

I think Nico’s favourite turn of phrase, “momentum”, will shift towards Lewis for the final few races, and he will go on to win a fourth WDC.

46

The way the race was being reported, with the title being in the bag for Rosberg, I thought Hamilton had DNF’d (I missed the race as I was on holiday, though am aiming to catch some highlights soon) again. But 33 points is still all to play for with 100 left on the table. Certainly you’d rather be in Rosberg’s position, but Hamilton is still very much in the fight.

I think this article pinpoints why, focusing on the starts and also on reliability; a DNF could easily swing things one way or another, and we know the Mercedes can struggle in dirty air (though both Nico and Lewis have cut through the field well in recent races).

Japan was a strange weekend for Lewis though. I wonder if his hunger has dipped for the moment, perhaps partly weighed down by the DNFs. He’s still got time to get it back definitely, but more weekends like Singapore and Japan would definitely make Rosberg’s job easier, if Nico continues hitting the standards he made at those races.

47

The battle was almost completely lost after Sepang. Of the 5 remaining tracks (after Sepang) Nico has been on pole at them at EVERY race since the inception of the Hybrid era.

He did surprisingly well to get within a whisker of Nico’s qualifying time at Suzuka, but really, that was a must win race.

We said after Singapore that Sepang and Suzuka would be decisive to see where the championship was heading. Well it certainly was.

I can only hope that Nico has a power unit failure during a race, and then has to take a penalty for a new one at the subsequent race. But really, there’s no reason why Nico is any more likely at having a failure than Lewis is.

48

Considering how many times this year Hamilton has come from further down the grid (or the back) to the podium and Nico’s recovery in Malaysia I’d have to disagree with the assessment that the Mercedes “struggle to get back past their competitors”,

49

That the outcome of this year’s WDC could be down to a clutch, so badly constructed that the driver’s gloves have to be designed especially to operate it, is without a doubt the most ludicrious F1 tale I have ever heard. How could one of the largest vehicle manufacturers ‘in the world’ (think Clerkson) find it impossible to design one of the most basic parts of a car! You can’t tell me Mercedes cannot build and test a clutch that works. Why don’t they throw a few quid at Williams or Force India and buy one that will get their cars off the line.

50

@ rodger,,,,yes, that is a question that i have posed many times. They are currently running a TV promo supporting the release of the new CLA and they top and tail with ‘the best or nothing’ motherhood statement which is quite humorous considering their clutch failures! To even suggest the the glove stitching was an impediment is too silly for words? Mercedes have 1500 people in their team as quoted by wolff, and no doubt some the most talented F1 engineers in the world but other teams of lesser magnitude don’t seem to be having the same problems!!! Why ?

51

I imagine it’s because they’re pushing the envelope.

52

One of the few sensible posts. So merc can design a killer car but cannot design a reliable, workable clutch, really!! Is there another merc engined team on the grid that has to rework the drivers gloves. This one item, above all the other problems hamilton has had to endure, may cost him a championship. Your telling me that with all the complicated updates they have brought to the cars that they couldn’t fix a clutch. This has been a very strange year for the battle between the two merc driver. Somehow merc has managed (Except for two races, one where they managed to crash into each other and the other where nico tried hard to crash) they have had no real race long battles. That for me has been the biggest disapointment.

53

@ stan…Thank you for the compliment. I have been thinking that something doesn’t sit right with all this ‘clutch’ argy bargy. Wolff says ‘we don’t know where the problem is’ ? This being the case and knowing of the absolute engineering might of mercedes to solve this ‘anomaly’ it would appear that the best question is, ‘is there a problem with the clutch at all’?

When 1500 personnel and the combined engineering genius of so many engineers can, at best, come up with a ‘restitching’ of the drivers gloves it becomes simply laughable!!!! The ‘best [gloves] or nothing’ is th new mantra.

54

Nico’s car seems to get off the line OK.

55

Petaj, apart from when it doesn’t! How many times has Nico lost positions off the start this year?

56

Precisely Roger R
Mercedes precise German engineering and clutch probably made in China
(the rear end of manufacturing cheap and not so cheerful think Samsung have realised this too late).
Mercedes clutch balls up is shockingly bad and poor for marketing .

57

I became an F1 fan because I l came to love the sport itself. The technical nature of F1 to me is worth all the other rubbish that always seems to plague this sport. This also mean I try as much as possible to stay away from idolizing individual drivers except when they produce something special in the car. In 21 years of watching F1, I have come to realize that each season produces a driver who is possessed with a certain excellence that even luck and fate appear to bend to his will. That is how I would characterize Lewis 2015 season and Nico 2016 season. Based on that, I believe this years race is over from a championship point of view. Nico had that “thing” that no one can explain. You witnessed it in Malaysia – a rear end collision, locked brakes and 180 degree wheel spin without flat-spotted tires, no additional contact through a tight corner, a contact with another car, ten second penalty, your teammates car explodes and you end up on the podium!!! – EXPLAINABLE LUCK.
Mercedes management should now only be thinking about next year’s car and Nico’s 33 points advantage should help them to do just that. The team would be stupid to let their drivers go through a death match rather than concentrate on 2017 aerodynamic and mechanical performance tests. No team in the modern history of F1 has emerged from two significant rule changes as a dominant team, and we know the Silver Arrows love their records. So Mercedes must now instruct their drivers they have to survive on what they have now, there will be no attempt to help either driver find extra performance or victories as the season in over. Stuttgart should demand it, and the 1,000s of people who work Brackley and Brixworth should focus on it. That means Lewis and Nico must be conservative in their approach over the next 4 races to make sure their power units get to the end of the season. I am sure Lewis would like to win a few races just to prove he is still focus, but those are meaningless “moral victories” because all Nico has do is turn the engine down and pick up the 28 points on the table from 2nd place and still claim his WDC. Further more looking at the remaining tracks, all should play to the strength of the current car unless bad weather helps Red Bull or Ferrari to challenge Mercedes the rest of the way. In addition, we have been told the overall feel of the cars will change dramatically in 2017 and the expected new “more difficult” cars will alter how all drivers approach racing. I would love to see a Mercedes fight, but from a team point of view what’s the point really?

58

@Frederick

You wrote a fascinating first paragraph. Good read. +1 for that.

Talking about last 20 years, If I may add :

Jenson Button had “THAT thing” in 2009.
As did Sebastian Vettel in 2012 or Fernando Alonso in 2006….

Maybe Mika in 1998 as well.

As you mentioned, “each season produces a driver who is possessed with a certain excellence that even luck and fate appear to bend to his will”.

I hope people do read that line and also realize how finer the margins are among the top drivers.
Any year, for the eventual winner the competitive edge might be coming from brakes, better understanding tyres, adapting his driving style better to the changes to the car etc..

It might down to be even better coping with the clutch sytem. !!!!

Karan Chandok (when he was commentating for C4) revealed the chat he had with Pirelli to find out the driver how practiced the starts the most during pre-season testing.
It was Nico Rosberg !!!

59

I do not mind either of them winning, but what I would love to see is the equal number of technical issues between the two of them.

60

For me Nico has had this title ever since he became a father. I’ve seen it many times over the years in many different people,they have a kid and they get this injection of something extra. (Granted not all,some run a mile from their responsibility).
As for comebacks……Lewis on Nico in 2014 was a good one. Could he do it?

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