Ready for the off
Melbourne 2018
Australian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes top FP2 at the 2017 F1 Australian Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  24 Mar 2017   |  6:54 am GMT  |  425 comments

Lewis Hamilton set the best time in the second practice session for the Australian Grand Prix with a time just 0.091s slower than the fastest lap ever set on the Albert Park circuit.

The start of Formula 1’s new era began with a warm and sunny day of practice in Melbourne and Hamilton, who also topped the morning’s FP1 session, produced a best lap of 1m23.620s on Pirelli’s ultra-soft tyres shortly before the halfway mark of the afternoon running.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had spent a large chunk of the first half of the session in first place and, after being usurped by first Valtteri Bottas and then Hamilton, he went on to set the second best time of FP2, 0.547s slower than Hamilton, also using the ultra-soft rubber.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel split the Mercedes drivers as Bottas finished third quickest, 0.556s slower than his new team-mate, with Kimi Raikkonen fourth fastest in the second Ferrari. The 2007 world champion ended up 0.905s behind Hamilton after running wide at Turn 1 on his qualifying simulation lap.

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen were fifth and sixth for Red Bull, with the latter abandoning his ultra-soft flying lap and heading to the pits after running wide at the exit of Turn 12 and damaging the floor of his RB13, which meant he only completed eight laps in the 90-minute session.

Carlos Sainz was seventh fastest for Toro Rosso, with Romain Grosjean, who had off-track moments at Turns 1 and 3 during the first half of FP2, finishing eighth fastest for Haas F1.

 Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg was ninth quickest for Renault, with Daniil Kvyat rounding out the top ten in the second Toro Rosso.

Sergio Perez was 11th fastest, one place ahead of McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, who spent the early part of the session waiting to get out as his team finished making changes to the MCL32 that they had started during the lunch break following FP1.

Encouragingly for McLaren, which had endured a heavily-disrupted period of pre-season testing, Alonso did put in 19 laps and ended up 2.3s behind Hamilton’s best time, while his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne completed 33 laps without an issue and finished 17th fastest.

Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon finished 13th for Force India, with Felipe Massa in 14th place for Williams. The Brazilian driver only completed six laps in FP2 because his FW40 crawled to a halt at Turn 10 while he reported “the gear is not coming back”. It was later confirmed that the stoppage was caused by an electrical problem.

Marcus Ericsson was 15th fastest, but his session ended early when he lost the rear of his Sauber and spun off into the gravel at Turn 6 with just over five minutes of the day remaining. Lance Stroll was 16th in the second Williams, ahead of Vandoorne and the second Sauber of Pascal Wehrlein.

Kevin Magnussen finished in 19th place for Haas F1, but the Danish driver missed much of the session after the American team was alerted to a water temperature problem and called him in to investigate the problem. But he did get out late in the day and ended up with a total of eight laps.

Jolyon Palmer

That was four more than Magnussen’s former Renault team-mate Jolyon Palmer managed, as the British driver crashed his RS17 at the final corner during the early running. Palmer lost the rear of the car and slammed into the barrier before coming to rest in the middle of the track, which brought out the red flags, and he did not return to the session.

2017 Australian Grand Prix FP2 results:

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m23.620s, 34 laps
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1m24.167s +0.547s, 35 laps
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1m24.176s +0.556s, 34 laps
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m24.525s +0.905s, 30 laps
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m24.650s +1.030s, 27 laps
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m25.013s +1.393s, 8 laps
7 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso 1m25.084s +1.464s, 34 laps
8 Romain Grosjean Haas F1 1m25.436s +1.816s, 29 laps
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1m25.478s +1.858s, 36 laps
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m25.493s +1.873s, 39 laps
11 Sergio Perez Force India 1m25.591s +1.971s, 35 laps
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1m26.000s +2.380s, 19 laps
13 Esteban Ocon Force India 1m26.145s +2.525s, 37 laps
14 Felipe Massa Williams 1m26.331s +2.711s, 6 laps
15 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1m26.498s +2.878s, 29 laps
16 Lance Stroll Williams 1m26.525s +2.905s, 27 laps
17 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1m26.608s +2.988s, 33 laps
18 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1m26.919s +3.299s, 30 laps
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas F1 1m27.279s +3.659s, 8 laps
20 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1m27.549s +3.929s, 4 laps

What did you make of the Friday practice sessions at the Australian Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JA on F1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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Toto Wolf’s “passionate ” of the table must have taken many hours of practise, yet it still wasn’t convincing.


I think we are in for a real race tomorrow. Vettel is more known for starts than Qualifying and was only 3 tenths back.


The engineer in me loves these PU’s, but have been finally convinced to change my mind about about their noise. There is something primal about unleashed sound pressure rattleing one’s dental fillings. These PU’s are violent beasts purring like house cats. Not lions tearing limbs from limb.


It’s looking very much like the same parade in roughly the same order. The only spoilers in the mix might be high G-forces, lots of rain, and the ability to upgrade without that Token system in play.


I think that the telling point that seems to have gone unnoticed, is that early in FP2, Hamilton matched (within 2 tenths) all of the front runners who were on SSofts while he was on Softs. So his performance was consistent throughout FP2.

I’ll also offer the thought as well, that we know little as to who is the best on fuel economy, which will probably be important towards the end of races this season. If the Merc is fuel efficient, then it’s another nail.

Bruce Hemmingway

in 2015 I saw Bottas doing things through Eau Rouge no one else was doing. Extraordinarily brave. Get ready to be surprised.


I hope he is ready:-)


Hamilton v Bottas: has anyone considered the gap might have been similar with Rosberg in the car? There was a feature from this site about the old pirelli tyre format limiting Hamilton more than any other driver. Not trying to to form a Hamilton church here, just saying the new format may well change inter team dominance. Even Alonso said he can now follow his aggressive turn in style that was not possible in the last few years…


I hope it will be different, this year!
Gets boring for you James, if you must write how amazing Hamilton is! Mercedes, Hamilton, Mercedes, Hamilton … there you have your variarition! Hamilton the best driver in the world, started every race… won every race, Mercedes not the best every time…but Hamilton made it………………………..


I take some exception to 95 percent of us want Hamilton to lose. If any of that is true, which I seriously doubt, then I stand amongst that 5 percent who would care to see him win every race. As for Bottas not being worthy, I would argue that he is an extremely talented driver who has to find his way on the team. Bottas by virtue of being in the best car, shall more than likely win 4 to 6 races this year with the first victory being most important in terms of his psychological development and sense of belonging. I look forward to a fascinating year in F1, with no idea who shall ultimately reign supreme, based on one friday practice.


If the McLaren performance was “encouraging” I wonder what disappointment would look like. Going round the circuit in reverse?


I think everyone needs to calm down for a second. Like testing, free practice times are never that representative of actual pace, what makes people think this has changed? Ferrari may not have gone for a proper quali sim, Mercedes maybe did with Hamilton to put the frighteners on everyone, if that’s what they did its working!

Also I said before, Melbourne has a habit of flattering certain cars and being a poor track for others, not sure why, if it’s the slippery seldom used street circuit or something else? We will get an accurate picture of where everyone’s at in China.

All that has happened is a confirmation of what we knew anyway, Mercedes have a strong package and Ferrari are next. Surprises for me were how much closer RB were compared to testing and that Mclaren are not at the back.

Carry on!


The more things change, the more they remain the same. With Mercedes seemingly much quicker than Ferrari (in the two FPs – who knows qualy they may turn up the hear further with their famed qualy map), it looks like a slam dunk for the WDC and WCC. The pace difference between HAM and BOT is what I (and many) expected, so I am thinking this could be HAM’s best F1 season ever. He could, even conservatively, win anywhere from 15-18 races this year, and that, I think, must put him as a favorite to get close to/beat the mighty Schumacher’s record of 91 wins – what with 20 or so races a season. this season could very well get him within a 1-2 season win tally of MS. Which at one time most people including me thought to be impossible. I may be jumping the gun a bit (hope I am proved wrong), but looks like this season is shot already from an ‘excitement’ perspective.


In case there was any ambiguity, this is what I refer to when I write, “Mercedes managing the championship”.
The illusion of the tests in Barcelona were that alone, management of the perceptions.

It does NOT look good for competition in 2017.

As previously speculated (some call it ‘conspiracy’), it appears that Mercedes has so much ‘in the bag’, i.e. a long ready stage of many upgrades, likely to almost all aspects of the car, including super-duper ‘extreme’ engine settings, THAT WE HAVEN’T EVEN SEEN YET!!!
Of course, their challenge, unlike everybody else’s is artistically pulling the ‘ready upgrades’ out of the bag, and strapping them on, so that the race is close to matching any of their competitor’s developments.

We’ve seen this before (recently).


I hate it to thank Lewis.
So my thanks go to Ferrari for not being closer to Lewis. With the loss of one hour because of switching to summer time and the race starting at 6am i will decide to sleep in my bed and not in front of the TV.


can you not watch it in bed?


Where in the world was Bernie Eclestone ?
Bernie was talking to the Sao Paulo Mayor about the Brazilian GP.
No official release about the meeting was post, but the current promoter has a running contract with FOM until 2020.

