The game has changed: Analysis of the big decisions that shaped the F1 Australian Grand Prix
Insight
Sebastian Vettel
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Mar 2017   |  5:07 pm GMT  |  246 comments

The first Grand Prix to new regulations and with wider, more robust tyres brought about a complete change of approach in race strategy. With stronger tyres Melbourne is a one-stop race and that was the case for most runners this season.

But strategy is still critical to race outcomes; at the front the race victory was decided by a strategy call from Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, who wanted to make an early stop and as he came out behind two cars and not into a gap, he lost the race win to Sebastian Vettel.

Further back, track position proved to be the most valuable thing of all and overtaking proved hard, as Fernando Alonso managed to hold the Force India of Esteban Ocon behind him despite being 27km/h slower on the straights!

2017 Australian Grand Prix

Pre-race expectations

It was clear from practice that the 2017 tyres have very low degradation, so much so that both the supersoft and soft tyres were capable of doing most of the race distance. There was little chance of building a tyre offset to another car, which defined the strategy and racing in recent times.

Whereas last year five or six laps fewer on a tyre would mean enough of a performance advantage to overtake, this is not the case this year and there was nothing teams could do to generate a sufficient offset in performance. To illustrate this, Daniil Kvyat managed to cover 34 laps in the opening stint on ultra soft tyres and was on a similar pace, before his stop, to Felipe Massa ahead who was on new supersofts!

So most of the front-runners planned the same strategy, which was a first stint on Ultra softs and then a second stint on Supersoft.

2017 Australian Grand Prix

Further back, we saw some teams split strategies; Kevin Magnussen and Jolyon Palmer started on Soft tyres, Lance Stroll on Supersofts.

Sauber for example, started one car on soft and the other on supersoft, hoping to have a chance to use one car to hold the field behind it, to allow the sister car to gain positions as rivals pitted earlier than them. This is the kind of strategy one sees at Monaco and which can be very effective in putting two or three rivals behind your lead car.

Another reason to employ an approach like this for teams at the rear of the field is that Melbourne usually has one of the highest attrition rates of the season. As the first race, many cars drop out with reliability issues and there are usually accidents and safety cars. So a smaller team can score points here, as we have seen many times in recent years.

This year just 13 cars reached the chequered flag, but five of the six front running cars finished, as did a Williams and both cars from Toro Rosso and Force India. So there were no points for cars at the back of the grid, like Sauber that tried the “Monaco approach”.

Antonio Giovinazzi

Ferrari vs. Mercedes – What were the differences between them and what turned the race?

Last year Ferrari led 34 of the 57 laps of this race, but failed to win it due to poor choices.

This year they started in second place, but picked up the lead after Mercedes stopped earlier than planned, losing the lead in the process.

This was more a case of Mercedes yielding the win, rather than Ferrari taking it off them, as they could have done last year. But nevertheless they played their hand well and maximised the strengths of their new car, which works well on the new tyres. Unusually Mercedes ran into trouble on the tyres and would have lost the race is all likelihood even if they had stayed out, while Ferrari had similar pace on ultra soft tyres and was also fast on the softs.

Sebastian Vettel

The Mercedes enjoyed its usual advantage on extreme engine modes in qualifying to get the pole. But there were also signs that the Mercedes operated better when there was cloud cover, while the Ferrari was stronger when the sun was out, raising the track temperature. It was only a small difference, but these factors all add up.

Hamilton qualified ahead of Vettel and won the start; with Vettel following in second ahead of Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton tried to shake off Vettel, but the Ferrari persisted in its pursuit throughout the opening stint. The Mercedes was running with slightly less wing angle, so the straight-line speeds were among the fastest, while the Ferrari had slightly more downforce and its top speeds were around the middle of the field.

The Mercedes, in Hamilton’s hands, at least, was sliding more and this took the edge off the tyres. Hamilton radioed that they were overheating at one point and then on Lap 14 he had a small excursion, which cost him a second.

