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Will Lewis Hamilton bounce back stronger in F1 2017 after a “year of growth” ?
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Lewis Hamilton
Posted By: Editor   |  14 Mar 2017   |  7:27 pm GMT  |  372 comments

Lewis Hamilton reckons his 2016 Formula 1 season was “a year of growth” after losing out in the world championship fight with his former teammate Nico Rosberg.

The British driver, who is entering his 11th year in F1, lost out to Rosberg by just five points following a tense season finale in Abu Dhabi. Rosberg retired from F1 just five days later, depriving Hamilton of the chance to get even and regain his title from his long time rival.

In an interview with the latest edition of F1 Racing magazine, Hamilton critically appraised his season and singled out his starts as an area that cost him dearly in his fight with Rosberg, which was also hampered by reliability issues at key moments throughout the year.

Lewis Hamilton

He said: “It wasn’t a spectacular year to be honest, which is kind of crazy when you see that I had so many wins. It was still a successful year for the team in that we won the constructors’ championship again, but 2016 was not the greatest year for me with the drivers’ championship and my starts. But it has been a year of growth. I’m still fighting; still pushing.”

It is interesting that he highlights his race starts, which certainly cost him points last season; but also as the starts are even more in the hands of the driver this season, with changes to the rules on torque control, which must be 100% controlled by the driver, with no presets on the steering wheel.

Despite losing the 2016 title to Rosberg, Hamilton vowed to “bounce back” as he described the workload that drivers need to put in to be successful in modern F1.

He said: “It was a very trying year and one of the most challenging years for me on a personal level with things weighing heavy on my heart. I think people take for granted that we’re wealthy and successful and make lots of money and that it’s easy, but they don’t realise how hard we work.

Lewis Hamilton

“It doesn’t matter how much money you make; it doesn’t mean that you don’t work hard. Our engineers work incredibly hard and the weekends are the most intense – 20 incredible weekends. Formula 1 is just so technical right now that you need to be on it, on it, on it, on it, on it – mentally and physically.

“So yeah, 2016 was up and down, but I’m glad I’m strong enough to bounce back from lots of different scenarios and I take those strengths and those positives from race to race. I genuinely leave the negatives behind and just take the positives.”

The 2016 season was a negative chapter in Hamilton’s ultra-successful history. He did score 12 poles and 10 wins (to Rosberg’s eight and nine), but he lost out to a team-mate for the only the second time in his F1 career over the course of the season – something that will have hurt given his competitive nature. Rosberg’s retirement also robbed him of the chance to win back the world title in a new car and new season.

Lewis Hamilton

So what can we expect from Hamilton in 2017? He has already spoken openly about Ferrari being favourites heading to Australia after winter testing, but many observers still expect Mercedes to be the team to beat when the engine modes are turned up to the maximum for qualifying in Melbourne.

If Mercedes has maintained its place at the head of the F1 grid – and our analysis of Ferrari’s long run pace shows, this may not be case – then the 32-year-old will surely start the season as the favourite to win his fourth world championship.

But, should he achieve that goal, will he continue along the lines of Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher, or will he follow Rosberg into retirement? Mercedes’ management, who have only handed new signing Valtteri Bottas a one-year deal and know that the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Alonso are coming to the end of their current contracts this season, will be anxious to know the answer, not wishing for a repeat of the shock of Rosberg’s sudden retirement in December.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton’s comments suggest he is willing to make the commitments necessary to win back the world title this year. His speed is showing no signs of waning; he clearly outpaced Bottas in testing. And if he can get on top of his start issues and Mercedes doesn’t have the reliability problems it suffered last year, then surely it will be up his rivals to answer the bigger question of how to stop him in 2017.


How do you think Lewis Hamilton will fare in 2017? Do you expect him to win back the F1 world title or not? 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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372 comments

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1

I think he will take the title and retire. He has so many passions outside of F1 and his relationship might te tense after 2016

2

F1 cannot afford Lewis to retire post 2017.

F1 needs Lewis till 2022, and he will be here till then.

3

F1 will be doomed without Lewis no doubt,totally irreplaceble

4

I'd be surprised if he did, to be honest. A triple world champion finding himself still in the fastest team at the age of 31 has got to go for Schumacher's record, surely?

5

***sorry, wanted to say his relationship with Mercedes management

6

Relationship? With who?

7

You wrote "think' when you meant "hope". I suppose we're going to continue hearing this nonsense for this whole season, plus 5 days.

Lewis Hamilton has already given a good indication of his intented retirement and it isn't this year or next. You can carry on wishing for a while yet.

8

I say I think I say it may not be up to him. Ferrari seems to have the best chassis and maybe Vettel will be chasing records now???

9

Reading my thoughts, Mr. Oracle?

10

Interesting thing is that Hamilton HAS to be much better than Bottas.
Would Ham not stand way ahead of Bottas, his titles in 2014 and 2015 would be viewed as only a result of the Mercedes being way above the rest of the field...

11
Jean-Christophe

The most successful teams in every sport attract the best players. You won't see Leo Messi, Christiano Ronaldo play for Leyton. They will go for the best teams and they won't win anything if their teammates aren't good enough. Only in formula one do you find so many people saying that driver X wouldn't have won if his car hadn't been that good. What is not said is that if driver X wasn't good enough he wouldn't be driving the best car. The best teams always go for the best players/drivers available.

12

@oim
What a load of tosh! It's a given fact that the Merc had been the better car the last 3 years. Everyone has seen that. But someone has to drive them don't they?

13

just like everyone knowing that Hamilton led and inspired his design team of engineers to come up with all those successful cars. before hamilton everyone knows that their cars weren't as successful.

14

He may finish out his F1 stint solely driving a Merc donk, but his team switch when he did was definitely a shrewd move.

15

doesn't matter what he drives in the future, what i know is i have never seen anyone drive an f1 car as well as he does it.

16

Ferrari? Hamilton and Vettel there? What do you think?

17

@James:
Have you at least tried to understand my initial post ?
I was not claiming HAM did not deserve his titles !

18

I wonder when this rubbish will be binned once and for all. I dare anyone to name a driver's champion in F1 history who did win his title driving a bath tub on wheels. It's always those with the best car who win it. Even the most revered of them all, the great Schummacher, won his title driving the best car on the grid. Your attempts to undermine Hamilton's achievements are not fair.

19

Keke Rosberg in 1982. The Williams that year even resembled a bath tub and was no better than the fifth best car in the field.

20

1982 is likely the most abnormal year in F1 history. The Ferrari was the best car, but neither race driver at season start saw out the season. Gilles was killed, and Pironi was critically injured. If you combine Pironi's results up to France, and Gille's replacement Tambay's results from Germany, then you'd have 57 pts (to Keke's 44).

As for 5th best car, Wiliams finished 4th in the WCC, far clear of 5th place (58 pts to 30 for Lotus). Plus they were only 4 pts behind Renault, despite Renault running in all 16 races, while Williams skipped San Marino because of the FOCA boycott. The Renault was quicker, but less reliable (15 finishes from 32 starts for Renault, versus 20 finishes from 30 starts - 21 if you include Keke's DSQ in BRA), so I'd put the 1982 Williams at equal 3rd best car at worst.

Keke would not have won in 1982 without extraordinary misfortune striking his competitors. I wouldn't cite it as an example of a driver beating a better car, seeing as prior to Germany (where Pironi suffered his critical injury in practice) Pironi was leading Rosberg 39-23 in the standings.

21

Kimi in 2007. The Macca was a better car imo. Even if you don't agree, the Ferrari would certainly not qualify as the clearly best car of the 07 season.

22

Another opportunity for me to roll out some of my favourite links.

F1Metrics has the 2007 Ferrari as the 16th best car of all time (before the W07, so make it 17th).

https://f1metrics.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/the-most-dominant-teams-in-f1-history/

Ultimately, McLaren narrowly lost both titles, although the closeness of the fight was a huge credit to the quality of their drivers — arguably the two greatest drivers of their generation.

http://www.statsf1.com/en/2007/stats.aspx

McLaren dominated at MCO, USA, ITA; Ferrari dominated at AUS, FRA, TUR, BEL, BRA.

If you're looking for drivers to beat genuinely faster cars over a season, the two standout examples are Prost in 1986, and Hamilton in 2008. Laps led percentage for those years are:

1986 - Williams 54.9%, McLaren 24.1%
2008 - Ferrari 48.4%, McLaren 29.1%

23

Tight twisty circuits or point and squirt circuits like Monaco, Hungary and Montreal the McLaren was better.

Fast flowing circuits like Silverstone and Spa the Ferrari was quicker.

The pendulum swung back and forth throughout that season. Kimi actually had the worst reliability out of all 4 contenders and won the most races.

24

I think subsequent events showed that both Hamilton and Along are better drivers than Massa and Kimi.

There is no doubt in my mind that Ferrari was the best in 07 and 08

25

For out and out pace the Ferrari probably was slightly quicker especially on the flowing circuits but the McLaren's ace card was that it kept temperature in it's tyres much better than the Ferrari in cooler/damp conditions which helped Lewis in races such as Silverstone and Spa '08.

26

helped Lewis in races such as Silverstone and Spa '08....

Oh c'mon Nick - that's a pretty harsh assessment, surely Lewis deserves the major credit for those, especially Silverstone. He finished more than a minute in front of second place and a whole lap up on the sister McLaren. It can't have been just the car or Kovalainen would have been better placed.

27

C63, no doubt Lewis is mega in the wet. True about Kova as well although that's still a bit of a question mark given how quickly he fell off the grid (i.e. he really wasn't a top tier driver)

But the McLaren did look less of a handful in the wet especially in 2008 and bearing in mind Kimi wasn't a bad wet weather driver at all in his McLaren days, he won races.

28

I can see that your memory is clouded by whatever makes you undermine one's achievements. By the way, only the best get to drive the best cars. You will disagree I know.

29

It is silly. It's like dissing Messi, and wondering if he could win the Champions League playing for Leicester City. The best teams want the best drivers, just as the best football teams will attract the best players. The worst thing for any team would be knowing that they had the faster car, but were let down by having an inferior driver behind the wheel. One F1 big boss busted up his television over it once. 😉

30

One F1 big boss busted up his television over it once....

Who was the driver/boss ?

31

Driver was Massa, boss was Luca di Montezemelo. Google it, and enjoy. 😃

32

umm, what about Bottas?

33

I assume you are referring to Bottas finding himself in a Merc. You sometimes get these sort of anomalies. It's fairly clear that wasn't Merc's first choice - Rosberg well and truly dropped them in it, and all the best drivers were unavailable by the time Merc knew they'd need a replacement. Completely different circumstances to their singing of Hamilton. But you knew that and didn't need me to explain it.

34

Absolutely correct.
It has also always been true that the team with the best car gets to pick and choose the best drivers as well.

35

Well said mate. And getting paid so much is really insane. There are other disciplines in sport or life people work really hard and get get almost nothing.

36

No one held a gun to Mercedes head, for Hamilton's contract. They had the best car in 2014, and 2015 when they concluded negotiations on the new contract. So Merc were in a very powerful position, but still they paid Hamilton big.

You're worth what anyone is willing to pay you.

37

And what is your point exactly.

38

What rubbish, senna, prost,vettel,schumacher, take any world champ, especially multiple world champs, the thing they all have in comman in probably 90% of cases is that they were in the best/ dominant car of the day, does that diminish there status, of course not,but with some on this site,the same standards never apply to hamilton for some reason.