Tornillo Amarillo

Oh, be aware Max went wide onto the gravel, sustaining damage to the floor, he lost the practice time.

It was not Stroll, you see? I would be glade if some people recognize Lance -just 18 years old- is up to this opportunity and not just waiting his crash.
At least, some objectivity from some F1 fans who criticize.


oh that doesn’t look good for the season…if we have hamilton racing away with no sites of catching then f1 is seriously doomed this season…really bad for f1…
it is still a day early…but the signs dont like from ferrari garage that they have caught up with the mercs…
At least one thing can be seen that Rosberg was operating at a really high level…lets see how bottas manages to catch hamilton.


wait for the bulls to turn it on

Ricciardo Aficionado

Seeing as most of the action shots aren’t side on… Damn these cars look good! That intake on the Renault is racy!!


It was great to see the new sector timings available on live broadcast, with each sector further divided into sub-sectors and regularly updated to give a “projected” position.

I aware that the teams have access to more detailed data and even in the past, such thing would have been possible.

But, it looks like finally, someone has woken up and said, “you know what, a little more information to the fans wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

Thumbs up to that.

Let’s just say, the liveries are a lot more colourful than they were last year. Wonder if the racing will be as well !!!


I don’t watch a movie if I know how it ends. On the other hand, a study by Leavitt & Christenfeld from the University of California has shown that story spoilers don’t actually spoil stories ( I found the results of the study very peculiar so I decided to check the paper. I looked immediately for the information on male/female number of participants, and, as expected there were 176 male and 643 female participants in the study (how is this study unbiased, you may wonder?). In conclusion, I think that female F1 fans are going to enjoy this season a lot.


James, Alex

Do you know who in each team has got the chassis/car from the testing in Barcelona and who has got a brand new one?

Alex Kalinauckas

Not sure of the specifics for each team, but you’ll find some interesting stuff here:


I’ve got an interesting one..

How far off from pole do you think the fastest Mclaren will be? Feel free to chime in James or Alex.

I’m going with 2.5 seconds.


That’s the amount of time just about all the cars will be off pole


I think 2.9 seconds, out in Q1, Alonso nails his lap.

Merc turn it up even further and track rubbers in a tiny bit more by Q3.


@Clarks4wheeldrift I think your guess is better then mine.. I was too optimistic ☺


“Encouragingly for McLaren,…”

Alonso, 2.4s per lap slower, 2 minutes 19 s down by the end of the race.

Stoff, 3s per lap slower, 2 minutes 54s down by the end of the race, lapped twice.

Sums up everything wrong with these PUs, again, in F1 2017.

It may be encouraging for McLaren that by being lapped twice, Stoff could give their sponsors a bit more coverage?! 😉


Interestingly enough, I think we now know the defining moment for Honda and Mclaren. Honda have just said they have a major hardware update that requires 2 months to complete, by June. Apparently this will provide a significant increase in power. Surely if this fails Mclaren will be in serious doubts.. but if it works, perhaps the entire team will be encouraged. I wonder how significant a jump is… significant.


Early days…


Lewis Hamilton set … a time just 0.091s slower than the fastest lap ever [at] Albert Park

Hamilton, who also topped the morning’s FP1 session, produced a best lap of 1m23.620s

Official lap record. (Race not quali, so not the fastest ever) 1:24.125 , MSC, 2004.
FP1 2016 fastest HAM 1:29.725. (FP2 2016 was slow, IIRC there was rain)
Pole 2016 HAM 1:25.3
Fastest race Lap RIC 1:28.997
FP 1 2017 fastest HAM 1:24.220
So pretty certain quali will see the fastest ever lap – somewhere in the high 1:19s I’d say , and whoever sets the fastest lap on race day will have a new lap record. But I doubt it will stand for the 13 years the Schumi’s has.

More important, the old cars were driven within the car limits and that turned out to be well inside the limits of the best drivers. Having the best car will always be an advantage, but now the driver makes more of a difference. Expect more drivers to exceed their own limits trying to stay on the pace.

Don’t be too quick to judge Bottas, but some people may have underestimated Rosberg


Watched first practice last night and I have to say I was thrilled by the aggression and speed that these cars displayed particularly in the hands of Lewis. This is how F1 should be – challenging, demanding and most of all FAST! It may well make overtaking harder but that is a good thing given how artificial that side of racing has become over the last few years.


With Bottas that much slower, if Lewis leads by a good bit then if Merc have any common sense, they could pit Bottas first, getting the undercut on Kimi or Seb or both. Why not, there’ll only be one stop for everyone?


At the track today and the Force India had the sweetest engine note of the lot while the Williams was absolutely brutal and noticeably louder than all the rest. Also JA looking rather svelte on channel 10 today 😝!


All is not lost!
Yes, Mercedes are still the team to catch but did anyone expect that they wouldn’t have bags of pace in hand? Looking back at last year, Hamilton was 0.8s ahead of the first Ferrari, and a massive 1.7s ahead of the first Red Bull. If those gaps have halved then we should still be looking at a much more competitive season. Melbourne is also a circuit which tends to flatter the fastest car, and the gap at subsequent circuits tends to close up further.


It seems like McLaren is not so far back as many predicted. And Mercedes looks like they are still ahead by a good margin. But yeah it’s only 2 practice sessions, so yeah I would wait until Sunday to see where the teams really are.


First signs are more of the same for 2017, but lets wait until tomorrow before we get too down heartened. If so it becomes more obvious that we need a strong McLaren Honda, who in my mind can be the only ones to take the fight to Mercedes.


James & team, I’m afraid you need now to re-edit the post-test analysis)


I guess not


If Merc really are that far ahead then oh dear. This will be even worse than last year.

I seriously hope Ferrari are keeping powder dry until qualifying.


watch out for the bulls.


Well there you go, the more things change the more they stay the same……..

Torro Rosso looking good,


Was trying to do a post with a picture, twice. Does ‘t work. Any idea why and how to make it work?

Alex Kalinauckas

We try to moderate all images before they appear on the site, but nothing has come through in this instance.


Thank you, Alex. Question is, is there any indication that an image was successfukky attached to the post and went for moderation? What are the formats and dimensions allowed? Struggle to do it from an iPhone, but it is easier from MacBook.


When the box comes up with the image in it and you hit submit you’ll get the ‘your comment is awaiting moderation’ message.
See that and you know its been submitted successfully.


Same old story, then. Merc and their most experienced driver dominate. Another season of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz


I sincerely hope that Ferrari and Red Bull will come alive during qualy on Saturday. This isn’t what we hoped for. To make matters worse, Valtteri over 0.5secs behind Lewis?? He’s got some speed to find, I hope he’ll settle in sooner than later.
Encouragement for McLaren-Honda, reliability has improved, hope they can make leaps and bounds in the performance section while the season is young.


I think the advantage of Merc has decreased, I think the teams will catch up. I personally think Ferrari will get better and hopefully when we get to qualy tomorrow that half a second can be closed.


I can’t help but think this new formula is going to suit Hamilton’s driving style very well. The ‘easy’ formula we have just lost maybe disguised the relative lack of talent of some drivers who have only driven the recent tyre limited slower F1 cars. Maybe they drove well enough with tyre management in mind but could struggle to get to grips with the new much faster cars? Hamilton has that talent in spades.
Purely in terms of driving style suiting the new cars, I would guess Seb, Danny Ric, Kimi and Max are going to be up to speed very quickly. And if McLaren are able to give him any sort of a car, Alonso will be too, as will Massa at Team Willy.
However, I do wonder if some of the other ‘tyre management era’ drivers will take a fair while to adapt.


I agree. When an 18 yr old comes over the radio and says “I’m driving like a granny” then you know that conservation was the name of the game. A grand prix is not a sprint so pacing and strategy are major factors, but the now true skill, physicality and bravery will also be suitably rewarded.


I think Paul Hembry also said something like the new tires gonna suit Hamilton’s driving style, i really hope so TBH.


Yes I agree, I think the “tyre management era” actually handicapped Lewis. I never felt Rosberg was anywhere near as naturally fast. He was able to give Lewis a hard time because he worked incredibly hard at understanding the car, using his engineering background to sometimes to manage it better.

This season the more natural “seat of the pants” drivers will stand out.


I know it’s only very early, but I really think Bottas could be in trouble this year. You would think a great opportunity having a Mercedes drive, but it might be a curse against Hamilton. Time will tell of course


he’ll get better with time..


You’d think both Force India drivers would have a slightly different shade of pink head gear (not going say pink and H together as the Beavis and Butthead humour kicks in and makes me giggle😆😄). It’s too pink Force India🐽🐷.


Another tragicomic year for F1 has just started.
Tragi… as Hamercedes shows there will be no driver, no team competition for the titles for another year.
…comic because although overall faster, the races will continue to be disputed in the risible way running-in-bag races are disputed as they look since the idiotic fuel saving system has been put in place.
There were one team dominated championships in the past and fans complained. I never understood them: It was like opera fans complaining that Plácido Domingo flawless performance was “only” because mother nature has provided him the best vocal apparatus.
For me sustained high performance was never boring.
What I find boring is high efficiency coasting.
And I find revolting the enthusiasm some people show that the “100m flat” – pinnacle of athletic reunions which for the last 3 years were won by running 60 meters and walking the rest- will this year be ran for 80 meters and walked “only” for the rest of 20.
Disgusting !