His lap times returned to the mid 1m28s, but he was onto the team asking to be allowed to pit for new tyres.

This is one of those situations where a team has to evaluate whether to heed its driver or just tell him to carry on. Teams further down the grid tend to overrule the driver, but a three times world champion needs to be listened to.

Lewis Hamilton

On this occasion it was the wrong thing to do.

Mercedes was trying to build a 22-second gap to Raikkonen in fourth place, who was racing with Max Verstappen. The second Ferrari was not on the pace of the lead car, but neither was it dropping off at a sufficient rate to open a gap for Hamilton to drop into.

By Lap 16, the lap before he stopped, it was just 16.2 seconds. Hamilton needed another six or seven laps to clear Raikkonen in a pit stop. But he came in at the end of Lap 17 and dropped back out behind both Raikkonen and Verstappen. He was put onto the soft rubber, rather than the supersoft, because there were still 40 laps to go to the end.

Sebastian Vettel

This was a gift to Ferrari, for whom Vettel now needed just to open the gap over Hamilton to 22 seconds to be able to pit and take the lead.

Hamilton’s pace on the soft tyres was strong but he soon caught Verstappen and lost time behind him, handing the opening to Vettel to pit at the end of Lap 22. Ferrari covered Mercedes with the soft tyres, despite being only 35 laps from the flag.

The only risk there was that if Hamilton were to do a Plan B strategy and switch onto supersoft or ultrasoft tyres later on and then get lucky with a Safety Car deployment, this would leave Vettel vulnerable to attack in the closing stages.

But Ferrari knew that Vettel’s pace on soft tyres was strong and that overtaking would be hard even with a tyre offset, so the risk was therefore manageable.

Sebastian Vettel

The only problem was that, despite having a safe gap to pit, Vettel had a slow in-lap, due to coming up behind Lance Stroll. He lost almost a second, so when he emerged from the pits he was only just ahead of the Verstappen and Hamilton battle. It took a few corners to warm up the tyres, but he managed to hold on.

Mercedes toyed with the idea of the Plan B, but as the laps went by they didn’t see enough of a performance advantage in the other tyres to make the plan work.

Also it would have required Bottas to move over and let Hamilton through, which would have been an unfortunate gesture to be asked to make on his Mercedes debut.

Alonso performs miracles ahead of Ocon, Hulkenberg

Few commentators, or McLaren team members, would have given you odds on Fernando Alonso sitting in 10th place with ten laps to go of the Australian Grand Prix after the problems the team has had with Honda.

Fernando Alonso

Alonso’s car was 27km/h slower on the straights than Ocon’s Force India and yet he managed to keep it behind from the start to Lap 52. Nico Hulkenberg started ahead of both men, but fell behind them at the start and had a very frustrating afternoon as a result.

Ocon tried the undercut on Lap 15, pitting for new soft tyres, but the slower warm-up of the softs meant that when McLaren reacted with Alonso and brought him in a lap later – putting him onto supersofts for faster warm-up – the Spaniard was able to hold onto his position. Sadly he had to retire on lap 50.

Sergio Perez tried an undercut on Carlos Sainz and although that didn’t pick up the position in the pit stops, he got by after Sainz came out of the pits and was struggling with the tyre warm up.

Sergio Perez

The UBS Race Strategy Report is prepared by JA on F1, with input and data from several F1 teams and from Pirelli.

Race History and Tyre Usage Charts – Kindly provided by Williams Martini Racing – click to enlarge

The Race History chart shows the gaps between the cars and the relative pace of the cars. The more upward the slope the greater the pace. The zero line is an imaginary car setting the winners average lap time every lap.

Look at the massive gap between the fifth placed Verstappen and the sixth placed Massa. This is set to be a feature the season and makes life very easy strategically for the top three teams as they will have a gap to pit into after as few as 12 laps of a race this year. It makes life very hard for midfield teams to get a podium or a strong result with little to do on tyre strategy.