39

"does that diminish there status" - Yes! Of course it does. F1 is too much about the car, given that all most people care about is the drivers. And yes I know it's always been that way. Doesn't mean it shouldn't change.

40

Being in the right car at the right time. It's the most powerful tool in a driver's arsenal, if we're being honest.

41

@Fursty:
First of all, please calm down, read my message a second time, and don't get agressive:
I have never written HAM did not deserve his titles. I'm actually quite a fan of Hamilton (the driver, not the fashionista), and clearly rate him as the best driver when he is 100% focused on F1. He is clearly a Hall of Fame driver we will remember for ever.
Second: I agree Senna/Prost/Schum/Vettel won with dominant cars. I have never said they won their titles in sluggish cars.
All world champions have driven among the greatest cars (good cars attract good drivers).

I simply say that in 2017, Hamilton would lose twice IF (and I insist on the IF) Bottas is as fast as him:
He would first lose some credit (as anybody who would finish behind his team-mate).
And second, for sure some people would then say his titles in 2014 and 15 have been won thanks to the car.

But once again, I'm referring to what people WOULD say. Which is not what I think...

42

If the car is really, really dominant, the championship will end in a 1-2 for both drivers of the team. Which was clearly the case in the last years.
If, however, two teams have a driver in the fight for the WDC, the Champion's car can't have been that dominant.

43

That's some great logic there. How about if Driver A Car B. If Combo A beats Combo B, but in a close fight, it's because Driver A didn't get as much out of his car as Driver B did. 2012 would be a good example of this. Alonso clearly drove better than Vettel through the year, and it was only close because of that. Swap drivers, and it would have been over two races before, and you'd be claiming Alonso was in a far better car.

44

...wouldn't that depend on the second placed driver (as stated in the theory). If Alonso would win by a big margin in the RB but Sebastian would be 2nd in the Ferrari, there were still 2 competitive cars. If Webber would have been second (after Alonso), you would not be able to tell, since the car and not the driver was the most significant factor. Does not say Alonso was not good, just that you don't have any data to support either hypothesis.

45

Hmm, I don't think a different car in 2nd makes a competitive year. 2011 was not competitive, and neither was 2013.

After the 2015 US Grand Prix, Vettel was still in 2nd (16 races in), but they weren't truly competitive. It was more down to Rosberg's retirements in Italy and Russia that year, that explained Vettel's high position late on.

46

Have you at least tried to understand my initial post ?
I was not claiming HAM did not deserve his titles !

47

If Hamilton hasn't exactly established why his, of all the Mercedes engined cars, had the most mechanical problems then he is doomed to repeat them. Quite possibly even more so with the changes to the start and the greatly increased traction from the much wider tyres. Which will both be further exacibated by Pirelli's ability to run one compound softer than previous due to the additional width adding to the tyre's durability.

48

He's never been very good at working with his engineers and mechanics in a constructive way when things aren't going well. I suspect at least part of it is due to his car being put together by people who are a bit tense and jittery, which wasn't the case on Rosberg and Button's side of the garage.

49

Kenny Carwash, the problem with that theory (that presumably you just made up) is in other seasons Lewis' car had better reliability than Nico's. It didn't make a difference to the championship in those years, and it was never as lop sided as 2016, but are you trying to suggest that Lewis was good at dealing with the engineers in those seasons, but then forgot how to do that last year?! This continued effort to blame Lewis for his car failures is reaching barrel scraping level.

50

I am literally suggesting that he interacted well with the team in 2014 & 2015. He was winning then and he's very good at keeping his team pumped and focused when things are going well. It's when things go wrong that he'd benefit from keeping a cooler head.

51

Kenny, that isn't what you said, apparently "he has never been very good at working with his engineers and mechanics in s constructive way".

52

Yeah right. He has ' hotheaded and crumbled ' his way to three wdc,great wealth and millions who like/love him.Apparently some people at mercedes should be unhappy with him,but he was in toto wolff kitchen couple of month ago discussing plans for the coming season .He is happy ; his team is happy and rearing to go ; his fans are happy and expectant ; but you are not.

53

Utter nonsense, what cool head was vettel keeping last season when he was abusing Charlie whiting. Was ferrari not issuing some veiled criticism last season about vettel's performance. They may try to hide it,but which driver is happy when things are not going well.Every mechanical problem is Hamilton's fault. ' He overdrives the car; he makes his engineers jittery ' . But no mechanical problem is the fault of any of the other drivers.How comes we never see any grumpy or unhappy faces among his team staff every time he wins .How comes they are all cheerful and heartily celebrating with him.You want Hamilton to be supine with zero tittles just to please you.well tough, he is not here to please you.There are millions who are pleased with him.

54

' he is never very good at working with his engineers....'
Utter nonsense. Things went wrong big time when he did not even feature in the first race of 2014 with a dnf. According to you ,there should have been a series of mechanical problems because Hamilton would have made his engineers jittery by not being constructive with them. But instead, he enjoyed great reliability in subsequent races which enabled him to win 4 races in a row ; does he take credit for that ; of course not. Nonsense. 2013, one of his engineers praised him for his ability to motivate them. He was at his most intense and combative as a rookie, and wrung the neck of his car like crazy ; yet,I do not remember the mclarens of 2007/2008 breaking down in any damaging way to his tittle ambitions. Iron fist discipline over the team by Ron Dennis equalled great reliability.

55

You're reading too much into it. I never said he always reacts badly, just that sometimes he has failed to keep a lid on his temper after a bad weekend, in a way that has hindered the engineering team to an extent. Whether that happened last season I can't say: I only know mechanics at Brackley, not engineers, but I know the things he intimated about the team favouring Nico over him upset a lot of people. Really, those were things that should never have left Toto's office.

56

Yeah right. Every other sport participants are allowed to show anger or irritations from time to time and stand up for their interest, but not Hamilton. Did Rosberg immediately obeyed Ross Brawn in 2013 after being instructed to hold station?was he not implying that the team was favouring Hamilton? Did he not say the team owed him something? But of course I know you will come up with every lenient excuses fot him.Quite frankly, such displays from sport competitors does not bother me one bit and no grounds for silly invective . Stop the hypocrisy and the concealment of irrational personal dislike as some legiitimate sporting criticism.

57

He's not very good at working with his engineers.......

@kenny
I'm sorry, but how can you possibly know this? If you worked on his side of the garage, then I would take your comment more seriously.

58

@James k

Because I know and have worked with a number of current and former mechanics and engineers at both Woking and Brackley. One of his current mechanics worked alongside me in powerboats, in fact.

To quote one engineer, Lewis was "petulant and unhelpful" when things weren't going well at McLaren, whereas when Button wasn't happy he would express it in a more constructive way. This shouldn't be too hard to believe, given how he publicly accused his guys of sabotaging his car last year, which is monumentally stupid given how much you rely on them.

Lewis as also not as invested in working with the engineers to really understand the car as some (Rosberg, significantly) because his speed has never been very dependent on doing so. He could improve his approach, if he were minded to.

Nice of you to snip out the wider context of the quote, by the way.

59

Yes, Lewis doesn't get on well with engineers. That's why all his engineers say he's down to earth and never expects special treatment. You're talking nonsense.

60

Really? When were they interviewed about that? If you're talking specifically about race engineers, then perhaps. But some of the guys who develop the car say different. They've been to debriefings seeking detailed feedback and come away with little more than a foul mouthed rant about how bad the car was. Not that often, but more often than it should happen - which is not at all. It's hard to imagine a Schumacher, a Vettel or a Senna letting his temper get in the way of improving the car, but this is someone who has said a lot of silly things in the heat of the moment.

61

Maybe not Schumacher, but Vettel and Senna have said some really silly things when they weren't happy or when under pressure, and Schumacher has certainly done some pretty daft things (as did Senna).

62

Kenny.

I appreciate this is the age of people saying anything they like on blogs to feed their views but comments such as yours are really treading on the lines of libel. Particularly as these sentiments are not universally proven and indeed not the general thoughts of others that have worked with him. To be clear, they are not. While you may have an individual willing to risk such to feed your dislike, there are many hundreds with an opposing view. Further you need to prove such not just assert.

On the other hand if you are referencing 2007 or 2009 or best of all 2012 when the car and his team seemed unable to hold itself together and effectively lost him a championship through poor performance and failures all the while trying to get his team mate on equal footing with him, then I can understand him becoming petulant and unhelpful. I can also imagine some disenfranchised and sacked employees willing to support your view but there is still an issue with the legality of recording such.

Frankly following 2012, I would suggest anyone can be forgiven anything given the ridiculous level of poor performance his team displayed that year.

63

My sentiments too. Well written👍

64

I never heard anything bad about him in 2007 or 2009. In fact, he impressed a lot of people with his gutsy approach in 2009. I did first hear about the upsets in 2012, though I didn't get the impression they were restricted to that year. It was shortly before he signed for Mercedes, which the team knew about from May/June IIRC.

It's not correct to say I dislike Hamilton. I actually rate him a great deal and would say he's the fastest driver currently (though Max looks set to challenge that). It just frustrates me that while he's greatly improved on his weaknesses in the car (the impetuous overdriving of 2010 seems like a dim and distant memory), he doesn't seem to have done the same thing out of the car and I think it probably contributed to Rosberg being competitive enough to beat him. F1 is littered of examples where a bad tempered driver has pushed the team towards his more easy-going teammate. Lewis was the beneficiary of that in 2007, as was virtually everyone Jacques Villeneuve raced with.

65

So you've worked with some of his former and current mechanics. So I take it the current mechanics you have worked with were before they went to brackley and his old mechanics you say are from McClaren. Then I can put a little more stock in to your comment maybe. Maybe Lewis gets a bit nagged of when he's not winning, or loses through no fault of his own. Is this not the trait of a highly competitive racer.
I didn't write the whole sentence because as I was replying to you I did not feel it was necessary. I'm sorry if this offended you.

66

It's not that I was offended, just that it seemed like a cheap attempt to make it appear I was saying Lewis was bad at working with the team full stop. I didn't say that and it's not true - the flipside is he's very good at getting them fired up and pulling for him when times are good and that's good for momentum in a championship.

The mechanics I know at Brackley are people I worked with many years ago when I was more directly involved with racing. The McLaren people are a bit more complicated - a few I've worked with as clients, but most I just happen to know socially from living in the area. Mostly engineers and machinists, though one is a chef and is now at Red Bull (he always said Lewis was "a very polite young man"). The machinists move about a fair bit - the F1 teams often pay less than the third parties.

My point really was that disharmony in the team might possibly have contributed to the reliability issues, because people were definitely upset by some of the things that were said last year. It also might not have - if they were wholly internal PU issues unrelated to installation and preparation then that's unlikely. The trouble is at the moment, you can't criticise Hamilton in any way (or give Rosberg any credit where it's due) without angry or even hysterical responses. I just think he should've been able to put Rosberg away, technical issues and all, and he'd have stood a better chance of doing that if he'd kept his cool.

67

Kenny Carwash, could you provide me with a direct quote from Lewis in which he publicly accused his guys of sabotaging his car last year? Thanks.

68

"My question is to Mercedes. We have so many engines made for drivers, but mine are the only ones failing this year. Someone needs to give me some answers because this is not acceptable. We are fighting for the championship and only my engines are failing. It does not sit right with me. I will try and recollect myself and try to get myself together for the race next week. There are many decisive races but this is one of those. Someone doesn't want me to win this year but I won't give up. I will keep pushing. I've just got to move on. I just can't believe that there are eight Mercedes cars and only my engines are the ones that have gone this way. Something just doesn't feel right.”