BANG! right from the get go! Lewis.. you are a monster behind that wheel!


In the end the same procedure as last year. If Nico hadn’t stopped we would have had two Mercedes on top even if Ferrari is a bit closer than before. We’re in to another boring season to watch… Sigh


On the evidence today. Hamilton to win the championship with 5 races to go.


I put money on Hamilton winning with 4 races to go and Mercedes winning the WCC with 3 races to go. Don’t spoil it mate.


Interesting to see the comments ref Bottas. I’ll give him a break as he is new in the team compared to Hamilton who is coming on for 5 years now? To ask him to come in and be on form comparable to Rosberg who had been in the team longer than Hamilton is frankly ridiculous.


Well ricciardo came in from another team and trashed a four times WDC in his first year. Verstappen came in to a new team and won his first race, conveniently, but he would’ve been second anyway. So there are two recent situations where newcomers to teams did exceptionally well. That being the case why can’t Bottas do the same? If he could he should.


A four times WDC looking to activate a break clause in his contract. Not everything is always as it seems.


But none of those drivers was called Lewis Hamilton. 🙂


Like every year, all the predictions were proved wrong. Close at the top it’s not. On the other hand, Hamilton being so far ahead of Bottas is proof that the car doesn’t do everything. You still need a good to man it.


Well, that settles it. Another dull year. I was going to drive to Melbourne tonight after not attending a GP in more than 15 years with renewed excitement. Sorry local economy. I think I’ll pass on the App again too.

Hollow title for Hamilton this year sadly. Bet he retires end of the year after tweeting a few LOL’s to Bottas.

At least Ferrari are quicker from the get go.

_Two_ water leaks? Is that true? My 80’s car used to leak water from time to time. But in F1 in 2017? Some arses need kicking. I’m sure it’s more involved than a gasket tho’ ..

Some of these new guys not matching team mates yet. Hope they learn fast. Good to see Stroll keeping Massa honest in this session. Hope Williams finds some more pace.

Tightish midfield times, perhaps some good racing. Lets hope so. Gonna be hard to pass I fear. It was a few years ago when the aero was similarly high.

Go Romain. Bring home some points. Sorry I won’t be there to watch. Go the red cars. Go Daniel.

I might tape it so I can skip the boring bits. Hope I’m wrong.


I think you dotted all the “i” sss, and crossed all the Ts. I hope you have a nice Sunday watching the sun rise and set. It’s always a winner.
I’m going to try to focus on the mid-field. Don’t know if it’s going to work.


you will not focus on the will focus on whatever images and sounds you’re provided..


Wow, so comments like that is how you got your 5 stars…..AMAZING!


i see what you’re focusing on..


Do you think Schumacher’s titles are hollow as well who had No1 status and always the best strategies, a team mate that had to move over when needed and always the first new parts ?.


You mean his last 5? Of course they were, and the same goes for the four easy peasy so called drivers titles that VET took riding a car 0,5-1 sec/lap faster than everyone else.

The quality of the DRIVER is shown in bad years, i e when they have a so so package, not in the years when the package is far superior in speed relative all other cars on the grid. In years when the package is dominant, the package does the work, not the driver, and in those packages most driver would win. Think about it…How did VET fare when his package was so so after the four titles…yes right, misstakes, dissappointments and under-achievment.

I personally rate SCHs first 5 seasons with Ferrari, i e those season when he did NOT win, much higher regarding driver quality, than the later 5. Simply because, even though he had not the best package, he succeeded in keeping every other driver honest…even those driving a faster-to-much faster package. He was consistently up there mixing it up and challenging them, hence proving beyond doubt that he is skilled and can compensate for a bad package and captalize on other weaker/less skilled drivers’ misstakes. The same goes for another legend, ALO.

So as I see it, the big difference between lets say SCH and VET is that the former had consistently proved his worth way BEFORE he sat in the dominant Ferrari and cruised to those ridiculously easy titles. The later never did and and we are still waiting for that skill to show up in a year with a bad package..


What happened to the “5 seconds faster per lap”?
This is just .2 seconds than last years pole!!


In 2015 FP2 and Qualy diff. were about 1.5 seconds. So still plenty of time to drop substantially.


Simon, it’s two seconds faster than the fastest lap set in practice last year, the five second claim was based on the 2015 times being set when that claim was first made. fastest practice lap in 2015 in Australia was a 1:27.867, so todays time is 4.2 seconds quicker than that.


I know but only .2 seconds faster than last years pole. In fact, by the end of free practice 2 only Hamilton has been faster than pole last year……
looking forward to tomorrow and expect times to come down, will be interesting to see how much faster pole is this year….


Need not worry Simon as its only free practice. Wait until qualy and watch the times plummet when the Mercs get out of fifth gear.


Sars, it seems that Ferrari have one of those top gears as well…


@ sars…i thought that it was the handbrake that they hadn’t released…silly me?


Worryingly strong pace from Hamilton/Mercedes. Early days of course but I doubt everyone wants to see Lewis just drive into the distance at every GP this year (aside from hardcore Lewis fans). Lets hope qualifying and the race is a bit closer.


Surely Ferrari haven’t screwed up again?! What happened to Red Bull’s promised aero brilliance? I was hoping that it would be a bit closer at the front, but it seems that the challengers have disappointed everyone again.


I genuinely believe Mercedes still have a solid advantage with their engine, be it mapping or whatever clever magic is going on in there. It could well be that they have literally been sandbagging with it for the last 3 years, that’s how much advantage their head start in the years prior to 2014 earned them. Otherwise I just can’t fathom how Ferrari and Renault are still lagging behind after 3-4 years of development.

I do hope I am WAY off the mark and Ferrari are saving some speed for qualifying.


NickH. Even if Luca’s comments are true that Mercedes started working on the PU long before the regulations were conceived, (which sounds highly unlikely to me) they still didn’t do anything that Ferrari and Renault couldn’t have done. There are no tokens this year so no excuses for continued poor performance from the other manufacturers now.


Ferrari hasn’t screwed up anything. They are better than they were last year. As you can see that they have leapfrogged RBR. And the Mercedes has gotten better equally. Therefore the gap between the 1st place and 2nd place is narrower, but still not narrow enough to challenge from the beginning.


Formula Zero. Ferrari have all the resources they need to build a championship winning car, therefore if they do not win the championship they have screwed up.


Wow by that logic McLaren should’ve quit the sport a decade ago, considering when they won their last WCC. And RBR should go back to concentrating making energy drink. Well, the expectations on Ferrari is always out of the world historically. It only proves a lot of pundit’s statement, “what’s good for Ferrari, is good for F1.”


Formula zero. I’m not saying that either McLaren or Ferrari should quit the sport, just that if you have the resources available to win a championship, and then fail to do that, then you clearly have screwed up. Seems perfectly logical to me, do you see Ferrari’s 2016 season as a success?!



Might be a bit early to see yet. Danny Ricc wasn’t happy with the balance of the car in FP2 which was changed from FP1 where he was third. I guess RB have got a bit of work to do though.


wait for the races.


Adrian, I’m not about to write the whole season off on the back of one practice session, but it doesn’t bode well for close competition at the front. I guess these cars have a lot of development potential so maybe Ferrari can close the gap through the season.


Looking down the time sheets there are a number of inter team battles that have over half a second between drivers.
I really hope the times are representative and that Mercedes have even more when they “turn the wick up”.
If nothing else we might get to hear Seb lose It.
Mclaren Honda……..”ganbare”.


Its practice guys! Q3 will tell us a little more. It’s a long season, anything can happen. Let’s have some positivety.


Let’s have some positivety.

I’ll need a few glasses of wine for that.


Well then, I’ll say cheers🍻🥂


Just don’t drink it out of a shoe


Ferrari should SOOOOO be looking at signing up Carlos Sainz!


It’s time to introduce handicaps to F1.


Or, alternatively, it’s not…


I agree, Lewis and Valtteri should ride in the same car… With Toto strapped to the front.


Plus la change. I predicted this after day one of testing when everyone was getting excited about Ferrari and people rounded on me. At least Mercedes now have Ferrari’s designer.


Dear James and Alex,
I want to ask you about a certain feature on the blog. I want to submit a picture. I click on the icon, select a picture, click submit…but there is not indication that it is added. There is not preview of even a way to know if it was successful until the time I see my post on the blog. Is there any way to make it more clear? Thank you.


You cannot but feel ful of admiration of HAM. I mean, watching him on top of that grid ((in that dominant car)) is just so…unic. You feel blessed to see his “talent”, year after year, so easily beating the several multiple world champions on that grid, ((in that dominant Merc))…really breathtaking!

And now that the last team mate that beat him, ROS, has retired, leaving the great BOT as his new team mate, his “talent and skill” ((in that ultra dominant Merc)) is even more apparent for us to witness. UK should start planning building a statue of the guy…yes it is only the first race of a long season but none the less it is already apparent that his “talent” will, again, earn him another fourth DRIVERS world title..