Look at the end of Vettel’s first stint on ultra softs – his pace is still very strong and he pits because he has the gap he needs over Hamilton. The tyre degradation which shaped the strategy and the racing is a thing of the past.

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1

It was very heartening to see that Mercedes had no answer to Ferrari once Seb was in front of Lewis. Very good news indeed.

2

Hi James,
I like the race history chart, but I’m not sure I understand it fully. If “The zero line is an imaginary car setting the winners average lap time every lap.”, therefore Vettel’s actual lap chart should straddle across the zero line. Most lap times will be slightly faster than the zero line (negative values), and the pit stop lap would be significantly slower than the average lap time (positive value). Hamilton’s lap chart would be following Vettel’s closely with the exception of the respective pit stop laps, and Hamilton average gap to Vettel calculated over the whole gp should be his gap to Vettel on the finishing line. But looking at the graph, this is not the case. What am I missing? Is it possible to download the raw data which generates the chart?
In closing, thank you for the always interesting analysis.

3

Thank you for the analysis, James.
Besides the points you already touched, I was pleasantly surprised by Kvyat, I think he had a chance finishing the race in 7th place, he had some technical issues if I’m not mistaken.
I am hopeful he will prove why Toro Rosso kept him, and show a similar skill to his first year in F1, I think he needs it.

4

James, wondering if an option would have been to leave Ham out to slow down Vet and pit Bott as a forcing move on Ferrari? interesting to ponder at least. Really surprising that Vowels agreed to Ham pitting early, would Vet ever have got past otherwise? From my perspective Ham is naturally an aggressive driver and is maybe stressing these new tires hence the deg; will be an interesting year..

5
Ricciardo Aficionado

I don’t really understand the Y axis on the graph but still it tells me two things.
1: Hamilton was still increasing the gap over Kimi and Max when he came in.
2: Max slowed considerably during Seb’s pitstop.

The fix is in.
Merc knew the gap was increasing but they still brought Ham in. Shades of Monaco. Ham asking, Merc stupidly obliging. Combined with Toto’s awful double fist (one for dramatic emphasis) pump, bad acting and Hamilton being all smiles after the event, a conspiracy is not hard to fathom.
As for Max? One of those RedBull drivers is off to Ferrari next year. Horner is seemingly putting in some goodwill groundwork for those negotiations.

6

You saying that Merc transport all that equipment and people to the other side of the world, work massive long shifts to prepare the cars, invest €100millions into the programme and then deliberately lose the first race?

Must be fun living in your world!

And by the way, Merc still won Monaco that time, as Rosberg inherited the win..

7

First of all, considering the declining ROI that Merc would have to deal with, if the trend of drop-off of viewership continued from last year, winning might not meet their target ROI, and their entire investment would not work out.
So, I believe it is simply not sound reasoning to simply dismiss the possibility that Merc might, ‘let a race or two go’ to stoke/supplant viewership detachment.
It is more believable, especially, if they have so many well-tested upgrades already ready, at any time, to be deployed on their car, with a low risk yet, of NOT winning the championship; as has been the trend in the past two seasons.
So please, this is not that straight-forward, to dismiss a plausible hard-nosed, business-driven decision for the overall financial health of the project.

For me, this scenario competes with my latest theory that Ferrari utilized their high-probability superior tire management capability to position Kimi at a specific range behind Lewis, so as to ensure that his race would be compromised, returning behind him, and also backing up Verstappen, with little risk of on-track passing by Verstappen, to establish a window for Vettel to slot ahead of.

But it could have been a bit of both.

In summary, “Must be fun living in your world!” could be conceived of, as being inappropriately dismissive, under the circumstances, n’est-ce pas?

I send in the best of good will, noting, as I have favourably supported this ‘world-leading’ site, in exposition, many a time; and one of the reasons is the high standard of… respect.