Now I fully anticipate that you're bizarre need to believe Lewis can do nothing wrong will force you to dream up some nonsense about him meaning God when he said that, but the truth is the team took it for an accusation of foul play and were hurt by it. They even referred to it as an "accusation of sabotage" in their response.

69

Kenny:

There was a massive media beat up after what Hamilton said post the Malaysian GP. They were the ones who used terms like “conspiracy” and “sabotage” and unfortunately I think you’ve hung your argument on the back of this.

Here’s a direct quote from Hamilton once the dust had settled:

“On one side, we have had the most incredible success for these two years of which I am so grateful. These guys work so hard and we are all feeling the pain right now. But when you get out the car, the feeling you have after leading the race and the car fails, it is pretty hard to say positive things all the time. Mercedes have built 43 engines – with the extra three that I have had – and I have happened to have most, if not all, of the failures. That is definitely a tough thing but I have 100 per cent confidence in these guys. I have been with them for four years, and I have 100 per cent faith. I love it here, and without them I would not have won these extra two championships. I saw tears in the eyes of my mechanics. We all bear the pain.”

These are hardly the words of a man who believed the Mercedes F1 racing organisation has deliberately thrown him under a bus.

Needless to say Kenny F1 drivers are human and competing in a highly competitive sport and sometimes they say things which the media and others take out of context. But it makes for good headlines.

70

Kenny, I asked you for a direct quote, not your abridged version of what he actually said. The line "someone doesn't want me to win" should of course read "someone or something doesn't want me to win", quite a crucial ommision when it comes to trying to interpret what he meant when he said it, as I'm sure you are aware by your attempt to head me off at the pass by describing any talk of lewis meaning God as nonsense that I have dreamed up. i didn't dream that up Kenny, it was what Lewis said immediately after when asked to clarify his comments, he said he meant "a higher power", and as long as you don't remove the "or something" part of his quote this makes sense. Lewis is a religious man who talks about God often and racing drivers are a superstitious bunch in general, certainly not the first time I have heard one of them refer to the racing gods. It seems to me that we have two options, either Lewis meant a rogue Mercedes employee deliberately sabotaging his car when he said "someone", and perhaps a monster doing the same when he said "something", or he meant God and fate. Seems a bit more likely to be the latter to me.
You say that it is fact that the team took his words as an act of foul play, this is not a fact at all, I have never heard anyone from that team say anything other than the exact opposite. Toto's comments when he spoke about sabotage accusations were directed at the internet experts who had tried to blow up Lewis' words into something they were not, by using the usual methods of miss quoting, removing context, inserting their own interpretations as proven facts, all the usual stuff.
The big problem with the whole sabotage theory, as I'm sure someone as well connected as you should realise, is the big end bearings that failed on Lewis' Malaysia engine would have been fitted in the factory by someone who had no idea what car that engine would eventually be fitted to, same story with the MGUH insulation that failed in qualifying in China and Russia, so the whole "jiggly fingers" thing falls down right there doesn't it?

71

The personal anger and bitterness that is coming through against the driver in a matter you are supposed to be neutral to ,makes this claims ver suspicious. Anyone can come here and make unsubstantiable claims against any driver.particularly when criterias are exclusively applied to only one driver.

72

@timw
It's called reading into something that's not there😉

73
The Grape Unwashed

It was bad luck, nothing more.

74

Gary, it's not Lewis' job to diagnose those car failures, the engineers who designed and built it will do that.

75

I think Gary was referring to the much more aggressive style of HAM versus ROS or other drivers, which brings more stress on car and engine (but that is my own reading of Gary's post).

76

Mikka, I'm sure you are correct in your analysis of Gary's post, I'm pretty sure that i have read similar nonsense from him before.

77

Tim, what about those who's mantra is that Ham does help design the cars? - 🙂 OK I admit I am fishing there.
You are absolutely correct, there are vast numbers of engineers/designers/mechanics who are charged making sure the driver has a suitably reliable and fast car, it definitely isn't the drivers role to work out what causes a failure.

78

@davejc
Ohh, you must mean Aveli😄

79

Dave JC, funny you should mention that. I think it was the poster Aveli who once went on a keyboard rampage trying to convince everyone that Hamilton's design innovations had brought success to the Mercedes team.

80

Who once went on a keyboard

@jd
He's still on that keyboard I'm afraid😄

81

Correct jd, aveli maintains that Mercedes' huge turn around in form is down to Hamilton advising the Merc technical team how to build the cars.

82

DaveJC, I don't think Lewis is a regular feature in the Mercedes design office! I was never all that convinced about how much the drivers bring to the table in terms of development either, even in the days of unlimited testing I would be surprised if there were any real gains made by drivers input.

83

I suspect the clock on Gary's Betamax machine is still blinking "12:00".

84

Unfortunately we can only have one champion at a time. And this year it will be Kimi!

85

But only if he can stay far away from Sebastian in the first corner...;-)

87

I doubt he'll be champ, but a lot is riding on which Kimi Raikkonen turns up this year. Vettel's WDC and Ferrari's WCC chances are both going to need Kimi firing on all cylinders. Let's hope the new cars do it for him.

88

I Agree we all forgot Kimi he has shown his performance in 2016 and I Ferrari 2017 will suite him and its time Ferrari gave their last world champion the championship car again let us hope we can really see good season

89

Kimi drove well last year, but Seb was having a bit of a meltdown for quite a lot of 2016! I wouldn't mind seeing the Kimster as champion again, it would be amusing to compare Lewis' reaction last year with Seb's....

90

Agreed, Seb screwed last year, 'helped' a bit by Ferrari's blunders and races' circumstances. But I do believe Seb is a better driver in the end. I enjoy watching both. If the car is the way JA says, then Seb will be the winner

91

Don't blame it on Ferrari blunders. It was vettel melting down and making the engineers/strategists jittery by not being constructive with them.

92

Highly optimistic scenario.

93

The bookies disagree.

94

Bookies disagreed with me about Bottas going to mercedes.

95

Bbbernie my post was for mchbargav above, I'm with you on Kimi.

96

Wow, just looked it up, Ham is at 2.2:1 , next closest is Vet at 5.5:1 (according to Betfair).
Gamblers betting on past history and assuming it is a good predictor. I expect Ham is most likely to win, but sure think those are optimistic odds with the current level of information.
Oh and Kimi is at a lowly 12:1

97

DaveJC, 12:1 you say? wow! its betting heaven then? When past history gives Kimi such low odds and yet in reality we know the Ferrari is good this year.

What a great opportunity to bet an amount you may have saved for a C-class and if you win you buy yourself a Ferrari !!!

98

Kimi was @50 before testings! Now something around 10. And nice bet was this: "Which driver is going to get more points season 2017" I betted Kimi before tests with 18:1. Now its only something around 2 :1 for Kimi.

99

I forgot to add that the bet i placed was Bottas vs Raikkonen. And that was 18:1 for Raikkonen before tests started.

100

good spotting on seeing that opportunity.
And very good luck to you- pretty sure you will be collecting nicely on that one 🙂

101

Odds I've seen are similar re Lewis and Vettel. But then Kimi is 8/1 (50/1 before the tests) as is Max, Ricciardo is 9/1. If James' analysis is right the Ferrari drivers sure do look attractive each way bets.

102

Just looked at SkyBet ... HAM is 11/10, VET is 10/3. They're 1 & 2, but not really similar.

Your EW bet on Kimi seems right on the cusp. Atm looks like a battle for 3rd between RAI and BOT.

103

KRB, yes sorry, I wasn't very clear. I meant the odds I'd seen for Lewis and Seb were similar to what DaveJC had posted.

Slightly above evens for Lewis and Seb about 4/1. I think there will be some large amounts placed on Lewis, no way you would have got bigger than evens for him the last few years.

O/T, some punter placed £500k on Douvan (unbeaten horse) at Cheltenham yesterday and it didn't even place!! I thought I'd had a bad day..

104

The problem he's got this year are 2 Ferraris with Vettel trying to prove he's the best and Raikkonen trying to prove he's the driver he used to be before he retires, and then the Red Bull with the inevitable Newey developments and 2 drivers likely to be the next generation of champions with the talent to make it happen this year. And then there's the problem of Mercedes not issuing team orders until towards the end of the season when it could be too late to make a difference. I voted no.

105

Bwoah! Räikkönen has got nothing to prove. He could not care a less what people thinks about him so there is nothing to prove for anyone. In f1, only thing he cares about, is winning the title. Everything else is bwoah.

106

I agree, and never forget Kimi knows what he is doing....

107

@bbbernie: I am a Kimi fan too, but despite what people say about him not caring about what people think, I am quite sure that is not completely true, the iceman stuff, etc... Just look the way he reacts when he wins, he is almost like everybody else.

108

I think you are right but he has a much higher frustration threshold than e.g. Vettel. Vettel starts whining and moving aggressively as soon as something is not going his way (also making a lot of comments for the general public during the race). Kimi starts getting annoyed much later (and in those rare occasions also makes stupid moves). While this makes him look less spectacular, it also makes him a lot more reliable to get the most out of a situation without throwing away (or risking) points.

109

I think he does have something to prove.. that he can go reach the levels he was at 10 or so years ago. And I think these cars could well allow him to show that.

110

@ nick H....If the top three teams. red bull, mercedes and ferrari can all develop during the year to become somewhat similar in performance then any of those six drivers could take the WDC. Obviously hamilton and vettel have an advantage having won seven titles between them but sooner or later one of the non winning drivers will step up to the 'plate'. On a more personal note i just fervently hope that this season will see mercedes falter and new drivers/cars take the titles. I need that, and i also believe that F1 needs that as well.

111

Kenneth:

I agree with you that the only clearly discernable thing from pre season testing was that the big three will be the front runners for at least the first few races of the season.

But what do you make from some of the seemingly conflicting statements coming out of the RB camp. It might be how the media is framing the questions and answers they get but Marko has recently been quoted as saying that they don't expect to be able to race for wins until the middle of the year whereas earlier reports suggested that they would be competitive from Melbourne and even more so by Spain with a major engine upgrade.

Has Horner said anything recently?

112

Hi adrian... My take is quite simple. No one in the RB camp is putting out anything other than veiled scenarios relative to what might happen although in answer your last query, Horner did say that the melbourne car will be 'significantly different' but not in the way that most people would suspect? What he means by that is anyones guess... Does he mean that the 'fin' will be disappeared, or what?
According to marko he's now saying that the first 'big' upgrade to the engine will be after the first four flyaway races and that makes sense but by then it may be too late as those points taken at the very first races are terribly important. Hopefully both drivers can snatch some large hauls between them without necessarily winning. This they will need to do. Exactly one week to go... & gee it's been along time coming.

113

Thanks for that Kenneth. I guess this is the situation when you're a customer team. Thank goodness for Adrian Newry and his crew. But to be fair the Renault PU has improved considerably since 2015. Unlike the mess at Mclaren.

Let's hope you're right that RB have got something reasonably decent for the fly a ways. With some of the drivers saying that overtaking is going to be more difficult this year qualifying and track positon will be critical. Both Danny and Max are good qualifiers but they will need the machinery to secure a high grid position which it now seems won't come later in the year. Howevet while Danny usually calls things as they are I'm not inclined to place too much on his comment that he wasn't holding a second or so in reserve.