That “dominant” car with a huge 2.5 tenths in hand over Ferrari; no way driver skill could amount for such an almighty gap.


Quattro. just because a driver is good enough to be hired by a dominant team doesn’t mean his talent is diminished. Did we think that Vettel was less talented when the Red Bull was dominant?


Yes we did TimW. Of course we did. The overall feeling was that Vettel had the fastest car and after the first title when it seemed Red Bull favoured Vettel over Webber we questioned things. Certainly in 2012 Vettel was not the best driver. And when Ricciardo beat him fair and square a lot of those who felt he was less talented than some said, felt vindicated.


Cheesypoof, you may have done, but I didn’t. Winning in a dominant car doesn’t tell us anything other than the driver in question can deliver in that sort of car, Lewis of course did plenty of winning in none dominant machinery, so we already know he can do that.


And yet Alonso couldn’t beat him when he was a rookie 😀


…and yet not one but two drivers with much less on their CV:s than ALO, could and did beat him, in equal machinary, when he was a far from a rookie (and no Ron as team boss anymore)…you go figure…mystery 😉


Quattro, and yet both of those world champions who beat him over one season, were themselves beaten by Lewis over two and three seasons respectively. Do I need to remind you that one of them went on to beat the great Alonso as well?


Yeah, Ron made Alonso crash in the rain in Fuji no doubt. You do realise Alonso’s strongest part of the season was immediately after Alonso tried to blackmail Ron into getting no. 1 status right? If Ron was fixing the title in favour of Hamilton he did a lousy job.

And Button also beat Alonso, so not sure that’s a great hand grenade to throw at your own feet.


@quattro yes you are right we are so lucky to witness his greatness. I think they already have started building the statue, along with statues for Wayne Rooney and Andy Murray, all the greatest in their respective sports. I assumed you named yourself ‘quattro’ in honour of his upcoming championship.




@ Sars…there are some strange people posting here! I mean, ‘another fourth drivers world title. What happened to the previous fourth drivers titles?


I was prepared to over-look that faux pas Ken in light of the most beautiful homage I’ve seen to Lewis in my life time. Some of his more ardent fans here should tale note #greatnesspersonified


Feels like a deja-vu!
Mercedes is dominating, Honda is struggling. Pretty much the story from the last several seasons. One thing might be different though – overtaking. I think it will be harder. From what we are able to see so far, there is going to be the battle for 2nd or 3rd place between Ferrari and Red Bull. Sadly not for the win.


I think for the first time in my 50 years on this planet, I wont bother watching many live races this year. Sky Q will be on record.

Another Merc walk-over. What an utter bore. Cap the budgets, please and lets get back to racing. This $$$ arms race approach is not conducive to actual racing – never has been, never will be.


they should have made mercedes buy manor, like redbull, if ur team spends x amount then it must be invested in another team. Hopefully the grid ends up with 2 ferrari, 2 merc, 2 redbull, 1 williams, 1 McYamaha, etc


@Bloke 127 Thank you for speaking some sense. The people that relate to F1 in the past still having dominant teams…I don’t know what to say to them. Back then they were smaller teams, often with customer engines, an entirely different animal. This F1 is different from that F1. F1 is a sport that has to battle other sports for viewers eyes. F1 costs much more than it did before. The manufacturers come in not for the joy of sport, but to push their brand. We can’t have constant domination, which is counter productive to racing, because no corporation will endlessly dump money in to something with no chance of success. My view of F1 is that its a sport dominated and run by the same old men, just exchanging handshakes and what else while patting each other on the back. Liberty bought F1 to make a profit and grow, and I wonder if there’ll finally be proper change.

It’s ridiculous what a one-sided exercise in self gratification this championship has been of late. This boring domination isn’t going to get a gaggle of new ‘true fans’ along, and the die hards like myself who have watched for decades, eventually we’ll kick off and need to be replaced. F1 knows it needs to improve, it just is taking forever. I share your sentiments Bloke127. I too am thinking of the possibility of missing some of the races for the first time in decades. It’ll be a sad day for me, but thats the state we’re in. Too many years of the same story over and over. On a positive note, I do hope to be pleasantly surprised tomorrow. But…i said that last year, and the year before.


@ Cheesy…your sentiments are shared by many ‘die hards’. I have been around perhaps longer [65 years of motorsport] than most and freely admit that the ‘frisson’ of what was coming in the next race/season has declined in almost direct proportion to the domination of one team. Other teams have dominated in the past but not quite to the degree that we are seeing here over the last three years. Despite that I still cannot envisage a weekend where there is a race being held and I’m not watching it! That, to me, is not an option.


Ferrari and Red Bull are on similar or even bigger budgets.
Cap the budgets? Fine with me – but bear in mind Ferrari will never make the top 3 again.


Lol. And all the people saying ferrari are fastest. Go mercedes. Like I said last week and got criticised for. Merc on pole by 0.6. And as the HULK Would say. See yeah later.


You were way way off mark


Looking sexy James! thanks for the insight. Makes the coverage awesome.


Looks like Ferrari will continue to sandbag for the rest of the season. 🙂 Let’s hope I am proved wrong though.


poor Ferrari 🙂

Melbourne is never a true representation of the season, so lets wait a few races.


Hi James, please do a detailed report on your thought of FP1 and FP2. and why Ferrari is so slow. Another year of Mercedes dominance is not acceptable. 🙁


Ferrari dominated longer..


Complete nonsense. There were more teams and drivers involved in title fights and just generally in contention for wins when Ferrari were winning.

2000 was close between Hak and MS, 2 teams fighting for the championship until the death.

2003 was very close, MS won by 2 points from Kimi who was driving a different car. That isn’t dominating however much spin you apply. 8 different drivers won a race that year!

Unfortunately it looks like this will be the 4th year of total domination with only 1 team having a realistic chance of winning races which takes them way past Ferrari’s ‘longer domination’.


No one is claiming it was a good thing.


The first race isn’t even on yet and some huge conclusions are being made. Bottas is probably a more realistic Mercedes pace and Raikkonens pace should only ever be looked at in races. Hamilton is always going to be faster than the cars pace regardless what he’s in. Ignore him altogether when looking at the teams situation.


@ Roth….hamilton is always going to be faster than the cars pace’.? Really? You do know that that is impossible don’t you…….


Exactly, we all know only Alonso can go faster than his car will allow him to.


Loving the irony Andrew.


That FERRARI though…… hehehe
Maybe they’re not showing their hand yet? It looks like another FAIL from Marenello… but…. I’ll maybe reserve my judgement until Sunday.
Lewis looking on it straight out the blocks. Think this year will show how much ROS was underrated and under appreciated.


I don’t recall Ferrari claiming to beat the Mercedes so far this year. Everyone else has surprisingly.


My German imigrant Uncle: Uncle Gerhard- said Bosch have their fingers in everything. Diameler are the same. In the USA they operate Freightliner and Western Star trucks amongst thier name sake. Mercedes win at everything via brute force. Brute force sans competence fails. Kudos to competence! As a German my heart is with Ferrari. Give my Saxon’s a contest! Please!


Nothing too unusual up front

Interesting as the midfield starts to unfold.

What’s up with the williams? Issues? Because thats pretty poor speed from the ‘best of the rest’ shoe in. Did I miss an incident / issus?


0.091s off the fastest lap time ever recorded around Melboune’s Albert Park. We will see faster tomorrow. How could anyone miss “Stone Age” V10? Every single circuit record will be beaten this season.



Fastest Lap Records are broken on Sunday during the Grand Prix.


@sebee, You have to know the difference between ABSOLUTE lap record and lap record, the first being the quickest recorded at any given point of a Grand Prix weekend whilst the second refers to the quickest in race conditions. Vettel’s absolute record we are talking about here was a pole lap. That record has just been pulverised by…Vettel with a 1:23:338 during FP3. We will see quicker come qualifying to set a new ABSOLUTE lap record around Albert Park.


Which F1 record book keeps the absolute record?

Only one fastest lap record is kept officially – the one set on Sunday. This absolute record was just made up for hype reasons.


Sebee. Which F1 record books keep the absoloute record? The good ones.


Partly thanks to the massive tyres.

Speedy Gonzales

No! Ssshhhh…….don’t mention the V…’s. You’ll awaken The Sebee!


Yeah, F1 was rubbish back when they raced each other for wins, when driver skill made the difference, not if your loud pedal gave you loads more bhp and your battery deployment lasts for the whole lap 😉


That’s the thing that’s quite interesting.

Fans flocked to the circuits because for just a little bit there start of 2000s F1 felt like it was chasing speed without limits. Even though there was a 60% chance of a Ferrari win, people flocked.