Thanks again James, for the great chuckles.

8
Ricciardo Aficionado

You’re saying they do all that just to win a car race?

9

Just wondering about what was possible if Lewis had stayed out and pitted on Lap 21 (before coming up to Stroll). If Lewis could have stayed ahead of Sebastian until Lap 21, then, I am guessing that due to the threat of lapping Stroll, Sebastian would have to pit on the same lap as Lewis and then it would be a Race between the Pit crew.

Another possibility was that Lewis could have backed up Sebastian into Bottas. That would have been exciting since then Bottas could undercut and Lewis could overcut. Unless, Raikonnen joined the party, this would have posed a difficult challenge for Ferrari isn’t it?

10

Re: your last paragraph, for sure it would’ve … which is why Mercedes need Bottas to be better in his first stint, than he was in Melbourne.

11

Great analysis James.

12

The bit about the downforce configuration is interesting, James. This would seem to indicate to me that Mercedes simply got the setup wrong, at least on Lewis’ car. There are some straights with some decent length, of course, but there are a few medium to high speed corners, and one would think you would want a bit more downforce for a race to keep the car stable and prevent the kind of sliding that can abuse tires. I don’t think the would have lost much in quali by doing this, and it would have perhaps saved them some tire life and while not putting them under too much threat for an overtake given how difficult it is at Albert Park to do so.

My general sense from testing to now, based on comments that have been made by teams and such over the time span, is that Mercedes and Ferrari seem to be pretty even with Merc perhaps ahead on single lap pace, but Mercedes is having difficulties with car setup. This seems to have been their struggle during testing, whereas Ferrari seem to have hit on something already. I would not count Mercedes out as having the strongest package for the duration of the season just yet, but Ferrari has definitely shown they are up for a challenge.

China will be very interesting. Mercedes has rather owned this track since 2012, and this is also one of Lewis’ very best circuits. If Ferrari really takes it to them there and wins, then I think it is safe to say that they are ahead, as the circuit is theoretically and historically very friendly to their car.

13

“Fernando Alonso managed to hold the Force India of Esteban Ocon behind him despite being 27km/h slower on the straights!”
This is misleading because it is related to how FA chose to set-up his car and ended in topspeed of 290.8 km/hr. Meanwhile, Stoffel Vandoorne managed 306.9 km/hr which is 7.7 less than Vettel.

14

This thinking raises the obvious question, why is F1 obsessed with strategy? Back in the bad old days, before tyre changing and refueling, races were won by the fastest and most reliable car and driver. Is it too much to expect that F1 would benefit from a return to a straight, start to finish race? If F1 teams need to cut costs, they’d save a fortune dumping the dozens of nerds, most of whom are sat in front of computers back at the factories.

Take McHonda for example, they started this strategy arms war, with their bunker at Woking. Given the state of their cars, I should imagine their nerds are playing games during most races at the moment. Not that they’re known for great, race winning strategy calls over the years. They’ve probably lost more than they’ve won since they were set up.

There is no reason why Pirelli can’t make tyres that will last 300 miles. Failing that, only allow tyre swaps in the last 10 laps. That should put the cat amongst the also-rans.

15

Hamilton is the more sure footed in wheel to wheel action, Vettel can lock out races very effectively once he gets control at the front and is better at matching the pace to the tyres thus avoiding situations such as Hamilton experienced yesterday where he was questioning the tyres and made a decision to act, perhaps prematurely.

https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2017/03/fresh-approach-for-lewis-hamilton-as-ferrari-throws-down-the-challenge/

This is going to be a great season for Hamilton and Vettel fans, and F1 fans, even if there is not a lot of overtaking. Simply because Hamilton is driving Vettel’s car and Vettel is driving Hamilton’s car. If even for the next few races we see Hamilton on pole with Vettel giving close ( and the Ferrari followed reasonably well) chase, we are in for a good cat and mouse game.