Renault seem pretty happy with the progress of their PU and the further development that can follow so we will see.

114

@kenneth
Agree with all your post except for the Merc faltering bit. I hope the Merc, bulls and the prancing horse can all go at it on a even footing. Was counting on McHonda aswell, but that seems like wishful thinking now unfortunately.

115

@ James K. Thanks for the response. What i meant by 'mercedes faltering was i hoped that they had not made the improved performance step up relative to all the other teams. In fact i was rather hoping that they'd made some improvement but not as much as ferrari/red bull. That would've then put them all on much more of a level playing field from which we could observe the top talent 'duking' it out. That may be the case as we haven't really seen what 'hands' all these players are holding. Has anyone else got a 'full house' or are they going to get 'royally flushed'....down the whatsit?

116

Lewis Hamilton lost the WDC by the matter of a single point, in his very first year in F1. That loss never affected his desire to win. Being done over by his team last year isn't going to affect him this year. He will continue to get the best out of his car, no matter what nonsense his team throws at him. We know the real sulkers and complainers in F1 and Lewis isn't one.

117

Hamilton's rookie year was way too different compared to 2016. First, he lost the title mostly because of McLaren rather than himself plus Alonso didn't win the title either (that definitely would have eased the pain and by a lot). Therefore, despite loosing the title he knew that he had arrived at the scene and performed way way above than anything anybody had expected. He was the victor in all the other battles barring the title and there as well he could console himself by being a moral victor. But 2016 was much different because the majority of the blame for him loosing the title still rests on his botched up starts. Because unlike engine failure which is out of his control (therefore, easier to make peace with) he knows the majority of the blame for the botched up starts rests on him (and I don't know how is he able to make peace with that). Because if Rosberg could get it right, there is no plausible excuse for him to miss the starts as many times as he did. And if Ham doesn't win the title in 2017, then 2016 is going to hurt even more. But I am sure this year Ham is going to double up the effort because in my opinion last year's loss has affected his desire to win, it has increased it. The only guy probably ever in F1 who doesn't get affected either way is KIMI. I think he is the most Emotionally Intelligent driver of them all.

118

Went through this already. The points lost (compared to grid slot) through bad starts, was nearly equal for HAM and ROS last year. ROS lost 13 pts in GER, 8 pts in CAN, and 7 pts in HUN. That's 28 pts. On the other side, Hamilton lost 7 pts in AUS, 10 pts in BHN, 7 pts in ITA and 3 pts in JPN. That's 27 pts. Rosberg lost more points through his bad starts, than Hamilton.

The PRIMARY reason Lewis lost last year was the unreliability he suffered in CHN, RUS, and MAL, and the engine allocation penalty in BEL. Could he have still won in spite of all that? Yes, he could have, but his task would've been infinitely easier if he just had half the unreliability that he had.

119

Dasmaven. The majority of the blame lies on his shoulders? I wouldn't go that far, a slam dunk win lost in Malaysia, having to start last in Spa and China and P10 in Russia cost him far more points than a few dodgy starts.

120

"Because if Rosberg could get it right, there is no plausible excuse for him to miss the starts as many times as he did"

Did you actually watch the season? Rosberg didn't get it right in China, Hungary, Germany and you could add Canada too (beaten off the line by Seb). Rosberg also had start issues in Australia & Bahrain too????. Hamilton can have peace of mind knowing Rosberg also lost loads of points on poor starts where as only Hamilton lost points due to car issues.

121

Granted both Mercedes cars were beaten off the line a number of times by Ferrari, Redbull and Williams. But because Mercedes were superior over the race distance, they could almost always offset the initial setback. So in the end it was just between the Mercedes duo and what effect the starts had on their respective results. Rosberg let victories slip away in Hungary and Germany But China & Australia he won despite bad start. In Bahrain Rosberg lead Hamilton into first corner but Bottas contacted Lewis. So the reality is if Hamilton had managed his start better form pole in atleast one of these 4 races (Australia, Bahrain, Spain and Italy) OR at the very least if he had managed to hold onto his 2nd grid position in Japan then he could have been the Champion in spite of all the car failures and Mercedes letting him down.

122

And if he didn't have the engine failure in Malaysia, he could've had a few more bad starts and still won.

China didn't hurt Rosberg, because Lewis was starting P21 there!

Getting 2nd in Japan would've meant an extra 3 pts, so he still would be 2 pts shy. If he had equal reliability to Rosberg though, then he'd be 51 pts to the good, and would've won the title in Brazil.

Hamilton's and Rosberg's bad starts equalled out, but the unreliability was all on Hamilton's side of the garage.

123

Through poor starts, Rosberg let races Hungary, Germany & yes, Canada slip through his fingers. I include Canada because if he had perfected his own start, trouble with Lewis that saw Rosberg slip down the order could have been avoided. Estimate the points lost in those 3 races for Rosberg, equals the amount of points Hamilton lost in the 4 races where he had poor starts. And Rosberg was damned lucky on China. He tripped up on his start, Hamilton had the best start on the entire grid, but was starting last on the grid due to engine penalties, so Hamilton was out of position to punish Rosberg for that poor start in China. The truth is, they both lost a similar amount of points due to poor starts, whereas only Hamilton lost points due to reliability issues.

So, please do not come on here trying to re-write history by saying untruths like Rosberg got his starts right. What utter nonsense.

124

[Mod] Lewis Hamilton lost the WDC last year by 5 points - he lost 25 points when his engine blew at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Both Mercedes drivers had several poor starts. Don't attempt to rewrite history.

125

Yes. Strange how these Hamilton detractors suffer from amnesia when it comes to Rosberg's many poor starts..

126

A* you get used to the levels of amnesia displayed on this site when it comes to Lewis. Like you said, both Merc pilots had too many bad starts last year, so either two of the most experienced drivers on the grid simultaneously forgot how to get a good start in an F1 car last year, or that Merc was a tricky beast to get off the line.

127

Quite the contrary, I am a Lewis fan but at the same time I try as much as possible to be objective in my assessment. I cringed every time Lewis messed up his starts but not so much when Rosberg did. Plus all the experts were anticipating that Single-Clutch starts would be right up Ham's alley and Rosberg would struggle with it. Anyway, 2017 is shaping up to be a nice playground and Hamilton is raring to go.

128

I think its a simplistic view supported by a simple math equation. Even by Ham's own admission starts were the most crucial because that aspect he could influence but failures related to cars are not his doing. Plus the article above states "In an interview with the latest edition of F1 Racing magazine, Hamilton critically appraised his season and singled out his starts as an area that cost him dearly in his fight with Rosberg". Sky Sports reiterated the same last year : http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/24181/10638114/lewis-hamilton-wishes-he-had-solved-2016-starting-woes-earlier . So Lewis knows he didn't write the history he was supposed to.

129

In September, Tonto told the press the Mercedes clutch had a problem which had affected both drivers. Mercedes were unable to correct the problem immediately and he didn't expect to have it fixed during the season as it required a complete redesign.

No need for sums and no need to quote an interview with a driver who knows all about not rocking the boat. Just plain and simple facts.

130

Or... emotionally deficient. Guess that could help him though

131

Just to be clear, I referred to Kimi as being emotionally intelligent. I mean from what I have read, Ferrari's direction of car development during 2008, 2009 cars was influenced fairly by Schumacher. Then Ferrari ousted Kimi but he never derided them publicly. He went out of F1 altogether, had fun with rallying for couple of years and came back to F1. Won Races and then Ferrari called him back...lol...I mean how cool you have to be to be the protagonist of such a story.

132

At the end of the 2008 season, Kimi was paid a small fortune to go away. Who knows what conditions were attached to that payment. Keeping his mouth shut has never been a problem for Kimi, staying sober is another matter. Before drawing conclusions about Kimi's character, I suggest you look at other Finns and compare them to drivers from Spain and Italy.

133

Done over by his team? The same team that gave him the car/ drive to two WDC? The one that pays him 30+million? Are you really saying that?

134

The same team that blamed Lewis for the Spanish GP collision...

135

😀
The team threw a non-sense car to him since 2014

136

'What nonsense his team throws at him'

Are the cars they provided included?

137

@NickH - Have you already forgotten the orders Lewis was given by Paddy Lowe during the last race?

138

Aah right so that's the nonsense his team keep throwing at him.

139

Is it sweeps week already?!? 😃

140

He only lost due to reliability, exploding Mercedes PUs cost him many races iirc in each he was leading. Rosberg suffered less and won on pionts gained solely through that.

You refer to him being "beaten by a team mate" before, but that year he also had DNFs and an unusually large number of incidents, often with a clearly deliberately dangerous felipe massa.

He beat Button and Rosberg, Heiki and Fernando every year, if you look at it fairly.

141

Fairly through rose tinted glasses perhaps!

142

Andy, to be fair Lewis retired from the lead in Singapore and Abu Dhabi in 2012 through mechanical failure. He also had a pole position turn into a back row grid slot in Spain because the team messed up his fuel amount and lost many more points due to pit stop blunders. He was clearly the faster and better McLaren driver that year, but as sometimes happens in sport, things didn't go his way.

143

TimW I agree with everything you say above. But racing is not about any imagined unfairness of having a breakdown or a pitstop error, unless it is clearly deliberately caused. Lewis has had his share of luck and badluck too, as do all his peers (and us!). The last race of 2008 is a good example of this.

144

Kimi was paid what was in his contract. As I suspect you, me and everyone else is. Your implication he was bribed to leave is unsubstantiated and laughable.

145

Huh? Kimi was reportedly paid 20m to not race in 2010, and stay away from F1 for 1.5 years.

http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/22058/8916968/back-to-the-future-what-happened-when-kimi-raikkonen-left-ferrari-in-2009

146

Heres a link to an informative article to what really happened re Kimi's first stint with Ferrari. https://f1bias.com/2012/04/05/truth-about-kimi-ferrari-santander-2008/ Its a better more informed report than the SkySports...

147

Didn't Button beat him one of the years they are team mates?
Still a remarkable record of course

148

Yes 2011. He was fairly beaten that year, though he did win the same amount of races as Button. Two of his best victories ever, for me, are from that year (China and Germany). In the former he hunted down first his teammate then Vettel, passing him in turn 7 for the lead. In the latter he was in a 3-way tussle for the win with Webber and Alonso. He put an amazing pass on Alonso around the outside of turn 2 at the Nurburgring for the win.

Overall 2011 was a down year, but still had flashes of brilliance.

149

@KRB... Ill never forget that Nurburgring race. It was a thing of beauty. Watching Webber attempt the around-the-outside pass on Hamilton and having the door closed beautifully/perfectly and fairly only to see Hamilton do it to Alonso (of all people) the following lap was just utter brilliance.

I think that's an exact example of what Rosberg was referring to when he said (and i paraphrase) that "Hamilton is one of the most naturally gifted drivers ever when it comes to wheel-to-wheel racing."

Great post fella and thanks for reminding me of that race!

150

It was a great race ... had a great buildup throughout the race. I had totally forgotten about the HAM-WEB duel on the pit straight early on.

https://vimeo.com/34326930

I found a great clip of the CHN11 highlights too. Hamilton's pass on Button in that race is one of the best teammate-on-teammate passes of the past decade:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfYCqkxwPo0

151

Every year HAM has shown brilliance. In his earlier years he had a more [Mod] or bust approach to racing (2011 is a great example of this).. which won him many fans... but also cost him many points. He has calmed that a little but he would still rather go for the win than settle for a safe haul of points. That could be perceived as a flaw but it's why I, and many others, are fans.