I’m going to speak for myself. It was exciting to know the potential of Schumi, Mika, DC, JPM, later Kimi, Alonso winning on any given weekend existed, but I went to the GPs also because the experience of seeing those cars drive by was amazing. The V10 starts were unlike anything else on this planet in terms of motorsport. When those 20 cars lined up with all engines at top RPM waiting for the lights to go out and then were released it was simply breathtaking. You expected it to be loud and bone shaking, but it exceeded your expectations by quite a gap! And they looked proportional, nimble, fierce. You knew 100% there was no fat. They were lean mean racing machines that could take on anything, anywhere, and win. I honestly don’t understand WHAT needed improvement there? Give those V10 cars slightly wider slicks – not much, but a bit, take away some of the little winglets and junk. Put the pipes at the back to take away blown defusers, throw an extra gear in the gearbox and it would have been AMAZING year after year after year. By now they’d be raving to 22,000 maybe more – it would be absolutely nuts! Exactly what we want to see.


Clarks, I seem to remember the loud pedal requiring a lot less skill in those days what with the traction control and all. Are we sure that nobody had more BHP than anyone else in those days either? Battery deployment is limited to 33 seconds per lap for all teams by the way….


The sound of the 2 seater V10 Minardi was a standout today, even over the tv!


Just a reminder of what’s missing.

Alex Kalinauckas

That time was set in 2011, so V8s.


just like the v8s were faster than the v10s and v12s, the v6 will be faster than the v8.


As of today, the fastest lap record at Albert Park stands at:
1:24.125. M.Schumacher. F2004. V10.

PU cars have an extra gear vs. V10, and these tires are the widest tires we’ve seen in F1 since the public started to use the Internet.

Put this rubber on an F2004 and everything they’ve learned about aero since like the PU car has, and V10 F2004 with updated aero and these tires I don’t doubt would break 1.20s at Albert Park – in a Grand Prix on Sunday too.


Is anyone actually surprised ?

The best driver in the best car is an unstoppable force.


You mean like 2016, right?


Yes. I think Hamilton is the best driver on the grid, but in 2016 the best driver was Rosberg. Hamilton had some off-days which Rosberg didn’t and ultimately those cost him the title. I suspect Hamilton has learned from that and if the two of them lined up again today then Hamilton would be the better driver in 2017 but we will never know.



Hamilton dominated Rosberg in 2016 in all aspects but starts. You surely noticed that?


Why do we like to rewrite history and choose only the things we want to remember. Both Lewis and Rosberg had fairly equal “off” days. This is well documented.

Lewis had an engine blowup – which is what ultimately cost him the title. And this is still ignoring ALL his other engine related issues.


Aaron, Rosberg didn’t have any off days? Please re watch the Monaco, Canadian, German and British Grand Prix. Nico and Lewis had seventeen races unaffected by reliability last year, Lewis won ten and scored 341 points in those races, Nico won six and scored 283 points.


Well said Tim W. There seem to be an agenda to rewrite history – and i believe it started with the journalists themselves not wanting to “tarnish” Rosberg’s championship.

However, facts state the Malaysia engine failure was the most decisive factor. Even the Team Principal explicitly said so.


Re-write this piece of history;

Nico Rosberg – Formula One World Driver’s Champion 2016


Sarsippious, yet again you need to read what I actually wrote rather than replying to your pre conceived idea of what you think my opinion is. Nobody is trying to re write history here apart from the guy who thinks Nico didn’t have any off days last year. I am well aware of who won the WDC last year, and have said on numerous occasions that he deserved to win it, but the figures I have provided for races unaffected by reliability are accurate and tell their own story.


So yeah, not unstoppable. Engine failure stopped him sharpish.

If Hamilton starts P10 or lower 4x this season, will Bottas’ chances of a win rise a lot, just slightly, or not at all?

I am miffed that we never got to see Rosberg having to start from way back in the ’14-’16 Mercs. The hardest he had it was two P6 starts (SIN15 & AUT16), where he then finished P4 each time. By contrast HAM had:

AUT14: P9 to P2
GBR14: P6 to P1
GER14: P20 to P3
HUN14: PL(P22) to P3
CHN16: P22 to P7 (with body damage)
RUS16: P10 to P2 (with oil pressure issue)
EUR16: P10 to P5 (with engine setting issue)
BEL16: P21 to P3


Great stats👍🏻🏎🏁


This is not a relevant statistic. Some tracks are easier to pass then others. Some races are wet, some had safety cars to narrow things.. the list goes on and on. To then just assess the result is pointless.

I watched last year’s Australian Grand Prix today.. cos I had time and thought why not. Hamilton messed up the start, fell from first to fifth and clipped Nicos rear left tyre damaging his front wing.

Along the way Hamilton blocked Nico for a few corners despite being on different strategy. A red flag let them close gaps later and Ferrari missed strategy to let Mercs retake 1-2. Not really the drive of a flawless champion is it? My point is those start finish stats tell nothing of the story. It’s just one part of the tale. I won’t even start on those “issues”… come on now. You have the fastest car on the grid for years in a row. No complaints.. especially if your supposedly one of the greatest ever. Blah.


Uh, free practice was surprising because Mercedes had a bigger gap to their rivals than we expected

Also what was surprising was how far back Red Bull are in the times partly due to not finding the right set up and partly due to the Renault engine

Otherwise, impressive speed from the class of 2017 and also impressed rookie Lance had a clean day after getting baptized by fire in testing.

Likewise, it was a good turn of events for Mclaren to see the team have some reliability plus have got decent speed which will get tuned to the maximum once the team get confident of their reliability

Overall, what we have learnt from practice is the midfield will be super competitive giving rise to heroes that will give their teams a good haul of points


It more like hopes than expectation I’d say.


does that bigger gap refer to both mercedes cars?


@ aveli

No because the bookies Bottas don’t consider a rival for the title


Did you honestly expect new arrival Bottas to be on par with his team mate who has been at the team for 5 years now? At the first race?? If you do then you are showing your youth. I suppose you do believe Hamilton is instrumental with the technical designing of the Mercedes cars so nothing would surprise me.


Ric was on par and better than vettel in his first race with redbull lol oops !!!


I’m sure you’d have said the same thing while Verstappen was chucked into a Red Bull mid-season yet was instantly on par with Ricciardo (who himself destroyed Kvyat’s career and demolished a reigning quadruple WC).

Lewis has completed 4 seasons at Mercedes by the way. 5 years ago he was putting his Mclaren on pole at the same season opener.


Was there a huge regulation change when Verstappen changed teams?


I suppose you think Hulkenburg and Magnussen will get destroyed by their teammates because of this “huge regulation change”…


Oh yeah because Ocon and Gros are so clearly on Hamilton’s level.


An ok, at first your point was that it would take Valtteri a while to get on terms with “his team mate who had been at the team for 5 years now”. Now, suddenly, Lewis’s calibre was also a factor.

Anyway, you’ve likely been proven wrong by qualifying. Valtteri wasn’t half a second behind Lewis when it mattered, but instead the sort of margins that Lewis regularly out qualified Nico by in Aus.

(So Lewis has been at Mercedes for 5 years, and Ocon is joining Hulkenburg at Renault? I believe it is you showing your age, unfortunately on the descent though.)


No, Max wasn’t fortunate enough to switch teams after an equaliser like this year. In fact, he didn’t even get any testing unlike Valtteri who got a complete preparation.


new arrival hamilton didn’t do too badly in 2013 did he?


Of course there had been a massive change in regulations before 2013. Oh no…


nothing to do with a massive change in regulation. why don’t you follow the post trail to understand what’s being discussed before wading in?


James Allen looking ominous that mercs are quickest again. Hope Redbull and ferarri have something left in the tank. On a brighter note crowds in Melbourne are notably up from last year. Alot more people and better atmosphere in the stands 🙂


does that mean Mercedes were 1 – 2 ?


Quite surprised by Fernando getting up to P12 though. I thought Mclarens would be replacing Manor on the time sheets. But it’s only practice. Poor Alo…


Williams had some problems and as the article says, some drivers couldn’t complete their best lap, they will be ok by finishing the race. On the other hand, have you seen the onboards cameras and how unstable the car is?, the chasis doesnt’ seem to be too good either.


LOL, have you seen how many cars crashed out or had car problems infant of him.


It’s still early days and Ferrari are sandbagging big time. LOL.


Really….if only you were right.


I think th entire F1 world (besides the Hamilton club) is hoping that Ferrari are sandbagging. I’ll be on the track all day. The qualifying will be the true indication of what’s coming for the rest of the season. People might say that one race isn’t enough to judge the whole season. But I disagree with those people based on what we have seen over the past 4 years. This race will be more than enough to predict the future.


I think the entire F1 world…

That’s quite a sweeping statement. Do you imagine for instance, that Red Bull are hoping that Ferrari are sandbagging? I bet they are really hoping they’ve got an even harder job to get back on top. I can just imagine Christian Horner saying just that to old Ginger before they nod off last thing at night 🙂


I think RBR does want Ferrari to do well. And the history will tell us that RBR will not be too far behind and maybe surpass them.


You really think Red Bull (or any other team for that matter) hope their competitors are sandbagging and are actually stronger than they appear? Lol – Have you been following F1 for long ?


Amazing work by Mercedes to be dominant after a change where everyone starts from scratch essentially again.