Whosoever adapts better will be a deserving champion and will have bragging rights between these two..

Round 1 of 20 : Vettel

16

I enjoyed the race, not a classic but interesting. As mentioned in the previous article if Pirelli brought some tyres that had compounds as soft as the name implies, there would be more strategic options for the teams, but the Ferrari’s gentleness on the rubber will always give them the upper hand in these battles. I’m hoping for a close championship with the balance of power shifting down to track characterisitics, a bit like 2008. The race may not have been that great, but there were some priceless quotes dropped in the surrounding analysis, my favourites are as folows.
Jolyon Palmer, “The brakes were terrible, the balance was horrible and the traction was terrible”
Fernando Alonso, “We should be last”
And this little nugget between Martin Brundle and Pat Symonds,
MB “He (Stroll) needs a driver coach”
PS “He has one”
MB “He needs a different one then”

17

That’s a funny one from MB. My all-time favourite banter from the post-race show has to be from Russia last year. It was either China or Russia, and it could’ve been post-qualifying. Anyways, it was Simon Lazenby, Johnny Herbert, and Ted Kravitz, talking about Hamilton’s continued run of bad luck at the time.

TK: “I mean, how many kicks to the you-know-what’s can you take, and still keep your chin up?”
SL: “Should we find out now?”
(much laughter ensues)

18

KRB, Ha ha, Hamilton bashing just got real!

19

If fans want GP3 style close racing in F1 then maybe the powers that be need to look at that series – very simple wing suspension design or bite the bullett and adopt aero wheel covers like Formula E and Indy Car…

20
The Grape Unwashed

“This was more a case of Mercedes yielding the win, rather than Ferrari taking it off them”

Hi James, sorry I can’t agree with this analysis. Below are my quibbles!

“The Mercedes, in Hamilton’s hands, at least, was sliding more and this took the edge off the tyres.”

At that point in the race Hamilton was trying to break free of Vettel. With hindsight it’s easy to say he should have sat back and attempted to keep Vettel bottled up behind him, but no-one knew that at the time: not Hamilton, not Mercedes, not even the C4 commentators (who mentioned the disparity between the top two and their teammates). The point is, the Ferrari proved the faster car on Sunday; had Mercedes known that beforehand they could have devised a defensive strategy, but how could they have known?

“This is one of those situations where a team has to evaluate whether to heed its driver or just tell him to carry on. Teams further down the grid tend to overrule the driver, but a three times world champion needs to be listened to. On this occasion it was the wrong thing to do.”

Two points: (1) Hamilton pitted only one lap early, so that hardly changed the outcome; (2) the team should have known he would have come out behind Verstappen. On the second point, the driver cannot see the whole picture, if the team allows him to determine strategy (quite rightly, in my opinion), they need to apprise him of the situation, otherwise he can’t make an informed decision. Now, Mercedes didn’t know when Verstappen would pit, but they ought to have told Hamilton that he’d come out behind Verstappen and would be stuck behind Max until either he overtook him or Max pitted.

“Mercedes was trying to build a 22-second gap to Raikkonen in fourth place, who was racing with Max Verstappen. The second Ferrari was not on the pace of the lead car, but neither was it dropping off at a sufficient rate to open a gap for Hamilton to drop into. By Lap 16, the lap before he stopped, it was just 16.2 seconds. Hamilton needed another six or seven laps to clear Raikkonen in a pit stop.”

Here’s the nub, you’re basically saying that Hamilton needed to wait until the other top 3 or 4 cars had pitted in order for the win to be on, but the Ferraris weren’t eating their tyres at the same rate, so the longer Hamilton stayed out, the more the gap to Raikkonen would reduce. And this is the clincher, because it would have allowed the Ferraris to stay out after the others pitted, using Raikkonen as a blocker to allow Vettel to build a pitstop sized lead – a favour which Vettel would be able to return to give Ferrari the possibility of a 1-2.