152

He is ok but he has been given two wdcs and was very lucky to win his first with some terrible driving in last gp of 08 when he could not get anywhere near Vettel in a Toro rosso.

153

All hail scott, the new voice of reason on JAonF1. 😉

154

@KRB how on earth can you remember that detail? I watched every race that season (and went to two of them) but certainly can barely remember who won every race let alone a pass by pass replay!
Fantastic recall, well done.

155

he concedes it himself he lost his starts you can't just up and not be on your A game and expect to win title...there was bad luck on both ends but hamilton was awful at race starts last year..he admits it...time to move on...Rosberg won fair and square

156

What bad luck did Nico have in 2016? He had bullet proof reliability?. Nico messed many starts (China, Hungary, Germany, Canada( got overtaken off the line by Seb). While Hamilton was losing approx 50 points due to engine problems, all Rosberg had to do was pick up the pieces. The fact is they BOTH had poor starts--reliability cost Hamilton far, far more. Rosberg wasn't on his A game in races like Monaco, Canada--he was terrible in the wet all season and got beaten by the Redbull drivers in races such as Monaco, Austria, GB, Germany. He was the most penalised driver on the grid. So how come he won the title if it's necessary to bring your A game--which he failed to do consistently? Hamilton scored more wins, poles, podiums and was voted driver of the year, so he performed better than Rosberg? Rosberg primarily won because his car did not let him down. No amount of dressing it up will take away the fact that Hamilton's engine problems massively impacted on his title fight negatively..

157

Rosberg had a brake issue in Monaco that dropped him down the order and that's without even hunting for the other niggly technical issues he had over the year. There were a few, but he was lucky with which sessions they occurred in. You haven't even tried to look for any reliability issues Rosberg had, have you?

158

Kenny car wash, Nico's brake issue in Monaco was caused by him not driving quickly enough to generate any heat in them. If you want to talk about nightly technical faults, how about Lewis' car not starting for q3 in Monaco, or the engine mode issue in Baku, or the hydraulic leak that meant he missed all of FP2 in Singapore? All worse issues than anything Nico had to deal with, and all in addition to the much bigger problems that Nico didn't have at all.

159

Rosberg had a speed issue in Monaco, which meant he couldn't get ideal brake temp, leading to a vicious downward speed spiral. Hamilton was the opposite, leading to a virtuous speed spiral.

Wolff is on recent record hailing Hamilton’s performance in Monaco.

No mechanical issue with Rosberg's brakes in Monaco.

160

There was nothing wrong with Rosberg's brakes in Monaco. He simply couldn't properly regulate the temperature in his tyres and brakes due to his poor driving. He was driving too slowly-that affected the temperature. He was driving too slowly because he lacked the confidence. Rosberg admitted this himself.

161

Tarun, "awful" is too strong, he had some bad ones, but then so did Nico, so did everyone.

162

We'll see as it looks like he will come up against some much more ruthless opposition this year....

163

Too bad there's no "magic switch" to pull during the run-up to Australia which would somehow result in fairly evenly matched mounts. That way the real talent in the seats might come to the fore, eh?

164

He remains the favourite for the title, but hopefully Seb and Kimi can give him a run for his money. I doubt Valterri will be able to operate on a high enough level to challenge Lewis.

165

Will be interesting to see where Bottas is in relation to Lewis. He is the favourite for the title, regardless of who wins I just hope it is a real season long scrap between Lewis, Vettel and Kimi. Similar to 2007 and 2008.

166

He was clearly a bit slower than Lewis in testing, but it'll be interesting to see how much of that deficit he's able to wipe away over the course of the season. Or if he's able to race a bit smarter than Lewis, like Button did quite often. To date, Bottas has been unremarkable beyond being consistently quite quick. We'll start to see what he's really made of this year.

167

Nick, it would be difficult for anyone to turn up and challenge Lewis, he has been there for four years already and is very familiar with the team and the type of cars they produce. The closest season in terms of performance between Nico and Lewis was 2013 when Nico held that advantage. I think Valterri is a very good driver, and if he gets an extension to his contract then he will be closer to Lewis in years to come, but this year will be a struggle for him.

168

He'll be closer only due to data sharing and not due to talent.....

169

D17, a bit harsh. Valterri is a good driver, and the best available to Mercedes at such short notice, but it would be difficult for Alonso or Vettel to challenge Lewis immediately in that team.

170

@TimW i suppose it was. Was just shooting from the hip I guess. i think your right about Alonso and Vettel to be fair. Bottas is decent enough.

171

I can't think of anything more appealing than Bottas beating Hamilton and Max V winning the title ahead of them both.
Ferrari will implode.

172

Red Bull just don't look like they're quite on it, pace-wise. I wouldn't be surprised if they're winning races towards the end of the year. Ferrari look good and I think they'll give Hamilton and Mercedes a serious fight.

173

I'd love to see that. But also i'd love to see 2007 again. Kimi beating Ham by 1 point. But it would be nice with Bottas too. As long as it's Finnish 😉

174

If Mercedes enjoy another season with a substantial car advantage then Lewis Hamilton will surely emerge as champion again. He is a brilliant driver - fast and controlled - but anything can happen if Ferrari or Red Bull start to mix it with him at the front. I have a sneaky feeling that Kimi Raikkonen might find his old speed again with these new cars, as we know Vettel takes a lot of beating when he gets on a roll and both the Red Bull boys are very fast. Hamilton might just find he has a bit more growing to do yet!

175

He will smash Bottas but it depends on how the car is comparable to the others.He is no better a driver than Ric,Ver or Vet and does not have the xfacter of a Ver.He has just been a very lucky boy.

176

Hehehe....very good. X FACTOR?? Seriously?
3 WDCs just fell in his lap then? As did 53 wins? And 61 pole positions? I mean c'mon.... Dislike the guy if you want but you cant ignore his undisputed speed & talent by dismissing him as "A very lucky boy". The faster he drives, the luckier he gets....go figure.
Ves might get to his level one day soon... I really like VES.. Because he is an out and out racer... Like LH... Their driving styles are very similar....but VES has alot to win yet to be considered on the same level as LH. How will he cope in a tight WDC battle with other WDCs? We can only give opinions on that... So proof is lacking..hence he has more to prove.

177

Good post Dean, well said. I'd also like to add a couple of stat's (if you don't mind). Hamilton is the only driver in the history of the sport to start from 20th or lower and finish on the podium 3 times - that was lucky. And even more flukey is the record for most wins at different circuits which he now holds - he couldn't get any luckier really. Imagine if all those different circuit layouts didn't suit him - what luck that they did.

178

If he did that in a car other than merc it would warrant some respect but in a car as dominant as merc not so much

179

I appreciate that you don't like Hamilton, and that's fair enough - it makes no difference to me. But to dismiss some of his achievements in the way you have is just silly imo. Still each to his own I guess 🙂

180

To all the [Mod] I remember telling people in 07 he was going to be the next Senna.Then came the Brazilian GP of 08 and all he had to do was finish 5th if Massa won.There was no xfacter when Seb blew past him into 5th in a Toro Rosso.The guy was lucky Glock had given up and as for his 2WDC with Merc a half decent driver would have easily got 3 with that dominant car.Sure he goes allright,I am just not delusional enough to think he is any Senna

181

He is overall better than senna. Senna may edge it offensively, but I am sure he does not possess Lewis's defensive capabilities. Does senna have in his locker the kind of defensive display we saw from Lewis in Bahrain 2015? I don't think so.

182

Remember Senna doing some good defensive driving in the 99T especially in the slower tighter tracks as the 99T had active suspension and was heavier because of pumps and hydraulics.Do not want to sound like krb and others but did you actually watch Senna?

183

You do realize that if the present All Results Count points system was in place for 1988, that Prost would've beaten Senna? Prost would be a 5x champ and Senna only a 2x champ. I'm sure you'd be bringing up Senna running into a backmarker at Monza, and crashing out while miles ahead in Monaco, as clear examples of Senna not having the X Factor that year, right?

The 1990 Suzuka takeout also would likely mean a championship DSQ nowadays.

Any driver can be cut up, if that's what you're looking to do.

184

And yet....who is the 2008 WDC?That's a fact...as are his wins, poles and following 2 WDCS. Yours is an opinion....those are the facts.
Dislike the guy by all means but be honest...he is a GREAT racing driver. The stats alone tell you that.

185

Facts are Seb has 4 to hams3 so Seb is the better driver and that is a fact my dear friend deano

186

Simpleton logic. Were Schumacher or Prost better drivers than Senna? Is Piquet better than Alonso or Clark?

Prost ran away from Senna, just as Seb ran away from Ricciardo. Rosberg beat Schumi 3 years straight.

You get more credit when you take on strong teammates, instead of past-it senior drivers, or drivers contracted to be your lackey.

187

You've finally figured it out then dear boy. Bravo
There are other factors that could be considered like LH having more wins, poles and podiums..AND the fact LH has won WDCS with 2 teams, won in every season...BUT...as it stands VET is a more successful driver. Give that lad a lollipop!

188

Yeah finally worked out you have to keep it simple

189

The stats tell me is is average

190

Glock hadn't given up. That's complete rubbish and not something a racing driver does at this level. Toyota gambled by staying out on slicks and it didn't quite pay off, nothing more. We also now know that Kovalainen was instructed to hold Glock up, which helped Lewis to catch him. That Toro Rosso was also brilliant in the wet - the Ferrari power unit gave it better balance and a lower centre of gravity. That's why it was so fast at Monza that year.

191

Choice of words regarding Glock could of been better.He did not give up but he was just trying to stay on the track but 18secs in 1lap seriously lucky

192

No luck involved. Toyota gambled, they lost. If Toyota came in for wet tires like the other leaders, then Glock wouldn't have been a factor at the end.

Plus as I've said many times before, you don't beat a genuinely faster car without some fortune falling your way. It happened for Prost in 1986, and for Hamilton in 2008.

193

I'd say he's definitely better than vettel ricciardo debatable and verstappen ain't there yet but to also say he doesn't have the X factor I remember him when he first come in 07 the daring overtakes and amazing wet weather races don't forget just because he's become part of the furniture

194

The X factor of a VER?!? Did VER beat RIC in his first year in RBR? Nope. Has RIC swept all his teammates away? Um, no. He was 1-1 with JEV, 1-1 with KVY, and 1-0 with Seb and Max. As for Seb, 2014. It's one thing to get beat because of unreliability, and another to just get plain beat.

Hamilton’s just been lucky? For 10 straight years?!?! Uh, ok. If it eases your condition to believe that, [Mod]!!!

195

So by your thorough analysis Prost was a better driver than Senna.

196

I believe Senna was a better driver than Prost, but it doesn't erase the fact that Prost scored more overall points than Senna in 1988 AND 1989. By virtue of a Best 11/16 Results points system in 1988, Senna was declared champion with 8 wins to Prost's 7. If the same system was in place in 2016, then Hamilton would've beaten Rosberg.

scott, your contributions to date have been puerile. Anyone can turn a new page though; I suggest you do.

197

KRB:

Fair post. And I thought that the stuff dished on Ricciardo by the Verstappen crowd was bad enough.

198

@KRB, I am not on MV side yet, but I think this guy can become a magnificent champ, better than all. He really has the X factor. There is something with this guy, race wise and as a man that is very likeable.