Shame to miss out on easy money by betting Lewis WDC 2017. This years results can’t go any other way than Lewis winning.


Obviously Hamilton is favourite to win the championship, but are there any bets available anywhere for him to win every single race?


Sky bet had 250/1 for Hamilton to win all races up last week but its vanished now along with all the other special bets, I only staked £1, wishing I had staked a lot more now.


Doesn’t sound like great odds to me. I reckon it should be at least 3000-1. If he starts as an already very short 1/2 fav every weekend.. 1.5 ^ 20 should give fair odds of 3324-1. You could just do it yourself by rebetting the whole stake+winnings from each race and plunking it all on the next race, repeat 20 times.. or until he doesn’t win.


Mercedes dominance has been built on the foundation of their engine of which the new regulation changes didn’t touch so today’s results were hardly unexpected or amazing.


Similar to comments on this page regarding Rosberg being underrated, I think that Mercedes chassis is much better than it gets credit for.
Mercedes (engine + chassis) + Hamilton (driver) is IMO the total package. Comparable to 1988 McLaren-Honda-Senna.


If you look at the over-all numbers the Mercedes surpasses those of the McLaren era Honda which is no small feat considering Senna/Prost drove that car to 15 wins out of a possible 16 in 1988.
Many here feel Hamilton doesn’t get the credit he deserves from fans however they themselves don’t take into the consideration the engineering excellence of the Hydrid era Merc he is fortunate enough to drive.
Understandably the RB is often referred to as having the best chassis, particularly at the tracks with high downforce requirements, the Mercedes ability to be strong at all circuits is a testament to the quality of the combination you mentioned.
You need not be a fan to appreciate the engineering excellence that is on display though.


OK, so Its HAM WDC 2017 & Mercedes WCC 2018……season’ s over before it even started. Sorry to say but it’s just gonna be that way. Heck, Nico why did you retire? atleast we would’ve some competition for WDC..


Man, you guys’ prediction strategies work so different from mine!

I’ve correctly predicted the World Champion every year for the last twenty years. Basically, I aggregate data based on the Free Practice times, Qualifying position, choice of tyre, weather conditions and then wait until after the first race. Only after the first race do I make my prediction. I then award each of the driver points based on where they finish.

I then do the exact same thing for each race, adding as I go. By the final race, I’ve already correctly deduced who’ll win, and I’ve never been wrong.

Good luck to all those here who think the Championship’s already won.


@ctrl-alt-del @kbdavies

Guys… it’s called sarcasm.

Here’s what I do do: I watch every race, right up until the point in which it’s mathematically impossible for anyone to overhaul the points leader. Only then do I declare with any confidence who’s likely to be WC.

Here’s what I don’t do: Make wild predictions about who’ll take the Championship, based off FP1 and FP2 results, of the first race of the season, before the lights have even gone out. Discounting weather, punctures, electro-mechanical failures, strategy blunders, pitstop maladies, crashes and stewards decisions before the season’s even begun in earnest displays a level of “confidence” bordering on fervent maniacal hero worship.

Just sayin’.


Please show us your data from last season which predicted Mercedes would give Lewis an engine that would blow up, replace it with a few dud ones, and ultimately cost him the championships by 5 points.

I will be eagerly waiting.


So you are basically saying the Mercedes sabotaged themselves. Ridiculous comment.


If you are saying you predicted the world champion correctly after the first race of the season every year for the last 20 years then I don’t believe you.

If you are saying you did it after the penultimate race, I still have doubts, but that’s clearly much easier.


Well, your wisdom means I can use my weekend for something more useful now. I was kinda positive this morning, looking forward to seeing how the season unfolds. But it seems that I don’t need to now. Thanks😉


AFL is a great sport if you are into it. There are some great matches on this weekend.


They don’t show AFL in Denmark I’m afraid😳


Well, at least we know out gut feeling was right.

Another 25-50 million fans stop watching F1 in 2017.

…unless Mercedes play ball and fumble it somehow come Sunday.


Don’t be ridiculous Sebee! 70 million fans will switch on this year to watch the amazing spectacle that F1 has soley become due to Lewis Hamilton alone, replacing the 70 million that have switched off since said dominance began.
Don’t expect a link to such information though as those 70 million fans will be untraceable as they’ll be streaming the race and thus can’t be validated by any official means!


Sars, do I detect a little dig in there? Anyone streaming a race or watching on any on line platform or on any catch up service do not count towards tv ratings. I wouldn’t know if it is possible to validate those viewers, but currently this is not done.


Unaudited audience cannot be monetized via pay TV or marketing programs.


Agreed. Also you’d be interested to know these cars this year sound exactly the same as last years.


Haha, I just hoped that with new regulations we would see some kind of competition up front. But jeezzz, Mercedes are way too dominant again…& remember Bottas hasn’t even won a race, he’ll be on seventh moon when he does it, but a non race winner like him wouldn’t really challenge Hamilton & it is starting to show already.


Finally some proof that these new regs aren’t a huge change at all and in fact just a tweak to PU formula making it all rather superficial.


Sebee. The new rules were introduced to make the cars faster and more challenging to drive. No mention of closing up the field was ever made in the regulations.


If the goal was to close the field, the would have left V8 formula alone.

The rules were hyped not only on speed, but on the potential of shaking things up. As I noted, these rules don’t have the ability to shake things up, because essentially it is the same 2016 formula, just with some wider tires and aero that gives more speed in turns and more drag in straights.

Mercedes will quit F1 at the top. But before they do, they will gut it of 150 million fans.


Sebee, although having said that Seb has just missed out on pole by 0.265 seconds, when it was over 8 tenths last year, so maybe they have closed the field after all!


Actually they are a YUGE change, ask McLaren.


Better off mowing the lawn James or if you want to really wanna let loose get drunk and talk to a tree!


Ahhh, getting drunk and talking to trees. A favorite pastime of mine. But waking up under said tree, covered in bird s… the next morning got a bit tiresome. Especially in the middle of London😁🤢


Haha fair enough!


Hi James, thanks great commentary from you and Mark. I could have watched the Sky coverage through Australia’s Foxtel but you guys were more interesting!!


Rosberg retired because he knew he wouldn’t be up for the challenge! He knew what was coming from Hamilton! Revenge!


And the source of your predictive post?


So let me get this straight – Nico Rosberg, who won at every level on the way up, then spent 11 years in F1, is a coward? Utter rubbish.

He freely admitted he had to raise his game and that it took a lot out of him, but he achieved his ambition and retired at the top. With such a lovely wife to go home to I don’t blame him for not wanting to carry on risking his life 20 weekends of the year.

Come on you red cars!


I think there is lots of truth in what you say Michael. Still Nico did all he could to keep up and won it all. I’m not saying Nico is better than Lewis, but he was able to give him a run for his money. Lewis is better, bit his focus wasn’t anything like Nico’s.
What Nico did last year, was what movies are made of.


“Lewis is better, but his focus wasn’t anything like Nico’s”

And your proof of this is?


In South Africa we call that a smash and grab…


Gotta love the fact that no matter what the Hamilton fans say, Rosberg will never ever be beaten by Hamilton again. I can smell the fury coming out of Hamilton fans. You can say Hamilton would’ve won all 20 races against Rosberg nad lap him 10 times in a race if you want, it will still be hypothetical and unproven.


@ Formula Z, that will no doubt be like a red rag to the LHLC! The fact is that it is a ‘truism’ and cannot be overturned. It is called ‘the last laugh’ and i for one am enjoying it hahaha


But why would he need to beat him again. He already beat him twice, and for most of his career. That is a fact. Truth, Lewis has beaten Rosberg, far more than Rosberg has beaten Lewis. People behave like Rosberg has been beating Lewis all his life and Lewis needed to get one over him. Sigh….


You just proved my point even more. That point is, “what’s some of the Hamilton fans are going on about?” “What’s up with all the would’ve could’ve nonsense”. It’s like some are angry that Rosberg had left the sport as WDC & it got under their skin. Gotta laugh.


Who cares?

I’m no Hamilton fan, but respect those that are, as being a Hamilton fan makes them an F1 fan too.


Not all. Some are just Hamilton fans, like Senna, Prost and Schumi fans. Some aren’t F1 fans at all.


@Formula Zero

Ooh, yes. Smell the fury.

Somehow, Nico resisting all that Lewis could do in the last race, and managing a clean pass on someone whilst under immense pressure, made me okay with him getting that championship.

Do I think Mercedes engineered it? [mod] yes.

But Nico drove cleanly most of the year, and did what I thought was a great move of doing some karting over the winter to improve his skills, so yep, worthy 2016 WDC for this die-hard Hamilton fan.


I’m glad you are one of the same ones. I think majority of the Hamilton fans are. But there are also a massive number that has respect for the rest of the F1 world.


Well said mate.


I wouldn’t be too sure of that, Bottas today was nearly 6-7tenths down on Hamilton on short or long run, I can’t remember Rosberg being that much slower than Hamilton!!


I think the reason he retired was he knew what was coming from Hamilton this year.Lewis seems to get his head down when he’s had a bad season much like 2011/12.I also hope the other teams can be closer though but I suspect bottas is in for a tough time this season.