In my opinion Mercedes simply didn’t have the pace to win, whichever route they took.

21

It would seem that Mercedes have gone back to their tyre shredding days. Ferrari have mostly been light on their tyres. Hopefully this should provide a cat and mouse scenario over the season. Mercedes should be looking at reducing their tyre wear otherwise I think Ferrari will keep on just beating them like this. It would be interesting to do a direct comparison of tyres used on both Mercedes cars and see how they fared and ended up when taken off the cars. Bottas was renowned for his sensitivity to tyre wear whilst lapping in the Williams’…

22

Thanks for the analysis James.

Although a 3 time world champion cannot be ignored surely they should make it clear – “if you pit now VET will be ahead of you as he will stay out an overcut”. Then he can make an informed choice.

I think merc have become so accustomed to inter team battles only they are a little rusty in terms of clear communication.

23

They will have said that of course. Maybe he thought he’d be able to pass Max. But with Kimi there Ferrari could sacrifice his race to help Vettel, so Hamilton was always going to struggle.

This is not a move Mercedes would ever have made in the past, but here they were in trouble on tyres

24

James I think the Kimi factor is what a lot of people are missing out here, as people think he only had to pass Max forgetting Kimi upfront!

25
The Grape Unwashed

James, I thought Hamilton sounded surprised when Bonno told him he had to overtake Verstappen to make the strategy work. It didn’t sound to me like he’d been properly informed about the implications of pitting early.

26

I don’t agree that Mercedes yielded the win rather than Ferrari taking if off them as the Ferrari was able to push the Mercedes & could stick with it as Vettel was managing the gap & not allowing it to blow out. Hamilton stated that he only came in 1 lap earlier than their plan as his tyres were gone. If he would’ve stayed out he still would’ve lost as was stated above.

I see it that Ferrari took the win as they had the quicker car that was gentler on its tyres plus can follow another car in the dirty air better than what the Mercedes can. Ferrari pressured Mercedes into pitting earlier as they had the faster & better car. They deserve the credit for winning the race.

27

Great article, what I’m missing though is why Mercedes didn’t put BOT on supersofts but on softs. He seemed to pick up some pace at the end (he was faster than the struggling Hamilton) and it may have been enough to put pressure on VET.

28

Because if they did that, he’d be attacking Hamilton

Look back over the last few years, they do not like giving one car an advantage over another. They will sometimes give both a different middle tyre to try something at the end, but never stack the odds for one car, which is what your suggestion would have done for Bottas.

29

And that… is why.. they are the most … exciting… team on earth.

30

So if every Grand Prix in 2017 will be one pit stop… that means Merc won’t give one driver an advantage over another? So effectively they won’t be racing each other.

31

So james, what you are saying is that bottas was hobbled and mercedes weren’t going to race for a win. If they are free to race why didn’t they give bottas a chance after all hamilton was a dead loss where he was. If the opposite had been the case what would they have done? Are you saying that hamilton would’ve been denied the opportunity for a race win? What is wrong with mercedes saying to hamilton that Bottas is faster than you hahaha. As if…

32

First line = *groan*

33

Kenneth, talk about putting words in people’s mouths! James said that Mercedes don’t like giving one car an advantage over the other, so neither driver is hobbled.

34

Plus, I believe Lewis realized the race was lost when Vettel came out in front of him and Verstappen, so from that point he was driving for 2nd.
Bottas would never have been able to cleanly pass Lewis without risking an episode (which Mercedes would be stupid to allow at the first race of the season).

35

Bottas wasn’t fast enough to consider that – look at the race history for the first stint and the start of the second.

36

Except for Austria’16, bcs different tires for both cars made Lewis in P2 overtake Nico in P1.
“it was better for you” was what Mercedes told Nico.

37

Hmm, after Mercedes had done all they could to help P6 Rosberg jump P1 Hamilton in that race! Talk about unequal strategies!!