199

Likeability is a subjective thing. I remember the Hamilton detractors / [Mod] being stunned when he won the BBC sports personality of the year 2014.Those operating against him on the internet were stunned to realize that all their efforts were useless and futile.

200

His drive in Brazil was brilliant, for sure. But "as a man"? He's 19! I like that Max has pace (more race pace currently), and he's not afraid to go for gaps, etc. However, he does respond like a child when in an argument ... the one where he said Villeneuve should be quiet, because he has killed someone, was absolutely ridiculous. For whatever reason, people are willing to give him a pass on these silly utterances. As a driver though, apart from his late moves in reaction to attacks from behind, I think he's very exciting, and great entertainment.

201

How is that modded?!? "Physician, ____ _______!"

202

He does not have the X factor? we're all fan boys to some extent, but you really haven't watched Hamilton drive for the last 10 years have you

203

Mature stuff. Lewis is still the favorite in my book. I'm assuming there's still something left in the Mercedes and the first race might not be a proper reflection of what's coming. It will be a development race more than anything else but you have the best cards if you're in a Merc, despite Ferrari seemingly being ahead at the moment. I am not sure if they can keep up (see last year where RBR clearly passed them in that regard) and they don't have the advantage Brawn had. He also seems much faster than Bottas - he'll have his win or 2 but this is going to be a long season.

I just hope that it's not going to be a walkover because no one (but Lewis) will want that.

204

I want to make a point that really bothers me. Everyone keeps talking about development of the car and how Ferrari won't keep up..

If you look at the last three seasons under hybrid rules, Ferrari have generally started the year and whatever the deficit to the front runners it's been constant from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi.

In other words, they develop at the same speed as their competition.

If they have an advantage at the first race, then in all likelihood they'll maintain a similar development schedule to the others.

When people speak of falling behind, surely they mean out-develop the others. Big difference

205

I think Ferrari have as much capacity to develop the car as anyone, but in recent years they seem to have struggled with getting their design philosophy right. It's interesting to see them this year going for a kind of third way between the Merc and RB designs.

206

You are VERY excited by Ferraris practice times... Arent you. Calm down dear boy its just practice. Lets see if its for real before wetting uourself.

207

I have noticed you are VERY irritated by anyone showing the slightest shred of excitement towards Ferrari despite most experts predicting they have done the business this season and Vettel and Kimi sandbagging even on their fast laps. Worried much?

208

From that first vid of Ferrari's filming day around Fiorano, I've thought that the Ferrari looked super planted. They've done really well.

Eventually a new star name has to step forward, to replace the Byrnes and Neweys, etc. Perhaps this is David Sanchez's breakout moment?

209

'From that first vid of Ferrari's filming day around Fiorano, I've thought that the Ferrari looked super planted. '

Yep, I had the same feeling when I saw those videos. As you say, a new crop of star designers was going to come into play eventually.. maybe Sanchez is one of them.

210

I dislike ferrari, won't deny it.
I'm not worried in the slightest but I think recent history should tell you not to get too excited by their practice times. They always flatter to deceive. It MIGHT be they have a car to challenge but you'd think this was a sure fire thing the way some are carrying on. See my later post for views on a possible VET v HAM WDC battle

211

You mean the recent history of last season's test where they ran on fumes and softest tyres and didn't sandbag? That history doesn't tell me anything about 2017 testing where they coasted to fastest times on harder rubber.

212

So...as you seem to have all the answers..... What fuel loads were teams running? What engine modes? Included in all these "experts" reports is the line " testing is a notoriously difficult guage on car performance" because of the 2 factors above. Merc ran more miles than Ferrari.....and had less problems with the car..... Doesnt mean they are on top either. And....ferraris failures go back much further than 2016 testing. Its in their messed up DNA to put themselves top of the pile in meaningless testing and practice sessions only to fall flat on their faces come the time it matters. But Hey..... They MIGHT have a winner...but ill believe it when i see it....not a second before.

213

As do you re Ferrari. We shall wait and see. James and the bookies disagree with you.

214

I voted NO not because I am not his fan or I don't like him (actually I do like him and obviously Lewis is one of the best of the bests out there as a racer), but because due to rules change this season there are so many variables, also as James' analysis show other 2 big teams are right there with Mercedes, and today Dr. Marko is said to be worried of Vettel's sandbagging/lift off (I believe him that no one in the paddock knows Vettel better than him), and etc could prove that Mercedes may not be as dominant as previous years. If this is the case then Lewis is likely to face his toughest challenge yet in F1 and his 2016 "a year of growth" is gonna look like a piece of cake. Unlike Vettel and Alonso (when they were driving title winning cars) Hamilton is known to be a man of mood in a such machinery, and previous years revealed if situation doesn't go his way, Lewis is not 100% focused/concentrated under pressure. And it's hard to believe that one's character that formed up over the years could totally change just over a one short winter.
Anyway as a F1 fan I wish Lewis and other big boys good luck this year, and hopefully we will finally enjoy fascinating season and nail-biting competition.

215

Maybe it’s me but, am I the only one who thinks having a genuine fight/challenge from another team on these more durable tyres will actually show Hamilton in the best light we have ever seen??

1) We know he hated the flaky Pirellis but ultimately came to terms with them purely because he had to (I'm sure I read an article where James himself stated that (arguably) Hamilton was the driver most affected by the flaky Pirellis which ultimately hid his true speed due to having to manage them so much/having to drive beneath his highest performance levels because the tyres couldn’t cope….

2) We know Lewis loves to race. Not just drive lights to flag / put it on pole but actually RACE! Case in point; Bahrain 2014 (Ros vs Ham), Nurburgring 2011 (Ham vs Alo vs Web, US GP 2015 I think (Ham vs Vet)... but to name a few.
When there’s an actual RACE to be won, he normally comes out on top. It seems to be what truly motivates him.

3) A car that looks like it will be on par but maybe not as quick as the Ferrari. Within 2 10ths is enough.

4) Vettel... those two seem to have a secret hidden love affair / true respect whereby IMO they think (probably are) the best on the grid currently and have been for years and genuinely have an urge to do battle in equal but opposing machinery. See the BBC interview between Ham and Vet by Lee McKenzie (https://vimeo.com/125479186) and a key quote where Lee asks them both: "who’s going to win the championship this year." Ham replied: "Hopefully one of us." They look so chilled in each other’s company… no egos, seriously different characters... and just total respect!

I maybe clutching at straws but I genuinely feel that if we get the year that we all want... Lewis' emotional self will fly out the window because he'll finally, after a long long while, get the chance to RACE and race HARD which deep down is all he wants.... that can only lead to us getting to witness and appreciate one of the finest drivers of our time in his absolute element on tyres that will FINALLY allow him to express his skill!

I CANNOT WAIT 🙂

P.s. Sorry for the essay.

216

I think the new cars will suit Hamilton, but I suspect Mercedes have been carrying somewhat larger sandbags than Ferrari and will still have an advantage come Saturday in Melbourne. If they can get close to Mercedes in race trim though, we're probably in for the best title fight for over a decade!

217

I remember reading something very similar (can't remember where though) that stated the increased pressures that Pirelli introduced nullified the advantage Hamilton had under braking etc. If this is correct then he should back to his old tricks this year.

218

Not sure i agree with the losing focus under pressure bit. This mantra seems to be rearing it's ugly head since Montoya gave his interview.

Hamilton has only been in the OUTRIGHT best car since 2014.
2007, i'd say the McLaren was on a par with Ferrari and it was Alonso who actually lost greater focus under the pressure.
2008, Hamilton delivered--as he did in 2014 & 2015. 2016 he was still better than Rosberg, but missed out mainly due to reliability issues. He didn't lose focus under pressure when things were not going his way-- in fact, he thrived under the pressure by clawing back a 43 point gap. What knocked him for six was that engine blow out while leading the race in Malaysia and then the press all ganging up on him. That would affect anyone. But he was brilliant in the last 4 races. I really think Hamilton does not get enough credit for the way he bounced back time and time again in 2016 after suffering setback after setback

219

I would also add that, to me at least, lewis' emotional side makes him appear more human. He is flawed... All geniuses are but THAT is why he has so many fans...and detractors. He isnt a robot like Schumi or many others...he is real...and he doesnt try to hide his flaws. I would say F1 is much richer due to his presence.

220

Wierd how everytime hamiton is in a champion ship ending race he is never under pressure or flustered, i think he performs at a level that suprises all

221

I agree with you for the most part. While I like Lewis I put 'not sure' as my vote as there are indeed too many variables to play with. One thing I would note though....things haven't gone Lewis way ALOT last year and he came back swinging everytime. That is growth. Yeah..he can be numpty at times we know...but when he gets serious he means business. The other bit is that Lewis does relish competitive races. While no one will begrudge a seemingly easy win I think Lewis craves the competitive as a pure racer. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out.

222

He is in such a position, with the best car and by being considered the best driver, that any other result would be a total failure. However, I believe he is mentally strong enough to be affected by mind games and should, if nothing goes wrong, deliver with no trouble. But will Mercedes also do it?

223

Lewis closed nicos lead twice last year of 40 points or so...with pu problems and bad starts

No wonder lewis does not respect nico.....lewis was fast last year and nico new next year without problems lewis would easily get the title back

So in reality only if ferrari are much faster lewis will champ.......all the world champs on the grid will come to life with extra downforce.

I really cant wait

224

I still feel the merc have a huge advantage over the red team..but I hope that's not the case...but if its a dominant merc like last year then hamilton will stroll to his 4th title
I really hope that's not the case...and ferrari really take it to them this year

225

Wow! impressed & surprised. He never once mentioned the mechanical issues as the reason. very mature response - This sets him up well for 2017 - he is going to be super competitive.

226

Good to see Hamilton mention the starts as a factor in his results last year, and not just use reliability as the only reason. I feel he will be too fast for Bottas. I really do hope Red Bull and Ferrari can be in the title mix this year. Another Mercedes intrateam fight would hurt the current optimism that this will be a good year for F1. I think as long as Hamilton has a fast car he will stay in the sport.

227

I think HAM will certainly stay long enough to get five WDC, thus overtaking Vettel and becoming the most successful of his generation. If he doesn't the future books will acclaim Vettel as the overall champ of this era.

228

@andy
I think Vettel would have to win a WDC with Ferrari or another team for that to happen.

229

Yeah for Vettel to be given a clear accolade over Lewis I think you are right. But if neither of them win another WDC, in ten years time 4 times WDC will be better regarded than 3 times...?

230

Rosberg was given the championship because it was preplanned from the beginning that he would retire at the end of the season. Why is no motorsport journalist investigating on Nico's retirement?

231

You really think that Lewis wouldn't know about this conspiracy, and also think he would stay with Merc knowing that they might do it again? [Mod]!

232

When you look at 2016, Lewis Hamilton did not have a bad year. Everyone, and every driver makes mistakes sometimes in the heat of the moment, even the best, and both Hamilton and Nico Rosberg both made their fair share of mistakes, and poor starts, which cost them championship points.

However, the things that are not heat of the moment mistakes are the types of mistakes you must avoid, or have luck with to be ultimately considered the best. These are mechanical failures, and that is what proved to be the difference in the end!

233

Even Hamilton pretty much admits that a lot of his problems in 2016 were of his own doing. Compare his performances at the last 4 race vs first 4 races of 2016 and it is like night and day. Each little error may not seem like much, but when you add them up over the course of a close-fought season then it can be the difference.