Here we go again. All the posturing and theories about Ferrari pace, and it’s all just talk because the truth is nothing has changed. Mercedes will be miles ahead again, and this is at Albert Park. Their advantage will be bigger at more traditional tracks. Is anyone else tired of watching the most boring team in F1 leading everyone for another year?

Eventually I’ll realise there should be a second championship featuring everyone else besides Mercedes, and that would be at least more interesting. On the plus side.. at least I’ll get to see pink cars running around which is unique. Those Toro Rossos look beautiful from the side with light hitting them.


We don’t know true pace yet! If you’re Ferrari, and you know you’re fast, do you show it right away? Q3 will be the time when we’ll know.

Even if the times were representative, let’s remember that Hamilton goes well here (most poles and podiums of anyone), and it’s Bottas’ first race weekend in the Mercedes.

Gotta say the front angle of the Mercedes looks bad on television with that t-wing garbage on it. It just doesn’t belong. The others don’t look great either, but better than the Merc version.


‘If you’re Ferrari, and you know you’re fast, do you show it right away? Q3 will be the time when we’ll know.’

I sincerely hope you are right KRB.


In the majority of seasons in the history of F1, one team dominates. Williams, McLaren, Red Bull & Ferrari have all had their turns. In the old days Lotus and Tyrrell also had a turn. Be thankful that at least Merc let their drivers race one another unlike, for example, Ferrari in the Schumacher era.

Also be thankful that the racing today is MUCH closer than it was in the so called ‘golden era’ days of Williams & McLaren when they were often several laps ahead of the rest.

Having said that, I’ve never ever found F1 boring. There is always something going on somewhere although I can entirely understand that it may seem boring to the casual fan..


Well said – pretty much echoes my own thoughts. I’ve always enjoyed F1, some seasons more than others, but I’ve always enjoyed it.


Totally agree with you last comment (well your first and second too).

Proper F1 geeks never get bored of it.


cheesypoof, I still believe that Ferrari is not showing its true color wait till qualifying…… Ferrari will turn the speed of once they got the sweet spot.


You are correct. Qualy will reveal more.


and who says Merc won’t turn the engine up? The scary thing is, they were probably on lower engine maping…


@ cheesypoof, at least the hype was pulpable during winter testing this year, unlike last year, maybe next year we get the full flavour.
Someone pledged 5 quid if Ferrari wins and I’d like to collect the money now.


the most boring team in F1…

That’s a bit harsh – Ferrari were more boring when they were on top. At least the Merc’s allow their drivers to compete.


I don’t think Schum-Barri difference is same as Hami-Ros difference. The former was easily a pairing of different class of drivers while the latter are easily a fairly comparable pair.


The point I was making is that Ferrari employed a driver who was contractually obliged to give way to the other – even if they had led the race for pretty much the whole way, Ferrari still insisted they move aside and let the #1 through. That same accusation cannot be levelled at Mercedes.


“At least Merc allow their drivers to compete…” yup, by toto’s shoving Valterii in the wolf’s layer. Expect complete and utter demolition


That maybe the case, but still better than Ferrari’s glory years.


C63, even though they allowed the drivers to compete. There were only a handful battles between. Bahrain 2014, Barcelona 2014 and Austria 2017 are the main ones I remember.


…and my how the Mercedes competed with each other?!?

From their 51 wins from the last 59 GPs there was but a handful where they did compete, mainly hitting each other on the rare occasion.

Having both drivers on the same strategy, always pitting the leader first then the teammate the following lap, losing a few seconds of undercut is not really allowing them to compete. Ok, dirty air following was a big problem, be it Ros Ham or Ham Ros but still, sounds like you’ve been taken in by Toto’s spin.

If he was to say:
“we don’t like to control everything, we allow our drivers to compete”

it is about as credible as

“Ferrari are faster than us as proven by testing laptimes”



I’ve not been taken in by anyones spin. I was just pointing out that the two Mercedes drivers are allowed to compete (there has been plenty of evidence which supports that statement). As opposed to Ferrari when they were dominant, and they had a driver that was contractually obliged to give way to the other.


@C63 I meant boring in F1 now. Ferrari were certainly boring, but we always knew they had a defined number 1 driver. Mercedes though, and I’ll say this is all my opinion, are pretenders. Ferrari were dominant but Mercedes have had the most dominant car ever. Mercedes constantly portray the appearance of being exciting, but its all carefully constructed marketing. Compare this with Red Bull, a team I tend to dislike, but at least I know they aren’t boring. They took risks to pair Daniel and Max.

If Mercedes were so determined to allow drivers to compete, why did they give Rosberg that verbal beatdown a couple of years ago after some close driving? After that race his form dipped for months. But to me the real chance was when Nico retired, Mercedes had the chance to line up anyone they wanted to partner Hamilton. They already won everything, they could have given the fans what they wanted and chosen someone else, they could have planned the most exciting team pairing, but they went with the most boring option. For what we say of Ferrari, they did take risks at times, when they paired Alonso and Kimi together that was a pairing with the intention of two top drivers.

Recently Toto came on to say he wants to pair a quiet driver (Bottas) with a volatile driver (Hamilton). If that isn’t a de-facto number one and number two driver in a team, I don’t know what is. Its a carefully constructed guise, manufactured excitement, that is all it is. Yesterday Hamilton declared “Ferrari are the favourites”… I think the only people that can enjoy Mercedes’ messaging are the people linked to them. Everyone else, fans included, will just have to look elsewhere for genuine excitement or truth.

Last year Mercedes outqualified Ferrari by about a second. Hamilton messed up the start (first of many) and Ferrari had jackrabbit starts and took the lead. Later Ferrari messed up strategy (first of many) and Mercedes finished one two. I wonder what the difference will be this year. Like most fans I hope the racing will be closer, but given that Mercedes are supposed to have a higher engine mode for qualifying, I would be stunned if we don’t get a repeat of next year. I hope I’m wrong…regardless though, I’m tired of Mercedes and will be rooting for anyone other than them.


I agree with all that you have written on this topic (quite a bit).
Totally managed ‘championship’.
Too bad.


You can’t criticise Mercedes for building a better package than everyone else. Criticise the rest for not performing well enough.

They couldn’t get a class A driver as they were all under contract elsewhere?

We’ll have to see who’s in the car next year to really judge


Look at what ‘ volatility ‘ has done for Hamilton’s career. He he he.



Sorry, I misunderstood your comment and didn’t realise that you meant now.
As for whether Merc could have had anyone they wanted – how? The other teams weren’t about to release their best drivers. Why would they do anything to help Merc, particularly if it were to disadvantage themselves? It will be interesting to see who they get at the end of this season – assuming they don’t hang on to Bottas. That will be the acid test (imo).


@C63 np. It’s just my opinion they could have handled it better. Granted, it might be the case that Valteri is just a holding driver and they will make a big move next year, but it seems to me that they didn’t take the opportunity seriously enough (based on what Vettel and Alonso said about Merc contact). Here’s how I saw it, Mercedes have the most dominant run probably in F1 history. They spend the most money in F1 except for possibly Red Bull as they have 2 teams. Are Mercedes the most popular team in F1? No. Do they have legendary F1 status? Not yet. Quite suddenly last year they had a unique opportunity in that both Vettel and Alonso were seemingly unhappy. Ferrari had been making noises about Vettel behaviour, and Alonso, well that one was obvious. Mercedes had both with expiring contracts. We’ve seen sports stars switch teams in other sports acrimoniously. Let’s say realistically they had a better chance of getting Alonso since he was in much more dire straits.

In the media, in fan forums, this was the people’s pick. Everyone wanted to see these two in the same team again. Had Mercedes found a way to make it happen, it would immediately elevate them to a legendary status, because the match up would be talked about for years to come. They certainly would be able to shed the dull or methodical image they always seem to want to shed in their marketing and advertising. They’d have had the most talented driver pairing, immediately, also for years to come. They didn’t, and as you say maybe somehow they had no choice, but what do they do instead? Wolff and co go around talking about needing a quiet partner for Lewis who is a volatile character, on multiple occasions. They pour cold water on the idea on numerous occasions, since obviously Vettel or Alonso are both not quiet. Unless this is just gamesmanship for an eventual attempt at taking Vettel or Alonso later, what is the point? He even said recently this is why he could not choose Wehrlein, because Pascal is fiery. It just comes off as boring. How often does the entire F1 world clamour for a team to make a dream pairing like that? Hardly ever.

So to me, that is how I view them, based on their actions. If thats how they think, its perfect for the business world…but this is a sport, and we, are fans. Why should fans have to cheer for strategic business reasons instead of passion? This was why I said, boring. I actually think if the roles were reversed and it was Ferrari with the same opportunity, having won years in a row with no sign of being toppled, Mclaren, or Red Bull, they’d have all taken the plunge. I guess time will tell…


I would imagine they considered all their options very carefully and concluded the pairing they have ended up with was likely to be their best bet. Remember it wasn’t their first choice pairing – one half of that dropped them in the cart at very short notice, so they had to make the best of a bad job.
Imagine the ridicule they would have received if they had somehow secured Alonso and the team had imploded with in-fighting and lost both championships as a consequence. What would people have said then ? Damned if they do and damned if they don’t .