At the end, who was on the faster tire? It was Rosberg with the SS, Hamilton on the Softs. It was down to which new tires they had left in that case. Of course you know that, but are just being deliberately obtuse.

Still don’t know how Rosberg wasn’t given a drive-through penalty, or even DSQ’d, for what he did last year in Austria. It definitely was Schumacher-esque. A 10 second penalty was nothing for deliberately spearing into your only title challenger.

38

Great call Lewis. That’s why you aren’t a 4,5 or 6 time champion by now.

Snap-chat weekend, (whispered)

39

You know who, go on then i will bite, you think Lewis could have won another three titles? What years?

40

I’ll bite on your bite.

2007 (If not for the idiocy in China)
2010 (If not for some quite erratic driving from Monza onward that cost him points, and right after he took the championship lead)
2012 (Mechanical failures and goof-ups all over the place)
2016 (Malaysia)

So yeah, the argument could be made that he could be a seven-time champion by now. Just like the argument can be made that Kimi should perhaps be a three-time champion (two misses in 03 and 05 not really of his doing). It’s completely hypothetical, but it would have been possible nonetheless under a different turn of events. For anyone who remembers thoe seasons, Lewis clearly had championship form in those years.

41

Paige, I think the strangely unresponsive “you know who” was trying to suggest that Lewis made a bad pit strategy call in Melbourne, and he could have been a seven time WDC if he hadn’t done that so often in the past.

42

Are we already in the position of believing China and likely Bahrain are already must win races for Mercedes? Also, will Bottas need to pick up his qualifying pace to help protect the Mercedes from Ferrari?

43
Clarks4WheelDrift

Trouble with that is, despite distance gained the even number grid slots can have dirty side of the track issues, though it varies from track to track.

44

“Unusually Mercedes ran into trouble on the tyres “

Or a return to when they always ran into trouble on the tyres?

45

Exactly. They were like this is early 2010s. Qualify very high and fade very fast in the race due to tire-wear.

46

Qualify high but go backwards was 2013. Their tire wear was likely at its worst in 2012 though.

47

James,
Do you think Lewis would have won this race if Nico was his team mate? He would have never dropped nine seconds behind Vettel and hence Seb would have had the threat of losing P2 if Max had boxed earlier. While Bottas finished right behind Lewis the reason I think is more due to Lewis settling for P2.

48

No I think Vettel was in good shape

49
Tornillo Amarillo

Vettel was strong behind Hamilton, but he couldn’t overtake… even he didn’t try.
So the first pitstop was Hamilton’s error and Vettel overcut.
If Hamilton had waited for 3 or 4 more laps, undercut/overcut had not worked for Vettel, I just guess.
So Hamilton error means he lost 7 points that could be necessary at the end of the year for being crowned Champion (he lost from Rosberg for 5 points only).
At this level you cannot make this kind of mistakes.

50

Mistake would have been arriving Sunday morning to the wrong circuit. As you don`t now how other solutions would have worked it is impossible to assess the situation and compare it.

PS! Rosberg thought that best quality time with his family is to watch F1…? Even my reporters from my channel made a joke about Rosberg calling his wife from kitchen to make a photo. Very sad champion.

51

Great analysis James. Regardless of the ifs and buts, congratulations are due to the boys from Maranello. As Ross Brawn once said: “There are some very very clever people at Maranello.” And now without the interference of ‘superstars’ like Fry, Tombazis or Allison, they have done a superb job. Keep it up Ferrari.

52

I still have no confidence on Ferrari strategy team just because they were good in the last race. They have ruined many races before in last few years, so it takes many more races to get their reputation back.

53

“but a three times world champion needs to be listened to”
Listen okay, obey? Uhm no. If the driver trusts the engineer, then he’ll listen to his engineer. Just explain it, we need to gap Kimi and Max, or they’ll back you up and let Seb by.

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