234

I think and hope that Mercedes realm at the helm is over. Lewis should try going to a smaller team, something he has never done. Vettel won in a Toro Rosso, Alonso raced in a Minardi. Perhaps Lewis should go to the top British team of the past few seasons, Force India.

235

Lewis has NOTHING left to prove. Good drivers end up in good cars thats F1. He should leave merc to go to Torro Tosso just to please you? The record books state 3 x WDC. 53? Wins. 61 pole positions. But he should drive a force ind u a to prove himself? Right you are.

236

Record books say Prost has 4wdc but he could not hold a candle to Senna

237

We can argue all day about opinions....those are the facts and those facts alone make Lewis Hamilton one of the all time greats.
Where are your opinions in the history books? What will they count for in 10...20 years time? Nadda my friend...they will count for nadda.

238

What nonsense.

Would you consider working for less money at a smaller company?

239

Not sure.

Stupid to even speculate until Australia, and even then it's too early to speculate on who will win the championship, given that Melbourne is not a track that is a good indicator for who is has the best car.

240

there was a whole industry ready to roll after last season to bash lewis .
But then their chosen hero quit cos the job was too tough.
How we all laughed as it was dressed up as some sort of heroic retreat lol.

241

That first picture clearly indicates they have been running on a higher oil/fuel mix...

I knew it...

242

This article also raises an important point regarding the future of F1 and the retention of it's fan base.
If the talk of Lewis retiring "soon" is real, we have a situation where in the next year or two we have Fernando, Kimi and Lewis, as well as Felipe all following in the wake of Jenson last year. Each of these drivers have enormous fan bases.
Yes, we have some stars on the rise, but what does F1 look like after all those guys leave?
Imagine that they all left together??
How does F1 management ensure that there is a smooth transition from the established stars to it's future stars?

Discuss..

243

Lewis [Mod] Hamilton may need to step up his game. I sure would like to see another man be the 2017 gladiator. It could get ugly.

244

Perhaps Lewis should try a smaller team, as I reckon Mercs realm at the helm is over. Vettel won in a Toro Rosso. Hamilton in the Force India, the highest finishing British team of recent years.

245

How odd. Exactly the same comment, word for word was posted by BVBN.

Do you have a twin?

246

Strangely BVBN previously posted this earlier, why would someone need two accounts?... as your comment suggest you dislike Hamilton, perhaps your second account is to agree with your comments

247

I don't care who wins the championship, as long as it's not Lewis..

248

Don't agree with you Alex...would love 20 light to flag victories for lewis but kudos to you for being straight and saying you don't like him..... instead of others who give the strange argument that he's actually no good when what They actually mean is they don't like him

249

I don't care who wins as long as it's a good fight.

250

I want the best racing and ultimately the most respect for who ever of the drivers gets the most points on the scoreboard. Just like the drivers do.

251

I voted not sure as we do not know for sure if Mercedes is still top of the class. If they are, then yes he should be WDC by season ends. I don'the want to belittle Botta but l can'tell see him beating Hamilton over a full season. Bottas will bag his first race win though if we have a one team show.
If things are close between 2 or 3 teams at the top then it will go to who is the most consistent, as the least technical troubles and is best supported by his team.
Hamilton is very good yes, but l rate him equally with Vettel, Ricciardon. Max is there about as well but might still need a bit more experience to fully bloom. Alonso has the talent but sadly not there car.
If Ferrari has the better cars season long, then Hamilton will have to wait a while longer for his 4th title. I personally hope for a Vettel 5th title, a second one for Kimi or a first one for either Red bull driver.
Above all l hope that we will have a 2017 season not unlike what WRC is at this time. 3 winners and the first 3 races would be a dream start to the new season. Marc

252

Not sure he will as its obviously played on his mind. He is not one of my favourites but all drivers are arrogant and believ they are the best, f they weren't like that they would not be able to get in the car each time and drive to the limit. I admire that quality and just hope that we have great season with multiple contenders. So yes I hope he has got past last year.

253
The Grape Unwashed

I reckon he's going to feel he's something to prove this year, so he's going to be really on it. Had Rosberg remained Hamilton would have likely made it his mission to beat him in every session - practice, qualifying and race. Even with Rosberg gone, 2016 should have reminded him that you only get so many seasons sat in a championship car and he's thrown one of those away - he's going to be making up for lost time.

254

"Had Rosberg remained Hamilton would have likely made it his mission to beat him in every session - practice, qualifying and race"
You mean he wasn't doing that for the last 3 years?

255
The Grape Unwashed

In 2015 Hamilton eased off after securing the title, there was no chance of him doing so this year, had Rosberg remained with the team. Barring a re-run of Rosberg's amazing streak of good fortune, he'd be looking at a comprehensive annihilation this season.

256

OK,

I'll grant you that.

Martin

257

competitive car or no competitive car, he has that ability to win races like no other. he chased vettel, in his dominant red bull, down to win races. he also chased down ricciardo in monaco 2016 to win and i look forward to more of that.

258

'he also chased down ricciardo in monaco 2016'

Stick to the facts.

Austria 2016 would be a better example.

259

yes he did, refused to pit when his team called him in, puting the entire redbull team under so much pressure they forgot what stage the race was at, messing up the critical pit stop?

260

Chased RIC down to win Monaco! Have you seen that race? More like paid the red bull pit crew off to win Monaco. Do you think HAM will beat his team mate this year?

261

you sound frustrated isha, reliving your emotions of that sunday afternoon?
we all saw ricciardo take pole. we all saw his laptimes throughout the race just as well as we saw hamilton hatching his solo plan of keeping his tyres fresh until the precise moment to turn that corkscrew, drenching the entire red bull crew with pressure. pressure in a formulation unheard of before then.

262

did he not win monaco from behind, chasing ricciardo down, putting the entire red bull racing team under so much pressure they fluffed their pit stop?
why do you find it so difficult to accept facts?

263

aveli:

I remember you sprouting this nonsense last year. The only thing you got right is that RB messed up Ricciardo's pit stop...period....not because of anything Hamilton did or didn't do. No alternative facts here.

264

why are you using disrespectful words simply because i expressed my appreciation for hamiltons tenacity to go out a wrestle back that 2016 monaco victory?
do you agree that hamiltons performance press more emotional buttons than any other?

265

aveli:

With respect I did not use any words that directly referred to your character or to you as a person. I used words to describe what I thought of your opinion regarding what happened in Monaco last year. Now if you are offended by that then that is regrettable and I would think and hope that if I inadvertently (because I would not do it intentionally) use inappropriate language in a post it would be moderated out.

Personally, I don’t know why you keep pushing the argument that Hamilton caused Ricciardo’s pit crew to panic or have a melt-down when it keeps on getting such a negative response and not just from me. But of course you’re entitled to your opinion.

Accepting that RB was reacting to what Hamilton/Merc had done (and I can’t recall all the specifics) then my take (as it is for many others) is that they were disorganised in doing so. The situation was incompetently managed and probably cost Ricciardo victory. It’s also true that the unique layout of Monaco’s Pit Lane, where the location of the teams’ Pit Walls are above the teams’ garages – not opposite the garages where you would have a clear visual of your driver entering Pit Lane and being able to react to it, was unhelpful. But this is a what if scenario and no excuse.

I’m not sure what you’re saying or asking me in your last sentence but If you’re saying that Hamilton cops a lot of unwarranted criticism then yes I would agree with that.

266

with all due respect adrian..your post which contain the words 'you' and 'nonsense' is available above for reference.
what i said is exactly what happened in monaco when redbull went head to head with hamilton. they came off second best, just like alonso tried in 2007 followed by rosberg's attempt. hamilton is a formidable competitor and his opponents feel the full brunt of his pressure when he applies it. rosberg had a 2 year signed contract for more than double his previous and that couldn't tempt him to face hamilton's pressure for 2 more years.
i don't understand why you refer to the pit lane setup as a contributory factor. the conditions in monaco were the same for all teams, a control variable. the independent variable which led to that victory was hamilton's choice to stay out when his team called him in. this resulted in the entire redbull team to keel over under immense pressure. the dependent variable was the victory we all witness hamilton celebrating by throwing his trophy high in the air, inviting justin bieber to drink from his champagne bottle.
none of that is nonsense, so to call it nonsense is nothing but disrespectful.
i didn't say hamilton anything about criticism. hamilton wins often in spectacular fashion. so spectacular that it intensify happiness in many and extreme anger in multitudes. that's what i meant.. i hope you refrain from using disrespectful words from now on.....enjoy.

267

aveli:

It seems to me aveli that because I don’t agree with you and have voiced an alternative opinion I’m being disrespectful. Words like “you” and “nonsense” in the context that I used them are not disrespectful because they weren’t directed at your character as a person. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but you have used the “you” word to me 3 times in your 2 posts. You’ve also spelt my name with a lower case “a” but do I feel disrespected by any of this? Absolutely not.

But perhaps we can get back to the main issue. Pit stop errors happen in every race. Sometimes they are minor and have little consequence others are more serious because they result in a loss of track position and in the most extreme cases the loss of a potential race win, as was Ricciardo experience. There’s nothing new here aveli. Now if you’re saying that Hamilton by his actions alone caused the entire RB Pit Wall and garage to go into a panic and hand the race to him on a plate as he planed, then in my opinion you’re saying too much. You’re putting an unnecessary spin on something that isn’t warranted nor can it be sustained. Did RB react incompetently to what Hamilton was doing? Absolutely they did. Horner said post-race that it was a communication problem between the Pit Wall upstairs with the garage below and that procedures would be tightened up.

With respect aveli I don’t see what “hamilton celebrating by throwing his trophy high in the air, inviting justin bieber to drink from his champagne bottle” has got to do with our discussion.

As I said in my last post If you feel “disrespected” by anything I have said then that is to be regretted.

268

....still reading that fairytale aveli???

269

are you? how long has it taken you to get this far?

270

'putting the entire red bull racing team under so much pressure they fluffed their pit stop?'

Is that the only time ever a pit crew has operated under pressure?

271

I hope it's Kimi's year! It would be nice if Valtteri makes a competition of it. Maybe he and Lewis will be in a close and tense battle all year, with Kimi hanging in there and keeping them honest. Then with two races to, Kimi turns it around, eventually winning the title by one point from Valtteri and Lewis, who end up being tied on points.😂😋

272

The obligatory article to stir up the LHFC and their conspiracy theories 😉

273

@redline
Take it easy redline😉 I've only seen one conspiracy post up to now. Would say there's more anti Lewis posts right now. But otherwise, some good posts opening up for debate😊

274

only megastars command such a huge antifollowing..

275

@James K... hahaha... I was just trying to flush out the conspiracy theorists, who have been awfully quiet so far 😉

276

oh I don't know, there have been a few tin foil comments.

277

No doubt Hamilton will bounce back from what he probably believes was denied him last season. Racing is in his blood, his DNA and apart from family nothing is more important to him. He's a natural born racer and when on his game no one can beat him and no one knows this more than himself. Such is his confidence. As much as I would like to see Danny Ric win the whole thing Hamilton and the best F1 car made to date are standing in his way. Have to temper idealism with realism.

278

One of the things that worries me, is that just when the Ferrari seems faster in race trim, we have regulations that make it difficult to follow, difficult to overtake, and 1 pitstop races. If Mercedes still has a qualifying advantage this year will be an even bigger walk in the park for them.