@ cheesy….yes, you are quite right. I used to hold wolff in quite high regard in his earlier years but i have learned to disbelieve 99% of what he says. I might add here for the poster who always questioned my comments re ‘Mercedes personnel’ numbers…wolffie actually increased the numbers today from what i originally researched. He acknowledged that they were ‘almost 1500’ …yes, almost 1500 people dedicated to racing two cars!!! Now if that is not a behemoth i don’t know what is.


Kenneth, I don’t know if you mean me when you say “the poster who always questioned my comments re ‘Mercedes personnel’ numbers”, but if you do, I would remind you that I have never questioned the number of people working at Mercedes is around that figure, they have always been very open about this and have said the same thing on numerous occasions. I have however questioned your repeated assertion that having this many employees gives them an advantage. I have asked you on a number of occasions to provide the staff numbers for Ferrari and Red Bull for comparison, but you have never managed to come up with any.


I cannot agree that Merc has the most dominant car ever. Just look at Schumacher’s numbers at Ferrari!!!


Kimi already was passed his prime when he rejoined Ferrari and he basically was a No2 driver. Alonso will never get that seconds seat if that seat comes available, Alonso [Mod] McLaren-Mercedes causing them a whopping $100 Mil. fine which Mercedes had to pay for, on top that, not all senior members of the Mercedes board want Alonso in their for the reason i mentioned. If Bottas will be replaced then Mercedes should sign Ricciardo IMO, Alonso is the past now, let’s move on.


I always find it funny that Alonso gets blamed for “spy gate”. Was it him who bought intellectual property from a Ferrari employee? I don’t remember it that way. As well, McLaren hired him again have they not? As for Mercedes, I don’t believe that they would hold it against him either. Why should they. If they were in a tight spot regarding drivers and he was available, their doors would be wide open for him. Marc


Alonso did *NOT* cost Mclaren100 mill. McLaren’s spying did. Get your fact right



Get YOUR facts right, although, if you are Spanish, possible that your media reported a different view to the only one that I have seen.

According to the article in The Independent that I read:
McLaren did not spy. A Ferarri employee contacted a McLaren employee with the data, and that data went through the team without Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh knowing.

Ron had Martin ask the team, “Have we got any Ferarri data?”

Everyone, including Alonso, said “No.”

Dennis goes back to Max Mosley and tells him, he checked with his team, and they confirm, no Ferarri data.

Alonso then does to Dennis and tells him, yes, they do have Ferarri data, and if he is not made Number One driver, he will tell the FIA about it.

Rather than be [Mod], Ron Dennis goes to Max Mosley, and that is why a lot of us were amazed to [mod] to see Alonso back at McLaren, and why Mercedes have some pros and cons to weigh up before offering Fernando the second seat.

So what’s the story that you heard?


We will learn that Rosberg was underrated. Maybe it just takes some time for Bottas to catch up, but still.


Rosberg was there at Mercedes for many years when Hamilton joined him — and he lost the championship to a “rookie”. Rosberg often got preferential treatment. I won’t be surprised if Mercedes brings him back in the middle of the season.


We also learned Palmer doesn’t belong in F1. Feel free to leave logical explanation to justify why he should. This must be his last season ever.


Rosberg had years with Mercedes and still sometimes Hamilton was 0.5 sec quicker than him in practice. Give Bottas a chance!!!


Yes, I know. Season opening just makes me lose my mind. Can’t wait till sundayyyyyyy

*breathe, breathe, happy place, happy place…*


you’re not alone!


We might well learn that Rosberg was overrated, but consider also that Rosberg had a two-year headstart on Hamilton as a Merc driver so knew the team, the characteristics of the cars, setup, etc. Hamilton comfortably beat him in their first season together. The gap between them tightened over the next few years, sure, but Hamilton came in and bossed Rosberg, so the early days probably aren’t the best time to judge Bottas relative to Rosberg.


3 yr head start, 2010-12. Both ran the same engine during that time of course (HAM’s 188 races with Merc power the most for any driver with any engine maker).


Well said Kris.



Hamilton and Rosberg’s first season together (2013) was arguably the season where they were most closely matched; my own attempts to correct for bad luck that season has them seperated by just 2 points. It wasn’t until the V6 Hybrids came in 2014 that Hamilton started to look consistently better than Rosberg.


Hamilton and Rosberg weren’t that close in 2013, there’s no (reasonable) way you can have them being that close. As a % of their final points tallies, the gap between them has been incredibly consistent, apart from last year for obvious reasons.


The percentage points has remained similar yes, but there was not equivalent amounts of bad luck for each driver in every season; Rosberg suffered more in 2013/2015, Hamilton more in 2014/2016. The car was also significantly less competitive in 2013 which should exaggerate differences between drivers (or rather a dominant car masks them).
My modified results of their 4 seasons together are:

Rosberg ahead 201-199 in 2013
Hamilton ahead 423-375 in 2014
Hamilton ahead 394-370 in 2015
Hamilton ahead 422-399 in 2016
Hamilton ahead 1438-1345 overall

People forget how close the pair actually were in 2013, perhaps because Rosberg suffered so much bad luck. A lot of it was fairly minor (e.g. KERS failure in Canada qualifying), but he also suffered 3 mechanical DNFs and had his front wing randomly fall off whilst passing Hamilton in Korea.


Your 2013 can’t take into account Silverstone, when Hamilton had a puncture from the lead (and fought back to last from 4th) and Rosberg inherited the win after this and Vettel retired. Like you say Rosberg had reliability gremlins, but so did Hamilton, like a gearbox penalty in Bahrain (most people forget this because he beat Rosberg in the race anyway). Also, although Rosberg retired 3 times, he was behind Hamilton each time, sometimes by quite a way (when Hamilton won Budapest 2013, Rosberg retired from 9th).

2015 is probably unrepresentative as well, as Hamilton clearly backed off once he won the title.

And I don’t know how you can have 2016 as close as 23 points – Hamilton finished 5 points behind, and his Malaysia failure alone cost him a swing of 28 points to Rosberg; you’re basically saying Hamilton wouldn’t have gotten any additional points from his failures in China and Russia and the penalties in Spa.


rosberg was settled in mercedes and hamilton’s introductory year.


Agreed – Rosberg has always been under-rated by most. I have always said that history will remember and rank him very highly just based on his head to head record against two of the all time greats.


I’m more inclined to say bottas is over rated…


The truth is:
Bottas is overrated.
Hamilton is overrated.
Most importantly, Mercedes is underrated.


Schumacher is overrated. Fastest cars,and contractually shackled teammates. That must be why Sir stirling Moss said in 2015 that Hamilton is better than Schumacher.


You need a reality check. Stirling MMoss never said that, and regardless even if he was foolish enough to say so, he’d be a British Mercedes driver talking up another British Mercedes driver. You know what Moss did say? He said Nico and Hamilton are like Moss and Fangio.. because he like Nico was good but not good enough to win against the likes of Hamilton or Fangio. Except Nico then won the title last year… so.. apparently Nico is better than Moss.

Schumacher as much as I [Mod] him was a superior driver to Hamilton in virtually every way. Hamilton still cracks under pressure, he did so last year even after so many years. The true greats are able to take the title challenge to the wire even in a slower car and Hamilton has never ever done that, except for maybe 2010 when an even better driver was taking a slower car much further. Any logical fan would know these weaknesses of Hamilton in comparison.


Schumacher had the mighty Barrichello shackled, because he possed such threat to his tittle ambition despite driving the fastest car,He he he. He was selfish.
He even tried to take a race win off Barrichello and was widely booed by the fans.Anyone can look imperious in the fastest cars with zero competition from teammates. The Pirelli tyres should have been perfect for him when he came back to F1,but all he did was complain that F1 has become too technical, and he was welll beaten by Rosberg. No excuses for Hamilton, no excuses for Schumacher or any other drivers.


Cheesypoof, the truth or your opinion…?


he will get better with time.


Let’s hope so. If not, the Williams team might be wondering how well they’d do with a Lewis, Seb, or Daniel.


Hamilton looked comfortable out the blocks as you would expect. I think Bottas will struggle Sunday. He seemed to overdrive and had the car dancing all over the track and have bad tyre wear. I really hope Seb can challenge Lewis all season.


I saw his car moving too much etc, i hope the best for him come Sunday.


every time there is a change of any kind, Hamilton seem to be light years ahead of the rest of them because he such a fast learner. he adapts to change must faster than the rest of them. bottas will catch up in time and the gap to the rest will shrink as they learn how to deal with the changes.


“…adapting faster…”, so much nonsense, eh, clutch saga?


Not always, he seemed to struggle with the strict tyres pressure change, mid season 2014?..,


what tyre pressures are you talking about? he never struggled. it just didn’t suit his car but he found a way around it didn’t he?


Dear Aveli, Remember 2009


He apparently doesn’t remember anything except the years when Hamilton had the fastest car. News flash.. every year that he won the title, he had the fastest car in the field.


why not watch 2017?