I'm surprised Hamilton is only at 50%.

279

Interesting people say that Hamilton is amazing but he could not beat his team mate in the same car.

280

@isha
Yes he could...🤔

281

Hahaha... come on... dont bite people. He's clearly on the wind up.

282

@Dean, ha ha yes you have figured out my devious plot. Sorry I couldn't help myself!!

283

[mod] look at what happened on track-not just the points total. Hamilton scored more wins, poles, podiums--he outperformed Rosberg on track, was voted performer of the year by the team bosses. He lost over 50 points to reliability issues while his teammate lost virtually zero. There's your answer right there. Typical Hamilton detractor who cannot see the wood for the trees. Too blinded by hate.

284

Damn A*..... you took the bait.

285

Reel him in, Isha!!!

286

I would say the thing that has impressed me about Lewis is his self discipline because he hangs out with celebrities and yet manages not to get influenced by peer pressure and thus indulge in illegal activities
or party too hard

As for 2016 perhaps it was a blessing in disguise because if he won the title last year, it means Rosberg would still be on the grid taking points off him especially so in 2017 when the fight will be tight.

287

I think this could be Lewis' last chance for a titel with Mercedes. Mercedes has lost Paddy Lowe and employed James Allison, while Ferrari, after parting with Allison and de Beer, looks strong again. Honda and Renault will not be on the back foot forever. We certainly hoped for a better Honda Engine this year, but since it was a complete redesign, there's always some risk included. However, if their design made room for more power, they will eventually get their problems sorted and find that power. McLaren's chassis seems to look pretty good (thanks to, among others, Newey's long time right hand, Peter Prodromou).

288

hamilton was with mercedes from 2007, much longer than the rest of them....seen many come and go so doesn't matter to him who comes and goes..

289

I don't think this year will be about Lewis bouncing back it will be about Ferrari bouncing back and causing him issues. Since 2014 he has only had to compete against his team mate. Hopefully this year it will be other teams.

290

Having allowed a driver of lesser ability to defeat him through better application (yes, there were technical failures, but they should never proven decisive with the talent differential being what it was), Lewis should be undergoing a period of intense soul searching and doubling down on his efforts. I doubt he will, though. It's already clear from testing he's quicker than Bottas. That may change as the Finn settles in at Brackley, but not quickly enough to upset the expected order at Mercedes during 2017 at least.

This is why I'm not sure Lewis will be champion this year. Ferrari looked slightly faster than Mercedes in testing. My gut tells me Mercedes are sandbagging and they've still got a little pace in hand, but Ferrari are going to be in the fight for pole and I don't think anyone on the current grid is better than Sebastian Vettel at controlling a race from the front. Lewis is going to have a real fight on his hands. He needs to be at his very best. He needs to be focused and he needs to work closely with his engineers to optimise the car (which is why accusing your engineers of sabotaging you really isn't a good idea). Maybe he'll surprise me and do all that, but what I know for sure is that Vettel and Ferrari will make him pay dearly for every ounce of complacency.

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At no time had he accused his engineers of anything. Quite the opposite.

He said someone or something...

In the assumption you actually bothered to watch the races - reveiw Abu Dhabi for answers to all your troubles Kenny. That should fit in well with your revision of history.

292

The implication was clear and he upset a lot of people within the team. They even referred to it as an "accusation of sabotage" in their response. If you're going to accuse the people who are putting it all on the line for you, working all the hours God sends, then you'd better make damn sure you've got real grounds to do so. Lewis' comments last season should never have left Toto's office.

It's stupid, really. If, in some bizarro parallel universe where Mercedes would rather hand their faux-German number two driver a sympathy championship (rather than have their global superstar win a third successive one with them), all they'd need to do is put more fuel in his car in qualifying, or during critical stints. Lewis would never know. There are much cheaper and easier ways to sabotage one of your drivers than destroying eye-wateringly expensive power units. It doesn't make sense on any level, so why risk alienating your team over it?

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No no grounds for such a statement at all Kenny!

Are you seriously justifying the fact that his and his engines failing even straight after the pain of stockpiling new parts should just be borne in silence for fear of hurting people's feelings?

Don't be ridiculous. He had been completely patient until Malaysia. By then Mercedes should have had a handle on it - I am amazed you find Paddys comments about being 'bad luck' more acceptable given I know no engineer that would not have turned the house upside down working to find such incredible anomalies within a undoubtedly robust quality assurance system.

Certainly not racing ones.

And as an aside. He Never had another failure did he and at no time did he blame his team engineers, he made that clear.

You don't have to like him Kenny but comments as to 'how you feel LH should handle matters" are so incredibly daft it's untrue.

He has won the right to handle matters just however he wishes.

I am sure the team were much happier with Rosbergs methodology - win then dump the team right in it, yet I hear no comment how that might be a little alienating?

294

'win then dump the team right in it,'

Yes how will Mercedes possibly survive.

295

Ha ha ha,and you are very impressed with all thiose Schumacher tittles which were achieved with the fastest cars and his teammates contractually shackled. We can all knitpick . KRB did the math which showed that Rosberg lost similar amount of points as Lewis with poor starts.You hold Hamilton to the standard you do not hold other drivers.No human can produce perfection in anything they do.For me to be impressed with Rosberg, I have to believe he will still have won the tittle without Lewis's reliability problems ; but I absolutely do not.

296

I dislike ferrari with a passion. I think they are entitled, arrogant and mediocre to boot. I would MUCH rather red Bull in the hunt with merc but IF they have produced a decent car.... and the last 8 years would suggest otherwise. ..... then I think we will be in for a treat. For years I've wanted a true HAM v VET fight. Your comment about VET being the best at controlling a race from the front is absolutely true but his skill coming from behind isn't as great...HAM on the other hand thrives on the hunt but doesn't excel like VET controlling a race from the lead. So I'm a bit torn... on one hand I'd love for ferrari to fall flat on their weird Italian noses, on the other, HAM v VET is a mouthwatering prospect. My money would be on HAM for his superior one lap qualifying pace as it looks like qualy will be important this year, but it would be a great battle if the cars are comparable. Throw in VES & RIC and we could have an almighty season ahead.

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Interesting comment Dean ref running at the front.

I can't think of one time particularly lately where he has ever been overtaken while running at the front for example other than through failure or weather issues.

I can remember a good few SV races where he was run down by lesser cars while in front although it's certainly his modus operandi.

Can you name any?

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No need for apologies. Great bit of insight. I for 1 completely agree on all points. I had also completely forgot about the increased tyre pressures introduced last year and the effect it had on the merc and lewis in particular.....hopefully these new tyres will allow us to see lewis in his element

299

Think you will find they all had increased tyre pressure jeesh

300

He's changed his tune somewhat from last season, where he just blamed unreliability as the sole cause of him failing to win the championship.

During the last 4 races, and in the aftermath, he seemed to want to discredit Rosberg's achievement, by moaning about his reliability problems.

I felt this denied Rosberg his moment in the sun to an extent and reflected poorly on Lewis's sportsmanship.

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Rosberg was never really on Hamilton's level. If you look at all of his 23 victories, only one or two were really outstanding drives. Compare that to drivers like Hamilton or Alonso, or even Jenson Button, and you'll find that in many more cases, it was the driver who made the difference on the day.

I still feel a lot of people are unwilling to give Rosberg credit where it's due, however. He bounced back from his drubbing in 2015 and really transformed his approach. He worked incredibly hard and sacrificed a lot and it was that hard work and focus that enabled him to stay close enough to a superior driver that a few technical issues could swing the title that way. At heart, racing is about all the things you do, small and large, that improve your chances of winning. You could argue Rosberg's title is the ultimate expression of that. He extracted every ounce and let luck do the rest.

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He just can't win with some of you....can he. I think the fact he hasn't mentioned the reliability issues is because he's let it go. The guy is a winner and that gets up some people's noses. Part of what makes him the winner he is is his ability to put things behind him. Sure, he vents his frustration like any driven individual would but he's back on it next time around.

303

I get it your his father

305

He's a winner, no doubt, and is one of the all time greats in terms of his record. He's also overcome a lot to get into F1 and be successful.

My point is that I think it's important to lose with grace, which I don't think he did by harping on the reliability. He's now saying that there are things he could've done better, which implies his loss wasn't solely due to mechanical factors outside his control, but also due to factors within his control - i.e. The starts.

Some people think losing with grace automatically means you're not a winner, but I disagree.

306

When did he 'harp on'?

He stated a fact. Once.

For clarity one start may not have made a difference but he knows they are in his control.

Engines blowing up while the other 43 carry on happily...?

Not so much.

Get a grip. Harping on. Who would not given his team mates 100% reliability and three year record of never having a Q 3 spoiled by a technical issue!

307

Ok, the tone of this debate may be getting blown a little out of proportion...

To answer your question, he didn't "state the fact" once, he talked about it over and over. There was his infamous quote in Malaysia about "somebody not wanting me to win this year". He also blamed his championship predicament on engines at Abu Dhabi - http://www.express.co.uk/sport/f1-autosport/737021/Lewis-Hamilton-technical-problems-world-title-defeat-Nico-Rosberg-Mercedes,

Mexico - http://www.espn.com.au/f1/story/_/id/17905366/reliability-not-rosberg-big-change-year,

and as far back as June - https://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2016/06/lewis-hamilton-feeling-victimised-by-mercedes-f1-engine-reliability-problems/.

Where statement of fact ends, and harping begins, is a matter of opinion I suppose.

It wasn’t just one start either, he made poor starts in Australia, Bahrain, Italy, and Japan. He also had poor weekends in Baku and Singapore. The absence of which would have meant he won the championship.

My point is that he was quick to blame reliability problems as the sole reason Rosberg won the championship, whilst ignoring the fact he made several errors. This came across as an attempt to say that Rosberg championship was purely luck (or Lewis’s bad luck), which is part of the story, but also overlooks the fact that Nico upped his game, and Hamilton made some mistakes of his own - which is he is now acknowledging.

My point is it would have displayed better sportsmanship, if he shook hands with Rosberg and said well done – without then qualifying his congratulations. Doing that would not have diminished his status as a "winner", if anything it would enhance it.

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Tom, what you've got to understand is that to Drg and quite a few other people here, Lewis Hamilton is above any and all criticism. He has been forged by the Racing Gods from brake dust and nomex atop Mount Panorama. He has been sent to Earth to show us driving perfection. He makes no mistakes, He only gives others a chance. He has no crashes: Felipe Massa was sent by the devil to thwart him. He receives no good luck; Crashgate was merely the expression of His Divine Will. Praise him. Praise him or be damned.

309

He did shake hands and say well done.

By one start I meant that could of made the difference. He had two bad starts. Two further were technical issues. So did many others.

Just tell me this because it's a common theme with the anti Hamilton crowd.

Why must LH be the only driver year on year who must absolutely have a perfect race every season?

No one is held to those standards but him. No one ever. Yet somehow we must see two starts as the sole reason he lost and not the estimated 50 points he lost by things he had no control over while his team mate serenely carries on crashing into everyone, collecting penalties but enjoying perfect reliability from his engines and being in Q3 for ever race.

Ignore all that - just accept that Malaysia lost him that championship and get over it.

310

What makes him a winner is the merc,seriously people

311

So scott, just eliminate all of his wins in cars that won the WCC or WDC. What do you end up with? I looked at the top 10 winningest drivers, and stripped out any wins in a WCC or WD